What will it take to make capitalism work in a world facing so many difficult to solve problems – from climate change with its potential to make the planet unlivable to the increasing gaps between the rich and the poor with its potential to create conditions for social revolution and war. The wealthy, socially minded, rich members of the Society of the Phoenix set out to save capitalism by destroying the current caretakers of capital – the captive Boards of Directors and the limited vision senior managements of the great, international, companies that control much of the world’s production. To do this Von Kleise needs to gain control of companies and replace managements. Stock prices must be driven so low, so fast, that the owners of capital, not seeing the entire plan, short sighted and self-interested by nature, sell blindly depending upon modes and probabilities to guide them rather than reason. By this action they let a few wealthy, altruistic men, gain control of the only things of value in this world – the means of production on which all civilization depends. The question for Michael Ross and Natalya Avramowitz, Von Kleise’s trustees and inheritors, is how to achieve the lofty goals of a global super-economy that maintains insures the continued growth and survival of the human race, not by stopping technology, but by balancing technological progress with improvements in workers’ wages and conditions of employment in order to insure the maintenance of healthy demand and improving life styles for both the richest and the poorest among them. Von Kleise’s vision may be given a name – Private Sector Altruistic Socialism. The rub is what to do on the day after the disaster. How can Humpty Dumpty be put back together in a way that insures that the future is better than the past. In ways that allow for the animal spirits and self interest of innovators and dreamers to build the new companies on which the future of the world depend without ultimately using these same technologies to destroy the livelihoods of the men and women on which they depend upon to build and buy the products they produce. It is a tall order and one that may be beyond even Michael Ross’s prodigious talents to find the right path forward before the financial collapse leads to the collapse of civilization itself.
The Phoenix Year is available now.