Tag Archives: Capitalism

Time to be Thinking Hard About Our Future

I wrote and posted the following on my Facebook Timeline and shared it with several groups to which I belong:

The feedback has been positive, with the exception of a few Trump supporters in a local community group known for the number of people on it who are averse to anything negative about their “dear leader.” I posted it there on purpose, just to stir the pot a bit.

As the corona virus pandemic continues to spread across the U.S., and people come to grips with how it’s going to affect them, I’m seeing more and more posts from folks outlining just how hard the most vulnerable among us (economically) are going to be hit, even if they don’t get sick at all.

If ever there was an argument for universal healthcare and a strong, resilient social safety net, if not UBI or a socialist economy, I think this might be it. Our fear of socialism is actually a fear of authoritarianism, but the two are not inextricably intertwined. Also, we’re already living under an authoritarian regime and it’s only going to get worse as long as Republicans have anything to say about it.

Donald John Trump, and every one of his brain dead sycophants, represent a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of the people of the United States. Everything he does, every choice he makes, is predicated on assuaging his fragile ego and is aligned with his re-election campaign and his economic interests. Even when he appears to be looking out for the nation’s economy, it is only inasmuch as it affects, and reinforces, his own financial interests. He needs to be gone immediately but, thanks to the greed and avarice of the Republican party, we will have to wait until near the end of next January to remove his worthless ass.

As John Pavlovitz posted on Twitter recently:

This President didn’t create this virus, but he ignored it, denied it, joked about it, weaponized it, politicized it, and exacerbated it. He is culpable for the chaos and the unnecessary illness, and yes, the preventable deaths because of it—and his supporters are too. This is the human cost of the MAGA cult delusion, and we’re all paying for it now equally.

https://twitter.com/johnpavlovitz/status/1238127737031864321?s=20

I have one disagreement with John, however. We’re NOT paying for it equally. The most marginalized of us will suffer far more than those of us higher up on the economic food chain. Since I’m semi-retired and, when I do work, I can work from home, if school is cancelled my youngest, who’s still in high school, will have someone at home to care for her and my oldest, who works with 4th graders through our local Boys and Girls Club, will also have a comfortable home and whatever she needs until school resumes. They will not go hungry, unless we’re forced to stay inside for longer than a couple of weeks.

There are millions of children who depend upon school breakfasts and lunches to get a good, reasonably nutritious meal (sometimes the best meal of the day) and there are lots of parents who cannot afford to miss work should they be required to stay home for a week or two. I have no doubt many on the right see this as a matter of survival of the fittest, but I can’t go along with such a callous view of how we are to function as a society.

We are social animals and we thrive when we take care of each other, recognizing that we are all dependent on our collective strengths to overcome our individual weaknesses. It’s time we recognize this basic reality of our humanity . . . and pay homage to it by lifting all boats, not just those of the wealthy and powerful.

The word ‘equality’ shows up too much in our founding documents for anyone to pretend it’s not the American way.

Martha Plimpton

Socialism is NOT a bad word!

Capitalism means money (specifically investment, not wages) is society’s primary consideration. Socialism means people (workers, humans) are society’s primary consideration. I know what I prefer. How about you?

Sure . . . there are thorny issues of ownership and incentivization, what deserves to be nationalized and what can remain in the private sector, but they will be addressed with people, not capital, foremost in mind. And don’t come at me with that tired old trope that socialism has been tried and it’s failed. That’s not even close to the truth. Most examples given are usually of a country that attempted to go straight from feudalism to socialism, without experiencing capitalism at all.

If Karl Marx was correct, and I believe he was, economies need to develop and evolve through various stages, and attempting to circumvent one of those developmental stages isn’t a good idea. This is why I believe the U.S. economy is ripe for becoming socialist; it already is to some extent. Our economy is, if not the most advanced, one of the more advanced capitalist economies in the world. Yet, many of its sectors are—or have been—treated as worthy of receiving benefits in the form of subsidies, grants, and tax breaks that are tantamount to them being socialized.

Most importantly, many larger sectors of the economy are highly developed, with a few being in nearly monopolistic control of their market. This is what Marx called late-stage, monopoly capitalism. It suggests that larger industries, which have become monolithic, are ripe for worker ownership and a more equitable distribution of their profits to the people who actually make those profits happen.

Let’s stop treating the concept, let alone the word, of socialism as if it’s still some sort of disease or bogeyman. The forces of reaction and fascism have long told us to be afraid . . . be very afraid . . . of socialism, but they’re crying wolf and their arguments are dishonest and disingenuous. That is to say, they’re fucking liars and can’t be trusted. They don’t care about you and me. Don’t expect them to be helpful, unless they’re helping themselves.


Atlas Slugged

The Republican Candidates

Republican Primary Candidates Pose

This is a wonderful analysis of the competing approaches and philosophies of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. You can read the entire article, but I find the final paragraph says volumes about what this year’s election means, and the direction our country is going in. Click on the link at the bottom for the entire article. Here’s that final paragraph:

“We’ll find out this election whether the Republican vision of an unfettered capitalism—one that redefines ‘socialism’ as not state ownership of the means of mass production but any government involvement whatsoever in the social and economic life of the country (including saving the auto industry)—is one that the public accepts anymore. Pundits have argued that the central question of the campaign is how much government we want. It’s more profound than that. The question of this election is what it means to be a country—whether we’re 300 million free agents who happen to be roaming the same piece of real estate or if any of us is ever bound by a social compact.”

via Atlas Slugged.


Where’s the Anger?

Listening to only minor excerpts (and some exceptional analysis on KPFK Pacifica Radio) I find myself absolutely incensed at the arrogance of the people who caused the financial meltdown and who gladly took our tax dollars, ostensibly to keep the economy afloat, and are now proceeding to pay themselves handsomely for their indiscretions.

Listen . . . I’m doing OK. I didn’t get caught up – at least not directly – in the mortgage fiasco and I’m lucky enough to have a job that probably isn’t going anywhere, but what about all the people who’ve lost so much? Even if they were a bit greedy (or where they just reacting logically to a society that preaches the ethos of looking out for oneself and the hell with everyone else?), I don’t think they deserve this kind of disrespect and the uncertainty that so many face right now . . . with no end in sight.

But I have to ask, where’s the anger? Why aren’t people really paying attention to how we’re being played. Though I think Phil Angelides probably has the best of intentions, I think his commission is going to end up toothless and, once again, the high-rollers of Wall Street are going to scoop their ill-gained winnings off the table and we’re going to be left wondering what happened? Where are the pitchforks? Why aren’t more people demanding accountability? Where’s the call for bringing back the guillotine?


Once More Unto The Breach, Dear Friends

Blogging is an interesting occupation or, in my case, avocation. For me it has allowed mostly venting, though I started with a blog about my family that was anything but. I finally gave up on that, believing it really wasn’t my place to put out our personal details for everyone to see. I am considering doing just that in a book, which requires some personal investment and input (like moolah) from the reader; something to salve my family’s wounds for having made our foibles public. That, however, is another venue I will explore. For now we are about blogging.

I propose, for this blog, to explore the symmetries, similarities, and synergies of the philosophy of the Dialectic and the teachings of Systems Theory. I propose to explore the writings of people like Karl Marx, W. Edwards Demming, and Russell Ackoff, as well as others who have studied and written on either of the subjects. As far as I can tell, this is a novel approach; some may say strange or even dangerous. Nonetheless, I find it interesting and quite valid, i.e. the juxtaposition of the two seemingly disparate concepts.

I say disparate because the philosophy of the Dialectic (actually Dialectical Materialism) espoused by Karl Marx, Fredrich Engels, and (yes, even) V.I. Lenin is irrevocably and inextricably entertwined with the Soviet Revolution and State no longer extant in Eastern Europe, while the teachings of Systems Thinking took root in post-war Japan and have flourished in the deeply entrenched Capitalism of the United States and elsewhere.

I don’t expect my analysis to proceed quickly, nor do I expect to be able to post all that frequently. The exigencies of my real job, coupled with my attendance in an online Masters program at CSUN – not to mention the fact I have two quite young daughters who demand a lot of my attention – will make it difficult to attend to this blog. Regardless, I think it a worthy objective and, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’m hopeful it will be the precursor to either a Doctoral Thesis, or – at the least – a serviceable essay on the subject. Who knows? I guess that’s one of the beauties of blogging. I can put forth ideas and, if I’m lucky, I’ll even get some feedback. At the very least I get the opportunity to blather on about something that interests at least one person in this world.


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