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★ Capitalism (I)

Capitalism (I): see Capitalism (II) & Business & Money & Federal Reserve & Banksters & Economics & Company & Corporation & Debt & Greed & Export & Import & Market & Stocks & Fortunate & IMF & Wealth & System & Trade & Marx

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35,812.  Well, we know what they want.  They want more for themselves and less for everybody else.  But I’ll tell you what they don’t want.  They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking.  They don’t want well-informed well-educated people capable of critical thinking.  They’re not interested in that ... They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard thirty fucking years ago.  They don’t want that.  Do you know what they want?  They want obedient workers.  Obedient workers.  People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it.  And now they’re coming for your social security money.  They want your fucking retirement money.  They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street.  And do you know something – they’ll get it.  They’ll get it all from you sooner or later ’cause they own this fucking place.  It’s a big club.  And you ain’t in it!  You and I are not in the big club!  By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe ... what to think and what to buy.  The table is tilted, folks.  The game is rigged.  And nobody seems to notice.  Nobody seems to care.  Good honest hard-working people ... continue – and these are people of modest means – who continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about them.  They don’t give a fuck about you.  They don’t give a fuck about you.  They don’t care about you.  At all.  At all.  At all.  (Dissent & Criticism & Control & Capitalism & Work & Solidarity & Industrial Action & Trade Union & United States of America & New World Order & Club & Money & Social Security & Class & Working Class & Rule & Oppression & Opposition & Equality & Rights)  George Carlin, Who Really Controls America

 

 

42,477.  McDonald’s are culpably responsible for cruel practices in the rearing and slaughter of some of the animals which are used in their food.  (Corporation & Libel & Free Speech & Animals & Capitalism)  McLibel (Two People Who Wouldn’t Say Sorry) 1997 ***** starring Helen Steel & David Morris & Eric Schlosser & Morgan Spurlock & Oliver Ford Davies, directors Franny Armstrong & Ken Loach

 

 

94,745.  The Great Depression had put an end to any lingering beliefs that capitalism was a viable system.  It was taken for granted that state intervention was necessary in order to maintain private power – as indeed, had been the case throughout the development process.  NSC 68 April 1950

 

 

78,536.  Capitalism.  Downfall.  (Last Words & Capitalism)  Christopher Hitchens

 

 

82,654.  It is rotten and dismal that a world of so many hundred million people should be ruled by a single caste that has the power to lead millions to life or to death, indeed on a whim ... This caste has spun its web over the entire earth; capitalism recognizes no national boundaries ... Capitalism has learned nothing from recent events and wants to learn nothing, because it places its own interests ahead of those of the other millions.  Can one blame those millions for standing up for their own interests, and only for those interests?  Can one blame them for striving to forge an international community whose purpose is the struggle against corrupt capitalism?  Can one condemn a large segment of the educated Sturmer youth for protesting against the greatest ability?  Is it not an abomination that people with the most brilliant intellectual gifts should sink into poverty and disintegrate, while others dissipate, squander, and waste the money that could help them? ... You say the old propertied class also worked hard for what it has.  Granted, that may be true in many cases.  But do you also know about the conditions under which workers were living during the period when capitalism ‘earned’ its fortune?  (Nazi & Capitalism)  Joseph Goebbels, letter to Anka Stalkerm 1920, cited Ralph Georg Reuth

 

 

930.  Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self-interest backed by force.  (Belief & Capitalism)  George Bernard Shaw

 

 

947.  Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.  (Belief & Capitalism & Wicked)  John Maynard Keynes

 

 

42,266.  The decadent international but individualistic capitalism in the hands of which we found ourselves after the war is not a success.  It is not intelligent.  It is not beautiful.  It is not just.  It is not virtuous.  And it doesn’t deliver the goods.  In short we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it.  But when we wonder what to put in its place, we are extremely perplexed.  (Economics & Capitalism)  John Maynard Keynes

 

 

42,271.  Capitalism, wisely managed, can probably be made more efficient for attaining economic ends than any alternative system yet in sight, but that in itself it is in many ways extremely objectionable.  (Economics & Capitalism)  John Maynard Keynes, The End of Laissez-Faire 1926

 

 

42,269.  Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency.  By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.  By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some.  The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.  Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become ‘profiteers’, who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the proletariat.  As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.

 

Lenin was certainly right.  There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.  The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.  (Inflation & Economics & Capitalism & Currency & Money & Debt & Wealth)  John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace VI: 235-236 1919

 

 

4,955.  The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 is a foundational document for a bourgeois, market-based individualism and as such cannot provide a basis for a thoroughgoing critique of liberal or neoliberal capitalism.  Whether it is politically useful to insist that the capitalist political order live up to its own foundational principles is one thing, but to imagine that this politics can lead to a radical displacement of a capitalist mode of production is, in Marx’s view, a serious error.  (Rights & Capitalism & Human Rights)  David Harvey, A Companion to Marx's Capital

 

 

5,010.  The history of these tyrannies, however, tells us something very different.  There is a pattern to them which reflects the central characteristic of the world we live in: that it is run by a small class for profit; and the source of that profit is the workers who produce the wealth.  The class on top much prefers to make its profits without any nastiness from the masses it exploits.  The rulers prefer to operate where the people choose their governments, and where everyone in society is subject to the rule of law.  If people vote for their government, and are protected by the rule of law, they are much less likely to complain about their exploitation.  Hence the ‘norm’ which seems to emerge from the history of the western democracies – a norm of elected governments and a set of laws which at any rate pretend to apply equally to everyone.  (Equality & Tyranny & Capitalism & Socialism)  Paul Foot: No Time to Make Up

 

 

42,802.  The market is driven not by reason or need, but by irrationality and greed.  In each new burst of investment workers are taken on, and there is a short boom.  When the investment is over, workers are laid off and more goods come on the market at prices they can’t afford.  So there is a slump.

 

This switchback ride from boom to slump has been going on ever since the beginning of capitalism.  For thirty years after the Second World War, capitalists started slapping each other on the backs and telling themselves they had overcome the tendency of their system to crisis.  But since the mid-1970s the crises have returned with a vengeance.  Paul Foot, The Case for Socialism ch4

 

5,011.  This sameness and uniformity, however, are increasingly the characteristics of monopoly capitalism.  All around us privately controlled mass media and mass production churn out things that assume that their consumers are all the same.  Differences and distinctions between human beings are far more likely to blossom in a society which rewards everybody equally and does not single out a few for special treatment.  As the Communist Manifesto puts it: ‘In place of the old society ... we will have an association in which the free development of each will be the condition for the free development of all.’

 

Another argument against the idea of equality is that it will discourage skills. This argument usually starts with a question: ‘Would you pay a brain surgeon the same as a dustman?’  If you reply ‘Yes’, the argument is pressed home. ‘Aha!  This will produce a society where there are millions of dustmen and no brain surgeons.’  The brain surgeon, it is assumed, will not study or practise for his or her skills unless the rewards for this are ten or twenty or preferably fifty times that of a dustman.  People would just as soon hump a dustbin on their backs as be a brain surgeon for equal money.

 

The socialist argument is that people are far more likely to do what they want to do, and what they are best able to do, if the reward for everything is roughly the same than if a fortunate minority are beckoned to a specific set of skills by huge rewards.  (Equality & Capitalism & Work & Socialism)  ibid.  ch5

 

49,616.  Socialism means that the means of production are owned and controlled by society so that what is produced can be shared out according to people’s needs.  Socialism is founded on the idea of equality, which means that most people will get the same.

 

The basic objections to such a system have been the same ever since it was first conceived, and the arguments against them are still very much the same too.

 

Human nature, it is said, is fundamentally opposed to such a system, since human nature is selfish and greedy.  In the end the ‘old Adam’ will out, and will wreck any egalitarian system.

 

Poor ‘old Adam’ is always hauled out to justify the horrors of capitalism.  Two hundred years of exploitation don’t sound so bad if you can put it down to human nature.  In fact, however, people’s natures are not at all like those of speculators in the City of London.  Indeed it is hard, even in the City of London, to come across people whose natures are dominated entirely by greed, selfishness and a hatred of the rest of the human race.  There are at least as many examples in everyday life of generosity and self-sacrifice as there are of selfishness and greed.  (Socialism & Greed & Capitalism)  ibid.  

 

6,123.  How people behave depends very much on the kind of society they live in.  If the society beckons forward the greedy and the selfish, if it offers them great riches and privileges in return for collaboration in exploiting others, if it criminalises solidarity (as the Tory trade union laws have done), then people will lose their confidence in one another, shrink into their shells and denounce their neighbours.  If, on the other hand, society welcomes those who act and think as part of the community, people’s confidence in themselves and in one another will grow and the dark side of their natures will diminish.  (Society & Working Class & Solidarity & Capitalism)  ibid.

 

5,476.  Great disparities of wealth in society, however, restrict freedoms every bit as much as restrictions on voting.  Everyone is ‘free’ to send their children to private school, to have tea at the Ritz, to gamble on the stock exchange.  These ‘freedoms’ are defended far more vigorously than the freedom to vote, yet they are in fact restrictions on freedom.  For every one person who can have tea at the Ritz, there are a hundred who cannot do so because they have not got the money.  If 10 per cent can send their children to private school and secure for them a straight route back into the privileged class from which they came, 90 per cent cannot do so – are banned from doing so – because they cannot afford it.

 

Thus the ‘freedom’ handed out by capitalist society is more often than not the opposite of freedom.  Yet the idea of freedom still prevails, because the prevailing ideas of any society are the ideas of the class which runs it.

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