The dictionary describes Capitalism as an economic system where business (investment, equipment, distribution and wealth) is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals. This is compared to the second economic system “Collectivism.” This is where the state owns the means of production, controls the resources, equipment, distribution and wealth. People have been asking me the question “is capitalism dying.” Of course this isn’t really the heart of the matter. What they really want to know is: “are we going to recover from this ‘Great Recession,’ are things going to come back to the ‘Boom’ times, or are we just ‘circling the drain’…getting ready to be flushed out with the rest of the dirty water? What they really want to know is how to protect themselves from the negative affects of a worldwide economic collapse. Is America (and the rest of the world) going to shake off this depression, and get back to the ‘boom times’ - what we used to call the good old days.
In order for me to answer this question we need to look hard at what really caused the last real “Boom Times,” and set the wheels in motion for a second revolution.
The problem is that nobody really knows what caused the ‘good old days.’ Historians make a lot of good guesses. If you follow politics you will find the Republicans saying it’s a small government, low taxation, and lack of government interference that solves the problem. If we ask the Democrats it’s the rise of the working-middle-class, the general advance of wealth ownership and the ability to consume (spend money) that made us great. Economists and Historians will tell us that the real ‘”Boom” started in the late 18th and early 19th century in the Netherlands, England, Northern Europe, and the USA. The Industrial Revolution took place, cheap energy (coal & oil) took over and we got a lot more production by replacing human labor with machines. All this continued because energy kept getting cheaper and cheaper to find and produce. We can look back historically and see what was going on…but what did we do to cause those circumstances to exist? I need to make a point here. Remember: Weather forecasters are notoriously wrong, as much as 60% wrong…but also don’t ever forget: the only profession consistently worse than the weathermen are Economists.
We need to recreate the mighty, omni-powerful economic engine that indirectly (or directly in some cases) fueled all the economies of the world; the engine that won an impossible Revolutionary War (against the mightiest military on Earth), fought a devastating Civil War, conquered a continent, won World War I, and then won World War II, plus several not-so-puny wars in between and afterwards, plus rebuilt our former enemies (sometimes more than once), and countries, if not entire continents, and is still the most powerful economic generator for the entire planet, which is still providing 25-30% of the world’s output. But, we need to know more…what made America the supreme economic engine of all time? What really made us so rich?
We certainly didn’t start out that way. Except for the continent part; we have North America, chuck full of bountiful natural resources…which was a huge advantage (but not our final answer). In the beginning we were dead broke. We didn’t even have any money of our own. We had a hodgepodge of coins, paper, and notes all over the place…each state had its own money, some cities did…even banks and stores issued money (sorta like credit cards, eh?). We even were using other country’s money…like the Pound, Shilling Peso, etc. At the end of the Revolutionary War we owed so much money to so many countries and people that we were bankrupt many times over. But then came the 19th & 20th centuries…and the magic boom…what happened?
Ever since the end of World War II, we have been slowly sliding backwards, going further and further into debt; we have been petering out. Some argue that we were still on the upswing after WWII…I disagree, I think we were we were still on a “Roll” after WWII due to the momentum build up during the war effort; but afterwards (after the Korean War), when we started to refocus inward, we started to slow down and then shrink. Have we over-extended our promise of the ‘good times?’ Have we overcommitted our means? Have we promised too much, to too many? Is it impossible for us to keep up with the demand we’ve created? What about Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, England or France? Are we like them? Have we promised more payments that we are able to generate? Have we bribed ourselves into oblivion?
Okay…enough with the introduction…what’s the answer: No, we haven’t overspent our economic engine and the commitments we’ve made can and should be honored. After-all we don’t want a country that’s wimpy, defaults, cries-uncle, and wants to pick up our marbles & go home if we don’t win every skirmish…do we?
Here’s the real reason we are just at the beginning of hitting the “Jackpot.” The Industrial Revolution was built on ingenuity, and improvements, not on energy sources. After all, the whole world had access to nearly the same resources as did the English, Northern Europeans, the Americans…yet they went nowhere…but we did…we blew the socks off the world. The secret is Ideas, (Innovation, Inventiveness, the Human drive to succeed) and the Freedom to put these ideas to work. But, what frees this “human drive to succeed?” There must be a cause, a reason to be, a mighty calling…a great notion. One person can (and will) cause all this to transpire…it all begins in the mind of one human with the drive to conquer the next Century…the 21st Century. We are at the beginning of a bonanza, a mighty Boom…this is the age of solving World-Class problems…of freeing all human beings on earth, of being citizens of space-time…about real freedom of expression, desire and drive. This is it. This is the Century that will make us or break us. Don’t make the mistake of treating it too lightly though…we are at the edge, the “tipping point,” this can destroy us…all we need to do is be complacent and morbidity will wash over us, we will destroy ourselves, and be swept out to sea.
Our mighty economic engine hasn’t been used up, it isn’t dead, it hasn’t even run out of gas…it is just resting, waiting for the next call to duty. It needs a cause, an esprit-de-corps, a kick-in-the-ass, a kick-start, a reason to be or to exist. People think there’s a limit to how big the economic engine should be, or can be…that’s not true…it’s as big as the situation demands it to be. We have an earth that’s being burdened by 7 billion people…they are sucking the planet dry…it’s resources, its air, its water, its life…but people are also the Earth’s main asset. What if 7 billion people give something back…then you’ve got something eh?…That’s where the real power lies, in the people. That’s where the minds are, that’s where the ideas live, the real power behind the economic engine and life itself are ideas, inventions, innovations, creations, ambition, all products of the mind. Now’s our chance to shine and produce the greatest civilization the Universe has ever known.
What is causing the Earth’s demise? Why, it’s people, of course. Left to her own devices mother earth caps species at numbers that reach into the millions. Most of life is limited by habitat, food supply, pestilence, and some others. Think about it, there are 7 billion humans on this planet. Depending on who you read, the carrying capacity of the earth for humans is in the range of 1 to 2 billion individuals. It is estimated that we are using up the resources of 1.5 to 2 earth’s right now. If everybody on earth lived at the same standard as the USA, we would be burning 3 earth’s worth of resources. And we want this…we want everybody living at a decent, higher quality, standard. The only reason we haven’t run out of resources is because there’s a lag…but make no mistake, we are using more than we have and will eventually run out. Prove it to yourself…look around, there’s less of everything, everything is changing, scarcity is becoming more and more common, it is driving up prices, stuff is getting harder to get.
But there is a huge positive side to all this – it is that there’s a whole Universe “out there,” and it isn’t limited to just 7 billion people (or 9 billion, or even trillions). This is what the 21st Century is for. This is “Make or Break” time for humans on the planet Earth. There are enough resources on this planet to feed everybody, to shelter everybody, to bring everybody good health care, or if the resources aren’t here, they are “Out There” on other planets. Our die is cast. We need to start moving off this planet, we can no-longer be limited by Earth…we need to tap the resources of our solar system, our star, other planets, other celestial bodies, etc.
Our cause is Humanity and the Earth itself. We must turn our infinite human cognitive ability into a hugely positive force of humans striving to save their race. Make no mistake…this is exactly where we are at and what we must do. The economic engine isn’t dead…because it is us and we aren’t dead…the enemy isn’t defeated either, because it is also us. The American economic engine rose up to meet the greatest challenge the earth has ever faced…World Wars I & II. And it was built on the harnessed muscles and backs of the people themselves, all the people…no one or no single class of people could muster that kind of power…it comes from all the people, the middle class. My father said we won WWI at 1/1000th inch (our manufacturing tolerance); and we won WWII at 1/10,000th inch…globalization didn’t bother him; but, giving up artisanship, high quality workmanship, pride, and justifiable fury, did.
The key now is to support a leader…it can be anyone, a politician, a business man, a communicator, anyone who wants to talk to the world and wants to listen to the world talking back to him. Someone who wants to solve world class problems…and who offers solutions to these world problems. A person who addresses the Earth as a System, with his ideas as the architectural foundation to the entire system structure. I am Jeffrey Proud, I am talking to you…I am that person.