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How Capitalism Is Killing Us


#1

How Capitalism Is Killing Us

Belén Fernández

Hitchhiking through Venezuela some years ago, a friend and I availed ourselves of the novel opportunity to receive free medical care at health clinics established by late President Hugo Chavez, a much-vilified enemy of the international capitalist order.


#2

Capitalism is an out growth of our cultural story . A cultural story is what we believe about life which is passed down through the millenia .It is the story that we tell ourselves about ourselves .

This story is based on illusions ,it produces myths rather than understanding of reality .

  1. God has an agenda (Need Exists)
  2. The outcome of life is in doubt. (Failure Exists)
    3.You are seperate from God .(Disunity Exists)
  3. There is not enough . (Insufficiency Exists )

There are 10 main Illusions of humans these cultural stories have become so ingrained that we live these out completely .This ,we tell ourselves , “is just the way it is.”

From some of these myths concepts arise such as …

. Thy will be done.
. Survival al of the Fittest
. To the victor go the spoils .
. You are born in original sin.

These constructions are make believe …to move out of our primitive culture we must make a quantum leap in our understanding . We must see through the illusions of humans .

Time to Awaken The Species …Time for a new model .

It has been said “No one does anything wrong given their model of the World”.


#3

Any system, capitalist, socialist, or other can survive. If it is democratic, without bribe dependent representatives, the public can change the system as their collective needs require. Despite inherent public stupidity and until AI takes over, democracy has proven best.

If it ain’t direct, it ain’t democracy.

Cellphone voting, liquid democracy, NOW!


#4

Though ants and bees are socialist, lots of, if not most other species tend to be capitalist, you know, survival of the fittest and all that.

I think the problem is that nature sets limits on capitalism, but money makes our species different; no other species can hoard as much it seems. Too much personal wealth harms the species by upsetting a socialist-capitalist-anarchist-libertarian-green-etc. balance. It drives species to destroy all others; its own home. To become proverbial lemmings.


#5

In of itself, money is simply a store of value. The old tally sticks were interest free and represented an honest promise of redemption. Usury and the now hyper-financialized form of capitalism at play are the true evils that we experience today. One appeal of Elizabeth Warren is that she is a firm believer in regulation. Some competition gets us our iPhones, while too much ensures that we use them to disconnect from one another rather than to connect with one another (Amazon vs. calling mom). I don’t have the answers and I am sure not king, but I do try to keep myself in some semblance of balance. Oh, and I stay the hell away from the mall…


#6

Thanks WO. I’m using “reply” as a word processor, my bad. I fixed it.


#7

then our friends at Jacobin should be calling for open revolt if this is all true, and Belen’s on their board. So back it up. If you believe this to be true, call for revolt. Don’t just play around and wink nudge waiting for everyone else to do it. Put the magazine on the block and lead.

That goes for every lefty outlet at this time. Make the call.


#8

#9

I have seen a critique of the material in this article. Here are two specific critiques:

  1. Does the US spend more than the next >=5 nations in the world? The budgets are not comparable. For starters, the US pays its soldiers a lot more than other nations do. Adjusted for such things, the next country spends > half as much as the USA does, and so on.

  2. Does the US have worse health outcomes, specifically infant mortality? Again, not an apples-apples comparison. Other nations define the statistics differently. In Europe infant deaths in the first 24 hours aren’t counted and those infants never ‘existed’ for statistics purposes. In much of the world problematic pregnancies are more often aborted, thus not counted, vs. more carrying pregnancies to term in the USA.
    – What is poverty? Capitalist free-market practices have strongly reduced extreme poverty in the world just since 1980. Socialism has never done that. In fact there are many instances of ‘socialism’ making a people more impoverished. Millions of people want to immigrate to America to join our workforce, even though you claim that we have 40 million people living in poverty.

BTW, that female Cuban nurse is treated like chattel by her own government. Venezuela and other nations pay the Cuban government, which keeps most of that money, and only gives a pittance to the Cuban doctors and nurses. Since his election, new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has declared that his government will pay the Cuban doctors and nurses directly, and the Cuban government will have to collect the taxes owed. Cuba has yanked its doctors and nurses from Brazil in response.


#10

#11

One boneheaded critique of any other system besides capitalism is usually “how many people has socialism killed?”

And of course the boneheaded “journalist” asking this question never bothers to ask
“how many people has capitalism killed?”


#12

Thanks for pointing out differences in statistical tallies of child mortality. Was not aware of that.


#13

And provides a link to an article. I would dispute some of the millions the author blames capitalism for. Did capitalism cause the Great Depression, which caused WWII, which caused multi-million deaths? More likely the Great Depression and the rise of fascism was caused by left-over debris from WWI, and WWI was caused by statism, particularly in Germany. If businessmen had made the decisions there would have been no WWI.

More important, the point of the article is

“None of the above is to invalidate socialism or capitalism — in fact, it indicts something greater than both of them. What does all the blood and gore say?”
&
“The question isn’t — “which ideology killed more people?!” It’s … — when ideas become ideologies, something goes badly wrong. But what, exactly? Ideologies replace our humanity. Our free will. Our freedom to think.”
&
“When an idea becomes an ideology, and that ideology allows no room to breathe, think, rebel, dissent, what is it called? It’s called totalism. And if we really want to assign a cause to all the needless deaths in history, I’d lay that burden at the door of totalism. And yet totalism is still alive and well — the idea that an idea should become an ideology, which is the sole organizing principle of society.”


#14

Ford, GM, IBM and others made huge sums of money building the Nazi war machine. Without this capitalist motive for profit Germany would not have had access to the planes, automobiles etc and the war would have ended much sooner.
Bankers made piles of money from WW1 and WW2, as did owners of munitions plants. This profit motive is capitalism, not statism.


#15

Democracy means that can change though, if the USA wants a free health care system like those in Europe it just needs to elect a president / party who’s policy is to do that.


#16

My point is the defenders of capitalism never ever ever ever ever even ask the question “How many people has capitalism killed?”

its just thrown out there to get an emotional reaction from the viewers and to program them into believing “socialism is bad”, “capitalism is good”

there were lots of other articles that came up on the search


#17

What I have read about Ford is that it wasn’t a Nazi war machine while Ford was running some plants in Germany, and then the German government expropriated the factories to make war material, and Ford made no money from that. All of Germany’s airplanes in the war were made by German companies like Messerschmitt and Junkers.

Back in 1913 and early 1914 nobody thought there would be another war in Europe. People were prospering too well from peace and trade in goods. When WWI did start stock markets in London and New York closed for a couple of months because of the disruption in the trans-Atlantic payment system. The beginning of war was no good for the bankers, and the rest of it was no good either. For Europe, conducting the war was like throwing a generation’s worth of wealth into the furnace, both in lives, in property that was destroyed and in other opportunities to prosper that were lost.

I am currently reading this book on the topic


#18

Ford did not profit to the extent that GM/Opel did but they both reaped great rewards.

GM and the Nazis

“Opel’s friendly Nazi custodian, Luer, kept on making profits for the company during those war years. Opel produced trucks, bomber engines, land mines, torpedo detonators and other war materiel, a significant amount of it by the sweat of thousands of prisoner laborers or other coerced workers; some of those workers were tortured if they did not meet expectations. Those profits and GM’s 100 percent stock ownership were preserved by the Reich custodian, even though GM and Opel ostensibly severed ties with each other after America entered the war.”

Henry Ford is the only American mentioned in Mein Kampf, was extremely anti-Semitic and received the Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle. Henry Ford was the first American recipient of this order, an honor created in 1937 by Adolf Hitler. Ford has paid reparations for using slave labor at a plant in Cologne.

They say when the Allies stormed the beaches on D-day every vehicle they came across had GM parts, Ford tires. It is fairly easy to find this information online.


#19

" If businessmen had made the decisions there would have been no WWI."
Surely you jest!


#20

A worthwhile read, although a few statements at least should be questioned.

In escrow. Certainly no profits were repatriated during the war. Since those escrowed profits were held in German banks, and I believe all German banks failed by the end of the war, those profits you would think would have been gone under with the banks. Ditto, worth questioning the statement that GM received reparations for the allied bombing of its Opel factories. From whom?

It is a pity to historical justice that the IMT Nuremberg judges did not permit Alfried von Krupp to be substituted as a defendent for his senile father Gustav von Krupp. (Alfried was tried in a subsequent trial, and escaped the death penalty.) It is also a pity that prosecutors didn’t seek to indict other leading corporate figures.

How many German corporate figures, speaking broadly, were tried on Nazi era accusations? I know that I.G. Farben was broken up. One component of I.G. Farben, Bayer, continues to face demands that it pay more, even though supposedly what it owed was settled years ago.

The adjective ‘great’ is subjective. Certainly Ford and GM profited, otherwise they would have shut down operations in Germany. Inquiring minds want to know ‘how much did they profit’?

Henry Ford was certainly anti-Semetic. ‘Extremely’ is another one of those subjective in the eye of the beholder terms. How much so? And what was the ostensible reason Ford received that Grand Cross?

Properly speaking, those were Opel parts, etc., and by 1944 greater than 4 years since the start of the war, those plants were run by Nazi custodians for the benefit of German purposes. GM and Ford could not have ordered the factories shut down once the war began.
[What to think of GM and Ford earlier building the plants, strongly suspecting that it assisted a criminal regime, which very likely would start a major war, is a worthy subject. And the same question pops up with other situations since then, such as Dow making napalm in the 1960s.]

This whole topic needs to be accompanied by discussion of ‘What is meant by ‘capitalism’?’ and 'What is meant by alternatives to ‘capitalism’? Back in the late 1940s the most often resorted to alternative was state (government) control of industries. Actual performance of such state-owned enterprises was usually very shoddy.