9/08/2012

Obsoleting Capitalism

Bertrand Russell said, "Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.” The last 30 years have given us a long, painful example of this capitalist principle. Since Reagan, the "fortunate" have had their way with American democracy. The result is a decimated education system that only the children of the wealthy can afford, a vanishing middle class, a crushed economy with little hope of reversing those misfortunes, and a government that only serves the interests of the richest 1%. The followers of that crazy Russian pervert, Ayn Rand, created a greedy, selfish, cynical, faux-religious neo-con movement that has purged the country of the rule of law, fair elections, and the future. This should have been no surprise.

Adam Smith, a founder of capitalist philosophy, believed the market's "invisible hand" would magically distributed goods and services fairly and rationally. A fundamental belief of capitalism is that the wealthy deserve their good fortune, even when wealth is inherited or when it is gained through criminal or antisocial or functionally useless behavior. The problem with unrestrained capitalism is that it is a sociopathic economic system that defeats democracy, decency, and justic. The concentrating of wealth in the hands of a tiny minority of mostly idle, inbred children of past generations of capitalists is a culture-destroying concept. At the beginning of the 21st Century, more than half of the wealthiest people in the country have inherited their wealth. The richest 1% own more of the country's treasure than does the bottom 95%. One of the prime reasons the United States was created was to escape the contamination and corruption of Europe's class system. Today, we are infected by exactly the class segregation and privledge the country was created to escape. Again, no one should be surprised.

Many of the folks who trust in blind faith that "market magic" will create a just society also believe in a plethoria of superstitions. “The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason,” so said Ben Franklin. Imagining that capitalism will, someday, reverse its greedy, destructive path is an act of faith that defies reason. John Keynes decimated that argument with sound analysis, "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone." That statement stands and the primary reason that Keynesian Economics are reviled by the Faux News crowd. It highlights their innate venality and holds it to the light of reason and justice. Corporations are, by nature, psychopathic and corrosive to democracy, justice, and the social and physical environment. Corporations are a core feature of capitalism. The existence of corporations, alone, is reason to distrust capitalism. Like corporations, inherited wealth and power has a long history of contaminating the societies where inheritance determines success. The "great cultures" of history have all fallen because they decided that luck of birth rather than sweat of achievement was the better contribution to society.

In my life, the worst people I've ever met have been corporate directors, VPs, and CEO's-and-CE-whatevers. I've sat in a room with a group of these psychos while they argued about the effects of notifying patients of the possible life-threatening danger their implanted medical devices presented. No, the execs weren't worried about the patients. They were worried about the effect notification would have on their stock options. No, they weren't "a few bad apples. They were typical of the sort of person who floats to the top of the corporate toilet bowl in every corporation in the world. The "wrong side of the tracks" is a phrase that is supposed to describe the poor side of town, but if it were used to describe where the worst characters in a community live it would always point to the wealthy.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Americans have fallen for the fantasy that capitalism has a moral superiority over socialism. “Under capitalism man exploits man; under socialism the reverse is true.” Fran Lebowitz summed up the great East-West battle, "In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy." The only thing that matters is democracy and anything that opposes democracy is the enemy of the people. Suck on that.

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