I don’t believe that people in power are any smarter than people not in power. Therefore I expect them to be greedy and short-sighted, happy to yank the beams out of the structure we all live in as long as there is a profit.
Sometimes this fear gets pretty intense, and I start wondering whether I should be stock piling chickpeas. I’ve even considered it long enough to come to the conclusion that having gold in a post-financial world is no good – you can’t eat it or use it, so nobody will want it when you need something. I think the thing to stockpile is small bottles of grand marnier. Most people like it, and it won’t spoil. Breakage is a problem, yes, as is a safe place to keep it until someone is willing to trade you a sandwich for it, but in a post-mass-production world it would only become more valuable.
Of course, the same people who would rather sell the medical system at a massive loss for the chance to have one more penny in their own jeans would also be the people who would hire starving thugs to beat seven kinds of snot out of you and take your stock pile, so really it’s just a lot of effort to make yourself a target.
But you can feel the world changing and you don’t want to end up like the old couples in Germany, in the horrendous inflation between the World Wars, romantically committing suicide together because their pensions had become worth less than the paper the cheque was printed on [Currency Wars, James Rickard, Capital in the 21st C, Thomas Piketty]. Destitution in old age is an old problem, and can come back and get you at any moment. Ask the people who have weathered these recent storms http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32482432 . Ask the people in the USA who not only lost their homes and jobs, but ended up in debt for vanished resources in the too-big-to-fail financial crisis of 2009.
So you nod when Facebook brings up a scary article [http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/karl_marx_was_right_20150531] that says, “The final stage of Capitalism would be marked by developments that are intimately familiar to most of us. Unable to expand and generate profits at past levels, the capitalist system would begin to consume the structures that sustained it …. and trigger … an economic assault on not only the working class but the middle class.” because you can see that most of the offspring of the middle class are not getting long-term jobs and opportunities [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/jobs/precarious-employment-still-rising-in-toronto-and-hamilton/article24531959/ ] and they are forced into legitimizing thrift and make do [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-growth/day-to-day/for-millennials-the-allure-of-no-ownership-is-moving-beyond-housing-and-cars/article24659487/]  because, while disgust at over consumption and wasteful non-green behaviour is real, what is realer is no money [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes]
And this is spreading and creating a whole new underclass: the Precariat [http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/rise-of-the-precariat-the-global-scourge-of-precarious-jobs-1.3093319] worldwide with refugees and horrible violence. I’m not happy that this is enough of a thing to get its own name.
 – which, by the way, I think is a fluff piece for Cross Roads Trading Company in San Francisco, rather than any actual news investigation but the idea of renting one’s electronics is something I hadn’t considered.
I have always thought that Communism was jumping the gun and trying to get to the good bits without the trauma. Marx is very clear that Capitalism must fail, fail horribly, before we can move past it, sort of like moving past Feudalism. I mean: we can describe feudalism and we can describe capitalism, so they must be different yes/ no? Natural bullshit detector to the rescue: No; of course things are never as tidy as that. I looked up The End of Feudalism – which every hit changed to the Decline of Feudalism, meaning that it ain’t entirely dead yet [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudalism http://www.lordsandladies.org/decline-of-feudalism.htm http://history.howstuffworks.com/european-history/feudalism3.htm https://marxists.anu.edu.au/archive/marx/works/1884/decline/index.htm ]. There isn’t an actual moment where you say: and now we’re not feudal anymore. The individual events which shifted feudalism to capitalism endured by the people living them were pretty damned horrific (black death), but people thought in terms of judgment day final solution not in terms of changing economic systems and how to protect themselves from a destitute old age. I think the final death knell of feudalism was WW1, where so many young men from all strata of society died – there was no way to stitch that system back together – but we still endenture some apprentices.
So, I suspect that the death of capitalism will be similar: horrible events suffered by individuals, and new ways of earning a living and keeping some for a comfortable old age will just start appearing and more people will do them than will continue to try to do the old ways (knowing your place in the 1920’s, for instance).
I mean: young people can smell the coffee and are not even interested in “secure” jobs because they know they don’t exist [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/career-advice/life-at-work/challenge-trumps-security-for-young-job-seekers/article24617943/]
So, what does the world look like when people select remuneration based on how interesting and satisfying it is, and support that
through thrifting and renting (logical extension of just-in-time supply management) everything that isn’t serving an immediate purpose? It feels very precarious to me and it frightens me – but I bet it opens up all kinds of opportunities.
Of course, with this, I am trying to see over the horizon; I’m trying to notice the boulder bouncing down the hill so that I can step to the left, or stop to window shop, and not get flattened in a video on youtube [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5ogSmH8M84].