Something happened while walking through New York City today. I began to realize every person around me — every single one — spends more money maintaining their lifestyle each month than some families will see in a year, or a lifetime, or a generation.
Every month American’s spend thousands of dollars maintaining their lifestyles. This isn’t about survival and hasn’t been for the past 100 years. It’s bout maintaining the illusion of a perfect system through consumption. It’s how we differentiate ourselves, give ourselves meaning and a place in the world. Distinguish ourselves as intelligent and deserving of our lifestyles — by purchasing them.
If we wanted to provide a basic level of survival to everybody in the country, we could. Shelter, food, water, education, health insurance. We still aren’t there.
Why is what we have better?
Here’s the problem as I see it. There aren’t any convincing alternatives to the narrative of capitalism. There aren’t any stories about what comes after this, how it’s organized, and why it’s better.
Without this narrative, there can be no discussion on whether something even could or should replace capitalism.
Could the Scandinavian socialist model be this replacement?
Maybe. But nobody has presented it in that way yet.
I realize the system isn’t going to change overnight. Too much infrastructure is in place, too many vested interests, and many of the most devastating costs are out of sight.
This needs to change.
We need to chip away at this perceived perfection, point out the inconsistencies and flaws with our capitalist system and never stop dreaming what the world might look like instead. And then telling people about it.
It’s time we reclaim capitalism and begin to shift our system to something better.