A Vastly Different Frame4 min read

I tend to get in trouble with capitalists.

They really don’t like it when you tell them that their system, by default, won’t work. It happens like this: “But… with proper regulation…” “Nope. The core concept of capitalism is maximize profit…”

Hm. Should step back a half-step. Capitalism basically even as a word means “Head of chattel” which means “property owner.” Explicitly, it is about private ownership of things. If it’s private, that means it’s inacccessible to society without permission. Systemically, if you have the power to deny others, you only give that up when the profit to you is too great to ignore. So… maximize profits and, by default, minimize costs.

These are not unknown variables. Capitalists explicitly state this in a whole bunch of ways and it’s even enshrined in U.S. corporate law.

When you think that way — maximize profits, minimize costs — you always look for ways to do either (and if you aren’t, guaranteed your competition is). Since this is an imaginary system, the ideas of profit or costs is up to interpretation. Are your workers giving you profit or are they costing you money? Obviously you can — and corporations absolutely are — go to a very dark place with this equation.

Socialism and its baby brother communism fall victim to the same thinking, except that they place responsibility for the maximize/minimize equation at a different level. For socialism, it sits with the government leadership (however that’s defined) and supposedly transitional. Communism transfers it to the workers (however that’s defined) on, theoretically, a local level.

That’s still a set of arbitrary designations. None of those systems prevent people from being considered property. None of those systems values non-humans as anything other than a product. It’s just a shuffling of terms.

Is there another way to look at this?

Let’s get down to basics.

Take your herd of cattle, for instance.

Off to the right is a bunch of hungry humans. Naturally, a cattle or two is going to end up as lunch. Story as old as time.

But what’s discussed over lunch?

Now, for the course of much of civilization — civilization being building unsustainable population centers that work because you steal from everyone around you — that decision fell to someone (or someones) who claimed the gods divinely appointed them to rule. Not a priest, mind you, because they didn’t have to care about you. A king. Spokesman for their people.

Naturally the king had to have enough people who actually believed that to force others to his will.

A king can delegate some of his people to be herders to take care of the cattle and bring him a share of the meat, culling off just enough others to sustain the rest of the population

The capitalist has the ability to turn the cattle into food and products. Maybe a butcher or tanner or hunter. They give a share of the meat to folks that help him. Everybody else had better either pony up some valuable goods for the meat or find their own damned herd.

The socialists operate fundamentally like a committee of kinds. The communists delegate the handing out of meat to the fit.

A Human will go out and talk to the herd.

That’s a bold assertion. How do I back this up?

For tens of thousands of years before civilization and god-kings (and later capitalism and socialism and communism) popped up, we had Humans. And those humans had a few common traits: we made up stories, connected with one another, and we endured. These were and are observable, reliable traits for us.

So we put them to work.

Talked to the herd. Found out what it wanted that will make it healthy and strong and in return the strength of the herd will support your people. Maybe that’s hunting a few and ignoring them. Or driving a portion of the herd off a cliff so the rest don’t starve in winter. Maybe that’s taking some milk. Or it’s just following them around and planting seeds of food that you know will nurture you in the churned up ground. Maybe it’s shaving off some fur so you can live in cold places you never could before.

This is an insanely flexible system that allows Human to go virtually anywhere and promote the health and well-being of the entire landscape well into the foreseeable future. Generations and generations, in fact, and history backs this up.

It’s a significantly better choice than imaginary categories that get changed from person to person, from place to place, without regard of the impact. The top three current options (divine right, capitalism, communism) have led to the near-destruction of the planet. Is that really what we want the legacy of humanity to be?

The choice is clear.

Walk down a different path.

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