As the Christmas season has started and the New Year is approaching, I always think about the future. The world is in flux. The struggle for global hegemony will intensify. The United States and China have made a phase 1 trade deal. It is a mere ceasefire, and the struggle for global dominance will intensify after the US presidential elections, regardless of who wins.
The Caribbean and Belize were caught up in the Cold War. Belize sided with the United States and was spared the ravages of the Cold War like Jamaica, Grenada and Guyana. This situation is very unlikely today because there have been a mixing of the two economic systems.
Modern capitalism has existed for about 300 years. It started in England and spread to Western Europe, North America, Japan and then the world.
Today, it’s the world’s dominant economic system.
Capitalism has both strengths and weaknesses. It produces rapid economic growth and creates an abundance of goods and services faster than any other economic system. It produces technological dynamic development. It is a system that has brought the world together — globalization through business (multinational enterprises) and politics (the United Nations).
One weakness is that it produces great inequality. The economic system is unstable because about every 10 years you have an economic recession, or depression. It has the form of democracy (we vote), but only a few have influence on real policies. Generally, democracy ends at the polls. It has been supported by strong governments. There are capitalists who attack the government, but this is only smoke.
There has not been capitalism without government support. The laws have to be made by government.
In 2008, we saw that the role of government was to bail out the corporations. The privatization of government enterprise shows this relationship. The government sells enterprise and private individuals benefit.
Supporters of capitalism always criticize crony-capitalism, but capitalism can exist in no other form; similarly, socialism cannot exist without an ultra-powerful government.
I see capitalism and socialism as one where means of production are controlled by government (socialism) and another, capitalism, where means of production are controlled by private individuals.
Governments control money in every capitalist and socialist society. The European government took control of other countries and allowed individuals to profit in colonialism.
To get government out of capitalism or socialism is a Utopian fantasy.
Both capitalism and socialism organize societies with a few employers and many employees. I view both capitalism and socialism as outdated. I discussed mainly capitalism, because it is the dominant system.
I propose the democratization of work by workers making decisions about means of production and direct democracy to create more freedom from government control. This social change has become urgent because of artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and 3D printing, which will displace workers.
This is the first time in human history where machines are replacing humans for cognitive tasks. The industrial revolution replaced man in physical tasks; now, machines will eventually become smarter than humans with artificial general intelligence.
Human have dominance over the Earth mainly because of intelligence. Will humans remain dominant, will augmented humans become dominant, or will non-human intelligence be dominant? The future is up to us.
Brian Ellis Plummer