"the system of capitalism acts upon us, robbing us of choice"
Would we ever consider that it is less the system robbing us of choice, and more that we are choosing a system for making social choices that is not fit for our purposes, not right for our times, and also, fundamentally flawed?
The social system we are choosing, socially, through which to make our social choices today - our popularly accepted and perpetuated institutional social infrastructure for social choosing (Mette High and Sean Field, The Centre for Energy Ethics, University of St Andrews) - is Neoliberalism. It was invented in 1947 by the Mt Pelerin Society as a reaction to wartime Keynesian government interventionism, FDR's New Deal and post-War global American Idealism. It tells us that Markets are a perfect expression of our collective wisdom, and that Government's only legitimate job is to guarantee freedom in the Markets (and to bail out the Markets at taxpayer expense when they fail; which they do, episodically, but with certainty [Modern Portfolio Theory is all about managing the risk of loss from these episodic, but inevitable, Market failures).
The Markets they are taking about are the share price trading markets for financing enterprise through the securitization of large scale investment agreements into small, legally equal shares (bonds, as shares of a Trust Indenture holding a Promissory Note; stocks as ownership shares in a Corporation) that can be bought and sold as commodities, on price, and price alone. Markets for trading in corporate shares need growth in share price to remain liquid. Corporate Share Price Trading Markets that are not liquid cannot operate.
So, the entire economy and all of society is voluntarily agreeing to dance to the tune of the trading tape in the markets for trading in corporate shares, with their unrelenting need for growth in share price: simple, numerical increases in transaction volumes controlled by corporate legal fictions, measured in prices paid in money, from one period of measurement to the next. We are trapped in the consequences of our own agreement; an agreement that is reductionist, extractive, externalizing, dehumanizing, uncaring and recklessly unreckoning with the future physical consequences of our present financial choices.
Neoliberalism demands of us that we produce and consume more. It doesn't matter more of what, as long as there is more. It doesn't matter more for who, as long as there is more. This, we are told, is how the economy makes more that is better for more. And, we are promised that we will each get our own individual and personal fair share of that more that is better.
This contract is not being honored. It is, in fact, a fraud.
What we are actually getting is more that is better for fewer and fewer (the Market Elites); and less that is less for the rest of us.
What has gone wrong?
I invite you to consider that the answer to that question can be found in the single most important, and least understood, social innovation of the 20th Century: the Mid-Century Modern Pension Promise.
So depressing! I dropped out of mainstream teaching and established an alternative centre to create teaching materials on global issues. I wrote a teaching pack on rainforests for 9-12 year olds in 1986. Nothing has changed except the forces driving destruction have accelerated. I had naive Hope then. I was forced back to wage labour under Thatcher - no room for global issues in the new National Curriculum. And now our education system is broken. Neo-liberal values and practices have destroyed it. I want to believe a new way is possible. But entering global capitalism is an abandonment of all hope.