Yes you will hear it a-lot more, especially among younger generations who are being screwed over and disaffected by the current capitalist system, which is depressing their wages, depriving them of their opportunities, diminishing their quality of life, and undermining their democracy for the sake of profit. They yearn for something new, something humane, something accountable to them, something that will allow them to maintain their ways of life. They want change.
Income inequality is on the rise and the job market has become so competitive due to an overabundance of labor, that it’s been getting harder and harder to get a good job with a stable livable income as the rising cost of goods and life necessities like housing and healthcare becomes detrimental to their lives. Despite the fact that productivity has gone up significantly since the 1970s, employees are getting paid 3 times less than they used to, if they date object, their employers will violate their privacy to crackdown on any attempt to unionize. As well as violating the privacy of their users by selling their data to third-party companies or governments to make money for granting “free” access to their platforms to their userbases, which allowed for the creation of a big tech oligopoly and an extensive surveillance state, which spies on the populace and crackdowns on any competition from below.
Just like back in the Gilded Age, companies hire spies to crackdown on union organizers and workers who sabotaged production chains or go on strike as a means of protest against their unjust treatment, low pay, and unsafe working conditions. Utilizing the backing of the state to undermine the people’s will to uphold the private property rights of the owner classes to generate more profit. The owner classes solidify their control over the political system through a socio-cultural hegemony, pinning the people against one another to quell any attempt at a unified labor resistance, undermining the democratic process to maintain their profit margins. In doing so, they de-regulate the market to make more profit, investing greatly into private capital, through borrowing large sums of money, collecting debt to buy off big companies with subsidies or bail them out when times are tough, granting them freer range to do what they please.
However, as a result of this massive de-regulation, rapid borrowing and money lending and large accumulation of debt at the behest of the owner classes, the investment into public capital which is meant to fund programs to assist the people, such as healthcare access, public transportation, housing, etc. are defunded, decreasing the quality of life for the average person. Once the rate of capital returns exceeds the growth of the average persons income and growth, it creates large gaps in income equality, thus leading to a society dominates by a rich and privileged few, exploiting the masses for their labor, subjugating them with the full backing of the state.
(If they even need them anymore)
The reason this is the case is because capitalism and democracy are fundamentally contradictory ideologies which frequently clash with one another and seek to dominant the other, unless the state manages a compromise between the two to stabilize society and ease the tension. But due to capitalism’s for-profit nature, it will always seek to keep generating more profit by any means at low cost, completely willing to undermine democracy to do so. Likewise, Democracy will try to keep capitalism contained and under control with greater accountability to the people as executed by the state, which is supposed to exist to protect the peoples rights and enforce their will. So this fragile balancing act for the system to try having it’s cake and eat it to, will inevitably come apart at some point. As the mechanisms which allows democracy to function and allows capitalism to flourish are fundamentally at odds with one another, as they each operate with their own logics which conflict each other.
Ideally Democracy is based upon the foundation of an equal distribution of power among the people, that the state and it’s policies should be made accountable to the public will to perform the common good and protect its rights, which is reached through debate, compromise and majority decision-making, it possesses an egalitarian mindset. Capitalism on the other hand is by it’s very nature hierarchical revolving around the generation of wealth through the unequal distribution of property ownership over the means of production, their decision-making and policy goals set by an unelected board of directors or company men, who are held to no accountability besides the unpredictable whims of the “free market” to make money to re-invest into more private capital to keep them functioning to make more profit.
As Thomas Piketty brilliantly and expertly explained in his book “Capital in the 21st Century”; Here’s a useful summary: The short guide to Capital in the 21st Century
This contradiction which exists within Bourgeois Democracy is mitigated through state-action and better commitment to greater investment into public capital to boost the people’s quality of life. But when those mechanisms which the compromise between capitalism and democracy is built upon are eroded away, it all falls apart, descending into barbarism and plutocratic tyranny, which is what we’ve seen in the worst case-examples such as Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, or Pinochet’s Chile.
More and more people are dying due to the lack of sufficient funding in public capital through austerity measures and social spending cuts, especially in the United States, where thousands of Americans die every year due to lack of healthcare and millions more don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it. Not to mention, the obesity crisis has caused an international health crisis as a consequence of over-abundance, rising rates of mental illness, and poverty. People have become so alienated from the world, that eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and suicides are on the rise, as people struggle to find meaning and purpose in a system that sees them as nothing more than disposable pawns to generate capital.
These issues will only amplify as climate change ravages the planet, leading to rising sea levels, desertification of arable farm lands, increase acidification of the oceans, rising pollution, and a rapid die off of wild-life will result in an ecological collapse that will devastate humanity, leading to a global humanitarian crisis we’ve never seen on a scale this big in modern times, that could result in billions of lives ruined. You know why that’s happening? Because capitalists want to make money, consequences be damned.
“In short, the market mechanisms under capitalism do not provide incentives for preserving the environment. Firms are constantly threatened by market competition to cut costs and optimize profit. The environment thus falls pray to the compulsive market behavior of the capitalist mode of production. Without the intervention of non-market entities such as the state, international organizations and social forces, capitalism as an economic system simply will not safeguard our planet.”
Capitalism is literally killing us, it’s killing our planet, it’s killing our future generations, and the system doesn’t care because it’s not profitable for them to care. To pour fuel onto the fire, as a measure to save costs and boost profit, they’ve been increasingly automating their workplaces to replace human labor with more efficient machine labor. This is a problem for several reasons, for one, the de-industrialization of the economy and mainstreaming of commercial service jobs and automation lead to a shift in the global economic structure. As the first-world transitions from a manufacturing-based industrial economy to a service-based post-industrial economy, leading to a declining urban working class. Being rapidly replaced by a new class of laborers(or Modern proletariat) called the Salariat, which unlike the previous working class before, operate not on wage earnings but by fixed compensation paid for their services.
These are the people who work the gig-jobs in transportation, tourism, fast-food, or participate in college-educated white collar jobs such as civil engineering, accounting, and software development, working for a fixed salary as determined by what the “market” dictates, leaving little-to-no room to negotiate and de-incentivizes workers to unionize, undermining their bargaining power. It doesn’t matter how well you perform your job, you get paid the same wage for the same amount of time as your co-workers, leading to very limited earnings and little overtime pay, combined that with the rising cost of vital life necessities leads to less savings. Living paycheck to paycheck. Meanwhile your high-level managers and CEOS who work far less than you and adhere to their board of directors and stock market trends are paid hundreds of times more than you.
Meanwhile to save on costs, they ship their manufacturing jobs overseas to countries with less labor protections, worker protections, and regulations to maximize profits, by selling their overseas manufactured goods back to their home countries at cheaper prices. It’s why your T-shirt only costs 20–30$ and not 50–60$.
This creates an unintended side-effect; manufacturing jobs generally don’t require a lot of advanced education to perform adequately, but as a consequence of de-industrialization, many American’s were left behind as their old jobs died away, becoming unemployed, losing their livelihoods. They’re no longer considered valuable in the market, they’re a liability, so to save on costs they’re fired and they can’t get a new job because they lack the credentials necessary to get it and the income to afford that education, leaving these disaffected people submerged in languishing poverty. The reason why so many blue-collar workers came to support Trump to help him win the presidency in 2016 was because he promised them that their jobs would be brought back, thus their livelihoods would be restored. But you can’t bring back dead jobs, the trends of the global market are too strong for a single person to overcome and in reality, Trump never really cared about sending jobs overseas himself. He’s a false messiah, who works at the behest of the capitalist class for which he is apart of, not a rebel fighting for the everyman.
(Truly a man of the “people”)
Paradoxically, because manufacturing and low-educated jobs have been dwindling or shipped away, more people are competing for higher salary, college-educated white collar jobs. The issue is that the system is flooded by people with too many college diplomas and few job positions available to them for hire, becoming so insanely over-competitive it’s harder for most people to find a good paying job than 50 years ago. Many of these students are literally bankrupting themselves for the chance of success in school and great opportunities in the job market, but because labor is so abundant, it leads to many of these highly-educated young people in poverty or underemployment. Many are working in gig-jobs like Uber, fast foods jobs, jobs that many of them are overly-qualified for, but have to do it anyway to survive. Spending most of their paycheck to pay for rent, groceries, and student loan debt, making them waste their full potential.
Which in the short term, ensures to the owner classes, that there is always a reliable underclass of people to employ who are desperate enough for a job and to quell any dissent among their workers by threating to fire them if they protest. They’re well-off enough to afford their consumer products but not too well-off to oppose them, as they become increasingly more reliant on them for a living, which leads to a decline in start-up’s and small businesses, killing entrepreneurship, solidifying the control of the big companies.
In the long term, it will come to bite them in the ass, because as inflation keeps going up, the more expensive things like housing, education, food, electricity, and transportation becomes and as wages continue to stagnate, not adjusting to the rising costs of living or productivity leads to more people becoming impoverished. Furthermore, automation is threating to take away many gig-jobs millions of people rely upon to make a semblance of living, who are already struggling to make ends meet. But because capitalism favors maximizing profit at low cost, they will discard these workers in favor of these new more efficient machines to do their jobs. Deeming the human workers as obsolete liabilities. So now more people are in poverty or becoming poor, which leads to people not having enough spare income to afford consumer goods, as the market becomes flooded with an over-abundance of products that most people can’t buy. Leading to a run-away collapse of the economy, the seeds of destruction they’ve been unknowingly growing for ages has finally come to blossom.
The Impoverished masses deprived of their rights and livelihoods will feel like they have nothing left to lose and revolt to overthrow the owner classes, in an attempt to re-organize and dismantle the system. Capitalism through it’s own myriad of contradictions and entrepreneurial spirit made itself obsolete. A fate predicted by Austrian Anti-Marxist political economist Joseph Schumpeter, in his magnum opus “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy”.
In it Joseph predicts that capitalism will have make itself obsolete through the invention of new technologies and innovations that alter the means of production and off-sets the system, undergoing Creative Destruction. Stirring discontent within the masses, until they lash out in revolt or through democratic participation, lead by disaffected intelligentsia to seize the means of production for themselves, utilizing the new technologies and innovations to re-shape society to make it more accountable to the public and controlled by the workers themselves for the betterment of all of society, achieving socialism. Socialism as Joseph saw it(in any form) would ensure that the production of goods and services is directed towards meeting the ‘authentic needs’ of the people, overcoming the innate tendencies of capitalism such as conjecture fluctuation, unemployment and waning acceptance of the system. Becoming an economic or industrial democracy. Whilst not everything Joseph predicted came true, many in the social sciences saw him hitting pretty close to the mark, when it came to his predictions that capitalism would transform into a “corporatist structure”, where the means of production and innovation are centered around a handful of companies, then its subsequent transition into socialism. Automation will bring about capitalism’s demise. There’s a reason his book is the third most cited piece of academic literature before 1950, just behind Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” and Adam Smiths “Wealth of Nations”.
Additionally, there have been plenty of incidents in history we’ve witnessed creative destruction, where through the systems own contradictions lead to its downfall, for example, feudalism was an economic system built upon land ownership, the more land you had, the more food you can make or resources to extract, the wealthier you were. So the knights and lords of medieval Europe frequently fought and competed with one another to obtain said land. Adopting new inventions like guns and cannons to assist in their wars of land acquisition. Appropriating new manufacturing techniques and granting of urban charters to merchants or craftsmen for exclusive rights and privilege’s to fill their coffers.
Which eventually lead to the rise of a new middle class, the bourgeoisie to challenge their authority. Following the collapse of the peasant labor pool following the Black Death, the rise in centralized governments, growing industrialization, and subsequent uprisings and revolutions lead by the bourgeoisie from below overthrew the feudal system, with capitalism taking its place. Innovation is one of the great drivers of history, when the system becomes stagnate, it will inevitably fall, ushered in by a wave of revolutionary action. Right now, many people are calling for revolutionary action, for if we are to ever hope to save humanity from potential extinction, we must take charge and usher in a new system to progress humanity forward. Revolution isn’t a lofty goal, it’s a necessity.
To quote Marxist Historian Neil Faulkner in his book “A Marxist History of the World”.
“The global elite cannot continue to rule in the old way. But the only viable alternative to poverty, war, and global warming is to dismantle the very system on which their wealth and power is based. This they cannot do. The ruling class can resolve the crisis only by a descent into barbarism. Their role as the lords of neoliberal capital makes them a parasitic social class without historic function. Human progress has come to depend on the overthrow of the neoliberal ruling class, the taking of state power by working people, and the reorganization of economic and social life under democratic control[…]
The prospect before humanity today can seem truly apocalyptic. Neoliberal capitalism has developed the productive forces of the global economy to an unprecedented degree. But these forces are not subject to democratic control and rational planning; they are propelled by the economic and military imperatives of competitive capital accumulation. In consequence, despite their potential to emancipate the whole of humanity from material need, they now threaten to do the opposite: destroy industrial civilisation itself.
The ignorance, cupidity, and irresponsibility of our rulers in the face of this crisis are rooted in the irrationality of the system. Climate catastrophe, economic slump, and imperialist war have their roots in the madness of the market: the blind economic and military competition which propels the nation-states and mega-corporations of neoliberal capitalism. The system is deeply pathological and destructive. It has brought us to what is perhaps the most serious crisis in human history. Another biblical myth was sometimes counterposed to that of the Four Horseman. In this version of the Apocalypse, the culmination was a popular Jubilee. Tax-collectors and landlords would be swept away. Slaves and serfs would be set free. The land would be restored to the people who worked it. A new Golden Age of freedom and plenty would begin. To turn Apocalypse into Jubilee in the early twenty-first century, three things are required:
1. We have to understand the necessity for total system change. Only by linking disparate campaigns, protests, and struggles in a general assault on the system that is at the root of humanity’s problems can we hope to solve them.
2. We have to understand the centrality of the working class to any serious strategy for system change. Only by mobilising the majority of ordinary working people can we find the power to confront and defeat corporate capital and the nation-states.
3. We have to organise the revolutionaries into networks of activists able to lead and organise mass resistance from below, fanning anti-austerity anger into a wave of working-class struggle that eventually swells into a new world-revolutionary movement comparable with, but greater than, those of 1789, 1848, 1917, 1968, and 1989.
A different world has become an absolute historical necessity. Another world is possible. The revolution is, in this sense, an ‘actuality’. But it is not a certainty. It has to be fought for. Its achievement depends on what we all do. The historical stakes have never been higher.”-A Marxist History of the World by Neil Faulkner, Conclusion: Making the Future 301–303.
People are sick and tired of the capitalist system holding them back, making them feel dissatisfied, killing them, ruining their livelihoods, they want change, a new path forward is socialism. A system where political and economic democracy intertwin to become a better whole, a move away from the failures of Liberal democracy and barbarism of late-stage capitalism towards a Proletarian democracy, where peoples needs are addressed adequately and efficiently through a system that works for them, utilizing the innovation, technology, science, and wealth accumulation from before to benefit humanity as a whole. On track to approach the roads towards post-scarcity and thus achieve the final step of development.