Economic prosperity has been engineered out of our society except for the top .01% during the Lost Decade.
This article was written in response to this series of articles on Medium. You can follow the link for the main article thread. I took umbrage at this last assumption:
“The free market has lifted more billions out of poverty than any thing done by anyone in the past two thousand years. Governments, usually autocratic, sometimes despotic and occasionally democratic (see Greece, Venezuela etc) have caused far more harm to working people than supposedly evil capitalism.”
Yes, the “free markets” have lifted more billions (of dollars) out of “poverty that they created” than any other form of government in the history of the world. Yes, the engine of capitalism is only too happy to:
- Destroy millions of lives to claim the land of early America in order to gain economic strength against the Old World. Native Americans are one of the first near-genocides which make the United States the economic powerhouse it is today.
- Enslave Africans for free labor to power the economic engine of the early United States giving it access to economic leverage unable to be matched by any other nation. The US maintained this dominance for at least three hundred years by not having to pay wages for any of this economic power gained by slavery.
These first two stellar examples of capitalism create the foundation for the great economic advantage enjoyed by the United States for centuries.
- This economic advantage is perpetuated by the United States economic dominance of other nations after World War II when most nations where war was held were forced to rebuild, the United States was happily able to profit because little or none of the war happened on US soil. Nor did the United States suffer the devastating losses in life that many other nations did during the war.
- Manipulate the media to control what people know about how millionaires make their money and keep the general knowledge of money market manipulations, graft and corruption, insider trading, political machinations (See: ALEC) which enrich select members of our society.(See: Koch Industries, Walmart, Wall Street Banks)
- Create economic engines using legislation to bust unions and prevent workers from having better pay, safer work environments and the ability to pay bills with only one full-time job (with benefits) rather than three part-time ones (without benefits)
- Boast of their profit margins being the greatest in the history of the free world while paying their workers stagnating or even diminishing wages while the top .01% happily scamper away with billions of dollars in profit and unpaid taxes while storing their wealth in overseas banks.
- Capitalize off of the cheapest labor it can find even if it has to first impoverish a nation so it can then profit from it. (See: most modern free trade agreements)
- Create poverty in a system of government by creating false divisions between groups in order to profit from the dissent caused as a by-product (American GIs returning from World War II were given completely different opportunities depending on their race. White GIs could buy property in many major cities where Black GIs could not. Decades later that economic disparity allowed generations of Whites to leverage their homes as a means of sending their children to college and better economic opportunities for later generations while Black GIs had none of these options except in a few states of the union. Later these cities became areas of urban poverty such as Detroit.)
- Manipulate markets in order to create profit using questionable ethics and mathematical models (see: 2008 economic recession, HSBC money laundering for criminal cartels, Wall Street Banks bailout and subsequent payouts to CEOs and executives)
- Utilizing privatization of public services, resources, and land to profit from the commons being sold to the highest bidder while providing the lowest quality of care or support for said services. (See: Prison industrial complex and the trillion dollar waste of the War on Drugs.)
- The greatest boondoggle of the free world is the US’s Military Industrial Complex (and the defense contractors who profit handsomely — See: Haliburton profits from Iraq War) from the United States preference for perpetual warfare, incursions into other nations (exploiting their natural resources, creating dissent, the support of dictators until they become inconvenient — See: Saddam Hussein) and military spending eclipsing all other forms of spending in the nation.
- And many, many other examples of exploitation, extermination, and big businesses ability to ignore externalities caused by their corporate and economic abuse of the capitalist model.
Yes, capitalism has done a lot for the world (and could have done a whole lot more) but not because it was benevolent or because it is an effective means of sharing the wealth because in most cases, as it is practiced in most of the world, it is neither.
Capitalism as a model is designed to keep fantastic wealth in the hands of few and varying degrees of poverty for everyone else.
Capitalism in its current form rewards those with money to leverage the system for their benefit, avoid any form of jurisprudence which might hold them accountable for the destruction of the environment, abuse of the people affected by their machinations or responsibility to anyone for the devastation left by the wars which enrich and power those elite enough to not have to worry about sending their children to war.
Let’s not brag about Capitalism as if it was some holy grail of goodness making the world a better place because when you look around, if you are rich enough, you know where the bodies are buried for your incredible wealth to exist. And have the money to keep the secrets necessary for it to be a success story claiming no one got hurt in the process.
<drops mike, walks away.>
Reblogged this on Scott Andrew Hutchins and commented:
This is why I am homeless, not any personal failing on my part.
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