We live in a bureaucracy (not capitalism, not democracy)
I'm new here and very grateful for the step up in intelligence this site has over DKos. However on economics and politics I'm puzzled by the number of very well written and researched essays that take our living in a capitalist or democratic country as a starting point.
Some points on that:
- Our country is inefficient by design - transportation systems, suburbs, health care, education, energy, etc. all work in incredibly antiquated ways.
- The goal of our economy is to provide work - not goods and services. In some cases the output of the work might actually be completely negative but it doesn't matter since providing work was the point - take middle east wars for instance.
- We are not a "free market" by any stretch of the imagination. Each sector is dominated by a handful of corporations.
- Democracy requires a different kind of economy. In this economy anyone voting for real progress beyond identity politics risks bursting the bubble that keeps food on his table. If I vote to end the health care or educational bureaucracies my bureaucracy might be next.
- There is effectively no difference between public and private sectors. We still call it a bailout but it happens too regularly to describe it that way.
Of course there must have been some turning point in history when we converted from capitalist democracy to bureaucracy. Moving from farm to factory was certainly part of it. The rise of FIRE economy played a large part. Reagan stopping anti-trust enforcement could be a turning point. Historians can trace how we got here but a Trump v Biden election is proof we have arrived - that is not the choice of a democratic society.
Deep investment in the sciences is likely our only way out now. Its not government that needs the swamp drained its the average American who lacks the skills to do anything truly useful. So long as we stay in that state no one can point out the emperor has no clothes because they are naked also. A handful of people with meaningful occupations might make a fuss but everyone else is beholden to an increasingly large bureaucracy.
Another, lesser, way out would be a very robust UBI. Making work optional would allow people to vote with their feet. Corporations unable to create meaningful work would dry up from lack of participation. But that doesn't mean meaningful work would come to replace those jobs - people would be able to admit they are naked but not necessarily find clothing. Fake work could continue to thrive as people choose it over doing nothing.
Conceivably arts and entertainment could become our nation's workforce's center. But producing a block buster movie is just as bureaucratic as anything else.
In any case the first step is openly admitting what we have become.