Maybe what’s practiced in the USA isn’t capitalism at all. It seems to be a toxic admixture of capitalism for the poor, who are ruthlessly whittled down, in brutal Darwinian contests; and socialism for the rich, for whom there appears to be no limit to bailouts, subsidies, and privileges. It’s a lethal cocktail of cronyism for the powerful; and endless struggle for the powerless. It’s neither fish nor fowl; but a chimera.
So what is this system that is faltering, precisely, if it’s not quite capitalism?
I’d call it “growthism.” It’s not just a system or a set of institutions. It’s a mindset; an ideology; a set of cherished beliefs. And one that’s hardened into dogma. A dogma which is palpably failing; but can’t be dislodged—because it’s become an article of faith, the central belief of a cult, whose priests and acolytes threaten mysterious, terrible, divine revenge whenever their authority is questioned.
Growthism says: growth must be achieved at all costs. When growth is achieved; societies are said to be successful; when it is not, they are said to be failing.
Growthism is willing to sacrifice everything for more growth. Even the very rights which enlightened societies once held to be inalienable.
Growthism, then, is antithetical to democracy.
Real prosperity isn’t a supergadget in every pocket…while educational attainment, income, wealth, community, opportunity, and life expectancy are dropping, while insecurity, loneliness, poverty, and inequality are skyrocketing.