Economics do two things impossibly well:
1. Fuels every good and bad thing that happens politically in the world.
2. Confuses the hell out of me.

It seems to me that money spawns at least as much evil as organized religions and this seems to be more true in the USA (probably because I live here and only found out about "strange lands beyond the borders recently).
My question to all of you is this:
Is there a legitimate better system than capitalism that America could adopt to ease the pressure of this problem?

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Hahaha, that does sound like the perfect book for me!
So you're saying that American Capitalism is kind of like Russian Communism. That it isn't the system so much as it is how the system is warped by corruption?
I think a fair argument could be made that the economies of Britain, Germany, and the United States in WWII were essentially centrally planned communist arrangements. It's reasonable to think that communism writ large is unlikely to work for extended periods, because people do expect to retain the fruits of their own labors under normal circumstances, but communism certainly has worked in small groups (where everybody knows and trusts each other, and people can choose to leave the commune) and during periods of national emergency where everybody pulls together for an urgent common goal. British, German, and US industry was almost entirely conscripted into the war effort, with people willingly enduring rationing out of patriotism. Captains of industry in each country made lots of money, but they weren't building tanks because the free market demanded them. That had to wait for the SUV craze in the US in the 1990s, and even then, gun turrets were not in vogue.
communism certainly has worked in small groups

Absolutely. I know at least a few examples of entrepreneurial communism that still work today, like the fisheries on the Isla de la Natividad (Mexico). Not only did they become richer than their competitors, but they also preserved their halieutic resources thanks to strict policies and quotas everyone agreed on and committed to. It's comforting to see that the 'tragedy of the commons' is not always a fatality.

Now their main problem is to protect their coasts from pillaging from other fishermen who depleted their own fishing areas.
Yeah, the tragedy of the commons doesn't always work out tragically. I think the difference is if the people working the commons think of it as owned by everybody vs owned by nobody. If it's the former, then they all take care of it and frequently discuss shared obligations and rewards and work out issues. If it's the latter, it's just treated as a sewer that empties in some other dimension.

I remember reading somewhere about communal farming and game management in England, and how it all worked out very well until the King said common land was his, not theirs. At that point, poaching took over and it became a zero-sum game. And the modern examples of the ocean and the atmosphere perfectly demonstrate what happens when everybody thinks nobody owns a resource.
I'd start looking here. What are these places doing that make their population so much happier? It looks like unemployment has something to do with it. What sort of programs to they have? In the end its not what system we're using, so much as whether or not it has a positive influence on the population.
What a terrific article! I thought Forbes just talked about rich people- sweet. Of course half of the US would discount it because it's French and all smart... and stuff. I can't help but think this may have more to do with governence.
In America we have two systems working side by side. Cronyisim for those who can afford to buy a Congress Person, Capitalism for everyone else.

Too many people have been drinking the Ayn Rand cool-aid about the efficiency/wisdom/efficacy of markets. Markets are driven by people, people acting within markets are driven by fear and greed.

Much has been made of the “self correction” of markets. Yes, markets do correct, after they have destroyed themselves. November 23, 2008 Alan Greenspan delivered the Mea Culpa for Ayn Rand's ideas when he stated in effect “My ideology was wrong” . To bad this simple admission has not gotten more press. Where is the Nietzsche of our day to proclaim “Ayn Rand is Dead”.
Yeah, the problem with US capitalism is that the Chicago School of Economics has been adopted as a secondary religion by too many people. The central tenet being that markets are the best possible decision makers, and the less regulated the markets, the better the decisions. Unfortunately, this is bunk, because it assumes equal access to market information, which is simply never attainable, along with perfectly rational market participants, which are as rare as Vulcans here on Earth. Producers always have more market information than consumers, so the system is inherently tilted toward those with more capital. Thus, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, unless something helps to level the playing field, like, say, government. And emotions are almost always part of any market decision, so rational decisions are less likely. The proof of my twin assertions is as close as the nearest impulse-buy counter at your neighborhood grocery checkout. If the Chicago School had any bearing on reality, impulse-buys would not exist.
The whole reason that I've begun to doubt capitalism is exactly the fact that it seems greedy, but then that may be a cultural failing. Am I getting this wrong or is the major strength of capitalism that competition is encouraged in the market and for communism is that the people work towards unified goals? And both are twarted by Cronyism (thanks for the new word Mike H.). But it seems to me that cronyism exists everywhere. Perhaps the question is what works best to counter this?
And Jason, that was very well said and echoes pretty much every negetive thought I've ever had about our system. It is SO frusterating that I can't even read a page of an economics text book without wanting to kill myself. It's not that it's too complicated (which it probably is) it is just so redundant, contradictory, and twisted.
That's right it's like reading religious texts (or law for that matter).
I can't even read a page of an economics text book without wanting to kill myself.

That's understandable. Noone today should be allowed to write on economics without degrees in fuzzy logic and chaos theory anyway.
And psychology and sociology. Actually, I think of economics as the intersection of psychology and sociology in the marketplace. I think economics texts are hard to read because they're not complicated enough. They try to boil everything down to supply and demand, which is an extremely important and illuminating concept, but they almost always ignore the why of demand. You'd think that marketing texts might shed some light, but they conveniently define "need" in such a way that there is no meaningful distinction between "need" and "want", between necessity and desire. And that just utterly misses the point. We're talking about people here, not robots. If economists really want to understand markets, they need to understand people first. Mostly in my experience, they don't. I've been around for 48 years, and I've never encountered homo economicus. That Wikipedia link says that the criticisms of homo economicus mostly apply to the undergrad level economics curriculum, and that higher level economics theory is more sophisticated, but unfortunately, the cruder appeal to self-interest seems to be what has grabbed the popular and political imagination.
It is especially disgusting to see billionaires worshipping at the altar of self-interest. Like they need any more self-interest. Worse, they preach patriotism to get poor people to enlist in the army while they squeeze the bottom line by offshoring as much as they can.



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