Why is Capitalism Failing Us?

Our critical human needs are not being met by our capitalist economy that is now pervasive throughout the planet. We humans do not have adequate medical care. A very large percentage of us humans cannot get enough food at a price we can afford, so that millions are dying and millions of others are malnourished. We are spending billions on foreign wars, while billions of people are hungry. It seems obvious that so long as our economic engine is fueled by greed for short term profit, and that the profiteers from this economic engine control our government, we shall never deal with Global Warming or planetary ecological damage. We face the three coinciding crises: Peak Oil, Fragile Economy, and Global Warming. We still have much freedom, but our effective democratic voting power is thwarted. What has gone wrong?

The basic question of political economy has always been: How shall we human beings organize our productive and creative abilities so as to work together to meet our needs?

The current critically important questions are: Is our present day economy meeting our human needs? Are there alternatives? To answer these questions, and even to understand what our economy is, we must analyze its dynamics, the way it really works.

It is critical at the outset that we state our own values. We seek, insofar as is possible, to meet the reasonable needs of all humans. No person should have more than he needs when others are needy. We seek caring, sharing and cooperation. We seek a sustainable civilized free existence for all humans on this planet. Only this sort of a Political Economy will be sustainable, consistent with our values, and consistent with the wisest values of our spiritual traditions. We are radical in the first dictionary definition of that term: “one who seeks roots or root causes.”

In considering the following analysis, please try to suspend conventional wisdom, and your present beliefs and opinions. Like most of us, you may have never known of an analysis like this one or you may have learned to regard it negatively. Therefore, please evaluate the following on the basis of your own personal experience, your personal judgment, and what you personally observe that seems to be happening.

As Doug Page understands them, the following are some of the main dynamics of capitalism:

1. The core dynamic of capitalism is this: A private person with money hires a person without money for the lowest possible wage, in order make as much profit as possible for the person who already has money.

   a. It is the private hiring of human beings that fuels the economic engine. Slavery would also work for this purpose temporarily just as well were it not for the problem of where would slaves get the money to buy products from the slave master-employer?

   b. Notice the internal contradiction: As Henry Ford observed in the 1920s, employers do not pay employees enough to buy all the products employees create.

   c. Capitalism inevitably produces more than employees and others can afford to buy, thus leading to repeated cycles of overproduction, layoffs, unemployment and recession or depression.

   d. The core dynamic, employed by thousands of private employers over time, creates a very rich and politically powerful but relatively small elite group while it produces millions and millions of people who remain poor and never get wealth or power. The elite get richer and richer and the rest of us get relatively poorer and poorer. This accounts for the tremendous disparity of wealth in the United States. The elite use this power and wealth to control the government through bribes, campaign contributions and lobbyists.

   e. This small elite group comes to control the government, despite the fact that formality of voting remains intact. The voters no longer have effective governmental power. The government unsurprisingly uses its power and its taxing power only to help the elite.

   f. Notice that the employee creates something, but he keeps no part of it. He is alienated from the product and the pleasure and pride of creating it, unlike so-called primitive self-employed crafts people.

   g. Notice that this core dynamic rests on the first employer getting his initial capital to begin hiring by shrewd bargaining, capture, force, luck, or theft. The core dynamic thereafter creates capital of the employer by extracting as much production from the employee for as little wage as possible. Thus it is true that all of the employer’s capital was one way or the other produced by the human labor of employees. Diamonds deep in the ground have no value until the labor of human beings brings them to the surface. This raises the issue of justice: Were the employees fairly paid? It also raises other questions: Do we really need private employers? Can we get along without them? (The Mondragon Co-ops of Basque Spain function perfectly adequately without private employers. When the hotel owner and employer recently went broke running a hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the former employees took over the hotel and are operating it very successfully.)

2. Capitalism must constantly expand profit making opportunities for capitalists or the economy will cycle into a downturn.

The greed for more profit is insatiable, so capitalists constantly seek more profits through more production. There is never enough profit for them. Capitalists cannot relax with the level of income or wealth that they have at any given moment. With population growth, more capitalists are born each day. Soon there is more production than poorly paid employees can buy. Hence the downturn.

3. Competition among capitalist-employers inevitably leads to the elimination of small capitalists and to the monopoly of a few large firms, with capacity to produce more than they can sell at a profit.

Despite the ideology of competition, individual employers hate competition. It increases the risk that they will lose. It is safer and more profitable to cut a deal with other employers. That is why we have state and federal laws against monopoly, although they are weak and rarely enforced. Employers can reduce their risk and their competition for employees and for sales and increase their mutual profit by cooperating. Is this not self-evident? Look at the example of the auto industry. There were once hundreds of car manufacturers. Three remain in the U.S. and seven world wide. Look at the media industry. There are now five huge conglomerates that own and control the print media, radio, TV and PR agencies. With a monopoly, capitalists can limit production, and maintain the same prices even if demand falls off. Monopoly augments the power and wealth of the tiny elite.

4. The normal path of mature monopolistic capitalism thus leads inevitably to stagnation. Due to excess productive capacity, there are insufficient opportunities to make a profit by investing in production of goods and services to meet human needs. Vast unemployment and economic depression would result if nothing was done.

There are people other than employees who buy capitalist goods such as self employed farmers and crafts persons. However, they do not earn much either because their income is reduced by competition from the capitalists. Thus, capitalism is unstable. It powerfully tends toward overproduction as competing employers try to get a share of the profit, but then more is produced than employed and self employed people can afford to buy. They may need the product, food for example, but they cannot afford to buy it. So plants shut down, employees lose jobs, farmers also cannot sell their products and a depression results.

Human beings were shocked and startled by the Great Depression of 1929, particularly so, capitalist employers. Capitalists learned, even if we did not, that capitalism simply would not function without public money. U.S. capitalist employers remained without profit making opportunities for 14 years until World War II, despite the public expenditures of the New Deal. The vast public expenditures of WWII, primed the pump of capitalism. Billions and Billions of dollars of public money have sustained capitalism and avoided stagnation from 1940 to date. We now have:

   * $49 trillion in interest-bearing debts, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board …
   * $50 trillion in federal contingency debts, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and …
   * $164 trillion in derivatives, according to the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

That’s a grand total of $263 trillion in debts and obligations, twenty times more than the total size of the entire U.S. economy.

Despite this massive public expenditure, our capitalism remains always on the brink of stagnation.

What do we mean by “stagnation?” It means absence of profit making opportunities, too much productive capacity, and much unemployment.

The huge unmet consumer needs that had built up during the depression and WWII, provided profit making opportunities until around 1970. Capitalist employers were determined that no future depression would again lay them low. All capitalists thus enthusiastically supported the vast public expenditures for defense during the Cold War from 1946 to 1990, the Korean War, and the War in Viet Nam. We are now spending $1 Trillion per year on the Iraq War

Despite all of this, capitalism remains fragile, prone to stagnation, and desperately dependent upon contribution of public tax money or borrowed money to keep it going. If there had not been this public taxpayer support of capitalism, there would have been another depression or to some solution like the Germans adopted in 1933.

5. The National Government is now a critical component of capitalism and to an ever increasing degree, capitalism and capitalists control the government. Capitalism and the government are “one.” We now have corporate state capitalism.

   a. Even in Adam Smith’s day, the state and society were essential to the functioning of pure capitalism. The state provided laws and courts to protect private property, private ownership of resources, and provided the sole legal imperative for corporations to make money in the short run for shareholders. The state always did more than this. Through its sheriffs and army, it enforced its laws by force, if necessary. Law enforcement has always intervened in employee strikes on the side of employers. Society provided the ethical and practical incentive for capitalist employers to pay their employees at least enough to survive and continue working for the employers. (But with the global outsourcing of jobs, this social constraint has been abandoned. See below.)

   b. The National Government, being effectively under the full control of capitalist employers and bankers, now provides “whatever public money it takes” to keep capitalism going for the elite and to avoid the loss of profit making opportunities. Thus the government provides massive public money for “defense,” “Cold Wars, War in Korea, War in Viet Nam, War against ‘communism,” and now for the perpetual “War against Terror.” Spending for human social services would prime the pump also, but the capitalist elite always vigorously opposes this because it would increase wage costs by making employees less desperate to work.

6. Since capitalists must make a profit, when profit making opportunities dwindle at home, capitalists, using the National Government and the Military go abroad to seek new profit opportunities, new resources, additional customers, and employees willing to work for lower wages. Capitalism at home tends inevitably toward capitalism abroad: Imperialism.

   a. Capitalists do not go abroad to help foreign residents, to bring freedom, or to impose democracy. They go to make a short term profit.

   b. Imperialism does not require colonialism with an occupying force. Imperialism is now more often a purely economic activity, perhaps aided by bribes of local officials, loans with unfavorable conditions for foreign peoples, and CIA toppling of unfriendly foreign governments.

   c. Capitalists now pay employees at the cheapest wage rate they possibly can with total disregard of whether or not the employee will survive. Survival of human employees is somebody else’s problem under modern mature capitalism.

   d. The voting public is caused to support each major foreign war by a “false flag” events such as Pearl Harbor or 9/11.

7. Despite the massive aid to capitalism from Imperialism, state spending and monopoly, capitalists, beginning in 1970, found insufficient profit making opportunities in investing to produce things human beings need. The capitalist elite began increasing investment in speculation in the financial sector to produce the short term profit upon which the survival of capitalism depends. This serves no human need except the speculators’ profit. We now have the phenomenon of Financialization.

Beginning in 1970, the capitalist elite had no shortage of capital. Wealthy individuals and corporations had huge reserves of cash. There was simply no profitable place to invest it to meet human needs. Public expenditures for wars and defense, including the War against Terror were simply not enough. In this era of Financialization, corporations seldom invest their own accumulations of cash. There is much more profit to be made by “leveraging” that is, using borrowed money with as little of the corporations’ own cash as possible.

Wall Street created numerous novel investment vehicles where a short term profit could be made: Hedge Funds, and Collateralized Debt Obligations, Collateralized Mortgage Obligations, with each level serving as “security” for yet another level of Collateralized Debt Obligations.

Whereas finance used to support investment for production, Financialization took on a life of its own, unrelated to the real economy and production for human needs. The Fed and the big bankers created a “monstrous bubble of cheap credit.” “The monstrous explosion of debt, consumer, corporate and government (equal to well over 300% of the GDP by the housing bubble’s peak, both lifted the economy and led to growing instability.”

This investment in the financial sector and speculation has become the dominant and necessary feature of current capitalist investment, if a serious depression is to be avoided. While this investment may make a profit for the wealthy investors, it does absolutely nothing for human beings or the real economy. It is so necessary to keep capitalism going that Federal Reserve Chairman Bernacke absolutely refuses to regulate this financial speculation. If he did, stagnation would be the result. Bernacke gave the big banks almost $30 Billion “to avoid a total breakdown of the world economy.” Did the Big Banks use this public money to invest in new production to serve public need? Absolutely not! They used public money and barely secured loans to invest in foreign currencies so that they could augment their reserve capital to meet the difficulties from the worthlessness of the collateralized debt instruments!

It is now apparent for all to see that despite all of the foregoing Capitalism is still extremely fragile and vulnerable to stagnation. More importantly, Capitalism is failing to meet our most critical human needs.

8. Capitalism as it existed in the days of Adam Smith no longer exists in the Twenty First Century. Capitalism has mutated so as to cause the merger of corporate power with state power so that we now have corporate state capitalism whose powers are exercised solely to benefit of the global elite at the expense and starvation of the rest of us.

The elite causes the government to print massive amounts of paper money to rescue the institutions of the elite, and to stave off a massive economic collapse. This paper money is funded by the Chinese and the Arabs buying U.S. Bonds which we citizens and taxpayers will ultimately have to pay off.

It is conceivable that the US could default on its bonds. The US could simply not pay them, and start over with a new currency based on the Gold Standard. This would mean an immense depression in the US, the end of capitalism, and a new economy based on public hiring, public utilities, co-ops, partnerships and self employment.

Unfortunately, the existing power elite are not likely to sit passively by and to allow this to happen. It is far more probable that they will choose a military dictator favorable to their interests and to impose martial law. The power elite are hurt far less than the rest of us by massive depreciation of the value of the dollar.

As John McChesney says:

“One thing is certain. Large capitalist interests are relatively well positioned to protect their investments in the downswing through all sorts of hedging arrangements (Doug adds: Investment in foreign currencies, and repossession and ownership of houses and other assets) and can…call on the government to bail them out. They also have a myriad of ways of transferring the costs to those lower down on the economic hierarchy. Losses will therefore fall disproportionately on small investors, workers, and consumers, and on third world economies.”

It seems abundantly clear that the wealthy powerful elite served so well by Federal Reserve Chairman Bernacke is far more concerned with maintaining the stability of its banking institutions than with inflation. The elite have ways of profiting from inflation such as investing in stable foreign currencies.

9. The Propaganda Arm of the corporate capitalist state. The capitalist elite owns and controls all the major print and electronic media, public relations and advertising agencies. The capitalist elite thus imposes the ideas and ideology that benefit it, including the taboo against analyzing capitalism, its social inadequacy and its dynamics, upon all of us.

We must learn the truth of the points above by ignoring the massive taboo imposed by the elite, and by becoming aware of the degree which each of us has been brainwashed by the elite. The short term capitalistic best interests of the small ruling elite determine the ideas and ideology of the elite. The ideologies and ideas of the ruling elite are projected or imposed by this dominant elite on all members of that society in order to make the elite’s interests appear to be the interests of all. This is of course augmented by the ruling elite’s control of all of the mass media, by the dependence of us employees on the employers whose jobs are our only means of survival, and by monetary support of the elite to non governmental organizations and the academic community.

The ideology of a capitalist society is enormously important since it confuses us employees and voters, causes us to abandon our own economic and political best interests and creates a false consciousness such as the addiction to consumer goods. It is a part of the false American civil religion.

The elite through their ownership and control of the media are well aware of and make full use the manipulative power of Nationalism, of Patriotism, and of the “dogs of war.”

We set forth three current examples:

   · The NYT acted as a branch of the government in publishing know lies that led us to support the war in Iraq.

   · The NYT and the media publicized the views of retired military officers as objective efforts, knowing the fact was that they were acting as spokesmen for the military and Bush Administration.

   · A huge majority of American voters want Universal Health Coverage, but neither Obama, nor Hillary Clinton, nor John McCain can promise to try to implement that wish of the voters.

Application of the analysis of these dynamics to current conditions:

Both capitalism and a government of, by, and for the people no longer exist. We now have corporate state capitalism with its military, intelligence agencies, and media, all controlled by the elite.

There are now three economies in the US each dominated and controlled by the elite:

   · The economy of the very rich, for the support of which the Elite uses their control of media, academia, government, Federal Reserve Bank, and our taxes.

   · The Stock Markets that we should think of as simply a gambling casino, with hidden government financial support and manipulation to aid the rich in the fleecing of little stock holders. (Do you know of the “Plunge Protection Team,” who controls it, whose money it uses, and under what circumstances? None of us do and we invest in the stock market at our peril.)

   · The Real economy where the rest of us live in immense insecurity, with many unmet needs and we struggle to survive.

We have lost our ballot box control of the government. We have no means to control the ecological destruction of capitalism. Al Gore may be living in a fool’s paradise in his efforts to control Global Warming unless he deals with the dynamics of capitalism. We have no direct means of curbing, controlling or regulating corporate state capitalism. We can no longer study “economics” as a subject distinct from “political science” if we are to have any hope of enlightenment.

Because we do not have a visible dictator, because we still have substantial freedom to speak, write, communicate, and organize, and because the forms of ballot box democracy still remain in place (although not the substance), it is not yet accurate to call our global corporate state “fascism,” such as existed in Italy under Benito Mussolini.

The capitalism of Adam Smith, relatively free of government support, is no more. Monopoly Capitalism and the government are now one. However, even corporate state capitalism is fragile as we have seen. The government cannot keep borrowing forever to support this fragile institution. We citizens and taxpayers cannot pay ever higher taxes simply to keep capitalism from depression. Moreover, present day Corporate State Capitalism is parasitically dependent on us as consumers and as employees for its existence. This capitalism is like a cancer that in killing its human hosts, it kills itself. Its laws of motion take it inevitably in the direction of fascism, dictatorship and martial law. It destructive energy in sucking away the profit from our labor, and in its total lack of concern for our wellbeing, makes us think of a tornado.

It is now probable that the ruling elite with its vast economic, military, media, and governmental powers, can avoid another Great Depression for them. There may be another great depression for the rest of us, although the mainstream elite media, using falsified statistics, may never acknowledge or publicize that fact. Runaway inflation where our wage dollars buy less and less would itself be a Great Depression for us. If a Great Depression really threatens the elite, it is probable that the elite would turn to a popular general like General Petraeus as military dictator and impose martial law. The elite would engage our “support” of this dictator by “false flag” operations, and by a media PR campaign, ,manipulating our own fear, and playing on our national honor, nationalism, consumerism, racism, religious differences, patriotism, “evil enemies at home and abroad,” and “the dogs of war.” In this, the elite will be successful unless we learn to be intellectually and emotionally immune to these false manipulations.

This being the case, what shall we do? What can we do?

It is clear that we cannot successfully or morally use force against the armed juggernaut of the elite, and against those among us who are successfully brainwashed by the elite.

   · We can learn and communicate the dynamics of corporate state capitalism and its false PR manipulative strategies.

   · Since even this mutated form of capitalism is parasitically dependent upon our work, and our consumption, we can stop working for large private employers. We can slow down our pace of work.

   · We can stop our consumption of the products of the elite. We can boycott the products of the elite

   · Insofar as is possible, we can grow our own food and meet our own needs as our ancestors did

   · We can support a democratic government as our employer to meet those needs we cannot meet ourselves.

Our sustainable survival, our freedom, our democracy, and our civilization are dependent upon our overcoming the taboo imposed by the elite, and learning capitalism’s dynamics.

Is this analysis plausible? What part of it, if any, is illogical, or contrary to your own experience and observation? Is it worth considering? What is your alternative? How do you analyze the workings of capitalism?

Doug Page is a retired lawyer for unions, a former Democratic politician, and a life long observer of government, unions and business. He can be reached at: dougpage2@earthlink.net. Read other articles by Doug, or visit Doug's website.

51 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Joe Michaels said on June 14th, 2008 at 8:06am #

    I am in comlete agreement. I have made signifigant efforts to halt my personal consupmptive habits, however I realize that what I do personally is at best a polite political gesture.

    I have seen in my lifetime the decay of institutions and the environment. You don’t need staticstics all you need is eyes to see.

    What can people do in concert with others to halt the spread of this disease of capitalism?

  2. Wm Alias said on June 14th, 2008 at 9:06am #

    Questions came to mind at the onset:
    Will the solution proposed end up to be Communisim?
    I continued reading.

    The logic progresses in an orderly manner so as to produce an argument supporting a conclusion, that is wrong or right, still undecided.

    Parts missing or not addressed are:

    The increasing world population and the consumption of non renewable resources toward the end point of depletion.

    Raising the standard of living (world wide?) via better nutrition, and less hours of labor to maintain a better than subsistant level of life.

    The need of capitol and multi person creativity to invent and produce new products that provide some value of use to the buyer. An example might be the automobile that permitted rapid mobility and transport of goods. This would be a large company as opposed to a group of artisans.

    Conclusions? …. Revert to a hunter gatherer society? —– Allow a government to provide the employment, and distribution and goods is not unlike the socialism/fascism now in place. —- Highly touted democracy, is rule by majority; not always the best answer do to self interest, it is gang rule. Communism will fail for the same reasons.

    A thought occurs that our destiny will be controlled by the distribution & volumn of the greater (higher morality) on the discerning bell curve of populaton and it’s distribution about the earth.

    Does this mean that the greatest reproducer (population) will rule?
    That depends on their degree of overall morality, they might be the threat or the answer.

    I personally expect the martial law scenario in the US, then revolution.
    The earth as a total ecosystem will play a part in population reduction greater than war in the end game.

    So we have a rock and a hardplace.

  3. Eric Patton said on June 14th, 2008 at 9:54am #

    The alternative is participatory economics.

  4. Wingnut said on June 14th, 2008 at 11:25am #

    Hi! How’s everyone? I hope well.
    Firstoff, capitalism is not failing “us”, its failing “them”… the capitalists. Some of us don’t want anything to do with capitalism, and don’t claim to be members of the felony servitude-infested pyramid scheme, and want it, and ALL economies… removed from OUR planet immediately. Us Christian socialists HATE economies, and know they cause rat-racing, and that leads to felony pyramiding. From this point-on, I’m simply going to repeat a post I did at Acton… and ya’ll can grapple with it and pummel me as wanted… even though I’m speaking truth.

    If you’re involved with capitalism WHATSOEVER, you are bought-into a felony pyramid scheme-o-servitude-infestation, and that’s all there is to THAT. Either you condone, promote, and join slavery/inequality systems, or you stay Christian. You either compete, or you cooperate. You either bill and timecard, or you share. Simple.

    REAL Christians learned long-ago that pyramid schemes are JUST LIKE the pyramids we failed-at building in the farmyards as children. While the upper 1/3 is “heads in the clouds”, the people on the bottom ALWAYS GET HURT from the weight of the world’s knees in their backs. All REAL Christians know better than to condone and promote forced labor/exploitation, and inequality. No man is created equal under capitalism. All men are created at the wellbeing-level that their parents have rat-raced up-to upon the felony servitude pyramid scheme… at the time of birthing. Such self-lies are EASILY seen (thru).

    To check for capitalism blindness, do you see the widespread “pay-up or lose your wellbeing” Chicago mob-like felony extortion… within capitalism? Also, do you see the parental policy reversal from share share share, to fight fight fight… when capitalism-imprisoned children turn 18 and get “sharktanked” into “grown-up”-ness? Some are born “set for life” and some are born “set for servitude and taking orders”. Time to wakey wakey. See the pyramid scheme symbol on the back of the USA dollar? See the pyramids out in the Egyptian dessert? Symbols, anyone? We could use a cease and desist order on capitalism immediately, and a complete FBI/DOJ investigation of it… and thus its abolishment forever. Stick THAT in your pipes and smoke it, friends.

    Thank you for not censoring.

    Larry “Wingnut” Wendlandt
    MaStars – Mothers Against Stuff That Ain’t Right
    (anti-capitalism-ists)
    Bessemer MI USA

  5. Wingnut said on June 14th, 2008 at 12:05pm #

    Hi again! :)

    By the way… Joe… when you say that reducing your decadent consumption is “at best a polite political gesture”, I think you are not correct. What you do is seen by the Earth creators… as a sign of giving a crap… and also… you join the ranks of “the meek”… which shall inherit the world (but not to be owned, just shared). So you have shown a HUGE chunk of integrity… to any so-called God(s) who are SURELY watching us, and to me, and to the other readers of this blog. Your de-decadency actions have far-reaching affects, and it causes you to shine with a classy light. WELL DONE! By speaking that way, you became a hero and friend of MINE, that’s for sure. But when I say “mine”… I don’t imply ownehrship whatsoever, of course. :)

    I saw the term “value of use” used somewhere above. YUM!!! Yep, if we’d just measure things using the “value of use” criteria instead of the “value in dollars” or “value of self-empowerment”… we’d have things back on the right track. Great term. “Value of use”. Also, lets not forget “repairability”… something that is sorely lacking in today’s throw-away products and services. Party-on, fellow anticaps! I feel like I’m amongst intelligence, here. And no, particpatory economics… won’t work… unless you mean everyone is paid exactly the same… which means commune… which means no money, ownershipism, pricetags, insurance, etc. If that’s what you mean (no economics whatsoever)… then yes, that’s what we need. The USA military already uses a socialism/commune…. for their supply/survival system. No money, entitles of ownership, pricetags, discrimination, rationing, or pyramid-like inequality. The luxuries are shared, via “recreational services” and ANY so called “rank” can check them out for use, and we all take care of things, because all things belong (careful, no ownership please) to Team World. Team World is when everyone on the planet is on the same team, and we’ve eliminated borderings and stupid US vesus THEM… wars.

    The USA Public Library System is also a commune/socialism (non-economy) and it is maybe THE BEST RUNNING SYSTEM EVER!

    Take care, gang!
    Wingnut

  6. bozhidar balkas said on June 14th, 2008 at 12:47pm #

    i agree w. page that one ought to understand US structure of govenance; voting being one of the least structural members.
    we cannot have global warming sans governance, capitalism, modes of production, schooling, movies/tv, advertising, warfare, lies, halftruths, etc.
    all these r mere aspects of one reality; each aspect influencing every other aspect and in turn affected by everything we do.
    if one would leave out just the education (better word might be “miseducation” wd suffice to present a fictitious reality. thank u

  7. Clif said on June 14th, 2008 at 3:01pm #

    Capitalism has been a wild success. It makes things that people want and cheaply. The trouble is that it is too successful and depends on unending growth in demand. That’s an impossibility. It also makes things people don’t want (pollution, for example) as a byproduct.

    We have to figure out a way to live sustainably and capitalism is not a sustainable system. The physical world is limited, the desire to increase wealth is not.

    That capitalism necessarily begins with a wealthy person employing a poor person is in error. It begins with one person having an idea with the desire to develop it that another person does not. It progresses with the production of something that it is hoped people will pay for. Capitalism has many faces and the man or woman with the idea and a willingness to risk putting it into motion to better their own situation is as capitalist as IBM. The poor woman obtaining a micro-loan in India is as much a representative of capitalism as Bill Gates.

    The task at hand is not to decry capitalism, but to propose something workable in its place that can be lived with indefinitely in a finite world.

  8. Don Hawkins said on June 14th, 2008 at 4:00pm #

    Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.
    It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.
    (Albert Einstein)

    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
    (Leonardo da Vinci)

  9. Edwin Pell said on June 14th, 2008 at 4:07pm #

    Overpopulation. In the 70s we read “The limits to Growth” and thought wow the 21 century will suck. In the 80s we read “beyond the Limits to Growth” and thought again wow the 21 century will suck. Sure enough it does. Lets closes the borders as a start. Then we can begin to decrease the population density.

  10. Don Hawkins said on June 14th, 2008 at 4:10pm #

    (Galileo Galilei, 1600) I wish, my dear Kepler, that we could have a good laugh together at the extraordinary stupidity of the mob. What do you think of the foremost philosophers of this University? In spite of my oft-repeated efforts and invitations, they have refused, with the obstinacy of a glutted adder, to look at the planets or Moon or my telescope. … In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual

  11. Bernd said on June 14th, 2008 at 4:26pm #

    From the perspective of an ecologist capitalism is failing human needs today because it still behaves as if the earth had unlimited resources. Capitalism can be very successful in producing economic growth under the circumstance of no resource constraints or rather poor living standards. The exponential economic growth in western civilizations during the last 6 decades in combination with advances in medicine and related fields enabled the human race to grow exponentially. But around 1985 the human population finally reached the carrying capacity for human beings on planet Earth.

    So we face a new kind of failure of capitalism today besides its well known social disadvantages, a failure that Karl Marx and his contemporaries did not anticipate: it’s a severe Malthusian crisis of a globalized economy caused by the overpopulation of a finite planet and overconsumption of non-renewable resources like oil, minerals, genetic diversity etc.

    I guess Capitalism followed wrong premises from its very beginning. The bio- and ecosphere of our planet is very fragile and cannot sustain the exponential economic growth caused by the fossil fueled industrialism with all its ramifications on the long run. The new big social question which I miss the article above is: how can we save this planet as a human habitat for future generations under the capitalistic paradigm of growth?

  12. Don Hawkins said on June 14th, 2008 at 5:03pm #

    How many of you out there have been paying attention to the weather Worldwide for just the last few months? Southern China last few day’s record rain flooding. The States well on it’s way to record tornado season and that 500 year flood in the Midwest. California headed for a real good drought. On going drought Southeast. I could keep writing but a little secret or maybe you already know and that is say in China they are saying this flooding the last few day’s is a 100 year flood and the Midwest in the States they started off with that 100 year flood but changed it to 500 year flood. You can take those 100 year or 500 year talk and throw it out the window doesn’t work anymore. In 1988 we all passed 350 ppm CO 2 in the atmosphere and are now at 384 ppm and we all see the changes. Every year more and more of the same but still not to late to slow this down and will require action and fast.
    Carbon Tax and 100% Dividend
    1. Tax Large & Growing (but get it in place!)
    - tap efficiency potential & life style choices
    2. Entire Tax Returned
    - equal monthly deposits in bank accounts
    3. Limited Government Role
    - keep hands off money!
    - eliminate fossil subsidies
    - support technology development (no Manhattan projects!)
    - change profit rules and motivation for utilities
    - watch U.S. modernize & emissions fall! James Hansen

    No Manhattan projects yes James is smart. As right now it looks like a push for a Manhattan project to find more oil and dig more coal. Support technology development as much of what is needed is already here and with some hard work and imagination it can be done. The new commercials from oil and gas we will need 45% more energy by 2030. I would say in just two or three years that thinking will change.

  13. Blujay said on June 14th, 2008 at 5:23pm #

    I admire your optimism. But human nature requires that we make the mistake which fatally damages our biosphere, before we learn lessons that will change our behavoir toward it. It will therfore be too late.

  14. Don Hawkins said on June 15th, 2008 at 3:50am #

    Fight back these so called elites are not that bright. To me many I see on TV are nuts a form of insanity although it be an excepted form of insanity it doesn’t change the fact that nuts is still nuts. Fight back. I don’t think these so called elites know it yet but because of the times the nuts part is very easy to see.

  15. bozhidar balkas said on June 15th, 2008 at 7:00am #

    hi folks,
    having finished last in my class and thus having no face to lose i dare say this, There is no capitalism; there is tho us and our doings.
    we can see our doings; we can’t see capitalism. we cannot understand capitalism; strive as we may; talk as long as we want to; we’l merely obtain bns of ‘understandings’.
    similarly, we can’t see/smell/touch/taste/hear ‘god (s)’. and to claim that one nevertheless understands/knows a god as priests do is, to me, laughfable.
    there r people who tell us they understand ‘capitalism’ . these people r just like mad priests of goddisms; ie, madmen of ‘capiatalism’

  16. Andy said on June 15th, 2008 at 9:26am #

    clif, if you look at the rich/poor gap globally and the % of the population who own what % of the resources, i’m sure you cannot continue to believe that propaganda.

    1 person enrichened for every 20 that get poorer is not a success, it’s a disaster. Most people do not get what they want and the current economical model does not provide for them.

  17. Gary said on June 15th, 2008 at 10:14am #

    Capitalism is NOT the problem. CORPORATISM is the problem – the unholy alliance between government and business. All alternatives to a free-market economy WILL make most people worse off while benefiting the few. Socialism is literally impossible and unsustainable; it cannot rationally allocate society’s scarce resources. This is the Economic Calculation argument against socialism and it remains to be refuted. Read what Ludwig von Mises had to say on this subject in his book: Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. It is free off the web: http://mises.org/econcalc.asp On the other hand, a truly free and unhampered market will result in less income inequality and better living standards for all.
    I wish that all the enemies of freedom and capitalism would seriously study the theories of the “Austrian School of Economics” before passing judgment against capitalism in favor of greater government/ socialist policies. I recommend “Man, Economy, and State” by M. Rothbard for solid economic theory and “The Road to Serfdom” by F.A. Hayek for political theory concerning the danger of government. Both are free also: http://mises.org/rothbard/mes.asp & http://www.iea.org.uk/files/upld-publication43pdf?.pdf

    Freedom works, folks. Markets do not fail; every “market failure” is really a euphemism for government failure.

    “It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a “dismal science.” But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. – Murray N. Rothbard

  18. corylus said on June 15th, 2008 at 11:22am #

    E. Pell, you’re a MF racist and a moron. End greed, capitalism, and class warfare, and borders will simply disappear. Perpetuate the corporate-capital means to control local economies (e.g., free trade agreements, militaries, secret operations), and people will continue to migrate towards any chance at a better life. Immigration isn’t the problem, but capitalism apologists like you continue to promote that myth, parroting as you do the lies and deceptions of the mainstream media pawns. Best of luck when the revolution arrives.

  19. Wingnut said on June 15th, 2008 at 11:58am #

    Corylus, I agree, of course, but maybe not with quite that much fervor. Its takes time and mind-opening… for competers who are born-into, and further-programmed into condoning and promoting US versus THEM warring… to shake it off. The internet helps, as it cruises right past borders… and I’ll take this moment to thank non-English-speaking folks… for learning English. At least SOME of us here in the USA… have learned TONS about others’ cultures and ideas via that method. The fellow US’s on the other side of the USA borders… have helped the USA pull its head out of its butt many times, too. I hope non-USA us’s can continue to help educate our toybox tug-o-warring capitalists, too. The USA has a serious “YAY AMERICA” cock’n’bull going, along with a serious case of “see no evil, hear no evil” and “monkey see, monkey do”. I call it conduction… based on the word “duct” or “conduct”… which is a phenomenon akin to bandwagoning and railroading. (conductor/training)

    Conductors use luring and baiting, to induce in-lining and hoop-jumping, much like a dolphin show or a musical marching “movement”. Conduction is based upon another’s “rules” (rails)… and its the climbing-aboard of gullible Americans… upon other people’s bandwagons… namely, the rich controller’s bandwagons/railroadings. Conduction and “train”ing is complicated and deep… and I hope to write a book on movements and conductions someday… which of course, will be given out free and not be copywronged. Bestest! Wingy

  20. Max Shields said on June 15th, 2008 at 12:52pm #

    I think this piece has hit some important points. There is sound economic research which indicates that our problem is consumption and that technology will never catch up with that. E. F. Schumacher had provided this insight some decades back and it has been empirically supported by economist Juliet Schor. As an example, let’s take hybrid cars. The damand for hybrids, given our dependency on the auto, and the resources to produce them exceeds the savings in energy they purport to offer.

    The problem is not production. It is consumption.

    To the point of human needs, I would add that this is were the crux of the issue lies. We confuse needs with wants and satifiers. Most of what we call needs are not human needs but the inflation of a satisfier. Clothing satisfies the need for sustenance. Mall shopping for regular addictive purchases of fashion items has NOTHING to do with need. The same can be said for almost all material goods. Our real needs are exploited through careful marketing which inflates what we think we need with what we want. Food is a good example. Sweetner has been added to most foods because we are wired for it under specific conditions (these conditions are rarely required today but provided the necessary carbs during famines).

    Manfred Max-Neef provides the underpinning of universal human needs from which a true sustainable economics can be built. Participatory economics is best understood within the context of workers’ cooperatives. But until we grasp human needs and separate those from predatory capitalism, no system of economics will suffice.

  21. tim said on June 15th, 2008 at 1:10pm #

    Good gawd, you socialist are so freaking wordy. You would think that you are re-writing the communist manifesto.

    For what it is worth, Capitalism is doing just fine AND it is doing the heavy lifting that socialism / communism could not get done, namely moving a country as big as China out of abject poverty. Socialism can still be seen working it’s magic in North Korea and Cuba.

    Capitalism is completely sustainable, we had capitalism before oil, before coal and we will have it afterward. If you plan to make everyone equal in wealth someday, make sure you don’t come alone… or unarmed…

  22. Max Shields said on June 15th, 2008 at 2:22pm #

    tim,

    exactly what are you talking about? Schumacher is not a socialist nor is Schor.

    The New Yorker had a great cartoon. You see these corporate suites all pointing in a unison in the same direction and the caption reads,” they claim to have seen the invisible hand.”

    Anyway, there’s a bit (understatement) of a difference between classical economics (ala Adam Smith, Marx, Ricardo, et al) and the neo-classical economics of Milton Friedman, et al. So, you’re pre-oil capitalism is not what we have today. And frankly, it aint doing so well unless sucking the resources out of the planet and the resource wars are ok by you.

  23. Don Hawkins said on June 15th, 2008 at 3:33pm #

    A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty… The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. … We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

    To me many I see on TV are nuts a form of insanity although it be an excepted form of insanity it doesn’t change the fact that nuts is still nuts

  24. Edwin Pell said on June 15th, 2008 at 5:05pm #

    Corylus I favor ending all immigration regardless of skin color. For the benefits of all Americans regardless of skin color. How do you see that as racist? Please explain. Yemen has a reproductive rate of seven children per women. The U.S. has a rate of about 1.9 children per women. Are you saying it is the duty of Americans to provide for the children of Yemen because their parents can not? If so please feel free to send all your money to Yemen. I will not join you.

  25. Deadbeat said on June 15th, 2008 at 8:05pm #

    Good analysis re: Capitalism. However from the way it the article was written, the author read Adam Smith but it looks like he never read Marx because Marx drew these conclusion well over a century and a half ago.

    Getting people to understand how Capitalism works is important. So is getting people to understand how Militarisam helps feed Capitalism is equally important.

    I disagree with the author however re: population.

  26. tim said on June 15th, 2008 at 8:09pm #

    Max,
    Who are Schumacher and Schor? I didn’t see them referenced in the article unless that was when I was nodding off from all the yadda, yadda.

  27. john andrews said on June 15th, 2008 at 11:22pm #

    As quite a few have already pointed out, I too don’t think capitalism is the real problem; the real problem is the incestuous link between corporations and government. Corporations, and hence capitalism, need the controls that only governments can impose, and this just won’t happen for as long as corporations have governments in their back pockets.

    I think it’s also incorrect to say communism/socialism can’t work. They can. What is required is the desire of people to live that way. For all its many other problems, the one interesting thing about Israel is the fact that it has communist kibbutzim existing harmoniously (economically speaking) side by side with capitalist towns and cities.

    What’s needed is an entirely new system where the people, PROPERLY INFORMED, truly are in charge. Free Democracy is the answer.
    http://www.freedemocrats.co.uk

  28. GermanDom said on June 16th, 2008 at 5:23am #

    Hi Doug.
    This could be considered the basic text of a critique of capitalism, so call me Marx.

    Got a better idea? Which “ism” would you prefer promoting? Let me see it, please.

    Cheers, Dom

  29. bozhidar balkas said on June 16th, 2008 at 5:29am #

    tim,
    u speak of abject poverty in china, but do not give us when chinese were poor nor how poor they were.
    most of lands or empires had poor people and not just china.
    by picking on china only, u (in)advertently show bias.
    i tell u how poor i was. as child, i often had no shoes. i had just 2 pair of pants, 2 t-shirts, 1 or 2 shorts. there was not much envy since there were just few people who more or much more.
    but we had enough to eat. no one was even overly fat let alone obese.
    i say if i have enough to eat and the bed to sleep on, i’m rich.
    thank u .

  30. Max Shields said on June 16th, 2008 at 7:04am #

    “Getting people to understand how Capitalism works is important. So is getting people to understand how Militarisam helps feed Capitalism is equally important.”

    If the Soviet Union is to Marx what the USA is to Adam Smith, perhaps we have an apt analogy. Both empires were/are military nation-states. In fact, one could (and many have) that it is the nation-state, which is the organizing prinicple, which is at the root of militarism and not the economic system.

    Interestingly, Adam Smith (and my favorite, Henry George) and Marx were all classical economist (which is not what we’re dealing with today). The classical economists had, first and foremost a strong moral and ethical underpinning to their economic thinking. In fact, it is the moral aspect that came before the economics. We have drifted far and away from that.

    So, I agree, that it is not “capitalism” which is the fundamental problem. It is corporatism and neo-liberal trade which has undone our economics. Ne0-liberal trade agreements are not simply agreements between equal trading partners, but lop-sided arrangements, that keep one party dominating the other, one party exploited to the gain of the other.

    Our problem, and here I take exception with Marx, is not production. Marx’s production (as well is the cases with industialism everywhere) is unsustainable. Our problem is clearly consumption. And as I said, no amount of jiggering through technology can ever sustain the powerful pumped up demand Western industrialism puts on our natural resources. Marx did not deal with this issue; anymore than did Adam Smith.

    We need to selectively de-industrialize much of what has been industrialized, starting with our food system. We need to apply zero waste techniques, but mostly we need to re-align our natural needs with our economy. In this way we have an economy which is not simply based on material trumped up wants, but on the full and limited range of universal human needs. That is a sustainable solution and can be achieved through a blended economy which is not particularly ideological.

  31. Max Shields said on June 16th, 2008 at 8:15am #

    Gary,

    As I said above, I agree that capitalism is not the fundamental problem and that corporatism is a significant part of what we’re dealing with today.

    But it is more than simply reigning global corporatism. If we peel back the problem further I think we come to some interesting discoveries. First, the problem is nearly impossible to deal with from a nation-state the size of the US perspective.

    The main issues are (and I’m repeating somewhat): consumption and growth, a dysfuntional economics that trades needs for wants, a mis-understating and application of fundamental economics, and of course, global corporate exploits.

    The work of Herman Daly and others has clearly demonstrated that the growth cycle (the basis of economic production theory) has long ago become “uneconomic”. That since around the 1950s it actually costs more to “grow”. The GDP and other indices have continued to prolong the unsustainability of the existing growth paradigm that politicians continue to parot.

    A number of studies futher support the notion that GDP type growth actually leads to an unsatisfied population. American’s level of satisfaction with their lives peaked in the 1960s and has continued to drop ever since. Our consumption has not only been financially corrupting and costly, but it is divergent with our quality of life.

    An economics that realizes that material growth is both detrimental to the planet, to the cost/benefit ratio, and to the well-being of people will do well to re-think economics in terms of quality of life and work relationships. This means completely rethinking industrialization, and the basic human needs which extend beyond the material. A new definition of poverty dealing with the full spectrum of human needs would need to be developed (Manfred Max-Neef).

    Ideological solutions have bogged us down as a species and created dogma and theologies which are literally kill life.

  32. brs said on June 16th, 2008 at 1:34pm #

    Capitalism is the problem because the so called capitalists are assumed to have a higher value than other human beings. Take away all the perfectionist theoretical von Mises nonsense, or Adam Smith for that matter, because it is just theory and not how it is actually applied. As it is applied, capitalism is just fairly transparent theoretical cover to justify the imposition of the inherited aristocratic class system of Europe. Few of today’s capitalists have made their fortunes by producing anything at all let alone anything of value to humankind. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Cyrus McCormack were a century or more ago. The majority of todays capitalists inherited their money. They did not earn it!! Most are involved in finance schemes, not productive activity. The poor lady with a micro loan is not a capitalist or in the capitalist class. She will never reach that wealthy position and neither will her children despite the happily ever after fairy tales. The psychopathic capitalists will exploit her and cheat her. They do not believe in freedom. Look at the governments they support. These capitalist supported governments are not free. The capitalists will use any means at their disposal to keep others from getting anything despite what von Mises fairy tale may tell you. Any means includes armed thugs, fraud, bribery and theft. Any means includes corruption of the justice system to steal land and imprison those who fight back. If anyone truly believed in free competition they would support a system where people rise on their own merit rather than their parents. Where would Bush be today without rich daddy. Probably in a gutter, prison or halfway house. If you want freedom and free competition eliminate all aristocracy and inherited social class. Eliminate the inheritance of wealth and gifts that put the capitalists spawn on a higher plane. Let everyone make it on their own ability rather than mummy or daddy. Till you do this then the fact of a government trying to maintain a balance between social classes is a reality and a necessity. And maintaining that balance to prevent the inherited rich from economically destroying those of us who are left living by our own efforts is as necessary as preventing the physically powerful or armed thugs from destroying those who are less strong or unarmed. The rich depend on that aspect of government every day while whining about government intervention.

  33. Gary said on June 16th, 2008 at 1:53pm #

    Max,
    I would like to start off by saying that I respect anyone who has good intentions – intentions of improving the well being of people. With no ill
    will, I remind all who are reading of the old saying: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The law of unintended consequences takes over whenever governments interfere with freedom. For every problem solved by government, at least two more problems are likely created. (Empirical support: Our nation founded upon limited government is now the largest government in the world.)
    For example (good intentions/law of unintended consequences), was it not Herman Daly who proposed tradable child bearing permits? Sounds a little like communist China’s one child policy. Perhaps Daly thought his intention was good; I think that it is frightening. What about all the infant girls who are killed so the parents can have their one and only son? At any rate, the government making child bearing a tradable commodity is not my cup of tea.
    Environmental pollution is a matter of property rights. At one time it was handled in the courts through the common-law. This was prior to corporate interests utilizing government to benefit themselves (Also known as regulatory capture).
    How does one quantify the qualitative data of Manfred Max-Neef’s poverty index? Do we measure utility in utiles? Does anyone have a utilimeter handy? Who will come up with these data? Governments? The same governments controlled by corporate interests?

    -Marxian economics is self-contradictory: How can profits across all industries tend towards a uniform rate if the quantity of labor varies between industries. Marx himself could never riddle away this paradox between rates of profits and the labor theory of value.

    -Adam Smith was another economist who advanced the faulty “labor theory of value.” Smith, however, saw that markets work and so does free trade. Henry George also was a firm believer in free trade and not a believer in protectionist policies.
    PRIOR to Adam Smith, economic theories were of the Mercantilism tradition. TODAY’S STATE SPONSORED CAPITALISM IS A THROWBACK TO THE MERCANTILIST YEARS 1500 – 1750. (Smith wrote Wealth of Nations in 1776)

    -Thomas Malthus made the mistake of not foreseeing the Industrial Revolution. Never underestimate the ingenuity of men whose creative minds are free to benefit society in the context of the free market.

    -Carl Menger, of the Austrian School of economics, (along with Walras and Jevons) discovered that VALUE is determined by marginal utility.

    -Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, another Austrian economist, showed that the interest rate is governed by time-preference. He also demonstrated that capitalism does not exploit workers. http://mises.org/story/1680

    -Ludwig von Mises, another Austrian, showed that the business cycle is not an inherent flaw of capitalism but, rather, is caused by credit expansion of bank credit with both government sanctioned fractional reserve banking, and central bank interest rate manipulation. Mises also wrote a book “The Anti-Capitalist Mentality” in which he says that SAVING (the postponement of consumption) by indigenous populations and free markets are the only way to lift the third world out of poverty. Again, without markets for capital goods, SOCIALISM CANNOT WORK. http://mises.org/econcalc.asp

    -Murray Rothbard applied the Austrian Business Cycle Theory to a historical examination of the Great Depression and provides clear evidence that the Federal Reserve (created 1913) that expanded credit throughout the 1920′s leading to the boom phase of the business cycle (Roaring 20′s) which was followed by the subsequent bust (1929 market collapse, 1933 bottom) The Great Depression. Fractional Reserve banking is fraud and the Federal Reserve is tantamount to a legalized counterfeiter. (By the way the falling dollar and the inflationary bubbles in the economy that credit expansion produce are MAJOR factors in the price of energy.)

    -Hans Herman Hoppe wrote a book “Democracy: The God that Failed” in which he details how democracy has led to ever increasing property rights violations. This, in turn, has led towards a higher rate of TIME PREFERENCE in the 20th century. (and lots of wars too)

    The economists of the Austrian School have shown again and again that the system of private ownership utilizing a system of voluntary trade between consenting persons and saving (rather than immediate consumption) is the only way of raising the welfare of society.

    Utility cannot be measured in units, but it can be demonstrated – the principle of “demonstrated preference.” In the free market, all exchanges are voluntary and therefore both parties expect to benefit. The free market is therefore Pareto efficient. Government, on the other hand, is the monopoly of the use of force. Whenever it acts, some persons are benefited while others are harmed. Acts of government, therefore, cannot meet the Pareto criteria.

    “Given the fact that coercion is used for taxes, therefore, and since all government actions rest on its taxing power, we deduce that: no act of government whatever can increase social
    utility.” – M. Rothbard “Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics”

    Lastly, growth can and will continue. Populations can grow too. The PRICE MECHANISM is how the free market economy allocates society’s scarce resources to their most productive ends. Prices also communicate knowledge between entrepreneurs. Profit is good. Profits in any industry that are above a normal rate of profits will encourage further producers to enter into this industry. (No windfall profits tax please) The increase in supply will cause profits to gradually tend back towards the normal, uniform rate of profit. Consumers benefit.

    Ignorance is only invincible if people let it be, unfortunately, too many people believe only what they want to believe rather than putting forth the effort necessary to move closer to the truth.

  34. mpgingdl said on June 16th, 2008 at 2:21pm #

    By 1985, Communism (itself just a grotesque mutation of capitalism) had reached the point where its unsustainibility was plainly obvious, but the system was already past its point of no return. Capitalism is at that point today. If you think it can be saved, you might as well be standing on the deck of the Titanic with a bucket.

  35. Giorgio said on June 16th, 2008 at 5:47pm #

    After reading this article I felt it could be a PR endorsement of Ron Paul’s campaign and a call to support his REVOLUTION.

    I’m quoting below parts of the article to prove my point:

    (1) ”The elite causes the government to print massive amounts of paper money to rescue the institutions of the elite.’

    This is a point Ron Paul has often drawn the attention of American people. It devalues the dollar, increases inflation and makes the people poorer.

    (2) “It seems abundantly clear that the wealthy powerful elite served so well by Federal Reserve Chairman Bernacke is far more concerned with maintaining the stability of its banking institutions than with inflation.”

    Ron Paul has often stated that the Fed has no reason to exist and that as president he would close it down. It’s a private institution run by faceless goons that even he, a US Congressman, does not knows who they are. In fact, it could be run by the Mafia and nobody would know.

    (3) “Unfortunately, the existing power elite are not likely to sit passively by and to allow this to happen. It is far more probable that they will choose a military dictator favorable to their interests and to impose martial law.”

    Ron Paul is fully aware of this possibility, hence his grassroots campaign to stave this off and wake-up call! Hence his anti-Patriot Act, anti-ID card and his stance against curtailment of civil liberties.

    (4) “The elite through their ownership and control of the media are well aware of and make full use the manipulative power of Nationalism, of Patriotism, and of the “dogs of war.”

    The elites through their controlled media have barred Ron Paul from attending debates, called him a “wacko”, isolationist, unpatriotic, and an appeaser because he advocates talking to the Arabs and NOT nuking them preemptively without even a declaration of war.
    They are fully aware that if his movement gathers the momentum of a tsunami, it will scare the shits out of them. But they will be happy to put up him as long as he remains a voice in the wilderness.

    (5) “Both capitalism and a government of, by, and for the people no longer exist.”

    Lobbyists and corporations are now the government, hence Ron Paul’s call to downsize it.

    (6) “The capitalism of Adam Smith, relatively free of government support, is no more. Monopoly Capitalism and the government are now one.”

    Not only that, but also the Judiciary works in collusion with the above two and IS no longer independent, so says Ron Paul..

    (7) “If a Great Depression really threatens the elite, it is probable that the elite would turn to a popular general like General Petraeus as military dictator and impose martial law. The elite would engage our “support” of this dictator by “false flag” operations, and by a media PR campaign, ,manipulating our own fear, and playing on our national honor, nationalism, consumerism, racism, religious differences, patriotism, “evil enemies at home and abroad,” and “the dogs of war.”

    This being the case, what shall we do? What can we do?”

    Well, if you don’t know by now what to do, GOD HELP YOU!

    Someone has said “People and Nations deserve the government they have.” If Americans end by getting the jackboot rammed down their necks, then they got their just deserves!
    It’s this simple.

  36. PennyTeem said on June 16th, 2008 at 5:55pm #

    The world is going to hell in a handbasket. We those of us who are NOT the movers & shakers spend our time arguing with each other about who caused the problem & what needs to be done.

    Well, I can grow my own food, make my own clothes & care for myself. Can you???

    The time for arguing is almost over. Either get in the boat and ROW or sink with the ship.

  37. Wingnut said on June 16th, 2008 at 6:53pm #

    I think its time for a little song about all the isolationism seen happening out and about. First, let me tell us all the story of the once-happy farm called Earth.

    Thrice upon a “time” (which there is no such thing-as, right Don H?)… there was a farm the size of a planet. ALL the children on the farm… started-out living in the central farmhouse, and all were obtaining their wellbeing, equally, from the central wellbeing repository… or as some children called it… “The Big Bowl”. But then SOMETHING happened, and the children started building blanket’n’yardstick tents within separate(d) areas of the farmhouse, and started segregating from each other. They started little nations unto themselves, and blanket-blindered themselves from others who were (initially) on the same team… within the farmhouse. It even got worse! Almost all the children started grabbing-up supplies (ownershipism) from the communal farmhouse “big bowl”, and running out into the pastures… and building tents out there… surrounded by fences, borders, security systems, locks, and hiding themselves within trees. (strategically positioning themselves in a future-looking, profit-optimized paradigm).

    The children started taking more and more supplies from the communal farmhouse, and spending little time “communioning” there anymore, and thus began the great US versus THEM wars… where nobody was happy anymore, and everyone viewed each other as “bad apples” (profiteers) out-to steal their supplies and greenstamp (money) hoard-up!

    “Every tent unto themselves… this is WAR!”

    Ok, so here’s a piece of parody from “Happy Together”

    Imagine us and them, and them and us
    No matter how you gouge the hide… and bitch and cuss
    The only one for me is me, and me for me
    Unhappy degathered

    Chorus:
    I can’t see me lovin’ nobody but me… for all my life
    When I’m with me… baby the skies will be gray… for all my life.

    Am I getting weird? I propose that The Great Pyramids… were made by an ALL-VOLUNTEER “communism” of people, and not a servitudism or dominate/subordinate situation. I believe they were built by socialism folks… all equal, and all building voluntarily.

    I was also thinking about the 3? ways to utilize a horse for assistance in the removal of a stump. First, there’s the force way… spurs. That’s a given. Then there’s the conned-in, or lured-in, or “fooled” way, and thats the carrot-string-stick method. Then there’s the third way… and that is to learn to talk to the horse, and convince it that it’d be a good idea and helpful to itself and man… to help remove the stump. (NOT use force or fooling.)

    I’m a fisherman, so I know about the carrot-string-stick method of fooling animals into “circus performing” using a Rapala. (a special fake carrot used on fish). I mentioned such “conduction” earlier… animals “hoop-jumping” for arti-fish-all trinkets like the Rapala… fooling the fish into thinking they’re getting “something to show for it”.. That same method… is used to get capitalists to buy-into the pyramid scheme called capitalism. Trinkets of foolery are dangled from the tall skyskrapers in the cities, and gullibles are fished-in…. thinking they’re getting nourished. Its a rationing thing… a dolphin show… a conduction… the capitalism “movement”.

    Did I use enough elipses?

  38. Max Shields said on June 16th, 2008 at 7:02pm #

    Gary,
    With all due respect, just think if you took the time it took you to piece together what didn’t work and came up with something workable!!

    Maybe you’re efforts could be useful. A shame you didn’t get the uneconomic growth thing…in a few years maybe.

    Max (:

  39. King Henry VI said on June 16th, 2008 at 9:28pm #

    What we must do to fix all these horrible problems, as outlined in the feckless commentary of Doug Page, is eliminate the class of nonproductive humans. For the purposes of this comment, the nonproductive humans shall henceforth be referred to as ‘excrement machines’ (EMs), because excrement and carbon dioxide are the only tangible products thereof.

    Since Mr. Page believes that Capitalism is failing us, I suggest we turn to our Marxist friends for a solution guaranteed to provide results. Utilizing the Stalinist-model of human purgation, we can simultaneously save the environment and the future of our human race with several clean sweeps of the general population. At first we’ll separate and detain the EMs, to observe for any potential latent knowledge of productive character. Once a short period of observation followed by rigorous testing is complete, all EMs will either be terminated or returned to the population as life-long subordinates to the remaining free-producer/creator class.

    Huge benefits shall be in the making with the termination of every EM. We’ll reduce the generation of dangerous carbon dioxide and sewage, thus improving the earth’s atmosphere and ecological balance of our watershed. We’ll reduce the load on energy demand, and dramatically cut the pulp-paper industry with the elimination of millions of office-fag, aka EM-occupations, most prolific in legal firms and government bureaucracy. Good honest unprocessed wholesome foods will once again dominate the market as the industrial prepackage garbage, consumed by EMs, has no purpose. Producers will again enjoy the fundamental liberty of their money {that being units of exchange for their best efforts}, holding its value, as the economic parasites no longer exist to legislate compulsory alms. Wealth transfers will no longer be falsely identified as “wealth creation”. A huge industry, the largest unregulated monopoly the world has ever seen, known commonly as our federal government, will cease to have purpose, once all of its EM sycophants are either reprogrammed or terminated.

    Understand that we have not had Capitalism in the United States since Stalin’s twin, FDR, put his “New Deal” in place. Albert Jay Nock called it dead-on in “Our Enemy The State”, published way back in 1935. Considering our present condition in retrospect with Nock’s work, it should be of little wonder how the hideous misallocation of resources has culminated in a nation overpopulated by EMs. It should be little wonder that no one in this nation actually knows what true Capitalism is, since it was effectively eliminated by the New Deal and its countless permutations thereafter. Everyone that had an honest working knowledge, through actual experience, not mere theoretical study of true capitalism, is dead!

    For those of you who need to figure out whether you’re an EM or producer, there is a fairly simple test. Given that if you aren’t making it, growing it, digging it from the earth or moving it, you’re probably not creating any wealth. Thus if your income is based on the transfer of wealth from producers/creators or it comes as a result of creative manipulations of compound interest formulas, you’re probably an EM. Most notable EMs are career politicians, lawyers, all financial related occupations, life-long government bureaucrats, high ranking union officials and the purveyors of theological fairytales.

    Mr. Page is the consummate poster-child of the kind of man whom awakens to his life-long-EM status, then subsequently turns to denigrate the very system he used to fill his pockets. As a card carrying, dues paying, union man, I know the likes of Mr. Page and the parade of lawyers who’ve made a living “sticking up for the working man”. I along with my union brothers now wax fatalistic, knowing the very guys who proclaim to have a vested interest in our welfare, yuck it up on lecherous cruses in the Caribbean, with the very same people whom they denigrate with tired fire and brimstone rhetoric. Pro-labor rhetoric, tacitly approved by the elitist for the cause of the elitist, passed on by wannabe low-level union-bootlickers, hopelessly deluded by circumlocutory rhetoric authored by our parade of EM-legal-representatives. Case in point being Mr. Page, who is as much the elitist as the very people he scapegoats for all our problems. He talks a good game, but a safe bet holds that he’ll never risk everything he has accumulated for the sake of what he preaches;

    “It is clear that we cannot successfully or morally use force against the armed juggernaut of the elite, and against those among us who are successfully brainwashed by the elite.”

    Oh really? By whose standard of morality do you make such an assertion?
    Apparently those silly American ‘elitist’ whom rebelled against the English throne, honestly risking everything they had, didn’t observe the same moral standards you’re obviously brainwashed into holding. Mr. Page.
    By what moral standard do you expect a man to abide, if after working an honest wealth-creation activity his entire life, he loses everything through the artful machinations of government sponsored compulsory wealth redistribution?

    How tight do you think the spring of discomfort shall wind before it snaps?

    Please, Mr. Page, put the business end of a pistol in your mouth and get on with cleaning up this world, or else show your mettle and make a big nasty splash. Not here, but where everyone can see and never forget.

    Please no more want or suggestion of wealth redistribution. We can all take care when the time comes, because no socioeconomic position has ever rendered a human with bullet-proof flesh.

    Henry the VI

  40. hp said on June 16th, 2008 at 10:23pm #

    The first ones who will have to go are those devils who actually believe CO2 is the staff of life.
    Those bastards.

  41. Wingnut said on June 17th, 2008 at 5:39am #

    And since I will be the one deciding what “nonproductive” means, I choose Henry to be the first one “cleaned” off-of the planet… as he/she has shown to do nonproductive thinkings and writings. Ready? FIRE!

  42. Edwin Pell said on June 17th, 2008 at 10:42am #

    Moderator how about you removing Wingnut’s death threat?

  43. Wingnut said on June 17th, 2008 at 10:54am #

    I would NEVER mean that literally. Not a chance. I’m a Christian, for Christ’s sake. The only thing I would ever “fire” is a corkgun… so calm down, oh “be offended, be very offended” reactionary one. Yikes!

  44. Davis Mirza said on June 17th, 2008 at 12:06pm #

    As critics of capitalism, let’s all try to be inclusive in our language…Doug’s article and the many postings are ‘male’ driven (“Notice that the employee creates something, but he keeps no part of it. He is alienated from the product and the pleasure and pride of creating it…”), which alienates more than half the population from participating and providing candid 1st person narratives that we can all learn from. (How do women as unpaid workers in the home resist capitalist consumerism? or better yet organize to take power away from a corporate male oligarchy…plenty of success stories are out there and need to be heard)

    If anti-capitalists are to teach other, this dialogue must avoid the essentialist dogma that has divided humans into male and female prototypes where “economics” & “poli-sci” are bereft of “herstory”…capitalist subjugation is founded on rape culture and patriarchal misogyny that divides many men from their feminist consciousness – all men, including myself (as an artist, teacher and war resister) must overthrow the ruthless economics of capitalist partiarchy by learning to listen and in many instances step aside to let others, previously excluded, light the fires of an anti-capitalist resistance .

    Observe all the amazing anti-capitalist resistance sub cultures led by those formerly excluded from having a voice… from Porto Alegre peoples movement to vegan animal rights activists; from anti-war artists like the Dixie Chicks to Green Party spokesperson Elizabeth May-our sisters are about opening borders toward building an Earth Community as an alternative to ‘corporataucracy’- what David Korten calls “the Great Turning…” {www.yesmagazine.org/greatturning}…anti capitalist war resister Rosa Luxemburg words still ring true:

    “The abolition of the rule of capital.. is the historical theme of the present revolution. It is a formidable undertaking, and one that will not be accomplished in the blink of an eye just by the issuing of a few decrees from above. Only through the conscious action of the working masses in city and country can it be brought to life, only through the people’s highest intellectual maturity and inexhaustible idealism can it be brought safely through all storms and find its way to port.”

    In peace&solidarity
    Davis Mirza
    Toronto, CAN.

  45. Patrick said on June 17th, 2008 at 2:09pm #

    “As Doug Page understands them, the following are some of the main dynamics of capitalism: 1. The core dynamic of capitalism is this: A private person with money hires a person without money for the lowest possible wage, in order make as much profit as possible for the person who already has money.”

    Um, not – you fail Doug. Both sides of any commercial transaction try to get the best deal possible, but in doing so make the most mutually acceptable transaction. The person hired *ALSO* tries to “make as much profit as possible” and quits lowpaying employers for better ones. Employees like NBA players and trial lawyers are ‘hired’ but have plenty of money. And the employers can often hire not the cheapest but the most productive/beneficial.

    So you got it all wrong. You *really* need to read some Thomas Sowell (eg “Economic Facts and Fallacies”).

    In failing to understand free markets, you fail to understand everything that you talk about.

  46. Don Hawkins said on June 17th, 2008 at 6:16pm #

    And those whose hearts are fixed on Reality itself deserve the title of Philosophers. (Plato, Republic)
    The object of knowledge is what exists and its function to know about reality. (Plato)
    We are like people looking for something they have in their hands all the time; we’re looking in all directions except at the thing we want, which is probably why we haven’t found it.(Plato, 380BC

  47. brs said on June 18th, 2008 at 9:55am #

    Um not -Patrick you fail; you are wrong. As long as there is inherited wealth the playing field is not level. Those without inherited wealth are forced to take what is offered. Those with it use the power of the state to force their will on the rest of us. Those with family connections collude to keep wages down even below the cost of living. Unions are acceptable as long as it the upper class joining together. They use political connections to increase their wealth and produce little. They have their own unions forged in the prep schools and through family ties. They will use the power of the state to break up any similar worker combinations. This was done through murder, military and police action through the 1930′s and the courts and legislatures since. The only government interference the upper classes oppose is any limits to their exploitation. Government handouts and support to the upper class and controls on workers or small businesses are perfectly acceptable.

    No Wall Street banker or speculator produces anything. They are currently bidding up prices of commodities like oil and food while adding no value. They are doing so on margin (borrowed money) while even their up front money is created out of thin air by the federal reserve for their banking cronies. Bubbles in housing, oil, food or stocks do not add value to the economy and only leach off the backs of those who produce.

    No, the capitalist system is set up to benefit the inherited wealth crony capitalist class. Their is no free competition and will not be as long as wealth is passed to heirs who have not earned it. The theory of free competition and competitive markets is just paper theory and fairy castles spun in air. It is not like that in the real world. It would be great if everybody competed completely freely and honestly as in capitalist theory just like the theory of the communists would be great where everyone works together honestly and goods given according to each persons needs. But neither theoretical -ism has anything to do with reality. Major wealth is given for massive fraud and speculation like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Enron. In todays world productive people are looked down on while the business school types and hot air salesmen like Donald Trump and Ken Lay are called entrepeneurs and glorified for blowing smoke and stealing. This happened repeatedly before in the late 1800′s and again in the 1920′s. Repeated booms and busts based on bubble speculation and the massive failure of unergulated free markets in 1929 forced everyone realize some rules had to be spelled out. The invisible hand did not lead to a sustainable balance and would inflate out of control till the bubbles all burst. Regulations were written and balances put in place with the government and unions to control the worst of the excesses. The system was relatively stable and prosperous till the reagan regime took out the brakes and steering and put all effort into hopping up the engine like a bunch of teenage adolescents who did not realize all that power can destroy without careful handling and adequate controls.

  48. Wingnut said on June 27th, 2008 at 8:31am #

    Don, I just LOVE your quotings! In my opinion, you are one of the most tasty posters in the world. I could only DREAM of being intelligent enough to find those quotes from historical figures, and have them be applicable and pertinent as you make them be. I really enjoy your posts, Don Hawkins! Thanks! Good stuff. By chance, are you THE world famous Army radiologist Don Hawkins?

    Now, since things have attention-sagged a bit, lets talk about brs’s quality comments.

    brs: As long as there is inherited wealth the playing field is not level. Those without inherited wealth are forced to take what is offered. Those with it use the power of the state to force their will on the rest of us. Those with family connections collude to keep wages down even below the cost of living.

    Wing: Yep, well said. “Old Gold”, crony gold, bloodlined gold, all the “biased” and favoritism stuff. But to keep things TOTALLY fair, lets not forget to include those whose religion disallows competing, and thus… cannot “play the game” whatsoever. They prefer to share, not compete… whether the competition is fair or not. Folks like me (Christian socialist commune-lovers) (public library lovers) … want nothing to do with competing whatsoever… so lets not box-out such folks from having basic wellbeing as well. We are often called “the meek”… and we don’t chase luxuries, we don’t believe in ownership of Earth-owned materials and things made there-of, and we often take joy in watching other people be happy. We DON’T compete. We’re the Christians and we’re a very proud and integrity-filled group. Don’t leave us out in the cold… we’re very loving and don’t deserve being mistreated. We SHOULD be allowed to follow our “can’t compete” religion, and not be shoved-off-of the planet.

    brs: They have their own unions forged in the prep schools and through family ties. They will use the power of the state to break up any similar worker combinations. This was done through murder, military and police action through the 1930’s and the courts and legislatures since. The only government interference the upper classes oppose is any limits to their exploitation. Government handouts and support to the upper class and controls on workers or small businesses are perfectly acceptable.

    Wing: Yep, well said and thought. Disgusting, eh?

    brs: No, the capitalist system is set up to benefit the inherited wealth crony capitalist class. Their is no free competition and will not be as long as wealth is passed to heirs who have not earned it. The theory of free competition and competitive markets is just paper theory and fairy castles spun in air.

    Wing: Yep, well said. And again, don’t forget about us Christians who do the OPPOSITE of competing… cooperating. (sharing) You WILL NOT SEE the parental policy reversal from share share share, to fight fight fight… for OUR 18 yr olds. We maintain a share share share policy the whole way, and we believe there is no such thing as “out there” (versus “in here”) and there is no such thing as “they” or “them” (versus “we” or “us”) and thus we believe in the abolishment of ALL borders, including yard fences of ownership. We believe that NEVER should the word “MY” be used, only “a” and “the”… and so we believe in no ownership except one’s own(ed) body and brain. Example: My car, my wife, my lawyer, my doctor, my lunch break, my kids, my divorce, my cigarette, my coffee and my doughnut, etc etc. ALL “my” could be replaced with “a” or “the”… once the planet abolishes ownership and uses a commune instead. (USA public library-like supply/survival system).

    brs: It is not like that in the real world. It would be great if everybody competed completely freely and honestly as in capitalist theory just like the theory of the communists would be great where everyone works together honestly and goods given according to each persons needs.

    Wing: And again, don’t forget those who hate and cannot do… competing. We do cooperating instead.

    Good points, brs and all. I just wanted to make sure that… in the great us/them wars… don’t forget about the peacemakers/peacekeepers… who want an end to the us versus them (buyer versus seller) wars. We Christian socialists should get the right to have our “STOP COMPETING NOW!” request… weighed and considered fairly for correctness and wisdom… and thus potentially be THE new national/world direction. We want NON-competing to be allowed to fairly compete in the CHOOSING A NATION’S/WORLD’S PROPER DIRECTION weigh-offs. We are the barnraisers and potluckers. We’re the Stone Soup gang… and we’re coooool. We’re the hippies… and we STILL dislike establishments… and prefer peace and love and communes (sharing). Take care, gang! Wingnut – Age 50 – Anti-capitalism-ist

  49. Bryan Kimakowich said on December 31st, 2008 at 9:14pm #

    This is a very insightful article. The responses I have read have also impressed me. I am not a capitalist. I am also not a Communist. I am neither a Small C conservative nor a Liberal. I am not even an American. Before I begin, I must pay homage to your nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. I seek only the truth. It is impossible to define me or my views. Anyone attempting to label or define me will have a full-time job trying to keep up. You have raised so many questions and accurately outlined so many problems that it is difficult to figure out where to begin. I think that I will therefore start at the beginning. The beginning was not 4 or 5 billion years ago, nor was it a million, nor was it 70,000 years ago. The beginning was not also ‘The Magna Carta’, however valuable that document was. Genesis occured in the years leading up to July the 4th, 1776. A unique situation developed between the 13 Colonies and the British Empire. The People of the Americas were, for the most part, self-governing. However, the seat of government rested with The House of Parliament, The House of Lords, and the English Monarch who was, of course, George the Third. The situation was taxation without representation. Of all the noble goals of the American Revolution, this one was of a more practical nature, but I believe it to be the most important because I believe it to be the most self-evident. It is, in fact, more of a law of nature that only a fool would waste time and effort resisting and yet the British Empire did so. Granting the Colonies full democratic representation in the British Government might have resulted in a very different history than we have seen, but I digress. The point I want to make is to actually ask a question. Do you believe that, in America or in any other nation, that there has ever existed, government of the People, by the People, and for the People. This was Abraham Lincoln’s great exhortation to your nation, and to all mankind, that such government shall not be allowed to perish from this earth. Government of The People, by The People, and for The People, can only exist where there is one vote for one Citizen. In the beginning, it could be said that there was one vote for one citizen. This foundation of all democracy is, however, dependant of each citizen also being a taxpayer. All taxpayers are voters. However, all taxpayers are not citizens. All taxpayers receive proportional representation in a democratic government. Democracy itself has gone awry. No one or organization has power over us except that power which we give them. We have, unintentionally given away power by making businesses and corporations and other organizations pay taxes. Polititions are not evil, nor are they especially good. They are, quite properly, catering to the wishes of the largest taxpayers. There is a blinding array of taxes being levied by local, state, and federal governments from payroll taxes to sales taxes to inheritance taxes and corporate taxes. Many taxes are hidden from view. The reality is that you are always the source of this taxation. No corporation generates either profit or taxation. You, the employee do all the work inside the corporation that generates the profit which is then taxed. Since you are already the sole source of all tax revenue, all taxation must be collected from the income of each citizen. All other forms of taxation must be abolished in order to return to democracy. In order to return to one citizen, one vote. Only then will politicions cater to the wishes of the individual voters. After all taxes are coming off individual incomes, you might be shocked to discover the true rate of taxes you are actually paying, but the truth is that you have always been the ones paying these taxes anyway. This might be one of the first issues you deal with once you have restored democracy. All profits generated by all businesses, small, medium, and large, eventually end up as someone’s individual’s income. If all incomes are taxable, and all tax revenue comes from individual incomes, then, and only then, will you restore democracy. One citizen, one vote can only exist if each individual citizen is also each individual taxpayer. One might think that the bad guys in charge will not allow this to happen since it will result in the loss of their power to control the function of our governments and thereby perpetuate this terribly inefficient system we are calling capitalism. These people and the organizations they represent are mindlessly committed to the pursiut of profit in the same way that a crocodile pursues its hunger. Crocodiles react exactly the same way every time to the opportunity to kill prey. Steve Irwin demonstrated this by taking his newborn baby into a crocodile’s enclosure in one hand while manipulating the large animal with the other. He was so confident that the crocodile’s behaviour was so predictable that he knew that he and his child were in no danger at any time. Restoring democracy, I believe, is the first step to dealing with the problems you have outlined. Take back the power that you have inadvertantly given to the ruthless and uncaring people. I believe in God and I am also a Christian. I am called, as such, to love God, be thankful for the many blessings I and my family have received, and to look out for my fellow man. If the system under which we operate allows me to do these things, I can support it. If it does not, I am compelled to make changes where I can. The power does not rest with a small and powerful elite. It rests with you and me. We give away our power when we become afraid. The bad guys can use their resources to try to make us afraid. All we hear about in the news are causes for us to be afraid. If we lose our nerve and become afraid, the fear will lead to anger, the anger will lead to hate, and the hate will lead to our suffering. It is through our own hatred that we give away our power. The more I hate someone or some group or organization, the more they consume my thoughts and actions. Without me realizing it, they are able to manipulate my every thought and action. Mohandis K. Ghandi may have been the first leader to put into practice the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus reduced the ten commandments to two. Love God and love each other. The Mahatma, as they came to call him, had no soldiers, he was not an elected leader of a political party. He defeated the largest ever empire by claiming his freedom and showing his countrymen to clain their freedom by giving up their hatred for the British. The British were forced to negotiate with them and ultimately leave by their request without firing a single shot. When we let go of our hatred, we become free, and the power becomes ours once again. I think that when Jesus said that I am the truth, I think that this is what he meant. Again I say that what I am seeking is the truth.

  50. Josh said on March 9th, 2009 at 3:59am #

    Ive read most of the comments on this page and I was very impressed by all the different perspectives on capitalism. I agree with Doug that America’s economy is flawed and that the origin of this issue comes from people that favor dark virtues such as greed, addiction to power etc. As a Young US citizen I do feel highly desensitized to the world around me. Watching as the world falls apart and people starving on CNN. I feel helpless to do something about it and trapped because I can barely keep my own life together as it is financially. I would like to add though a bit of my own philosophy as to how this world works. While i may not be the most experienced or educated person in the world I do have a love for discussing these matters because I believe one only needs to experience life talk about it. While I am not formerly christian or any other form of religion that I know of I have come to admire most religions for their attempt to communicate what I believe to be a highly misinterpreted metaphorically explained answer to life. We as a human race have always had a high level of adversity amongst our selves and the environment, much higher then any other living creature on the planet or at least as we like to think we do. To prevent my self from going off topic which i often do, I just want to point out that while we are trying to come up with this myth that we call a perfect society many people just don’t seem to realize, especially members of some the of major ruling religions today that such a society simply isn’t possible without severe cost. Light cannot exist without dark, Man cannot exist without women, Life cannot exist with out death, Love cannot exist without despair (or absence of love) not entirely sure what word to use… hate cant be one of them because its part of love, depending on how you define the word. Nature is the word we use to describe this balance.

    So back to the whole government thing, I honestly don’t believe these (elitist) are living the dream life that we all think they are enjoying. In fact many of them are in their own version of what we like to call hell (metaphorically speaking) because they live their lives based on virtues such as greed, power, etc. Now I’m not suggesting that this is karma, i really don’t believe in that but what i am saying is that most religions teach us old simple wisdom that if we live based on certain virtues or actions it is more likely that we will experience a certain quality of living based on those actions. Sorta like a far more complicated system of physics based on living your life.

    This is where i bring up the rest of us. We are fortunate enough to be a little more capable to seeing this truth in life because we depend on each other and our families and friends to get by in life. Many people don’t even realized that the key to what we call happiness is simply Love. That is it. Yes of course their is much conflict around us and even in the relationships that we have to experience love but that is the Beautiful thing about love and life. Its not total and complete happiness or joy or hate or sadness its the absolutely divine melding of all those emotions combined that we experience in life that makes a (Great) Life. The more the emotions and the more the variety of emotions kept at a balance the happier we are. Today as a society we are taking away this variety by destroying something many people aren’t even aware of, where destroying heaven and that heaven is called Earth.

  51. Josh said on March 9th, 2009 at 4:52am #

    I wanted to add that To makes things really simple. We as a human race on this planet are disrupting the delicate balance and nature that our earth provides us. What can we do to stop it ? Well as screwed up as it sounds the scale needs to be tipped the other way for while. Yes their will need to be some kind of a radical event. A massive Renaissance, or way of thinking would be the most healthy and promising way to fix the issue, The Green movement although small would be a example of such a renaissance but it would have to be at a global scale. Alternatives include a End War which could very well end up in the destruction of the earth for a long time. Will the earth recover? I don’t know but with my highest hopes yes.. Nature will indeed take its course and repopulate the earth with life again long after we have destroyed it along with ourselves(hopefully not all of us). Another scenario that could happen would be a not so destructive end war. The kind of war that would be very one sided, Sorta like how united states like any other power hungry nation would… probably plans for world democratic domination. That might bring about a new level of world organization but the chances of something like that working i just don’t see that happening, especially with how our government works these days, something as simple as Katrina couldn’t be solved with our current government system. Yes i like Obama but do i believe he alone can fix such a corrupt government no. However do i believe that he is doing his part like everyone else should be doing maybe. Bottom line. Something needs to be done. I for one support the Renaissance idea or the birth of a new outlook on life, preferably something close to what i have proposed. Then i think people will start taking responsibility for their own actions and adapting themselves to the earth again rather then trying to alienate them selves from it. I have plans to do my part that’s for sure and that’s done one good deed at a time, one friend at a time, one hard days work at a time, and one act of love at a time.