One of my friends had the chutzpah to suggest that capitalism was good and moral, and that everyone was benefitted by more consumer choices.
I disagree. Capitalism is amoral. OF COURSE a company only works for its investors. Duuhhh, people! Anybody who took, or taught, even one college (or high school AP) economics class knows that.
Read your Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations, 1776). To paraphrase a little, Smith declared that the greatest good individuals can do for their country is each to gain as much as they can for themselves. Personal (and in this and the last century, corporate) acquisition is the greatest good for society, starting with such a premise.
Each unrelenting competitor is turned against every other. Pragmatism-- whatever works to maximize profit-- is the philosophical paradigm. There must be winners and losers. MUST.
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And there must be no let-up in the ever-increasing speed of transactions, and in the ever-increasing phenomenon of GROWTH. The opportunity for each person to become rich beyond their wildest dreams and those of their children and grandchildren (state lotteries; Powerball, MegaMillions-- gamble at any convenience store-- ubiquitous casinos, both physical and online; insane sports salaries) must always be dangled in front of those who are not specifically venture capitalists with the resources to game the system (example: program trading), in order to make all the have-nots think they have a say in this amoral process.
As long as the OPPORTUNITY to become wildly, filthy rich is extended to the hoi polloi, capitalists don't give a hoot in hell what the RESULTS are for the 99+ percent of those who neither win a jackpot nor have the physical talent to play professional sports.
We have socialized gambling in America, but jerk our knees reflexively and suck wind if socialized medicine, or socialized anything, is mentioned in explicit terms, or even veiled ones. Such a disconnect flies right over the heads of the dumbed-down, celebrity-mad, government-terrorized American people.
I am an entrepreneur, perforce, in this society. I'm too old and a little too broken down (though if forced to, I can go out and outwork people half my age in whatever physical labor one wants to choose) and too wise, to be anyone's mere employee.
But I will never use money I make at my profession to invest in the making of more money, and the proceeds of that investment to make MORE money, and so on. My brother, an unabashed investment capitalist, did that-- eventually amassing wealth of some $90,000,000 during the Reagan era-- and eventually capitalists more rapacious than he scooped him out of the CEO chair in his own company. He died worth dimes against those market-inflated dollars.
God rest Peter, and God spare me from any such bad decisions for the rest of my life.
My name is William Perkins Homans the third, but probably more people know me as the bluesman (and artist) Watermelon Slim.
I've been in the fight against war, fascism, injustice and inhumanity for 47 years. I was at MayDay, 1971, and at the moratorium March the week before. I was one of the leaders of the Great New Jersey (more...)