Vankin argues the super-rich have all the capital and that it has now been taken out of circulation. The 10, 000 richest people in the world have as much money as 3.9 billion in the world! These richest people are taking money out of the economy much faster and leaving the rest of us much poorer. This forces central banks to create money to keep the rest afloat. We are all left with socialism with a capitalist face.
But, he argues, capitalism is not about taking all the money out of society – that is an oligarchy and its inevitable manifestation is our modern capitalist system. Market capitalism (and he explains what market capitalism is which is akin to the barter system) allows for a free exchange of goods and services as opposed to an assumed and fabricated created equality that regulation and punitive taxation claim to facilitate.
As market capitalism grew 400 years ago, it discovered that if states became clients, they could become richer. The state became the biggest business partner. This marriage between the state and the market was a marriage made in “hell”. As evidence of this growth he argues that in the US, in 1920, the State grew 3.1 % of GDP, the state today is 37% of GDP, 70 times bigger.
Capitalism, he argues, copes with individual entrepreneurs. In capitalist societies, entrepreneurship was a great hope. Entrepreneurs are intuitive futurologists and risk-takers. Exclusive ownership is allowed, in the social compact, to exclude others from the fruits of the entrepreneurial effort. Legal copyright, the trademark are all accommodations to this system. Exclusive ownership is just, however, only if there is enough for others and others have the opportunity to grow. Hence, anti-monopoly laws and practices are useful functions of the state to interrupt monolithic big growth. We see today that monopolies are all over and six companies own almost all the modern telecommunication systems.
When the state and capitalism mix, as they have in modern history, the capitalist system has no way to cope. Capitalism is ill-adapted to the growth of the state. Yet, in the modern world, they have grown up together. Boeing, for example receives 1/3 of its income from the state. The only player is now the state. But capitalism has no public vision or sense of the commons.
Vankin sees the rise of mental illness, specifically narcissism, as a psychological manifestation of this dynamic. People, instead of voting according to their economic and social interests, regress to infantile stages and are unable to restrain their childish impulses. They turn to the nanny state projecting their narcissistic image to the state. This projection takes the form of political personality cult(s) – projecting personality to the state (e.g. Obama, Trump, Trudeau, etc).
But this dynamic is not an economic or politcal solution and simply furthers the march of oligarchy towards a neo-feudal society.
As I reflected on Vankin’s thought, I become more convinced that political and economic “anarchism” is the best way forward. I base this on Illich’s work on conviviality and Berdyaev’s philosophy of the spirit. In the weeks ahead, I hope to carve out the contours of an alternative political and economic model that may be palatable for democratic consideration.