Global capitalism is the 800-pound gorilla. The twin ecological and economic crises, militarism, the rise of the surveillance state, and a dysfunctional political system can all be traced to its normal operations.
It's left to us as a society to think about what the real character of the system is...... "
America's new moral imperative
usury based profit from others misery, making others misfortune free game to line pockets. Instead of taking care of one another capitalism just takes and if they will not give it, bomb them.
"The twin ecological and economic crises, militarism, the rise of the surveillance state, and a dysfunctional political system can all be traced to [global capitalism's] normal operations."
This succinct and inarguable statement exists in a discursive universe beyond the ideology that dominates 99.9% of Western screens and newsprint. It's a totally unintelligible, heretical sentence from the perspective of David Brooks, Rachel Maddow, Bernie Sanders et al. The "political class," the whole revue of talking heads, corporate-owned politicians, corporate-owned journalists, etc. live in a world where the truth of the above is simply unacknowledged. I agree with the author that, theoretically, solutions will have to come from mass movements, but it is extremely unlikely that this will happen, precisely because such a simple, structural analysis as the one presented here just cannot penetrate the realm of conventional knowledge. Our situation is not difficult to understand from outside the "common sense" of the Western meme-o-sphere. Capitalism is not quantum physics - it's all pretty straightforward.
You will never see an unapologetic, intelligent anti-capitalist on TV breaking this down for everyone, and so the "national conversation" will continue without the parsimony of your basic Marxian categories - for example, because the concept "ruling class" is a phantom in the West, especially the U.S., the author (and so many other columnists like him) is forced to try and persuade us that there is such a thing with recent wealth stats. The definitely existent (and thriving) ruling class has a huge rhetorical head start, having effectively retarded class consciousness in the U.S. in the 70 years since WWII.
Anyway - great article, and specifically, what a great lead paragraph. Too bad so many smart people are ultimately really stupid.
I have to wonder if you read the article based on your comment. This is not about "America." The problem is that of global capital in relatively few hands. And since what Big Capital is doing leaves out the average American, the plight and plunder are in the hands of that same financially empowered few.
"instead of taking care of one another capitalism just takes ..."
What is that supposed to mean?
Who is behind capitalism? Who sets up a system? If you answer, "The little people" than you have a distorted view of history.
For centuries, slaves/serfs/workers have fought for basic benefits and since there have always been (at least since the onset of patriarchy) more serfs than there were nobles, institutionalized systems of control--using courts, armed gendarmes, financial carrots and sticks, as well as religious forms of terrorism (the belief in sin, hell, and eternal damnation) have been held in place to control, contain, and direct the masses.
It's refreshing to encounter an intelligently written comment. Nice job. I would add one challenge to your stance, however, that you haven't considered: the role about to be played by the dissolution of much of the natural world along with long relied-upon harvest seasons and rainfall patterns. It will become inordinately difficult for centralized powers to sustain their control over the masses as disruptions to "the grid," the flow of oil, and the growing of food become the new norms.
It's been close to 98 degrees where I live (North Florida) for about a week and there is no end to this insane heat in sight. Typically, temperatures don't sit in the 90's (and then it's usually the lower 90's) until late July-August.
Add in the floods that just impacted Texas with a tropical system now headed there, the recent synchronous awakening of numerous volcanoes, the frequency of massive storms and cyclones, and so much else that is "out of joint."
Hunger is going to spread and barter will take the place of organized capitalism in community after community. It's no accident that the elites have used the past 30 years to advance weapons sales rather than things like water desalination plants. They WANT people to kill each other when the going gets rough as it must... due to so much cultivation of war and ecocide when a very different Life Design could have been gradually put into place instead of the Hell that's been imported to Earth.
Well, in a very important way, the article is all about the USA. The USA dominates global capital, the USA dictates global trade parameters. the USA dictates war all over the globe, except where the local nations are capable of pushing them out and keeping them out, the USA is now preventing as much as possible the world from dealing effectively with climate change and the gross displacement of peoples due to USA militarism all over Asia and Africa, and it continues in places like Mexico and Latin America. Most of the "plight and plunder" is directly legislated/enabled by the US Congress, and aggressively sought after by US Presidents of both major modern neo-con political parties.
It is a very neo-con game they all play. All the time. They do nothing else.
A number of other nations understand what Americans can't grasp. We've been stuck in a long era of middle class elitism, rather than legitimately addressing the issues that are wiping it out. Our own history shows how and why it's impossible to save/rebuild the middle class without shoring up the poor, putting rungs back on the proverbial ladder out of poverty. We won't do that. I'm not sure if our better-off can even see that what the rich are now doing to the middle class is simply what the middle class already did to the poor. This is the neoliberal agenda to which Americans cling.
The solutions to our deterioration aren't terribly complex. Look back to see how we reached this point. From FDR to Reagan, the US had implemented a range of policies and programs that took the country to its height of wealth and productivity. With Reagan, we decided to reverse course, doing just the opposite. Results: When Reagan was first elected, launching the long campaign against the poor, the overall quality of life in the US was rated at #1. By the time Obama was elected, this had already plunged to #43, and we can no longer adequately compete in the modern world market.
It's at least my impression that the era of US domination of global capital is nearing the end. Most of America's wealth has been successfully concentrated among a tiny segment of the population, and today, they invest their money in foreign countries. I get the impression that the only ones who still see the US as the Big Dog are Americans.
I'm glad to see that Farbod felt no need to attach some superfluous adjective, such as "corporate" or "unregulated", to "capitalism".
The disease is inherent in the core of the system, not in some supposedly aberrant manifestation. Profit and competition create the conditions for exploitation.
Even positing the existence of some theoretical "benign intent", those factors force actors toward an unjust society, which can only be ameliorated to some degree, but never made fair.
If the goal of an economy is to ensure the dignity of every life, cooperation and communality must be at its heart.
And, unlike capitalism, it would have one.
"Our own history shows how and why it's impossible to save/rebuild the middle class without shoring up the poor"
Can you define "middle class" in the context of your discussion? If this amorphous "middle class" needs "saving" or "rebuilding" they they probably are not "middle class" anymore, they are "poor" - so you work to empower the poor, and leave it with that. In the USA, the word "middle class" is laden with classist, privilege-ist and racist baggage. Better that we discard the phrase altogether except as a specific economic-statistical term.
It's impossible to talk with DHFabian. S/he only plays one song.
“Complaining solves nothing but creative problem solving amongst people with a common focus will produce solutions.”
― Auliq Ice