Capitalism has run its course and expired. Now we live in the age of postcapitalism, a technology enabled society where work is disconnected from wages, and profit is tempered by purpose. Some people call it ‘technotopia’ or ‘luxury communism’.
We call it the 2030s.
We’ve been told for decades that capitalism was doomed, that it was the architect of its own destruction, and to a certain extent that was true; but the experiments known as communism and central planning were abject failures. Without the incentive to improve your own living standards (and accumulate wealth for your family) society wasn’t driven to achieve. Especially not for the benefit of elites.
On the other hand, the neoliberal social democratic market driven political economic construct that spawned the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution was bound to become a victim of its own success. With exploding information – digitization – growth industries were forever having to innovate and adapt, as real costs (and prices) declined, but wage expectations didn’t.
When everything is digital, marginal costs of production are near zero and value has to be found elsewhere. When assets are shared, not owned, they lose their attraction as stores of value, and when machines are vastly more cost efficient than humans, wages become disconnected from work.
Readers of Paul Mason’s treatise, PostCapitalism, who subscribe to his ideas, have been surprised at the speed with which capitalism has been made redundant. It was the combination of exponentially accelerating technologies that did it.
Artificial intelligence and automation, combined with blockchain, cryptocurrencies, robotics and digital manufacturing and energy, working in concert, have changed the game, permanently. One exponential trend, boosted, exponentially, by another, generates a tsunami of change, and then it’s ‘Game Over’ for incumbents.
And when you don’t have to chase wealth and comfort and financial security in a win-lose game, what better meaning to life is there, than its purpose?
Capitalism is dead. Long live postcapitalism!