Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Unfettered Capitalism Myth

"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains." -- so said Thomas Jefferson when he advocated against corporations having political power and worked to build a wall between them and our government. Corporations are the single largest form of dominance over people ever devised and have no particular loyalty to any country, including our own.  Profits are the singular guiding standard as Jefferson noted and ever since his time corporations have tried to insinuate themselves into our political system.

They have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are now defined as ‘persons’ and the US Supreme Court recently ruled they can spend as much as they like to elect politicians of their choice. This signals a crystal clear and present danger for our way of life. Now, there seems to be no real obstacle to corporations taking complete control of our government

Lot’s of us own stock in corporations, and prosper from their prosperity to various degrees. That’s only one of the many ways used to mollify and soothe the masses. But, it has gone far beyond that.  Corporations invested in and have been stunningly successful in enlisting the very people they are economically enslaving  to their defense and cause. Disparaging ‘capitalism’ in the slightest way exposes you to attack, ridicule and accusation of being communist or treasonous.

“Unrestrained and unfettered capitalism” is the popular war cry. And, war cry it is. The problem is, it is a complete and utter myth. First, it is not capitalism at all. Capitalism as in the popular conception of it went out the window a long time ago. Capitalism as it exists today is actually a 'Corporatocracy', a many-tentacled form of governance by entities nourished and sustained by corporate socialism in the form of huge subsidies and tax breaks from our government. This is orchestrated by the elites who rule the corporations. And, the ones paying the bill are you and I, the taxpaying saps who are now virtual economic slaves.

These elites have access to unlimited funds to influence the legislators who live in their pockets, and have little hope of election without their help. They also have huge treasure chests to propagandize the masses to get them behind their causes.

The Tea Party is a prime example. The spark, and initial money behind this ‘movement’ has been traced back to the Koch brothers, two of the richest men in America and the world. They are aided by a huge media conglomerate (FOX), also owned, not incidentally by one of the richest men in the world. They capitalize on the legitimate fears and frustrations of millions of Americans watching our politicians sell out our country wholesale. Faith in Congress is at an all-time historic low, and with good and sufficient reason. It’s simple really. Congress long ago essentially defaulted on the people’s business, except occasionally under the strongest public pressure. Instead, they block, obfuscate, confuse and dodge any progress or beneficial change objected to by their real clients - the corporations who keep them in office.

And, the damage caused by special interest legislation is legion. One historic example: Corporate money funded legislation legalize a mining method called 'mountaintop removal'  (‘Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977,' (515(c)(1)'. Today this vast region is internationally  known as 'APPALACHIA'  with the distinction as the most backward region with the lowest health and literacy rates anywhere in the US. There is more of the same type of thing going on in our country today than most people can ever imagine. The human, or social parts of our society have little value to corporations except for how we can contribute to their profits.

Who are these elites who rule the corporations, and thereby the rest of us? Well, to begin with they are, with few exceptions, the really, really rich. Some of their wealth is inherited, and some was gained through their own efforts, Horatio Alger style. But generally speaking, they comprise the richest one or two percent of people in the nation, and internationally too, as many corporations are wholly or partly foreign owned - yet still have their full say in our political system. And, since they essentially rule our nation, this means we are also being partially ruled by foreigners. Hard to believe, eh?  It is harder still to stomach.

We have been through similar times in our past. The infamous ‘laissez faire’ times of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries come to mind. The rich had control back then too. In 1928 almost 24% of the nation’s income came to the hands of the richest 1%. This ratio declined to around 8 or 9% by the 1970’s due to economic reforms, wars and the so-called Great Society. By 2007 we were right back to 1928 levels - almost 24% of total income came once again to the richest 1%. 

It is not coincidental that both periods were followed by the greatest economic crashes in history. Sadly for the rest of us, ironically, in bad economic times the rich tend to get richer, relatively speaking, than any of the rest of us. This bears our the cliché that if you do not learn from history, you are destined to repeat it.  Sadly for our country, all too true.

An election is coming up. We are daily being innundated with political ads demonizing ‘Obamacare’ - the first comprehensive health care plan for all citizens in our entire history. ‘Liberals’ and ‘Progressives’ are roundly pilloried. How anyone can be against progress is beyond my understanding, but there you are. Today is a black is white, white is black world, bought and paid for lock, stock and barrel by Big Corporate Money - ‘BCM’.

Enjoy if you can.

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