Capitalism: Dying System Stumbling

“Dead man walking” is prison terminology for a condemned person unalterably destined for capital punishment.

The teetering, soon-to-collapse “free market” system is just as definitely doomed.

If there’s any difference between the two, convicts facing electrocution or lethal injection often summon reserves of strength and go to their fates with dignified bravery.

That’s not the case, however, with about-to-die capitalism.

It lashes out with last-gasp desperation, as seen in grotesque efforts to save corporate/financial super profitability by attacking workers’ union rights, cutting funding for education and healthcare, and wildly slashing all social safety nets upon which ordinary people enduring worsening societal deprivation vitally depend.

As its days on earth wind down, greedy capitalism actually creates conditions that hasten the moment of its demise.

It never occurs to capitalists to seek a stay of execution, for instance, which might be achieved by being less avaricious and granting some concessions and benefits that would give the mass populace the needed confidence and buying power to keep the economy functioning.


Capitalists attempt to futilely solve the impossible contradictions their profits-before-people ideology creates by brazenly robbing the multitudes, while huffing and puffing under the immense weight of their stolen booty, not realizing that a citizenry left impoverished by their unfettered selfishness can’t buy back what society produces.

They’re wringing the neck of their own Golden Goose through their money-mad behavior.

It’s amusing — though decidedly pathetic on another level — how right-wing reactionaries label every proposal coming from those even slightly to the left of their own position on the political spectrum as “Marxist.”

They then work overtime to eviscerate each governmental effort to properly serve the public — as Congressman Paul Ryan is currently doing with his barbaric assault on Medicare and Medicaid — revealing the abject cruelty of their one-sided class warfare, which then plays directly into the hands of actual Marxists.

“See, capitalism in terminal crisis can’t simultaneously meet the profit lust of billionaires and the crying human needs of our nation’s wage-earning majority. Every Wall Street bailout, combined with relentless attacks on beleaguered Main Street residents, proves it. Socialist revolution is the only way to keep food on your kitchen table and a roof over your family’s head.”

Not everyone will immediately accept that revolutionary assessment, but as time passes and things go from very bad to much worse, an almost automatic radicalization will take place.

Particularly as slash-and-burn extremists like Scott Walker and other Republican governors defund everything that benefits mom, dad, and the kids, while constantly giving breaks bigger than the rings of Saturn to a tiny minority of socially irresponsible oligarchs.

A half-million protesters recently rallied in London to express outrage over the harsh austerity that’s being forcefully imposed on majority Britons by a thoroughly out-of-touch, exploitative English ruling hierarchy.

Those demonstrators marched under an assortment of red banners. They sang an array of militant, inspirational anthems long associated with the true Left.

Now that sentiment has spread to central plazas in Spain, and will certainly expand from there.

Given that capitalism is global, and because its death throes affect us all, it’s a sure bet that we too will see such mammoth street actions in the period ahead.

As a huge, growing movement demands fundamental change, capitalists will even more intolerably steal from us to try to compensate for wealth that an irreparably broken order can no longer generate by less severe means.

They’ll also try outright repression, which international multitudes already in powerful democratic rebellion surely will not tolerate.

So capitalism limps and staggers forward, headed for the same fall that both slavery and feudalism experienced when objective possibilities for their continuation finally ran out.

In one way, it’s ineffably sad.

In another, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to our species.

Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the '60s. Read other articles by Dennis.