I prepared this post before the S&P downgrade of the US debt. It’s more true than ever now
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) sums up our incompetent, irresponsible, mostly venal and utterly self-absorbed Congress and White House. I wish there were more like him.
A much better deal was possible, but most politicians were unwilling to make real compromises. Republicans needed to accept practical reductions in military spending and the elimination of special tax breaks and subsidies for people with political connections. Democrats needed to accept reasonable reforms to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that would keep these programs viable and preserve most benefits. These are necessary, difficult compromises. If we wait until we run out of money and our creditors stop lending to us, the cuts will be more abrupt, larger, and more devastating for the most vulnerable Americans.
Isn’t it true that wars make lots of money for big corporations and tax breaks put lots of money in big corporations bank accounts and isn’t it true that Medicare and Medicaid cost the big corporations money via tax revenue, and isn’t it true that big corporations own the government? So what do you expect the out come to be? As long as the people keep putting on a uniform then wars are great for the arms industry and allied businesses. You keep speaking as if there was some sort of moral structure in the corporate world when in fact there is no shred of evidence that it ever existed.
Well then, we need to change the outcome. How do we do it?
By admitting that caitalism doesn’t work and working towards an alternative. Similar dysfunctions in the Soviet Union would be pointed to by the capitalist West as proving that Soviet communism doesn’t work. Well let’s apply the same judgement here.Crisis in the Soviet Union went failure of the system, crisis in the West means it’s still a great system.
As you probably know I was never a lover of the Soviet form of authoritarian state capitalism, just pointing out the double standards held by the media and the people in the West.
Morality can only be held by an individual, and moral structures can be upheld only by groups of individuals. Corporations by definition are amoral, and any morality they display is secondary to their sole reason for being – to generate the maximum return for their investors. Governments likewise are amoral – they enforce law, not a moral code. With that in mind, I would agree that Corporate Capitalism is doomed to fail – at least if you measure success in terms of a better quality of life for the average person. However, it will continue to succeed at what it was set up to do: generate profits and wealth for its small constituency.
But capitalism, meaning the barter or trade of goods and services between willing participants, remains an important foundation of our economic life. I would argue that capitalism as described by Adam Smith has in large part been eclipsed by wage slavery, but there are still enough of us practicing it that it contributes income to half of all U.S. households.
I left the corporate world the hard way: The 1990 recession left me out of work. I had to make my own job, or not get paid. In hindsight, it was a remarkable opportunity – I have been self-employed for over 20 years now. I received a lot of mentoring, which was needed because I knew nothing about running a business.
Today, as much as possible I deal only with individuals, not corporations. Much of my food comes from local farmers– and some of it I trade for. My car gets serviced by an independent mechanic, not a franchise– and I barter my services for his. I bank with a local community bank, not a mega-bank. I try to avoid debt. This is capitalism among equals. Our money stays in the community, it doesn’t get siphoned out to Hartford or Bentonville.
It’s not easy to take responsibility for ourselves, especially when our educational system teaches not a thing about how to run a business. Schools prepare us (as they have since the inception of the industrial revolution) to punch a clock and be wage slaves. I recently had someone tell me that only a small elite was qualified to run a business. Fortunately that’s not true. I was a high school dropout when I started mine, and I did it on a shoestring. Rich and poor, educated and uneducated, colonial descendants and illegal aliens are all supporting themselves through the fruits of their own labor, without corporations or unions to take a piece of it.
But since there’s no profit for corporations, the corporate news largely ignores that important part of the economy. You’d almost think that our wellbeing rests on the wellbeing of GE and B of A — and that’s what they want us to believe.