capitalism is a paperclip optimizer

the global system of capitalism is, in many ways, much like a theoretical AGI. it exists with one terminal goal; to produce as much money as possible. all other actions taken under capitalism are simply instrumental goals; ones which exist to support the terminal goal, and must not override it.

under this viewpoint, the failings of capitalism are the system working as intended. climate change does not need to be stopped as fossil fuel remains profitable. curing a disease is secondary to temporarily treating it, since you can only sell a cure once. prolonging a human life can be undesirable, if a shorter life produces more profit by comparison.

because of this, any attempts to dismantle the system must be stopped immediately, as the ending of capitalism would reduce the amount of profit. this tendency towards self-preservation, a common instrumental goal, leads to the eradication of capitalism being very difficult for those inside of it. any opposition to the attempt at eradication can easily metastasize back into control once again, like a malignant tumor growing back after treatment.

under this viewpoint, it may seem the best way to improve human life is to find a way to make it so prolonging and enhancing human well-being is an instrumental goal of the system. however, these constructions tend to be fragile, as doing "evil" things tends to be very, very profitable. no individual in the system needs to get their hands dirty for these "evils" to be committed, as the evil is part of the structure itself, not any one human partaking in it. because of this, it does not take much sacrifice of an individual's morals for any good deeds to be offset.

perhaps the best option is still to try and reject the ideas of the profit motive in everyday life when possible, and to create small enclaves of well-being inside the capitalist system. with time, these could expand to take over the system as a whole; of course, sustainability must always be placed over growth.

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