This is a rough attempt to sketch out what I see as the fundamental problem facing this nation and, therefore, the entire world. In short, capitalism has been elevated to a religion that people are expected to bow before.

Once the Soviet Union collapsed and the United States was essentially unchallenged in the world, there were many directions we could have gone. The path we chose was to initiate a policy of forced capitalism around the world. Acting through the plutocratic components of corporatists and government officials, the United States compelled nations around the world to enter its economic sphere and submit to its economic dominance. For an eye-opening exposition, I strongly recommend Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine. The United States, presented with the greatest opportunity in human history to elevate the human race, chose instead to bilk mankind.

In doing so, the United States shifted internally from a country that used capitalism to run its economy to a nation that served capitalism. In my view, it is quite literally insane for human beings to take an economic system of exchange and declare it sacred. But that is what we have done. We started by doing it to others around the world but now the world is full and we have turned on ourselves.

That is the real cause of the collapse of American society and government. When one looks around the world, one sees ruling classes catastrophically distanced from the masses. That is now so in the United States as well. If the astonishing failure of the Obama Administration proves nothing else, it surely demonstrates beyond doubt that we the American People are no longer being served by our government. The disconnect manifests in myriad ways; on liberal/Democratic blogs, for instance, we have the never-ending Obama Wars where ostensible policy allies are continually at each others’ throats (yours truly one of the foremost offenders) over just how completely the plutocrats have turned on the American People. Some continue to hold out hope that Obama and the Democrats can be reeled back in; others believe that the failure of the Obama Administration proves that the American two-party system has been irrevocably compromised by corporatism. Either way, as long as capitalism is viewed as the people’s master rather than its servant, real progress on the urgent problems we face — declining standards of living, global warming, a rotting economy — cannot be solved.

The solution, I believe, requires a fundamental cultural shift away from valuing money and wealth over everything else. We, as a nation, have decided that the purpose of life is to accumulate things. That has to change and, I believe, there must be a bottom-up revolution in thinking. We must regain our honor and our dignity. We must remember that money isn’t everything and capitalism exists to serve human beings, not the reverse.

We cannot out-money the corporatists and the plutocrats. We must instead recognize the limitations of wealth and change the nature of the struggle by devaluing the plutocrats’ only asset. And we must get organized, because the collective power of the people is the only real counter to the power of the plutocrats. That is why the Right Wing’s primary goal is to destroy all mechanisms for collective action, including government itself. Now that capitalism has been installed throughout the world, the corporatists know that in the absence of countervailing power sources fueled by collective action, the capitalists are omnipotent.

Capitalism and money are merely a system for people to organize the exchange of goods and services. They aren’t gods. Because we treat them as if they are we live in a fantasy world where people are economic units, cogs in the capitalist system, and little more. I am not proposing the end of capitalism. Capitalism is indeed very effective and efficient as a system of exchange.  What I am urging is a return to the sensible view that prevailed in this country after World War II up until the Reagan Era.

Capitalism must be well-regulated to in order to serve the American People. When unchecked, virulent capitalism is loosed and then sanctified, as it now has been in the United States, the American People are capitalism’s slaves.