Social Question

rojo's avatar

Would it be possible to have a viable economic model that was not contigent on consumer spending? What would it look like?

Asked by rojo (13815 points ) September 1st, 2011

I seems that the entire system goes into a panic if we don’t go to Walmart and buy a chinese TV or to Honda to get a Japanese car.

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10 Answers

Judi's avatar

We had one before WWll. Watch thestoryofstuff.com.

YoBob's avatar

It depends on how you view consumer spending. In any financial transaction you have at least one producer and at least one consumer. However, in the case of some barter transactions it is possible for both parties to be both producer and consumer.

Yep, the current hyper-consumer driven economy has it’s problems. OTOH, you have it to thank for the availability of Chinese TVs, Japanese cars, and most of the other stuff we take for granted in our modern world.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Isn’t the principle that communism was based on?

And I suppose thr national socialist movement was very anti-capitalist (mind you national socialism was very anti a lot of things so thats not saying much).

ETpro's avatar

@Judi The link you provided is a great video discussion of the current failings of the system. It should be required viewing for a beginning of this discussion. Surely we can improve on the way we are currently heading. We must. Our current direction is unsustainable.

Ron_C's avatar

You could have a demand modle where the government decides what the demand should be and directs manufactures and farms to meet the established goals. The Soviets showed us that this does not work.

The best solution is for people to work and/or produce goods then buy what they want.

Unfortunately, the first order of business, creating jobs, is not being done. Instead, we are exporting jobs and importing goods and services. IF there are no jobs, consumers won’t exist. If consumers don’t exist then there is no incentive to manufacture goods, food, or provide services. It is quite apparent that in any economy, jobs must come first. By the way, Hedge Fund Managers, and Stock brokering are not productive jobs. There only goal is to make money with the least work. Commodity speculators are a particular drain on the economy and should probably be shot on sight.

Judi's avatar

@Ron_C , Watch the link I posted above and you will understand that “The best solution is for people to work and/or produce goods then buy what they want,” Just won’t cut it. The answer lies in balance. Not just buying what ever the advertiser’s convince you you “want.”

rojo's avatar

lightlyseared, I do not believe that the basis for communism was to not have consumers spend and a socialist movement does not have to be anti-capitalist. I think it has basically been shown that both models, as we have implemented and observed them, are not viable solutions. It just seems to me that our present system is just as flawed, some might say fatally, but flawed nontheless and we need modifications at the very least.

YoBob's avatar

@rojo – Just curious as to what you believe the fatal flaws in our current system are?

It has given us the a standard of living that is higher than has ever been achieved by any civilization on this planet thus far. Further, it is inherently self-correcting. If you don’t want a Chinese made TV, then don’t buy one. It is the collective market that determines which products thrive and which wither. Those fluctuations in the market you seem to be concerned about are simply that self correction mechanism at work.

Are there times that government needs to step in to protect the consumer and/or the overall market? Of course. That is exactly why we use a free enterprise model rather than one of pure capitalism.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Ron_C you should read more carefully. I did not say a socialist movement, I said the national socialist movement more commonly referred to as nazism (which is why I said mind you national socialism was very anti a lot of things so thats not saying much). Nazism has very little to do with any other socialist movement despite having the word in it’s title. One of principles of nazism was anti-capitalism. They were very clear about this and said it time and time again. This is not open for debate.

Communism is a sociopolitical movement that aims for a classless and stateless society structured upon common ownership of the means of production, free access to articles of consumption, and the end of wage labour and private property in the means of production and real estate. Just because this is not how it worked in practice with the USSR etc does not mean that is not the basis for the ideal.

Ron_C's avatar

O.K., it looks like a lot of the discussion here has nothing to do with the orignial proposition. Much of that problem is mine in that I assumed the question was the wholly represented. I later looked at the link and the “model” discusses sustainability, not the form of government.

Now, @Lightlyseared your discussion of the Nazi movement has little bearing here. They weren’t anti-capitalists in your sense of the meaning. After all the largest corporations in Germany and even the world were supported by Nazism. Mercedes Benz, Messerschmidt, and Ford Motor Company were heartily embraced by the German government.

Communism in the Soviet model or even the Chinese model wasn’t (after a few brief years) really communism, it became more interested in control rather than helping its citizens.

No large country can, apparently, sustain its founding principles for long. Communism failed in China until they embraced certain principles of Capitalism, Communism failed under the weight of attempting to control production and consumerism, and democracy is collapsing because you can’t have tru capitalism and a free electorate. Notice these “voter fraud” laws passing in many states. The prime reason for those laws is the reduce voters to the group that supports unrestricted capitalism.

The only way to have a free society is to limit the exploitation of the population and a sustainable economy would do that. Of course the establlished government and political groups are fighting against that. In all likelihood, a sustainable economy will only be build on the ruins of existing ones. Fortunately I will not live long enough to see it because the change will mean the loss of much of what we know and love. Unfortunately my children and grandchildren will probably have to build themselves back up from the coming ruin.

It is evident that the current government will not change without much destruction and many deaths.

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