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Simple Reasons Capitalism Isn't Your Friend

I realize our group here in the halls of orange-land are small. I think most dKos readers are truly interested in the general betterment of humankind. Most of the problem is that Capitalism has always sold itself as a merit system.  Its really not.  I am going to try and show you why.

First and foremost, the most basic thing Capitalism is, is an EXTRACTION SYSTEM.  Buy low, sell high.  Make cheap, price at the highest the "market" will bear.  These are the common sense adages we have been taught since birth.  How else can you make a dollar, right?  Without money, how in the world would anything work; buying a place to live, food, clothing, and any amenities we enjoy for leisure time.

Yet, if you think about it - the collapse of the market, and the austerity being imposed on the people while the rich make record profits is no aberration. Its the system doing exactly what it is supposed to do.  What it always does. It extracts from the bottom to fill the top.  What they told you is a lie to make you work against your own interests.

John Kozy © 2010:

The Western commercial system is extractive. It exists to extract more from consumers than it supplies in products and services. Its goal is profit, and profit literally means to make more (pro-ficere). Its goal has never been to improve the human condition but to exploit it. It works like this:

Consider two water tanks, initially each partially full, one above the other. One gallon of water is dumped from the upper tank into the lower one for each two gallons extracted from the lower tank and pumped into the upper tank. Over time, the lower tank ends up empty and the upper tank ends up full. The circulation of water between the tanks ends.

 photo 106-wages-profit-graph-bb-fix.jpeg

Extraction Capitalism is real, and it is you they are extracting from.

The Business Insider just reported "Profits Just Hit Another All-Time High, Wages Just Hit Another All-Time Low."

You may, or may not have seen the viral video about income inequality. People generally think they would like to make more.  But somehow they have convinced us the system is fair. Worse?  They have kept it where few of us have any idea what is really going on.

Think too, about this little factoid while you view the below.  Koch Brothers’ Wealth Grew By $33 Billion in 3 Years As America’s Schools Report 1 Million Homeless Kids.

"In one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression, the billionaire Koch brothers who habitually rail against government’s unfair burden on the wealthy, have almost doubled their net worth to a combined $64 billion."

How much do they really need?  They could give every kid a cool Mill, and still be the fattest cats on the block.  But they won't.  They are Capitalists.

Its not just "broken at the moment."  It always has been.

Some of you may remember the kinder, gentler Capitalism that Workers demanded after the 1st Depression. But it is also plain to see the cycle began anew.  In history, Empires always fall because people get tired of serving Elites. And every gain made by workers has been violently opposed by the PTB - and won with the blood of the workers.  

Remember too, that while "regulation" may have been highest in the 1970's and wages the most fair, there was still a broad segment of our society that has always endured poverty.  Urban blacks, Appalachian whites, recent immigrants all have had to live on the most meager of wages because in order for profits to work, somebody has to make next to nothing.  Miners.  Railroad builders.  The people in the fields that pick your food for you. Textile workers.  Sweat shops.

There has never been a time there were not slums in this country.  It is NOT because some people "don't work hard enough."  It is not because "some people are inherently less suited to succeed."

It really is obvious that wealth begets wealth, and poverty begets poverty. The American Dream they sold you is largely myth. It is not only the lower education system being "locally tax based" thus inherently inferior in low income neighborhoods; but higher education is economically slated to be accessible only to those with high incomes, or those who borrow from those with high incomes (bankers) and are willing to enrich them even more in both interest rates paying off that loan, and as lower level lackeys working for them to pay it off.   Its more.  There is a class cronyism involved.  

If perhaps you have ever been, or been privy to the Upper Middle Class's affairs:  Country Club meetings, high end Golf Outings, perhaps a Gallery Opening... you understand it is who you know more than what you know.  Consider that there is an almost exponentially tighter cronyism in the Millionare's club, and the Billioniare's?  You can't get within a "billion" miles of it.  

They share opportunities among themselves, like builders in the UMC share contracts among themselves.  No matter how good a architect or builder your low income cousin is?  He will never get the city contract to create the new stadium unless he knows someone. Classes really help keep the next layer down, which serves the top just dandy.

This brings up a sub-point to this section. In the US the white middle to lower middle class uses the same cronyism to exclude people of color, except hiring them for the very lowest wage jobs.  For extraction capitalism to work?  Racism (and sexism) is part and parcel of the mechanics of it.  

We have always had a caste system here, the dots are as just as indelible, but painted with the supposedly invisible ink of racism and classism.  The land of opportunity keeps opportunities rare for the poor.

 

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The Myth of Repression.

The myth says we have the "greatest system on Earth" and "no other system can work!"  We hear it all the time:  Look at how repressive Russia was, how evil China is, how it brings dictators and loss of personal freedom.  Those were never truly non-capitalist states, they just became state capitalists with different elites.  I'll let the scholars argue that one.  This is just you and I here, regular people, considering the sanity of thinking Capitalism sucks.

I'm not going to bore you with why I think they failed. I'll just plant one idea.  If I started a company in Michigan to give away free electricity, how long do you think I would last before somehow my company imploded by outright sabotage, bad press, failed inspections via payola, if not assassination attempts on me? Nothing happens in a vacuum - and to a whole world of Elites living large?  There was nothing more dangerous than the idea of sharing the wealth. They were up against that.

Now, instead?  Think of the worst human rights violators in recent history.  For me, Saudis come to mind.  Women are stoned for being raped.  The poor have their hands cut off for stealing a loaf of bread.  That place is as Capitalist as they come.  The rich sell the oil and live in Palaces, the poor starve.

Pinochet who killed and tortured bazillions of his own? Not only a Capitalist, but OUR Capitalist!

I'm sure if you think about it - you can think of many more.

You really cannot have a Dictator without Capitalism - because it needs an untouchable Elite with the military might to keep people from rising against it. If people are free enough to control their own destinies, they would never vote for their own oppression.

(until here and now....)

Nothing Else Can WORK!

I know, for most of you, hearing the wisdom of dead guys from a time that is nothing like what we live in now makes your eyes roll back in your head.  I get it.  I've been reading some Marx, and if nothing else he was a dry and pedantic fucker who always took a thousand words to say what could be said in few.  Yet, for his time, he was brilliant and comprehensive.

Without getting all economic professor and mathy? Its pretty simple. I figure we ourselves not only create ALL wealth, we ARE wealth. Or value, or both. You get what I mean, even as an average Joe. They haven't got shit without us.

If you light your grill with a matchstick?  Hours of work went into making it, and chances are only a couple people are getting rich off of it.  But matchsticks don't grow on trees, they are made from them.  Someone cut the wood, someone else milled it down, someone trucked the raw materials, someone ground the toxic chemicals for the burn tip, someone ran the machine to dip them in, someone boxed it and someone shipped them out.

A lot of hours in that puppy, which lasts only seconds.  POOF! Matches are cheap, but trust me, even with mechanization, all kind of hands are on that match before you touch it. And the companies that make them make a good profit, or they no longer would.

Now the CEO of that company probably takes in 500k a year.  He didn't invent it.  He didn't design the machines.  He doesn't run the machines. He never even touches them. All he does is find ways to pay less to make the matches, and make more off of selling them.  He is rewarded solely for screwing the people who make them, and the consumers into paying more than they are worth.  He doesn't "work."  He is paid for being a predator. You see, there are only 2 materials more or less (simplifying for example) so there is little budge room on that - the money is made on the fact matches don't exist without human labor.  There is no product without us; hence we are really the real producer of all wealth.  All of it.  We just don't get to keep it.

So, the "greatest system on Earth" is one in which we work our asses off to get a few guys rich, while begging to be paid enough to live on while creating the products that make them rich?  It doesn't reward by merit and hard work.  Really.  It rewards whoever is the biggest greedhead.

Ponder it for a second:  If every time you had another couple over for dinner, they raced to get the biggest steak, power-slammed your beer, ate all the dessert before your kids could even have a tiny slice... I guarantee you would not invite the assholes over again.  Yet this is who we willingly serve with our work.  Greedheads.  Dig?

But competition is healthy!

Ahhh, the John Wayne theory of rugged individualism and the hardy pioneer.  They competed, the Indians died, and they "deserve" our respect for becoming ranchers and farmers.  Cue the cattle drive rushing to be the 1st to get your cattle to market!  Lets be faster, tougher, smarter, work harder!  Which all sounds fine and dandy until you are hungry and reaching for that biscuit you cooked, and some overstuffed idiot snatches it quicker than you, and you go hungry.  That is what competition is, what Capitalism does.

Actually, deep down, you know this is bullshit.  Sharing is good.  You learned it in kindergarten.  Thats why we donate to charities.  But wouldn't it be nice to eliminate poverty instead?  We can't get there by making more greedheads, that is, lifting the world into our aggressive form of industrial competition. To have winners, someone HAS to lose.

Here's a thought. Maybe work isn't the sainted ethic you think it is.  Maybe we could work way less and no one would go hungry.  Maybe all this work and consume, make crappy products that wear out so you have to buy more, and work to have the money to buy more is illusion - simply to keep the money pouring upward into that tower of which we spoke above.

We are in an age of extreme pollution, overpopulation and quickly dwindling resources.  The Capitalist model would rather have your local grocery chain throw out half their produce every week than lower prices. Heck, some places have made it illegal to collect rainwater, and certainly Monsanto wants it to be impossible to grow your own food.  Remember Victory Gardens?  They were before my time - but now you couldn't plant one to feed your kids without paying someone royalties.  Does this seem sane to you?

We have the technology to produce lasting products, to create free renewable energy.  We have the capacity to not only grow, but deliver food to every person on Earth.  Picture buying a car or refrigerator than never broke.  A battery that would last forever.  Less landfills, no payments.  There is a reason we cannot have these things.  There is no profit for the very few in it.

There is a reason in the US, we send jobs to places like Bangledesh and let them toil for pennies in factories that kill them.  More profit for the few.

Here's a question.  When garments were made in the US by Unions, they were still cheaper than they are now made for pennies.  Where did the "value" of their abuse go?  To you?  Hell no.  To the rich, and we enabled it on their blood.

Socialism means Too Much Government

 photo hategovt.jpg

The government you have now?  Or the government by and for the People?  I see nothing wrong with using our collective pool of money (and that is what taxes are supposed to be) to serve ourselves the things we could not have alone.  

No one but the insane would want more of their already dwindling money to pay for taxes, right?  Yet, it is true that places with the highest taxes have the highest happiness ratings.  They never worry about illness - they have free healthcare.  They get free education.  They have no homelessness, while we now have more empty foreclosed upon homes than homeless here.

Right now, nearly every Social agreement we have has been PRIVATIZED - and we are doing worse than ever.  How is that "market" working out for you?  Not only that?  The profits - are theirs alone (private gains) while we bail out their losses! (publicize loss)  What a rip off!

You are not getting your money's worth now for a reason.  The rich not only aren't paying taxes, they are taking the lion's share of our collective bank account out in subsidies and overblown contracts, all abetted by the Politicians they have purchased.


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This what Capitalism does.  It funnels to the top, then uses that money and power to codify laws to keep the power and money flowing to the top.

Socialism is DEMOCRATIC.  It does not allow for a system where private, self-interested people can accrue that much power.  Now, it doesn't make you nationalize your small flower shop. It does create laws where you have to pay fairly and caps profits to a reasonable level.  It does nationalize the things that meet our basic needs:  BANKING, (so it cannot be predatory) utilities, education, health and housing.

To ever get to a more Communist world, Socialism is a necessary step.  People need to feel safe enough and become educated enough to create their own systems of cooperative effort.  I know, I know, the Capitalists are cringing and the pure Marxists are annoyed by that.  This is my opinion.  While the idea of people taking over factories is good, and owning their labor and sharing the fruits of what they create is grand - Marx was working toward Industrialization as a goal.  We need to become post-industrial.  Once we are, there will be less need for a Centralized Goverment.

Once we have a system that is more green, based on stability and sustainability, owning production would be a natural result.  Instead of "making a profit" for town A and competing for the market with town B - the goal should be providing said product A for their area and receiving product B in return for our own.

Still?  Less is more. There is no reason in the world that people need to work more than 20 hours a week - either in a field of their "calling" or as rotating voluntary service to keep infrastructure running.   While no model will ever cover the shoe fetish of some, nor the video-game addiction of others?  These extras could be "paid for" with labor.

I realize this is simplistic - but my goal here is to open eyes to the possibilities of another way, not argue to dust the minutia of implementing it.

But what of the lazy leeches?

"I want to do nothing when I grow up!" ~ said no child ever.

Prior to the industrial age, people had what I lovingly dub "callings."  Healing, mechanical, building, music, art, a love of animals, or growing things.  I don't think anyone ever wanted to be a miner.  But think - the need to dig in the earth for fossil fuels would be gone, and the value of rocks for pretty things - gold, diamonds, etc - all symbols of classology - would become far less valuable.  In a better world, who are you and what have you done to improve the world would be the bastion of esteem over what trinkets you own.

Sure, there will always be less desirable jobs.  Garbage removal. Sewer maintenance.  Cleaning. Those should be either paid a premium, or be mandatory volunteer for a short period in everyone's life to access the benefits of society.  If you think that is ridiculous, the model of restaurant management makes sure that to be hired to that position, you do every job in the place for weeks before you get to manage it.  You have to have hands on empathy and the ability to provide the service to run a restaurant. Mostly done in case someone calls in?  It has created respect for the people they manage.

If you are using the public education system to be a brain surgeon?  Wonderful.  It won't kill you to have to serve as janitorial staff for a semester part time while starting in your field.  See how that works?  Everyone begins to have mutual respect for the shoes of others.

Most people who do not work would prefer to.  They are just ill-fitted or ill-suited for the dehumanizing, unappreciated work they do.  Marx called this alienation. I call it round peg in square hole syndrome.  I would love to teach teenagers science, but never had the money for college.  I love working as a gardener, though it doesn't pay well.  I have enjoyed working in inventory management and tool repair for the big three.  I am now too old and sore, but rocked out waitressing.  I hate cubicles and offices - I am entirely unsuited for sedentary work. I prefer to have to move around during my day. I used to love to work on cars, and can fix nearly everything.

Yet?  I cannot find work that will provide for my son and I in any of those fields.  Capitalism made them all too low paying.  Again, it's what it does.  

Instead, most of us are related to producing or selling crap we don't need to people who can't afford it, who in turn have to do the same.  All to never really be SECURE in our homes or food or illness - so some few can be Bazillionaires.

A safety net for the infirm or those with special needs is a wonderful thing.  Is a person born with disabilities less worthy of food than you?

Its Capitalism that is crazy, not we, the Anti-Capitalists.

Consider two water tanks, if you will, sharing an endless cycle of refreshing one another.

Thats what we are about, really.

Its not scary.

Its not rocket science.

Its not un-doable, though those in the top tank would love you to think so.

Its having security, self-worth, cooperation, more free time and a greener planet.

Its about never, ever stamping someone into poverty to get ahead.

We have to end this insane extraction system and unify to "all of us".

Join the Anti-Capitalist Group.

Here be Sanity!

Originally posted to Anti-Capitalist Meetup on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Anti-Capitalist Chat.

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Comment Preferences

  •  DISCLAIMER: (13+ / 0-)

    I know most of the regular users of this forum are economists and historians to a degree well beyond the general population!

    My intended audience is the average person who may trip across this... and perhaps want to learn more.

    I didn't want to get pedantic, or overly detailed with scientifically precise definitions.... I wanted to use common venacular in the way they are broadly understood by Americans in ways that effect them.

    ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

    by Diane Gee on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 03:02:50 PM PDT

    •  This to me is more useful (9+ / 0-)

      We don't need to create a marginal echo chamber, we need to persuade people who think they believe in capitalism to apply some common sense to the meta structures that compel them to live their lives the way they do.

      There are greedy and competitive people in the world, but they're not the people any of the rest of us like much.  Why should we embrace a social structure that elevates those we like the least to positions of dominance and dooms those we like the best (the kind and the generous) to poverty.

      Capitalism does not drive innovation.  The Kochs (and people like them) spend a lot of their spare change making sure our energy supply stays firmly rooted in the technology of the early 20th century.  The same anti-innovative mentality is at work throughout our culture.

      Just because greedy people do things out of greed doesn't mean anybody else does.  Smart people tend to do things because they're interested, not because they think they'll get rich.

      •  What about the people that are competitive by (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Diane Gee, Justina, Urizen, Odysseus

        nature??  Do we tell them to take a flying leap, what would their place be??

        This isn't to say that I wouldn't go for some national standard of equality - electricity, heat, food, shelter, education, medical care for everyone.  A good 'first' step would be a hybrid of socialism, where there would be a 'basic' standard that everyone gets - for example (and it's really just an example) anyone that needs knee replacement will be offered a surgical steel knee.  However, if you had the means, you could afford a titanium knee, paying the difference between the two.  A surgical steel knee is perfectly serviceable and easier to make, but a titanium one might last longer and is more difficult to make.

        I know that many of the countries that have public health care also have 'supplemental' plans available through private insurance, I'm thinking of something along those lines.

        Could it even work??

        •  My answer to that (7+ / 0-)

          is have the new competitive be to give accolades to those who came up with something that helped everyone the most.  Think the Salk vacine, which was given freely rather than patented.

          Extreme competitivism is taught, and generosity can be too.

          I reject the "tiered" medical care.  If my son needed a knee, is he inherently less worthy of a good one than a rich man's son because his dad died prematurely of cancer?

          The basic idea is to make everything as durable and longer lasting so as not to need replacement.  Have you really saved the system any money when it wears out and has to be done twice?

          But it was a damned good question :)  Thanks for that.

          ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

          by Diane Gee on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 04:30:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good suggestion on what the competitive (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Diane Gee, Justina

            personality types could do to meet the need to 'compete'.  There are some people who get serious kicks out of getting the highest test score in the class, or run the fastest mile in the state, as examples of competitiveness.

            "Extreme competitivism is taught, and generosity can be too."  I think that there is some natural tendencies to either and/or both in many people.  The degree of competitiveness and/or generosity may be teachable.

            Maybe I didn't use a good example for the medical thing cause I do agree that things should be durable and last, no matter what the object is.  Maybe something like a private room vs 2 to a room at the hospital, or the standard is when 75% of the cartilage is gone is when surgery is done  (actually, they generally won't do surgery until it's completely gone and has been for a few years), but if you have the supplemental, you can get it at 60% and paying a bit more for it as well??

            •  I think it shouldn't be (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JayRaye, Urizen, NY brit expat, Justina

              paying for it at all.  :)

              ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

              by Diane Gee on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:00:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The last place there should be competition is (8+ / 0-)

              within the health care system. As a health care worker, I want all of my pts to have excellent 1st class care regardless of who they are or how much they make.

              There is plenty of room for competition within Socialism: sports, doing the most good for others, music, spelling bees...the list is endless. But competing to see who gets 1st class health care should not be on that list.... ever.

              WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

              by JayRaye on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:06:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Why this need to have a hierarchy of wealth? (5+ / 0-)
              •  Because some really do work harder than others (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk

                and it deserves recoginition in some visible way and not just being able to keep your job......

                •  It is a false assumption that only (5+ / 0-)

                  capitalism rewards hard work and affords recognition. Other economic systems can offer rewards and recognition.

                •  Do you think that those that earn higher wages (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Diane Gee, JayRaye

                  work harder? Do you think that men work harder than women and that white people work harder than people of colour? People are not paid wages by how hard they work unless they are doing piecework and that is not the case outside of sweatshops for the most part. So this is a fallacious argument; Capitalism does not pay wages based on how hard you work or farmers and coal miners would have the highest wages; instead wage differentials are based upon other things, Adam Smith knew this and wrote a whole chapter in the wealth of nations on it, you should read it.

                  "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                  by NY brit expat on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 03:05:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Of course not. Being a contract employee is (0+ / 0-)

                    pretty much piece work in my opinion, or at least in what it is that I do.  But, I do think that, if all things equal (same job duties), the person working 30 hours should make more than the person who works 20.  That's what I generally meant by some work harder than others.  Hard rock mining is completely different than computer programming and both deserve at least a living wage.

                    •  Labor's job as a movement (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JayRaye, NY brit expat

                      would be to better negotiate the contract you made with them.

                      ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

                      by Diane Gee on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 05:41:39 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  That is pay being proportional to hours (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Diane Gee, JayRaye

                      worked, that is not necessarily those that work harder. There are many reasons why people work part-time, women often because they need to care for children and extended family. During the time that they work, they work hard especially compared to pay as they are often in traditional women's labour which is underpaid.

                      With large amounts of unemployment, wouldn't it be more sensible to reduce work hours while keeping incomes up? So that instead of 40 hrs+  work weeks, people can work 35 hrs. w/o pay loss. That would also enable those that are desperate for work to earn a living (those are the vast majority on benefits).  High levels of productivity mean that we need less workers and that leads to persistent unemployment; sharing work hours would mean more leisure time for all and people could do things that matter to them.

                      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                      by NY brit expat on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 10:45:40 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Competitive behavior (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Diane Gee, JayRaye

              such as it may exist (and indeed, has been artificially elevated by capitalism above all other human traits) along with other natural human traits such as mutual aid (even competitive people suspend this behavior to spontaneously help their families and neighbors) does not need to be institutionalized to form the basis of society.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 10:51:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Working hard is just one form of contribution (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Diane Gee, JayRaye

              Unfortunately, capitalism elevates only this one form of giving to society. It rarely acknowledges other valuable traits that keep society functioning as a whole.

              What about other traits? What about the lazy worker who invents brilliant innovations, but doesn't do a lick of unpleasant work (leaving that to the coal miners, the sewage workers, etc)? What about the slow worker, who is so strong he can lift boulders no one else can budge? What about the average worker who makes the workplace a joy to be in, due to her sense of humor, without whom the world would be less colorful and harmonious? What about the person who actually LIKES doing the lowly jobs no one else wants to do, but who is lacking in any other talent, and without whom the more talented person would have to shovel the manure from horse stalls or empty the hospital bed pans?

              The old adage that it takes a village is still true. No one accomplishes anything alone. Even a brilliant physicist makes her discoveries on the shoulders of all that came before, including her parents, her teachers, the school grants, the history of all who contributed in the past to make that one step forward possible.

              The notion that anything is accomplished by just one factor (hard work, for example) is illusory. It is the combination of traits of the community that creates progress. It is impossible to separate one factor from all the other contributions in order to calculate the monetary value of that factor.

              My father was an extremely hard worker. I've no idea where he got his energy, given his health problems (which weren't paid for by insurance). As time went on, he couldn't do the work, as his health deteriorated.

              Should he thus be punished for his health problems (which stemmed from the poverty during his youth)?

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 11:13:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Competetiveness (0+ / 0-)

            Is an evolutionary trait. Let's not be antiscientific.

            http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/ Jesus Loves You.

            by DAISHI on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:32:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  In Britain, the private insurance is (6+ / 0-)

          essentially used to jump the queue on elective surgeries and seeing specialists; again, if you have money or work for a corp that provides this you are entitled to jump over anyone else. It is extremely destructive of the idea behind universal health care over here and of course is run by many american health insurers. I strongly oppose the existence of this and would make it illegal.

          What has happened is that all profitable surgeries have been siphoned off into these private health care providers and since the doctors are the same people that work in the NHS, it increases the lines for everyone else.

          I do not know how it works in France and Germany, but it has been disastrous in Britain and is part of the attempts to privatise the system.

          The healthcare I get under the NHS is excellent and there is no reason in my mind that wealthy people should get preference for elective surgeries over everyone else. What is needed is a properly funded universal healthcare system; not having it bled dry by politicians against the will of the British population.

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 04:55:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the info - I wasn't quite sure how it (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NY brit expat, Diane Gee, Justina

            really worked.

            •  It is probably different in France and Germany (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JayRaye, Justina, tardis10, peregrine kate

              but we actually had a national health service providing for all irrespective of income and wealth and part of a true universal social welfare state. The attack is not only from the Tories, New Labour did a lot of damage; but the Tories are trying to kill it by opening it up to EU competition rules. It is a fight that people (including doctors and other health professionals) are fighting and we have lost a lot and I have no idea if it will be reversed under the Labour gov't that will be elected as they are completely untrustworthy and have accepted neoliberal dribble about competition and privatisation. We are in a serious mess over here!!

              "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

              by NY brit expat on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:01:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Right! Proper Funding is the Key. (6+ / 0-)

            If sufficient resources were put into our medical care system instead of into the pockets of insurance companies here in the U.S.,  we wouldn't need to worry about jumping a queue, because there would not be a queue.

            Had the money that poured into defense contractors pockets as a result of the illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq been put into our health care system instead, our whole population could have universal, quality healthcare.

            Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

            by Justina on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:43:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  let competitive people compete (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Diane Gee, JayRaye, Justina

          nothing wrong with that.  I love sports and I admire athletes.  I love to play horse or gin rummy and I feel good when I win, but I don't think that needs to be the basis of all of my relationships with the world.  I feel just as good when I do something that involves the input of everyone concerned.  I often feel really good being less good at something than somebody else is.  When we basis our entire society on our worst characteristics ("I'm better than you are", "me first and fuck you"), it's not surprising we end up with a society that functions poorly for most of us.

          I don't think everybody needs to have the same things, but I think everybody ought to start out having the things they need to do what they want to do with their lives (like, food shelter healthcare education etc.).  

          There will always be people who work a little harder, get a little more, care a little more, do a little extra, all that.  Their communities will recognize them and value them.  There are rewards in that.   Greedy people might not appreciate those kinds of rewards, but only a tiny minority of us are actually greedy.

          •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Urizen, Odysseus

            "There will always be people who work a little harder, get a little more, care a little more, do a little extra, all that.  Their communities will recognize them and value them.  There are rewards in that."

            With my experience, no, they won't.  Last June we had a hard deadline of July 3 for implementation of 51 pgms with 3-5 table access changes in each pgm (and assorted jcl, copylibs, database rules, etc).  There were 4 pgmrs - the 51 pgms were speced, coded, tested and implemented without error in 4 weeks.  I alone did 28 of the specs, 18 codings /with clean compile, and 19 testing.  No one gave me an 'ataboy', or even a thank you for working over time to get it done (but since I was an hourly contract laborer, I did get paid time and a half for the over time).  And, no, I wasn't trying to 'outdo' anyone else, but keep my job, which meant doing what it takes to make that deadline.

            •  maybe . . . (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JayRaye, NY brit expat, Justina

              being an hourly contract laborer among other hourly contract laborers doesn't reach the threshold of the kind of community that appreciates and values the contributions people make to it.  When people are in a community just to get paid, none of them really cares that much about it.  Why should they?  Under capitalism the products of their work don't even belong them.  Everybody's basically a mercenary.

            •  Guess You Work for a Capitalist Company? (5+ / 0-)

              If you were working in a mutually owned cooperative, where everyone has a stake in making things work well, you might have had a much more pleasant experience.

              The capitalist environment puts everyone at each other's throats.  That is a function of the way work is organized under capitalism.  But that is not necessarily a universal truism.

              Under a different model of an economy, we could work cooperatively and share in all the rewards, both material and non-material.

              Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

              by Justina on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:50:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Used to... now with another... The one I was (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Odysseus

                contract at is probably a top 100 international company, if not top 50.  (Think very big yellow earth moving equipment.)  They treat their employees pretty well, including yearly 'profit sharing bonuses'.  Contract labor was just that, the 'hired help' and treated as such by most of the company.  The only reason why I did do any over time (fortunately none was 'mandated') was because I was being paid time and a half for it.

                The company I know work for is as a 'permanent' employee with health insurance, vacation/sick time, a defined (albeit a small one) pension, 401k plan and yearly 'profit sharing bonus (~ 7-7.5% of salary).  Again this is probably a top 100, if not top 50, company.  This company's parent headquarters is in the Netherlands, the US headquarters is here in town.  They are a significant competitor to AIG (yes, that AIG).  

                So far they've not made any expectations of overtime (except during on-call and have been told that if it's a bad week, management will give you comp time, regardless of what the 'rules' state).  They haven't made any unreasonable deadlines on work completion.  I have been asked what would I commit myself to for the month of May, presuming 160 hours of work time for the month (actually, there's technically 184 hours for the month).  We've been told to set aside 20% of our time for 'administrative' stuff and 20% for on-call/product support (answering questions on how something works, please run a file through for me, etc).  We are to take out any holidays or 'scheduled' time off before counting that 40% of time.  The remainder of the time we are to allocate to 'projects' the 'user' would like to have done to the system.  For example the month of May - 8 hours holiday, 30 hours for admin, 30 hours for production, leaving 92 for 'other' stuff.  I've committed myself to something like 44 hours to testing a new pgm, 20 hours to another project and 28 to another.  Now, they would really like for me to meet those deadlines, but I won't get fired if I don't.  It's more of a guide for management to be able to plan out how and when they can move projects through the system and if priorities need to be shifted (ie, some regulation comes in and they need to know who has what project and/or time to work on this - they could decide that the two projects 'worth' 48 hours are not as important as the regulation project and ask me to re-asign my time.)

            •  Does anyone work harder than (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JayRaye, Diane Gee

              sanitation crews? Or coal miners? Or bricklayers? Does your job, where you don't even get your hands calloused or dirty, and where there is a clean, healthy environment, deserve more pay than the plumber who wades through human waste underneath crawl spaces of buildings ten hours per day, in order to make your life in the office environment run smoothly with running water and functioning waste removal??

              I like Kropotkin's idea: Everyone works four or five hours per day in their jobs, and the most unpleasant work is shared by all using rotation. After work, there is still time in the day for other pursuits, such as developing scientific innovation, etc.

              The reward everyone gets is a much more harmonious society.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 11:21:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  That's the way it is now,with the hierarchy of who (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye, Justina, NY brit expat, Diane Gee

          gets the premium health assuming they got it because they worked harder, "deserved" it. If we want to compete to see who can make the greatest scientific or artistic advances for everyone, I'm all for it -- if you want individuals to compete against each other to see who can get the most monetary advantage and others expense - that is capitalism and I am anti-capitalist.

        •  Athletes Are Competitive By Nature, But.... (6+ / 0-)

          most do not compete for money, they compete because they love the sport and love to win.  Only the very few are rewarded by money.  

          There are many other ways in which competitiveness can be rewarded.  You just need to have a little faith that in a society where all folks basic needs are met, we would also find good ways to reward excellence and innovation.

          Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

          by Justina on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:30:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You did a great job in this regard, but you should (8+ / 0-)

      not have to apologize. I have heard many a sophisticated economist or philosopher spout lots of jargon and specialized knowledge, yet have little basis in reality. After all, look at all the capitalist 'smoke and mirrors PR,
      BTW I love the charts and videos you found - they couldn't be clearer and anyone who doesn't get it after reading this, is willfully ignoring reality in favor of the "I want to be a millionaire" pipe dream.

  •  ACM has been cross-posted at: (7+ / 0-)

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 03:10:54 PM PDT

  •  Wonderful Post, Diane Gee! (10+ / 0-)

    Even though I theoretically know about the huge disparity of wealth between the top 1 per cent and the rest of us, seeing those charts is really mind-blowing.

    How is it possible that so few have ended up owning so much of our country's wealth?  The answer is that it was all stolen from the labor of those who actually did the work to create that wealth.  It is time to take it back.

    Capitalism is based on theft of not only the labor time but the human dignity of all those who do the work.

    It is time to throw the capitalist system out and create a social system that actually works for the majority of human beings.

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 03:11:49 PM PDT

  •  Anti-Capitalist Meetup Schedule: (10+ / 0-)

    May

    5th: Nattiq
    12th: Justina
    19th: Northsylvania
    26th:

    June

    2nd:
    9th:
    16th:
    23rd:
    30th: Annieli

    Hello fellow anti-capitalists, we have a great series of pieces coming up! However, as you can see, we have openings from the 26th of May - 30th of June (and then beyond). What makes this great series work is the contributions of our followers, our members and our writers; people that give their time and understanding of what is going on ... but that means we cannot function without those people.  We need writers for the meetup so that it can be a meetup or we will have little to talk about.

    If you can write a post, please reply to this comment or send a private message using kosmail to NY Brit Expat or send an email to our group: dkanticapitalistgroup@gmail.com

    On May Day, JayRaye is trying to schedule a blogathon on the latest capitalist made catastrophe in South Asia and what we can do as individuals, as union members, and as anti-capitalists to support the trade unions in Bangladesh who are fighting for enforcement of health and safety regulations in factories producing goods for the MNCs who refuse to follow even the legal guidelines in Bangladesh. The Series will be published out of the AC chat, so please try and support the writers and the workers and trade unions to fight to protect working people in the capitalist periphery!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 03:20:53 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this excellent piece Diane Gee! (12+ / 0-)

    You did an wonderful job and really rocked the house tonight! I have many favourite parts, but I think your excellent description of a system where useful, necessary labour doesn't pay enough because it is not profitable for the system:

    "Most people who do not work would prefer to.  They are just ill-fitted or ill-suited for the dehumanizing, unappreciated work they do.  Marx called this alienation. I call it round peg in square hole syndrome.  I would love to teach teenagers science, but never had the money for college.  I love working as a gardener, though it doesn't pay well.  I have enjoyed working in inventory management and tool repair for the big three.  I am now too old and sore, but rocked out waitressing.  I hate cubicles and offices - I am entirely unsuited for sedentary work. I prefer to have to move around during my day. I used to love to work on cars, and can fix nearly everything.

    Yet?  I cannot find work that will provide for my son and I in any of those fields.  Capitalism made them all too low paying.  Again, it's what it does."  

    That's an essential point and instead we get from economists the dribble about human capital! Thanks so much!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 03:32:03 PM PDT

    •  One point you left out I find interesting - (9+ / 0-)

      especially since it sounds like you are a single Mom - is the extra degree of poverty that women face. Even in that great THINK chart, the less wealthy were described in neutral or male terms (all the job categories he discussed were dominated by men). Woman as a group were never mentioned -- or the fact that, if they are not attached to male wealth through inheritance or marriage, have only 8% of the average male due to the continuation of the patriarchal system of unpaid labor running side by side with (and used by) capitalism. Seema 8 has an excellent article on this aspect somewhere in Dailykos and I hope to address this specific aspect of the wealth gap in a future diary since Ex Pat and I will be presenting on this topic at the Left Forum in June.
      Overall, though, one of the best diaries I have read in our meet up.

  •  capitalism is extractive (13+ / 0-)

    and this is especially true from the ecologist's perspective as well.

    the mindset that pits economy against environment as opposing forces that need to be counter-balanced is as dangerous as it is wrong, and evidence supporting that contention is piling up at a rapid pace.

    "i hear you're mad about brubeck ... i like your eyes. i like him too." -donald fagen

    by homo neurotic on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 03:37:34 PM PDT

  •  great diary, Diane, (13+ / 0-)

    If we didn't already have reason enuf to hate the capitalist system, we sure got another reason this past week in Bangladesh.

    WE NEVER FORGET Modestino Valentino who lost his life in the Paterson Silk Strike

    by JayRaye on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 03:48:09 PM PDT

  •  thanks for this: exploitation is always the (8+ / 0-)

    most important issue to frame the multidimensional  inequity caused by greed. And public ownership is the solution, understanding that some form of exploitation occurs in all large scale activities even under socialism as a function of the division of labor. What counts is the proper and democratic redistribution of collective wealth and the guarantee of individual human rights regardless of status.

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 GOP Rep. Steve Stockman (TX):"If babies had guns, they wouldn't be aborted"

    by annieli on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:16:13 PM PDT

  •  "Sacred Economics" (5+ / 0-)

    It's a terrific book that's all about reversing the money paradigm so it no longer is predatory, but egalitarian.

  •  anticapitalist - an awesome tag (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NY brit expat, Diane Gee, JayRaye

    Being an anticapitalist allows you to identify with an anti-corporate perspective without being forced to buy into a specific ideological dogma. Corporate rule has got to end – though I don’t really think we know what the alternative will look like yet. For people who are interested I’m offering a free ebook called 21st Century Revolution. It’s a collection of essays looking at the train wreck capitalism has imposed on contemporary society, with special focus in 4 specific areas: 1) the disaster of allowing private banks to create money out of thin air as loans and virtually control our money supply 2) various reasons why working class activists are drawn to the Tea Party and patriotic movement rather than the left 3) the role of violence (this can no longer be ignored) 4) and arguments why a number of leftists (such as myself) oppose gun control.

    The ebook is a free download (any format) from https://www.smashwords.com/...

    •  exactly! we do disagree on what post-capitalism (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diane Gee, JayRaye

      will look like; we can agree on anti-capitalism. That is why we have the name.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 03:10:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Truth hurts - hurts the corporate fatcats. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NY brit expat, Diane Gee, JayRaye

    Let's keep pluggin' away folks.  Nothing happens without effort.

    Thank You, Diane!

    Celtic Merlin
    Carlinist

    Struggle with dignity against injustice. IS there anything more honorable that a person can do?

    by Celtic Merlin on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 02:03:15 AM PDT

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