Cooperativism: A Social, Economic, and Political Alternative to Capitalism
Social systems may be likened to scientific paradigms. They become consolidated and extended; they are weakened by fundamental flaws; these are patched up in awkward, inadequate ways by authorities who have a vested interest in maintaining the paradigm or system; the weaknesses intensify and drive the paradigm or system into collapse; and eventually critics develop new systems or paradigms to replace failed ones. Social transformations are as necessary and as justified as scientific revolutions are. They are the only way to solve the accumulating morass of problems that invalidate the existing system (as the American Declaration of Independence states).
American capitalism is now collapsing to the point where it can no longer be patched up, and its fundamental principles must be critiqued and replaced by a new system of social, economic, political, and ecological principles. Recommendations for social reform rest upon a host of assumptions about the structure and causes of the problems, ideals and possibilities for a better society, and even human nature itself. Recommendations for social change are futile and unconvincing unless they address these broader, deeper issues.
I suggest that the myriad problems we face today*economic instability; inadequate health care; the declining quality and accessability of education; the worsening ecological crisis; deterioration of the water and food supplies; escalating rates of mental illness; a rise in international conflicts, ethnic conflicts, and crime; the stupefication of the arts and entertainment; and the corruption of news, politics, and medical research*have a common basis in capitalist political economy. This is why they exist together and can only be solved together by transforming their common basis from a capitalist political economy into a cooperative political economy