capitalisms: plural

Why use the plural: capitalisms?

We limit our grasp of capitalism by imagining a singular stable type. As a U.S. citizen, I do focus on the particularly virulent form of capitalism reigning today under the Trump regime: burgeoning inequality, deregulation, tax relief for the rich, preferences for capital over labor, reactionary nativism, crony capitalism, Dark Money, threats to the social safety net, etc. I do not regard these attributes as fixed, not do I advocate a conceptual determinism. I recognize that other types of capitalism exist and have existed.

Different types of capitalism exist simultaneously.

Capitalism in northern Europe and other portions of the capitalist industrialized world do not exhibit such a pure form, identified with laissez faire. Indeed, social and environmental indicators generally exceed the outcomes in the USA, except for GDP/capita — with such exceptions as Switzerland. However, just as Adam Smith and Karl Marx used the purest form of capitalism at their respective times, England, I do the same with the USA. I recognize, however, that others institute less stringent types of capitalism (Gray).

Capitalism is adaptive, dynamic, and resilient: no type stands still.

More than typology, however, capitalism of any type does not remain the same, harkening to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “You can’t step into the same river twice.” To its credit, capitalism adapts with an impressive dynamism, possesses a vibrant resilience, and endures as conditions change — within limits.

Historical development must be studied

Study history to understand anything, especially such an impressive complex activity as capitalism: mercantilist Antwerp , trading city-state Venice, the Industrial Revolution in England, or one of my favorites: Genoa. All leading types of this hierarchal network will be eventually superceded, just as China surpasses the USA as I write.

I have fortunately studied economic history and the history of economic thought, even harbor a passion for the history of capitalism. I heartily recommend the seminal work of Fernand Braudel, Joseph Schumpeter, and Karl Polanyi. (I am not a devotee of Karl Marx.)

Loosen the grip of capitalism on our minds.

My spell-checker rejects the plural form: capitalisms. Too bad, since this fact alone supports my point.

Not only do we tend to identify capitalism as the economy, we self-defeat if we succumb to the conviction that its intimidating edifice does not change. We must not let capitalism dominate our thoughts or action, a hindrance to a liberating praxis that unites thought and action.

Further, since capitalists enjoys boundless resources, capitalism can define its particular brand around its self-promoting ideology perpetrated by its supported media outlets, patronized would-be think-tanks, and legal manifestations representing its corrupting influence on the legislative process. Ironically, a striking example of the totalitarianism of this ideology has been promoted by its staunchest proponent, Milton Friedman under the banner of Capitalism and Freedom.

Watch for how economic activity is embedded in history, society, culture, and nature.

Following Karl Polanyi, David Gordon, and Fernand Braudel — all of whom have deeply influenced my approach to this project — I specifically distinguish between:

  1. The formal abstract depiction of the capitalist economy as found in textbook micro-economics and macro-economics;
  2. The concrete substantive economy embedded in history, society, culture, and nature, as put forward by Karl Polanyi and so well illustrated by Fernand Braudel.

To promote this essential distinction, I will refer to the re-framing of a devolutionary economy as livelihood, gathering within it the specific notion of a living economy, not only dynamic (as are all brands of capitalisms) but hidden from view without specific reference to its historical, social, cultural, and natural context.

Fortunately, livelihood, as I will explain, enjoys a rich, vibrant, distinguished body of accessible thought and practice that will provide plenty to think about and to put into practice.

Without such linguistic distinctions, we cannot have a conversation, since we have already reached an unspoken, passive agreement. Without such differences, all forms of trade, talk, and interactions would not occur. So, join the conversation!

Profect to Profit

In the late 14th century, profect took on the modern meaning of financial profit. Profect, the antecedent of profit, more generally meant a good to be produced (sort of a virtue), a benefit, something of value, not monetized, yet.

Profit has come to have a more specialized but narrow meaning as monetized financial increase from buying and selling: sell dear and buy cheap, the dictum of capitalism. This phenomenon was not lost on Aristotle, who provided insight on what he deemed pejoratively chrematistics.

The premise that egoistic, materialistic, monetized actions primarily directs human action strikes me as a convenient assumption inherent in all of formal economics (as opposed to substantive economics) has always struck me as an unverified foundation, a simplifying condition, and a muddled reductionism — where soul expands and elevates human nature.

Degrowth: Labor Force

Decline in Labor Force & Increase in Dependency Ratio

The slowing of population growth in the OECD nations will alter the age pyramid as Baby Boomers retire. Disturbingly, labor force participation rates have declined from about 66% in 2008 to 63% in Q1 2019: See the BLS trends. Fewer workers will be asked to support the overall population, a rising dependency ratio after a sharp decline from 1960 to 2015: see World Bank trend data. An older population distribution and a rising dependency rate will inhibit economic growth, as reported by the St. Louis Fed.

The partial replacement by new entrants to the labor force will, however, increase employment opportunity for younger workers, provided that their education and skill level matches the demand for well-paying jobs. Meanwhile, the declining immigration of potential workforce from the global south will create spot shortages in regions and industries.

Thus, a labor shortage may emerge: Wages will rise with competition. Despite rising interest rates, investment might follow the increase in wages. Productivity could increase, marginally improving income and dampening the expected wage inflation.

I find that the discussion around this topic focuses on technological displacement of labor. David S. Gordon, a seminal authority, disagrees with automation replacing workers, but does not see productivity improvements.

More on this as my project unfolds, but recognize that future unemployment may not be as severe as some suggest, that wages may rise (eating into profit), thus demand would also rise, and that more investment could raise worker productivity — all benign prospects.

Capitalisms Breaking Down

Flaws & Vulnerabilities Within Capitalisms

This project seeks to contribute strategic insight into the challenge posed by the interaction of capitalisms and global warmin, including its largely unanticipated impacts, and its lack of adequate, often frustrated, responses.

The project attempts to define a strategy to re-frame capitalisms from below, thus to devolve capitalisms, the reigning global political economic regime. (Yes, I deliberately refer to capitalisms in the plural, as I explain.)

Thus, I agree with Naomi Klein’s important book, This Changes Everything, meaning that climate change and capitalism cannot coexist for much longer — reckoned in decades, not centuries.

Moreover, capitalism as the dominant economic system contains contradictions, flaws, and vulnerabilities which must be spelled out to define a strategic response. To call for “us” to respond or rely on central governments, typically servile agents of capital,  to “do something,” or to call, once again, for a “new paradigm” (whatever that might be) fails to recognize the damage and the urgency upon the human occupation of the Earth.

Capitalism has drawn some critical scrutiny lately, calls for a more inclusive form of capitalism that addresses global warming and inequality, and now exhibits notable generational loss of support. Capitalism’s resilience and dynamism will propel it forward, but keep your eyes on the horizon. The stakes could not be higher.

My approach here will be to present critical speculation as to how this drama might unfold to, say, 2050 — roughly a generation from now (May, 2019). The timeline derives from planetary warming. The blog will contain three components:

  1. Capitalism Breaking Down, the first part, will explain the flaws and vulnerabilites inherent in capitalism. I will concentrate on the hegemon now in decline, the USA. Other forms exist such as the EU and the rising superpower, China, pulling Asia with it. Since capitalism typically does not see the long term, climate change, its impacts, and its responses will be ignored in favor of what capitalism seeks: profit, typically in the short term.
  2. In part two, I offer a re-framing of the real economy, now under the spell of capitalism as a total world system.  I intend to provide strategic responses based on the potential for devolution, inverting the hierarchical architecture of global capitalism. The exposed flaws, contradictions, and vulnerabilities discovered in part one will be addressed as widely-shared livelihood.
  3. Parallel blog posts that display  relevant events, cases, and data from a variety of sources and perspectives — guarding against confirmation bias.

Capitalisms Breaking Down

Since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, confidence has been shaken in the stability and fairness of financial capitalism — where about 40% of the profits accrue. Economic crises spawned by financial bubbles no longer appear to be an accepted component of the notorious instability of the capitalist system, the business cycle. However, other grievances have piled up, such as burgeoning inequality and insecurity and the inability to acknowledge and to address carbon externalities (sort of concern with the environment — a misnomer that I will tackle later). So, I will break down these flaws and vulnerabilities (not all the cause of capitalism) into several categories that I will then explain more fully as this project proceeds. I have in mind the case of capitalism in the USA, but these dysfunctions are inherent in capitalisms.

  1. Slowing economic growth (stagnation) can be anticipated as the workforce  participation in the economy shrinks and its productivity faces long-term decline. A compelling argument is made by Robert J. Gordon on this significant trend. Since WWII, a global regime dedicated to monetized material growth (mis-measured as GDP) has dominated policy worldwide. The rewards appeared broadly shared until the mid-1970s, but has skewed toward the ultra-rich since, with the concomitant grasp of political power. Eventually, profits and corporate capital investment will shrink as profit declines and as interest rates soar with climate disasters. The challenge here is to capture the system dynamics (Sternman) of capitalism under the duress impinging up to 2050. What goes up can go down, and probably will. We must study closely, starting with coverage of Robert J. Gordon’s seminal The Rise and Fall of American Economic Growth (2016).
  2. World population will level off, approaching zero population growth (ZPG) in the richer nations of the northern hemisphere (OECD in the jargon of the United Nations). Fewer workers will be available, and may not be needed as technology displaces labor.  but that aggregate consumption may also level off — and revenues for firms. A demographic shift away from rural to urban areas will create challenges in cultural adjustment and investment in public health and services. Rural areas will be left behind and will resent their decreased status. However, since rural areas often possess disproportionate political clout, this resistance will prove formidable.
  3. Meanwhile, inequality within nations soars, excluding large portions of the citizenry from the gains of GDP and accumulation of wealth. Now, reactionary forces gather discontent, channeling resentmment toward such scapegoats as dispossessed refugees, the multitude of people seeking refuge as they travel from south to north — an ugly spectacle. However, lower GDP nations and regions expand monetized economic activity and population faster than mature economies, so a worldwide convergence of GDP per capita is underway (Pikkety). The resulting “ecology of rich and poor” has the potential to intensify environmental justice concerns as the planet heats up and equitorial regions become uninhabitable.
  4. As governments, especially in the capitalist north (as opposed to mixed economies elsewhere) practice the political expedience of deficit spending of the Keynesian model along with largely hidden expansions of military forces and imported arsenals. Such deficit spending creates national debt surges, especially since the low-interest rates since 2008. Inextricably, fiscal crises will propel austerity on deprived citizenry. Neglected roads, airports, bridges and other civil engineering infrastructure will fester and decay. The rich, gathering in armored enclaves, will separate from the Others, creating a need to suppress democracy and control restless populations. The rising interest rates and potential for inflation will not contribute to GDP growth or business invesment, thus gains in productivity.
  5. The political economy of cronyism has been baked into capitalism in the USA in particular and will resist change with ideology, force, propaganda, and the corruption of democracy. This enacts the business plan of the Medici family: “Money for power. Power for money.” While the propaganda of capitalism (Friedman) asserts that capitalism supports democracy, the opposite is true.  The wholesale destruction of the public sphere has become a hallmark of the virulent neoliberal brand of capitalism, such as the dreaded Structural Adjustment Programs imposed on poor nations by the International Monetary Fund and the Starve the Beast budget ploy of the Republican Party.
  6. The side-effects of private profit-seeking decisions are imposed unwillingly upon others, misleadingly called “externalities,” a semantic trivialization of widespread social and environmental abuses — violations of Environmental Justice. Victims of such behavior are rarely compensated. The private sector embeds the reduction of costs of obtaining resources and the disposal of waste irresponsibly as part of the business plan of capitalism.  Attempts to regulate such social costs will be stiffly resisted through the subterfuge of deregulation. The flip side of this is the hidden subsidies that powerful interests finagle from government — while simultaneously calling for less government.
  7. The horizon of capitalism, the range of perception, focuses on profit as its engine, its sine non qua. The short-term typically precludes long-term, comprehensive awareness and behavior. Furthermore, adherence to what Adam Smith dubbed the divine invisible hand (in Theory of Moral Sentiment, before The Wealth of Nations) relieves capitalisms of moral obligation (Friedman) since profit maximization (a.k.a., greed) guarantees the welfare of all, the theory of Pareto Optimality. (This atomistic theory deteriorates when social bonds connect “representative agents.”)
  8. Then along comes climate change, its largely unknown global and regional impacts (see precautionary principle), and the stiffening resistance to prevention thrown up by the ideology of denial backed by the Dark Money that benefits from what Naomi Klein dubs Disaster Capitalism. Demands for “armoring” cities and regions with dikes and walls will intensify as will calls for assistance with the damage of other “natural” disasters such as floods, tornadoes, fires, drought, crop losses, pest infestation, etc. Patronage will have another facet — witness Puerto Rico. In a fiscal crisis, such luxuries can only go to the Social Darwinists who, ironically, created the havoc. More control, more military, more repression can be applied, for a while. The seminal Stern Report anticipates a decline of 5% to 8% of global GDP to respond to lost productivity and the provision of social overhead capital.
  9. Geopolitics will resemble shifting tectonic plates. The USA will be hard hit, with the fuller realization that despite high, but stagnating and inequitable, per capita income, its medley of social indicators of well being will continue to lag: longevity, infant and maternal mortality, happiness, and environmental stress put the USA behind most industrialized countries and even behind some developing nations (see Costa Rica and Cuba). Meanwhile, rising superpower China shifts awkwardly to a consumer-based economy despite its mounting piles of debt. As the USA alienates its allies, China expands its influence through its Belt and Road colonization, along with the debt service and resource grabs it imposes on its client states. The EU stagnates. Southeast Asia, a mixed group, sees its denser and poorer nations (Bangladesh, Pakistan) deteriorate with climate damage. India, like China, a population and land mass giant, strains to control its internal ethnic, class, and regional disputes. Little cooperation on global warming or coordinated economic globalization can be anticipated.

Discussion

The next projects will link each of these factors with a fuller treatment and to offer the strategic response, devolution — the point of this exercise. See my working notes for this page. Look at my supporting post that explains why I refer to plural types of capitalisms. Citations will soon be provided.

News: Economic Growth

BB: Economic Growth

The contention that economic growth will slow is basic to my strategic scenario, Capitalism Breaking Down. This means that the call for Degrowth can be withdrawn: population and monetized economic growth rates will decrease. Seek devolution instead.

I will collect current news concerning monetized economic growth, such as trends, opinions, and expectations.

Axios reports: “The IMF yesterday lowered its global growth forecast; the 3rd cut in 6 months and the the lowest forecast since the financial crisis.”

[ fill in by global, then pan-regions, sectors ]Lion on slump.

FP article Jason Hickel; add IMF. Dittrich green economies, Bolle. CC and K in NYT: Weak

 

Also, BB on CC with stress on supporting project. Axios on IEA.

Discussion

My strategic scenario suggests that economic growth in the rich (OECD) nations will stagnate, some growth above population increase will occur in what the business media dubs emerging markets (by definition), but that much of the world will be out of the mainstream of capitalist growth, particularly central Africa (rapid population growth and stealing of arable land) and parts of southeast Asia  (loss of water in deltas).

Climate, capitalism, and class

Dear Reader: See “The only way to halt climate change is to challenge the logic of capitalism,” by Grace Blakely in the of the New Statesman.  Ms. Blakely rightly points out that the rich cause climate change that their class imposes on the poor. Indeed. Such is the logic of capitalism, in part.

The article otherwise does not spell out the “logic of capitalism,” a daunting challenge. I try to do this in the context of climate change. My strategy tries to grasp the expected changes that create vulnerabilities among the many varieties of capitalism, some more virulent (neoliberalism, the USA under Trump) and some less (see Norway).

Ms. Blakely states that the Earth’s temperature will rise by over 3 degrees Celsius by 2030 — news to me, but we do not know: Hence the precautionary principle should be evoked. A 3 degree Celsius rise would be catastrophic and likely irreversible, crossing many unknowable tipping points/

The inter-generational aspects of climate change is another insight offered by Ms. Blakely: The older folks, like myself, caused climate change, but younger people will feel its full impacts. I also point out that budget deficits and degraded infrastructure will also be a part of this shameful legacy — which I think are also internal to virulent capitalism.

So, I recommend the article, but still seek to define the inner logic of capitalism and attempt to offer a feasible path toward an alternative, knowing that time is short.

Join this effort in your own unique way, but let me know how you feel.

Wayne Hayes

April 8, 2019

Braudel Trilogy

Braudel Ensemble: Livelihood

This page branches from the introduction to Braudel’s Ensemble and introduces householding, commerce, and globalization.


The foundation of the substantive economy (Polanyi) embeds economic activity within society. This immediately shifts the emphasis to livelihood and away from the dominance of capitalism over our lives and communities. Livelihood, the domain of all life, moves to center stage and away from the objectivication by the appetites of capital for profit that results in global plunder of nature and exploitation of humanity. This is the critical strategic move.

The paradigmatic shift to Livelihood does not negate or destroy capitalism, merely decenters capitalism, inverts capitalism, and renders all capitalisms a highly robust set of means in service to authentic pro-life ends.

Fittingly, Braudel opens his history with an overview of human population and its growth. Indeed, any attempt to grasp a sustainable future must place population up front. Further, the human population must be located by biogeography, within subsistence and culture, and  as primary social groups such as the family but within the domain of a household. Humans dwell on the land as terrestrial creatures.

Further, these households exist within interacting human communities bordering neighboring communities, living biogeographies, technology and material culture (Mumford), and with a history that can be excavated.

The representative agent of capitalist theory, the greedy, selfish human psyche fits well the reductionist ideology of capitalists but does a grave disservice to humanity. This proposed reconstruction rests on the human household in its material, ecologic, economic, and culture livelihood.

Materially, ecologically, and culturally embedded livelihood, such as within households and communities, remains precious and must not be despoiled by the rapacious commodification and dispossession typical of capitalism, but must deepen as the fundamental support of material and cultural life within a specific ecosystem. An example of such defilement, now largely abandoned, is the austerity programs imposed by the IMF in support of a predatory neoliberal agenda.

Thus, the greedy appetites of rapacious capitalism for resources, labor, and markets must be curbed, despite the fierce resistance by the reactionary proponents of capitalism, typically multi-national corporate behemoths and their allies in politics, government, and media.

This inversion, or devolution, is the key strategic move to aim at. The nearly universal conflict with the State commences here. Uninhabited regions, such as the Arctic, and dreaded Failed States require assistance and advocacy  from afar, another organizational challenge best met by sympathetic civil society partnerships.

How? See my Livelihood = Home + Community + Earth Care post.

Capitalisms Breaking Down

This draft presents a proposal to devolve capitalisms — yes, plural. Part I lays out the problem as I see it. Part II, not yet posted, provides an alternative.


“There is no alternative [to Neo-Liberalism].”
Margaret Thatcher

“There is a crack, a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.”
Leonard Cohen, Anthem

Capitalisms in the rich nations forcibly collide with the Earth’s climate, it’s carrying capacity, and it’s inhabitants. The impacts of climate change outrun the forecasts while the expectations for economic growth continue to falter: Exclusion and inequality, already unacceptable, will soar, debt intensifies into Fiscal Crisis, humanity’s material consumption will greatly exceed earth’s regenerative capacity, defensive “armoring” of infrastructure against climate-related threats will absorb surplus capital, and, propelled by the northward migration of dispossessed multitudes, militarism and reactionary nativist movements will break down needed geopolitical cooperation. I paint an ugly picture.

Profit, and only profit, drives capitalism. The presumed  beneficial side-effects of capitalism are measured only in the terms that capitalism itself has established: the market-basket of Gross Domestic Product, hence Gross World Product. Commodities, artifacts offered for sale, turn a profit that funds capital accumulation that over time concentrates wealth and power in the hands of those who own capital and control institutions. Recall the Medici family mantra: “Money for power. Power for money” (Machiavelli). Assume that capital seeks total control, including media myth-making.

Basic to my devolutionary strategy is to respond to the catalog of widely acknowledged flaws inherent within capitalisms. My case is that capitalism works for the few who own and profit by the political and organizational framework supportive to global capitalisms at its Neo-Liberal phase. Majorities are outside the flow of benefits but often in the path of its damage, including climate change, such as climate, environmental, and economic refugees. These unaccounted “externalities,” an ideological distraction, hide that these imposed costs lie within the business plans of corporations that likewise receive other subsidies from the subservient State that these corporations sponsor.

There are Alternatives

Another vision provides a clue as to how to subvert capitalism, rebuild from below. The seminal history of capitalism by Fernand Braudel distinguishes among, pointing to obvious responses:

  1. The foundation of material culture and livelihood must be nurtured. We will explore the potential latent before our eyes in households and proximate material culture and nature.
  2. Community-embedded commerce, government, and social capital — ironically the  original depiction by Adam Smith — lies before us. Simply expand and cultivate such resources, focus strong democracy on community needs, and expand commerce within our communities so as to support a local population. This is where what local and regional economic development belongs.
  3. The long-distance trade of large scale industry, a.k.a. economic globalization, must serve the foundation of households, communities, and bio-regions. We insist on corporate social responsibility, transparency, and business ethics. Profit must be merged with a more profound mission. 

The bolstering of local and regional forms of social and political capital around strong democracy provides an opportunity to rebuild political economic activity outside the dominant domain of capitalism. Neither eco-socialism nor Green New Deal offer a path defined by decentralization. Such flexible locally tailored solutions offer alternatives discovered in accessible social processes: polis, agora, local food cooperatives, clean available energy, collective water conservation, shared and cooperative labor arrangements, and so forth.

Leverage strong democracy from  the base and from embedded commerce beats economic globalization.  Aim at what Baumol et. al define as “good capitalism”: innovative, open, responsible. Metrics beyond GDP and other monetized indicators must reckon such real progress. We all have a role to play.

We must think outside simplified abstract conceptual terms of capitalism and economisms, such as an “obsolete market mentality” (Polanyi) and what hides from view, such as Dark Money (Mayer) and crony capitalism that infect our shredding democracy and enriches oligarchs.

BreakDown in Capitalisms

Capitalism exhibits vulnerabilities that threaten its performance and its legitimacy. The varieties of nationally established capitalisms will vary in this respect. However, the continuing rifts in the declining hegemonic USA will become especially acute, deserving close attention. Capitalisms’ institutional foundations will continue to diverge under stress from within and outside.

Please do not regard capitalism as either ahistorical or as a monolith: You forfeit an informed critical response. China, Nordic nations, Anglo-Americans, the EU, Japan, etc. each establish capitalism differently, representing different challenges from its citizenry, who have the standing and the intimate knowledge to challenge their distinct concerns. Reject ideologies that deaden thought.

But recognize that any instance of capitalism will be dynamic and in a state of disequilibrium (Shaikh). Recall Heraclitus, “You cannot step into the same river twice.”  As a citizen of the USA, I confront a particularly mercurial condition under the regime of president #45.

These vulnerabilities below will persist within a dystopic spiral. I consolidate here but will link to fuller explanations.

  1. Economic growth will continue to stagnate, especially in rich nations (since 1975 or so) as labor productivity stalls (Gordon, Baumol). Inflation-adjusted income per capita may exceed 2% in India, China, and other emerging capitalisms, but among the OECD nations, including the USA, will rarely exceed a moving average of 1.5%. See the January, 2019, IMF global GDP economic forecast for 2019 for a sample — few dare forecasts beyond a year or so. Then IMF lowered its forecast to lowest level since the Great Recession of 2009.
  2. Income and wealth inequalities will sharply diverge within nations but international average  incomes will converge (Pikkety, Saez). Meanwhile, the convenient market-oriented metric of GDP as an indicator of quality of life or standard of living will lose its historic authority. This trend, in place since the mid-1970s or so, is widely acknowledged. See Pikkety.
  3. Population growth will slow, even approaching ZPG in rich nations. Thus, economic growth will barely exceed population growth, rarely hitting 1.5%. Thus, fewer workers (with stagnant wages) and fewer consumers (with lower incomes) will retard the GDP growth trends exhibited since World War II — dubbed the Age of Acceleration in the Anthropocene literature.
  4. Inter-generational disparities will increase as fewer economically active young citizens must carry the larger proportion of needy and dependent elderly. The USA cannot contain its health costs nor improve its outcomes, stressing the federal budget. As consumption and expectations sag with stagnation, the young may rebel at this generational burden.
  5. The impacts of climate change will exceed forecasts in damage and speed. (See today’s newspaper.) Meanwhile, vested fossil-fuel interests and Dark Money will continue to obstruct efforts to prevent adequate responses.
  6. Defensive armoring of cities and other infrastructural responses will preclude private capital formation (thus productivity), dampen consumption (thus aggregate demand), exacerbate fiscal crises, but ultimately fail to protect regions from the ravages of climate change. The rich will escape to gated, heavily guarded enclaves. Picture to yourself the emerging (social) ecology of rich and poor (Athanasiou).
  7. Fiscal crises (O’Connor) will intensify, shrinking welfare state expenditures and needed social overhead capital. Authoritarian regimes founded on mass propaganda and fed by nativist movements will further corrupt democracies and thrive on violence.
  8. Interest rates will rise, consumption will decline, international cooperation will eviscerate trade agreements, all contributing to a decline of both GDP growth and corporate profit, reducing private investment and thus productivity and wages even further. The downward spiral will breakdown of the various national forms of capitalisms.
  9. Earth’s carrying capacity will overshoot and crash by 2040 or so. Famine and mass northward migration will create appalling tragedies. Reactionary nativist movements will support authoritarian regimes in service to Dark Money. Militarism will spike the arms trade. The chances for a managed decline to Overshoot have past. 

See the  conclusion to Part I: Capitalisms Breaking Down. Then, examine the transition to Part II: Inverting the Economy, involving degrowth and devolution.