Constructing the Argument
Capitalists construct an argument to justify the way they do “things.” (The “internet of things” now, for example.) Capitalism, they explain, optimizes utility (reducing costs to practically nothing).
The utilitarian argument is a philosophical argument. It not only describes a mathematical utility (optimizing limited supply to meet unlimited demand) but prescribes principles that guide behavior. These values and principles maximize utility. Incentives are built out (organized) to be naturally contained, on demand, within the big black box we call life (objective reality) methodically yielding to the pursuit of happiness. Maximizing the utility of the means naturally maximizes the utility of the ends, and thus the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
According to capitalist principles, welfare for anybody but the rich, for example, which is what Paul Ryan and Rand Paul advocate (like Alexander Hamilton), reinforces unproductive behavior. It yields to inflation (rising prices) and unemployment (surplus labor), like we have now, with a lot of unhappy faces.
Conservatives maintain that “New Deal” policies and programs were a bad deal. Some of those policies were reversed. Clinton signed to repeal Glass-Steagill, for example, resulting in the Great Recession, but capitalists say, nevertheless, that big government, and its regulations, are to blame. Big government, they say, destroys the utility of the free market, not TBTF corporates that demand big government policies and programs (i.e., the social contract–the king, the sovereign power–in a TBTF proportion, which is sure to fail by application of devices ironically deemed necessary on demand).
To maximize supply, to meet demand, capitalism reduces unlimited demand to meet supply. This is called “supply-side economics” although it adds supply by reducing demand (a math equation that fits the utility of their argument). Welfare is bad, the supply-siders argue, because it increases demand without adding supply, but that’s not the problem we have.
Not enough demand to meet supply (deflation) is THE perennial problem of capitalism. This persistent problem always demands a solution, which constructs “the value” of the argument. When “demand does not meet supply” (although the method yield–the constructive, productive, incentive–is supposed to add supply, meet demand, and account for the profit margin) the result is a surplus. Classical economists, including Marx, called the yield (the utility of the method) “surplus value.”
The “math problem” is readily apparent. Adding more units for sale requires people have money to demand it–pay for it–which yields TO (stops at) an increasing profit margin as supply is added.
What the profit yields to (what it produces, or what “the makers” deliberately “make”) is a behavioral incentive–a Skinner Box (a hedonic calculus of rewards and deprivations–a method that yields TO a predictable result called “objective reality”). Since capitalists charge more for what is produced than people can afford to buy, to make a profit (and win the argument–the measure of who rules–what the profit yields to–on demand), the predictable result (what the math problem imperatively yields on demand) is deflation.
When deflation occurs, businesses shut down. What survives are TBTF businesses that exist to “zero the marginal cost,” like we have now.
It’s no accident that we now have more businesses going out of business than starting up, which is a deflation indicator. This supports the need to be TBTF, which supports reducing costs to zero in order to make a profit. While destroying demand to create the profit (added supply) appears to be a zero-sum equation, demand (the risk) is not being destroyed because “the risk” cannot be destroyed. Material things, however, can be. The organized products of labor that have the natural identity (the objective reality) of consumption can be destroyed if not deprived by lack of income (the means to demand it).
(Do you not throw away the “things” you don’t want and, naturally, demand the things you do?)
Like Marx and Engels postulated, capitalism destroys the natural environment to support the profit margin. Is it a coincidence we have a massive protest on Wall Street today “demanding” we prevent the destruction (climate change) in a gamma-risk, catastrophic proportion?
In a TBTF proportion, instead of reducing the cost to zero (destroying demand), the demand is being constructed. (Remember that nature resists the value of zero. Nihilism is “naturally” resisted. Nature has “zero tolerance” for nothingness, always demanding the existence–being and somethingness!–measured over time, occupying space; and what is likely to happen when you have something you don’t want occupying your space? You destroy it to keep your space! So, isn’t it best “We” be sure everybody has the means to keep their space without destroying someone else–ourselves–to keep it!) When we protest the way probable environmental risk is being managed, what exactly is being demanded? What is the argument being constructed?
The utility of capitalism is a failure. So, it is necessary to reconstruct the argument.
Capitalists are now saying that capitalism is not “the free market.” They admit it’s wrong (a fraud) to carry on with a free-market legitimacy because it always yields to a declining rate of profit (and so, to make up the difference we, for example, pollute the environment). Big, successful, multi-billionaire techies are now telling us that capitalism isn’t what causes more businesses to fail than are created. It’s free-market economics and government regulation that reduces demand (and pollutes the environment to yield an increasing profit margin).
According to our newly minted entrepreneurs, the solution is “natural monopolies” without government regulation, but that’s how we got the deflationary problem we have now. Reducing demand to add supply results in overwhelming debt, which includes a debt to be paid in the form of a probable, commonly divisible threat by degradation and destruction of our commonly collective, natural environment.
What exactly is the problem to be solved here?
If how much money a person makes is really the only way to measure who the best and the brightest are, and what the best and the brightest thing to do is, then we are, like Hobbes said, doomed to self-destruction.
If being and nothingness on demand is the picture of sanity then we are well on our way to the measure (the objective reality) of that attainment.
Is the Walmart happy face really a work of art that imitates life, or the picture of The Scream!