"Were this system improvable, such would already have happened within the last 80 years. Instead we see an insoluble problem in the absurd Capital Market Theory.
Allegedly, all participants in a free market possess the exact same information and future expectations. Were such at all possible in the real world, all participants would value all goods in this market in the same way, that is, assign the same price. But that would mean no transactions whatsoever would take place since no profits would be possible. With identical information and future expectations price and value are judged identically by all market participants. In those conditions no one can make a profit, either through buying or selling. Instead there are only losses due to transaction costs." Franz Hoermann
Unless, perhaps, price/value includes ‘profit.’ But, how could price actually do so in a perfect market? Knowingly paying others profit would be a form of cooperation, antithetical to perfect competition. And even if we did endow homo economicus with sufficient generosity to say, “Sure, I’ll pay X% above your costs,” that X% would be so low as to prohibit accumulation of capital, and hence prevent capitalism from functioning. Hence, capitalism cannot be ‘pure’ in the sense of a perfect market or perfect competition and still be capitalism. It is systemically geared to increase concentrations of capital, otherwise the very leverage required to expand society’s productive and consumptive capacities would be impossible. Capitalism is Wealth-and-Power-Concentration by definition. It is top-down elitism as socioeconomic system. It can therefore be neither free nor democratic in the sense its champions would have us believe. The only freedom capitalism ensures is that afforded by one’s purchasing power. Yes, one can ‘work hard’ and perhaps earn more, but people’s chances of accessing such freedom diminish as power and wealth concentrate and hunker down. Then corruption becomes the norm and decadence sets in.
The question society must ask itself is this: “When the costs of capitalism outweigh its benefits, how do we go about changing course?” After all, one property all systems share is mortality.
The argument that capitalism is Nature mapped to the economic sphere, and therefore not a system as such, and therefore immortal, is mere propaganda. Nature’s composition – as seen by those who assert capitalism’s robust naturalness – looks like this: competition in the true Hobbesian manner of each against all; selfish genes determining behaviour; creative destruction ensuring renewal and change; pitiless, merciless, randomly mutating evolution ensuring survival only of the fittest. But this perception of Nature is an ego-based projection arising from incomplete information garnered over the centuries. The view afforded by the latest science is very different.
Nature is in fact cooperative first, competitive second. Genes are not controllers of behaviour, they react to the environment; environment has primacy, not some unaware double-helix firing off instructions, via proteins, from an imagined control center. Creative destruction is not everywhere evident; there are exceptions, wisdom being one of the most important, institutions the most pernicious. And Lamarckism is making a slow comeback; random mutation as lone engine of evolutionary change is an incomplete idea; there is also intent.
Capitalism does not mirror Nature. Even if it did, it would only do so for a while; Nature is Change, is in fact Everything, and humanity is seamlessly, irrevocably, beautifully embedded in it, changing it as it changes us. Capitalism is indeed a system born of an ideology serving an elite, and can only be so. It has been a lever to linear growth of a certain type, and has successfully harnessed humanity's inventive genius in pursuit of that growth. To paraphrase Eisenstein, it has monetized (made scarce) everything it could, but can take us no further. To the extent it lived, it is now dead. Certainly it was never what it's defenders said it was, and that growing realization is a kind of death.
The alternative is some form of loose egalitarianism motivated by environmental concern, a model based on abundance and cooperation rather than scarcity and competition. (And by the way, neither socialism nor communism are it, for they too are elitist.)
If humanity wants to transition to such a system, in my view it must be one which can benefit sustainably from the fruits of centralization while avoiding its dangers and incorporating decentralization too. This is, in my view, only possible via a radical reorientation of our goals and desires. By demoting money’s socioeconomic role while promoting true wealth as arising from community- and ecosystem-health, open access to a relevant and optional education, etc., the necessary ideas and solutions should arise. What we call this system only history can reveal. Right now, to me, the best name seems to be “Resource-Based Economics.”