a lot of these points are just complaints about modern American society and nothing to with failure of capitalism. Capitalism isn't causing inflation, government is causing inflation. Capitalism isn't telling people not to save, it's our consumer culture that's doing it. Capitalism didn't tell people to get into credit card debt, we did that on our own.
I never argued capitalism was causing inflation.
I'm not even arguing that capitalism is failing. What I am saying is that the current model we're using now is unsustainable, and will cause capitalism to fail. When a few people have money, and everyone else is dirt poor capitalism can't function, that's called feudalism.
also, we live in the height of technological luxury. 20 years ago, we spent a lot more money for what we get now (cell phones, TV's, safer cars). we get far more for our money today and i'm just not buying that we're somehow "poorer" than 20 years ago. Capitalism is responsible for this. the technological innovations from competition caused this.
consumer spending doesn't increase an economy. production increases an economy. doing things, creating new business (doesn't have to be manufacturing, we're a service society now), that's what improves an economy. a bunch of people just wanting things and spending money on things they can't afford with money they don't have produces nothing. if people can't afford to buy things now, they shouldn't be buying things. we have to get back to reality. it's really that simple i think. we can't have a boom economy forever.
Most of the items you listed were perhaps luxury goods in a previous era, however today they're basically necessities. I also agree that NEW technology is always expensive.
Consumer spending absolutely does drive the economy. Production only increases when there's a demand for that product (or service). Which I why I argued the tax break falacy. Production is regulated (by a company) to ensure that their products are profitable.
Creating a new business is almost impossible right now in many areas, you need to have money first. As the old saying goes "you need to have money to make money". One of the primary reasons for small business failures is insufficient capital.
To use a service example:
The last ambulance service I worked at was a for profit, private ambulance service. Granted it was terribly mismanaged (friends and family as managers rather then qualified people). There's a VERY high demand in this area for a transport service (SWPA has the 2nd highest elderly population per capita in the US), the company also has VERY lucrative contracts.
However I couldn't start an ambulance service if I wanted to, it's simply financially undoable. To get a small service up and running (3 trucks or so) would take over 500k.
agree with the first point, but these figures are already adjusted for inflation. is the assumption that we should be getting richer as a people ad infinitum? so a million years from now, a person making 15k a year should theoretically be a millionaire? it doesn't follow. but considering technological innovations, it can be argued that even a poor person today in America lives better than a king a thousand years ago.
I never said I wanted everyone to be rich, quite the opposite. However we do have an eroding middle class, and that's due largely to wage stagnation.
Overall quality of life IS going down however. People don't have savings, and are living paycheck to paycheck. To use myself as an example I was part of the working poor for several years. Believe me it's not a very good or healthy life. I also didn't spend myself into that situation, I just couldn't make enough money to get out of it.
Let's suppose for a minute that you don't have any savings (not a stretch for most people), and something breaks on your car. We can even say that the problem is on the cheaper end and the repairs will only cost $1000. Well you need reliable transportation to get to work, so you have a few alternatives.
1) You can use credit to pay for the repairs. However since you don't have anything in savings it's unlikely that you have the disposable income to really pay this off.
2) You can get a different car. If you own your car (and it's worth anything) you might be able to trade it in for something you can get some use out of. However chances are a car of equal value would be old and unreliable as well.
3) You can use public transportation to go to work. While this is cheaper (then a car payment) it's not THAT cheap. I just looked at the cost of a bus pass for my locality, and it's $150/month.
Most people don't go into debt from overspending, they go into debt because they don't have enough money to cover life being life.
Lets use an average single person (30k annual wages, or give or take $15/hr):
30k-(30%)taxes is 21k annual take home.
1BR apartment-450/mo, 5400 annually.
Lets say the only utility you have to pay is electric, and you're on a budget plan of $100/mo. 1200 annually.
Lets say a cheap car payment of $300/mo, 3600 annually.
Cheap insurance 100/mo, 1200 annually.
So just after housing and car payment we're at 11.4k, so already half of the yearly income is spent.
Now lets say you spend 200/mo on food, and 100/mo on gas. That's 3600 annually and we're at 15k.
Lets give us dirt cheap health insurance for 150/mo.
Lets say we bundle our cable/phone/internet for 150/mo. We're not at 18.6k.
We put 100/mo into our 401k. 1200.
If you use a cell phone for work at all, you can't really get away with prepaid. A cheap package is 100/mo, so we're at 21k.
I didn't even factor in that we usually need to buy some new clothes/shoes. Mom and Dad still have birthdays, mothers/fathers day, and Christmas (or whatever holiday). We still have a need to be social, and have friends.
Each of the prices I gave were a total lowball as well, in reality many of those payments are much higher.
So basically you can forget about any kind of savings, or any preparation for an oh shit life moment. Most people aren't going into debt because they spending excessively, they're going into debt because they're not getting an adequate wage!
Simply having 350/mo extra would substantially increase your quality of life. We're only talking about a little over 4k per year. Under my scenario this "average" American has no disposable income at all. This is not a far fetched example at all.
This is a short and simple article.