Friday, March 31, 2006

Reconstituting capitalism

I was answering a question regarding group cohesion when the thought struck me that this is the core of our current problems with 'capitalism': "The essence of capitalism is co-operation, not competition". People create artifacts, men-made tools and products. This we call capital because it is being owned by a person, a head, in Latin: capus. Head is also the name of the leader. And here the confusion started. Capital is being attributed to the head, the chief and vice versa, the one with most of the 'capital', is the most important person. This is the Lucifer principle at work, a principle that is in our genes, our behaviour and our mind. As this principle has been devloped during aeons of scarcity, we have problems to see that it doesn't fit anymore in a situation of abundance. The thought that capitalism is about competion, is not only a cover-up, it is a trap.

It is a trap? Why? Competition is how we experience Howard's fifth global brain principle - the principle that is not a principle, but the manifestation of the other four principles - in the light of the Lucifer. The four principles that make up a social learning network interact. In the flickering light of the flame we read the writings on the wall and thought we understood: competition brings the best value for the lowest price. But with the search light of our mind we can see what was written there too: "Cooperation works better and cooperative competition delivers more."

This, in my view, explains for instance the global success of cricket, footbal, soccer (the name is derived from co-operating), basebal, basketball, speed skating (ok, only in 'Dutchland') at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Olympic Games were rekindled in the high days of capitalism: it is more important to join than to win. This explains our new temples: stadions, where sports learn us how we can be co-operating while competing. We've been taming the Lucifer Principle by making it into a spectacle. Here is why our new gods are sport(wo)men: they carry the flames of our desires, our passions. Read why our new gospel are the tabloids with sportsnews. Bread and games is what defines humans. We should now start to apply these principles to our capitalism too: capitalism is a sport between teams that improves all of us.

We can also see this in the global economy: the better a country co-operates, the more it prospers. On the short run, a nation will gain from the co-operation with a larger union. When this is being perceived as competition, competing for scarce resources, the union will run into trouble. But the growth of this single nation is not the result of competition, it is the outcome or co-operation. You can look though these glasses to the EU now. When partners keep competiting inside a union (and they do not start a war against another union, which was the usual solution) the union will suffer. The moment the union can be reconstituted on co-operating, and that is inevitable when it doesn't break up, nor it cannot go to war, the whole union will start to prosper again.

So we have to change the meme of capitalism from competition into co-operation. Capitalism is fundamentally build on co-operation. The bedrock of a culture is co-operation. Jericho was build on co-operating, the Parthenon was, the gothic cathedrals were, Amsterdam, New York and Shanghai are. Can you mention one society that was not build on co-operation and has existed for longer than one generation? And if it existed, would you emigrate to that society? The meme that Plato, Marx and others who were led astray, all for their own reasons, have been exploiting is that competition is what brings us 'goods'. The whisper of Lucifer. This competition meme should be banned from our heads, not only because it doesn't deliver, but because it creates the very facts it says it doesn't: bad quality, high prices, corrupted leaders, poverty leading to suffering, tyranny and war. We do not need another -ism, we need to rethink again.

I propose to make a declaration of interdependence. Just like the founding fathers of the Dutch Republic did, and those of the French republic and the United States, and all the other states, who declared an end to a long period of abuse by their kings or oppressors by taking the right to oppose tyranny. We have the right and the obligation to reconstitute capitalism. We can make capitalism into what it was or what it intents to be: the secular salvation of human kind. This will not be a constitution that divides, but a constitution that unites. Capital will be the result of making commitments to each other, trust in each other, cooperation, and true and open communication. Capitalism shall deliver.

I can also see a relation with the paradoxes of scarcity / belonging, but will spell it out later.

As during the last few centuries we have been able to build these great societies under the regime of a bad meme, imagine what we can acheive if we start to write a new constitution for capitalism: every person has the right to pursue his or hers own interest in the interest of humanity!


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