I think generally speaking, capitalism is a system tied to the quest for profit with an asymmetric relation of power between bosses and workers. Its very logic, tied to profits, with hierarchy’s at the work place. Its very logic, tends to lean toward the most part wealth inequality, that in the end is usually unjustified.
So I tend to be a critic of capitalism across the board, just like i’m a critic of imperialism, white-supremacy, male-supremacy, anti-semitism, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim sensibility, and I’m very suspicious actually of various vague reforms of nationalism that tend to be chauvinistic, that think that somehow only a human being within national borders has value, and those outside have no value or much less value.
But because we live in a moment in which capitalism is so ubiquitous, it is so hegemonic, it is leading toward its own internal collapse, there’s no doubt about that given the ecological catastrophe, but we still got a way to go, and we still have to fight day in and day out. Even when the reforms are not enough, the reforms do make a difference, because every individual, ought to be viewed as being precious. But, I think in the end we’re gonna need some fundamental transformation of a capitalist and imperialist world, yes."
Dr. Cornel West on Racism, Inequality, & American Empire
"Here is how the internship scam works. It’s not about a “skills” gap. It’s about a morality gap.
1) Make higher education worthless by redefining “skill” as a specific corporate contribution. Tell young people they have no skills.
2) With “skill” irrelevant, require experience. Make internship sole path to experience. Make internships unpaid, locking out all but rich.
3) End on the job training for entry level jobs. Educated told skills are irrelevant. Uneducated told they have no way to obtain skills.
4) As wealthy progress on professional career path, middle and lower class youth take service jobs to pay off massive educational debt.
5) Make these part-time jobs not “count” on resume. Hire on prestige, not skill or education. Punish those who need to work to survive.
6) Punish young people who never found any kind of work the hardest. Make them untouchables — unhireable.
7) Tell wealthy people they are “privileged” to be working 40 hrs/week for free. Don’t tell them what kind of “privileged” it is.
8) Make status quo commentary written by unpaid interns or people hiring unpaid interns. They will tell you it’s your fault.
9) Young people, it is not your fault. Speak out. Fight back. Bankrupt the prestige economy."
unpaid internships are illegal and every company with an unpaid internship program should be sued into bankruptcy
People who are violently opposed to animal abuse but have zero problems with meat
To all of the self proclaimed “animal activists” who eat meat
I support free-range, humanely slaughtered meat. I am an obligate omnivore. I get sick on even the best-balanced vegetarian diet.
Furthermore, veg diets are not without their flaws. Most grains and vegetables are grown via monoculture, which is horrible for the plants, and the soil they’re grown on. Most are not organically grown, which means lots of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Plus no matter how they’re grown, when the crops are harvested, many small animals die in the machinery used for the harvesting. This is to say nothing of the wildlife that starve because their habitats were destroyed for these monoculture fields, and the bees that went away because the fields lay fallow for most of the year and there wasn’t enough for them to eat (seriously, watch “Queen of the Sun” sometime—it’s on Netflix right now if you have it).
This is not to say that we shouldn’t fight factory farming and sustainable grazing (as opposed to “corn fed everything”). But as with so many complicated issues, there’s more than just the black and white, hardline, “this is right, this is wrong” viewpoint.
If you eat vegetarian and don’t think about the endlessly abused migrant workers who picked your food, the corporations that grossly injure people, animals, the environment, hell, whole governments to make a buck… if you think ‘no animals were harmed in the making of this corn-based food product’, I have no time for you.
Bolding the above for truth. Unless you’re eating exclusively foods you grew yourself in your back garden or are able to buy everything direct from an ethical source, which not everyone is able to do, then chances are that someone, somewhere along the line is getting hurt. Migrant workers are treated just as badly as, if not worse than, farm animals, by big corporations and local suppliers both. If you care about the abuse of animals, but not the abuse of people? Then we have a problem.
It also says everything to me when folks go at the consumers rather than the agricorps as the source of the problems. The idea that people are supposed to SHOP their way out of the problems of capitalism… Yeah. Ok.
MLK vs “right to work” laws.
Why Whites Hate Affirmative Action
Lack of knowledge on the actual policies. Very few people actually understand the original executive orders, subsequent judicial decisions and legislation beyond sound bites via “news” that is insistent upon painting this as “taking stuff” from Whites for Black people (as if it is “just” about Black people). Honesty, how many White people have reviewed the actual history of why this is needed? It’s almost as rare to find as anyone who calls themselves “patriotic” who has actually read the Constitution or a Christian who has read the Bible. Media soundbites shaped by bigotry (in a White supremacist capitalist patriarchal society) absorbed by many Whites whose life ideologies have been shaped by bigotry is not going to produce the nuance and thought necessary to understand affirmative action. (Even so, these two simple, non in-depth cartoons explain this almost as well as the complex legalese: 1 and 2.)
Anti-intellectualism. Piggybacking on the first point, the current culture of anti-intellectualism doesn’t encourage most White people (and Americans at large) to actually investigate things they are “for” or “against.” It’s much simpler to decide to be “for” anything shaped by a legacy of White supremacy and White privilege and against anything that appears to be contrary to the former. Whites are used to being a “baseline,” the “norm,” or not considered a group at all, but those whom other groups are compared to. Sociopolitically, many Whites are having a “day of reckoning” moment by even being classified as a “group,” or a “race” as Tom Scocca pointed out so well in a recent article about Romney’s overwhelming support from Whites. These factors contribute to the resistance to affirmative action.
Ahistorical views on race. If a White person takes the “why isn’t there a White history month” and “why isn’t there a White Entertainment Television station” stances on Whites and the media, it can be safely assumed that they are either uneducated or being willfully ignorant about the role of race in America and why certain spaces exist for Black people amidst the media, public discourse and culture itself. By pretending that the tide of history has no racial element, they can then infer that if everyone “is equal” (as if being equal means being treated equally) Black people are “unfairly” getting “goodies” through affirmative action. This also ignores the fact that even with said theoretical ”goodies,” unemployment, health care, finances, real estate, and more is markedly worse for Black people (and other people of colour) versus White. The latter is written off as Black “character failures” in the ever so common victim blaming ideologies such as American “exceptionalism” and even “patriotism” at times. This is where LIES about “poverty culture” come about as a way to praise greed, wealth and Whiteness and demonize suffering, poverty and Blackness.
The concept of what “greatness” is. The inherent racism involved in assuming that someone White is always “more” qualified, as if being White is a skill itself, is common in everything from college admissions to employment applications. The idea is that some “stupid” minority “stole” a slot from the perfect White knight on a horse who deserved things because he “worked” for them prevails. Further, the idea that perhaps a series of advantages afforded by White privilege is “hard work” would be even more humorous if it wasn’t despicable. Said privileges often place Whites ahead in spaces by sheer virtue of the luxury of Whiteness, not any actual work. The myth of meritocracy is a plague on the American psyche. (Christopher Hayes wrote about this oh too well in his book Twilight Of The Elites - America After Meritocracy. Also, I recently read a fascinating study about the REALITY of financial aid versus the myth that “stupid” minorities “take all of the college monies,” and other assorted lies.)
A zero/sum view of racism. Ultimately, many Whites feel that any joy, success or progress in Black life means misery, failure and regression in White life. Period. This tunnel vision view is rooted in racism and fear. Research has revealed that many cisgender heterosexual White men feel like the “real” victims in America. Even if they are victims, would that not be at the hands of men just like them, except of a higher social class? Not to them. Racist social narratives involve the worship of “job creators” (the same ones who fire these men) as heroes because after all, they share Whiteness even if they don’t share class, status or cash. Other research has revealed that while some Whites view past times (during and pre-Civil Rights era) as a time more racist against Blacks, they view today as “more racist” against Whites. Of course this is false and has more to do with the idea of some Black people not suffering and Barack Obama’s existence more than any in-depth study of how race is a primary factor to consider when examining socioeconomic status. The enlightened exceptionalism involved in some who even choose to praise Oprah or Beyonce or LeBron James is what allows them to pretend that life for the average and for most Black people has dramatically changed, when for many, it has not. Claims of “reverse racism,” which doesn’t exist, are more common now than ever.
People who benefit from affirmative action also want it destroyed. While more than anyone else, White women have benefited from affirmative action, many of them stand with White men against affirmative action while simultaneously benefiting from it. Most people now know the name Abigail Fisher and know it well. Further, many older Black people (primarily men from what I’ve seen) want it dismantled despite the fact they benefited from it in the past. They clearly knew that in their time especially, being qualified was not enough. Assumed inferiority blocked their way.
"… ‘extreme capitalism’: the obsessive, uncritical penetration of the concept of the market into every aspect of American life, and the attempt to drive out every other institution, including law, art, culture, public education, Social Security, unions, community, you name it. It is the conflation of markets with populism, with democracy, with diversity, with liberty, and with choice—-and so the denial of any form of choice that imposes limits on the market. More than that, it is the elimination of these separate concepts from our political discourse, so that we find ourselves looking to the stock market to fund retirement, college education, health care, and having forgotten that in other wealthy and developed societies these are rights, not the contingent outcomes of speculative games."
James K. Galbraith (via wretchedoftheearth)
8 Ways America is Headed Back to the Robber-Baron Gilded Age
July 05, 2012
We are recreating the Gilded Age, a period when corporations ruled this nation, buying politicians, using violence against unions and engaging in open corruption.
1. Unregulated Corporate Capitalism Creates Economic Collapse
In the late 19th century, corrupt railroad capitalists created the Panic of 1873 and Panic of 1893 through lying about their business activities, buying off politicians and siphoning off capital into their own pockets. Railroad corporations set up phony corporations that allowed them to embezzle money from the railroad into their bank accounts. When exposed, the entire economy collapsed as banks failed around the country. The Panic of 1893 lasted five years, created 25% unemployment, and was the worst economic crisis in American history before the Great Depression.
In the early 21st century, the poorly regulated financial industry plunged the nation into the longest economic downturn since the Depression. Like in the Gilded Age, none of the culprits have served a day in prison.
2. Union Busting
In the Gilded Age, business used the power of the state to crush labor unions. President Hayes called in the Army to break the Great Railroad Strike of 1877; President Cleveland did the same against the Pullman strikers in 1894.
Today’s corporations don’t have to use such blunt force to destroy unions, but like in the past, they convince the government to do their bidding. Whether it is holding up FAA renewal in order to make it harder for airline employees to unionize, Republican members of the National Labor Relations Board leaking material on cases to Republican insiders, or governors Scott Walker and John Kasich seeking to bust their states’ public sector unions, not since before the Great Depression has the government attacked unions with such force.
3. Income Inequality
Today, we have the highest levels of income inequality since the 1920s and the gap is widening to late 19th century levels with great speed. In those days, individuals like John D. Rockefeller had more money than the federal government, while the majority of Americans lived in squalor, poverty and disease.
In the Progressive Era, we started creating laws like the federal income tax, child labor laws and workers’ compensation to begin giving workers a fair share of the pie. For decades, labor fought to increase their share and by the 1970s, had turned much of the working class into the middle class. Today, that middle class is under attack by a new generation of plutocrats who wish to recreate the massive fortunes of the Gilded Age.
4. Open Purchase of Elections
In 1890, copper magnate William Clark paid Montana lawmakers $140,000 to elect him to the U.S. Senate. While most plutocrats did not share Clark’s interest in being politicians, they ensured their lackeys would serve in office, often by offering corporate stock to politicians. Disgusted by this corruption, America in the Progressive Era of the early 20th century created a number of reforms, including the 17th Amendment that created direct elections of senators, as well as a 1912 Montana state law limiting corporate expenditures in politics.
5. Supreme Court Partisanship
In the Gilded Age, the Supreme Court interpreted laws not as to the intent of the lawmakers, but to promote business interests. It refused to enforce the 14th Amendment to stop segregation, but it did create the idea that a corporation was a person with rights. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 was intended to moderate monopolies; the Supreme Court only enforced it against unions since organized labor “unfairly restrained trade.”
Today’s Supreme Court has resorted to this aggressively partisan stance. The Court is fine with the open flouting of the 4th Amendment, allowing strip searches of middle-school girls if they’re suspected to be carrying drugs, but creates a grotesque expansion of the 14th Amendment in the Citizens United decision. Meanwhile, Antonin Scalia just took the opportunity in a Supreme Court dissent to lambast his colleagues for striking down much of the Arizona anti-immigration law by approvingly citing 19th-century laws in the South that limited the movement of African Americans.
6. Violations of Civil Liberties
In the late 19th century, civil and military authorities looked down upon protesting citizens. Widespread violations of civil liberties took place when Americans protested for almost any reasons, whether it was labor unions, political gatherings in Washington, D.C., or African Americans organizing to protect themselves from white supremacists. Police shot strikers and thugs and mobs murdered organizers.
Today we are seeing a growing recreation of this society with no respect for civil liberties. The use of police violence against Occupy protesters, like the pepper-spraying of nonviolent activists at the University of California-Davis did spawn some outrage. But in the aftermath of the PATRIOT Act, the authorities have tremendous power to suppress protest and are not afraid to use it against peaceful citizens.
7. Voter Repression
The Gilded Age saw the rolling back of Reconstruction, with black people unable to vote in the South due to the grandfather clause, poll taxes, literacy tests, and threat of violence. Conservative extremists have chafed at black people voting ever since the civil rights movement ended segregation.
Today, voter ID laws and voter roll-purging seek to limit black voting again. Florida Governor Rick Scott hopes to purge enough black people from the voting rolls to swing the Sunshine State to Mitt Romney this fall, while a lawmaker in Pennsylvania openly said the Keystone State’s recently passed voter ID law would do the same. Even more shocking, the recently released Texas Republican Party platform has a plank calling for the repeal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, passed in the wake of police beatings of civil rights protestors in Selma, Alabama.
8. Anti-Immigration Fervor
In the Gilded Age, Americans feared the millions of people coming from eastern and southern Europe, the Middle East and Asia to work in the nation’s growing economy. Fearing these immigrants would never assimilate, Americans looked to bar their entry. Beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and continuing through the Immigration Act of 1924, the country slowly closed its doors to the world’s tired and hungry.
Today’s immigrants face an increasingly militarized border, states like Arizona trying to usurp federal immigration policy, and increased numbers of deportations. Conservatives fear the changes Latinos could bring to the United States and talk about English-only laws and the evils of bilingual education. They also recognize the likelihood of Latinos voting for the Democratic Party in coming decades and thus use the same kind of voter repression strategies that target black voters.
(Source: , via suckmesleezi)
Above all, capitalism wastes human life. The U.S. spends billions to warehouse 2 million people—many of them young Black and Latino men—in overcrowded prisons. It provides sub-par education to millions of poor students, sending a message that their lives will amount to nothing.
Are people homeless in America because there’s a shortage of homes? And if that’s the case, is there a shortage of homes because we don’t have the concrete, the wood and the steel to build them?
The truth is that under capitalism, there’s no incentive to build low-cost housing for the homeless—because it isn’t profitable to do so.
The same goes for the more than 800 million people in the world who go hungry. It isn’t profitable to feed them. So food is stockpiled or destroyed rather than distributed to them."
CAPITALISM’S BIG LIES
1. Competition generates jobs. Right?
WRONG! Competition may initially create jobs but leads inevitably to over-production of the same commodities or over-provision of the same services by competing companies, resulting in takeovers, redundancies or export of jobs to countries providing cheaper labour. This is what is casually accepted as ‘the economic cycle’.
2. Competition offers greater choice and diversity. Right?
WRONG! Everyone knows that the multiplication of television channels just creates more of the same. Similarly competition among manufacturers of cars and most other commodities leads not to greater diversity but to greater standardisation. That is why vast sums of money need to be wasted on ludicrous advertising – to create a grand illusion of distinctiveness between virtually identical products and services. ‘Brand identity’ replaces true diversity and choice.
3. Competition results in cost-efficiency. Right?
WRONG! The pursuit of profit and low-cost production results in the greatest imaginable wastage of natural resources and human potentials. For example the production of one ounce of gold produces thirty tons of toxic waste and depends on labour so cheap it is a form of slavery – thus also wasting the productive human potentials of every worker involved.
4. Capitalism can create full-employment. Right?
WRONG! Capitalism can only ever create anything near full-employment by massively under-employing the potential skills of its employees – instead employing ever-more workers in exportable, low-skill, low-paid work – and employing even university graduates in ‘McJobs’, call-centres and the like. And when capitalism is in crisis the first thing it slashes is jobs – except those of corporate bosses.
5. Capitalism protects women’s rights and the family. Right?
Wrong! An economy such as America’s, in which millions of mothers have to leave their children alone and travel often long distances to do two or more minimum-wage shift jobs – and still not afford decent housing or even medical care – is hardly ‘family friendly’. Protecting ‘women’s rights’ and the family means protecting the right of women to be minimum-wage slaves.
6. Capitalism values the individual. Right?
Wrong! Capitalism buys the individual, and values them according to their market value alone. What made capitalism different from earlier forms of market economy is that people don’t sell products they make themselves, they sell themselves as employees – they sell their bodies, brains and time to be ‘employed’ as instructed by their employer. Capitalism is economic prostitution of the individual.
7. Capitalist societies are mostly democratic. Right?
Wrong! The most politically powerful and important institutions in capitalist states – and the ones in which most people lead their lives – are private companies in which there is no democracy, no elections of any sort and rule is principally by management decree – it is determined by financiers and corporate shareholders.
8. Capitalism could reduce its energy needs and cope with ecological problems with the right will. Right?
WRONG! Firstly, no gas, oil or nuclear energy corporations would ever tolerate losing their profits to community groups or towns that decided to declare energy independence – to go ‘off-grid’ and generate energy from their own wind generators, solar, wave or waste-generated energy sources. Secondly, capitalism relies on increasing economic growth for its own sake – irrespective of the waste produced by industrial production and over-production. Thirdly, the greed for short term financial gain from exploiting natural resources will lead inevitably the total devastation of the oceans, forests, water supplies and farming land of the world.
9. Capitalism means a free trade and a free market. Right?
WRONG! Capitalism just can’t cope with global free trade, and ‘globalisation’ is the biggest attempt to restrict it – for example by imposing unfair trading agreements and by subsidised agriculture which restrict imports from and impoverishes developing countries. Capitalism certainly can’t cope with a global ‘free market’ economy – for that would mean free movement not only of capital but free movement of labour (‘immigration’) across countries and continents. Not even the European Union can allow a free market – ever tried getting low-cost mortgages or loans from Germany or lower-cost cars from Europe?
10. Capitalist societies are free societies. Right?
WRONG! Capitalism forces individuals to sell their time to their employers. Freedom means being free to use one’s time to engage in freely chosen creative activity that fulfils an individual’s unique potentials and allows them to contribute to society through them. But the only types of productive, creative activity or work allowed in capitalism are those with market value in the creation of profit for employers. Education in capitalism does not cultivate each individual’s gifts so that it can transform them into a valuable contribution to society. Instead its focus is only on skills with a market value in the creation of profit. The capitalist press and media are no more ‘free’ than those in so-called totalitarian societies, all disseminating the same ‘news’ and ‘issues’ and never questioning the ‘Big Lies’ which shape how they are analysed and interpreted.
11. Capitalism is wealth creating. Right?
WRONG! Not only is more than 90% of the wealth of capitalist economies owned by less than 10% of the population, but is gained by creating general time-poverty and by exploitation of low-wage labour, both here and in developing countries. The type of labour that has the market value to create most monetary wealth tends to be of a purely self-serving, calculative or mind-numbing type that impoverishes the soul and distorts, demeans or denies time for human relationships. Wealth in capitalism is a ‘Faustian’ bargain – selling all richness of soul to the Devil in order to attain material gain. Yet throughout the ‘boom years’ of the Western capitalist economies the income of the majority effectively fell by 30% - except for the richest 10% of the population.
12. Markets are needed to know what people want. Right?
WRONG! How about just asking them? Today’s information technology provides the perfect means of finding out what sorts of products people want, in what variety, with what new features or changes, and at what sort of prices. Markets only offer them ranges of products to choose from over which they have no democratic choice. Worse still, it uses advertising to make them think they can fulfil their deepest spiritual needs by buying material commodities.
13. National governments depend on taxes or borrowing from banks to finance public expenditure. Right?
WRONG! This is one of the biggest lies of all. National governments could, as Lincoln attempted to do, issue their own money, interest-free, to pay for public expenditure – were it not for the fact that they are effectively puppets of international banks and banking cartels, and forever afraid of upsetting what they call ‘the financial markets’.
14. National governments accumulate financial deficits through overspending on public services and investment. Right?
WRONG! This is part of the same Big Lie. Financial deficits arise principally from ever-increasing debts to the private banking sector, a problem which could be overcome by nationalising the banks, re-establishing control of the nation’s money supply and funding industry itself directly.
The Super Rich Who Claim No Country
The more money you have, the more rootless you become because everything is possible.
There is a growing class of wealth in the world whose citizenship is completely irrelevant to them. All they care about is hoarding more and more wealth no matter how much they already have. It’s kind of scary to think about the potential consequences of this kind of concentrated wealth in the world. I am very supportive of capital controls to prevent wealth from leaving the country not unlike Australia.
For me it’s simple – America is the world’s largest economy…if you want to do business here (MAKE MONEY HERE) – you are going to need some skin in the game and that means paying taxes. So – if you’re a citizen of Singapore and decide to try to make money in America…we welcome your investments into America….but it’s going to cost you to play.
Other Words brings us this:
But the affluent who’ve formally renounced their citizenship comprise just a tiny share of what theFinancial Timeshas labeledthe “stateless super rich.” These uber-wealthy folks shy from the notoriety of citizenship spurned. They just live their lives as if they have no nation to call their own.
Just how many potential stateless super rich are currently roaming the world? Late last year, the Singapore-based Wealth-X consulting firm put the overall global number of people worth at least $500 million at about 4,650. These super rich together hold an estimated $6.25 trillion in assets.
Felix Salmon adds this – article HERE:
There’s a corrosive class of global plutocrats, living by choice in tax havens like Singapore or Switzerland, and paying vastly less in taxes than Mitt Romney or any US billionaire. If you’re not an American citizen, and you become incredibly wealthy, there’s a good chance that you will choose to become a tax exile — thereby depriving your home country of the income taxes it should expect to be able to raise from its richest citizens.
It’s a country-of-residence tax arbitrage which makes the ultra-rich feel no civic duty at all to their countries. And somehow the US has managed to avoid that problem: American billionaires, as a rule, remain American billionaires, as do their children and their children’s children. They — along with the Chinese — are pretty much the only billionaires in the world who don’t live a stateless existence. And even the Chinese ultra-rich are rapidly breaking free of their home country.
But with all of that – these hoarders of wealth really aren’t happier than so many others with much less in means. The Atlantic writes about a survey taken by the extremely wealthy – article HERE:
The respondents turn out to be a generally dissatisfied lot, whose money has contributed to deep anxieties involving love, work, and family. Indeed, they are frequently dissatisfied even with their sizable fortunes. Most of them still do not consider themselves financially secure; for that, they say, they would require on average one-quarter more wealth than they currently possess. (Remember: this is a population with assets in the tens of millions of dollars and above.) One respondent, the heir to an enormous fortune, says that what matters most to him is his Christianity, and that his greatest aspiration is “to love the Lord, my family, and my friends.” He also reports that he wouldn’t feel financially secure until he had $1 billion in the bank.
It’s true— the International Bourgeoisie has taken root in us all.