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I am just now in May 2017 arriving at the conclusion that capitalism does not work; has run its course, is fast approaching defunctness (is that a word?). And yes I would like your comment on that also, but actually plan to post a separate question…

So for this question, I am looking for an alternative to capitalism that does not stifle individuality, thrift, innovation, creativity. And on one hand, worker/owner companies do seem something like a committee, where you never accomplish anything worthwhile, never get anywhere. 

On the other hand, however, I also know of several that seem to be doing just fine. For example, employee-owned Hy-Vee grocery chain in Iowa is thriving, while Dahl’s Grocery went into receivership after 83 years; WinCo where employees bought out a majority of stock from the owner-family. King Arthur Flour is employee owned…

Do you have any experience, ideas, for a viable alternative to capitalism as an economic system? 

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Sadly enough, I saw too often the negative impacts of most of the conventional systems, which are (were) also reflecting the conflicts inside human societies and their unequitable, mainly patriarchal systems. Overly radical religious, doctrinal, political, jurisdictional, commercial and consumeristic definitions, considerations or rulings, propaganda and superstitions, or fake ideals and idols, served and still serve rather the interests of dominant, privileged and ruling classes than improving social and human conditions. And attitudes and education did not evolve sufficiently to spread innovative, more sustainable alternatives on broad national levels - although some regional and even international projects have developed are spreading. May I suggest an article about an example?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jun/24/alternative-capitalism-mondragon


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Marianne, I found this article to be really excellent, and hopeful too. There just has to be an economic system that brings out the best in people - rather than encourage greed, brutality, fear and plunder.

Perhaps the success of the Mondragon Corporations in Spain will give humankind a viable economic direction...I hope so, there just has to be something better than what we have seen so far.

Thank you for your fine research!

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You're very welcome, Virginia.

There are also series of non-lucrative organisations, and some scientific interdisciplinary research and development projects or studies on, about and with sustainable alternatives and strategies, which are in course.

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Marianne, I have known for some time that the world is in trouble...I do prayers regularly, as well as trying to improve my own self as much as possible, along with becoming more informed; as about the best things we can do to help - you likely do similar things.

But I did not realize until recently that capitalism was truly not working, that was outside of my personal or professional experience. I just assumed our economic system was okay, in the hands of experts. Thus the discussions with you and Other Tink have been helpful, informative...O'Tink may not be quite as pessimistic about the current situation, but perhaps if she sees this thread she may wish to speak for herself on that...

                                                                           * * *

Anyway, it is inspiring to learn that good research is being done - to stay away from the pitfalls of Marxism. If communism ever had any chance of working, it is certainly not now, not with humankind as we are now...we need better alternatives.

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Dear Virginia, yes, we need better alternatives, while education and mentalities must change - normally, the living creature must adapt to its natural environment, and the human animal did, in most cases, the contrary.

In our performance driven societies, success, looks, glamour, status symbols, ranking, etc. count more than hard work, honesty, forgiving and true sacrifices. On the other hand, exaggerated "love", zeal and ardour, piousness, virtuousness, risk appetite or idolatry can turn into obsessions - exactly like greed. 

:)


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Intriguing observations, Marianne...the idea that we humans adapted our environment to us, rather than the opposite. In the interim, I have found some information online, mainly YouTube...and ha, ha I am NOT ;) the first person to think of all this kind of idea...anyway, I hope to do some more thinking and post more questions/thoughts...

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Yes, Virginia, Europe, for instance, throughout human history, is a pattern of more or less man-shaped cultural and, partly, natural landscapes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_landscape

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_landscape


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Marianne, this concept of the cultural landscape is intriguing...by that definition, these ancient prairies where I now live would be a cultural landscape, as they were maintained by annual burns of the Native Americans, long after the climate cooled so the prairies would naturally have been taken over by great temperate forests!

Here is something I learned when I was studying our logging disaster here; and that is, this disaster where so many people are out of work and impoverished, it was unnecessary! Only a few people have done selective logging, and if done properly that actually strengthens the forest land, plus you get just as much timber over the long run...you just don't get it all at once. 

And with the greed of people, they try often to get rich quick...LOTS NOW...it is very sad...and the land is plundered...the capitalist way, unfortunately.

                                                                            * * *

Anyway, in one of your links is this beautiful photo of the Batad rice terraces in the Philippines, considered an example of a cultural landscape.

image

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@Virginia - wonderfully said!

Here's an example of a rural, conventional cultural landscape found in West Europe, in the temperate zones:

image

(Hirson, France) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirson

or the Lavaux Vineyard terraces

image

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavaux

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Marianne do you happen to know, are the Lavaux Vineyard terraces considered sustainable? That is, do they maintain or improve the ecotone rather than degrade it? 

I am asking because of this logging disaster in my own homeland; the alternative idea that it is possible to harvest from the land in such a way that the land actually becomes stronger...

...that our natural relationship with the Earth is one of mutualistic symbiosis, mutually beneficial...

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@Virginia

The Lavaux is a historical, mainly man-made, cultural, resp. agricultural landscape.

As we all know, also traditional and ancient agricultural systems were not really sustainable, as various human activities and the concentration of settlements interfered and still interfere too often with nature. And especially viticulture (and, with it, viniculture) has been, since ancient times, under constant pressure regarding production, performance, quality, characteristics, conservation, viability, restrictions and regularity, which involved the use of ancient and - with time - of more modern, mechanical and chemical processes, including the use of fertilisers and pesticides. Since the seventies, efforts into biologically and environmentally sustainable cultures were/are made, but progress was and still is slow.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viticulture

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chasselas

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitis_vinifera

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavaux


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Marianne, have you hiked in the Lavaux?

"There are many hikes possibles through the Lavaux vineyards. There is a hiking trail ("Terrasses de Lavaux"), going from Saint-Saphorin to Lutry, recommended by the Tourism Office of Switzerland."

I learned that grapes prolly originated near the Mediterranean (not surprised at that!), and are quite adaptable now cultivated on every continent except Antarctica!

And come to think of it, I still recall an excursion in the American Southwest where there are LOTS of Native American ruins...cultures just at the beginnings of agricultural cultivation...and someone mentioning that agriculture itself was only around 10,000 years old, and thus so new that we could not know if the Earth could sustain it...if agriculture is a viable practice!

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Actually, we drove to gastronomic events, excursions and meetings in or through the Lavaux with friends (after all, it is 30 km along the shores).

image

(St-Saphorin and the road we used to drive further east, to Vevey, Montreux or to the heights, for hiking; the railway tracks are right next to the road, some meters deeper.)

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Oh...the photo from Lavaux, so beautiful...

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I am glad that you like it. :)


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WestJet, seems to be doing well, and is a worker/owner airline (I think now 9th largest in North America).  I think it shows that such companies do work and do work well. 

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An airline company that is worker/owner! And successful...I knew of them Korvo, of course, but did not realize the cooperative organization.

Truly that is interesting, I have (at the age of 72) decided that capitalism is just too broken, but it is difficult to know where to go from here, to come up with workable alternatives...that do not lead us into the horrors of failed communism...

...