Below are some of my favorite resources that try to make sense of our current historical moment, and suggest what investors and citizens should know to make sound financial, personal, and moral decisions in the years ahead.
Capitalism, despite its many benefits, is inherently exploitive. Historically, it has always depended on genocide, slavery, war, and depletion of natural resources. Capitalism functions like a living organism, an addiction, or a crash-only software program. For capitalism to be viable, society and government must keep it in check.
Neoliberalism was an experiment to see if aggressive globalization, financialization, and the willful destruction of the social safety net would lead to prosperity. It instead destroyed living standards across the globe to favor an elite financial class. The rise of identity politics and the social victories of minority groups during this period partially obscured the extent of the damage.
The Californian ideology was a seductive conviction that networked technologies generally, and social media specifically, could foster prosperity outside of the consumerist paradigm. For the most part, these technologies instead have fueled and accelerated neoliberalism.
The economy today is due for both cyclic and structural corrections. Manipulated interest rates, a sociopathic tax bill in the US, the specter of a “bail-in” should financial institutions crash again, the lack of traditional asset diversification, rising geopolitical tensions, and the shredding of the biome and social fabric have pushed the economy into a sub-critical state.
The resources above inspire me. They disagree with each other about what’s worthy, but they provide some tentative answers about what might be next, or should be next. Imagining a new world is a vital part of bringing it to life.