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Ear to the Ground

Slavoj Zizek: The Problem Is Capitalism

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Posted on Apr 25, 2012
Andy Miah (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Slavoj Zizek.

The problem facing humanity today—especially those taking to the streets in protest—is an economic system that encourages and rewards greed, says the Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. And leaders who tell us to look elsewhere are merely creating distractions.

In keeping with his trademark style, Zizek uses an obscure, Soviet-era joke to make his point below: Capitalism amplifies and drives greed to the point of consuming everything it touches, including itself. Capitalism is the true enemy of Occupy Wall Street, he says, though most Occupiers already seem to know that. —ARK

Slavoj Zizek in The Guardian:

The first two things one should prohibit are therefore the critique of corruption and the critique of financial capitalism. First, let us not blame people and their attitudes: the problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corrupt. The solution is neither Main Street nor Wall Street, but to change the system where Main Street cannot function without Wall Street. Public figures from the pope downward bombard us with injunctions to fight the culture of excessive greed and consummation – this disgusting spectacle of cheap moralization is an ideological operation, if there ever was one: the compulsion (to expand) inscribed into the system itself is translated into personal sin, into a private psychological propensity, or, as one of the theologians close to the pope put it:

“The present crisis is not crisis [sic] of capitalism but the crisis of morality.”

Let us recall the famous joke from Ernst Lubitch’s Ninotchka: the hero visits a cafeteria and orders coffee without cream; the waiter replies:

“Sorry, but we have run out of cream, we only have milk. Can I bring you coffee without milk?”

Was not a similar trick at work in the dissolution of the eastern european Communist regimes in 1990? The people who protested wanted freedom and democracy without corruption and exploitation, and what they got was freedom and democracy without solidarity and justice. Likewise, the Catholic theologian close to pope is carefully emphasizing that the protesters should target moral injustice, greed, consumerism etc, without capitalism. The self-propelling circulation of Capital remains more than ever the ultimate Real of our lives, a beast that by definition cannot be controlled.

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By Ed Romano, May 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Oh, now I get it. “Growth is not part of capitalism.” Capitalism is static. Maybe that’s why I have a 1905 Oldsmobile in my driveway instead of some modern marvel. Static ! I get it. Like a frog frozen on top of a lake in Alaska in the winter time. And the “right” does” not support capitalism. I get it. The right doesn’t care one way or the other about the economic system.. People on the right are just some disembodied spirits who don’t care what kind of economic system the country is based upon. And Joe McCarthy and his right wing witch hunters….they didn’t care whether the country was capitalist or communist….. And the military. They are not protecting the interests of capitalism all over the globe. They are just doing what militaries do….making a lot of trouble with the money our disinterested government gives them. Now I get it. Boy, it feels so good to get smartened up by a a real high class thinker.

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By Justin Case, May 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

“How about the right’s emphasis on ‘grow, grow, grow’ without regard to resource limitations, sustainability or any goals of reaching some form of equilibrium with our eco-system?

These ideologies which support the big ugly capitalism are the tumors that need identified, or we kill the whole patient with some very general remedy. “

The so-called “right” is just a corporate-arm of propaganda. Nothing else. Growth is not a part of capitalism.

“what about the aspect of the current capitalism that enables methamphetamine addiction and welfare among West Virginians”

That has nothing to do with capitalism. Addiction is hard-wired into humans neurology. It’s how we function. Happens to be various chemicals act on many neurotransmitter receptors. Removal of capitalism won’t ever remove this. It’s in our DNA. Specifically every DNA fragment for every dendritic receptor if you want to be a smart-ass about it - again.

“among West Virginians to buy consent for mountaintop mining, which, is polluting water supplies down to New Orleans?  That is theft from the commons. “

Actually it’s not. It’s theft on a personal basis from each land-owner of their private property (destruction of it via pollution) x however many residents are there, MULTIPLIED by force. Many company staff are guilty of OPENLY SHOOTING at property owners who have complained.

It’s very personal. It’s not the “tragedy of the commons”. It’s a one-by-one attack.

“at THIS very moment… the nation that you and I live in is murdering civilians in various parts of the globe,and this is happening in our names with opur tax money… this nation is THE cause of wide spread hunger in many lands, is waging unnecessary wars in which children are being maimed and blinded, is the major trafficer of arms in the world,”

And Ed this is 100% anti-capitalist. Military paid for by government dollars is the essence of Feudal lordship empire NOT capitalism.

“has sat by while American capitalists dismantled the nation’s industrial capabilty and shipped millions of jobs overseas seeking chaeap labor”

You should have done more boycotts. I boycotted everything I could to help fight this off.

“Before a system can be changed the people have to realize that it needs to be changed. Before they can realize that…they have to realize that reforms can only mask the cancer. Once they understand that…they can begin the dialog….how do we get this monster off our backs. It’ going to be painful, very painful. “

Ed, you are part of that pain. Every time you call this capitalism instead of calling for capitalism you become the cancer. You kill us all and the beast laughs as he scoffs down the new goodies you fed him.
This beast is FASCISM.
IT IS NOT CAPITALISM.

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By Justin Case, May 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

“Good Afternoon Comrades, At 12.30 p.m. on the east coast the Sundance Channel is showing Naomi Klein’s, Disaster Capitalism. This tkes a close luck at Milton Friedman’s version of free market capitalism that was used to ruin several countries in Latin America and elsewhere. On ward “

And Milton Friedman was an asshole.

Naomi Klein can explain capitalism very well - its proper function and existing dysfunctions posing as capitalism - and you’ll be surprised to see that she and I disagree less than 0.01% word for word.

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By Justin Case, May 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

You badly behaved children accuse me of your own personality faults and errors in logic, which I am NOT guilty of at any time.
You can always expect to accuse each other of “Justin-ish” behavior - it was all made up BY YOU in the first place.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

I was the one who got shouted down in a union meting.  I wanted to know if you knew what it felt like. 

I went back through your posts and did find in these from May 2 at 6:45 am and May 2 at 11:41 am a few ‘outcomes’, but I have not seen specific mechanisms.  For instance, you never get around to causes, like consumer demand for cheap glittery crap.  How about the right’s emphasis on ‘grow, grow, grow’ without regard to resource limitations, sustainability or any goals of reaching some form of equilibrium with our eco-system? 

These ideologies which support the big ugly capitalism are the tumors that need identified, or we kill the whole patient with some very general remedy.  I’ve been persistent in trying to get you to dig in a bit, then perhaps discourse about specifics would spread, but I’m about exhausted and ready to give up. (I heard that sigh of relief) 

OK, one last shot at it…....what about the aspect of the current capitalism that enables methamphetamine addiction and welfare among West Virginians to buy consent for mountaintop mining, which, is polluting water supplies down to New Orleans?  That is theft from the commons.  The attitudes which are nurtured, specifically perverted ideas of what constitutes freedom, some of the ideas of the nut-job libertarians, the perversion of ‘manifest destiny’, are worth discussion. 

You want total revolution, I am perhaps foolish enough to think we can work within the system.  Either way, it is good to get these ideas out in the open so they either resonate or fade.  Your tactic of repeating ‘Capitalism is evil’ and ‘here are the examples’ over and over will not let anybody wake up and say to themselves, “Hey, maybe I am being used”.  People need to see mechanismsHOW they are being manipulated.  Capisci?

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By Ed Romano, May 3, 2012 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

John, Did I ever get shouted down at a union meeting ? What would that have to do with whether or not my analysis is right? Your question seems to indicate that you are looking for something in me that is disgruntled….something that happened to me that made me have a bone to pick with the world. I say….seems to indicatate… I’m not coming right out and saying this about you, because I don’t want to accuse you of using a tactic that many small minded people use in a variety of situations…..that is…if I can show that this person is not a model human being that will be enough to discredit his ideas. But two and two remains four whether it is said by Jesus Christ or Adolph Hitler.
    “What pray tell is the…..current capitalist system”? I think you will go far toward an answer if you familiarize yourself with the Milton Friedman school of economics coming out of Chicago University. The best book to answer your question is Naomi Klein’s, Disaster Capitalism….I obviously can’t go into that in this forum, except to say that it differs from capitalisms of the past in very important ways. I thought I pretty much   “illuminated” some of the specifics of the ” “big evil ism ” in a recent post. It didn’t seem to make much of an impression on you. It doesn’t seem to matter that while we are chatting along in this forum…. at THIS very moment… the nation that you and I live in is murdering civilians in various parts of the globe,and this is happening in our names with opur tax money… this nation is THE cause of wide spread hunger in many lands, is waging unnecessary wars in which children are being maimed and blinded, is the major trafficer of arms in the world, has over 900 military bases in over 140 nations, is allowing companies like Monsanto to slowly destroy the natural food chain around the world…has sat by while American capitalists dismantled the nation’s industrial capabilty and shipped millions of jobs overseas seeking chaeap labor….and then the agents of this inequity have the balls to say that their chief concern in the coming elections is “jobs”. The list goes on. I could sit here all day adding to it, but if you haven’t seen it by now it would be a fool’s errand on my part.
  Before a system can be changed the people have to realize that it needs to be changed. Before they can realize that…they have to realize that reforms can only mask the cancer. Once they understand that…they can begin the dialog….how do we get this monster off our backs. It’ going to be painful, very painful.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 3, 2012 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

Ed, by ‘justin-ish’, I meant the post of May 2 at 3:13 pm.  The last post, of May 3 at 7:10 am was a hoot. 

But to the topic: capitalism. 
This is probably my only major problem here, you say things like, “the current Capitalist system”  What pray tell is that specifically?  It needs broken down.  What features of it enable distributions of wealth and uses of wealth that are detrimental to humankind?  I’ve identified ‘theft from the commons’.  Yes, it’s somewhat general, but it allows simple identification of a mechanism by which common wealth is gathered to the few.  Mountaintop mining, fracking, tar sands oil extraction, mono-culture agriculture.  Specific activities which promote waste, pollution, overcrowding, poverty, etc.

If you don’t want to illuminate the public as to the specifics within the big evil ‘ism’, then what are you proposing?  Total revolution/chaos/anarchy/some form of rebirth?  Geez, with today’s technology and the despots who run it, I can’t be optimistic about how that process would come out.  I’m not myopic, I can see that to throw the baby out with the bathwater would be a total disaster for humanity. 

Look, yes, we have serious problems.  There is simply no alternative to dealing with them, but they need to be clearly identified and specific strategies developed.  “killing capitalism” is simply too vague to be professional or effective.  But if you want to go on about the ‘ism’ and not beyond that, fine.  Enjoy. No problem and no animus from me.

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By Ed Romano, May 3, 2012 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

Good Afternoon Comrades, At 12.30 p.m. on the east coast the Sundance Channel is showing Naomi Klein’s, Disaster Capitalism. This tkes a close luck at Milton Friedman’s version of free market capitalism that was used to ruin several countries in Latin America and elsewhere. On ward

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By Ed Romano, May 3, 2012 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

John, All I will say is that my rant was meant as a satire of everything Justin posts. I know that you’ve had trouble understanding things that I’ve
written, but I would have thought this was fairly obvious… As far as my unionism etc. etc.  . ...The FBI had me blackballed from The Carpenter’s Union during the Vietnam War. Does that explain me to you ? We are not going to reach an agreement on the need to totally replace the current Capitalist system. I think it is throughly evil. You think it can be salvaged. I believe that in order to take the position that you do….you have to close your eyes to much that is happening in the world today. This you seem to have been able to do. That doesn’t make you a bad person….just politically myopic.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 3, 2012 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

Ed, I just don’t expect this Justin-ish stuff from you. 

Capital’ism’ is a waste of time.  It’s the harnessing, theft, utilization take your pick, of capital, derived from wood, coal, oil, through labor, to do WHAT? 

Doesn’t the WHAT matter?  The fights over the ‘ism’s’ it seems to me are for management and labor to justify their positions, so if you’re represented by management or the union, you’re fine, but what about the rest of us?  WHAT we do with labor, management, energy and raw materials makes a hell of a difference, and that doesn’t seem to be part of your priorities.  How much better off does a partisan leftie leave us than a partisan rightie?  None.  And there are similarities in the rhetorical tactics. 

Did you ever get shouted down in a union meeting?  I’m coming to think you’re just a union right or wrong, like country right or wrong, like corporation right or wrong, like party right or wrong kid of guy.  Say it aint so.

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By Ed Romano, May 3, 2012 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

Well, actually, as I show with mathematical logic and
a reasoned plethora of perpetual intelligence….problem No. 2 is related in several ways to problem No.2 1/2. As I have said, and if I said it ... it must be true, Capitalism is labor….  just as the main problem for a cubist is cornflakes. He must flatten them out. He must. But happier by far, the man who lives to see his king struck by lightning. I point to this fact with a clear finger. Now if capitalism is labor, and only a stupied person would deny this,or a liar, it follows that water is wet, and you can get a sun tan from the rays of the moon if you reside on some far away planet as I have done on several occasions. In fact, it’swhere I go to replenish my awesome mental powers That’s where I learned that the source of all labor is found in the stars. Never mind human labor. That’s another story that I will dispose of in a future disertation. If you keep concentrating on the issue at hand you’re bound to get a headache. That’s why you’re stupid and I’m smart. I’m more than smart…I’m prime. Why this should be is related to Problem No. 3 and 5/16 is evident, unless you’re stupid. The sum of all capitalism is really just socialism, again as I’ve explained clearly in many ways. Oh, yes. Don’t forget…you’re stupid and I’m smart.

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By Justin Case, May 3, 2012 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

Police brutality, robbery by central banks and the enabling of the Mafia known as wall street - by the government mafia - is the problem

http://postimage.org/image/do1ppnj2t/

That is what the problem looks like.

opdxlive.org another good one

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/22273409

Capitalism is NOT THE PROBLEM. The problem is the MAFIA POLICE STATE aka FASCISM
http://youtu.be/ZOPhd9LCJPQ

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By Justin Case, May 3, 2012 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

http://mises.org/daily/6019/Power-and-Market-A-Review

Following his exhaustive description of the effects of every type of economic intervention, Rothbard identifies and corrects many common misconceptions about the free market. Among these are the beliefs that monopoly pricing is inevitable in a free market, that government must do what free individuals cannot do, and that free-market advocates assume all human beings are angels. Rothbard’s refutation of those who claim that equality is the highest end, and that its incompatibility with the free market renders such a system immoral, is particularly damning.

The claim that a market economy fails to achieve the goals of equality is, according to Rothbard, among the most common ethical criticisms of the market economy. And regardless of whether equality is shown to be attainable under any economic system whatsoever, many maintain the belief that at least some cut in living standards is a fair price to pay for what increase in equality allegedly or possibly arises from them (taxes for the welfare state, for example). But Rothbard notes that the assumption of equality as an attainable and worthy goal in and of itself is anything but self-evident.

Indeed, when scholars call for greater equality among men, they often reject (by implication) two of the basic tenets of praxeology: the diversity of human skills and resources and the disutility of labor.

John the psycho wrote:
“Ed, your condescension is not appreciated, nor will I tolerate it.”

YOU WILL and that’s too bad for you.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment

Ed, your condescension is not appreciated, nor will I tolerate it. 

Let’s take a point here and there? 
You say, “A person who owns machinery owns the result of past labor….”  Was this in response to my lawnmower as a piece of capital?  True capital, namely, wealth producing goods. 

Perhaps one more: “Where else would wealth come from.”  I suppose it depends how you define ‘wealth’, as money, or stocks, gold, or real tangible wealth.  IMO, real tangible wealth, like a pile of coal sitting in my backyard is all that is worth considering.  The others there only represent wealth.  Yes, labor is required to extract wealth from the earth, but the source of wealth I will argue is the sun.  Except in the case of nuclear energy, which probably came from some cosmic event. 

Perhaps, just perhaps, our fundamental difference I think is that you value your effort, where I value what effort produces.  Naturally, like all human beings, I value my effort more than yours not because I can produce more ‘work product’ in a given time, no, I value my effort more because it’s my effort. 

There is something to that last paragraph.  You are defining a framework (by saying all capitol comes from labor) which values the labor itself, without assigning a value to the capitol that is produced.  I must ask, ‘of value to who’? 

The question must be asked of the laborer as well s the factory owner, “how is what you’re doing important to society”.  What is it’s intrinsic value?  How does it keep people healthy, educated, able to care for and feed their families?  Labor, and management, and ownership that does not produce substantial product that serve these sort of needs can all jump in a lake as far as I’m concerned. 

That is, to frame the argument as labor vs. management/ownership without regard to the value of the product to humanity is a waste of time.  And, the arguments of the ‘ism’s’ is merely that, a framework to disguise the real human value of your labor, and the managements enterprise.  It’s a left-vs-right argument that leaves the common good out of the equation. 
 

OK, so I got carried away with this ‘point here and there’, sue me.

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By Justin Case, May 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

“Keep in mind, however, that mobilization of capital (to mean all production-related resources, to include human labor, skills, etc., is not what’s at stake here. “

Ignore that rubbish. That’s precisely what’s at stake here and anyone telling you otherwise is either stupid or on the other side.

“That, however, is not the essence of capitalism but only one of the by-products.  The essence is the exploitation of labor. “

That is another lie. Exploitation is a core trait of human nature that is not a part of any capitalism. Even if no one had ever invented capitalism there would still be exploitation. Exploitation is what happens WITHOUT CONSENT, using force or threats. Capitalism is what happens WITHOUT FORCE OR THREATS.

Ed: capitalism never has stolen labor. Capitalism IS labor. All workers are owners and all owners are workers. That you ever believed the Marxist nonsense that this is not so shows a serious mental deficit.
In capitalism EVERYONE IS WORKER AND OWNER. EVERYONE.

Any act of theft is 100% anti-capitalist and if you believe otherwise you better find a way to prove it. Your reference document about Marx was sadly deficient in this department. Your own explanations have been sadly deficient and I have corrected you.

“The enormous wealth of companies like General Electric is the result of the accumulation of past labor. Of course, it’s true . ....A capitalist is one who capitalizes on another person’s labor. “
You’re forgetting, Ed, that GE can’t get that labor for free. Trades must be made and they must be consenting. Workers MUST BE PAID and can walk away. They are not slaves. AAPL / Apple is guilty but GE as far as I know is not built from slave-work.

“That’s an honest position. I, however, disagree and I believe the contradictions inherent in the system are what have brought us to the brink of global disaster. “

You are 100% wrong, Ed. The global disaster has only 2 components:
#1 people are using worthless papers and electrons as money
#2 people are putting more nuclear & industrial waste into the stream of life-nutrients than the world can clean

That’s it. Even global warming is really only a part of problem #2.

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By Justin Case, May 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

It’s funny how some people here can be mentally both “Marxist” and “Statist”
Shows a serious misunderstanding of reality.

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By Ed Romano, May 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Foucald, You said I” was all over the place”. It would not be possible to be more clear than I was on the issue. I had to lay out the idea for John as though he was an eighth grader , and he still did not seem to understand that 2 and 2 is 4. Can you understand that it does get a little frustrating ?

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By Foucauldian, May 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

Forget it, Romano.  I see it’s been a waste of time
addressing you.

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By Ed Romano, May 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

John and Foucald,  Are you both nuts ?

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By Foucauldian, May 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

ER and JB,

You guys seem to be all over the map, which is the
main reason I stayed out of your conversation.  You
should try to express succinctly the points of your
disagreement and take it from there.  Both of you have
valid points to make, and your differences have more
to do with emphasis rather than with substance.  I
suspect you’d soon come to a ready agreement were you
to do that.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Another layer of ‘ism’.  Give me a break. 

‘Capitalism’ merely needs split into the old dictionary meaning, and the situations Ed is trying to describe.  Just call it ‘Exploitism’ if you like ‘ism’s’.  The ideology is, it’s OK to do whatever you like to gain advantage over workers because caveat emptor.  they can take it or leave it.  The ideology of the ‘Exploitism-ists’ is that it is morally fine to attempt to exploit, anything goes, because the potential exploitees can elect to walk away.

That is a moral agreement among the devotees.  A religion.  There are followers, there are priests, deacons, rituals, code words, etc.

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By Ed Romano, May 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

John, The basics. It’s labor that produces wealth. You may find a mountain of gold, but until labor is exerted the gold will not be extracted. A person who owns machinery owns the result of past labor…. The enormous wealth of companies like General Electric is the result of the accumulation of past labor. Of course, it’s true . ....A capitalist is one who capitalizes on another person’s labor. Where else would wealth come from. Could Bill Gates have become one of the world’s richest men through his own labor? He had to have others producing wealth from whom he appropriated part of what they produced. I think, perhaps, we find this hard to digest because we have been brought up in a system and a society that has mythologized the path to riches as the result of superior brain power and entrepeneurship. Whatever, the reason… we deny the reality only to the detriment of our own mentality. It is what it is. Now, some folks say….this is the true situation, but we think the trade off is worth the theft…...That’s an honest position. I, however, disagree and I believe the contradictions inherent in the system are what have brought us to the brink of global disaster.

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By Foucauldian, May 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

I wasn’t talking about the ideology behind capitalism
—which is liberalism.  That has a religious aspect
and you’re right in that liberalism itself must be
shown to be a kind of myth in order to do away with
the economic system which propagates the myth.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

But Ed, is this true???
“A capitalist is one who capitalizes on another person’s labor.”  Is this what a capitalist really is?  If so, I agree with you.  And in some way, I can almost agree with the definition, IF we are talking about capitalism as a religion, an ideology, the whole ‘free market’ load of crap.

But there’s still that notion that anyone who puts to use a piece of machinery or factory to produce some product is a capitalist.  That is, “a capitalist is one who employs capitol to make wealth”.  Capital might be a lawn mower, and I made enough wealth with one to pay my first semester of college. 

So, the loaded terms, the definitions we’d like to attach to them have to go.  They serve a world view, and not necessarily some search for truths.  I think to go where you’d like, we need to talk about the ideology of this sub-set of capitalists, the exploitive ones.  The ones who proclaim the virtues of capitalism as if it would wash away sin itself.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian, you say, “The essence (of capitalism) is the exploitation of labor.”  If I knew we were on the same page wrt the definition of ‘exploitation’, I might or might not take issue.

Overall, I’d say the ‘exploitation’ is a by-product of greed and in placing self too far above everything else.  And ‘labor’ screams for cheap products and buys them…....regardless of the exploitative conditions, or consequence to the environment (future).  So again, before we blame the rogue capitalist, the universal bogey man we seek, let’s look in the mirror among ourselves for the uber-consumer attitudes which fuel the whole thing. 

But I’m more interested in the idea that capitalism as a religion is a problem.  Faith in the ‘free market’, which every rogue ‘capitalist’ is trying to fix, deregulate, corner or manipulate in every waking minute. 

And I will concede that behind the religion of capitalism, the lifestyles of capitalists is supported through the ‘use’ of others.  Is it exploitation?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  Again, we discuss the forest, the ‘ism’s’, and neglect the specific trees

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By Ed Romano, May 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

John, I DON’T want to paint every employer as an “evil” capitalist. You certainly seem to have a lot of trouble understanding the English language.
A capitalist is one who capitalizes on another person’s labor. If that’s what a “business” owner is doing than he’s a goddamned capitaliist whether he calls himself the Mother of Mercy or a Martian.
  “People will steal in another direction too.” What in the name of God does that mean ? These are not claims I am making in order to reach some moral conclusion about the criminality of man. Capitalists steal labor. If they don’t….they’re not capitalists.
Cats lap up milk. Dogs sniff each other out. Rats hide in the wall. Capitalists steal labor. Nike probably steals a lot more than Ben & Jerry’s, but if they employ labor they’re capitalists.
  Attempts to come across as the voice of reason in an unresonable and largely insane world only tend to make you seem the opposite of what you’re trying to portray.

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By Ed Romano, May 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

John, I DON’T want to paint every capitalist as “evil”. You seem to have trouble undertstanding the English language. I am not interested in applying moral terms or tests to capitalism. I am trying to explain what the system is. Capitalism steals labor.
Cats lap up milk. Dogs sniff each other out. Rats hide in the wall. The sun rises in the east. Capitalism steals labor. If it doesn’t…it isn’t capitalism. Nike probably steals more than Ben & Jerry’s, but if their enterprises rely on labor, other than their own, they’re capitalists. They can call themselves the Mother of Mercy or Pope Benedict Number Two Hundred. As my wife says…it is what it is. To make your way in the world by skimming off a portion of what others produce and keeping it for yourself is what makes you a capitalist. How many ways are there to say this ?
  ” There are people who will steal in the other direction too”. What the hell does that mean? Of course, it’s true, but what has that got to do with the matter at hand ?
  John, you strike me as a man who wants to create a nice, little world where everyone gets along fairly.
But you can’t do this without getting your hands dirty. You can’t straddle the fence and try to be friends with everybody. ” Potential allies” as you call them,  who want to make a nice omelet without breaking any eggs will be swept aside in the wrath that is coming. And to tell the truth, it is these people who have kept the needed change from occuring in the first place.
While you are typing out your little apologies for people who proceed with “fairness” according to “decent regulations”....hundred of thousands of their employees in poorer nations are hanging on by their finergnails.That’s why capital went there in the first place…. to take advantage of their dire need. In places like Bangladesh and India they are actually employing little children as slaves. Slaves, John. Remember reading about that?  In our own country, a rich one by any standard, your own government recently revealed that HALF the population of the U.S. is now officially poor or close to it….. Boston hospitals are reporting an alarming rise in the cases of malnutrition among children.  Over 50 % of all black males over the age of thirty in the inner cities of the U.S. have NEVER had a job…. The U.S. imprisons more of its male population per capita than any nation on earth, and that number is now being increased by unemployed men who have run out of unemployment checks….We have thousands of severely sick adults and children who have NO access to health care. ( Emergency rooms do not treat, for example, tumors.)While all this and more is going on,...the capitalists through their agents in Washington, are privatizing the nation’s highways, the public school system and even the prisons in order to make a buck. This week the USDA proposed that it no longer inspect chickens sold to the public as food. The agency wants to leave it up to the chickenm processors to take care of our health….. Why am I beating this drum so loudly ? Because you don’t seem to be listening, John. You really don’t. Ours is a system that needs to be torn down and replaced. No more band aids on cancers.

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By Ed Romano, May 2, 2012 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

Does this idiot ever sleep ?

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By Foucauldian, May 2, 2012 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Goof discussion, JB and ER.  Keep in mind, however,
that mobilization of capital (to mean all
production-related resources, to include human
labor, skills, etc., is not what’s at stake here. 
There is much to be said for streamlining and
organizing production resources, and capitalism,
such as it has been, provided a valuable object
lesson.  We have learned a lot from it.  That,
however, is not the essence of capitalism but only
one of the by-products.  The essence is the
exploitation of labor.  So once we have the workers
in control over the disposition of their product and
wealth-sharing—the Marxist idea of communism—
we have eliminated the detrimental and pathological
effects of the capitalist system and have the best
of both worlds.

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By Justin Case, May 2, 2012 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

“Zizek writes about capitalism, but we might be better off to engage certain specific ‘private property’ ‘rights’.  The general privatization of the electric grid, municipal water systems, education, (what else?) is a very tangible and legislatable part of the issue.”

We don’t even NEED a grid.
How’s that sound?

With wireless transmission, fuel-cells and bio-gas as well as trains and cleaner thorium nuclear power (much better than plutonium & uranium) we’d have an abundance of portable energy and only the nuclear option would have a partial grid before hitting wireless transmission.

Using the full abilities of things like HAARP and the now-gone Wycliffe tower Tesla had built there would be NO grid. No need for one.

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By Justin Case, May 2, 2012 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

“But the rock bottom fact on which the whole system is based is the fact that capitalists are able to take control of the labor of human beings and expropriate a lion’s share of the same for their own ends”

Ed I have explained before that this is not true and I personally made it not true at the last place I worked.

All we need to do is stand up and refuse. If we are forced at gun point we are slaves and should kill our slavers. If we are not forced we can walk away and they get nothing.

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By Justin Case, May 2, 2012 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

“Here is the subtlety Justin ignores:  the definition of ‘capital’.  I repeat, ‘capital’ in this context is (2): accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods   (3): accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income”  If we look at any aspect of privatization, let’s say privatization of the airwaves, we see a private group of stockholders attains rights to make money from a resource that was formerly recognized as a possession of the public.  “

In fact that is a lie. We see no such thing. Instead what we see is faux-ownership over a physical property of the universe, light waves, enforced by central controllers - in America this would be the FCC.

In reality ownership of the stars, the stratosphere and ionosphere are impossible and such a claim over “airwaves” is null and void.

The ability to transmit light (radio) is not possible to “own” uniquely and any such enforcement is in fact a criminal racket. We all have equal right and ability to use radio.

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By Justin Case, May 2, 2012 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-we-are-not-powerless-resisting-financial-feudalism

1. Support the decentralized, non-market economy.
2. Stop participating in financialization.
3. Redefine self-interest to exclude debt-servitude and dependence on consumerism and the Central State.
4. Act on your awareness that the nature of prosperity and financial security is changing.
5. Stop supporting distant concentrations of capital that subvert democracy by using their gargantuan profits to buy the machinery of State governance and regulation. For example, stop watching broadcast programming owned by the six global media corporations that control the vast majority of the media/marketing complex.
6. Stop supporting the debt-and-leverage based financial aristocracy.
7. Transfer your assets out of Wall Street and into local enterprises or assets that do not enrich and empower Wall Street. <—this includes pension funds, 401k, RRSP
8. Refuse to participate in consumerist status identifiers and the social defeat they create. Stop admiring and respecting those displaying status signifiers; start thinking of them as pathetic prisoners of a pathological mindset.
9. Vote in every election with an eye on rewarding honesty and truth and punishing empty promises.

Remember that resistance isn’t just about refusing to participate in pathological plutocracy; it’s about establishing a sustainable alternative to the unsustainable State-plutocracy partnership.

10. Stop supporting inflationary policies such as “money creation” by the Federal Reserve and Federal deficit borrowing. Act on your knowledge that inflation is theft and that the Federal Reserve is a private consortium of banks that is the enabler and protector of the parasitic financial aristocracy.

11. Become healthy, active and fit. Refuse to consume unhealthy junk and packaged food, refuse to squander much of your time in sedentary “consumption” of corporate entertainment and digital distraction, and devote your energy and time to mastery, new skills, developing social capital and friendships, projects you “own” and enterprises that benefit your true self-interest. Refuse to follow the marketing/media siren song into chronic ill-health, addiction and social defeat.

12. Embrace self-directed coherent plans and construct a resilient, diverse ecology of identity and meaning.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 2, 2012 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Listen pops, I agree with nationalization of industries that provide basic human necessities.  That act by Brazil isn’t what I meant by separating the capital from the capitalists, but it is a good thing, and it fits literally.

Look, you want to paint every employer as an evil ‘capitalist’.  It aint so.  And, there are people who will steal in the other direction too.  There are many forms of employee theft.  I’ve been on both sides of the equation.

‘Rogue’ capitalists are those who go above and beyond to ignore decency, fairness, safety, etc.  Not all business people are that way by any means.  My point is if you go running around calling every business owner a ‘capitalist’, and painting them all with the same brush, you’ll win no allies from them for decent regulations, and that is what is needed.  Decent regulations help the good business people from being run-over by the rogue ones.

What you do by the broad, general anti-capitalist rhetoric is force your potential allies to choose sides.

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By Ed Romano, May 2, 2012 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

Oh John, John my son, Of course the tax code inequity we are living with is an abomination. What I am trying to say is that this fact can be, and is being, used in a way that says THIS is the major problem we are facing concerning justice in the economic system.The tax code is a big part of our current problem, but THE problem goes much deeper than that…..You can say that the word “theft” is an emotionally laden term, but what other euphenism would you use to disquise the fact that when you have something that belongs to you as a human being and it is stolen by someone else you have been robbed ?
Dictionary: THEFT The act or an instance of stealing. larcency.
  “Separate capital from capitalism ?”  That is excactly what we need to do. Intersting that just yesterday in Brazil, and a short while ago in Argentina, the governments took over the capitalist owned electric companies and will now run them as nationalized industries , not for profit but for the benefit of all the citizens, Is this what you call separating the capitalists from their capital? I’m all mfor it. ....  “Rouge” capitalists, you call them, leading us to believe that there are other kinds ?  Now who’s using emotionally laden words? A person can love his children, his dog and his country but when he steps into the arena of capitalism he is automatically under the control of a dynamic over which he has no control if he wants to remain a capitalist. This basic idea seems to have escaped you, perhaps becuase you are intent on finding a way to make an accomodation with a system that has far outlived whatever useful purpose it once historically served.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 2, 2012 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

And my Dear Ed, Are you saying my post below is ‘peripheral’ to the issue?  We will have to disagree on that.  Some of the great masses of money were accumulated by exploiting public wealth.  And, I might add by passing on externalized costs such as environmental and health costs.  These are tragedies which occur when we make the goal of capitalism to make money instead of improving the state of the public.  I know that statement is going to irritate the hell out of you, but we have to separate capital from the behavior of rogue capitalists.  If we go on and on about capitalISM, then we’ll never get there.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 2, 2012 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

Ed, I also give weight to the demand side, our nature to want “clothing, shoes, coffee pots and doodads”, cheap, new, trendy, and consumable is part of the problem.  Tax code can take care of this side of the equation and it can moderate the ‘capitalists’ who ‘whip up’ the vanity in us. 

Any person or company no matter how large or small, needs to survive too, and they will build what keeps them in business.  It’s like the drug war…...demand is what makes producers find a way.  How would you regulate the ‘theft’ you see as intrinsic to capitalism?  Calling out an ‘ism’, and using an emotion-laden term such as ‘theft’ does not seem to move toward a general understanding which can perhaps have some effect. 

Tariffs, site inspections, and other trade laws can have an effect on what you might call unrestricted global capitalism, but if we don’t get beyond speaking in ‘ism’s’ out there in the general public, there is no way we’ll improve either from within or outside what appears to be a ‘system’.  We need laws and the public’s interest in having them enforced.  Some of that is tax code…...ho hum.

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By Ed Romano, May 2, 2012 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

John, You write about an ugly side to capitalism and a lot of other peripheral issues regarding it. But the rock bottom fact on which the whole system is based is the fact that capitalists are able to take control of the labor of human beings and expropriate a lion’s share of the same for their own ends. In any other avenue of human endeavor this is called “theft”. This is the simple reason why American capitalists have gone to places like Bangladesh and Indochina to produce clothing, shoes, coffee pots and doodads. They find there a pool of labor desperate enough to work for wages that American workers would refuse to take and, in fact,
could not survive on. This is where the “theft” begins. The unbalanced tax code is another issue and, in a country where thinking seems to give the citizens a headache, focusing too much on the tax code leads people to believe that if we can only reform that….evrything will be hunky dory…..Let’s keep our eyes on the donut, not on the hole. Capitalism is theft. It cannot be reformed.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 2, 2012 at 4:46 am Link to this comment

Nor do I Foucauld, but a bit here and there….

Zizek writes about capitalism, but we might be better off to engage certain specific ‘private property’ ‘rights’.  The general privatization of the electric grid, municipal water systems, education, (what else?) is a very tangible and legislatable part of the issue.

The very real battlefields I maintain, are the tragedies of the commons all around us, where public resources are being turned over to private interests.  This is indeed an ugly side of capitalism.  It’s unavoidable as the quest for wealth drives the most unethical CEO’s to success as they devise ways to buy (through bribery) exclusive rights to common property for their own private money generating use. 


Here is the subtlety Justin ignores:  the definition of ‘capital’.  I repeat, ‘capital’ in this context is (2): accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods   (3): accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income”  If we look at any aspect of privatization, let’s say privatization of the airwaves, we see a private group of stockholders attains rights to make money from a resource that was formerly recognized as a possession of the public. 

These ‘political arguments’ about the general ‘ism’s’.  waste time and distract from the theft that continues around us.  These thefts are the very real mechanisms by which the income distributions are getting so top-heavy.  A better general understanding among the public that many of the recently accumulated riches are ill-gotten might help to fuel political movements for a much more progressive tax code.

Removing the incentive for the pathologically greedy to continue this theft (of the commons) might have a very real trickle down effect on the general pressures felt by all the underlings of these efforts, and by association, the relief of these pressures, the pressures to attain an almost flamboyant level of material wealth, might end up relieving a lot of the mental sickness caused by our pathological and twisted definitions of ‘Capitalism’.

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By Justin Case, May 2, 2012 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

What we need to survive is a solid Socialism. A socialism designed to last, designed to find & survive fraud, designed to protect freedoms - one of which is survival itself.

No such socialism can ever be built by a government. Nor can it be built by a corporation. Rule by corporations MUST END. Rule by governments MUST END. If a corporation is allowed to exist it should be restricted in size & influence so it can do no more than offer a service needed and it should be allowed to die a mortal death - as all things do - if it can’t serve that purpose. Governments must face the same fate: serve the people or be erased.

Community, both family and small business, is what builds successful, balanced socialism that can endure for the long-term.

This means a full accounting of resources, a full participation of those able to help sustain this socialism and NO central control and in fact zero control from government and zero control from corporations. Most important of all such a system is instantly destroyed when personal freedoms are rejected or ignored which is why CAPITALISM must also exist as a top priority.

A highly functional & adaptive socialism requires dynamic re-sizing and moving of people. This is impossible without the power of consent over one’s property and the freedom to move. This means any immigration controls and any external property controls (non-consenting allocation) is both anti-socialist and anti-capitalist and MUST BE STOPPED. No socialist system can survive if we permit a single group some magical immortality or undue influence over other groups and persons. No capitalist system can survive if we permit property to be moved, destroyed or controlled without consent by any person or group that has contributed NOTHING to it.

Supporting good socialism requires supporting good Capitalism.

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By Foucauldian, May 1, 2012 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

Wasn’t trying to engage him, JB, through I realize I
sent a mixed signal.  Don’t have that kind of time to
waste.

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By Justin Case, May 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

I don’t need invitations - if you are wrong you WILL be corrected by me, like it or not, Foucouldian.

John the idiot wrote:
“Per Justin Case: “Capitalism is nothing more and nothing less than the personal right to own your own property.”

‘Capitalism’ per Webster: “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market””

These definitions are IDENTICAL. I know your grasp of language is poor but that’s precisely the truth. I was being concise for the sake of comment-length. There is not an iota of difference between the real-world existence of Webster’s definition compared to what I wrote. None.

A corporation is nothing more than several persons and each person retains their rights of ownership in a corporation.

“Both are a far cry from the definition offered by Justin Case”
Only a fraud or an idiot could draw this conclusion. They are precisely the same in the real world.

“He has no girlfriend, that’s why he has so much time.  And you wonder why”
I don’t wonder why - girlfriends tend to spend money for me in ways that don’t impress me so I’m happier without one.
I don’t push anyone else to choose as I do, it is a choice that I prefer.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian, best not to engage the towering intellect of the Justin.  He’s a scientist (in his mind). ;<)  In reality, probably an inmate.

Per Justin Case: “Capitalism is nothing more and nothing less than the personal right to own your own property.”

‘Capitalism’ per Webster: “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market”

‘Capital goods’ per Webster:  “a stock of accumulated goods especially at a specified time and in contrast to income received during a specified period; also : the value of these accumulated goods   (2) : accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods   (3) : accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income”

‘Capitalism’ per Oxford: “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state”

Both are a far cry from the definition offered by Justin Case.  Once again using and bending words however they serve him, and meaning whatever he needs them to mean.  Hell, the boy thinks the ownership of his firearms makes him a capitalist.  And per his usual modus operandi, accusing others of his own faults. 

Ed, as for why Justin has so much free time on his hands, I think his quote says a lot, “It is for almost every life-form a forceful competition using injury and killing to get a mate…..”  He has no girlfriend, that’s why he has so much time.  And you wonder why.

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By Foucauldian, May 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

This wasn’t an invitation to an extended discussion,
Justin, other than to point out what I regard as major
fault-lines in your thinking.  Whether you care to
consider them or not is your business.

Good luck, anyway, and happy trails.

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By Ed Romano, May 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

Boy, does this idiot ever sleep ?

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By Justin Case, May 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

“(2) The status of your claim (re: the fixed human nature) is not that of “truth” but of an assumption.”
No, it is proven science.
The day we change this part of our nature is the day we evolve past being human so we’ll be something else, just as we today are not the proto-humans that didn’t even know how to use language or fire. We are related but I assure you we couldn’t breed with them, and don’t act as they did if we did create a way to test this putting modern-human and proto-human side by side.

The day a new descendant of the human species evolves past greed will be a fine day indeed.

“(3)” : actually you failed to understand me at all. “past and present, in which mutual aid and co-operation is the dominant mode.”
Capitalism IS MUTUAL AID AND CO-OPERATION. Consenting trade makes it so. Non-consent removes it. Consent and trade are both co-operative.

“it overdetermines and stifles thought, precluding new possibilities and committing you to being confined to thinking inside the box.  “
(4) -> that’s up to you. I’m not going to stifle you, just correct anything I see that’s clearly in error.

“But within those parameters, anything goes, as evidenced by the individual’s freedom of choice.”
5 -> so you say but do consider another limitation: freedom of choice can’t exist where awareness is too little. Those not aware of a choice, not aware of perceptual inputs to a choice will be the same as those who have no choice. This means every person has a chance to “do better” by seeing choices that others do not. This also factors into market-activity in capitalism.

I would strongly prefer once people identify gains possible or frauds likely (or found) that we all share in a free market. I can’t force people to do so but I can lead by example. For example, the Wall Street Journal just comment on a “fat finger error” and they are full of shit. I made a reply and a chart to support. Accidents happen but 4 accidents at the same time for the same effect? You’d have to be pretty dumb to believe that. My chart: flic.kr/p/bS75ei

I also try to spur people to see the future of pricing in important things such as oil or gold. I make no money from this but others seeing my charts my avoid LOSING money - be it the gas pump or a trade or getting robbed by their own bank (gold in your pocket is money they can’t touch / steal) - http://flic.kr/p/bQEK1P (chart 1) and http://flic.kr/p/bNoznc (chart 2). No one pays me to do this, but a good capitalist seeks to help others in the market not to hurt others. I will lose nothing by sharing as I wanted to produce the charts anyhow for my personal benefit.

“For although a human is also an animal, the force of the instinct (or nature) has been replaced by the force of the culture.”
I see no such replacement. Please give solid examples to convince me. I’m open-minded. I can be convinced. I just need to see the evidence.
You give an abstract argument so far and I’d like to test it with examples before saying yes or no to it.

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By Justin Case, May 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

“(1) Until you’re prepared to identify the exact element(s) of the human DNA which translate to “greed,” your claim is but a metaphor masquerading as “the truth.””

I am so prepared. The direct & immediate aspect starts with food. Every part of the brain responding to every part of the digestive system - every protein involved and hence every DNA segment transcribing those proteins - directs a mammal to be hungry while watching any other mammal eating. This is the core root of that greed. If we had no such desires we would have none of the greed we have today.

The second, far too complicated for me to map, has to do with mating competition. It is for almost every life-form a forceful competition using injury and killing to get a mate - though we can find other ways and do. This is also strongly related to greed but life depends on it so it can’t be removed. It’s the driving force of revolution.

About hunger: it’s up to you to find the thousands of DNA fragments that are involved. They do exist and can be identified. It would fill the comments here 20x over to list them all but it can be done, Foucouldian.

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By Justin Case, May 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Capitalism can not be what you “need it to be”.
It has a singular definition which is immovable in nature.

Anything ever that defies personal ownership defies capitalism. Anything ever that systematically removes without consent, any work or property from a person to another place/person is anti-capitalism at all times.

This is carved in stone. Your attempt to blur definitions is 100% fraud, John Best.

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By Justin Case, May 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

I have no fear or hatred of socialism or communism.

Communism is anti-logical anti-nature and kills itself.

Socialism is GOOD. You layer it on top of capitalism and use both at the same time. Very healthy.

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By Foucauldian, May 1, 2012 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

“It’s no cop-out Foucouldian, it’s the truth. It’s
core human nature at all times in history to want
things others have but do no work to get them -
greed.”    Justin Case, April 30 at 3:55 pm

To correct a number of misconceptions:

(1) Until you’re prepared to identify the exact
element(s) of the human DNA which translate to
“greed,” your claim is but a metaphor masquerading
as “the truth.”

(2) The status of your claim (re: the fixed human
nature) is not that of “truth” but of an assumption.

(3) It is, in addition, an unwarranted assumption,
contradicted besides by many human societies, past
and present, in which mutual aid and co-operation is
the dominant mode.

(4)  It is, furthermore, premature, in that, since
it’s an assumption of the first order, a prime
assumption, it overdetermines and stifles thought,
precluding new possibilities and committing you to
being confined to thinking inside the box.  For
which reasons, it’s also ideological/dogmatic.

(5)  By way of corrective, you might want to say
that the only thing that’s fixed about human nature
are the parameters, the lower and upper limits:  the
sinner and the saint, the righteous and the wicked,
the good and the evil.  But within those parameters,
anything goes, as evidenced by the individual’s
freedom of choice.

(6) Lastly, all arguments from “human nature” miss
the mark.  For although a human is also an animal,
the force of the instinct (or nature) has been
replaced by the force of the culture.  And we all
know that cultures vary from society to society,
again, an empirical consideration.  Consequently,
for an argument from human nature to have any
credibility, you’d have to delimit it only to
extreme cases, in which all cultural norms and mores
are no longer.  But then again, yours would be a
kind of exception that disproves your “rule.”

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By Ed Romano, May 1, 2012 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

Good Afternoon Comrades, If anyone thinks that Chris Hedges has not passed over into the revolutionary camp or has a foot in reformist
politics, I urge you to tune into today’s broadcast of Democracy Now. He appears on an excellent panel discussing today’s occupation of Wall St. by the Occupy movement, and where the movement might go from here.The times they are a changin’.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 1, 2012 at 5:01 am Link to this comment

Capitalism is whatever you need it to be.

Yes, ‘ism’s’ are weapons or tools, dependent on the nature of the wielder. 

‘Users’ will portray any given ‘ism’ as freedom when in reality they make their living from the hidden chains within said ‘ism’.

All these ‘ism’s’ conceal the legal system which enforces them, and there, the fairness in the books, and the fairness of enforcement and adjudication, is where the devil lies.  Take your stupid smokescreen ‘capitalism’.  You can have it.  It is the tax code we should argue, and not get caught up in these shell games.

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By vector56, May 1, 2012 at 3:59 am Link to this comment

“Capitalism is nothing more and nothing less than the personal right to own your own property. Ownership means no one can force you to sell, trade, lose anything of your own. Ownership means you have freedom.”

Libertarian Bull Shit; tell that to the generation of people who were “property for 200 years in the American South! Capitalism has nothing to do with freedom. You fear and hatred of Socialism and Communism seems almost “homophobic”?

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By Justin Case, April 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

Capitalism is nothing more and nothing less than the personal right to own your own property. Ownership means no one can force you to sell, trade, lose anything of your own. Ownership means you have freedom.

Every attack on capitalism is a demand for murder, slavery and robbery every time forever.
If capitalism ever dies then billions will be murdered to serve the central control Slave Masters.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, April 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

Capitalism is a three-legged invisible griffin.
Nothing more nothing less.
Believe in it.

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By Justin Case, April 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

All slavery is 100% anti-capitalist.
Building capitalism from slavery is the same as building planets from cotton-candy - it is mythical nonsense and in all history has never started or been seen.

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By Justin Case, April 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/paul-vs-paul-post-mortem#comment-2386478

“I refer fellow readers to the period running from the late 1860’s to 1896.

We had no central bank; a.k.a Fed

We had a gold standard.

This period was known as “the gilded age” a period of prosperity unmatched in the US American economy. For example, between 1865 and 1898, the output of wheat increased by 256%, corn by 222%, coal by 800% and miles of railway track by 567%. During the 1870s and 1880s, the U.S. economy rose at the fastest rate in its history, with real wages, wealth, and GDP inceasing rapidly.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilded_Age

“According to Krugman this isn’t possible without a central bank and fiat ponzinomics.”

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By Justin Case, April 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

It’s no cop-out Foucouldian, it’s the truth. It’s core human nature at all times in history to want things others have but do no work to get them - greed.
We have a built-in repair mechanism: intellect. We have a larger system built from it that fights it: capitalism.

“Notice how hard Justin Case has to sell a bad idea.”
I’m trying barely at all, and I’m selling no bad ideas. I simply demand my right to own things and to decide their value for consenting trade. I don’t want to tell you how to run your life. I want you to be powerless to rob me of my property and my decisions of value of what I own. It’s not up to you to tell me my house is worth 2 cows, 20 cows, 1800 gold bars or a nickel. It’s up to me. You decide on YOUR house and I will not interfere.

That’s capitalism.

I’m not a libertarian, by the way, vector56.

“the Foxconn workers who generate “Billions” of dollars in wealth for Apple, Dell Hp… every year are obviously not allowed to keep the “wealth” they have generated, therefore they are not free?”
They are not free and it isn’t capitalism. Those workers should try to escape by any means and anyone stopping them, their slave-masters, should be stopped by any means necessary.

Apple & Foxconn are VERY MUCH ANTI-CAPITALIST.

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By Justin Case, April 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

“As RP alluded, the problem is The Fed’s monopoly on currency. Let the settlement of debts be decided by the parties involved. Let currencies live or die on merit, not fiat.”
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/paul-vs-paul-post-mortem#comment-2386519

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By Justin Case, April 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

“It takes millions of bad decisions in a decentralized economy to ruin things.

It takes only one bad decision in centralized economy to ruin things.

And I hate single points of failure.  “
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/paul-vs-paul-post-mortem#comment-2386532

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By Foucauldian, April 30, 2012 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

“It’s in the DNA.”    Justin Case

A cop-out, an in-built mechanism to explain failure,
part and parcel of every ideology.

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By Ed Romano, April 30, 2012 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

Good Morning Comrades, The Relection For The Day in this mornings newspaper is ....We all start from radical ignorance in a world that is endlessly strange…so my thoughts naturally turned to our resident Oracle, Justin. Here are a couple of quotes I found for him to store in his arsenal.
  ” Open Fire ! ” Nelson Rockefeller, Republican Governer of New York to the guards at Attica prison   on how to handle mostly unarmed prisoners.
  ” Squash the bastards.” Richard Nixon speaking of thousands of protesters outside the White House protesting his secret bombing of neutral countries.
  ” Who Me ? ” Ronald Reagan when it was discovered he had set up a secret group of thugs in the basement of his house to circumvent the laws of the land.
  “Food is a weapon.” Earl Butz, Secretary of Agriculture under Richard Nixon.
  ” People think we’re in business to make automobiles. We’re not. We’re in business to make money, and we’ll do whatever it takes. ” President of General Motors in the 1960’s.
    Okay Justin, we’re all waiting for your latest gems.

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By vector56, April 30, 2012 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

Notice how hard Justin Case has to sell a bad idea.  Anyone with half a brain can see right through this transparent person pushing standard Libertarian talking points.

Just Case like most Libertarians equates “freedom” to “keeping what you earn”; the Foxconn workers who generate “Billions” of dollars in wealth for Apple, Dell Hp… every year are obviously not allowed to keep the “wealth” they have generated, therefore they are not free?

I agree with Ed Romano, pure unchecked Capitalism expressed itself in America for 200 years in the form of Human Slavery; anti-Freedom.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, April 30, 2012 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

Layfeyette, you say, “America has always had a pioneering spirit of individualism”.

Consider this is a euphamistic way of saying, America has always had a number of prominent at least loud voices screaming “I’ll get mine and to hell with everybody else”. 

The melting pot never really boiled.  WE don;t think we need tend ‘the common good’.

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By Justin Case, April 30, 2012 at 2:58 am Link to this comment

http://youtu.be/Cdiz0k0Rudw John Best. Pretty much. Take it as you will, people, but you shouldn’t be surprised at the kind of comments coming out of that one.

If you so much as begin to intimate that there is an actual good and evil, good guys and bad guys, he’ll say there’s no such thing and demand as proof that you be forced to watch your family tortured until you do whatever you’re told to do, as if that could somehow prove your own level of culpability to any actions thereafter.

One very, very sick evil puppy.

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By Justin Case, April 30, 2012 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/11/why-marxism-always-fails
Why Marxism Always Fails
Nov 16, 2010
Elizabeth Scalia
_____
http://www.endofinnocence.com/2010/04/communism-vs-free-markets-at-plymouth.html
End of Innocence: Communism vs. Free Markets at Plymouth Rock and Jamestown
“You should be very eager to know which system failed them initially, and which radically different system saved them.

According to their original governing document, the Mayflower Compact, they shared everything produced by any one of them – from each according to his ability – to each according to his need. The result was that only a small percentage of them worked hard, and the rest were freeloaders to varying degrees.”

“Then, in the spring of 1623, the surviving colonists decided to let each person keep the fruits of his labor, and the colony’s total output increased so much that they were never hungry again.

Communism was killing the colonists at Plymouth Rock, and by switching to a free market system, they became more productive and saved themselves – in a single growing season”

SO WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

“In 1623, the colonists were still growing food on parcels of land that were reassigned by random lots each year, which they astutely observed was a disincentive for each farmer to make permanent improvements to his parcel of land because in the following year, someone else would inherit the fruits of any labor he devoted to improvements. Therefore, in 1624, they adopted full property rights where everyone owned the land he worked, and the result was another productivity boost.”
____
Property rights & capitalism are the source of all life.

You are so very welcome for being graced with this wisdom.

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By Justin Case, April 30, 2012 at 2:51 am Link to this comment

It matters very much how many people agree with me, Ed - you lose all credibility from 2 angles. Angle 1 is that others agree with me. Angle 2 is that my points are provable through history and logic - evidence.

Ed, you have never once proven anything is wrong that I said. You only ever have had tantrums or paused to ask a question as if you meant to learn something - then had another tantrum.

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By Justin Case, April 30, 2012 at 2:48 am Link to this comment

“You’re being simplistic, and ideological, equating
capitalism with productive capacity even if, for
argument’s sake”

These are comments, not book-writing competitions.

I’m not being ideological whatsoever, just sticking with the base definitions and critical facts. Elaborate where needed but if one states the precise opposite of capitalism or communism expect to be corrected.

The bottom line is that exploitation and greed have no origin in capitalism. These are core human nature traits and even if no human ever learned language much less capitalism you’d see the same greed, the same exploitation. It’s in the DNA.

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By Foucauldian, April 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

It doesn’t matter, Justin, how many people happen to
agree with you.  It counts for naught.

You’re being simplistic, and ideological, equating
capitalism with productive capacity even if, for
argument’s sake, there is a positive correlation
between the capitalist mode of production and
efficiency.  Other factors are at play as well. 
It’s arguable that a slave-based economy was just as
efficient in the agrarian South, or the labor camps
run by the Germans, even the German state in the
thirties as it was preparing itself for the war
effort:  and those aren’t examples of capitalism at
work.

In the purist sense, capitalism has to do with the
organization of production, and the communist idea
is one whereby the workers have ample say when it
comes to sharing the fruits of their labor.  Barring
that, capitalism is trading on exploiting labor in
order to generate profit.  It’s this aspect of
capitalism which is morally objectionable, nothing
else, efficiency being a by-product. 

But then again, if efficiency is to serve as the
highest goal, you may as well argue on behalf of
slave-based labor, both in agriculture and industry.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, April 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

He could have expanded on this quote,
“The problem facing humanity today—especially those taking to the streets in protest—is an economic system that encourages and rewards greed…...”

Perhaps ‘greed’ is when a person want more then they have any moral right to.  Yup, that’s a can of worms, it is what it is. 

Our thinking has been pushed far, far from considering what is reasonable relative to our contribution.  Just watch how difficult it becomes to ‘go there’ and discuss in a forum such as this.  And watch how easy it is to get de-railed, sidetracked by someone with a disruptive goal.  We no longer have the language and tenacity, let alone the morality or philosophical dedication to discuss ‘value’.  WE throw our hands up in the air and say ‘the market will sort it out’, and in the meantime the greedy get empowered to steal your retirement and health-care.

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By Ed Romano, April 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

Justin, You’re a clown in these forums. That’s the part you’ve chosen to play, and you play it very well.
But don’t think for a moment that anyone with more than half a brain is influenced by any of your brain droppings

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By Justin Case, April 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

Obviously, Ed, quite a few other people reading, and commenting, agree with what I wrote. I was, part of the time, merely agreeing with those other people.
You can of course choose to read for real and learn something. Or perhaps you can review my comment for excessive use of commas in place of gravitas.

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By Ed Romano, April 29, 2012 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

Vector, You probably know that if you type Zizeki’s name into your search engine a ton of great stuff comes up….I am thankful to Truthdig for introducing me to this writer…...It was a long time coming, but,in my old age,I’m finally beginning to sense that change is on the horizon. One of the indications of this is,I think, that in order to maintain its perogatives…capitalists, and their political agents, have to continually move to the right. The pace of this movement today is actually astounding. And the further they move in that direction the more they awaken the sleeping giant.  Onward.

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By Ed Romano, April 29, 2012 at 6:30 am Link to this comment

Justin., That’s a lie….not sure exactly what it is you wrote…most of your stuff is illogical to the point of inanity…but you did say something…. I’m pretty sure….you were using the alphabet ...so I know whatever it was is a lie. I only say this in honor of the truth of which I am an all seeing master, and aren’t you lucky to have me , you little liar you.

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By Justin Case, April 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

http://youtu.be/R0Gag8rvYF8 Crisis of Socialism in Europe, not of Capitalism

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By Justin Case, April 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette : you hit the nail right on the head.
wpmiller : you missed the mark entirely. Greed is never ever about ignorance. A greedy person always knows 100% precisely what they want - it happens to be someone else’s property. That’s what makes it greed instead of ambition. An ambitious person produces or invents the desired object(s) or trades easier-made objects for the desired-object. That’s not greedy.

“for eons we had communism or communal living. in such a structure of society ” - balkas
NO, no we did not. We had a kind of socialism and capitalism mixed through all human history. Never communism.

The one core rule of Communism is that everyone MUST Be forced to be “equal” - destroy the extra production of the more-productive people or take it away by force. IF you don’t do that you are absolutely an Enemy of Communism.

vector56 - You “true believers” in Capitalism will always claim, “hey, our system works, they just didn’t implement it in the right way!”
NO - you were told and you will be told again - any time you claim you know what capitalism is you are lying EXCEPT If you admit capitalism is ONLY THE CONSENTING TRADE of property PRODUCED and OWNED by those in the market. Anything else is not Capitalism and any real use of capitalism has ALWAYS Been the foundation of all life and all freedom in all eras of history recorded in every language ever known to human-kind.

“Proponents of capitalism assume an individual knows what is best for them in their own circumstance.  Proponents of centrally controlled markets assume an elite group knows what’s best for everyone. ” - IMax
YES, you nailed it right on the head IMax. People could learn a lot from you instead of sticking to highly ignorant cult-mentalities.

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By Justin Case, April 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment

“The analyis of capitalim as an unfit system on which to base human society has nothing to do with proposals to replace it.”
Ed, that’s a lie.
This is the truth.
Capitalism is nothing more and nothing less than the right to produce what you need for yourself, and to trade the rest in a 100% consenting situation.
Everything else is a lie.
There is only one replacement for capitalism: murder.
Every deviation from capitalism requires that you enslave people to take what they produce while trading nothing. There is no 3rd choice. Never has been. Never will be.

You can layer de-centralized socialism on top of Capitalism so you do both at the same time.
A world without capitalism is a world of slave-murder and slave-harvesting. Never anything else.

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By Justin Case, April 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm Link to this comment

“Capitalism amplifies and drives greed to the point of consuming everything it touches, including itself”
“First, let us not blame people and their attitudes: the problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corrupt.”

Absolute drivel. Capitalism is the source of all production and all life. Every time a person plants a garden but sells some of it, that’s capitalism. Every time a person extracts energy to sell to people so they don’t freeze and can make coffee, this is highly moral, anti-corruption capitalism.

The very core of capitalism is the very core of destroying fraud - it is production.
The very core of fraud is anti-capitalism - it is the nature of a human being even if no capitalism had ever existed - the desire to steal and destroy. Any time you’re not stealing and not destroying, you’re a capitalist. Any time you’re stealing or destroying you are Enemy #1 of Capitalism.

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By vector56, April 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Ed Romano; Well said!


Richard Wolff lays out in detail why Capitalism is the problem: (“When Capitalism hits the fan”).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZU3wfjtIJY

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By Ed Romano, April 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Whenever the capitalist system is criticized the friends of the vampires always raise the spectre of communism. Why is it so difficult to understand that because person can see… that everything capitalism lays its dead hand hand turns cancerous doesn’t necessarily mean they are a communist? The analyis of capitalim as an unfit system on which to base human society has nothing to do with proposals to replace it. Before THAT debate can begin we must first admit that we have a problem in the first place.
  The problem with current movements of civic unrest is not that people are revolting. The problem is that collectively we haven’t had the brain power to figure out that NOTHING is going to change if we continue to petition the capitalist political system for redress.
  Band aids do nothing to alleviate cancer.

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By vector56, April 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

“You’ve got communist buddies? That says it all ... they are past masters in the populist-polemics of agitprop. “

Lafayette;

“Kill a Commie for Mommy”?

Your Capitalist “buddies” have taken the lives of “millions” whose only crime was that they had the balls to choose a different economic system other than Capitalism!

For the record: Communism is pure unadulterated Economic Democracy!


I agree with Zizek, we need to try another system.

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By diamond, April 27, 2012 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

The CEO of Merrill Lynch was paid $900,000,000 (no, that’s not a typo) up until the collapse of the company. After that he was paid $151,000,000 walking around money to take a hike. There is no link between performance and pay, NONE. What you have is a club made up of financial predators who throw money around in a reprehensible, unconscionable and destructive way. The problem is that according to their perverted rules the more you throw money around this way the ‘smarter’ and more ‘successful’ you are. Their values are completely warped and people need to wake up and understand that this is what capitalism actually is, and that this kind of behavior is not an aberration but part of the nature of capitalism itself - which is why it has to be regulated. The idea that it can or will police itself and that the ‘market’ has to be allowed to destroy entire nations because regulation is a sin has created a wild west scenario which is now a threat to civilization itself.

Robert Harvey called his book ‘The Return of the Strong: The Drift to Global Disorder’. He wrote it in 1995 but every horror he predicted has come to pass and also some horrors even he couldn’t have imagined. Appalled as he was by what had happened in the eighties under Reagan and Thatcher he couldn’t have imagined that the world would stand by and actually let the global economy fall off a cliff and then refuse to regulate to prevent it happening again. Roosevelt must be spinning in his grave.

“Laissez faire capitalism has not yet existed.”

Kindly pass the vomit bag. You are like the soviet diehards who called for purer and better communism and more gulags to drive home the point. You are calling for purer and better open slather capitalism and then you talk about ethics? Ethics and open slather capitalism are like oil and water - they don’t mix. How many times does history have to prove this before you get the message?

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By gerard, April 27, 2012 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

balkas:  Not to contrarify further, but your ” some ethical struggle occurred in their minds, but dishonesty prevailed. Rare is the person who chooses doing the right thing when there is conflict between
money and honesty. Money wins almost every time.” A cliche that almost everybody believes which is not true when you stop to think.
  Millions—billions of people live 365 days out of every year of their lives making moral choices, not money choices—bearing and rearing children, managing to put food (often not enough) on the table) without stealing, doing kind things to help each other for no pay, etc. All this work and care is motivated by sheer civility, and not a penny changes hands. The profit (huge) is in mutual happiness.
  Business is the Grant Messer-Upper—capitalistic business being the worst because it not only allows but encourages extreme injustice by which a very few are allowed to “make money making money” ad nauseum—a process which appeals to relatively few because most people know it is evil and are therefore deliberately not interested beyond the level of necessity plus a bit for a “rainy day,” so to speak.
  Business as we know it has learned to produce everything including “rainy days” via mass production and exploitation of land, water, air and even of God Hisself via promoting religious conficts.
  This may seem a twisted “take” on our situation—but try straightening it out, and you’ll see.
  To sum up:  Many are those who “choose honesty (and love and duty) over money. Only a few people choose money uber alles, and money enables them to buy both “security and securities” at other people’s expense. Even when they “share”, their sharing is not uncorrupted by ulterior motives. What a life!

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By balkas, April 27, 2012 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

don’t relish being contrarious, but ike had been wrong about MIC.
MIC is only a symptom of a disease; however, does act—like all other symptoms
[causes-efects]—in its turn as a cause-effect.
did ike know this fact? i suggest he did. and to avoid being cursed for an eternity
by gazillions of people, he decided to pull one over many people. that’s what
blaming a mere symptom—and only one, to boot, represents.
and ike’s not the only one who pulled one over on people—-many presidents have
done that.
so, some ethical struggle occurred in their minds, but dishonesty prevailed. rare is
the person who chooses doing the right thing when there is conflict between
money and honesty.
money wins almost every time.

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By Lafayette, April 27, 2012 at 4:11 am Link to this comment

THE DEVIL’S HANDIWORK

sb: But when the public is taxed and requested to fight wars for the benefit of all;  doesn’t there exist a reasonable limit as to the concentrations of wealth, in ones society, that leave many without the resources necessary to also compete and Contribute?

Which is due to the fact that we did not listen well to Ike’s parting remarks about the M-I-C. Who knew better the problem than we, having worked directly with the M-I-C during WW2.

It’s a terrible beast that gobbles billions upon billions of dollars so that America should police the world.

Which makes one think, why in heaven’s name should we do so? And a typical response is, “Well if Americans want to drive cars with high gas consumption, then the country must protect its supplies”.

Which leaves us where? With the thought that we must unhook our dependence upon the combustion engine and the carbon-molecule. And what does that mean? It means the demise of BigOil, BigGas and BigCoal.

Meaning companies that will fight tooth ‘n nail to maintain the profit-generating status-quo - which is why they funded the campaigns of both Bush the Father and Bush the Son.

And we, the sheeple, stoopidly elected both of them. Remember, the buck stops at the election booth.

My point is simple - when you get into the details of most economic challenges, the matter always traces back to either the lack of proper market oversight (in America) or too much market intervention (as in Europe).

Americans must learn to elect a smarter class of politician who are not beholden to Vested Interests. To do that, we need critically to change the electoral system.

I do not want starving neighbors or neighbors so beneath my walls that they disdain my presence and hope for my demise and cannot afford to learn productive talents and mutually valuable values.

You are not alone in that wish - but likely in the wrong country.

America has always had a pioneering spirit of individualism. And we expect individualism to be rewarded - with riches if necessary and with great riches if possible.

One must look to Europe where the Money Factor is less important - largely because Social Democrat parties throughout have tamed better Vested Interests.

Namely by higher taxation of incomes (both marginal and capital gains) and higher expenditures on Public Services - the latter enhancing the well-being of All Citizens.

To understand that simple fact, look at the OECD data here. The US spends about 26% of its GDP on Social Services where 10% is private (philantropic) and 16% Public. France spends 32% of GDP on Social Services, whilst only 3/4% is philanthropic.

Do we really want a nation dependent upon philanthropy for our well-being, or should we concentrate on higher-taxation of upper incomes that provide the tax-revenues with which to assure an Egalitarian Society?

No, we cannot have the latter in America - because it is “socialist” and therefore the Devil’s Handiwork. Which is crass ignorance as a belief.

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By Lafayette, April 27, 2012 at 1:33 am Link to this comment

vec56: You “true believers” in Capitalism will always claim, “hey, our system works, they just didn’t implement it in the right way!” Kinda sounds like what my Communist buddies say about the old USSR?

The above comment is an agitprop non-sequitur devoid of any rational whatsoever.

You’ve got communist buddies? That says it all ... they are past masters in the populist-polemics of agitprop.

Which shows in your comment.

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By Lafayette, April 27, 2012 at 1:26 am Link to this comment

LIFE’S VICISSITUDES

Zizek: First, let us not blame people and their attitudes: the problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corrupt.

Yeah, right - tantamount to the kid who tells his teacher, “My dog ate my homework!”

It aint MY fault! No one wants to take the blame, but Zizek insists it is that of the bankers.

What is banking, after all? What is a bank? These are key questions if you want to blame banking for all our present economic woes. Even greed …

A bank is a repository for value, monetary value – in the form of money, equity values and interest-bearing debt. It is a repository for yours, mine, our nation’s - and, yes, even the bank’s total asset values.

What does a bank do? It accumulates our money, consolidates accounts and then tries to make a dollar in return for their effort.  It does so in two manners, one Commercial and the other Risk Investment. The Commercial manner is making a fee off the fact that it is a money repository, the Risk Investment manner is based upon speculation.

All banks in the world work in the above manner. If you want a bank to be simply Commercial, then a country must establish such a charter and – abracadabra – banks will not be allowed to speculate with your money. 

(Besides, the FDIC already protects your accounts up to a certain level - but why should we allow banks to risk that insured money? After all, who is the ulitmate insurer behind the FDIC? We, the sheeple, who pay taxes.)

In fact, this is a pretty good idea as a by-product venture of the United States Postal Service which has offices nationwide, in every nook and cranny. (Not my Brilliant Idea, btw, but employed in most European countries since a donkey’s age.)

So, to avoid speculative Risk Investment banking, why cannot the US government charter the Post Office to open up simple bank accounts, with highly limited credit facilities (that is, usage limited to your account credit balance for a modest interest)?

Ditto if the PO-bank wanted to sell Fannie-Mae type mortgages to highly-qualified customers with good credit-worthiness that is corroborated by means of an in-depth evaluation of one’s Net Indebtedness?

MY POINT? - 1

Glass-Steagall taught us a thing or two about banking that even bankers did not understand. That there are limits to what bankers can do to leverage profits by means of speculation employing our bank account credit balances. We should get back to those latter-day values, which almost certainly most people want of guardians of their Net Worth.

Zizek has missed the point about greed in his intellectual effort to find a culprit. By raising Total Income Taxation to a confiscatory level beyond some hallucinogenic amount of annual income, we can neuter the Greed-Instinct. It’s as simple as that. (Except, or course, for our Replicant friends who will have none of it.)

MY POINT? - 2

After all, Net Worth is the single-most factor determining our Well-Being because it assures that we can function within a familial existence safeguarded from life’s vicissitudes.

Tell me it isn’t so ...

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By gerard, April 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

Surfboy:  Plastic surgeons!  Now there’s an idea.  They ought to fit right in with the system of plastic health care we have now, the plastic knee-caps that don’t fit quite right and cause excrutiating pain in an unfortunate minority of cases.  Then there’s those accursed plastic pill containers that you have to both push and pull at the same time to get the tops off—or in a fit of rage, try to locate a pair of pliers.

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By gerard, April 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

wpiller:  Your insight planted another insight:
  Oddly, most appetites which human beings experience are self-limiting; they “shut down automatically.” 
  Hungry?  Eat till you are satisfied, more or less, but beyond a certain point (often “too much”, more often “too little)—you “can’t” eat any more.
  Thirsty?  Likewise.Too much and you pass out or drown, depending upon the medium.
  Sickness? Either self-cure, witchcraft or medicine up to a point but not beyond—and you get well. Or die.
  Clothes? Beyond a certain point, you have “enough” and can’t wear more or less than “enough” or you are too hot or too cold.
  Reading, running, listening, making love, writing comments—sooner or later you “get enough” and quit.
  Laughing, crying: Eventuallly both states “play themselves out"and you quit because you want to quit.
  Swim, run, play golf: You get tired and quit.
  But with making money,getting rich,  there isn’t any self-limiter to turn you off by signalling
“enouogh already.”  Like an endlessly programmed fiend, you go on and on, get richer and richer, and become the victim to endless single-mindedness, often boredom and/or mania.  There’s never enough. Your only freedom to escape from the trap is death.  Be glad you’re not a victim of “the disease which has no cure.”
  Maybe we should “treat” greed as an illness, and try to find or create a “cure.”???

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By wpmiller, April 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

I had an insight regarding “greed”. It is commonly treated as a primary moral
failing - and a discussion-ender: people are greedy and they ought to be less
greedy.  Where do you go from there?

However upon deeper thought, greed is essentially a matter of ignorance—
people who don’t know really what they want. Whatever they are doing is not
satisfying their need, yet lacking clarity on this, they can only persist in the
unsuccessful strategy, hoping it will somehow eventually succeed.

Unfortunately, these are ideal conditions for capitalism because people can then
be led hither and yon by advertising and cultural fads in a frantic and endless
pursuit to attain satisfaction. The result? Capitalism’s most important product: the
eternal consumer.

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By balkas, April 26, 2012 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

for eons we had communism or communal living. in such a structure of society
and governance [even nongovernance and absence of govts is still a structure] all
people in a settlement or village ate to full or equally shared in the food they
picked or caught.
all received education [via lore, guidance/tutoring/etc]healthcare; ALL males
defended with equal vigor and respect ALL of their people.
will such structures ever be restored? i think, yes!

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By vector56, April 26, 2012 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

“Mr. Zizek lacks the background to even understand the
term “Capitalism”,

RaySunshine; your condescending attitude seems to be part of the problem. You “true believers” in Capitalism will always claim, “hey, our system works, they just didn’t implement it in the right way!” Kinda sounds like what my Communist buddies say about the old USSR?


While I agree with you concerning Glass-Stegall; I disagree that our Capitalist system has ever been stable. At best their has been a 10 period between “boom and bust”!

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By IMax, April 26, 2012 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

Free trade (capitalism) allows every human-being an opportunity to produce, sell, purchase, consume, share and disregard any product or service they desire.  In a genuine free trade atmosphere human potential is unleashed.

Free trade places the exact correct amount of meat, vegetables, toilet-paper, toothpaste, tires and shoelaces at the easy and affordable disposal of consumers in every nation, state, town and hamlet where free people are allowed to flourish.

Proponents of capitalism assume an individual knows what is best for them in their own circumstance.  Proponents of centrally controlled markets assume an elite group knows what’s best for everyone.

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By RaySunshine, April 26, 2012 at 5:59 am Link to this comment

Mr. Zizek lacks the background to even understand the
term “Capitalism”, and like Ayn Rand and Alan
Greenspan seems to associate it with the absence of
morality and regulation.
American Capitalism became corrupt when Glass-Stegall
was repealed and banks were given a monopoly on
aggregating capital from the American public.  The
banks no longer had to compete for capital with
broker-dealers, and small brokers were “fined” out of
business when the SEC relinquished control over
regulation of broker-dealers to the NASD (now FINRA). 
The SEC also killed small business development with
the adoption of the Penny Stock Reform Act, which not
only made it virtually impossible to trade stocks
trading at less than $5.00, but also made the SEC a
“self-interested party” in levying & collecting
fines.  The Penny Stock Reform Act coupled with the
SEC’s definition of “Accredited Investor” deprived
the American public of access to investing in new
companies, i.e. at “wholesale”, and relegated those
with less than a $1 Million net worth to investing in
the market, i.e. at “retail”.
The net result of the changes described above
effectively eliminated the flow of capital to start-
up and junior companies, the very companies that
create new jobs.  Soon, it was easier to start-up a
company in the Euro zone than in the U.S.!!
Big Brokers controlling FINRA in cooperation with the
SEC’s policies, together with the elimination of
Glass-Steagall as the result of Greenspan’s
conversion to Ayn Rand’s view of capitalism’s ability
to police itself broke the system!
I speak as a former staff member at the SEC’s
Division of Corporation Finance and having created
American jobs representing small companies for over
30 years.  All of these changes, coupled with
outsourcing of jobs to operate more efficiently as
demanded by Wall Street, broke “American Capitalism”
that was providing capital to new companies and
creating American jobs!  These events also rendered
Keynsian Economics ineffective, and it is Obama’s
lack of experience in such matters that left him to
staff his administration with Keynsian economists,
Goldman Sachs graduates and Mary Shapiro at the SEC,
regrettable appointments all, as they are all doing
the bidding of Wall Street and Big Business!!!

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By vector56, April 26, 2012 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

“When you live alone in the woods you “capitalize” on your talents and the resources around you or you die. “

Surfboy’s above comment reveals something about Capitalist and Libertarians that Slavoj Zizek and Howard Zinn have both brought up in the past. Capitalism at it’s core is “anti-community”.

“When you live alone in the woods”.

Most humans being “social” animals do not live alone in the woods; they dwell in “communities”.

Again, Howard Zinn warned that the goal of the Corporate culture is to convince us that we do “live alone in the woods” (divide us) to destroy any sense of “community” and solidarity!

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By a f, April 25, 2012 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem is neither capitalism nor selfishness. 

First, the problem is morality.  Morality is consistent with selfishness and capitalism, however, “what” one seeks to obtain, and “how” one obtains it must be in accord with a proper moral code.  That is, use of force, coercion, fraud, deception, or other illegitimate methods in capitalism is immoral.  Some do not understand this concept and believe that moral selfishness requires that one pursues whatever he desires and in any manner he desires it.

Second, when Slavoj Zizek refers to capitalism, he is not referring to pure capitalism or laissez faire capitalism, but rather mixed capitalism, where government exercises control over certain aspects of the economy, monetary policy, and fiscal policies.  Intervention has not been beneficial, but has only created inflation and other economic problems.

Laissez faire capitalism has not yet existed.  Yet, with proper moral guidance, laissez faire capitalism would allow businesses to function at maximum efficiency, while no government intervention in monetary policy would reduce inflation (provided the dollar is backed by the gold standard).

Men should not seek to reverse their progress by striving toward socialistic or communistic goals, but rather strive toward greater economic freedom and proper business ethics.

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By vector56, April 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

If the Mafia were given the task of designing an economic system from the ground up it would look a lot like the Capitalist system we now live under.

Yes, I get it; people are narrow minded and self centered. Just as popular corporate culture defaults to our “base” instincts to appeal to the widest possible consumer groups the very structure of our society seems to have been designed the same way.

Howard Zinn noticed that corporate culture has worked very hard to convince “citizens” to trade their citizenship to become “consumers”. As you know Consumers exist only to feed their corporate masters.

I agree that any “grand scheme” that would shift the game in any direction other than what we have now will bring about blood shed.

Just as we have “traffic light” that direct our movement while allowing us some degree of freedom our economy needs a set of base-line rules to allow civil society to function.

First, the reestablishment of the “Commons”; public institutions that benefit the society as a whole.
Things that should be public;
Post office
Road & Bridges
Health Care
Education
Prisons

Also I am in favor of a WPA that would act as a “public option” for our labor; allowing the private sector to “compete” for the one asset we workers have of value to them (labor). You say that this would drive up the price of labor? That is the point; to make human labor a “valued” commodity”!

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By gerard, April 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

To tell the truth, most of us don’t know what changes, exactly, are either possible or desireable. Former capitalist orthodoxy has succeeded in prejudicing most of us against any experiments (workable or unworkable) alleged to be “communistic” or “sociaiistic” so that any form of change toward economic justice can easily be alleged to be one of the two bugaboos.
  Those ideologies, where instituted, have themselves made terrible unforeseen mistakes, and those mistakes can be used for further stigmatization, which in turn prevents further experiment to the point where even mild attempts at modifying overblown capitalism are easily prevented by threats and persecution of “whistle-blowers.”
  All protest of the status quo becomes suspect. This brings creative political thought concerning
“liberty and justice for all” to a stalemate before it can even get started. That’s why there’s no working third party, no developed experience of using alternatives to violence for political change, and why attempts toward it are labelled either ineffective or “subversive” as a scare tactic. 
  All this prevents experimentation using frustration to scare activists out of existence if possible. So far, the rigidities of capitalism itself continue to cut off its own nose to spite its face. The sucking sound we all here is the very natural and predictable vacuum left by political thrall.

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By Robespierre115, April 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

“though most Occupiers already seem to know that.” That’s a bit of wishful thinking, most Occupiers I bump into call for a kinder, gentler capitalism.

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