Industrial Revolution and Capitalism

  • Capitalism

    • What enables banks – and the entire economy – to survive and flourish is our trust in the future. This trust is the sole backing for most of the money in the world.
      • People agreed to represent imaginary goods – goods that do not exist in the present – with a special kind of money they called ‘credit’. Credit enables us to build the present at the expense of the future.
      • In the new capitalist creed, the first and most sacred commandment is: ‘The profits of production must be reinvested in increasing production.’
      • The circle of modern economy:
  • Capitalism and Society

    • Banks and governments print money, but ultimately, it is the scientists who foot the bill.
    • The slave trade was not controlled by any state or government. It was a purely economic enterprise, organised and financed by the free market according to the laws of supply and demand.
      • -> When growth becomes a supreme good, unrestricted by any other ethical considerations, it can easily lead to catastrophe.
    • Defense of capitalism to the criticism
        1. Capitalism has created a world that nobody but a capitalist is capable of running. The only serious attempt to manage the world differently – Communism – was so much worse in almost every conceivable way that nobody has the stomach to try again.
        1. We just need patience. Paradise is right behind the corner.
        1. For most of history the economy stayed much the same size. Yes, global production increased, but this was due mostly to demographic expansion and the settlement of new lands. Per capita production remained static.
        • Human history was consequently dominated by two main cycles: (1) the growth cycles of plants and (2) the changing cycles of solar energy (day and night, summer and winter).
  • The Industrial Revolution

    • The key insights: Energy can be transformed from heat to movement
      • This led to the Industrial revolution
    • The tragedy of industrial agriculture is that it takes great care of the objective needs of animals, while neglecting their subjective needs. (Veganism)
  • The Industrial Revolution and Society

    • Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the daily life of most humans ran its course within three ancient frames: the nuclear Family, the extended family and the local intimate community.
      • The community offered help on the basis of local traditions and an economy of favours, which often differed greatly from the supply and demand laws of the free market.
    • Over time, states and markets used their growing power to weaken the traditional bonds of family and community.
      • The state and the market approached people with an offer that could not be refused. ‘Become individuals’
    • Rromomantic literature often presents the individual as somebody caught in a struggle against the state and the market. Nothing could be further from the truth. The state and the market are the mother and father of the individual, and the individual can survive only thanks to them.
    • ‘Imagined communities’ contain millions of strangers, and which are tailored to national and commercial needs. An imagined community is a community of people who don’t really know each other, but imagine that they do. Such communities are not a novel invention.
  • The main promise of pre-modern rulers was to safeguard the traditional order or even to go back to some lost golden age. In the last two centuries, the currency of politics is that it promises to destroy the old world and build a better one in its place.