Tag Archives | Capitalism

Shitty Jobs, Scarface, Dick Cheney, Fate and the Inconvenient Truth about Karma

vivek jena CC By 2.0)

vivek jena (CC By 2.0)

It’s late Sunday evening, now. The nights are long this time of year and it’s cold out. It’s the season of icy windows that crack when the heater kicks on at two in the morning. When you’re reminded of how nice it is to have another warm body next to you under the comforter, so that you can rub feet together and purr in frigid pleasure.

I should go to bed. Tomorrow is Monday, obviously, and I begin a new week of work. Mornings have an annoying tendency to come early, especially when you’re not particularly enchanted with your given line of work. But to go to bed would be an act of acquiescence—or, at least it feels like one. Even though I know it’s nonsense, it almost feels that the longer I stay awake, the longer I can put off the impending doom of another goddamned Monday morning.… Read the rest

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Radical new economic system will emerge from collapse of capitalism

Steven Depolo (CC BY 2.0)

Steven Depolo (CC BY 2.0)

via The Guardian:

At the very moment of its ultimate triumph, capitalism will experience the most exquisite of deaths.

This is the belief of political adviser and author Jeremy Rifkin, who argues the current economic system has become so successful at lowering the costs of production that it has created the very conditions for the destruction of the traditional vertically integrated corporation.

Rifkin, who has advised the European Commission, the European Parliament and heads of state, including German chancellor Angela Merkel, says:

No one in their wildest imagination, including economists and business people, ever imagined the possibility of a technology revolution so extreme in its productivity that it could actually reduce marginal costs to near zero, making products nearly free, abundant and absolutely no longer subject to market forces.

With many manufacturing companies surviving only on razor thin margins, they will buckle under competition from small operators with virtually no fixed costs.

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Capitalism is God’s Will and the Cat Drank all the Milk: How our Language Creates our Biggest Problems and Why We Can’t do Anything about It

Felipe Del Valle (CC BY 2.0)

Felipe Del Valle (CC BY 2.0)

I have a confession to make, one that a good number of readers will find disgusting and emetic and prevent many of them from reading further. Others, however, might relate or find it interesting regardless, and so those people will continue to read, which, I suppose, is good enough for me. You see, when I was a child, from a very early age, probably as early as I can remember, I felt all around me the “Presence of God.” It was and is, in all actuality, an impossible feeling to properly describe, but I suppose to some extent that I could say that I felt some sort of “immanent-transcendent energy” “flowing” through me and through my surroundings. Having lived in a rural area hours away in any direction from something resembling civilization, many of my childhood memories consist of me sitting in the backseat of a Toyota 4Runner driving somewhere else, usually toward civilization somewhere.… Read the rest

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Ghost in the Machine: US and UK Are Capitalism’s Warlords

Benn Berrigan (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Benn Berrigan (CC BY-NC 2.0)

via News Junkie Post:

For the global majority, the disappointing world order is owed in large part to the current capitalist system and its industrialized military operations around the world. After half a century of loans, structural adjustments, industrialization, austerity measures, embargoes, sanctions, wars, and neoliberal trade agreements, wealth has increased and stratified for the powers that have historically orchestrated it. By contrast, the gap between rich and poor has widened, and many nations of the Global South find themselves in disadvantageous positions with regard to international economics and global politics.

This pernicious system is propped up by the United States government first of all, and its close partner, the United Kingdom. In a world that is becoming increasingly tired of Anglo-American authority, the Yankee and British economies rely on arms exports to maintain their supremacy. Currently, as number one and number three of the world’s arms exporters, the US share of the market is about 78 percent, and that of the UK is about 3.5 percent.

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Capitalism is the Legitimate Racket of the Ruling Class – Al Capone

 

Al_Capone_in_1930

via Histomatist:

Al Capone on Capitalism

It is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that ‘Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class’, – and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn’s autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all.

In 1930, Cockburn, then a correspondent in America for the Times newspaper, interviewed Al Capone at the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, when Capone was at the height of his power. He recalls that except for ‘the sub-machine gun…poking through the transom of a door behind the desk, Capone’s own room was nearly indistinguishable from that of, say, a “newly arrived” Texan oil millionaire. Apart from the jowly young murderer on the far side of the desk, what took the eye were a number of large, flattish, solid silver bowls upon the desk, each filled with roses.

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Facing Up to the Capitalist Within

“Prayers on deck, slaves under the deck—John Newton’s Christian slave ship.” Credit: http://emmock.com/2013/01/22/bible-blog-945/

“Prayers on deck, slaves under the deck—John Newton’s Christian slave ship.” Credit: http://emmock.com/2013/01/22/bible-blog-945/

Georgie Wingfield-Hayes writes at openDemocracy:

It’s easy to blame the economic system for causing social and environmental problems, but what is that system built on? Isn’t it us?

John Newton (1725-1807) is best known for penning the hymn Amazing Grace in the later years of his life as a minister in the Church of England. In 1788 he published a pamphlet entitled Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade, in which he spoke out strongly against what he called “a disgraceful branch of commerce.” But for much of his life Newton worked on slave ships, including four years as captain of his own vessel taking stolen African men and women to the American colonies.

Newton’s transition from slaver to minister and activist was inspired by one particular event. On a return journey to Liverpool in 1748, a great storm had threatened to sink his ship, and the fear he was forced to face affected him profoundly, changing his views about the people who were imprisoned beneath his feet.

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Capitalism vs. the Climate: Naomi Klein on Need for New Economic Model to Address Ecological Crisis

via Democracy Now:

As the United Nations prepares to hold one-day global summit on climate change, we speak to award-winning author Naomi Klein about her new book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.”

In the book, Klein details how our neoliberal economic system and our planetary system are now at war. With global emissions at an all-time high, Klein says radical action is needed.

“We have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis,” Klein writes. “We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe — and would benefit the vast majority — are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.”

Continue reading.… Read the rest

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Free Markets and Capitalism Are Not the Same Thing

Photograph shows stock brokers working at the New York Stock Exchange. 1963

Photograph shows stock brokers working at the New York Stock Exchange. 1963

Roderick Long writes about the problems with conflating the two at Bleeding Heart Libertarians:

Left-libertarians differ from the (current) libertarian mainstream both in terms of what outcomes they regard as desirable, and in terms of what outcomes they think a freed market is likely to produce.

With regard to the latter issue, left-libertarians regard the current domination of the economic landscape by large hierarchical firms as the product not of free competition but of government intervention – including not only direct subsidies, grants of monopoly privilege, and barriers to entry, but also a regulatory framework that enables firms to socialise the scale costs associated with growth and the informational costs associated with hierarchy, while pocketing the benefits – and leaving employees and consumers with a straitened range of options. In the absence of government intervention, we maintain, firms could be expected to be smaller, flatter, and more numerous, with greater worker empowerment.

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Rethinking Democracy

rubio_jeffersonA pretty compelling read introducing the radical idea that maybe Democracy needs to be reconsidered. Old hat to postmodernism, of course, but maybe it’s time for some mainstream exposure for these notions.

via Salon:

This is what democracy looks like: grotesque inequality, delusional Tea Party obstructionism, a vast secret national-security state, overseas wars we’re never even told about and a total inability to address the global climate crisis, a failure for which our descendants will never forgive us, and never should. Maybe I’ll take the turtle costumes after all. The aura of democratic legitimacy is fading fast in an era when financial and political capital are increasingly consolidated in a few thousand people, a fact we already knew but whose implications French insta-celebrity Thomas Piketty and the political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page (of the “oligarchy study”) have forcefully driven home. Libertarian thinker Bryan Caplan sees the same pattern, as Michael Lind recently wrote in Salon, but thinks it’s a good thing.

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