Thursday, April 18, 2013

The looming death of capitalism and the population explosion?

During my extreme left wing era (which probably lasted about two years until I realised they were exactly the same as the extreme right wing, but with a different colour) I used to hold the opinion that people should be marching for the right NOT to work. Work, in my emerging mind, was a form of slavery in which we were beholden to the slave masters; the capitalists.
Strangely enough, that idea of mine, (or did I read it somewhere in one of the plethora of left wing books and journals that I read, or even in the realm of science fiction, of which I was and still am, a huge fan? I'm not too sure.) has evolved into an idea that, at sometime in the future, we won't need to work as the mechanisation of the workplace will be doing the work for us.
There are now tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people who will never be in continuous employment during their lifetime, because of mechanisation. Millions of people have been thrown out of work because of computers. Many of the younger people reading this will not have experience of the armies of clerks that were needed to get the paperwork done. They have mostly all gone. They will not remember the huge swathes of the population who used to work in factories; robots have taken over their monotonous jobs. Times have changed. We, as a global society, do not need all these workers.
So what do we do with all of those people who are excess to requirements? In the past that question didn't arise because we lost so many people through disease, famine and wars that we needed the 'working and middle classes' to keep producing children to fill the gaps left by their premature deaths. The advance in medicine, new surgical techniques, better food production and treaties put paid to this sort of levelling. The advances in technology have put paid to the jobs which have only exasperated the situation. Do we then hold back medical care for sections of the population with the hope that more people will die off? Do we increase global tensions to the extent that massive wars take place again? Maybe we have a combination of both? We cannot un-invent technology so something will have to be done, mostly in first and second world countries, to address this situation. Or do we really need to?
The global society we live in now makes this a problem solely because we live in a global society of capitalisation and finance. Capitalism is not the cure; it is the problem. As a species we can feed, house, educate and give medical care to all the peoples of this small planet while still supporting the advancement of technology. So what is stopping us from doing that? The answer, sadly, is money. Take money out of the equation and there is no 'problem'. Let us remember that 'money' is just the authority to get something done. Money is the lubricant to enable the society to function. Take away the 'society' and we don't need the money. Ironically, the late Margaret Thatcher was right (I paraphrase) when she said that: 'There is no such things as society' but not in the terms that she envisioned. 'There are only people'.
Yet, if we do not feed, house, educate and give medical care to those people who will, increasingly, be unemployable then we will have a breakdown of order. We will have riots and disorder breaking out all over the world. That is not capitalism, which the leaders of this planet espouse, it is, instead, a form of communism. Remember that this is not just affecting the great unwashed of the 'working classes' but, increasingly, the aspirational 'middle classes'. How many university graduates are unemployed, in their chosen profession, looking for work with little prospect of gaining employment in their chosen field? That figure will only increase as technology takes large bites out of their prospective employment as it has already done with the 'working classes'?
There are troubled times ahead and, until we accept the unthinkable, the potential for disorder will only increase. Capitalism will have to go. It has no future within a peaceful society. Capitalism, in the near future, will not save us, it will destroy us.