tl;dr (Too Long Didn’t Read)
tl;dr of the tl;dr
Democratic capitalism (DC) had some good years and achieved a lot, but it has started to be highly inequitable and exploitative. With modern technology, science and advances in project and team management, there is a huge range of techniques that can be employed to create much better systems. We can create a cooperative system that is much more equitable and productive than DC.
Democratic capitalism is failing
Democratic capitalism is used within most of the powerful countries. More importantly it has become the dominant global system.
- DC has become extremely inequitable. The wealthiest 26 people in the world have more wealth than the bottom 3,800,000,000.
- Numbers like this are startling but still hard to appreciate. Check out this graph for family wealth in the US (significantly less inequality than at a global level though).
- DC is unsustainably damaging the environment. Worst example, Elon Musk sums up the global warming issue really well and talks about how 97% of scientists believe the transition to sustainable energy will be catastrophic.
- Another example, We are expending the resources of 1.7 planets per year.
We should be able to design a better system
- Democracy and capitalism are roughly 300 years old. Surely a modern rethink is possible.
- Humanity has achieved incredible technology. Entirely new ways of organizing are now feasible.
- Humans themselves are now much more deeply understood through scientific studies.
- Modern business, in particular technology companies, have continually advanced how they as small societies operate (notably, agile software development). This has resulted in many techniques that are broadly useful and can be employed at the societal level.
- Open source software has also advanced techniques to manage teams and culture. The open source model has a lot relevance to managing a society.
What is a good new system then?
- Look at a company like Google. It has no bias to any particular system. Are positions within the company decided by democratic voting? Is everyone given a share of the companies resources and they compete against each other to make money for the company?
- No, primarily people are all working together towards common goals. There are elements of competition and democracy within the company, but these are tools applied only when and where it makes sense, not as the underlying system.
- This is because the most efficient way for humans to be productive is to cooperate, which isn’t surprising given we evolved to operate cooperatively in a tribe. More info on the inefficiency of the free market.
- The main argument against cooperative systems at a societal level is it won’t work because people will become corrupt. However, this should be a solvable problem.
- Much like open source, all information both in real time and historical can be made available on the internet, meaning corruption needs to happen under the nose of the entirety of society.
- The consensus seeking model of decision making can be used to make corrupting a decision requiring corrupting the majority of a committee, which is much more difficult than corrupting an individual leader.
- Of course, humans still need to be incentivized to strive, so moderate reward should be given to those that do great work for society. Some level of wealth inequality is desirable for this reason.