Saturday, January 14, 2006

Comments on Capitalism: Gilded Age III

Obsidian Wings writes about health care in the new China, and someone comments:
... Capitalism is a system for finding local minima. It optimizes for the local system. I think communications and interconnectivity may widen the scope of the optimized domain, but it still feels too local.

Capitalism delivers local truths. The weak are not worth investing in. Economic output usually declines after age 40. As 'The Economist' recently noted the maxim 'survival of the fittest' has always been more true of Capitalism (where Spencer first applied it - approvingly) than of nature (where the long grinding calculations of evolution optimize for body-bound genes, gene pools, and emergent interdependent environments).

Can capitalism deal with the risks of social unrest? What if the poor rebel? The weak may not be powerless as a mass movement. Crushing the weak effectively (see history China, Egypt) may not be consistent with capitalism, and it may be distasteful.

Capitalists like George Soros and Warren Buffett prefer a future that doesn't require crushing the weak. Others may feel that super yachts and island fortresses are a better solution.

I don't know how this will play out. If I had to bet, I'd bet we'll retreat from the new Gilded Age and we'll see a return to a social net that will include adequate (fully depreciated) health care.

No comments: