What exactly is capitalism and why does it matter?
Hi Erin - a friend sent me the link to this post. I read it and glanced at your other work. Based on your interest, you may want to consider checking out Becoming Denizen, a group of people looking at these issues broadly. https://www.becomingdenizen.com/ You may also want to check out the work of Jem Bendell and his latest book. I reviewed it and discussed it and more in this essay. https://medium.com/@jylterps/what-then-could-we-do-reflections-on-confronting-moloch-a78018331e94
Thank you for this very helpful contribution to our very necessary conversation. Whether or not the distinction between capitalism and previous market and monetary systems is significant for determining the forms that future human economic systems should take is debatable, and that would be a worthy discussion. I would argue that humanity's most significant economic wrong turns occurred long before the advent of capitalism: the idea that our ability to plant seeds to make food grow makes us greater than the symbiotic natural world that gave us life; the commodification of the natural world, coupled with an assumed "right" to be that world's master; and the creation of money.
The international corporate elites, the owners of most of the world's capital, are working as we speak on replacing democracies with fascist systems in order to avoid the types of democratic economic reforms that you describe here so clearly. What we really need to deal with in order to create the Earth-friendly, natural, regenerative and just societies that we really want is to first admit that we cannot do that by working within the frameworks and limits of the dystopian capitalist societies that we are subject to right now. Those structures must first come to an end, because as long as they exist they will actively, ruthlessly, and violently attempt to protect their self-benefitting systems and stop us from bringing it to an end. Their ability to succeed at that rests in the fact that they have the vast majority of the money, political power and armed forces in these societies. Therefore, I have been advocating for at least the last ten years that we covertly, or at least quietly, create our own, local, Earth-centered, non-monetary societies now, which would enable us to abandon the capitalist system, thus hastening its inevitable collapse. https://learningearthways.net/2016/01/01/the-problem-with-money-2/ If we can get enough people to do that, throughout the world, we would take away the source of their power. Of course, we would have to start building the alternative communities and local, non-monetary economies first, which would require us to learn and teach Earth's natural regenerative, symbiotic ways of living. That would also enable us to survive collapse after capitalism self-destructs with or without our assistance.
If all of that sounds hopelessly "utopian" to you, here is a different take on the usefulness of "utopian" or idealistic creativity, for your consideration: https://learningearthways.net/2021/12/13/paths-forward-in-defense-of-utopian-creativity/