Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Capitalism at the Guillotine

From CounterPunch:

History shows it does not matter whether an economic system is based upon feudalism or capitalism or socialism, or any ism. When it fails to accommodate the masses, the masses force change. Is capitalism the answer to, or the cause of, economic failure today? Stalwarts of capitalism like the United States, the UK, Italy, Spain, France, and Portugal have already had their turn at providing the answers and more questions than answers have now arisen. Are the tenets of capitalism, i.e., private property, competition, market-based, economic freedom, consumer sovereignty, and laissez faire today’s equivalent of the Ancien Régime circa 18th century? The answer is: There are ominous signs the masses are once again seeking change; after all, the president of the United States was recently elected on an amorphous promise of “change.” People are searching for it, and the operative question is: Why, if not for a failed economic system?

There should be little doubt that the 2008 financial meltdown influenced voters to vote for change in November 2008. The citizenry witnessed, live on the news and on Wall Street and in home ownership, the withering of capitalism, and as of today, every American knows the name Goldman Sachs, the catchword for failed policies for the republic at large but the savior of the aristocratic few. The question remains: Are the masses taking to the streets and where and why and how does capitalism play a role?


Every economic cycle has a beat or a rhythm unique to the times, but none has had such pervasiveness across the capitalistic world as the current one; no it is not a depression in the classical sense, but it may be a depression for more people on an absolute basis, and possibly on a relative basis, anecdotally speaking, than ever before, time will tell. What is certain, however, is a palpable tension is spreading across the lands, an undercurrent coming to surface sparked by global capitalism, providing a pathway for the invisible hand to find the cheapest labor in the least amount of time, a process undermining the very basis of a fluid, functioning capitalistic structure, a strong middle class. Thus, upsetting a time-honored formula for successful capitalism by reverting to the timeworn and dissipated economy of the 18th century Ancien Régime when “let them eat cake” literally had a perversely jovial meaning and a harsh means of enforcement, until the authorities pushed and they, the masses, pushed back.

More here.

Yeah, I'm really starting to feel this now.

The last couple of days the left-leaning sites I usually visit have been totally awash with an overwhelming sense of anguish over the recent performance of liberals' one-time champion President Obama in the debt ceiling debate debacle: the left, or at least the left-leaning people who write on the internet, are starting to wake up, starting to understand that the Democrats are just as much on the take as the ostensible enemy, the Republicans. That is, liberals are beginning to realize that they're on their own.

The Tea Party people, misguided as they are, have already figured this out. Of course, the GOP, seeking to harness such grass-roots emotion for their own benefit, has gone to extraordinary lengths to ride herd over this band of ignorant, race-resenting rabble, with some success, but it cannot be denied that Tea Party passion and anger is righteous and true: these rank-and-file American citizens are hurting, too, and are, by and large, excluded from from any real say in government dealings, too.

It is now crystal clear to large segments of the population, on both the left and the right, that the government manages the economy such that the people do not matter. Disgust and rage are in the air. The only real question is what form it will eventually take when it hits the streets for real.

Will it be a left-wing movement of peace and inclusion that seeks to affirm the dignity of every individual? Or will it be a right-wing movement of hate and division that seeks to destroy minorities branded as scapegoats by demagogues?

I think revolution is on the horizon. It could be beautiful.
Or it could be ugly.