Capitalists continue to dance with the corpse while things fall apart around them
Otto Dix – Skull (1924)
No One Is Dancing Faster with the Corpse of Capitalism than the Rich.
Joe Bageant (1946-2011), an American writer and self-appointed representative of the white underclass wrote that “capitalism is dead, but we still dance with the corpse.” He is certainly right and no one is dancing more furiously than are the rich of our nation.
Considering myself to be a self-appointed aficionado of Internet content and trends, I am happy to report that I see an increasing number of posts on the topics of capitalism and economic ideology–particularly the broken conservative economic neo-liberal ideology of Chicago economist Milton Friedman that has guided the USA, and in fact, world economy, on its current downward spiral of self destruction for the past 50+ years. That collection of myths needs to be laid to rest. The sooner the better.
Root causes of problems can only be identified at the foundation, the underlying cornerstones of the system(s) that guide human activity. Thus, I’m happy to see that more and more people are discussing topics like capitalism and economic ideology because it is at that level and that level only where root causes of problems may be identified and corrected. I have some hope that we may yet correct our course here in the USA.
I just read an article on capitalism that appeared in Firedoglake. [Capitalism Fail]. The author pointed out that in the beginning, capitalism works somewhat well: ”. . .Capitalism works best when the need for a product and/or service pretty much is pretty much equal to the availability of the product and/or service. . .”
However, there is another important requirement for capitalism to continue to work as a viable system: Workers must earn enough wages to enable them to purchase/pay for the products that they make.
And it is this balance of the system that has been severely tipped by the greed of the upper 12%. Workers cannot afford to purchase the products they make (or the products that others make) because most of them are no longer paid living wages. Wages paid to workers over the past 30 years have not kept up with corresponding production.
Actually the majority of U.S. workers have not been able to pay for/purchase these products for at least 20 years now; however, thanks to the banksters and politicians, this inability to pay for the products and services has been masked by credit that they made sure was freely extended in the 1990?s and through the first half of the first decade of the 21st century. Americans covered the gap of affordability by building debt to Wall Street financial institutions.
The Dance of the Rich Capitalists Is Now Approaching the Frenetic Tempo of a Tarantella
Wall Street is selling off assets and firing employees in an effort to continue to falsely inflate the value of their stock and reward their wealthy investors. In other words, there is a whole lotta shell-shuffling going on. They still look good–on paper, for now. In the long term, it is a finite solution that is doomed to failure. This is just one of the many reasons why I think it is a good idea for Americans to take their money out of Wall Street and invest it in their local economies.
What is the solution? Bring Balance to the Economy by Paying Workers a Living Wage.
There are many things that can be and should be done to correct this situation. However, all these solutions have at their heart the issue of restoring balance to our economic system starting with compensation paid to workers. Until that balance is restored, little will improve. As you can see from the chart below, while productivity has steadily increased, compensation for the labor that generated this productivity is flat-lined for a period of 30 years.
This chart makes liars of those who claim that American workers are “lazy.” American workers are not lazy. Productivity is not the issue. Adequate wage and compensation are the issues. To restore balance and thus keep the capitalistic system, the owners are going to have to bite the bullet and pay workers a living wage, or deal with a radically new economic system crafted by the majority.
In the USA today, a worker who works a 40 hour week at minimum wage does not even earn enough money to pay the rent for a one-bedroom apartment in any major city in our nation.