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tacocat  ·  2598 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Survival and mental health in a capitalistic world

Hey, I'm some kind of bipolar schizo too!

The problem isn't capitalism, and I say that as a pinko living in the free market paradise that is the American Southeast. Capitalism is a very effective system for sustaining an increasing population. It also motivates people with incentives, even for kids who work at McDonald's. Communism is the only modern alternative I know of and it's failed, sometimes spectacularly and brutally, every time it's been tried. China is an exception I guess but it's some weird Communist/market hybrid now.

The problems he's having seem to come from human nature, not Capitalism specifically, Capitalism has just become very effective in the last century at exploiting human nature. I get jealous and resentful, I want nicer things, but so does everyone and our economic system and its marketing and advertising arms are set up to leverage that into purchases. This drives most people to settle into a life path where they will be able to live comfortably and have nice things and that's not a bad thing. Everyone wants to live comfortably and the average person in America and the Western world can do that on $50,000 a year or the equivalent.

As for the human interaction capital, well that's nothing new even if it's framed here to support a viewpoint that putting a price on everything is a huge problem. Money really doesn't buy friendship and if you can do a cost benefit analysis of a relationship and find out you're getting short changed then leave. People have been doing that for a long time even if the phrase "cost benefit analysis" wasn't part of vernacular.

The biggest salient point he makes is the struggle many people have just to get onto that path towards a comfortable life. There's no real solution to that without reforms and I don't see any politicians coming forward with a solution. Helping the poor is a toxic topic in United States politics. Poverty, illness, race can all be stumbling blocks towards success and to fix the problem we need to reform within what we've developed, not rail against what's become a system that's in many ways too effective. The comfortable majority is too self absorbed to really care what happens to anyone less fortunate so I don't see effective political reforms any time soon. No one's life is easy. American politics can turn into a pissing match over who has it easy and who needs to just, who worked hard for success and who needs to work harder. It's ridiculous and gets nothing done.

It's easy for people who aren't seeing the benefits to look around them and be jealous or resentful, I work with middle aged women every day who want pretty pictures for their walls and too often I'm seething inside at how vapid they seem to be. I'd advise anyone in this position to seek a meaning to life outside of the day-to-day business of life. I'm an artist so that's easy for me but find something to keep you going, to look forward to, to come home to and say "that other stuff doesn't matter because I have this one thing that brings me back to who I am apart from my petty basal feelings."

That got long and meandering. Sorry.