Capitalism Is Dominant Because It Feeds Growth

#model4 mentions

Traditional theories of (the success of) Capitalism tend to fall in the camps of individualist (bottom-up Explanation of social structure as the consequence of aggregated individual behaviour), structuralist (top-down explanation of individual behaviour as the consequence of social structure) or historicist thinking (“horizontal”, i.e. historical explanation of both individual behaviour and social structure as the consequence of previous Events).

All of these accounts fail to grasp the simple rules, multi-level dynamics and complex results of Cultural Evolution. The following sketchThis sketch is an example of trying to find the levels on which, ontologically speaking, the dominant dynamics reside, or, epistemologically, where the most informative (Causal Emergence) and surprise-reducing (Explanation) account is available. An example of how to Move up and down in the system hierarchy to improve Sensemaking, and for how Cultural evolution is multilevel meme variation, selection and replication.

aims to spell out how an alternative account could look like that starts from the following premises:

The account goes like this:

When resources are abundant, the most extractive culture will be dominant and thus get selected over others.

Based on “the production of ever-greater Knowledge from the scientific method”Lewis & Maslin (2018), 14

, fundamental Innovation makes sure resources stay abundant. Thus more innovation-oriented strategies (and, in the long run, Cultures) get selected.

Incremental Innovation fuels continuous growth as well. It generates technologiesArthur (2009)

that enable Economic Growth by increasing the output of “stuff” (Systems view).Scott (2023)

They can do this in three ways:

In the corresponding selection view, technologies that fulfil these functions get selected.

Capitalism is a mechanism for the generation and distribution of resources, particularly towards innovation, that outperforms other mechanisms (e.g. traditional planned economies) in feeding growth. Thus capitalism gets selected as well.

Money is a necessary component of this system, but also a meme in its own right – it spreads and grows into a hugely complex Memeplex by “convincing” (as an Egregore) people they need to focus on it.

In this view, our civilisation’s focus on financial wealth, which is part of that memeplex, its accumulation and concentration are a byproduct of the evolutionary selection of capitalism, not its enabler or cause. (This is further corroborated by the fact that overall economic growth is indeed generally faster and greater in contexts of lesser wealth concentration).

The accumulation of wealth in general enables individuals to insulate themselves against (the discomfort of) reality (the core of White Culture), which leads to Bubbles of Affluence and actual ignorance about other lived realities.

This behaviour gets selected because it protects the pursuit of extractive and exploitative strategies against critique and disruption (similar to Ideology), contributing to overall system growth.