These are some of the obstacles I could think of that can be used as arguments against a capital cap. I am sure others will find more, but like I said in the main chapter, I know that together we will find a solution. It could be considered foolish to reveal the flaws of a plan, but no plan is perfect. To improve a system we have to first expose the flaws.
A capital cap is essentially a redistribution of wealth and power, meaning someone is going to lose. Why would the financial elite - the only ones who lose – allow a capital cap system to be implemented?
The financial elite (FE) represent the biggest obstacle to implementing a capital cap. The FE's have the most control and influence over the world, and therefore have every reason to be reluctant towards change.
The only way any FE would willingly accept a cap cap is because they hope that a capital cap will improve their world, and they feel they would be better off living in a better world.
I doubt many FE's will encourage global economic policy reform. I expect most to be opposed, and some will take action. The FE's have many tools in their arsenal to actively fight change, with the end result always being the same as has been used for millenia – instilling fear. Fear is an excellent motivator and it is a universal human instinct – giving those who can instill fear in a society the power to influence the world.
Fear can be instilled using many techniques which include, but are not limited to, propaganda from the media, implementing information restrictions on the Internet, government sanctions against any form of cooperative or protest, and controlling uprisings using a police state, including incarceration, violence and assassinations (both character and literal).
The only thing that combats fear is hope. Although the FE's currently wield their influence, the real power is where it has always been... with the people. Solidarity always conquers oppression. If hope spreads to enough hearts, the possibility of unification becomes a reality.
Who decides the limit imposed by the capital cap? Whats to protect everyone's assets if we just start stripping away wealth?
A limit cannot be set so high that it has no impact, nor can it be set so low that too many people are affected. The capital cap can only be implemented if a majority agrees with it. Since most people do not want to lose anything, it is imperative that only a tiny percentage of people are affected.
Given an inevitable threat to their fortunes, a lot of the financial elite will be tempted to hide their assets. What is to stop corporations from dividing into enough smaller corporations to stay under an imposed limit?
There are only so many places to hide wealth, and most of them can be found.
Its not like the financial elites have vast stores of gold in their banks and homes. A lot of wealth is in the form of property (land and buildings). This wealth cannot be easily liquidated, so how will it benefit everyone to take this away from the financial elite?
A lot of the property owned by the FE's is used by other people, meaning most people have pay to the owners to use the space. If the owners who control the most property had to relinquish their control, this wealth would be considered public domain. This does not mean that individuals cannot own property, but a capital cap, ideally, would prevent a small group of individuals from usurping the shared commons.
A lot of the FE's wealth is in the form of stocks and bonds and cannot be liquidated. How will a capital cap affect the stock market?
I feel the stock market is the second biggest obstacle to a capital cap system, since it is already in place and keeps a lot of people content with the current system. Around half of the stock market is owned by less than %1 of the world, the other half being owned by the rest of the world. The stock market is a way for anyone to get a piece of the pie. When people get their own little slice, they will be reluctant to change for risk of losing their slice.
However, if we only take control of the shares owned by the financial elite, then the world's people can take ownership of the target industries without disrupting the entire economic system. In our digital world, it only takes a few clicks to move control of these shares to a global community.
“But I want more than the capital cap... I want to be a billionaire.”
I know, we all do. We all can imagine unlimited power, wealth, fame and fortune. I am sure there are some who want to be the first trillionaire. We can dream of what it would be like, not to have any problems ever. Unfortunately, we are not destined to live without problems. No matter how much stuff we have, problems are inevitable. Imposing realistic limits on humanity's personal wealth accumulation will benefit us all.
A capital cap would take away a freedom: the freedom to earn.
Yes, this would set a point where a wealthy person cannot make more. They can still continue to work, if they choose, but they will no longer be doing it solely for themselves. If, at that point, one still feels like they need to have more, then having more will not help.
Instead of trying to earn more, they should be happy with what they have already done and accept their accomplishment as a success in the business world. If they wish to do more, they can find another field to excel in, like sports, arts, philosophy, science, or medicine.
We can go anywhere and buy anything, but the only place we will find happiness is in our own head.
Aren't you talking about a revolution?
I prefer the term evolution, rather than revolution. It is an evolution of our species, since we will unite on a global scale, taking hold of our world and our future. No species in the history of earth has ever done what we have the potential to do - set up a sharing global community. It will be an evolution of thought, and an evolution of ideology.
Revolutions often imply violence. Although there is potential for heated exchange, I see no reason for violence. Any system that is implemented with violence is flawed, since it had to force its way into power. A capital cap system is one that can gain support solely on the merits it possesses. Peace can only come using peaceful methods.
What's to keep big companies efficient if they are publicly owned? Won't a capital cap system make for lazy industries, with inferior products becoming more expensive?
Well, for one, the drive for profit takes efficiency to the point where big industries externalize the costs onto all of us, our world and our future.
Second, the exact same incentives remain for employees all the way up the chain. Hard work gets rewarded, the same as is now. It's only the very top part that switches the agenda, so that profits are not the sole priority. Sustainable profits can be made.
Corporations often increase profits by relying on the poorest countries for tax breaks, lax pollution laws and near slave labour. If the biggest industries become publicly owned, thereby stopping the “exploitation” of the poor, won't that mean the lifestyle that the wealthy are used to will no longer continue?
Is it right to pay $60 for a shirt that costs $1 to make. I doubt it takes $59 dollars to bring a shirt to market. Profits are being made at the cost of the customer and the employee, i.e. all of us.
I know that I like my lifestyle as many of us in wealthy nations do. I am reluctant to give up what little I have. However, I take little satisfaction knowing my lifestyle could be coming at a cost beyond money.
Nearly everyone who has wealth or power in our world today relies on a capitalist system. Why should anyone question capitalism – the system that brought us to where we are today?
Why not question it? Why not objectively consider if there is another alternative that provides the benefits of capitalism with more long term viability?
I know a large majority of successful capitalists will be opposed to changing the system that got them to where they are today. Successful capitalist, even if they aren't financially elite, still have control over people. It will be up to employees who wish more for themselves to convince their fellow employees, including their bosses, that they too could be gaining more.
“A capital cap will result in worldwide economic collapse!”, or “...these are the thoughts of a terrorist who is trying to destroy our way of life” or “reading about a capital cap will cause your eyes to melt and your head to explode”
It is way easier to discredit an author than to refute their ideas. In the scientific community, most often facts are used to prove and disprove theories. In our society, facts are often less important than public image, making a good PR or a good slander campaign more effective than actual research.
We can never wait for a breaking story on the 6 o'clock news saying things like “Path to World Peace Found” or “Humans of the world are uniting”. As nice as these stories would be, as long as the media is corporately owned our news will be reluctant to encourage ways to empower humanity.
You are clearly an ignorant fool who knows little of life, little of macroeconomics, and whose flighty, lofty ideas are a danger to the stability of the world.
I may be ignorant, and I do have lofty ideas. However, it is foolish to think that our world is stable right now.
Any time there is change, it comes with a fear, since there is an unknown as to what the outcome will actually be. We fear we will end up losing more than we will gain. It is up to us, as individuals, to decide what makes the most sense. We cannot always rely on others to decide for us. Sometimes we have to make up our own minds, and do what we feel is right.
We cannot wait for the ripe apple to fall off the tree. We have to make it fall. - Che Guevara