It makes no sense we blow billions buying bombs or bailing out banks, but can’t afford to end world hunger. It makes no sense we pay to see a movie and then are forced to sit through commercials before it starts.
“It makes no sense.” I’m using these words more and more often.
The tyranny of idiot capitalism has become so ridiculous that it must be a sign the system is in crisis. The outrageous lies and distortions told to defend it have got to mean capitalism is finally obfuscating on thin ice.
At a minimum, please tell me other people have noticed the same absurdities that make me feel like smacking every sycophantic shill for the ruling class across the side of the head and screaming: “You’ve got to be kidding me! This is the best system possible? This is the height of human achievement? What do you take us for? Utterly brainwashed fools?” (And then I think it takes one to know one.)
Capitalism means freedom. Really? For the ever-greater proportion of people working in precarious part-time jobs paying peanuts? For the 70-year olds behind counters selling Big Macs or greeting Wal-Mart shoppers? For the tens of millions who have had their pensions chopped? For the garment workers toiling in life-threatening conditions in Bangladesh or Haiti or Honduras to earn $5 per day? For the millions of suburbanites who spend a quarter of their income and their waking hours on and in the vehicle that takes them to their shitty job? For the tens of thousands who have been recently bombed into “our way of life” by the greatest or one of the lesser capitalist powers? For the generations to come who will face climate change caused by profits earned spewing ever more carbon into the atmosphere?
Don’t interfere with the free market. You mean the same “free” market that has destroyed millions of good working class (what the scared-of-the-socialist-bogeyman Americans call “middle class”) jobs in order to enable a few dozen multi-millionaires to become billionaires? The market that had to be saved by bailouts to the very companies that caused its crisis, but which can’t afford good free public education for all? The market that gives us ever more processed food made from genetically modified plants fed to animals that graze in slashed-and-burned rainforests then shipped ten thousand miles but can’t provide nutritious meals of locally grown real food for every child on the planet? The market that is so efficient it requires hundred of billions of dollars to be spent on advertising to convince us to buy its products? The market that gives us plenty of $80,000 cars and $10,000 watches but can’t give billions proper sewage and water systems? The market that enforces patents owned by huge corporations, instead of the right for all to access affordable life-saving medicines? A market free from government controls, which when you really think about it means a market whose rules are made by and for the rich instead of through democratic decision-making?
Yes, we live in an absurd world. A world all about making cents, not sense.
The apostles of greed claim competition and choice are the only rights worth fighting for, as if we are all only consumers. But the vast majority of us are workers too. What about our rights at work? They are ignored, trampled upon and denied because that is what the “free” market requires.
Yes, we live in an absurd world but it can’t possibly get any worse. Can it?
It will, if we don’t fight back.
It can and it will get worse unless millions of people join together behind a common vision of an alternative to this system of one dollar, one vote called capitalism.
Once upon a time we did have a vision of an alternative economic and social system. Once upon a time a movement of hundreds of millions of ordinary people with that vision was created to build a better world and it was successful in many places, winning the universal franchise, public education, the 8-hour day, pensions, health and safety legislation, public health programs, daycare, laws against discrimination and more. Pretty much every reform that was listed in the Communist Manifesto 165 years ago.
But the unions and political parties that came out of that movement never won the most important thing: equality of power, the right of everyone to participate in running both our economic and political system. It never fought for and won something best described as economic democracy.
It left power in the hands of tiny minorities who ultimately run the world in their self-interest. And now these self-serving minorities are rolling back the reforms our mothers and fathers struggled so long and hard to win.
Yes we live in an absurd world. And it will get worse unless we come together to change it. It’s time we showed some collective sensibility.