COVID-19 is exposing a lot of truths.
The free market is useless in any kind of crisis. It is barely functional in terms of mobilising labour and resources in the best conditions, it is flat out useless when things are tough - and things are going to get tough as the climate worsens and the oil runs out.
It turns out that the people paid the least in society are the most important, and many highly regarded jobs just aren't all that important.

@jospanner Absolutely. It's a truth we all know, but this crisis is making it extra clear just how inefficient capitalism is. I've been thinking about that a lot. can you explain how I could buy nintendo consoles in your ideal society? Cuz if you cant then it's just not something I want

@igel I don't have an ideal society.
If an item is not scarce, then you go and get it. If an item is scarce, we find ways to deal with that scarcity (non-capitalist markets, rationing).

Most scarcity is enforced, and you managed to pick a good example of one. Nintendo intentionally restricts how many items it produces to keep the price up in the name of profit.

Free markets are terrible at distributing goods to those who need or want them.

@igel Yes, if you ignore the answer I gave you.

Distribution centres and stores are not special to the free market. It is always a question of scarcity, and the free market artificially creates it. It does not resolve it. I have no problem buying a switch on amazon. No clue what you talk about, the thing is only 300 bucks

@igel Yes, digital goods are an example of effectively non-scarce items.

@igel Germany got ripped off by an Austrian and then got its ass kicked by Russian farmers who they literally deemed as "untermensch", but ok.

@igel @jospanner so in these "non-capitalist markets" what mechanism exists for distributing scarce goods according to needs and wants, if not prices?
@jospanner @igel how are the prices determined then, if not by supply and demand?

@hector @igel Not even the 'free market' operates on supply and demand. Even in the best of times there was government intervention because it is flat out incapable of properly distributing goods.

@jospanner @igel also, state-enforced intellectual property rights is not a key feature of a free market. If the "IP" were unrestricted there would be fierce competition driving down the price of compatible consoles and games and all sorts of other goods close to the marginal cost of production.

@hector @igel And there would be massive pushback from capitalists to stop this, including price fixing. Which we have seen. The free market does not function as a means of ascertaining value.

@jospanner jobs only? I'm decently paid & don't think our company's useful.

@patter If we got rid of this silly work ethic that demands that so many of us do useless things or else starve, we could work less and live more.

@jospanner Also that rich people will profit off a disaster, selling stocks to crash the market and capitalize on everything then turn and sneer at giving people money to survive.

@jospanner By exposing truths you mean this was always the case. I've taken to restudying economics in search of better answers and one of the first suggestions is that economics is a morally neutral system. It aims to be scientific but people disagree on how well systems work and more like Religion they tend to argue that anyone who disagrees with them must be either morally evil ie they hate humans and enjoy death and poverty for others or they are very very stupid. There are no free markets

@jospanner Just as there are no communist systems in place. Good results under Covid-19 appear to come from different economic systems. Though in many cases this may be due to faulty reporting. S Korea China New Zealand Sweden they don't have similar economic systems. India's figures don't add up as usual.

@jospanner Although it seems to be a universally held axiom that free markets are a very inefficient way for systems to organize in a crisis. Short-termism takes over. A better political and economic system in a crisis would be some form of command economy run by a benevolent dictator but only in the short run.

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