What is post -capitalism?
The theory of post -capitalism was outlined by the British journalist and publicist Paul Mason in the book “Post -capitalism. Guide to our future ”(postcapitalism: a guide to outfuture), published in 2015.
In his work, he pointed out structural problems in the Western economy and the growing popularity of extreme right forces as anxious signs of the systemic crisis of capitalism. The volatility of socio-economic life in developed countries, in his opinion, is caused by the fact that “neoliberalism is broken”.
Mason noted that real salaries have stopped growing in proportion to the growth of productivity since the beginning of the 1970s. By the beginning of the 1980s, economic growth began more and more actively maintained with the help of debt instruments, which is why their total volume grew to more than 300% of the global GDP by 2010. In the fall of 2021, the amount of debt obligations exceeded $ 300 trillion, and their ratio to global GDP – 350%.
Monetary policy contributed to the growth of debt: key rates in the USA and European countries have consistently declined since 1980. This stimulated economic growth due to cheap investments. Another factor is a large -scale increase in the money supply, including through “quantitative mitigation” programs, starting since 2008. As a result, inflation has accelerated, and real bets on deposits and government bonds have fallen.
In 1979, the “Neoliberal Revolution” took place, the author of “post -capitalism” states. For the first time in hundreds of years, the capitalist elite came out of the next crisis not by compromise with the “working majority”, but rapidly increasing debt due to the issue of money. This led to an increase in performance without the growth of real income in the next decades.
The crisis of capitalism
“Capitalism is no longer able to adapt as he did in the most successful times of the early 20th century and after the Second World War. It no longer allows you to create value from skills and performance, ”Myson believes.
The so -called “information effect” has a great influence on the modern economy. According to Mason, many services and goods were able to make the rapid increase in the volume of information and its free distribution. However, due to the structural features of capitalism, they did not solve the problem of productivity, which is in stagnation.
The digital economy in the current structure of “classical” capitalism, Mason is sure, contributed to an unprecedented concentration of wealth. In this case, in the hands of large technological corporations that monopolized the information environment using platforms. As a result, social stratification in recent decades has only increased, which is characterized by a constant creation of permanent jobs (Bullshit Jobs).
Another consequence of neoliberal relations is a translation into market relations of activity, which used to be public and voluntary, as well as the financialization of various goods and objects.
Transition to post -capitalism
Mason is sure that the world economy is on the verge of a new historical cycle of 500 years long. The previous cycle began in the 15th century and led to the emergence of capitalism. The researcher called the new type of economic relations post-capitalism. Its offensive became possible thanks to technological progress.
Transit to post-capitalism, which can solve problems, will contribute to several global trends:
- Total automation of industry and the sphere of services at the expense of machines, AI and robots;
- The introduction of universal basic income;
- Accessibility of the main consumer goods;
- Spread of the principle of open source code;
- The fight against rental economic models and monopolies;
- Reducing the size of public debt by regulating the banking sector and holding bets below inflation level.
Mason calls to give preference to investing information -intensive technologies, for example, in the field of industry and healthcare. The latter will significantly reduce the cost of life and increase its quality, at the same time reducing the burden on the social support system.
The result of all these trends will be the minimization of the cost of most goods and services, which will increase the overall level of well -being, and the need for low -skilled work will disappear. The volume of compulsory work will be reduced, free time in most people will become free. The centralized structures and the vertical hierarchy based on inequality will lose their former role.
Instead, decentralized models of activity in which individual specialists will voluntarily unite for the implementation of any projects will be more widespread. To do this, they will waste their free time, often not requiring in return no payment.
Criticism of the concept
Although some experts recognize the validity of Mason’s ideas, others criticize his proposals and conclusions. Krustan Fuchs from the University of Westminster calls the author of “post -capitalism” “utopian socialist”, who trusts on information technology as a way to solve economic problems.
He notes that technologies are formed under the influence of the very hierarchical system of capitalism. Therefore, they rather contribute to its development, and do not contribute to collapse.
The Guardian observer Chris Mallin in his review of the book writes that the perception of Mason trade unions and the labor movement in the 1960s and 1970s in the West, in particular in the UK, is too idealized.
In addition, Mallin indicates the past of Mason: in his youth, he took an active part in the left -wing movements. This, as the critic believes, can explain why Mason devoted a significant part of his book of criticism of capitalism, but proposed an too simple and https://gagarin.news/news/what-are-crypto-games-and-how-to-earn-on-them/ vague program of actions that refers to the works of Marx and socialist politicians of the past.