Tag Archives | Capitalism

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.”

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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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Immortal Technique on Conspiracy Facts, Money as God & Breaking the Two Party Dictatorship

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Abby Martin an exclusive interview with hip hop artist Immortal Technique discussing everything from his creative process in his politically charged lyrics to his views on capitalism and the two-party stronghold over American politics.

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Why Riot?

PIC: Bryan Tong Minh (CC)

PIC: Bryan Tong Minh (CC)

A thought provoking must read on a largely misunderstood topic:

Via Ultra

So I’m writing here for simple reasons: to defend the riot as a general tactic and to explain why one might engage in a riot. By this I mean to defend and explain not just the window breaking, not just “non-injurious violence,” and certainly not just the media spectacle it generates, but the riot itself—that dangerous, ugly word that sounds so basically criminal and which often takes (as in London in 2011) a form so fundamentally unpalatable for civil society that it can only be understood as purely irrational, without any logic, and without possible defense.

I aim, nonetheless, to defend and explain the riot, because we live in a new era of riots. Riots have been increasing in absolute number globally for the past thirty years. They are our immediate future, and this future will spare Seattle no less than Athens or London, Guangzhou or Cairo.

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Would Bankruptcy Protect You from Being Prosecuted for Murder? Then Why Are GM and Its Officers Getting Immunity?

PIC: US GOVT (PD)

PIC: US GOVT (PD)

via chycho

It should be obvious by now that corporations have more rights than humans in the United States, but GM’s corporate and executive immunity from civil and criminal liability and prosecution for putting shareholder value ahead of safety is mind boggling; that there is even a debate about this is insane:

“GM is a different legal entity than the one that filed the 2009 bankruptcy that shook the U.S. economy. The so-called new GM is not responsible under the terms of its bankruptcy exit for legal claims relating to incidents that took place before July 2009. Those claims must be brought against what remains of the ‘old’ or pre-bankruptcy GM.

“But the proposed class action, filed in federal court in California, said plaintiffs should be allowed to sue over the pre-bankruptcy actions, ‘because of the active concealment by Old GM and GM.’”

If GM is allowed to buy their way out of this mess by settling out of court and taking no responsibility for the death and misery that they caused, then we know that the status quo of protecting the rich is intact (2).… Read the rest

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The Rise of Anti-Capitalism

391px-McKinley_ProsperityJeremy Rifkin, author of “The Zero Marginal Cost Society” suggests in his op-ed for the New York Times that we are experiencing the “creeping reality of a zero-marginal-cost economy”:

We are beginning to witness a paradox at the heart of capitalism, one that has propelled it to greatness but is now threatening its future: The inherent dynamism of competitive markets is bringing costs so far down that many goods and services are becoming nearly free, abundant, and no longer subject to market forces. While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring those costs to near zero.

The first inkling of the paradox came in 1999 when Napster, the music service, developed a network enabling millions of people to share music without paying the producers and artists, wreaking havoc on the music industry. Similar phenomena went on to severely disrupt the newspaper and book publishing industries.

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On The Consumerist Order Of The New City

cityNew Left Project describes the reshaping of the meaning and rules of our cities:

The commercialisation of the urban landscape has resulted in the privatisation of public space. As manufacturing industries have diminished and the consumer and service economy has grown, the places we inhabit have radically changed. As city centres have become tributes to consumption, private interests have permeated these spaces. Although these places hold the semblance of being “public”, they are owned by corporate interests and are therefore under private control and not accountable to the public.

The quasi-public space of the commercial city centre is unwelcoming for a growing number of citizens. Non-consumers, such as the homeless, the unemployed, the poor, the young and the old are branded as ‘others’ to the hegemonic consumer order. The right to the city is increasingly a privilege for those with the material and cultural capital to consume. The quest for clean and sanitized space has meant that ‘out of place’ individuals who fail to match up to a highly circumscribed model of ‘consumer citizenship’ are hidden from view.

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