• unenlightened
    3.1k
    It's the ecology, stupid.

    The game of monopoly was intended to be an unplayable illustration of the self-destructive nature of capitalism. The rules of the game inexorably lead to the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands until 'game over' is reached when all but one are bankrupt and money ceases to flow.

    The end has been delayed by economic expansion and 'revolution', but we have reached peak stuff and peak knowledge, and either we are going to start plying a different game, or the world is going to play it without us.

    Decades of academic work in ecological economics have gone into integrating energetic and material stocks, flows, and boundaries into economic thinking (van den Bergh 2001, Røpke 2005). Although some progress can be seen on the economic-theoretical level, the economic models which inform political decision-making in rich countries almost completely disregard the energetic and material dimensions of the economy (Hall and Klitgaard 2011).
    As Hall and Klitgaard (2011) have shown, today’s dominant economic theories, approaches, and models were developed during the era of energetic and material abundance. These theories were challenged only temporarily by the oil crises of the 1970s and the 1990s; no significant theoretical or political changes were made. Thus, dominant economic theories as well as policy-related economic modeling rely on the presupposition of continued energetic and material growth. The theories and models anticipate only incremental changes in the existing economic order. Hence, they are inadequate for explaining the current turmoil.
    https://bios.fi/bios-governance_of_economic_transition.pdf
  • Judaka
    94
    The game of monopoly has a fixed amount of potential wealth and victory can only be achieved by the acquisition of more wealth than everyone else.

    Capitalism has increased the overall wealth compared to the past. This wealth is not evenly distributed, the increase is not evenly distributed and inequality is increasing but those in lower percentiles are getting lower percentages of increased overall wealth and increased buying power and options.

    Inequality is rising but overall everyone is better off. Capitalism will trend towards greater socialism as the capacity for government spending and spending efficiency increases and people are replaced by increases in efficiency and technology.
  • Echarmion
    191
    It's a "the boy who cried wolf" effect. After the club of Rome's initial warnings turned out premature, everyone seems to be going with the assumption that technology will provide the necessary improvements in time.

    There is also the almost religious focus on "jobs jobs jobs" in current politics. All other considerations are dwarfed by creating and protesting jobs.
  • Christoffer
    370
    everyone seems to be going with the assumption that technology will provide the necessary improvements in time.Echarmion

    But we are living in a time when technology is in a whole other place than back then.

    The problem we face now is that technology will outperform us, that automation will render blue-collar workers (first) irrelevant for work. We are facing a mass unemployment-era in which most are out of a job, but industries need consumers in order to survive. It might possibly be the largest collapse of the economy the world has ever seen and if no one is establishing a new model of economy, we will not be ready for it.
  • Echarmion
    191
    But we are living in a time when technology is in a whole other place than back then.Christoffer

    Sure, but the economy is still very reliant on cheap and dense sources of energy. There are also various raw materials that get rarer. And we are still not making concerted efforts to get off this rock.

    The problem we face now is that technology will outperform us, that automation will render blue-collar workers (first) irrelevant for work. We are facing a mass unemployment-era in which most are out of a job, but industries need consumers in order to survive. It might possibly be the largest collapse of the economy the world has ever seen and if no one is establishing a new model of economy, we will not be ready for it.Christoffer

    Which makes the focus on jobs as the ultimate end of all policy making even more perplexing.
  • Christoffer
    370
    There are also various raw materials that get rarer. And we are still not making concerted efforts to get off this rock.Echarmion

    Elon Musk is developing astro-mining. It's a several trillion dollar-industry calculated as of late.

    Which makes the focus on jobs as the ultimate end of all policy making even more perplexing.Echarmion

    Exactly, but the reason is that politicians are demagogues who follow the will of the people or manipulate the will of the people in order to have more power and money. A politician that actually fights for the people and for rational decisions in face of the future are rare, or non-existent. Politicians only make decisions when they face a problem that is critical.

    This is why they are politicians because they focus on one thing they want to change or do and they have no education with other things. So they try to combine expertise help with holding on to the power that they have, instead of figuring out the best course of action.

    In essence, I agree with the need for philosopher kings, but I would use it within a democracy. Don't let anyone be able to become a high-level politician if they have not undergone philosophical training and learned how to research issues themselves. Then they can figure out together with experts, the best course of action and we are less susceptible to rich narcissists taking over entire countries.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.2k
    The game of monopoly has a fixed amount of potential wealth and victory can only be achieved by the acquisition of more wealth than everyone else.Judaka

    The amount of wealth is not fixed, because you can keep collecting money by passing Go indefinitely. If the bank runs out of money, make some more. The problem is that the players can construct ways of extracting higher and higher rents, while the fixed rate of income (passing Go) remains the same. If you don't manage to get into the capitalist scheme you'll be sucked under, and the first to loose. But then the capitalists, having annihilated the poor loosers, along with that source of revenue, must try to extract rents from each other, winner takes all. At this point the object of the game is not to have enough money to pay all your rents, but to have all the money, and then there is no one left who might be able to charge you rent.
  • Judaka
    94

    The game of monopoly's largest potential wealth is the total of all the bills that come with the board game.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.2k

    I don't think so, you can add more money if needed.
  • Judaka
    94

    The concept of wealth creation, potential wealth, wealth distribution in monopoly do not replicate capitalism and that is the way OP is trying to introduce monopoly as a relevant criticism to capitalism. I am not sure whether you agree with this point or if you're an avid monopoly fan who wants to debate how the mechanics of the game work but I wouldn't even consider to bring up monopoly in a debate about capitalism if it wasn't for OP thinking it's somehow a good idea.
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    that is the way OP is trying to introduce monopoly as a relevant criticism to capitalism.Judaka

    Well no, actually, I was merely reminding the hurried and harried reader that criticisms of capitalism have a history. I was rather hoping that folks would read the rather more substantive and modern analysis quoted and linked, and discuss that, perhaps with half an eye to the witty subverting of the cliche that forms the subtitle, and replaces the economy with the ecology as the supreme ruler of society. But Monopoly is a more tractable topic, so do carry on.
  • leo
    128
    Inequality is rising but overall everyone is better off.Judaka

    I disagree, many people hate their life, and would give up some of the comfort brought by technology in exchange for more freedom. In fact it is quite sad that after all these technological advancements most people are still slaves. We live in a society fueled by economic growth, to sustain it we have to produce more and consume more, and more and more, endlessly, but resources are not endless.
  • Hanover
    4.3k
    The game of monopoly was intended to be an unplayable illustration of the self-destructive nature of capitalism.unenlightened

    Applying existing anti- monopoly laws to the game of Monopoly would dramatically change the game, making the game not analogous to anything in real life.
    The end has been delayed by economic expansion and 'revolution', but we have reached peak stuff and peak knowledge, and either we are going to start plying a different game, or the world is going to play it without us.unenlightened
    We haven't reached peak knowledge. Your trust in human creativity is pessimistic. I trust our continued adaption as wells begin to dry.
  • Moliere
    1.6k
    We haven't reached peak knowledge. Your trust in human creativity is pessimistic. I trust our continued adaption as wells begin to dry.Hanover

    Adaption and survival I can grant. But that transition will not be kind, merciful, or peaceful if we just carry on -- or, given that my crystal ball broke a long time ago, we are running a very serious risk that resource wars are on the horizon.
  • frank
    2.1k
    Capitalism has obviously opened doors to the human potential. I don't think the average person wants to give up those advantages. We just want to solve some of the problems. It would be cool if we could go forward into something new rather than backward into totalitarian centralized control over the economy.

    A new thing would have to grow out of some unifying ideological base.
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    We haven't reached peak knowledge.Hanover

    You know that do you?

    I am speaking loosely, but the first useable computer was during WW2, and since the transistor made them ubiquitous, I don't see an equivalent novelty in the last 70 years. Nuclear physics, relativity, electromagnetism, evolution are all old stories that are being tweaked, nothing more.
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    What needs to be done – in social and material terms?
    Let us first take a glance at what economies need to accomplish, in concrete terms. They need to transform the ways in which energy, transport, food, and housing are produced and consumed (O’Neill et al. 2018). The result should be production and consumption that provides decent opportunities for a good life while dramatically reducing the burden on natural ecosystems. In terms of greenhouse gases, global net emissions should be zero around 2050 – in Europe and the US by around 2040. (Rockström et al. 2017)
    Energy. Currently, approximately 80% of the global net primary energy supply comes from fossil fuels – oil, natural gas, and coal (IEA 2017). Good quality, easily available fossil fuels have powered the industrialization of nations world-wide. Now, the entire energy infrastructure needs to be transformed.

    This is necessary, but capitalism cannot accomplish it, the theory does not provide the mechanism.
  • Hanover
    4.3k
    I am speaking loosely, but the first useable computer was during WW2, and since the transistor made them ubiquitous, I don't see an equivalent novelty in the last 70 years. Nuclear physics, relativity, electromagnetism, evolution are all old stories that are being tweaked, nothing more.unenlightened

    In the 1970s, I'd dispute your claims by flipping through my Encyclopedia Britannica and hand writing you a well thought out letter that you'd get in a few weeks.

    It's not just a matter of revolutionary discoveries, but also in novel ways of using existing knowledge. Innovation and genius resulted in the phone in my hand, a far different use of the transistor that powered the AM/FM radio I had as a kid.
  • frank
    2.1k
    The transistor took the place of vacuum tubes. Cmos and nmos took the place of transistors. There's no telling what will come next. :roll:
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    novel ways of using existing knowledge.Hanover

    Yes.I'm glad you agree. Not the end of the increase in knowledge, but past the peak. The internal combustion engine dates from just before 1800, 220 years later, we have improved on it a good deal; likewise the electric motor, 1830s. Jet engine and rocket engine, 1940s and since then - improvements, but no new engines.

    There's no telling what will come next.frank

    The best I can manage is to spot trends of the past and project. I am aware that this is not as good as a crystal ball.
  • Arkady
    733
    Yes.I'm glad you agree. Not the end of the increase in knowledge, but past the peak. The internal combustion engine dates from just before 1800, 220 years later, we have improved on it a good deal; likewise the electric motor, 1830s. Jet engine and rocket engine, 1940s and since then - improvements, but no new engines.unenlightened
    Would you consider, say, quantum computing to be "new" enough to constitute a genuine novelty, and not merely a refinement of something which came before?
  • frank
    2.1k
    The best I can manage is to spot trends of the past and project. I am aware that this is not as good as a crystal ball.unenlightened

    Look to science fiction. Robots, virtual realities, cloning for organs, etc. One of the reasons the US was an innovation dynamo was that it attracted people from all over the world and gave them a growing, open society to play with. Whether China will become something similar, can't say.
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    Yes, I think that is something like a new application though the theory is not new. But let's not be hardline about what is in any case a very peripheral issue to the thread topic. derived from a rather throwaway remark.

    I wonder if anyone is at all interested in discussing the topic of the thread?
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    Inequality is rising but overall everyone is better off. Capitalism will trend towards greater socialism as the capacity for government spending and spending efficiency increases and people are replaced by increases in efficiency and technology.Judaka

    Inequality is an major economic problem quite aside from moral concerns. Concentration of wealth in the hands of a 1-2% of the population leads to less productive economies because too much capital is in too few hands.

    Capitalism trending toward greater socialism? What sort of hocus pocus thinking is that?
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    It's not just a matter of revolutionary discoveries, but also in novel ways of using existing knowledge.Hanover

    Yes, your cell phone integrates old radio technology with a miniaturized computer. A rule of thumb is that it takes about 50 years for a new technology to be fully deployed. Large clunky cell phones made their practical debut around... 1980, so... 40 years on, they are pretty well deployed everywhere.

    I am speaking loosely, but the first useable computer was during WW2, and since the transistor made them ubiquitous, I don't see an equivalent novelty in the last 70 years. Nuclear physics, relativity, electromagnetism, evolution are all old stories that are being tweaked, nothing more.unenlightened

    If there is a "next big thing" it isn't on the horizon. Quantum computing will not solve the problem of too many people, not enough jobs, too little money for the price of bread, global warming, and other such existential matters.

    My understanding of this is that the economic potential from late 19th - early 20th century inventions and new technology have now been fully exploited. Computers (and automation which depends on computers) is being exploited, and has not reached full exploitation. Whether labor-eliminating technology represents a heap of potential or a pit of deprivation isn't entirely clear. I'd bet on the latter, because a lot of jobs remain that machines and computers could do just as well.

    The idea of distributing corporate income gains from automation as a guaranteed income is a long ways from being

    Elon Musk is developing astro-mining. It's a several trillion dollar-industry calculated as of late.Christoffer

    Elon Musk is doing no such thing. He's thinking about it, but lots of people have thought about it.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    It's the ecology, stupid.unenlightened

    Absolutely.

    Ecology hangs over every discussion of the future and is often--quite amazingly--ignored. The rate of global warming, ecological disruption, sea-level rise, more severe swings in weather events, and so forth cut across projections of future economic growth.

    Even educated, technologically sophisticated people, have difficulty getting their minds around the concept of "peak oil", let alone the implications. We are now on the long down-side of the curve. Oil isn't just energy, it is also the cheap feed-stock of a vast share of economic activity. Hydrocarbons have no attractive replacement. You can walk instead of driving, but your high-tech walking shoes are made out of oil. Forget about oil-derived polyester -- you can use cotton. But cotton for all depends on many tractors using oil and cheap fertilizers. So, you can wear leather instead. Alas. There are just not enough animal skins to cover 8 billion people.

    What to wear will be the least of today's young people's problems as the planet's ecology changes from familiar and predictable to strange and chaotic.
  • Hanover
    4.3k
    Quantum computing will not solve the problem of too many people, not enough jobs, too little money for the price of bread, global warming, and other such existential matters.Bitter Crank

    This is end of times talk, just from the left. Modern misery exists to be sure, but it doesn't hold a candle to ancient miseries.
  • Hanover
    4.3k
    Yes.I'm glad you agree. Not the end of the increase in knowledge, but past the peak. The internal combustion engine dates from just before 1800, 220 years later, we have improved on it a good deal; likewise the electric motor, 1830s. Jet engine and rocket engine, 1940s and since then - improvements, but no new engines.unenlightened

    The distinction you make to support your pessimistic viewpoint is unclear (as all innovation takes advantage of other known technologies) and irrelevant (whether the life saving drug was founded on wholly new concepts or advancements of existent ones, it's no less important).

    With regard to some 100 amazing innovations in 2018 alone, see: https://www.popsci.com/best-of-whats-new-2018.

    If the best criticism you have is that they're "tweaks," and not innovations, that doesn't really make me lose any confidence in the continued ability of humans to substantially improve their situation.
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    Ecology hangs over every discussion of the future and is often--quite amazingly--ignored. The rate of global warming, ecological disruption, sea-level rise, more severe swings in weather events, and so forth cut across projections of future economic growth.Bitter Crank

    Yes, and Slater Nazi Inc. are not going to solve these problems of their own volition.

    that doesn't really make me lose any confidence in the continued ability of humans to substantially improve their situation.Hanover

    Nor do I lack confidence in the ability of humans. As usual in your haste to contradict something that might oblige you to think a new thought, you miss the point. Have another read of the link above and you will see that it is not a problem of human ability but of political and economic system that is flagged up as the difficulty.

    ... the economic models which inform political decision-making in rich countries almost completely disregard the energetic and material dimensions of the economy (Hall and Klitgaard 2011).
    As Hall and Klitgaard (2011) have shown, today’s dominant economic theories, approaches, and models were developed during the era of energetic and material abundance. These theories were challenged only temporarily by the oil crises of the 1970s and the 1990s; no significant theoretical or political changes were made. Thus, dominant economic theories as well as policy-related economic modeling rely on the presupposition of continued energetic and material growth. The theories and models anticipate only incremental changes in the existing economic order. Hence, they are inadequate for explaining the current turmoil.
  • Baden
    7.3k
    With regard to some 100 amazing innovations in 2018 alone, see: https://www.popsci.com/best-of-whats-new-2018.Hanover

    Gotta love the product placement:

    "2019 Ranger by Ford

    The smallest new pickup truck—finally!
    We’d be crazy about the reborn Ford Ranger—the first new U.S. model since 2011—just for the fact that it’s an affordable, compact pickup available stateside. (Europe gets all the cool, small haulers!) But this truck gets even better, packing a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine similar to the one you’ll find in the new Mustang, as well as automatic emergency braking standard on all trim levels. The tech suite doesn’t end there: On the XLT and Lariat trim packages, blind-spot monitoring can keep tabs on whatever you’re towing, and its lane-departure warning will ease your transition into Truck Life."

    As if that weren't exciting enough:

    "Grand Award Winner
    Unshakeable stickies
    3M’s new Post-it Extreme Notes can cling to the surface of rough materials such as plywood and concrete. That’s thanks to a new adhesive made of tiny spheres, which give the glue extra stretch to better conform to uneven surfaces. The goo gets added help from flexible paper that’s coated with polymer layers, which make the notes water-resistant—and also more durable and less prone to smudging than plain stickies. Samples we tested stayed firmly stuck to a house’s exterior walls and windows, Tupperware in a freezer, and even a canvas cooler bag whose handles constantly tugged on the note.

    Buy Now!"

    I now have full confidence in the ability of humans to sell stuff on false premises substantially improve their situation. :ok:
  • Baden
    7.3k
    I must add my authoritarian socialist point that marketing execs who write that kind of drivel should be hunted down and dismembered with large hungry dogs.
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