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"I'm a Capitalist," Says Warren…But Why?

"I'm a Capitalist," Says Warren…But Why?

Frances Moore Lappé

My headline poses a question I struggle with.

“Capitalism” refers to an economy driven by owners of private capital, typically with the aim of bringing the highest possible return to themselves, and I am sure that is not what Senator Elizabeth Warren stands for.

I’ve also seen it called “progressive capitalism”.

But why limit ourselves to an “all or nothing system” system like ours? A corrupt, conservative capitalist system, rigged by the few for their own benefit? China suffered under conservative socialism, but flourished when it allowed progressive capitalism in the mix.

We need a system that will not allow one side to dominate, but function jointly to best advantage according to societal needs, like the Nordic Social Democracies have. At times, some things like healthcare work best socialized. And capitalist competition has its advantages sometimes too.

Bernie and Warren know this, as does AOC, those in the GND and a few other progressive Democrats. Getting there is the problem and no politician is able to address the root cause, hierarchical government, to put him or herself out of a job.

Direct Liquid Democracy

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“Capitalism” refers to an economy driven by owners of private capital, typically with the aim of bringing the highest possible return to themselves, and I am sure that is not what Senator Elizabeth Warren stands for.

Warren has made clear that what she wants (and I do, too!) is “accountable capitalism,” a market economy that works for all of us because it responds to all of us—a market that’s truly competitive and always open to newcomers. Not what we have now.

Let’s NOT repeat the mistakes of the past where FDR only regulated capitalism –
which worked for 60 or 70 years and a bit more, but the system of Capitalism is an Evil -
IT CAN’T BE REGULATED AS WE’VE JUST SEEN!!

And the description of Capitalism given in the article doesn’t really tell what it’s all about –

Capitalism is a system intended to move the wealth and natural resources from the many
to the few – and it’s done that successfully all over the world in the few hundreds years of
its existence.

Over 100 years Capitalism has created market crashes which have enriched the few
and stolen from the many – and the stock market is often used to do it.

But it is about much more than “business” – it’s about theft of nations.

CAPITALISM IS ABOUT THEFT OF NATIONS – AND THEIR NATURAL RESOURCES.

IF THEY CAN, THEY’LL ENSLAVE THE PEOPLE AND TAKE EVERYTHING THEY CAN
FROM THEM. IT’S A CRIMINAL, CORRUPT EVIL SYSTEM WHICH WILL NOT CHANGE.

And, I was just watching Elizabeth Warren confirm this as she recited what happened after
the Civil Rights movement when “red lining” became illegal in communities. Not only did
ownership of homes increase in AA communities but among all people – everyone prospered.

THEN, as Elizabeth Warren described it, the Capitalists – in this case mortgage businesses –
began to look at all of these thriving communities building wealth and decided to go after it.
That was the beginning of the foreclosure movement. They began pushing mortgages in
these prospering communities in order to steal the wealth. And they spread it from one thriving
community to another across the states. Congress didn’t want to HEAR anything about it.
As Elizabeth Warren said – “You can’t hear well when your ears are stuffed with $$$” –
And then the crashes began.

Elizabeth Warren is old enough to understand the reality of Capitalism – it’s an Evil –
it can’t be regulated or in this case “re-regulated” again. Capitalism as a system of theft
must be abolished.

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I don’t believe in ownership.
It’s a mental construct, not one based on ultimate reality .
In the future if we get there ?
Humans will be care takers and good stewards of what they have been honoured to take care off. Our bodies, our children our Earth. We have been given those not as owners but as care takers .To look after them temporarily and to pass them on.
Anything else is dysfunctional and as we now see doesn’t work .
Life functions adapts and sustains …the three principles of Life.
Humans are about to get a serious lesson in the second of those principles.
If we do not make the adaption that life is asking us to make. Life will adapt and we may not like what she does .It could be hell on Earth for us .

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The short answer? Warren is a fraud, another sheepdog herding a base sold out by the Democrats decades ago into a party whose real base is the 1%. The Democratic Party is a capitalist party and will never be anything else.

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The author indulges in Alice in Wonderland semantics.

“When I use a word ,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ ’

Capitalism and how it functions has been moreorless accurately defined since the days of the classic economists Ricardo, Adam Smith and Karl Marx. Their analysis, particularly Marx’s, have stood the test of time and despite superficial changed the core of their explanations remain.

Capitalism means a social organisation where all the means of producing wealth (mines, land, factories, transport and so on) are owned by a small section of the people. That leaves us, the working class, with nothing except our ability to work. And work we must, or else we starve. From the employer’s point of view, it is a simple proposition—more for you means less for them, and so they do all that they can to prevent any raising of your living standards.

Capitalism is an ever-expanding economy of capital accumulation. In other words, most of the profits are capitalised, i.e. reinvested in production, so that production, the stock of means of production, and the amount of capital, all tend to increase over time ( in fits and starts). The economic circuit is thus money - commodities - more money - more commodities, even more money. This is not the conscious choice of the owners of the means of production. It is something that is imposed on them as a condition for not losing their original investment. Competition with other capitalists forces them to re-nvest as much of their profits as they can afford to in keeping their means and methods of production up to date. As a result there is continuous technological innovation. Defenders of capitalism see this as one of its merits.

Under capitalism this whole process of capital accumulation and technical innovation is a disorganised, impersonal process which causes all sorts of problems—particularly on a world-scale where it is leading to the destruction of the environment. The result is global warming, climate change waste, pollution, environmental degradation and unmet needs. If human society is to be able to organize its production in a rational planned ecologically acceptable way, then it must abolish the capitalist economic mechanism of capital accumulation and gear production instead to the direct satisfaction of needs.

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Semantics is an attractive way to attack an opponent when the goal is to win a debate but a terrible way to form a consensus. We have way to many interested more in the wining part right now and way to few actually wanting to form a consensus. Does anyone think Mitch McConnell has any desire beyond his personal goals to accomplish anything? Elizabeth Warren has puzzled me for quite a while but now I get it and I find that I have been in agreement with her on an entirely new level for the last ten years.
This capitalist/socialist debate is not now nor ever will be an either or sort of thing. To seek purity and domination of one over the other would be tantamount to a total rejection of our democratic principals. We need both to run a democracy. Socialism needs the leavening of practicality to be successful and capitalism demands strong regulatory agencies to keep it in check to avoid the situation we presently suffer. We could and have done much worse then to elect Senator Warren to the office of President of the United States of America. In reality her expertise and vitality is needed if we are to come out of this without a rebellion.

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Close enough for me, and I’m a card-carrying economist, but I NEVER drank their Kool Aid, before or after I undertook formal study at age 50. I think of it this way:

The term “capital” (Latin, meaning the head or uppermost part) originally referred to “producers’ goods,” aka “plant and equipment”: human-made goods used to produce other goods, as many of us learned in Civics or Social Studies classes. It was one of the three classical resources of production along with land (interpreted as all natural resources) and labor (an undifferentiated, homogeneous amalgam of human effort, even though division of labor was already proliferating when the triad was first described).

In the late 19th century, however, economists began to discuss “capital accumulation theory,” which led quickly to the use of “capital” to mean simply “money,” the requisite entity for the purchase of physical capital. Today virtually every mention of “capital” by the talking heads, including degree-holding economists, is in the sense of “money,” mostly without their even realizing it.

Since the suffix “-ism” has long been used to mean the belief in or worship of something, “capitalism” is “money worship” with only the slightest stretch of the etymology.

And there we have it. Mainstream economics does not recognize “accountability” or “fairness” or “democracy” in any sense except for the plebiscite which as we know is easily controlled and perverted. All of that is seen merely as “government interference in markets,” even though Adam Smith recognized a role for government in setting the rules of the game, a role which was recognized far more in the breach than in the observance. THAT is the distinction between markets, which have always existed in some form since before Homo sap first walked the earth, and “capital-ISM.” “Accountable” capitalism is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

I believe Dr. Warren recognizes that, but somebody needs to explain it to her and help her to frame her policies in ways that avoid that usage without replacing it with “Socialism,” which has more meanings than there are people who identify as Socialists but still scares the bejesus out of a lot of otherwise intelligent and informed people.

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Do not miss this piece:

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Never been a fan of Wolff or his Workers Self Directed Enterprises, nor, his promotion of Mondragon.

When you come down to it Wolff wants to create a different kind of capitalism by advocating an unrealistic blueprint which would never work. He envisages that in a given factory, the workers would elect a council which would decide on the level of wages, the price of the product, the amount of profits to be re-invested, etc - a completely impractical idea of direct workers’ control of a capitalist economy.

Apologies for going into detail but what would have happened if, for example, the General Motors car factories are taken over by the workers who worked in them and if we assume a situation where theoretically, the wage labour/capital relationship operating at General Motors would have altered and become a kind of workers’ cooperative, with all the affairs of this car production unit under the control of the workers.

The market would still be operating and these workers would be selling the cars which they put together in the factories and the sale of these cars would give them an income which would enable them to live, to support their families, to buy the food, to pay the rent and the mortgage and all the other costs involved in living in a market system. They would have a lot of other costs as well. GM cars are not simply made in GM car factories. In fact, in the main, these factories are only the places of final assembly. Of all the labour required for the production of a GM are only a small proportion is supplied in these factories where the final assembly takes place. General Motors would have hundreds of sub-contractors supplying components. (You only have to think of the materials in cars—various metals such as copper, aluminium and steel, glass, paints, plastics, rubber, to realise that the different kinds of labour required for the production of a car are dispersed throughout a world wide network of productive links. You’ve got copper mining in Zambia, the mining of iron ore in Australia, the plastics pre-suppose the world oil industry, the paints, the world chemical industry, rubber from Malaysia, allocations of energy and world transport.) Car production is social production and by that we mean production organised on a world scale.

What this means for these workers in America who have taken over factories where final assembly takes place is that they are the sellers of cars but they also constitute a massive market, a market for all the worked-up materials and components which they have to buy in. These workers will be in competition with other car manufacturers—Fiat in Italy — Volkswagen in Germany — Nissan in Japan — Volvo in Sweden — Renault in France — the British, the Korean, the Malaysian car industries. So in order to maintain their livelihoods they will be in intense competition with all these other companies, trying to sell as many cars as possible and trying to capture a bigger share of the market at the expense of the capitalists and workers in other sections of the world car industry. They would have to maintain rigorous efficiency in line with the efficiency of these other companies. In any situation where their costs were disproportionately high resulting in relatively higher prices they would lose sales and there would have to economise and perhaps some workers would have to go. Where there was overproduction in relation to market capacity again there would have to be cutbacks. They could not go on incurring the accumulating costs of producing cars which they could not sell. It would then be a matter of them democratically deciding which of them is going to be out of a job.

In the circumstances where these workers have been able to control a company like GM (or any other )— and succeeded in managing for their own gain as distinct from the previous owners — they would be responding to the same economic pressures faced by the previous capitalist board of directors. They would be acting as the functionaries of capital; different personalities maybe but exactly the same economic role. We have described the mechanisms by which the capitalist structure of production maintains itself as an exclusive capitalist structure. Goods are produced throughout a world wide division of labour organised in different production units. The process through which this structure maintains itself as an exclusively capitalist structure is a process of constant economic selection. Whether or not a particular production unit can continue to exist as part of the structure is constantly tested and is determined by the economic viability of the unit. In every day terms this is matter of income against expenditure. If income exceeds expenditure then the unit can continue to form a part of the whole structure. Conversely, if expenditure exceeds income then it must disappear from the scene. “Economic democracy” enterprises would remain subject to the same competitive pressures, to keep costs down and to to maximise the difference between sales revenue and costs. The particular ways in which a production unit is organised makes no difference whatsoever to this process of economic selection. It can be the usual capitalist company, it can be a so-called workers cooperative under workers’ control. The decision-making procedures can be authoritarian or “democratic” as Richard Wolff would prefer, but it makes no difference to the fact that whatever the production unit is, in order to exist it must be economically viable. This is the process of economic selection by which the present structure of production is maintained as an exclusively capitalist structure. Capitalism is a system of production, value accumulation can as easily be managed by workers as by private capitalists or state bureaucrats.

Socialism is not just concerned with emancipating workers as workers (i.e. wealth-producers) but as human beings (i.e. as men and women). Socialism aims not to establish “workers control” but the abolition of all classes including the working class. In socialist society there would simply be people, free and equal men and women forming a classless community based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production by and in the interest of the whole people. To make decisions and exercise democratic control members of society need to set in place procedures which allow every member of society the chance to have an equal say in the way things are run, not simply at the work-place but in neighbourhoods and regions. A society where the means of production belong to everybody and run by democratic councils, that’s socialism.

Theoretical speculations such as Professor Wolff’s which relate to wages, prices, profits and taxes are ghosts from the past, as absurdly outdated as the quibbles about how many angels could dance on the point of a needle. Workers self-management of a market economy in the real world means workers self-exploitation.

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I see your point. There is no way out of greed capitalism. Our fates are sealed so we’ll just sit back and accept it, eh?

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No-body is saying we should be passive or acquiescent, Clyde. Resistance is to be welcomed, particularly organized opposition such as from labor unions

Nor am I saying that some of us, and emphasis on some, cannot find a niche corner within the market system where we can minimize our exploitation. Don’t we all want a job where we have no martinet boss standing over us, hectoring us to work harder and a job structure that let us have some input. But it won’t be an escape from wage-slavery…just the loosening of the shackles.

Let’s be realistic, we should have learned by now that it is far easier and less painful to learn facts by knowledge and reasoning than by the experience of failure which only brings despondency and despair.

Why is the likes of Richard Wolff still assuring people that cooperatives are the pathway to a new society? Why is he not demanding the end of the exchange economy which is the goal of the Marxist?

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alanjjohnston:

Never been a fan of Wolff or his Workers Self Directed Enterprises, nor, his promotion of Mondragon.

https://www.mondragon-corporation.com/en/

What’s not to like about Mondragon?

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“Thank you, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for your courage in opening this dialogue.” But isn’t the (accurate) point of the headline precisely that Warren has not opened this dialogue – that she consistently claims the mantle of “capitalism”? And, unfortunately, though I like Warren and hope to see her high in a Sanders administration, her policy proposals so far have justified her self-label as accurate. She’s telling the truth: she is typically a market tweaker, shying away from messing too hard with what big ownership and money presently are doing. Thus, she proposes stopping fossil-fuel extraction on pubic land – but Sanders also proposes, in proportion to the science on climate change’s imminence and severity, to ban fossil-fuel exports. Warren can’t really (thus far) contemplate shutting down a whole industry.

Jimmy Dore on corrupt Democrats:

Peace
Po

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My thoughts exactly. The overriding and sadly brittle centralized vision of extractive capitalism brings it full circle to an inevitable distorted form of ‘socialism’ oroboros . You cannot make this $#!t up.

Consider the unmitigated successes of Public Banks such as North Dakota

Food co-ops where $1,000 spent on local production = approximately $1, 600. in circulating value in the community.

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thanks Po for jimmying the dore - gotta keep these things open…

For decades the Democrats have fallen into the GOP’s language trap wherein the GOP creates the language that gives them leverage and weakens the opposition.

Sanders calling himself a Democratic Socialist, Warren calling herself a capitalist, and anytime any Democrat introduces or allows ist or isms into the discussion plays into the GOP’s hand.

Jim Hightower called for “a peoples capitalism,” decades ago. Yes, the socialist vs capitalist debate is annoying, but it’s not going to go away. Yes, there are purist definitions of capitalism and socialism from elites, but that’s not what’s at issue in the debate. Old people have a different view of all of this from the young, because we know the history of this debate. So we’re not surprised to hear Ted Cruz say “Bernie Sanders would be a great president. Of Sweden!” or someone who said, “I’m a Democrat, not a socialist.” We also know that the real socialist parties, though active for decades, win only tiny percentages of the vote. We need leaders who understand radical center economics and politics. Old people often don’t want to support anyone calling themselves a socialist. The real Democratic Party Farm Bill, (last remnants ended in 1996 as all Democrats turned to support a greened up Republican Farm Bill. It was a strategy to win more of the rural vote. Abandoning farmers in this way proved to be a massive failure! This farm bill is radical center. Deregulated free markets and free trade chroinically fail for farmers, so the farm bill’s market management was needed, (minimum price floors backed up by supply reductions as needed, maximum price ceilings backed up by reserve supplies to be put on the market as needed during rare price spikes. No subsidies!

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Although it may already be too late, Warren and others outside the GOP need to address issues and actions, not isms.

Democrats need to use terms like corporate welfare, earned benefits and other language not captured by the GOP propaganda machine.

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