The $6 Million Social Worker

The New York Yankees just bought a first baseman for $180 million. For the next eight years, Mark Teixeira will earn about $22.5 million a season. The week before, the Yanks bought seven years of pitcher CC Sabathia’s life for $161 million, about $23 million a season — and five years of A.J. Burnett for $82.5 million, about $16.5 million for each season, according to the Associated Press. None of the salaries include any incentive pay or outside endorsements, which add millions to each salary.

The three new pinstriped multimillionaires join third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who has a 10-year $275 million contract, and shortstop Derek Jeter, whose 10-year $189 million contract ends in 2010. First baseman Jason Giambi, who won’t be with the Yankees next year, picked up about $23.4 million during the 2008 season. Although the Bronx Bombers bombed this past year, and didn’t even make the playoffs, they are on the fast track to the World Series of Obscene Salaries. They aren’t the only ones in contention.

America pays major league professional athletes far more than even the most efficient long-term factory worker. For the National Football League the minimum wage is $225,000 a year; for Major League Baseball, it’s $390,000; for the National Basketball Association, it’s $442,000. Almost every athlete earns far more than the minimum, with most earning seven-figure incomes, plus endorsements worth another 6- or 7-figure income. Leading all athletes is Tiger Woods, whose team of accountants and business managers had to figure out where to put his $128 million earned in 2008. “Only” $23 million was from playing golf; the rest was from endorsements and business deals.

Although about 70 percent of the 120,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild make less than $5,000 a year, A-list movie stars command at least $10 million a picture. Their worth is based not upon acting ability but upon their B.O. — box office, that is. Prime-time network TV stars grab at least $2 million a year. Charlie Sheen leads the list, with a salary of about $825,000 for each 30-minute episode, about $19 million for the 2008–2009 season, according to TV Guide.

Super models, whose main talent is to be anorexic and have high cheekbones, are pulling in million dollar salaries, with Giselle Bundchen netting a very gross $33 million this year. Kate Moss, Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, and Alessandra Ambrosio each earned $6–9 million this year, just for modeling. Supermodels average about $70,000 a day. That’s well above the average annual salary of teachers, firefighters, and police officers.

Miley Cyrus, who’s just 16, raked in $25 million this past year, about double what the High School Musical stars each earned in 2008.

If you’re a rapper, it’s hard to be a part of the ’hood if like 50-Cent you earned $150 million this year. Jay-Z, who led the list in 2007, trailed with $82 million. The top 20 rappers each earned at least $10 million, and that’s a lot of scrillah fo’shizzle.

Rush Limbaugh, perhaps radio’s greatest comedian, has a $400 million eight-year contract that will carry his voice on 600 stations through 2016. Far behind are factually-challenged Sean Hannity with a five-year $100 million contract, and Bill O’Reilly, the bloviator-in-chief, who is cashing a measly $10 million a year.

Oprah leads the list of celebrity income — she got about $385 million last year. Every TV celebrity judge makes more than the $208,000 that a Supreme Court justice makes. Leading the pack is Judge Judy, whose screechy shouting on TV earned her about $25 million last year.

The president of the United States, even the most incompetent one, earns $400,000. Compare that to the average salary for each of the Fortune 500 CEOs who earns about $13 million a year, about 400 times more than that of the average worker.

But, it’s the average worker who is the one who actually produces America’s goods, who actually helps other Americans. If life was fair, and people were paid what they were worth, there would be only a very small pay gap between bosses and workers. Here’s some news I think should be published in the new year — but probably won’t be.

* In an exclusive to KBAD-TV, Avarice K. Toadstool, president of Amalgamated Conglomerate Industries, said he will increase the pay of all line workers to at least $175,000 a year. Toadstool also said his company not only will provide full health coverage and college expenses, but will assist the workers to unionize. To pay for the increase, Amalgamated will cut executive salaries, quarterly “retreats,” and stock dividends.

* The federal government today approved the salary cap for all social workers. Although no social worker may now make more than $6 million a year, the base for entry-level social workers was raised to $750,000. Not included in the cap are signing bonuses and work-performance incentives. “We believe in the American philosophy of paying employees by what they’re worth to the advancement of society,” said Hull House director Jane Addams IV, who received a $2.5 million bonus last year for performance in suicide prevention assists, catastrophic disaster relief, and employment reclamation.

* The Humane Society today signed Polly Pureheart to a 10-year $104 million contract, largest in history. “Polly’s a triple-threat terror, and worth every penny we pay her,” said general manager Wolf Greycoat. During a 22-year all-star career, Pureheart is the all-time leader in animal rescue/rehabilitation, arrests for felonious animal cruelty, and lobby influence. Pureheart is personally credited with 1,087 unassisted tackles of recalcitrant legislators.

* The West Wattabago Daily Blab today signed investigative reporter David Bergman to a three-year $17.4 million contract. Bergman, who had been the clean-up hitter with the East Pacoima Tribune the past four years, was granted free agency status in November. During 2007, Bergman led the league in school board meetings coverage and uncovering local political scandals. For each of the past five years, he was a consistent .300 hitter, averaging at least three successes for every 10 news stories he reported.

In a related story, Phillies pitcher Harry Horsehide became the highest paid player in sports when he signed a three-year contract for $108,000 a year. The new contract will mean general admission ticket prices will rise to about $10, with premium seating at $30, according to Phillies management.

Walter Brasch, during a 40-year work career in mass communications, has been a member of several unions, in both the private and public sectors. He is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the author of 16 books, including With Just Cause: Unionization of the American Journalist, Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution, and his latest Fracking Pennsylvania. He can be contacted at: walterbrasch@gmail.com. Read other articles by Walter, or visit Walter's website.

29 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. David said on December 30th, 2008 at 11:36am #

    In your dreams, Brasch.

    The very goobers whom you think so woefully underpaid are the major driving force (whether through active participation or indifference or willful ignorance) behind the obscene compensation packages you have detailed.

  2. walt brasch said on December 30th, 2008 at 12:11pm #

    My, what a hateful and bitter person you are. Of course, you are completely wrong in your assumptions, but don’t let facts get in your way. After all, you don’t have to do significant research to blow air.

  3. Brian Koontz said on December 30th, 2008 at 3:51pm #

    American workers are some of the richest in the world, along with those in Western Europe, Canada, Australia, Greece, Japan, and South Korea. Precisely because they are so wealthy (and they’ve obtained their wealth largely through the very imperialism that capitalists created), they support the system of exploitative capitalism that ensures the continuation of their wealth. That’s why there are mass populist movements against right-wing governments around the world, but not in the rich countries.

    A frequent contrast is noted between the post WWII period in America and the Neoconservative/Neoliberal period. What is rarely noted is that the post WWII period, supposedly the golden age of capitalism in America, is better recognized as the golden age of the American Empire in the world. It was America’s utterly dominant *economic* place in the world that allowed for the rise of the domestic middle class. It was not a *domestic political shift* that caused the change in America – it was America’s decline in relative global economic power, as both Western Europe and parts of Asia rose to power.

    In the face of these global threats to American hegemony, the American capitalists closed ranks and shifted the domestic paradigm to Neoconservatism and Neoliberalism.

    The American worker, knowing his fate under a capitalist system lies in the global balance of power between elites and unwilling to give up his wealth to create a *global* movement to destroy the elite en mass, suffers the destruction of the middle class in order to maintain his security with respect to global power.

    If there happens to be a serious movement toward reducing the wealth gap in America, the capitalists will withdraw their capital and take it elsewhere.

    Therefore, the movement needs to be taking control of capital itself. Once capitalists no longer control capital, the wealth of the nation can be redistributed. That’s a somewhat realistic plan. The more noble plan is a global movement to seize democratic control over all capital simultaneously.

  4. Tree said on December 30th, 2008 at 4:49pm #

    Brian, you write the movement needs to be taking control of capital itself. How exactly?

    Walter, I’m not sure what the point of your piece is. I mean, it seems very practical to me; no one’s buying tickets to watch kids go to school but they are buying tickets to baseball games and movies and when millions of people buy movie tickets, movie companies get rich.
    And it’s hardly an American issue, either.
    Yes, there is a huge disparity in wealth, and there is something horribly unjust and to me conspiratorial when a relative few in the financial sector walk away with billions of dollars while the rest are left empty handed, but I find this piece to be very naive.
    I think if you are implying that social workers and teachers deserve huge paychecks, then you are totally missing the point that the value of their work has nothing to do with money they get for it. If I understand you, it seems you have placed great value on money and huge paychecks, just like others have, and only differ in who should get all that money. So where’s the revolutionary idea in that?

  5. Beverly said on December 30th, 2008 at 6:36pm #

    Whoa Nellie, with the acerbic comments on this very good tongue in cheek article.

    The writer is just making the point about the woefully underpaid average worker, without whom this world wouldn’t exist, in comparison to entertainers and executives whose millions are derived primarily from the toil and taxes of the working stiff.

    Perhaps the 6 million dollar social worker is a bit much, but a 65k social worker salary would be appreciated I’m sure by many in this field.

    As for placing a great value on money Tree, there’s no getting around the fact people need money to survive. The problem is the cost of living even moderately comfortably is outpacing what we get in our paychecks so the green stuff gets more valuable and is a cause of concern as the economy and the powers who control it leave us in dire straits.

  6. Tree said on December 30th, 2008 at 7:17pm #

    No shit, Beverly. I think I got that figured out all on my own, but thanks anyway for the pedantic explanation.
    I find the points you mentioned to be so obvious that they aren’t worth mentioning.
    Besides, can’t say I’m a big fan of social workers and I’m not too concerned with how much they get paid, anyway.
    Now I’d like the author of the article to answer my questions…

  7. Brian Koontz said on December 30th, 2008 at 7:20pm #

    “Brian, you write the movement needs to be taking control of capital itself. How exactly?”

    Overthrowing the global elite requires a massive populist global organization. That’s the biggest obstacle, perhaps the only one. In order for that group not to be crushed global capitalism needs to be weakened – the weakening of the elite and the rise of the global population go hand-in-hand. The way to achieve this is large degrees of education, communication, and organization among the global population, as well as victories by the global population against the elite, which will fuel hope and increase membership.

    As global capitalism weakens and the global organization grows, it becomes easier and easier to achieve global socialism. By “easier and easier” I mean both more practical and with less potential for great suffering. Capitalists aren’t capitalists because they love the ideology, but because they profit from capitalism. To convert a capitalist into a socialist merely remove his profit and his expectation for future profit. As the global populist organization grows in power it will become easier to remove profitability from capitalists, and thus convert them.

    Overcoming the hurdle of nationalism is very important. Movements restricted to a single country are easy to crush. But when allies are everywhere allies will come from everywhere to fight against any threat to the global movement. When capitalism is global, the only kind of socialism that can work is also global. Hurdles such as racism and sexism must be overcome for similar reasons.

    One sign that real progress is being made is when a typical person’s loyalty outside of his friends, family, and community is not to his boss, his corporation, or his country, but to the global movement.

    If global socialism is one of the important ideologies of the 21st century, most humans still live in the 20th. With respect to global socialism, the United States is probably the most backwards society on earth.

  8. Tree said on December 30th, 2008 at 7:47pm #

    Thanks for answering my question. I was a socialist for many years but not so much anymore mainly because I seriously doubt exchanging one ideology for another will bring about any positive change, especially one with such a messianic tint to it.

    You say we need to crush the global elite. Assuming by elite you mean wealthy capitalists, then what do you propose should be done about those that are not elite yet hold destructive power over others? I am referring to groups like the Taliban who have done major damage to the people of Afghanistan, or those in the Congo who are wreaking destruction.
    You mention the elimination of sexism. Fine. But in the above mentioned places you have acts of brutality committed against women that go well beyond garden variety sexism.
    How is it that this populist global movement will crush capitalism when one is facing all of the above issues?
    And to play devil’s advocate, there is abundant proof that capitalism can actually help improve these situations. For instance, the micro-loans given only to women in India so that they may start a small business or buy livestock or do whatever in order to improve their lives.

  9. Max Shields said on December 30th, 2008 at 8:52pm #

    I think we need to better understand how change, real change happens. I rather doubt it is successful when you simply change roles of domination. The first sign is using the tactics of empire. It is difficult to avoid and seems, momentarily justified to “overthrow” the power structure. What we know, what we’ve seen throughout time is that nothing much changes when such change comes from violence (the US hasn’t stopped being violent since first Europeans set foot on the Americas).

    Tree we do have an issue with our understanding of capitalism. Capital is essential even for Marx. It is not capital but the relationship our economics has with its utter lack for sustainability. We have two divergent forces of energy and matter, on the one hand, and our unsustainable economics of endless growth. These are totally incompatible. Until we come to terms with the relationship we have between us and the Earth, we will not begin to approach real change.

    I don’t see capitalism or socialism as viable arguments. They are legacy arguments that have created a fiction which is not simply outmoded but horribly dangerous. The fundamental principles of life are fairly straight forward. It is the fragmentation, and lack of adherence to these principles which are at bottom our Problem.

    The dominant narrative toys with the idea of a super-natural order, one devised and sustained by humans with no need for the natural order, the order that has and continues to provide life.

    The Taliban are but a tiny example of the Problem (in the scheme of the human population they are barely a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the population – let’s not magnify their significance when the USA, 5% reigns destruction far and wide across the planet. We kill children like they are needless specks. Think about it.

  10. Ramsefall said on December 31st, 2008 at 6:21am #

    David,

    what article did you read? Not very good with inference, eh?

    Dr. Brasch,

    great wish list, solid points, message well conveyed.

    Best to you.

  11. Tree said on December 31st, 2008 at 6:38am #

    Yes, the Taliban are a small example of the greater problem, I wasn’t implying otherwise. However, I am sure anyone who has suffered under them would not begrudge another for pointing out how awful they are.
    I would still like to read what Brian Koontz has to say. I appreciate his intelligence but as I stated before, exchanging one ideology for another is not a solution.

  12. Ramsefall said on December 31st, 2008 at 7:08am #

    Brain,

    capitalists DO love their ideology exactly BECAUSE they profit so much from it, and of course their power is preserved through that profit.

    Converting once beneficiaries of the capitalist system into good socialists is about as probable as capitalist pigs developing guilt for their accumulated net worth, or the elite becoming compassionate with a desire to eliminate the economic gap between themselves and the poor.

    Overcoming nationalism is a must as it only divides humans from other humans, counter-productive to collaboration. I agree with you on that. But trading one ideology for another is never gonna work, can you convince a Christian to convert to being a Jew or a Muslim?

    The problem in the US is that its workers are some of the wealthiest in the world, as you mention. Giving up capitalism for many people will be like getting someone hooked on smack to just walk away and say no. Again, it’ll never happen. The only way to convince them is with a complete system failure. Then and only then will people who once lived comfortably see the need for a radical transformation, they will realize through their own personal experience, not based on what someone tells them.

    Max accurately hits on fragmentation, society’s major obstacle. The whole is only as strong/healthy as its parts. Fragmented parts, fragmented whole, conceptually easy to understand. Capitalism has helped create this inner fragmentation (consider it spiritually or holistically) throughout society — fragmented by nationalism, religion, sex, race, age, class, education, competition, etc. Capitalism has cultivated the “me” syndrome, whereby my needs, regardless of practicality, take precedence over yours. Only when society as a whole realizes the importance of society as its parts, will there be a transition toward sustainability. This includes one of the most neglected parts, our natural environment.

    Krishnamurti’s simplicitly summed it up best, “It’s no measure of health to be well-adapted to a profoundly sick society.” If we change, one person at a time, our connectivity to the whole strengthens, we realize and value the importance of all the other parts, and then the process of change is automated and instantaneous. The only way that your global movement theory will work, is if the movement takes place one person at a time, individually, only then can we work together with a global perspective. It is impossible to organize 6.5 billion fragmented people who are divided from one another, while 6.5 billion whole people would need no organization or unification, it would just be, without any effort.

    Best to you.

  13. Keila said on December 31st, 2008 at 7:19am #

    Max Shields, you hit the nail on the head.

    “I don’t see capitalism or socialism as viable arguments. They are legacy arguments that have created a fiction which is not simply outmoded but horribly dangerous. The fundamental principles of life are fairly straight forward. It is the fragmentation, and lack of adherence to these principles which are at bottom our Problem.”

    Bingo. Socialism has never really been applied successfully. We need a new way of implementation/application.

    Thanks for putting my thoughts into words. :-)

  14. Tree said on December 31st, 2008 at 7:20am #

    That’s a great quote by Krishnamurti and one I agree with.

    The world is not set up to protect and encourage those that desire to not be a part of the mainstream.

  15. Ramsefall said on December 31st, 2008 at 9:25am #

    Glad you enjoyed it, Tree. The insightful gifts he shared about mankind and our reality become clearer with every re-reading.

    Best to you.

  16. Brian Koontz said on January 5th, 2009 at 11:56am #

    In reply to Tree:

    “You say we need to crush the global elite. Assuming by elite you mean wealthy capitalists, then what do you propose should be done about those that are not elite yet hold destructive power over others? I am referring to groups like the Taliban who have done major damage to the people of Afghanistan, or those in the Congo who are wreaking destruction.”

    These are proxy forces for larger criminal organizations. The world is a hierarchy, where small exploiters are controlled by larger exploiters. Washington D.C. is the top of this criminal hierarchy, although the top of the hierarchy is better described as a global confluence of the “West” (Japan, Western Europe, US, lesser agents). Would be dominative elites such as the Chinese and Indian states may be joining the West soon.

    Major controllers of capital send that capital in the forms of tools of destruction (guns, ammunition, explosives) into Afghanistan, Africa, and other places. African leaders get their orders from the West or other major powers such as the Chinese and Russian states. These leaders have their own ambitions, but they are limited and constrained by the global political reality in which they are small fish on the global scene.

    Also, large multinational corporations are so powerful that even single-handedly they can create crises in an entire poor country, through a combination of desire to control natural resources and the use of capital control (investment) to gain those resources, through political domination, murder, and whatever other means they deem useful.

    Groups like the Taliban can never be accurately viewed as separate entities – one must always look behind the curtain to see who is THEIR boss. It’s more complicated than that implies since the Taliban have a popular following which bolsters and creates their usefulness to elites, but the elites are always the larger player in a capitalist world.

    These elites all have their own ambitions. This can create divisions and arguments within the hierarchy, such as when some leaders of Western Europe disagree with the policies of the American government. The Pakistani government, though allied with the West, has in addition a separate agenda which it pursues when it can. Think of the small and medium fish of the world as dogs, who do what they will unless or until they are brought to heel by their master. The master, in turn, has limited resources and his hold on a slave can slip while he focuses on other slaves. For example, the Western hold on South America slipped while they were focusing on Middle Eastern domination, and the dogs of South America found some bite as a result, and are now better than dogs.

    Politics is simple at it’s core. Whoever is in control of the world creates the political reality. Never look at the bottom or even the middle of the food chain and treat them as an active agent – in every hierarchy ALWAYS look at the top. Don’t talk about the “warriors” in the Congo or the Taliban – look at who controls them.

    “You mention the elimination of sexism. Fine. But in the above mentioned places you have acts of brutality committed against women that go well beyond garden variety sexism.
    How is it that this populist global movement will crush capitalism when one is facing all of the above issues?”

    By crushing capitalism it will solve the problems created by capitalism, including the Taliban and the Western-funded crisis in the Congo. In turn it will create totally new problems, but those problems will be far more minor than large-scale wars, the perpetual possibility of nuclear holocaust, the utter destruction of the environment, the enslavement of the human race to wage slavery, massive bombardment by capitalist tools such as marketing and advertising, the annihilation of truth and it’s replacement by propaganda, and so on.

    The Taliban are primarily a defensive force against imperialism – a desperate force, and desperate forces are usually fundamentalists of one strain or another. The rise of radical Islam is almost entirely due to rampant Western imperialism and the threat that presents to both the Muslim world and the Islamic faith.

    “And to play devil’s advocate, there is abundant proof that capitalism can actually help improve these situations. For instance, the micro-loans given only to women in India so that they may start a small business or buy livestock or do whatever in order to improve their lives.”

    Sure – one cannot maintain a system of control unless that system either “helps” or in some cases actually helps some people (in some ways). Otherwise everyone would rebel all the time and the elite would not be able to control the world.

    Global socialism is an ideology, but more so it’s a political movement. It’s a political *structure*, a political reality for people’s lives based on community control of resources, alliances with adjoining communities, in a global link with the world. Global socialism is nothing like the top-down socialism such as was represented in the 20th century Soviet Union.

    I’m disappointed that the left was so enamored of Soviet-style socialism than when they jumped off the Soviet ship they left behind the term “socialism”, and now fear to use it by reason of it’s supposed association with the Soviet Union. These supposed leftists need to stop being cowards.

    There’s no need for the irrational abandonment of an accurate term – socialism IS a linguistically accurate term for the anarchic movement of global socialism. Perhaps if these leftists stopped caring about how they do in a debate with a capitalist and care more about how clear and effective they are in communicating with people they will overcome their linguistic prejudices.

  17. bozh said on January 5th, 2009 at 12:28pm #

    from what i read, talibans represent a portion of pashtuns. talibans are a cult; most pashtuns are just pious people.
    it’s like hamas, which is strongly theocratic, and the pious palestinians outnumber them by large numbers; who may care little ab socalled theology

    in israel we have extremely warlike people with extreme cultish views.
    they are called “settlers” by antishemites so as to hide the fact that some of them are soldiers in civilian clothes who murder palestinians and rob them of their land..
    but all religions are cults! thnx

  18. Suthiano said on January 5th, 2009 at 12:43pm #

    This is certainly true… same goes with Catholocism… views change over and over, so long as power can be maintained…

    Crazy Amerikkkans like Joseph E. Schmitz of Blackwater think they are still in crusades. These people have a murderous mindset. Look at “puritans” who were also murderous and expansionist… even Quakers, supposedly peaceful people, supported Slavery. All of these sects are cults… different power grabs.. some hold more insane tenents than others… there were those ones with the KoolAid. and then there are the ones with the USAID.

    True savages of the earth.

  19. Tree said on January 5th, 2009 at 5:07pm #

    Brian, thanks for such a thorough reply. I don’t have time to go point by point in response to you but I’d like to state a couple of things. One is, it’s not all about capitalism. In your world view there seems to be no room for what is purely and simply, human nature. To use capitalism to excuse and explain all of the problems of the world is not only very black and white thinking but very naive.

    You wrote this “Sure – one cannot maintain a system of control unless that system either “helps” or in some cases actually helps some people (in some ways). Otherwise everyone would rebel all the time and the elite would not be able to control the world.”
    No, everyone would not rebel. Far from it. And to imply that micro loans are some ploy to control people under capitalism is to me ridiculous.

    I also disagree with your explanation of the Taliban; too simplistic and again, denies human nature.

    One of the problems I have with Socialists, they are too messianic. Socialism is not the ultimate solution to the world’s problems. Possibly, certain elements of Socialism will contribute to a better society but not all of it.
    The world becomes Socialist and you still have greed, hatred, anger, cultural differences that lead to bigger problems and on and on.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see the American system upended, although it seems to be breaking down all on its own without the push of revolution (yet). However, the only true revolution is when individuals heal their own divided nature. And I am not implying a messianic movement with that, it’s certainly something anyone can do right here and now.

  20. Brian Koontz said on January 5th, 2009 at 11:27pm #

    In reply to Tree:

    “Brian, thanks for such a thorough reply. I don’t have time to go point by point in response to you but I’d like to state a couple of things. One is, it’s not all about capitalism. In your world view there seems to be no room for what is purely and simply, human nature. To use capitalism to excuse and explain all of the problems of the world is not only very black and white thinking but very naive.”

    It’s quite the opposite. To use human nature to excuse and explain all of the problems of the world is not only very black and white thinking but very naive.

    Capitalism has been an element of the human social reality for a very short amount of time relative to human history, and is only a reality due to it’s imposition through violence and enslavement. It has no place in a civilized world – a capitalist world is anti-civilized.

    *Elements* of capitalism are reasonable, or can be made to be reasonable under certain political realities. For example, it’s reasonable for someone to own a toothbrush – and that’s capitalism in the sense that it’s private ownership of some element of capital.

    When one moves beyond reason into ideology and philosophy, and states that far from reason, capitalism is a Truth, a Cause, and a fundamental reality that must be extended to extremes and kept in a “pure” state, then all kinds of problems occur, the kind of problems that the earth and everything on it has had the great misfortune to have experienced over the past several centuries. The kind of problems that mountains of corpses, human and otherwise, can attest to. The kind of problems that vast amounts of suffering, human and otherwise, can attest to.

    Global socialism is not an ideology that is the polar opposite of the ideology of capitalism – it’s not a fundamentalist movement – it’s not a Truth or a Cause. It’s a structure – a conceptual understanding of the reality present when local communities control their own lives, and they benefit not only themselves but their neighbors and the world at large. Global socialism in it’s marriage with anarchism, which stresses *individual* control over one’s fate, will have many capitalist elements, such as private ownership of toothbrushes and many other things, as well as community ownership of many things, and regional ownership, and factory ownership, and so on. This movement might also take on the term “bottom-up capitalism”, since everything will be owned *selectively*. Everything will be limited or restricted in it’s relationship to certain political entities, be they individuals or communities or even non-human entities. So, for example, a dog might own a toy. That toy cannot be taken from the dog without a crime being committed.

    “You wrote this “Sure – one cannot maintain a system of control unless that system either “helps” or in some cases actually helps some people (in some ways). Otherwise everyone would rebel all the time and the elite would not be able to control the world.”
    No, everyone would not rebel. Far from it. And to imply that micro loans are some ploy to control people under capitalism is to me ridiculous.”

    Micro loans are a ploy to achieve two things – profit and social control. There are many ways to achieve social control – one is to make people dependent. One way to make people dependent is to do things to them that they enjoy, such that they learn to trust and to expect more of the same.

    Humans at the bottom of the human food-chain (in a capitalist world humans always feed on each other) do nothing but either riot or die (or riot and then die). Hence the food riots of 2008.

    No system of control can be maintained where a very small elite simply shit on everything. That’s why the elite use the divide and conquer tactic so often, and give rewards to favored non-elite (otherwise known as the middle class). These capital rewards are bribes which buy loyalty – the middle class then serves as a useful slave class to keep the hordes of poor, destitute, and starving at bay. The propaganda tool called “Upward Mobility” is a perfect example of elite domination – make the poor believe they are something other than poor (I *might* join the middle class, with the right amount of discipline, a discipline defined by the elite itself!)

    “One of the problems I have with Socialists, they are too messianic. Socialism is not the ultimate solution to the world’s problems. Possibly, certain elements of Socialism will contribute to a better society but not all of it.
    The world becomes Socialist and you still have greed, hatred, anger, cultural differences that lead to bigger problems and on and on.””

    Human behavior is conditioned. In a capitalist world humans are greedy, angry, and hateful, and in a socialist world humans are considerate, helpful, and cooperative.

    The reason socialist societies are always so successful and perpetual is precisely because they are so deeply aligned with human nature. Socialist societies, such as the Native Americans, had elements of capitalism present.

    People who are ahistorical, who understand nothing of history except what the capitalist elite tell them, call capitalism “human nature”. Perhaps you can look at the face of Rupert Murdoch to see the smile whenever a human presents that view of capitalism.

    The reason the system I propose has elements of capitalism present is because I think capitalism has some good ideas. Private ownership is a good idea that has been taken to a ridiculous extreme by the elite who profit by taking it to a ridiculous extreme.

    One must understand that the elite are utterly insane. The elite are the kings of capitalism, and capitalism is an ideology, a Truth, if you will, of violence, coercion, and slavery. The elite deserve to either be put in jail, put in an insane asylum, or put to death. Instead, they enslave the world. The world we live in is literally run by madmen.

    “Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see the American system upended, although it seems to be breaking down all on its own without the push of revolution (yet). However, the only true revolution is when individuals heal their own divided nature. And I am not implying a messianic movement with that, it’s certainly something anyone can do right here and now.”

    “Heal their own divided nature” is a false notion. We’re always going to have a divided nature so long as we need to live in a capitalist world to survive but work towards making a socialist world a reality. We’re all schizophrenic until such time as a socialist world exists.

    Naomi Klein describes herself as a “Keynesian Capitalist”. What a schizo fool!

  21. Tree said on January 6th, 2009 at 7:03am #

    Brian, there’s little agreement between us on solutions although we both see the problems. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not all about capitalism.
    Not sure what the Naomi Klein comment is for. I don’t care to read her books. And just a small issue, but schizophrenia is not the same as split nature. It really bugs me how often that term of schizophrenia is misused. A personal pet peeve, I guess.

    “No system of control can be maintained where a very small elite simply shit on everything. ”
    Yes it can and it has for hundreds of years, at least.

  22. Brian Koontz said on January 6th, 2009 at 8:31am #

    ““No system of control can be maintained where a very small elite simply shit on everything. ”
    Yes it can and it has for hundreds of years, at least.”

    You should talk to Americans and other rich people. They don’t call their Ipods, diet rich in protein, and other elements of imperialism “shit”.

    Imperialism favors the empire and disfavors the colonies. Life for many in the colonies could be called “shit” but if one ignores the moral and spiritual imperative to not exploit others one can find the results of wealth accumulation quite impressive. The vast majority of people in rich countries do just that.

  23. Tree said on January 6th, 2009 at 8:41am #

    Sorry, Brian. You’re a bit too pedantic for my taste. Ideology isn’t everything.

  24. Tree said on January 6th, 2009 at 8:42am #

    Brian, you’re too pedantic. Ideology isn’t everything.

  25. Tree said on January 6th, 2009 at 9:12am #

    Didn’t mean for that to post twice! I was having problems with posting a comment. Sorry.

  26. Brian Koontz said on January 6th, 2009 at 9:21am #

    The Dissident Voice server has been very sketchy the past couple days.

  27. Tree said on January 6th, 2009 at 9:45am #

    Yeah.

  28. bozh said on January 6th, 2009 at 9:46am #

    instead of using labels such as “socialism” and “capitalism”, one wld profit more from studying the two differing social structures.
    it can be easily seen that a social structures in many lands are composed of strata; each differing in politico/clero/economic might.
    the top, however large it may be, has much or utter military-political-executive powers.
    in a social structure we wld also have a stratification, but the top wld not be as powerful as the top class in japan, UK, US, et al.
    at least in theory.

    personal interrelationship wld also vastly differ in the two systems.
    one of wld be or is now fiercely competitive-independent-warlike, the other wld strive to be more interdependent/cooperative.
    more cld be said. thnx

  29. Tree said on January 6th, 2009 at 9:50am #

    Brian, I wrote “pedantic” because some of the things you are writing are things I know very well, so it feels redundant and a bit insulting. Just because I don’t support socialism doesn’t mean I don’t know about it. I did post I was once a socialist, many years ago.
    Now I have to get back to my American imperialist job. Have to be able to afford my iPod somehow. :-P