Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/09/capitalists-are-afraid
There comes a time when propaganda (bullshit) begins to diminish in its intended purpose to soothe and bullshit the general public. And, I can’t enough how I appreciate almost anything Hedges writes.
This is a somewhat better commentary by Hedges than usual, however he overstates the “capitalists are afraid” business. The capitalist statement that Hedges alludes to is merely a PR bullshit stunt to make these people look like they might actually somehow change something for the better.
The roots of Capitalism lie in slavery. The apex of Capitalism is Fascism. The entire structure of the system is premised on theft of the commons and privatizing it. The systems so called wealth creation engine is one premised on ecosystem destruction and profiting off the misery of others through its so called “free market|” which in fact an artificial market based on artificial scarcity and monopolization.
It a disaster all around and contrary to the suggestion it somehow “natural” , the system would fail without a complicit Government that ensures it succeeds for the benefit of the few.
They are dangerous toddlers and threaten us all.
I hear what you’re saying and basically agree, however I favor capitalism. Of course the big problem is that capitalism has a huge chance of buying government and making a mockery of a decent capitalist system, i.e. socialistic capitalism. It’s going to take someone like Sanders or Warren to give us any real hope, and then likely only very modest hope.
I think this one is markedly better than the last couple of Hedges’ columns, because Hedges has come down off of his “balance” high-horse. I get cantankerous when anyone comes close to saying “The left and the right are both guilty” – which Hedges was veering towards recently. (When I hear such balance crap, I expect the writer must be preparing to appear on M$MBS.)
By contrast, this column presents a crisp, fair synopsis of how capitalism = cancer. I don’t like that word “greed” Hedges is so fond of, because I think it’s a sociological misdiagnosis.
Your typical steadlily-employed USAmerican thinks of healthcare benefits as something you work hard to earn, as a privilege which has not been earned by others. That attitude is not accurately described as greed, because what’s desired is not excessive opulence, only decent care. The problematical part of that attitude emerges from privilege. If just anyone could get decent healthcare, then there’s another effective argument that I’m just a human being, like all the other low human beings. That’s the core difficulty here, and I don’t call it greed. The word racism would do, but it’s not broad enough.
Fascists rule by fraud and force; as the fraud becomes more apparent, force will be resorted to more frequently.
Excellent comment. I would add that “capitalism” is based on the existence of a “free market”. I’m not sure we ever had a free market, but we sure as hell don’t have one now.
I really like Hedge’s article, but I think the problem is what to put in its place. Keynes said, paraphrasing, that when it comes to capitalism that we hate it, it grates on us, we increasingly don’t like it, but when we think of alternatives, it is the least flawed system. Given the environmental crisis, that can no longer be claimed. Either we ditch capitalism or we collapse. The non-market nature of the crisis, reaching the limits to growth in pollution generation and throughput and the need for comprehensive economic planning together point to the need of a different system. Also, if you think about the particular way the neoliberals have designed the international economy, the institutions that run it (the IMF, the WTO, the BIS, etc.), the deals they have created (NAFTA, CAFTA and the like), there is no way to reform those things. They are either replaced or little can be done to uplift people, lessen inequality, deal with the environmental crisis or to repair horribly damaged democracies the world over.
Candidates like Warren are utterly deluded, as they want to work within a system that has no future if we are to have a future. Capitalism is a historical system, and like any other economic system in human history, there will come a point where the system is a really poor match for the needs of that society. We are here. There are ways to make the system less bad, there are ways to maybe extend the system a little, but anyone serious about the future will get serious about working to create a system beyond capitalism.
I think capitalists are scared because they can see what is on the horizon, but politically, there is only one person running here in this country that they are scared of (some others, like Corbyn too). That person has to run in a corrupt, right wing capitalist party that is sometimes progressive on some issues, the party is internally authoritarian and will not give him power. Most running the Democratic Party would rather blow it up than hand it over to Bernie, which would be handing it over to working people. It’s the bank of many corrupt and parasitic elites, and as Bill Black wrote about, the best way to rob a bank is to own one.
I think you framed the term you are looking for very well: “privilege”.
But there are two aspects to privilege. Your comment suggests one is related to human rights ie healthcare as earned (employment) or healthcare as a human right. There is also the “privilege” conferred by gender, race, wealth, status, location/residence, employment/employability, religion/beliefs in some cultures, etc.
So you are right - racism isn’t broad enough.
They’re obviously not too afraid here in my neck of the woods. Feel like sitting ducks waiting for the next earthquake. Meanwhile “in an effort to uncover the cause of a series of earthquakes in the Hutchinson area”, ha, the Kansas Corporation Commission continues their ongoing investigation to collect and analyze data from injection well activity (the high-volume injection of toxic wastewater from fracking).
The position of the oppressed in an oppressive structure is what’s blurred by Hedges’ moralistic gloss on greed, imho. In the scheme implied by Hedges, you have a strata of greedy predators who just need to be deposed, I suppose. (Certainly not a bad idea, by the way!)
Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed), by contrast, shines a bright light on how the oppressed themselves internalize the structure of oppression. There’s always something lower on the hierarchy to kick down at, so long as there’s a hierarchy.
This an interesting video on the Republic of San Marino and serenity. The lessons learned apply to the World at large and the economic system called Capitalism.
As an elderly woman, I can definitely relate to “internalizing the oppression”. From my birth, all the way through to the '90s, I didn’t grasp or begin to fight for my human and constitutional rights. I didn’t understand what white male privilege was, or how it impacted me personally. I just accepted the status quo as normal. Then in 2012 I learned about the Suffragist Movement, Alice Paul, and watched “Iron Jawed Angels” (the movie). That is when I learned that freedom and our human rights have to be fought for with strength, sacrifice, and everlasting tenacity - both personally and structurally in a system of law and custom that would always oppress me if I didn’t fight back; not against men themselves, but against a system of privilege.
As to “kick down at”, this is what we see with young white males who have lost it all in this society- primarily their “manhood” as it relates to their “privilege” and dignity to at least work hard and earn enough to support themselves and their families. Those are probably the majority of the MEGA men who have internalized the structure of oppression and “kicking down”.
Thanks for your comment and letting me vent.
Excellent!!! Where exactly is San Morino? Definitely a place I would consider moving to. Seems like a nice neighborhood. And I value community and my neighbors above all else.
It in North Central Italy and is surrounded by Italy. The scenario of Napoleon offering the Republic of San Marino as much of the lands around it that it wished and that Country turning down the offer is all but Biblical.
What a terriffic post! Thanks much for the movie recommendation, as well.