Video: Is capitalism devouring democracy? (Hint: Yes. Yes, it is)

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly clear to me that capitalism is not compatible with either a sustainable human existence on this planet, or with democracy. It’s an economic arrangement that, by design, concentrates power in a very UN-democratic way, and relies on the absurd fantasy of infinite growth on a finite planet. Studying the history of the 20th century highlights the incredible dishonesty involved in claiming that capitalism is required for democracy or freedom, when in reality it has been a force that has worked against both.

As Minister of Finance for Greece in 2015, Yanis Varoufakis got some first-hand experience with some of the ways in which the capitalist system works to keep poor countries poor, and to keep them from governing themselves. If you have to, play this in the background while you’re doing dishes or something, but this video posted in 2018 is worth your time.


  1. says

    As the death of democracy goes, this is a worst case scenario. A genocidal god-emperor would at least take steps to ensure the world could continue, to suffer under his bootheel. Capitalism doesn’t have the ability to keep itself from burning the entire human species to ash. It’s the ultimate blame-diffusion engine.

  2. says

    I sorta feel like people like Musk and Bezos ARE our “god-emperors” in a way. They don’t just bleed us dry, they also spend the money on obscene vanity projects like their “space programs”.

    Those aren’t about exploration or innovation – NASA does that far better.

    They’re about attaining legendary status.

    For all I know, Musk WILL go to mars one day, but it won’t be to enable humanity to live on other planets, it’ll be to secure a place in history books.

  3. says

    The more flimsy and fucked apart we get, the more tragicomic any space voyage will be. “Major Musk to ground control, have you cleared the landing zone of cannibal warlords? … I’ll do another orbit thx.”

  4. klatu says

    Maybe with some long-term planning, capitalism could become quasi-sustainable, but humans are very bad at that. And even then, it would still be the paperclip maximizer of economic/political systems, because human (and non-human) wellfare is not a priority.

    And even if we could colonize other planets, what would be the point if we just keep ruining those as well?
    Musk et al. keep dreaming of terraforming Mars. We can’t even keep Earth habitable (the one planet in this universe ideally suited to human live). It’s a delusional endeavor, to say the least.
    And I’m not entirely convinced Musk in particular even believes in his own snake oil. He’s certainly made bank by selling futurist nonsense to other rich idiots.

    He intends for Mars to be a monument to himself.

    He’s welcome to try? I’m sure in few a hundred years, the handful of potatoes he’ll have grown on Mars will be long forgotten by our dying species.

  5. says

    Musk wouldn’t bother me if he wasn’t using up/hoarding resources we need, and helping people believe they’re going to be “saved” so they don’t need to worry about climate change.

    I don’t think he thinks he’ll have much of a life on Mars, any more than Pharaohs thought they’d live in their pyramids.

    Either way, we’re stuck in a terraforming experiment on THIS planet now, but the challenge is closer to arriving on a world that’s in the process of becoming like Venus.

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