Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Capitalism

Tidbits and comments. Part 404

La “verite'” est ce qui est assez coherent pour l’accepter avec un cas limite de de satisfaction.

Trump is not the first US president to express interest in purchasing Greenland. Harry Truman’s administration made an offer in 1946, after first considering trading Alaska for parts of the Arctic island. Before that, Andrew Johnson administration made a bid for Greenland.

$100 million: Amount the Truman administration offered to purchase Greenland. $500 billion: One estimate for how much it would cost to buy Greenland today.

n 1868, US secretary of state William Seward tasked Robert J. Walker, a former governor and US treasury secretary, with evaluating whether or not to buy Iceland and Greenland. Walker recommended both, “but especially the latter. The reasons are political and commercial.” The political reason was to outflank England and eventually make Canada part of the US; the commercial reasons were mineral wealth and fisheries.

Harry Truman floated the idea to better position the US against the Soviet Union, but America worked out political solutions with Denmark, including the creation of NATO, that obviated a purchase. In 1951, the US builds Thule Air Base on Greenland.

Mayhem in Israel: apartheid State of Israel is starting its downhill trend toward Chaos: Army commander begging settlers to carry arms to defend it. Sort like during colonial America, settlers should carry arms when out of their settlements

Why Bush Jr. had to claim “Mission Accomplished” in occupying Iraq on a aircraft carrier, wearing pilot outfit, when the mission had just started for “establishing a democratic state” in Iraq? All the previous statements about installing a democratic system in Iraq and eliminating weapons of mass destruction and… were packs of lies and throwing dust in the eyes of the US citizens and world community.

Apartheid: separate sets of laws to “citizens”, grouped on ethnic fictional fabrication.

Capitalism: separate set of privileges to classes of “citizens”, grouped on level of material slavery functions

When we talk of identity, we often think of groups such as black Muslim lesbians in wheelchairs. This is because identity only seems to become an issue when it is challenged or under threat.

Our classic Default Man is rarely under existential threat. Consequently, his identity remains not examined. It ambles along blithely, never having to stand up for its rights or to defend its homeland.

When talking about identity groups, the word “community” often crops up. The working class, gay people, black people or Muslims are always represented by a “community leader”.

The 20th century witnessed 140 armed conflicts, totaling more than 150 millions in casualties and at least 4 folds in severe injuries .  More than 20 conflicts produced over one million killed.  WWI generated about 9 million killed and WWII more than 60 millions.  Two dozen conflicts are still on going for decades and the toll is accumulating.

The state of the world: Russia is the largest land mass. China the most populous country. EU the largest economy union. USA the biggest bag of shit. Every US official thinks he is entitled overseas to threaten anyone of the US diktat.

The Deal of the Century is to maintain Israel existence as a State. The deal is to open the trade and maritime routes to Israel’s export from Morocco to Yemen, with insignificant transit fees. Egypt and Jordan are to be the main transit platforms.The Palestinians are to be the cheap workforce.  Lebanon, Syria and Iraq have already blocked this deal.

The English Channel is a boundary that mankind can’t stop pushing. Franky Zapata just crossed it on a hoverboard, but it’s also been crossed via hot air balloons, a hovercraft, an electric plane, a carbon-fiber wingsuit, a pedal-powered plane, and good old arms and legs. But the hardest way to cross might be by car, if Brexit throws the crucial economic link into chaos. This channel between France and England is one of the heaviest traffic for maritime commercial cargoes between the North Sea and the Atlantic

In many traditional gift economies, the trick is courting the elites. “This only work if you are a big enough company that the banks can tell themselves that you’ll one day give them a lucrative deal. If you’re not big and rich, you’ll have to pay for stuff.”

The gift economy is a tradition among social classes: The wealthier you are, the more expensive the gift should be. Actually, many are declining wedding invitations in order to save on the gift expenses.

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 164

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pa attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

Hatred for Capitalism is basically theoretical. Hates were turned towards the other strangers, the “apostates”, the slaves, mother, father… 

So England is considering another referendum to join the EU: Could Not suffer being viewed as stupid as Trump.
Jack Bennett asked the homosexual Sami Davis Jr how much it costs him to be in that condition. He replied: “I’m one-eyed blind, Black and Jew. Is that handicapping enough?” I wonder why he decided to become a Jew. 
A month ago, Trump pronounced Jerusalem Capital of Israel. Since then 30 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured and hundreds administratively detained.
60,000 US psychiatrists declared Trump terribly mentally sick. Today, Trump’s private doctor said that this ailment is Not that dangerous.
“I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed, without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.” Martin Luther King Jr.
“We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifices. Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad”.- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Same fake narrative (as colported during the recapture of Aleppo) has now found its way to Idlib as the Syrian Army has been conducting an operation to clear the Nusra jihadist-held province of terrorists. Turkey and USA are Not happy with the quick progress of Syrian army.
Even Tellerson (US State Department) is siding with idiocy: He wants diplomatic as well as military presence in North Syria (against the wish of the Syrian government)
The responses generated in class to my query whether the students have any idea about this course prove that they have No knowledge whatsoever of Human Factors in engineering discipline, which is to design products and services with health, safety, and ease of use of consumers in mind.

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 119

Note 1: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains months-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

There is no such “Arab civilization”: it is the civilization of the people in the Middle-East (Syria, Iran, Egypt…) within the Islamic Empire. That the commanders of armies were selected from the “elite classes” in Mecca and Medina do Not constitute a civilization

Is it true the Maronite Patriarch is to visit Saudi Kingdom this Monday before they release from prison our Saad Hariri PM and return to Lebanon? The Lebanese have Not yet forgotten his treacherous visit to Israel.

Until Saudi Kingdom remove totally the blockade on Yemen, then Hezbollah of Lebanon will Not consider to tactically change its policies in Lebanon or Syria

The inner circle of Bashar Assad and of the Baath party before 2011, who punished the Syrian uprising for 3 years with constant air bombing of their villages and cities and forced millions to flee, should Not expect to be part of the political deal.

Two hubris mindsets: money-first mindset is being matched (attached) with the other mindset that says that any interference in the market is unnecessary and inefficient.

The demise of ISIS (Daesh) started when they applied their retrograde constraints, brutally and violently, on the civilized vast majority Sunnis in Syria and Iraq.

Lebanon President Aoun asked Maronite Patriarch to delay his visit to Saudi Kingdom until the clouds are cleared on the detention of Saad Hariri PM: Apparently, this treacherous Patriarch thinks he is above national entente

PaulaYacoubian fed Saad Hariri information in her questions that she guessed he had no access to them?

Black Water, US private security company, in charge of securing the prisons of Saudi princes?

The verdict of the greedy financial managers and analysts on this international financial crisis is: ” the culprit is a non-entity: It is human risk-taking nature, driven by greed for the enjoyment of the present moment.”

Capitalism is based on 4 foundations: Private property of means of production; free internal people movement and exchange (products, services…); open free market for commerce; and availability of a vast pool of people willing to work for salary.

Your worldview is a unique model that you tailored-made throughout your life, experiences, conditions, situations… in order to survive the thousands of daily problems, frustrations and barriers.

Lebanon President Aoun sent this message: We want our Saad Hariri PM back with All his family members. Saudi Kingdom still applies the tradition of keeping hostages, members of Key allied “leaders”

The frequent visits of Lebanon Saad Hariri PM to Saudi Kingdom were to visit his family members, kept hostages, when Kingdom was satisfied with his “performances”

As if Iraq and Iran needed a major earthquake (7.2) to taste the horrors of a wide range of calamities. Half a dozen major cities (over 500,000 each were affected). So far, 500 killed, 8,000 injured and 13,000 demolished properties. The same region of Karmanchah is still being hit by repetitive earthquakes of magnitude 5.

The Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon agreed Not to display the Cross in Saudi Kingdom. It would be lovely if all religious sects hide their stupid symbols under their tunic (3abayat)

What plagues us in human behaviors is that the one-directional minded people are the ones who frequently suggest flexibility of the mind. And they constitute the vast majority in the Silent Majority

You have these Lebanese who say: “Just show me a single event where Saudi Kingdom was Not good to Lebanon”. As if in the political history of Lebanon pseudo-State ever took a position that dissatisfied the the Saudi mind-set.

Saad Hariri fi mar7alat ta2ammol? ma ba3da raj3ati ila Loubnan? Moubaya3at Baha2?

Since when does Capitalism exist to maximize civilization?

Unbridled

There’s a school of thought that argues that markets are the solution to everything. That money is the best indication of value created.

That generating maximum value for shareholders is the only job. That the invisible hand of the market is the best scorekeeper and allocator. “How much money can you make?” is the dominant question.

And frequently, this money-first mindset is being matched with one that says that any interference in the market is unnecessary and inefficient.

That we shouldn’t have the FDA, that businesses should be free to discriminate on any axis , that a worker’s rights disappear at the door of the factory or the customer’s at the lunch counter–if you don’t like it, find a new job, a new business to patronize, the market will adjust.

Taken together, this financial ratchet creates a harsh daily reality. The race to the bottom kicks in, and even those that would ordinarily want to do more, contribute more and care more find themselves unable to compete, because the ratchet continues to turn.

The problem with a race to the bottom is that you might win. Worse, you could come in second.

There are no capitalist utopias.

No country and no market where unfettered capitalism creates the best possible outcome. Not one.

They suffer from smog, from a declining state of education and health, and most of all, from too little humanity. Every time that the powerful tool of capitalism makes things better it succeeds because it works within boundaries.

It’s worth noting that no unbridled horse has ever won an important race.

The best way for capitalism to do its job is for its proponents to insist on clear rules, fairly enforced.

To insist that organizations not only enjoy the benefits of what they create, but bear the costs as well.

To fight against cronyism and special interests, and on behalf of workers, of communities and education. That’s a ratchet that moves in the right direction.

Civilization doesn’t exist to maximize capitalism.

Capitalism exists to maximize civilization. (And failing because it confused optimum and sustainability with maximization?)

Any more scare-tactics arguments to support failed Capitalism?

Capitalism has always generated massive inequalities, but there were three majors political arguments to counterbalance that fact.

First, trickle-down economics, the idea that if the rich get richer, the poorest layer of society will do better. That’s no longer the case.

Second: capitalism brings stability. Again, no longer the case.

Third: it would accelerate the path of technological innovation. No longer the case. Except when the military contribute its big budget for specific innovation.

So, what’s left for the supporters of capitalism now that all practical arguments are gone?

They have no choice but to revert to purely moral arguments, that is the ideology of debt:
1. (“people who don’t pay their debt are bad”), And entire nations too, in the form of sovereign debt
2. the idea that if you’re not working harder than you would like in a job that you don’t particularly enjoy, then you are a bad person.”

The history of the economy in the USA was based on taking risk and if you go bankrupt, no blame, blemish or financial harassment would accrue to you or your family. You go back and start another business.

This is No longer the case, since financial multinationals is acquiring every business generating any surplus. Especially, overseas and developing States.

Pope Francis: How can we have peace if arms trade are that profitable?

What place Capitalism occupies in humanity?

Le Pape François a reçu Paris Match au Vatican.

Dans une interview exclusive accordée à l’hebdomadaire, le Saint-Père a déploré la place qu’occupe le capitalisme dans l’humanité.

Selon lui, “le capitalisme et le profit ne sont pas diaboliques si on ne les transforme pas en idoles.

Ils ne le sont pas s’ils restent des instruments”.

En revanche, nuance le Pape, “si l’argent et le profit à tout prix deviennent des fétiches qu’on adore, si l’avidité est à la base de notre système social et économique, alors nos sociétés courent à la ruine”.

Le Pape appelle les sociétés à se recentrer sur les valeurs essentielles de l’humanité et à faire abstraction de cette course au profit qui anime le monde.

L’humanité doit renoncer à idolâtrer l’argent et doit replacer au centre la personne humaine, sa dignité, le bien commun, le futur des générations qui peupleront la Terre après nous a-t-il déclaré.

Lors de son discours au siège de l’ONU en septembre dernier, le souverain pontife avait expliqué attendre qu’un accord soit trouvé sur la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique, au terme de la COP21. Dans les colonnes de Paris Match, le Pape espère que la conférence sur le climat “pourra contribuer à des choix concrets, partagés et visant, pour le bien commun, le long terme”.

Très engagé, le Saint-Père s’est également exprimé sur la situation en Syrie et n’a pas hésité à dénoncer l’hypocrisie de certains dirigeants.

N’oublions pas non plus l’hypocrisie de ces puissants de la Terre qui parlent de paix mais qui, en sous-main, vendent des armes” a-t-il déploré.

Note: No profit without Capitalism? Is profit synonymous to exploitation? Why we attach “profit” to all negative connotations? Can any investment be done without a level of profit from human labor? 

Can we let Capitalism Die and Move On?

By Joe Brewer / medium.com

Death can be very painful and confusing. This is true for economic systems just as it is for personal loved ones.

Moving on is just a hard thing to do.

It’s really tough to work through all the difficult feelings we have about loss. Will I see my grandmother again? What am I to do now that my father is gone? How does this change who I am as a person?

The same struggles we feel losing a family member are present — in their own way — as a society goes through the deep rifts of change when a paradigm comes to an end.

How will I find work now that there are no living-wage jobs? What should I study in school? Should I even go to college? Does it make sense to start a family in a world where global warming is changing everything?

Questions like these are painfully real. And every single one of us alive today has to find our own answers.

So let me ask:  will the 7.4 billion humans alive today be capable of letting capitalism die with dignity?

 I’ve been writing a lot lately about how the pain we feel is capitalism dying, that the mental disease of shame and humiliation is due to late-stage capitalism, how a healing process is needed, and the brokenness we feel in our own lives is what makes it possible to seed a better future.

What I haven’t written about  is the flip side of this massive upheaval. In order to create something new, we have to let go of a dying world order. And death is painful. It hurts a lot.

Many people aren’t ready to admit to themselves that the capitalist system we are living in has created mass povertyunprecedented wealth inequality, systemic corruption, and is damaging the ecological systems of the Earth so much that our civilization is in peril.

The drive for monetary profits — greed in its purest form — is literally killing us. So we have a choice to make. We either cling to the death and decay within ourselves and go down with the sinking ship.

Or we do the hard spiritual work of facing death with loving grace and let it go, freeing ourselves to begin the long process of building a new life for ourselves.

The harsh truth is that there is no turning back now. It’s too late to “get back to better days”, a pattern of denial that refuses to acknowledge that things have fundamentally changed.

While many people still cling to the past — as we can see in the current US election where many want to keep outsiders at bay, hold onto outdated ideals, and return to a prior time that only exists in their minds — it is essential for us all to wake up and look around.

Everything has changed. And it is only changing faster, with an intensity unlike anything that has come before. None of our ancestors lived on a planet at ecological capacity.

No one has seen the collapse of ocean fisheries, or watched global markets crash with spectacular consequences, as we are seeing today.

We are now in the crucible of change. Natural disasters strike urban centers that grew exponentially in the last hundred years. Our feet are stomped down on the accelerator as we race into the future whose past will not be an adequate guide.

Can we do it? I believe we can.

My optimism is hard-won. I have stood next to my dying mother and held her hand as the last quiver of life faded away. I have buried family and friends, standing over cold graves on frozen earth.

My heart has broken many times before and somehow in those dark trials I’ve found new resolve to carry on that I scarcely suspected might hide deep inside of me.

I suspect that many of you have felt this too. We have all experienced loss.

It is this part of our lives that can guide us forward. We can feel into the uncertainty and pain.

We can find ourselves in the most unexpected of places. And we can carry on.

When we do this, we might even discover that the future is better than the past.

That a world that doesn’t hoard money confused for wealth, a world that doesn’t see nature as a body to be raped and spoiled, a world that treats all human beings as worthy of dignity (not just those in our own tribe)… such a world is possible.

Yet it is not inevitable. It must be intentionally built brick by brick.

And that work of building a new world cannot properly begin until we let go of a dying past and move on.

Onward, fellow humans.

Capitalism vs. lock in

Free markets encourage organizations to take leaps, to improve products, to obsess about delighting customers.

One reason that this happens is that competition is always nipping at your heels… if you don’t get better, your clients will find someone who does.

But once lock-in occurs, the incentives change. (The State is almost always responsible for monopolistic trades, by selecting particular companies to do business with, at the exclusion of many worthy ones)

When the cost of switching gets high enough, the goals of the business (particularly if it is a public company) start to drift.

Google doesn’t need to make search more effective. They seek to make each search more profitable instead.

Apple doesn’t need to obsess about making their software more elegant. They work to make the platform more profitable now.

[For example, iMovie, which has destroyed all possible competitors because of lock-in pricing, but continues to badly disappoint most reviewers.]

Verizon doesn’t need to make its broadband faster or more reliable. Just more profitable. (Keeps acquiring more companies for monopolistic goals, encouraged by the NSA intelligence agencies)

In many ways, it’s more urgent than ever to engage in free market competitive thinking when you start a small business.

But as network effects increase, we’re getting worse at figuring out what to do about restoring free markets at the other end of the spectrum, at places where choices aren’t as free as they used to be.

We all benefit when organizations that believe they have lock-in act like they don’t.

(The question is: what incentives and how can we pressure these lock-in companies to revert to free market spirit?)

Do you want our apathy?

Don’t respond to emails.

Be defensive when I offer a suggestion when we meet.

Dumb down the products so they appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Treat me like I don’t matter more than anyone else.

Put me on hold.

Don’t miss me if I’m gone.

Maximize profit, not impact.

If you want me to be an apathetic bystander, it’s not that difficult to accomplish.

Whatever.

My country is a horror show

The two Americas

Note: What is taking place in Baltimore and other US cities is direct confirmation to this article analysis

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. But there might as well be.

We’ve somehow managed to march on to two separate futures and I think you’re seeing this more and more in the west. I don’t think it’s unique to America.

I think we’ve perfected a lot of the tragedy and we’re getting there faster than a lot of other places that may be a little more reasoned, but my dangerous idea kind of involves this fellow who got left by the wayside in the 20th century and seemed to be almost the butt end of the joke of the 20th century; a fellow named Karl Marx.

I’m not a Marxist in the sense that I don’t think Marxism has a very specific clinical answer to what ails us economically.

I think Marx was a much better diagnostician than he was a clinician. He was good at figuring out what was wrong or what could be wrong with capitalism if it wasn’t attended to and much less credible when it comes to how you might solve that.

You know if you’ve read Capital or if you’ve got the Cliff Notes, you know that his imaginings of how classical Marxism – of how his logic would work when applied – kind of devolve into such nonsense as the withering away of the state and platitudes like that.

But Marx was really sharp about what goes wrong when capital wins unequivocally, when it gets everything it asks for.

That may be the ultimate tragedy of capitalism in our time, that it has achieved its dominance without regard to a social compact, without being connected to any other metric for human progress.

We understand profit. (I am Not that sure)

In my country we measure things by profit. We listen to the Wall Street analysts. They tell us what we’re supposed to do every quarter. The quarterly report is God. Turn to face God. Turn to face Mecca, you know. Did you make your number? Did you not make your number? Do you want your bonus? Do you not want your bonus?

And that notion that capital is the metric, that profit is the metric by which we’re going to measure the health of our society is one of the fundamental mistakes of the last 30 years, and it has triumphed.

Capitalism stomped the hell out of Marxism by the end of the 20th century and was predominant in all respects, but the great irony of it is that the only thing that actually works is not ideological: it is impure, has elements of both arguments and never actually achieves any kind of partisan or philosophical perfection.

It’s pragmatic, it includes the best aspects of socialistic thought and of free-market capitalism and it works because we don’t let it work entirely. And that’s a hard idea to think – that there isn’t one single silver bullet that gets us out of the mess we’ve dug for ourselves. But man, we’ve dug a mess.

After the second world war, the west emerged with the American economy coming out of its wartime extravagance, emerging as the best product. It was the best product. It worked the best.

It was demonstrating its might not only in terms of what it did during the war but in terms of just how facile it was in creating mass wealth.

Plus, it provided a lot more freedom and was doing the one thing that guaranteed that the 20th century was going to be – and forgive the jingoistic sound of this – the American century.

It took a working class that had no discretionary income at the beginning of the century, which was working on subsistence wages. It turned it into a consumer class that not only had money to buy all the stuff that they needed to live but enough to buy a bunch of shit that they wanted but didn’t need, and that was the engine that drove us.

It wasn’t just that we could supply stuff, or that we had the factories or know-how or capital, it was that we created our own demand and started exporting that demand throughout the west. And the standard of living made it possible to manufacture stuff at an incredible rate and sell it.

And how did we do that? We did that by not giving in to either side. That was the new deal. That was the great society. That was all of that argument about collective bargaining and union wages and it was an argument that meant neither side gets to win.

Labour doesn’t get to win all its arguments, capital doesn’t get to.

But it’s in the tension, it’s in the actual fight between the two, that capitalism actually becomes functional, that it becomes something that every stratum in society has a stake in, that they all share.

The unions actually mattered. The unions were part of the equation. It didn’t matter that they won all the time, it didn’t matter that they lost all the time, it just mattered that they had to win some of the time and they had to put up a fight and they had to argue for the demand and the equation and for the idea that workers were not worth less, they were worth more.

Ultimately we abandoned that and believed in the idea of trickle-down and the idea of the market economy and the market knows best, to the point where now libertarianism in my country is actually being taken seriously as an intelligent mode of political thought.

That we’ve gotten to this point is astonishing to me because basically in winning its victory, in seeing that Wall come down and seeing the former Stalinist state’s journey towards our way of thinking in terms of markets or being vulnerable, you would have thought that we would have learned what works.

Instead we’ve descended into what can only be described as greed. This is just greed. This is an inability to see that we’re all connected, that the idea of two Americas is implausible, or two Australias, or two Spains or two Frances.

Societies are exactly what they sound like. If everybody is invested and if everyone just believes that they have “some”, it doesn’t mean that everybody’s going to get the same amount.

It doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be people who are the venture capitalists who stand to make the most. It’s not each according to their needs or anything that is purely Marxist, but it is that everybody feels as if, if the society succeeds, I succeed, I don’t get left behind. And there isn’t a society in the west now, right now, that is able to sustain that for all of its population.

And so in my country you’re seeing a horror show.

You’re seeing a retrenchment in terms of family income, you’re seeing the abandonment of basic services, such as public education, functional public education.

You’re seeing the underclass hunted through an alleged war on dangerous drugs that is in fact merely a war on the poor and has turned us into the most incarcerative state in the history of mankind, in terms of the sheer numbers of people we’ve put in American prisons and the percentage of Americans we put into prisons.

No other country on the face of the Earth jails people at the number and rate that we are.

We have become something other than what we claim for the American dream and all because of our inability to basically share, to even contemplate a socialist impulse.

Socialism is a dirty word in my country.

I have to give that disclaimer at the beginning of every speech, “Oh by the way I’m not a Marxist you know”. I lived through the 20th century. I don’t believe that a state-run economy can be as viable as market capitalism in producing mass wealth. I don’t.

I’m utterly committed to the idea that capitalism has to be the way we generate mass wealth in the coming century. That argument’s over. But the idea that it’s not going to be married to a social compact, that how you distribute the benefits of capitalism isn’t going to include everyone in the society to a reasonable extent, that’s astonishing to me.

And so capitalism is about to seize defeat from the jaws of victory all by its own hand. That’s the astonishing end of this story, unless we reverse course. Unless we take into consideration, if not the remedies of Marx then the diagnosis, because he saw what would happen if capital triumphed unequivocally, if it got everything it wanted.

And one of the things that capital would want unequivocally and for certain is the diminishment of labour. They would want labour to be diminished because labour’s a cost. And if labour is diminished, let’s translate that: in human terms, it means human beings are worth less.

From this moment forward unless we reverse course, the average human being is worth less on planet Earth. Unless we take stock of the fact that maybe socialism and the socialist impulse has to be addressed again; it has to be married as it was married in the 1930s, the 1940s and even into the 1950s, to the engine that is capitalism.

Mistaking capitalism for a blueprint as to how to build a society strikes me as a really dangerous idea in a bad way. Capitalism is a remarkable engine again for producing wealth. It’s a great tool to have in your toolbox if you’re trying to build a society and have that society advance. You wouldn’t want to go forward at this point without it. But it’s not a blueprint for how to build the just society. There are other metrics besides that quarterly profit report.

The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed all of the human concerns and still maximise profit is juvenile.

It’s a juvenile notion and it’s still being argued in my country passionately and we’re going down the tubes. And it terrifies me because I’m astonished at how comfortable we are in absolving ourselves of what is basically a moral choice. Are we all in this together or are we all not?

If you watched the debacle that was, and is, the fight over something as basic as public health policy in my country over the last couple of years, imagine the ineffectiveness that Americans are going to offer the world when it comes to something really complicated like global warming.

We can’t even get healthcare for our citizens on a basic level. And the argument comes down to: “Goddamn this socialist president. Does he think I’m going to pay to keep other people healthy? It’s socialism, motherfucker.”

What do you think group health insurance is? You know you ask these guys, “Do you have group health insurance where you …?” “Oh yeah, I get …” you know, “my law firm …” So when you get sick you’re able to afford the treatment.

The treatment comes because you have enough people in your law firm so you’re able to get health insurance enough for them to stay healthy. So the actuarial tables work and all of you, when you do get sick, are able to have the resources there to get better because you’re relying on the idea of the group. Yeah. And they nod their heads, and you go “Brother, that’s socialism. You know it is.”

And … you know when you say, OK, we’re going to do what we’re doing for your law firm but we’re going to do it for 300 million Americans and we’re going to make it affordable for everybody that way. And yes, it means that you’re going to be paying for the other guys in the society, the same way you pay for the other guys in the law firm … Their eyes glaze. You know they don’t want to hear it. It’s too much. Too much to contemplate the idea that the whole country might be actually connected.

So I’m astonished that at this late date I’m standing here and saying we might want to go back for this guy Marx that we were laughing at, if not for his prescriptions, then at least for his depiction of what is possible if you don’t mitigate the authority of capitalism, if you don’t embrace some other values for human endeavour.

And that’s what The Wire was about basically, it was about people who were worth less and who were no longer necessary, as maybe 10 or 15% of my country is no longer necessary to the operation of the economy. It was about them trying to solve, for lack of a better term, an existential crisis. In their irrelevance, their economic irrelevance, they were nonetheless still on the ground occupying this place called Baltimore and they were going to have to endure somehow.

That’s the great horror show. What are we going to do with all these people that we’ve managed to marginalise? It was kind of interesting when it was only race, when you could do this on the basis of people’s racial fears and it was just the black and brown people in American cities who had the higher rates of unemployment and the higher rates of addiction and were marginalised and had the shitty school systems and the lack of opportunity.

And kind of interesting in this last recession to see the economy shrug and start to throw white middle-class people into the same boat, so that they became vulnerable to the drug war, say from methamphetamine, or they became unable to qualify for college loans.

And all of a sudden a certain faith in the economic engine and the economic authority of Wall Street and market logic started to fall away from people. And they realised it’s not just about race, it’s about something even more terrifying. It’s about class. Are you at the top of the wave or are you at the bottom?

So how does it get better? In 1932, it got better because they dealt the cards again and there was a communal logic that said nobody’s going to get left behind. We’re going to figure this out. We’re going to get the banks open. From the depths of that depression a social compact was made between worker, between labour and capital that actually allowed people to have some hope.

We’re either going to do that in some practical way when things get bad enough or we’re going to keep going the way we’re going, at which point there’s going to be enough people standing on the outside of this mess that somebody’s going to pick up a brick, because you know when people get to the end there’s always the brick. I hope we go for the first option but I’m losing faith.

The other thing that was there in 1932 that isn’t there now is that some element of the popular will could be expressed through the electoral process in my country.

The last job of capitalism – having won all the battles against labour, having acquired the ultimate authority, almost the ultimate moral authority over what’s a good idea or what’s not, or what’s valued and what’s not – the last journey for capital in my country has been to buy the electoral process, the one venue for reform that remained to Americans.

Right now capital has effectively purchased the government, and you witnessed it again with the healthcare debacle in terms of the $450m that was heaved into Congress, the most broken part of my government, in order that the popular will never actually emerged in any of that legislative process.

So I don’t know what we do if we can’t actually control the representative government that we claim will manifest the popular will. Even if we all start having the same sentiments that I’m arguing for now, I’m not sure we can effect them any more in the same way that we could at the rise of the Great Depression, so maybe it will be the brick. But I hope not.

David Simon is an American author and journalist and was the executive producer of The Wire. This is an edited extract of a talk delivered at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney.

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“The last job of capitalism – having won all the battles against labour, having acquired the ultimate authority, almost the ultimate moral authority over what’s a good idea or what’s not, or what’s valued and what’s not –

the last journey for capital in my country has been to buy the electoral process, the one venue for reform that remained to Americans.”

David Simon: Capitalism in America has lost sight of its social compact
theguardian.com|By David Simon

Once atop the Galaxy; (Feb. 17, 2010)

Back then, not that long ago at all, on mount Mitchu Pitchu,

A stocky small and rather whiter man, embarrassed with a dirty long beard,

Clad in stinky clownish garment;

(Water anathema to this sugary new breed);

Mounted on a lovely horse, not known in the New World,

Said: “This is how I think”.

His black clad monk rejoined: “And that’s what his God said”

For over four centuries, the same kind of rather whiter man,

Backed up by the same missionary,

Landed around earth’s shores and ventured inland.

He said what he thought and what his God said.

A sort of a universal whiter civilization exploded and expanded.

This new culture didn’t even try to explain:

It claimed that conscious is unique;

That natural human moral is similar under all weather and clime;

That value system is one and superseding all archaic systems.

The rather whiter man said:

“Democracy, under all its minor variants (not so minor at all),

Is the ideal political structure to be governed in modern societies.”

He resumed unabashedly: “Capitalism is the main economic mechanism to spread wealth;

That world market should be entirely opened to My products and services.”

Once atop the Galaxy (why go beyond our Milky Way?)

Weird specie with obviously a developed Neo Cortex,

Strong with more versatile and complex sensory organs,

Varied and sophisticated reaction limbs attached to a disfigured body,

Thumbs rotating all the way, a little finger (not that little at all)

Designed to catch saucers and balls of any shape;

A sexual organ not so shamefully protruding;

And not mating as we do:

Female lays eggs or ovaries;

Male sprays his sperms over ovaries;

Unlike us,

Us exercising for naught over walls and trees;

Nobody, male or female, feels to possess a mate

And dominate for servitude.

Once atop the Galaxy,

This newer breed said what he thinks and what his God says;

Mankind re-shaped his vision of the world:

His set of values coincided with the new Master’s vision.

A newly freed slave who vanquished his mental slavery

Was more attuned to this degrading, oh, so many times “deja vue” process;

He stood up to the new master and growled:

Fuck you!

Christ was crucified again.

The Church of Rome re-instituted its religion

Galactic scale: Confederate of the Universe.

This time around, a newly free-spirited freed slave

Thundered, a voice louder than Superman,

Reverberating for eternity:

Fuck you!

Before a new cycle of slavery system takes roots.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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