The Holiday Season Highlights the Cruelty and Absurdity of Capitalism
Capitalism allows a minority of elites to control over 90% of the world’s resources. It allows the super-wealthy to use our resources without our consent or even suggestions. It allows those with the very most power to be unhassled by democratic institutions and concepts, such as checks and balances.
To make matters worse, capitalism rewards those most willing to cheat, backstab, and exploit. And thus the most powerful people on earth are usually the most deserving of contempt and ire.
But apologists for capitalism insist that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Somehow, we have been made to believe that allowing a few odious people to control our resources was in our self-interest. Somehow, Christians (and others) have been made to believe that God did not give the earth and its bounties to be shared, but to be competed for.
Being it christmas, a season for brotherhood and love, I feel it to be an ideal time to review how the economic elites have been using our resources.
To put it bluntly, they have been using our resources to get richer, while the rest of us are suffering more than ever.
Perhaps the most important resource the elite control is our food supply. As the old adage goes, “Whoever has the food has the power.” Amazingly, a relatively small number of corporations have been able to horde most the world’s arable land and the technology to reap from it a vast amount of nourishment. Though the resources and technology exist to cheaply and easily feed the world, corporations purposely stifle production and corner markets to drive up prices and profits. Hence, in the next decade half of the world’s population will have “food secuity issues.” In other words, they won’t know when or if they will have their next meal.
Here is a very good article explaining the food crisis.
Indeed, the technology and infrastructure exist to produce enough goods for everybody in the world to live like an upper-middle class American. And since “many hands make light work,” there is no (moral) reason why full-employment and leisure time should not be a given.
But even if you do accept that we should trudge tirelessly for those who own the resources, wouldn’t you agree that the elite should at least let everyone have a chance to earn a few crumbs? Yet this is hardly the case.
Next time a company announces a major layoff, look what happens to its stock. If you hadn’t already guessed, it goes up. Rapidly. Indeed, the elite have a fundamental incentive to fire people. And to insure a big christmas bonus, CEOs have been very busy as of late. As a result, homelessness and hungriness are on the rise.
Yet despite their indifference to the plaint of the plebe, the financial elite expect “our” government to use tax dollars to fund their high-risk investments in credit, at a time when social services needed the money more than ever. And “our” government was more than willing.
As if the super-rich didn’t control enough of our resources, they convinced “our” government to give them 700 billion dollars of public funds (Technically, the 700 billion are not funds because the funds do not exist. In fact, the bailout amounts to the government allowing corporations to write “vouched for by the U.S. government” when they trade assets.)
Many folks have the impression that the major stock holders of these corporations had lost too much to use their own money to bolster their assets. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The sorry truth is that the very people who ran the companies would not risk reinvesting their own money! And who could blame them? A more pressing question is, why allow them to use our money?
The financial meltdown hammers home the point that those who control most of the world’s resources use those resources to acquire more resources, and not for the good of the world’s people.
And if you still aren’t convinced that capitalism has blessed our world, consider this: more people are enslaved today than at any point in the history of earth. And that doesn’t include the billions of “wage-slaves” who have no choice but to work for whatever crumbs our bosses throw us.
This entry was posted on December 24, 2008 at 8:34 pm and is filed under Social and Political Commentary with tags bailout, capitalism, christmas, democracy, food crisis, homelessness, layoffs, socialism, starvation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.