Tag Archives | Capitalism

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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Chris Hedges Part I: Crisis Cults and the Collapse of Industrial Civilization

Abby Martin features an exclusive interview with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, concerning areas of extreme poverty that he refers to as ‘sacrifice zones’, as well as the reasons behind the collapse of complex societies.

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David Simon Speech: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’

David Simon at Rising Tide 2011Best known as the creator of seminal TV series The Wire, David Simon gave an impromptu speech about the divide between rich and poor in America at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney, and how capitalism has lost sight of its social compact. This is an edited extract via The Guardian:

America is a country that is now utterly divided when it comes to its society, its economy, its politics. There are definitely two Americas. I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely. It’s astonishing how little we have to do with each other, and yet we are living in such proximity.

There’s no barbed wire around West Baltimore or around East Baltimore, around Pimlico, the areas in my city that have been utterly divorced from the American experience that I know.

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Conservatives Plan 2014 Assault on Education, Healthcare, Workers’ Comp and Environment

474px-human-brain_257Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

According to internal documents obtained by the British newspaper and published online Thursday, the Guardian reports that more than forty state-level conservative groups are planning a “US-wide assault” on “education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment.”

If you want to know how the right-wing State Policy Network—in concert with a network of other national and state-level conservative policy groups—has been able to overrun state legislatures with “model legislation” that carries the interest of the nation’s wealthiest corporations and individuals while undermining workers and communities, the ream of grant proposals obtained by the newspaper tell the tale.

For the second time this week, the Guardian has published internal documents from an influential U.S. conservative organizing group that reveals rare insight into how they operate and the way smaller, local groups vie for portions of the large amount of money made available by people like the Kochs brothers and other funders of the conservative, Tea Party cabal.

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Collectivist Capitalism vs. Compassionate Capitalism

AdamSmithGary Clifford Gibson writes at Another Working Blog in the Submergent Plutonomy:

This is actually a fairly simple distinction. Capitalism that grows from an individual or family’s personal work building assets without exploiting other people is compassionate capitalism, while the impersonal stock investment, M.B.A. networking trans-national globalism business approach is collectivist. The collectivists are cold-blooded while the small time capitalist is compassionate and cares about his own work and building up of resources.

Adam Smith, the modern spiritual founder of capitalism, wrote largely in support of compassionate capitalism inclusive of trade. There weren’t the sort of large-scale networked corporations in existence in his day that built up huge global capital advantages and leveraging monetary sophistication. It is quite a stretch to transmogrify The Wealth of Nations into a support for absolute abstract modern business practices and monetary policy. One must be disingenuous to extend Smith’s Wealth of Nations so far as that.

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How Feminism Was Co-Opted By Capitalism

LandscapeVia the Guardian, Nancy Fraser on reclaiming the ideals of feminism that have been co-opted by the dominant economic system:

As a feminist, I’ve always assumed that by fighting to emancipate women I was building a better world – more egalitarian, just and free. But lately I’ve begun to worry that our critique of sexism is now supplying the justification for new forms of inequality and exploitation.

Feminist ideas that once formed part of a radical worldview are increasingly expressed in individualist terms. Where feminists once criticised a society that promoted careerism, they now advise women to “lean in”. A movement that once prioritised social solidarity now celebrates female entrepreneurs. A perspective that once valorised “care” and interdependence now encourages individual advancement and meritocracy.

What lies behind this shift is a sea-change in the character of capitalism. The state-managed capitalism of the postwar era has given way to a new form of capitalism – “disorganised”, globalising, neoliberal.

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