Abby Martin interviews Margaret Heffernan, author of ‘Willful Blindness’ and ‘A Bigger Prize’, about the destructive impact of competition and alternative models of incentivizing people to work together for the greater good.
Tag Archives | Capitalism
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
In 1865 the US formally “abolished slavery” with the ratification of the 13th Amendment. The text of the 13th reads as follows:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
That’s seriously it. Just that. Basically a resigned, “Alright guys, party’s over. No more slavin’ for us”. It even includes an “except”, because hey, there are always exceptions.
It is 2015. Slavery has only been explicitly ‘outlawed’ for the last 150 years. The historical momentum of slavery and the slave trade still informs the mentality of elites today because of its sheer ubiquity and depth as an economic system.… Read the rest
Occasionally–the first time being about 10 years ago, or so– I’ll attempt to read Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. It’s a book any self-respecting intellectual or radical thinker or simple-minded liberal or Un-American is supposed to read. If you don’t read it, your membership to any of the aforementioned labels/clubs gets revoked. Therefore, every couple of years, I start to get antsy and I begin to feel nervous that if I don’t read the book, others will recognize that I’m just a “Poser,” a “Fake,” a “Sell Out,” or even an “American” and so I dig through a much-too-big pile of unread books that I have in a closet and pluck out Zinn’s opus, and the same thing happens every goddamned time.
I can’t make it past the first two chapters.
Each and every time I start from the beginning, as any worthwhile book should be read, and I make it through the first two chapters and… I just can’t do it.… Read the rest
The Absurd Illusions of a Shining City on a Hill by Mark Weiser at Dissident Voice:
… Read the rest
The average natural born citizen in any country is continuously indoctrinated into the national culture starting about the time they begin understanding the meaning of words. There’s one country in particular where reality is staring the public in the face, but the truth has been grossly distorted for decades by government, and mass media, bias and propaganda. If the citizens would suddenly see the truth, instead of what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they would find themselves in a strange and bizarre foreign land that’s contrary in many ways to their personal beliefs regarding home. For those who experience this sudden revelation, as soon as the truth is realized, it’s likely to provoke a profound and immediate sense of disbelief. Like emergency room personnel making insensitive jokes, laughter at some point becomes a self-defense mechanism for offsetting continuous parades of the absurd realities and outright horrors.
… Read the rest
Prisons employ and exploit the ideal worker. Prisoners do not receive benefits or pensions. They are not paid overtime. They are forbidden to organize and strike. They must show up on time. They are not paid for sick days or granted vacations. They cannot formally complain about working conditions or safety hazards. If they are disobedient, or attempt to protest their pitiful wages, they lose their jobs and can be sent to isolation cells. The roughly 1 million prisoners who work for corporations and government industries in the American prison system are models for what the corporate state expects us all to become. And corporations have no intention of permitting prison reforms that would reduce the size of their bonded workforce. In fact, they are seeking to replicate these conditions throughout the society.
States, in the name of austerity, have stopped providing prisoners with essential items including shoes, extra blankets and even toilet paper, while starting to charge them for electricity and room and board.
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
via The Guardian:
… Read the rest
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.
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
via News Junkie Post:
… Read the rest
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.
… Read the rest
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.