Is Capitalism Dead? It Depends, I Suppose

read at your peril Post-Capitalism and the End of Capitalism

Capitalism dead? I guess Silicon Valley didn’t get the memo. Hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth from web 2.0 and Bay Area real estate has been created since 2009. Coders strait out of college or even high school are making 6-figures, while others are making millions – even billions – with viral apps and other technologies, with such wealth amassed in a matter of only a couple years. Venture capitalism is thriving, with firms like A16 making billions for their clients, with successful technology investments. If the web 2.0 scene in Silicon Valley is not the epitome capitalism, what is?

The value of digital networks like Facebook and Snapchat is in the concentration of eyeballs (users) that can have ads put in front of them, much like TV or radio – old inventions that predate the internet by almost a century, and capitalism seems to have done fine in the intervening years. It has nothing to do with setting information free, which is irrelevant but is a focal point of the rambling, disjointed article.

However, opportunities for the left/middle the IQ distribution are becoming more scarce, as opportunities and wealth (wealth through stocks, high wages, web 2.0, real estate, for example) for the far-right of the Bell Curve have exploded, which agrees with the post-recession ‘hollowing out’ of the middle theme.

In what can be called ‘Social Darwinism 2.0’, as evidenced by recent economics trends, smarter people appear to be the the winners of this hyper-competitive winner-take-all economy, the most ‘fit’ for survival – or at least the most fit to achieve wealth and social fulfillment that comes from being a valuable person to society.

Capitalism may not be dead, but fewer and fewer people, especially those of only modest intellect, will be able to take advantage of it, being bystanders or spectators rather than creators. Yeah, it may seem unfair, but I don’t see this trend reversing anytime soon.

Ultimately, for the millions of Americans who are not cognitively exceptional, some possible ‘solutions’:

1. Learn to lower your expectations. We need to learn to come to terms with job loss and the inability to find work as being an inconvenient, but perhaps necessary or unavoidable part of the evolution of the economy.

2. Reform the education system to teach skills that will be in demand (service sector work, gig work), even if these jobs may not pay well. High-IQ kids should be encouraged to learn high-paying skills like STEM, as well as more funding for gifted education programs to help smart middle/lower income kids realize their full cognitive potential.

The fact that the far-left side of the Bell Curve (IQ < 70) gets far more public education funding than the far-right (IQ > 130 ), despite the later contributing far more to society, as well both extreme scores being equally represented in the general population, is evidence of ‘reverse Darwinism’ and is a sub-optimal use of a public good (tax payer dollars).

3. Embrace the gig/sharing economy. Gig workers should take pride in knowing they are creating more economic value than with an overpaid traditional job, even if the work is tedious and the pay inconsistent.

4. Grab the bull by the horns. If you are not smart enough to code the next web 2.0 sensation, you can at least invest in some of these companies. Facebook stock, which is up 200% in just the past two years alone, will keep rising, allowing ordinary people who invest an opportunity to make a lot of money with no effort. Investing in Facebook, Amazon, or Google is like investing in the companies that are laying the infrastructure for tomorrow’s Matrix, possibly like the one in the movie, with ‘information overlords’ at the top to oversee its construction. I imagine it would be a good investment having a piece of ownership of the companies that may ultimately decide everyone’s fate.

Related: The End of Jobs