"Play it again, Sam!"
2011: Calling Time on Capitalism: Recent decades have seen a massive redistribution of wealth, imposing the cost of successive crises on the poorest. Enough! by Richard Wolff January 1, 2011 by the Guardian/UK
"We want a bonus!"
New Fabris factory employee in France in 2009, walks by a fire in front of the plant after 366 laid-off workers occupied the factory and threatened to blow it up unless they receive a bigger pay-off. ‘We want a bonus’ is written on the wall. (Alain Jocard/AFP)
The end of 2010 brought renewed Washington, media and academic hype about the US economy “recovering”. It’s wrong. Recovery noises help Republicans who claim that government should do less, or with many centrist Democrats that income redistribution policies are no longer needed because recovery means growth, which means everyone gets pie. Recovery hype also helps Obama claim that his policies work.
It’s fantasy. Nearly 20% of the US labor force that became unemployed or underemployed in 2009 remains so. A quarter found only temp jobs without benefits. Foreclosure by big bailout-fat banks is throwing millions into the street.
Last month the Federal Reserve decided to make another $600bn of new money, and Congress and the president agreed on additional fiscal stimulus (extending Bush’s tax cuts, reducing social security withholding for 2011, etc). They did it because all previous bailouts, monetary easing, tax cuts and government fiscal stimulus failed to end this crisis. Those immune to hype recognize that more of same will fail again.
Manfred Max-Neef writes “We still favor the economic efficiency of greed and political dynamics of paranoia in a global system in which poverty keeps increasing and major scientific and technological effort is directly or indirectly aimed at destroying the human species.” Enthusiasm for unlimited economic growth and expansion faces real social and ecological collapse. [Our goals are dangerously]] “incoherent with our historical reality.”
Recovery noise hides fundamental instability in our economic system. “Downturns” private or government actions never prevent, impose huge social costs, plunging millions of effective, productive workers into unemployment, personal, family and community disasters. Governments chiefly tap their nations purses to rescue the private capitalists who [caused] the crisis and whose wealth protects them from its worst effects.
Then, governments turn on their people to impose austerities (cutbacks in social programs, social security, etc) needed to restore government budgets busted by the rescue’s huge costs. Corporate America’s demands for conservative government and austerity on the grounds of excessive budget deficits is like someone convicted of murdering his parents demanding leniency as an orphan. Mainstream media and politicians take those corporate demands seriously, reminding us who controls them.
Since the early 1970s, workers’ wage increases ended, benefits and job security shrank and government supports for average people were attacked by conservatives. These increasing burdens were justified as absolutely necessary to permit more investment and, therefore, greater economic growth. In fact, growth in the US and Europe slowed over those years (see graph below by University of Rome Professor Pasquale Tridico):
Average growth of GDP per capita in US and Europe, 1961-2009. Source: Eurostat
As workers’ conditions deteriorated, capitalist surpluses and profits soared, stock markets boomed, and poor and middle income and wealth were redistributed to the rich. Promised results did not appear: no more investment, growth slowed, the system imploded.
Today’s recovery noises are for more bailouts, monetary easing and fiscal stimuli that have already failed. No one questions or addresses how capitalism created the crisis.
The recovery aims at return to the US economy pre-crash. But capitalism was hurtling toward a stone wall. To return to it heads for the same wall.
Politicians are afraid to link the crisis to the economic system that creates regular “downturns” costing millions of jobs, wasted resources, lost outputs and injured lives. For them, the economic system is beyond question; [don’t bite the hand that feeds you.].
Thus, this crisis will continue until capitalists see sufficiently attractive opportunities for profit to resume investing and hiring people in the US as well as elsewhere. The freedoms of US capitalists to gain immense government supports as needed, and yet to invest only when, where and how they can maximize their private profits are paramount: the first obligations of government. The freedoms from want and insecurity for the US people remain a distant second priority – until mass political action changes that.
Capitalism puts a small minority with one set of goals (profits, disproportionally high incomes, dominant political power, etc) in position to receive and distribute enormous wealth. They use it to achieve their goals and make the government secure their positions.
No Keynesian monetary or fiscal policies address, or change, how capitalism works and who uses its wealth to what ends. No reforms or regulations are even proposed under Obama to do that. To avoid the instability of capitalism and its huge social costs requires changing the system. That is the basic issue for a new year and new generation. [Can we] break today’s version of a dangerous old taboo: never question the system?
For more information about Richard Wolff’s work, visit his website
No Giant Corporatists Allowed
We really don’t need giant corporations and giant corporatists. They greedily demand, consume or despoil resources far in excess of their fair share. The greedy bastards want all of the earth’s resources. Those resources are humanity’s trust. Any attempt to privatize and unfairly profit from their sale and exploitation is criminal, anti-life, anti-social and less than human behavior.
Corporatists and their minions and admirers are nothing more than grazing, killing, baby-making, eating, pooping machines; their single purpose is to proselytize consumers and consumption. They are animals, not humans. Their spiritual life is practiced, preached rote; an imitation of sense, sensibility and spirituality. Many “talk” to an imaginary god, which asks, to whom are they really praying? If the outcome of their chosen path is misery and deprivation for most of humanity, how can they possibly argue for a conscience, a god’s blessing, or any other claim of compassion or even simple human sympathy? It’s because they are not human; they are poor dumb animals: fodder is all.
We humans need to parent and act as stewards for these poor dumb brutes. We need social and economic laws, rules, regulations and enforcement to rebalance power and money in this country. We left the barn door wide open and we need to put these animals back in their pens and corrals so that they will not run around willy-nilly and needlessly and destructively detract from the harmony of the farm.
We really need the immediate suppression and re-education of all Big Guy other-directed creatures, and re-distribution of all their property and money. Old banks to be required to hand over all of their assets and accounts to new community banks and credit unions; old bankers to fold their tents and look for honest and modest human employment. The entire Health Insurance Industry should be closed down and put out to pasture – some nice place such as Angola State Prison.
The fact that we enjoy civil and human rights now doesn’t mean that we will have them in the future. It’s up to each person, each generation, to protect, defend and cherish his/her rights and block or defeat any impending assault. We must fight to keep our rights. We must resist the tyrant (who is any would-be or actual dictator of whatever title or costume). Don’t let the bastards get started; keep them chained and humbled, unable to wreak their evil oppression, prejudices and destruction on not only people, but nature herself. What mad ego, what blind selfishness.
In the mid-1960’s a book entitled Thunder on the Right urgently identified and warned against the anti-democratic, fundamental religionist, bigoted fanatics of the political reactionary right. Among the American Nazis, KKK hoods and militia toughs was the John Burch Society, which ran Patrick Henry bookstores filled with scurrilous lying polemics attacking and undermining and diminishing government and advocating a treasonous program of subversion and sabotage. The John Burch Society harnessed Cold War fears into hate against progressives, warning that President Kennedy, Civil Rights activists, and organized labor were in league with communists. One JBS newsletter civically advised members to “join your local P.T.A. and take it over [emphasis mine].”
Billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch are the wealthiest, and perhaps most effective, opponents of a progressive agenda today. Ranked as the 9th richest men in America, the Koch brothers sit at the helm of Koch Industries, a massive privately owned conglomerate of manufacturing, oil, gas, and timber interests. David and Charles are also responsible for a vicious attack campaign aimed directly at obstructing and killing progressive reform. Their opposition is a long family tradition of trying to shift the country to the far right. Their father, Fred Koch, helped to found the John Burch Society in the late 1950s. His sons continue to galvanize hundreds of thousands of middle class people into supporting the Kochs’ narrow agenda of cutting corporate taxes and avoiding consumer regulations to the ruin of our equality and democracy.
David Koch presents himself as a champion of science. Nevertheless, Koch has done more to undermine the public’s understanding of climate change science than any other person in America. Koch Industries has spent nearly $9 million dollars so far to misinform the public on climate change legislation. Much of the fierce opposition to health reform can be credited to the Kochs. Their opposition is a long family tradition of trying to shift the country to the far right.
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KOCHTOPUS Koch: Even More Powerful and Well-Connected Than You Thought
Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch don’t just underwrite a huge right-wing infrastructure of front groups, think tanks and political campaigns, reports Think Progress; they also work with corporate “investors” who oppose health, energy, financial and other reforms. Details on their symbiotic relationship with moneyed interests from Glenn Beck and the Chamber to oil and insurance companies here; more on those connections from CounterPunch here. –Abby Zimet More…
READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/politics/144455/meet_the_billionaire_brothers_funding_the_right-wing_war_on_obama