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Why Are Working People Forced to Sacrifice for the Common Good But Not the Titans of Capitalism?

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/04/26/why-are-working-people-forced-sacrifice-common-good-not-titans-capitalism


If I were a landlord, and even an asshole version of one at that, I sure wouldn’t be knocking on any doors asking for rent at this time. Too much desperation and too many guns in this country. Bad math. The landlords need to make this aspect known to their banks, who even if they don’t buy into any compassion model, know that the “kill the rich” model always points upward and that they would be next. We may see some serious rioting in the near future I am afraid. The pulse of the nation is racing–tachycardia of hundreds of millions of people. Keeping the genie in this bottle will be quite difficult, especially with such tiny clown fingers on the cork. As the saying goes, think global, act local.


To Fight the Pandemic, We Must Challenge the Whole System


We can’t return to ‘normal’ because ‘normal’ was the problem.
’Normal’ is why we are in this mess


“Ordering landlords and mortgage holders to change the terms of their contracts is not unprecedented” addresses only HALF the problem.

To wit: The US Government needs to tackle the ENTIRE problem which includes out of control corporate power. Government TAKING OVER corporations, reorganizing, right sizing them, and restoring their financial health is also “not unprecedented”. The Ford Administration taking over 6 northeastern US railroads and creating the Consolidated Railroad Corporation (Conrail) that the gubmit then turned into a publicly traded corporation, later splitting the assets, selling half to Norfolk Southern Railroad and the other half to CSX Railroad, at no net cost to US taxpayers.

Had the gubmit taken over the distressed banks in 2008 instead of putting taxpayers on the hook for $20 trillion in bailout schemes we wouldn’t have 6 too-big-to-fail banks controlling a majority of US bank assets today and lining up for even bigger bailouts.


“ Mr. Potter- Have you put any real pressure on these people of yours to pay these mortgages?

Pa Bailey - Times are bad Mr. Potter. A lot of these people are out of work.

Mr. Potter - Well, then, foreclose.

Pa Bailey- I can’t do that. These families have children.

Mr. Potter - They’re not my children.

It’s a Wonderful Life


Contrast Pa Bailey with Donald Trump telling MAGA rally audiences during the 2016 campaign: “After the crash I bought real estate for ten cents on the dollar, it was a great opportunity”. The fortune Mnuchin made on foreclosures dwarfs Trump’s foreclosure spoils.


… efforts to shore up families with stimulus checks and business owners with paycheck protection, will be undermined, as those funds will pass quickly through the hands of families and into the already full pockets of Wall Street, deepening inequality and increasing the pain of the many, for the benefit of the few.
… it is time our leaders stop treating Wall Street like a church, and to instead demand the same sacrifices of capital that they have of workers and merchants.

Says it all.

Kudlow is a cancer on the public. This, as Trump (drink bleach) is pushing for the public to return to work, lest the government is forced to send out another stimulus check.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said businesses shouldn’t be held liable if their employees or customers become infected with the coronavirus as states begin reopening their economies.


I am in agreement with Scott Klinger that in this economic pause the bankers and financiers need to pause most of their activities in unison with the workers.

For the bankers and financiers to pause their activities we would need to pause “financial time” for the duration of the current shutdown. This means that while the civil calendar would continue counting the days the “financial calendar” would be paused and no interest would accumulate while the “financial calendar” was paused, and no payments would come due.

Suppose this financial pause began tonight at 23h59m GMT on April 26 and continued on until 23h59m GMT on September 26, 2020. Although 5 calendar months passed until the second date it would only be a financial instant later than the initial date. No interest accumulates during this period, no payments would become due. (Rent, phone, utilities, insurance and similar payments are another matter and discussion). When financial time restarts all continues on as before but offset by 5 calendar months. If you had 78 payments remaining on your mortgage or loan at the beginning of the financial pause you would still have those 78 payments remaining when the financial pause ended. (I would give borrowers the option of paying down their loans without penalty during the pause).

Note that money, and payments and interest and compound interest are but useful abstractions. Human life, plagues, food, wind, rain, and snow are real but money is an abstraction. Work is real, money is an abstraction. By pausing financial time the amount of money that the governments need to inject into the country in order to avoid disaster during these difficult times is dramatically reduced. Instead of focusing our attention on accumulating money to meet the bankers and financiers demands our and our governments time and money can be focused on matters of food, shelter and health and pragmatic concerns.


For many years I have wondered how we ended up living in the Pottersville world where George Bailey never existed.

One of these days we will study and discuss and implement and maintain governing structures that will make it impossible for the psychopathic and greedy to accumulate at the top of the various organizational structures, both public and private, in numbers that are vastly disproportionate to their percentage of the population. This can be done.


Although some people discount the theory, this concept of the psychopathic dis-proportionally gaining control of society was discussed at length in richard dawkins book, “the selfish Gene.”

The basic theory is that there are “altruistic” genotypes and “selfish” genotypes, and that over time the selfish will always replicate faster and overtake and destroy a mutually beneficial social system unless the society protects itself and implements “ostracism” and/or “culling” of the selfish genotype.

Many cultures throught history used ostracism/shunning of selfish individuals to protect themselves from this eventuality - the Athenians used this system.

Unfortunately, America has been overrun by the selfish genotype and we are now living the dystopian endgame of uncontrolled genetic selfishness run amok. It isn’t pretty.


Although the conventional wisdom crowd asserts that “power corrupts”, I have observed that corrupt people seek positions of power more often than honest people become corrupted when they attain a power position.


Yes, I agree. It should be called what it really is: a return to NORMAL, FASCISM!


I just received my copy of Dr. Martha Stout’s sequel to The Sociopath Next Door. It’s called Outsmarting the Sociopath Next Door. May find some hints on how to outsmart the sociopaths in the rentier class. It is a class war-the class who actually work and produce and those who are rentiers, making money by preying on the workers.
This is a perfect time to re-introduce an ancient concept-the Jubilee Year. No rents are collected. All debts are forgiven. We don’t hit the reset button. We create a new yet ancient way of economics and relationships.
But first we have to stop the runaway train…


Modern Capitalism returns the greatest return to the shareholders when the the working class is in debt. Over and above the Capital they skim off the output of Labor via the profit system , they double down when that laborer also has to borrow money to get enough Capital to buy the things they require to live.

So when you go to work and produce a good they get a cut (they would never pay a higher hourly wage then what that worker produces) and they get a cut off the money that stays in the workers pocket in the way of wages via debt and interest payments. Added to that those monies in the workers pockets generally flow back to the investor anyways . A walmart worker as example will likely spend a good chunk of the money s/he managed to earn at Walmart meaning that Walmart gets back what they paid him anyways.

When all of these workers go back to work they will be carrying more debt. Each hour they work will be used to pay that debt and interest on the same.

Is it any wonder the rich get richer while over half of the working class do not have 400 dollars in savings?They squeeze the working class for every cent they can extract.

There is no “Common good” because the 1 percent own all of the commons.


I have been told that one my relatives became extremely, wealthy after the crash of 1929 as he bought real estate for pennies on the dollar…nothing changes!


Becasue the west cannot adopt the successful methods of Asian democracies, because of its culture of fear of even hints of intrusions on privacy even when it saves lives (really an oxymoronic situation if you are going say you are aiming for egalitarian democracy), the pandemic is going to drag on with high rate of cases and occasional regional spikes, for years, or if and when an effective vaccine is available.

And so, workers are over the next few weeks going to be forced to go back to work and risk their lives from the unknown, invisible (becasue we won’t adopt the Asian methods) contagion, and in the US at least, no accommodation to those at greater risk - everybody back to work or you are fired!

This will (I hope) cause the mass of wage earning workers to FINALLY ask - for the first time in large numbers since 1848: "Why, for crying out loud, have I “monetized” my very being, and am now risking my neck in a way I cannot control, to enrich a Boss for the sole purpose of mere individual survival - fighting and cheating my neighbors and brothers for the favors of The Boss so that I can merely eat and keep a roof over my head?

There has GOT to be another way of doing this! There has got to be a way where the value to my mind, heart and hands is more than mere survival and making someone else rich!

We very urgently need a re-write of that Marx’s and Engel’s 1848 pamphlet in modern language - we can even get rid of word that will only make trouble like “communism” from it and get it in everybody’s hands.

This would be an excellent project for the DSA, or millenial-socialist publications like Jacobin.


“Why Are Working People Forced to Sacrifice for the Common Good But Not the Titans of Capitalism?”

Please share thie question with any Trumpers in your life. Don’t get distracted, just repeat the question, and drop the conversation.

Spread it, share it, push it out there, start hashtags, make memes, bring it up to your family, just ask. Make people think. This is a ripe moment for people to learn to think.

#sharetheburden, #stoprent, #mortgagepause, #wheresmybailout, #makethempay. There’s gotta be a punchy phrase that encapsulate our anger and their greed, that is understandable across the enforced political divides…


There will be treatments that come out for this, in time. We just need to hang on—that’s the catch, right?

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We don’t just need to hang on. We need to make this a time when popular awareness grows fast regarding the deep bi-partisan political corruption that screws the vast majority on behalf of our owners.


I have not read Richard Dawkins’ work, so I am not aware of how he defines his words and builds his argument. What I suspect is that the “selfish genotype”, if such a genotype exists, is no more common within the population than before, but that for the past several decades they have been quite successful in pushing out those unlike themselves from positions of power and control.

Related books that I have read include The Authoritarians/Bob Altimeyer (_https://www.theauthoritarians.org/options-for-getting-the-book/), and Political Ponerology/Andrew
Lobaczewski (_https://www.serendipity.li/bush/ponerology_preview.pdf, a dry interesting book, poorly translated thus difficult to read).

What I have learned is that the mix of personality types and the mental health of the people who are making the decisions in organizations has a major influence in how those organizations behave. We have allowed greedy and psychopathic people to overwhelmingly populate and control most of the governing structures and large corporations that so greatly affect our lives. And they have changed these organizations to their advantage. Mostly they exclude those unlike themselves from the decision making. The type of people who control these structures determine how the structures behave. If the people who control these structures have a similar distribution of personality types and mental health to that of the general population then these structures will behave quite differently from what we have been observing.

What I have concluded is that we need to learn how to build, repair and maintain organizational structures so that they cannot be taken over by the greedy and psychopathic to the exclusion and disadvantage of the rest of us.