Posts Tagged ‘Capitalism’

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Please make use of my copy of this text, my highlights are included in this version

In order to counter the prevailing narrative all too often forced upon us, Joon Chang does a valid job of presenting his research and evidencing his take on the alternative consequences of this form of ‘neo liberal’ capitalism. This form of market based trade varies from those of historical applications, and as the author shows, these do not transport well across borders.

The key points that I would like to make note of are as follows;

  • The prevalence of limited liability which ties into what I have read of other commentators, who raise legitimate concerns around the level of risk taking that this encourages and the fact that it is the shareholders who stand to loose their entire investment. The historical structure was one of full exposure to the risk of the venture ensuring that incentives of management match that of the investor

• I would like to draw attention to the assertion that ‘there is no such thing as a free market’ and that ‘economics is not a science but a political excercise’. This further raises the question as to why it is taught so prevalently in high schools ?

• Free market for labour? No, the biggest control in place here is immigration!

• The developed world benefits greatly from historical legacies and development which has taken place over centuries – this points directly to colonialism in my view – no observer should discount the impact the modern world structure has had on wealth and continued productivity

  • Change (economic development) and Value must be put into perspective, who is giving it value and is it of value to everyone?

• The way in which nations are assessed in terms of quality of life or economic indicators leaves a lot to be desired, if qualitative factors such as prison populations, income inequality, not too mention debt levels were factored in to this argument, the perspective would change quite significantly

• Perhaps most importantly for me; the impact of colonialism has not been deeply considered when trying to understand ‘modern world’ problems. After all, a number of Eurocentric commentators like to applaud Europe’s ‘contribution’ to the making of this contemporary world, how it was shaped (literally, with a blood soaked sword) by the West, but in this process of this construction why are we failing to appreciate the ongoing impact of over 400 years of systematic, comprehensive oppression, population upheaval and geographical reconstruction. Why?

 

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“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe A cliché, and yet so pertinent. So many people think that the struggle against the New World Order is about preventing becoming their slaves. But we ARE their slaves! The essence of Slavery is that someone else […]

via From Chattel Slavery To Capitalism — Real Currencies

 

 

 

Note the historical parallel to contemporary Chinese and Middle Eastern dominance of US assets and currencies and their recycling of dollars back into the US dominated global economy….

An excellent history of the workings of global central banking, seen through the economic history of Japan. The Asian financial crisis, Long Term Capital Management and the recent Euro debt crises are also explored and together brought into contemplation….highly recommended

 

Please find enclosed a copy of Benedikt Koehler’s text on the application of market based principles extensively throughout out the early and later eras of Islam.

I hope to write more about this enlightening piece in a later post, but meanwhile, please do download a copy and read all about the history you never knew

Early Islam and the Birth of Capitalism – Benedikt Koehler

Also view the following presentation delivered in the City of London at the Legatum Institute, which includes a Q&A

The profound concept of what value is and what value society should try to attain is explored in this worthy documentary.

I would like to highlight a number of the take home messages which I found to be praiseworthy and challenging of conventional wisdom;

  • ‘Not all profits are created equal’ implying certain gains could potentially be more worthy than others, the simple metric that something is profitable should not be an absolutist criterion. Profit should be based on sustainability not success
  • The components of the Value Chain should be continually assessed not for whether they are profitable but for what real value they provide the wider society, what positive aspects do they contribute?
  • Price, a key market signal, does not reflect the true cost to society or the environment, therefore how ‘profitable’ are certain activities
  • Our environment governs our behaviour therefore is there is any such thing as free choice, do we even have the freedom to make a choice?
  • The rewards we have currently have in a market economy incentivise us to make potentially harmful choices, not the beneficial choices
  • Contrast the theory that markets allows us to allocate resources adequately with the knowledge that this allocation may be to detrimental activities
  • Some say society at large has never been more prosperous nor peaceful, but the point of how fractured it is bears contemplating
  • The final scene where the following advice was given had much resonance with me, ‘…it’s time. Serve’ This could also be interpreted as in order to serve (society/the natural world order, and therefore establish justice to ourselves and others) we must SUBMIT…the basis of the concept of Islam

It has been oft repeated that in our democratic, liberal societies, the few have greater power over the many

Is it the top 1% that owns a greater share of the capital and wealth than the remaining 99%? It is interesting to think of how many of these ‘many verses few’ statistics genuinely exist when analysing our reality

Given the freedom to own property and generate capital, which can indeed be a positive thing, to what extent is this so open to abuse that the rules of the game were never really meant to create fairness and a degree of equality? Is human nature, which is left unchecked, too prone to avarice that such freedoms will always result in a small elite hungry to capture ever more resources than required?

This is not another post looking to promote controlled economies,  however its purpose is to illustrate that, with the best of intensions, will some freedoms, when applied to a population shaped and conformed to behave in a certain manner, always result in a pyramidical structure taking shape where these conditions exist? Is this shape the overriding effect of all the freedoms at our disposal? Consider the following;

Top Asset Management firms by total value of assets under management

Think about what this data is actually telling us; when asset managers acquire equity, or interest in another business enterprise, they take a degree of ownership in that firm. Thereby, over time and because of the funds that flow to these giant institutions, the few in combination, have ended up in a position of ‘owning’ in part or in full, the many corporations that they have a share in – allowing them to ascend to the top of the pyramid; the few owning much greater proportion combined than the many. It also follows that this leads to a common source of control and influence across an economy/region given this limited pool of effective ownership.

Another perspective on this could be that much of this capital originates from the mass population who are the ultimate owners, through their long term savings and pension provisions invested with these providers. Therefore, is this an attempt to invert the structure, allowing the many to benefit? I would argue not, the masses, when considered individually, on average, do not financially benefit as much as the managers who take material cuts from the pool of funds at their disposal. Often their reward incentives are not adequately aligned with the retail investors at large, allowing the elite to become disproportionally better off than the investors who are searching for gains. The small investor is also not the party which excercises the controlling power.

In addition to this asset ownership, consider more generally, how much land the few own in comparison to the larger population, the size of GDP of the few regions compared to the many, the distribution of resources, the access to what is classed as the best quality of education, the trend continues and the structure that we can continually see forming is that of a top down, hierarchical pyramid – it should be clear from such insights what the ultimate power structure of the contemporary world is and what the fruits of everybody’s efforts are really delivering.