Wow, this event is shaping up to be… ummm… totally awesome for the Sydney cultural landscape. The Dangerous Ideas festival co-presented by a business ethics centre (that also offers an ethics counselling service!!) and the Sydney Opera House.
Blogification. There. Done. Threw it out there. This is the blogification of intellectualism. The first day doesn’t look too bad, but the second day looks stupid. There are some bizarre panels and talks scheduled. This one is the most comically neoliberal-Sydney (that is the genre of talks put on by the Centre for Independent Studies, Sydney Institute, etc.):
People With Flat Screen TVs Should Stop Whingeing about Capitalism
The recent implosion of Wall Street and subsequent global financial crisis triggered cries of supposed vindication from anti-capitalists around the world. The crumbling of financial and commercial institutions offers them â€œproofâ€ that capitalism is dangerous to the point of self-destruction. Unwilling to admit the many positives of the free market, anti-capitalists joyfully anticipate the death of a system that is viewed as greed dressed up as an economic philosophy â€“ a cruel system characterised by alienation, environmental destruction, and moral decay.
These commentators happily denounce capitalism over bottles of Argentinean Malbec or while chatting on the latest iPhone, seemingly oblivious to the irony that these are products of a global, competitive market.
Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich and Cassandra Wilkinson argue that it is blatant hypocrisy to complain about the evils of capitalism while enjoying its spoils. That we now have a standard of living far higher than anything our parents or grandparents could ever have imagined, and our current economic system has given us everything from longer lives and cancer treatments to out-of-season produce, foreign holidays, and Facebook.
The capitalist system is not without its flaws, nonetheless it offers freedom, opportunity, progress and innovation instead of the restrictive oppression, apathy and stagnation that alternative socialist models have produced time and again. The economic crisis has had dire and far-reaching effects, but this does not mean that capitalism is suffering death throes. It just looks more dramatic when you watch events unfold on a high definition 60-inch flat screen.
Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich, Economics Research Fellow with The Centre for Independent Studies, was imported into Australia from Germany (via Britain) thanks to the capitalist system. Dr Hartwich will join Cassandra Wilkinson, author of Donâ€™t Panic! Why Nearly Everything is Better Than You Think, for a grilling by Counterpoint co-host, Paul Comrie-Thomson on the merits and future of capitalism.
I hate capitalism. My ‘whinge’ is about the false scarcity and massive waste of productive resources involved in the maintenance of the ‘competitive’ system.
Seriously, haven’t these people read Marx for fuck’s sake? Communisim emerges as a consequence of the contradictions of capitalism. As a species, we haven’t faced any contradictions yet! The contradictions to-come! Marx’s communism would look more like today’s capitalism than the Soviet style bullshit, but without the epic wastefulness of ‘competition’.
Wouldn’t a better question be to ask, why do we need 30 different types of flat screen television? That is what is wrong with capitalism. The ‘market’ is a system of relations, it does not directly ‘produce’ anything.