Lagos, Nigeria is the capital of System D.
Lagos, Nigeria is the capital of System D. peeterv/gettyimages.com

What kind of capitalism is Trump's? In a sense, it's a variation of the kind of capitalism that made Mitt Romney rich; Romney's capitalism exploited private enterprises by buying them and stripping them of the value they accumulated during the period of large-scale material capital investments and strong unionized labor (1947 to 1980). Corporate raiders like Romney attacked companies for their assets, which took the form of constant capital and value retained by labor rights that were instituted in the 1930s to save capitalism and avoid universal democratic socialism.

With Trump, this stripping is not of private enterprises, which were bled dry by the end of the 1990s, but of the government institutions themselves. Trump's executive orders are mostly about removing regulations that are costly to business. The removal of these regulations will indeed restore short-term profits, and this improvement in capital's efficiency will translate into full employment as well as an excitement of the economy that will open more and more of the future to equity markets. This moment will be called Trumphoria.

But it won't last for two main reasons.

One, its very success will feed a greed that is too excessive for the success to support (the same thing happened with Bush's housing policies, which fed Wall Street's vampirish greed with the fresh blood of sub-prime loans, once the prime loans of the middle classes were desiccated). And two, the value in and number of government institutions aren't unlimited. Indeed, the idea of a limited government is only useful to the rich if there's value to be extracted from government institutions and regulations.

Also, because deregulation means expanding profit margins by shifting costs elsewhere, this elsewhere will eventually become a Flint, Michigan at the scale of a state or states. The lives of thousands upon thousands of people will be permanently damaged or exterminated by some massive negative externality (a toxic body of water, a toxic cloud, a toxic staple). At this politically dangerous moment for the right, the US after Trumphoria will either surrender and restore regulations or double-down and become another Nigeria—which, in Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy, Robert Neuwirth describes as the world's leading System D nation. (“System D essentially translates as the economy of improvisation and self-reliance—the do-it-yourself, or DIY, economy.) When DC replaces Lagos as the capital of System D, it will be the moment that neoliberalism is no longer a theory in economic textbooks but an actual way of life in the West. In a post-Trump era, America will not be great again, nor ever make anything again, because a severely limited government can't support light, let alone heavy, industry. (Nigeria, again, knows the truth of this too well.) With American democracy dissolved, as a consequence of limited government, expect the full expansion of System D, which, in rich capitalist societies, is today called the 'sharing economy.'