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Alternatives to Killing People for the Economy

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/16/alternatives-killing-people-economy

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Cynthia Kaufman writes about Elon Musk:

“When he defied the shut down and opened the factory in defiance of the county health officials, Elon Musk claimed to want to be free from the tyranny of the government. And yet his businesses have received $5 billion in government subsidies.”

That needs to sink in with everyone, repeated loudly and often: 5 billion dollars of subsidies to Elon Musk.

Anyone here feel like buying a Tesla? (even if I did, I can’t afford one).

She writes in the conclusion (my bold):

“There is plenty of money and wealth in our society to meet all of our needs while staying within the ecological limits of the planet. There is a fairly clear and well proven path to building that economy. The hard part is developing the political will to get us there.”

That is a neutral, potentially misleading term in my opinion. It has been tossed out regularly over the years as things deteriorate and many blame lack of “political will”.

“Political will” needs to be clearly defined. For me it falls in with the similar overly used phrase---- “keeping politicians feet to the fire”. And we know how that is turning out: we are getting burned literally and figuratively.

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Socialism for the 1% - Welfare

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The commercial class brought it here. The 1% kleptocrats insured it’s spread while feeding the most vulnerable of us into a veritable killing machine of FIRE Sector liquidated medical centers. Fat kids wandered NYC’s packed streets, only afraid of missing pissing green beer Saint Patty’s Day. As tens-of-thousands of eithet “asymptomatic,” deluded or desperately denial-ridden people did Museum Row, the Armory Show, Gym, Club, dance lessons, schmoozed about in the parks, bars, restaurants full of kvetching… or went to work for them on the trains? So, it’s all OUR problem, now?

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“What is good for a company’s stockholders and owners is not always the same as what is good for employees”

From the perspective of upper management and stockholders, the smaller the share of company revenue going to employees (outside of that upper management) the better.

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The economy exists to serve our needs, it isn’t a god which requires sacrificial victims.

The economy should exist to serve our needs, but it doesn’t. And it is a god on whose altar everything decent people hold sacred is being sacrificed.

Although I’m in agreement with the goals laid out here, and also with the belief that a better world is possible, I disagree that it can be achieved without the overthrow of capitalism. Who runs the United States? Us common folk? The proof of who runs it is what policies the government promotes. How many of us want tax cuts for the rich and subsidies for oil companies? Although it’s had it’s somewhat democratic moments in its history, for the past 40 years, the US has been a plutocracy – a government by and for the rich, and their corporations.

The article argues for progressive taxes used to promote social goals, but who’s going to vote to make this happen?

Capitalism is like a genie – it has immense powers. But the genie is out of the bottle. Instead of granting us wishes, we must grant its. I will grudgingly admit that capitalism can produce some cool stuff. If we could somehow put it into a bottle, so that its power were under our control, it might be okay in limited circumstances.

As it is, the wealthy rule the roost. And, the bottom line of another Piketty book, Capital, is basically that the rich will inevitably get richer and richer (and hence more and more powerful), until some catastrophe occurs. Oddly, this moment in history might be one such occasion. But at the moment I’m pretty pessimistic. There’s the potential for really changing things. But we have a population that’s been heavily propagandized for decades with pro-capitalist bullshit. I doubt the changes will be for the better.

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Holding " feet of clay to the fire " sounds more like it. Something they would do in a ceramics class for the left out. That’s 50% of America’s workforce. It’s meant to replace the old saw, " left holding the bag ", ( medical bag ) which is now empty. Like the government warehouses that held millions of PPEs, ventilators and testing kits. Sold back to China in January; or…yeah, right. Whatever, dude.
If the term " political will " was put in the proper context it would be more like " the last political will and testament " of an overheated, mostly depleted, and dying planet. There’s no way to stop it and mitigation sounds like something cowards would propose. Solutions; like masks, hand sanitizer, goggles and latex gloves are for wimps.
Americans burn themselves out, typically. This time they’re taking possibly billions with them.

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Interesting comment. Let’s say that at this point catastrophe is a necessary condition for constructive change, but definitely not a sufficient one.

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Wow…why haven’t I heard of Cynthia Kaufman before? Great article.

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I’ll speak for one earth to say follow Cynthia’s lead. She is I think national level as we speak. Alternatives abound with help, helping helpers help helping hands. Help helping hands help.
Piano forte!!!

Credit Elon Musk “1” advance: Battery
Discredit Musk for Hyperloop, single-lane highway tunnel
ludicrous nonsense and self-driving whatever bullshit.

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Now this is an economic vision I can fully embrace.

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She looks like carol from the walking dead. Great article! :+1:

Nice post, I especially like the genie metaphor. Sure if capitalism had the regulations to control it’s excessive greed and the pollution that it is totally responsible for unleashing on the land, air and water it might be tolerable for our life. But for the past six decades corporate power has focused extreme effort to deregulate any laws that help protect our planet and civil society.

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Cynthia Kaufman’s work “Getting Past Capitalism” is available to download as a PDF. Did a search on dogpile and there it is!

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You can read an excellent article by Sam Pizzigati about Elon Musk and exactly WHY he was so adamant about reopening his plant. It has to do with him surpassing Bezos’ wealth. The article’s title is “Civil Disobedience, Billionaire-Style”. Since we can’t post links, you can google it. I love Pizzigati, and he is right on the money.

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I think “the economy” as it is being used by the people demanding a premature reopening is a misnomer. What they REALLY mean is “the stock market”. We all have a stake in “the economy”, but most of us don’t have one in the “stock market”. Those that do don’t give a rap about the rest of us outside our ability to contribute to “shareholder value”.

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You’re right. Bernie would have made a dint and look what happened to him, from inside the so-called party of the left. Same thing in the UK: Corbyn was demolished by corporatists in the party of the left.

Corporate democrats are working mainly for the top capitalists, certainly not for the bottom 80%.

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