Tuesday, September 10, 2019

They're Scared

It's time, Chris Hedges writes, to take the sugar coating off capitalism:

Capitalists seek to maximize profits and reduce the cost of labor. This sums up capitalism at its core. It is defined by these immutable objectives. It is not about democracy. It is not, as has been claimed, about wealth creation for the working class. It has nothing to do with freedom. Those capitalists, especially in corporations, who are not able to increase profits and decrease the cost of labor, through layoffs, cutting wages, destroying unions, offshoring, outsourcing or automating jobs, are replaced. Personal ethics are irrelevant. Capitalists are about acquisition and exploitation.
If maximizing profit means turning the oceans into dead zones, filling the atmosphere with carbon emissions and toxins that render the climate unfit for humans, pumping chemicals and waste into the soil, water, air and food supply that ensure that cancer is an epidemic, buying off elected officials and judges to serve the exclusive interests of capital and privatizing social services, including health care, transportation, education and public utilities, to gouge the public, that is the price of business. If reducing the cost of labor means forcing workers to remain unorganized and abolishing work, health and safety regulations, if it means moving industry overseas where foreign workers toil like 19th-century serfs, if it means suppressing wages at home to force an impoverished population into debt peonage, that is the price of business.

It's been obvious for some time now that the price of business is not worth paying. The serfs know they've been conned. And capitalists are running scared:

It is about the capitalists running scared. They know the reigning ideology of neoliberalism no longer has any credibility. Its lies have been exposed. They know the ruling institutions, including the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, are dysfunctional and despised. They know the media, Wall Street and the big banks are distrusted and hated. They know the criminal justice system, which criminalizes poverty and legalizes corporate fraud, is a sham. They know social mobility is, in effect, nonexistent. And, most importantly, they know that the financial system, built on the scaffolding of trillions lent to them by the government at marginal interest rates, is not sustainable and will trigger another recession, if not a depression. They also know they are to blame.

And so they are triggering a full court press:

The capitalists are determined to protect their wealth. They are determined, and probably able, to block left-leaning candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders from obtaining the Democratic nomination for president. But they are also aware that politicians such as Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden who have spent their careers serving corporate power are harder and harder to sell to the electorate. The mendacity and hypocrisy of the Democratic Party are evident in the presidency of Barack Obama, who ran as an outsider and reformer in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown. Obama—whom Cornel West called “a black mascot for Wall Street”—callously betrayed the party’s base. 

Donald Trump is  a capitalist who merely told the betrayed what they wanted to hear. He never had any intention of acting on what he said.


Anonymous said...

So if Tariff Man is embodiment of capitalism, that means free-trade globalization is the embodiment of socialism.

Makes sense. Ever since Nixon went to China to begin the process, the once-democratic West has become a lot more like the oligarchal East.

Have no fear. Our benevolent leaders will save us from the evils of capitalism! Just need to get Trump out of the way!


e.a.f. said...

I don't think American voters are going to care. Saunders may well once again destroy the Democrats and their ability to pull out more people to vote. those who believe Trump's lies will continue to do so. Capitalism is alive and well in the U.S.A. Of course they are having a by election, today, so we shall see. If the Republicans win, I wouldn't even bet a Democrat wins. It was interesting though to read, 12 former Ambassadors have lined up with Mayor Pete.

The Mound of Sound said...

John Kenneth Galbraith dealt with this in his 1958 classic, "The Affluent Society." He documented that capitalism strives to keep labour to 'near poverty' wages - just enough to allow cheap labour to continue supplying capital's needs. Now the book is available free in PDF format.


Owen Gray said...

I wish it were so, CC. The capitalists know what -- and who -- to buy.

Owen Gray said...

I read Mayor Pete is doing better, e.a.f. But he still has a long way to go.

Owen Gray said...

I read the book decades ago, Mound. It still seems absolutely relevant.

John B. said...

They've got all the cards and we don't even know how many are in the deck.

Owen Gray said...

They've worked very hard, John, to ensure that they never have to put all their cards on the table.