Tuesday, August 10, 2010
21st Century Capitalism and the Ponziconomy
"The fight on Capitol Hill over whether to extend the Bush tax cuts is about many things: deficit reduction, economic stimulus, supply-side ideology. But at its core is a simple question: who counts as rich?"
. Wrong debate--wrong question. The question isn't who to tax next. It's the taxes we already
Consider. "Corporate profit" is largely a tax--not real value, but value transferred from you to shareholders. The fumes smogging up our skies are a tax. The junkfood lining the bleak exurban shelves is a tax. Every big-box store is a tax sucking the life, heart, and soul out of town. The brain-dead ads on robo-repeat every 10 minutes on all 500 channels are a tax. China's currency games, which export unemployment and instability, are a tax. Wall St's institutional structure is a tax. The hidden charges and fees that constitute most "business models" are the epitome of a tax. The corporation itself--limited in liability, evanescently, asymmetrically devoid of risk, cost, and responsibility--is a tax.
Let's get real. So the real debate isn't about whether the super-rich should pay another percentage point of two of tax, though it's indisputable to anyone except an economist or a retarded vampire bat that they should.
The real debate is about the taxes we're already forced to bear, every second of every day - and turning them inside, so those who've spent the last century and more enjoying the luxury of benefiting from them don't. And real incentives for explosively more productive, enduring investment finally surface.
It's time to reboot capitalism for the 21st century. Ponziconomy: all the above is what the word really means. And unless we can extricate ourselves from it's ever tightening grip, well there is no future--just a long, slow slide into penury.
Don't forget the $5K/yr it costs to own, fuel, insure, and maintain a car.
So how about one specific example of such a business. I keep reading your blog posts about how everything is falling to pieces because it is based on unsustainable thinking - but there are no specific, actionable recommendations.
How then should we live?
This is a serious request - not an attempt to slam your thesis.
What would such a business look like? What are specific examples of these values in action?
I believe you are on to something but I'll be damned if I can figure out what to do.
this week over at my hbr blog, i discussed forporations and clusters. are you a forporation? can you seed a cluster?
the week before, i discussed high-quality demand, and what it means. are you sparking it in your customers?
the weeks before that, i discussed holding apple to a higher standard, and gaining a higher purpose. are you holding yourself to such a standard, and do you have a higher purpose?
all the above are real-world steps you can take to get hands-on with being a radical institutional innovator.
no, none are easy. yes, all are tough. the challenge - and the opportunity lies therein.