What is Capitalism, if not Bureaucracy

The nature of capitalism in the United States (and elsewhere) has been on my mind a great deal lately.

And the more I think about it, the more it seems to mostly be a system that needs bureaucracy and inefficiency for survival.

Think about highways:

Are all of the road signs we have really necessary? Some are, for sure, simply not always necessary:

But, such signs on roads (and other places – think of all of the “No cell phones” and “No food or drink” signs we see in everyday life), create bureaucracy….they create jobs. Someone had to process the materials that made the sign (jobs), someone had to make the sign (jobs), someone had to box the sign (jobs), someone had to advertise the sign (jobs), someone had to manage the paperwork involved with making and selling the sign (jobs), someone had to deliver the sign (jobs), someone had to approve the order of the sign (jobs), someone had to order the sign (jobs), someone had to place the sign in its appropriate place (jobs), etc., etc….

Further, the cultural desire and necessity of everyone having their own car (because of limited public transportation systems and because of the so-called “American Dream”) is a manifestation of capitalism and bureaucracy. Think of all the jobs (read: bureaucracy) that are necessary because we all drive? Think of all the money that would be saved with more efficient cars and/or true public transportation systems. Think of all the people who wouldn’t die in traffic accidents. Think of all the jobs that would be eliminated because they were no longer necessary or were replaced by robots and 3D printers? 

Jobs often exist to pay people for something sort of tangible because we have tied morality to paid employment (a social construction that needs to go) — to perpetuate profits for the “top dogs.” Is it really the best use of our one life to do things simply for the bureaucracy and the super rich??

Another example can be found in some of the waiting rooms at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Take a look at the pictures directly below. 

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At M.D. Anderson, there are frequently multiple waiting rooms patients are processed through. In the case of MRI’s in the Mays Clinic, there is the main big one, then a tiny one – the wait time in both can be hours. The pictures above are from last Thursday when I had another brain MRI, taken in the “tiny” waiting room.

Each room has a mirror, two chairs (one for the patient and one for the nurse), a picture, a clock, a rack for gloves with gloves, various warning signs, etc. Is all of this really necessary? I remember the days when instead of ten “tiny” rooms, it would have been one big area — with one glove rack, with one mirror, with one of the various warning signs, with one chair for the nurse, …….

But, as described with the road signs above, such bureaucracy creates (or maintains) many, many jobs in many, many different sectors.

And it creates a need to spend money and charge money, which ultimately generates more profit for the “top dogs.”

And computers will soon further challenge everything we think we know about humanity, money, and labor.

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda