About 15 years ago when I was willing to play the game of Capitalism I was a recent college graduate with one of those highly touted computer degrees. I was an entry level contract code monkey working on Y2K fixes at a time when entry level contract code monkeys working on Y2K fixes made a pretty decent buck. I had 401k and 2 retirement accounts, benefits and very modest habits and interests so I was able to save and invest even more. I was pretty brainy so I was reasonably good at investing and in the span of a few years I had amassed half of my first 100ks of net worth. It was easy to see how I could just keep doing what I was doing and keep being rewarded and make a game of how fast I could become a millionaire. 60? 55? 50 years old if I really went after it maybe.
Even when I was fired and I decided to go into business for myself and look after my ailing mother rather than shop myself around I viewed it as a temporary hiatus. I figured after a few years I go back and get after it again with the movers and the shakers.
And then George W. Bush happened.
A lot of folks think that the W derailed our country and steered us down a frightening imperial path. I tend to believe that W just made it so obvious that we couldn't ignore it and more. Lots of folks like me who were just coasting along had to put on the emergency brake and get out and try to figure out what happened.
I never really got back in the vehicle, figuratively or literally. For a while I thought maybe I could just amass a million dollars and use it to smash capitalism? Or, the ever popular, maybe there's an ethical path to obscene wealth? But in a very short time I just felt an unavoidable need to withhold my participation in the system while I started looking around for an alternate system.
As to capitalism: who knows what its potential could be. It never really had a shot. Autocratic monarchical systems ruled the day and then some Capitalists appeared to throw them off one day and start something new. But the elites just poisoned capitalism in its sleep and put on its clothes and have been masquerading around as capitalism since well before I was born. All of the obvious alternatives to capitalism don't seem any less cooptable to me.
As I see it. We live on a world where greed is revered and rewarded. As a consequence an ever increasing portion of the ever increasing population is ever greedier (among all socio-economic strata) and greed is the determining factor in so much of the decision making on planet Earth. Humanity needs to figure out, FAST, how we can make greed the reviled human characteristic that it once was, that people are inspired to turn away from it. How do we reempower the least greedy among us and disempower the culture of death and destruction before we are dead on a destroyed planet.