Today’s 1% are squeezing the blood out of the middle class, creating conditions of predictable eco collapse.
In 2009 the American political writer, historian, and culture critic, Michael Parenti wrote that after the overthrow of communist governments in Eastern Europe, capitalism was paraded as the indomitable system that brings prosperity and democracy, the system that would prevail unto the end of history. For him, at that time, it was clear capitalism had yet to come to terms with several historical forces that cause it endless trouble: democracy, prosperity, and capitalism itself, the very entities that capitalist rulers claim to be fostering.
“Capitalist rulers continue to pose as the progenitors of democracy even as they subvert it, not only at home but throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Any nation that is not “investor friendly,” that attempts to use its land, labor, capital, natural resources, and markets in a self-developing manner, outside the dominion of transnational corporate hegemony, runs the risk of being demonized and targeted as “a threat to U.S. national security.” he says.
Normally democracy should have been helping the populace to move toward a more equitable and livable social order, narrowing the gap, however modestly, between the super rich and the rest of us. But as we can see in Great Britain and Belgium the rich got richer, the middle class became reduced in their possibilities, and the poor impoverished moor. According to Parenti as a result of it working too well (?), democracy must be diluted and subverted, smothered with disinformation, media puffery, and mountains of campaign costs; with rigged electoral contests and partially disfranchised publics, bringing faux victories to more or less politically safe major-party candidates.
In the capitalist world we have come to a situation where corporate investors prefer poor populations. They prefer to make use of the rule that poor people would work harder to find a necessary job and would be much afraid to lose their The poorer they are, the harder they will work — for less. The poorer you are, the less equipped you are to defend yourself against the abuses of wealth. In the corporate world of “free-trade,” the number of billionaires is increasing faster than ever while the number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. Poverty spreads as wealth accumulates.
To maximize profits, wages must be kept down. On this, the last ten years the factories spend most of their energy. They did not only want to keep the wages down, they also preferred to see the work done by the minimum of workers. So they reduced their labour force. By doing so even more people got frightened to lose their job and were willing to adjust to the higher demands of their bosses. Though the business forgot that someone has to buy the goods and those services had to be produced. For that, wages must be kept up and people do have to be able to have security of income and enough income to spend. People older than fifty were reduced and by been put aside they had to spend most of their savings to pay for tuition of their kids. Not much was left over to pay for any extras.
After the years press also helped to get a negative idea about the progress of the country and the evolution of work possibilities. There was a chronic tendency toward overproduction of private sector goods and services and under consumption of necessities by the working populace. Therefore many factories came in more difficult situations to be able to give work to their employees.
Not only the United States got inside players, like Ken Lay, who turned successful corporate enterprises into sheer wreckage, wiping out the jobs and life savings of thousands of employees in order to pocket billions. CEO’s making billions and giving bonuses to their higher staff became common ground to live on.
Single-minded profiteering was cool and had become high business, the managers all selfishly pursuing their own ends. Governments let it all happen, mostly having members of parliament being part of the corporates themselves, receiving an extra income as chairman. Parenti says: “Like greedy spoiled brats, they repeatedly get bailed out by the government (some free market!) so that they can continue to take irresponsible risks, plunder the land, poison the seas, sicken whole communities, lay waste to entire regions, and pocket obscene profits.”
“This corporate system of capital accumulation treats the Earth’s life-sustaining resources (arable land, groundwater, wetlands, foliage, forests, fisheries, ocean beds, bays, rivers, air quality) as disposable ingredients presumed to be of limitless supply, to be consumed or toxified at will. As BP has demonstrated so well in the Gulf-of-Mexico catastrophe, considerations of cost weigh so much more heavily than considerations of safety. As one Congressional inquiry concluded: “Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense.””
“Indeed, the function of the transnational corporation is not to promote a healthy ecology but to extract as much marketable value out of the natural world as possible even if it means treating the environment like a septic tank. An ever-expanding corporate capitalism and a fragile finite ecology are on a calamitous collision course, so much so that the support systems of the entire ecosphere—the Earth’s thin skin of fresh air, water, and topsoil—are at risk. It is not true that the ruling politico-economic interests are in a state of denial about all this. Far worse than denial, they have shown outright antagonism toward those who think our planet is more important than their profits. So they defame environmentalists as “eco-terrorists,” “EPA Gestapo,” “Earth day alarmists,” “tree huggers,” and purveyors of “Green hysteria.””
Many of the superrich are not interested in ecology but in filling their pocket even more. Immediate gain for oneself is a far more compelling consideration than a future loss shared by the general public. The social cost of turning a forest into a wasteland weighs little against the immense and immediate profit that comes from harvesting the timber and walking away with a neat bundle of cash. Lots of people do think it is not as bas with nature as some of us want to believe. They do not want to see the problems we encounter already in African countries and place far away from our western co-habitat where we have all luxury and drinking water running at nearly no price with the gallons. We should not worry too much many say, while others say we should take it all and enjoy, because the coming generations surely will find other solutions. Many people rationalise it away: there are lots of other forests for people to visit, they don’t need this one; society needs the timber; lumberjacks need the jobs, and so on.
One of the problems of our greedy capitalist system is that lots of people do not want to see that we do not have centuries or generations or even many decades before disaster is upon us. Ecological crisis is not some distant urgency. Most of us alive today probably will not have the luxury of saying “Après moi, le déluge” because we will still be around to experience the catastrophe ourselves. We know this to be true because the ecological crisis is already acting upon us with an accelerated and compounded effect that may soon prove irreversible. We have now our aperitif with the financial crisis. Fortune has whetted the appetite for still more fortune no matter at which cost for nature. People got more wedded to their wealth than to the Earth upon which they live, more concerned about the fate of their fortunes than the fate of humanity, so possessed by their pursuit of profit as to not see the disaster looming ahead.
Advancing the interests of higher circles, maximizing profits and corporate production, or in the case of government, maximizing surveillance, communication, and military striking power brought down our system which more and more became build on quicksand. Big investors have poured immense sums into nonexistent housing markets and other dodgy ventures, legerdemain of hedge funds, derivatives, high leveraging, credit default swaps, and predatory lending, often not with their own money, but with the savings of those who tried to build up their pension savings or retirement income. Banks became as mean as a dog and lured their clients into buying a pig in a poke.
Among the victims were other capitalists, small investors, and the many workers who lost billions of dollars and Euros in savings and pensions. “Perhaps the premiere brigand was Bernard Madoff. Described as “a longstanding leader in the financial services industry,” Madoff ran a fraudulent fund that raked in $50 billion from wealthy investors, paying them back “with money that wasn’t there,” as he himself put it. The plutocracy devours its own children.” says Parenti.
Michael Parenti thought already in 2009 that free-market corporate capitalism is by its nature a disaster waiting to happen. “Its essence is the transformation of living nature into mountains of commodities and commodities into heaps of dead capital. When left entirely to its own devices, capitalism foists its diseconomies and toxicity upon the general public and upon the natural environment–and eventually begins to devour itself.”
“The immense inequality in economic power that exists in our capitalist society translates into a formidable inequality of political power, which makes it all the more difficult to impose democratic regulations.”
Find Michael Parenti’s books:
Democracy for the Few 9th ed. (Wadsworth, 2010);
“Michael Parenti’s The Face of Imperialism is a powerful, frightening, and honest book. It will be hated by those who run the Empire, and it will be loved by people who are searching for truth amidst the piles of garbage of Western propaganda. Above all, this book will be like a bright spark of hope for billions of men, women, and children who are fighting this very moment for survival, defending themselves against the Empire and against all monstrous faces and masks of imperialism.”
—Andre Vltchek, author of Western Terror: From Potosi to Baghdad
Paradigm Publishers (April 2011)
Imperialisme in de 21ste eeuw
isbn: 9789491297199 · 2012 · paperback (12,5 x 20 cm) – 200p. – oorspr.titel: The Face of Imperialism – uit het Engels vertaald door Jan Reyniers · Uitgerij Epo prijs: € 18.50
Meer info over het boek:
For further information, visit: www.MichaelParenti.org.
A myth is not an idle tale or a fanciful story but a powerful cultural force used to legitimate existing social relations. The interventionist mythology does just that, by emphasizing a community of interests between interventionists in Washington and the American people when in fact there is none, and by blurring over the question of who pays and who profits from U.S. global interventionism.
The mythology has been with us for so long and much of it sufficiently internalized by the public as to be considered part of the political culture. The interventionist mythology, like all other cultural beliefs, does not just float about in space. It must be mediated through a social structure. The national media play a crucial role in making sure that no fundamentally critical views of the rationales underlying and justifying U.S. policy gain national exposure.
- Anti-Crisis anger calling out
- Economics and Degradation
- Ecological economics in the stomach #3 Food and Populace
- Justififiable anger or just anarchism
- Men as God
- Violence or an other way to win
- Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America at war
- Ageing and Solidarity between generations
- Lindau talks and consequences for Belgium and Europe
Over de Nederlandse publicatie: Hoe de rijken de wereld regeren: elite versus Derde Wereld:
- Onderbroeken, vreemdelingen en rechtsstaat
- Schaamte, schaamteloosheid en hebzucht
- Occupy Movement Verzwegen in de media
- Occuppy Acties en Sociaal Engagement
- Tot de 99% of de 53% behorende
- Op straat voor waardigheid #2 Grote broer
- What Capitalists Don’t Know: Without Democracy, Capitalism Dies (Guest Voice) (themoderatevoice.com)
In the 1990s renowned political scientist and author Ben Barber wrote in Jihad vs McWorld that global capitalism was at war with democracy. He was right, of course, and the intensity of that war has only increased since then. Global corporations are battling democracy’s environmental regulations, taxation, labor laws, legislation aimed at fairness or income equality. They are battling democracy’s concern for the long-term survival of community or any values more human than economic.
Predatory capitalism is killing the middle class goose that lays the golden egg. That’s the first danger. Secondly, it is unselfconsciously driving toward unlimited exponential growth that is producing climate change which eventually will lead to social and economic chaos. In the longer term therefore capitalism is killing the eco-system that makes golden geese possible. Finally, in both short and long terms capitalism’s oligarchs and supporters in Congress are fixated on a flimsy free market doctrine. In sum, the crisis of capitalism is created by the fact that today’s oligarchs still understand the world in terms appropriate for the agrarian 18th century, are opposed to regulation as if they were combatting a revolution of the proletariat, and their theoretical doctrine is to return to the simplicity of corporate life in times when monopolies were granted by kings.
Undermining democracy as the plutocrats seem wont to do undermines all values of equality and mutuality and, without these as a restraint, power concentrates, feudalism creeps back, plutocracy takes over and capitalism is itself endangered. Without democracy, the narrative to expect is like that of the Caesars killing the Republic in Rome, or the Medici’s suffocating the Republic in Florence, or communists stamping out the people’s revolution in 20th century Russia. They all tried democracy a little bit. But they then slid into plutocracy and cut themselves off at the knees.
RON BEASLEY says: The problem is that most corporate leaders are sociopaths concerned only with the bottom line this week or this quarter at the most. Peak oil, global climate change – that’s so in the future and there is money to be made now.
- Has capital spending stopped altogether? By John Ballard (June 03, 2012) on http://www.newshoggers.com/
- John Rawls’s Critique of Capitalism (economistsview.typepad.com)
The arguments underlying the idea of a property owning democracy have the potential for resetting practical policy and political debates on more defensible terrain. The core idea is that Rawls believes that his first principle establishing the priority of liberty has significant implications for the extent of wealth inequality that can be tolerated in a just society. The requirement of the equal worth of political and personal liberties implies that extreme inequalities of wealth are unjust, because they provide a fundamentally unequal base to different groups of people for the exercise of their political and democratic liberties. As O’Neill and Williamson put it in their introduction, “Capitalist interests and the rich will have vastly more influence over the political process than other citizens, a condition which violates the requirement of equal political liberties”. A welfare capitalist state that succeeds in maintaining a tax system that compensates the worse-off in terms of income will satisfy the second principle, the difference principle. But in the striking recent interpretations of Rawls’s thinking about a POD, a welfare state cannot satisfy the first principle.
- Pablo Solon: Between ‘green economy’ and the rights of nature (climateandcapitalism.com)
In the period from 1970 to 2008, the Earth System has lost 30% of its biodiversity. In tropical areas, the loss has even been as high as 60%. This is not happening by accident. This is the result of an economic system that treats nature as a thing, as just a source of resources. For capitalists, nature is mainly an object to possess, exploit, transform and especially to profit from.
Instead of recognizing that nature is our home and that we must respect the rights of all members of Earth’s community, transnational corporations are promoting more capitalism under the misleading name of “green economy.”
The whole system is about cheating nature while making profit from it.
Nature has its own rules that govern its integrity, interrelationships, reproduction and transformation and these rules have worked for millions of years. States and society must respect and assure that rules of nature prevail and are not disrupted. This means we need to recognize that our Mother Earth has also rights.
The capitalist system is out of control. Like a virus its going to kill the body that feeds it… it is damaging the Earth System in ways that will make human life as we know it impossible.
- Food sovereignty has a woman’s face (climateandcapitalism.com)
The structural crisis and devastating logic of the capitalist system threatens both nature and the survival humanity as a whole. On a global scale, this system has created endless social, political, economic, and cultural conflicts, along with climate change and the global food crisis that we are facing todayThe need for the industrialized world to reduce its dependence on oil has created an interest in alternatives such as biofuels, which now pose a serious potential threat to our communities, as they begin producing for this new energy market instead of growing food for their own population. Added to this is the financial insecurity of agricultural work, unfair rules imposed by transnational businesses, and false competition with first-world farmers who are heavily subsidized by their countries.
- Guest Post: Is Capitalism Incompatible With Democracy? (zerohedge.com)
Failure and losses are the essential feedback in capitalism which clears the way for success and innovation. Eliminate losses and failure by changing the rules to protect either an Elite or the majority and you doom the system to collapse.
base corruption of the Central State, which is now the dominant force in the economy, allows Elites to change the rules rather than accept failure (also known as losses). Thus we have Crony Capitalism: profits are private and yours to keep, losses are transferred to the taxpaying public.
Once a majority of the voters believe they are entitled to something that is “too good to be true” (housing market bubbles, entitlements that pay 10X what is paid in, etc.) then they will refuse to accept its demise. But that which is unsustainable will go away, one way or another; keep changing the rules to avoid failure and what happens is the “too good to be true” system brings down the entire State, economy and nation.
- | Mainstream Corporate Media and its methods of manipulation! (truthaholics.wordpress.com)
The most common form of media manipulation is suppression by omission. The things left unmentioned sometimes include not just vital details of a story but the entire story itself. Reports that reflect poorly upon the powers that be are least likely to see the light of day. Thus the Tylenol poisoning of several people by a deranged individual was treated as big news, but the far more sensational story of the industrial brown-lung poisoning of thousands of factory workers by large manufacturing interests (who themselves own or advertise in the major media) remained suppressed for decades, despite the best efforts of worker safety groups to bring the issue before the public.
When we understand that news selectivity is likely to favor those who have power, position, and wealth, we move from a liberal complaint about the press’s sloppy performance to a radical analysis of how the media serve the ruling circles with much skill and craft.
- Politics (thatguythatreviewsstuff.wordpress.com)
Capitalism, though popular is destined to fail because the excesses of the rich minority so enrage the poor majority that it really is only a matter of time before the system collapses under its own engorged weight.Communism: Ideally a classless, moneyless social structure where everyone has the same as everyone else. This sounds perfect as a utopian system but sadly is destined to be corrupted by the greed of those in charge. It invariably ends up as a diluted form of monarchy.
it is always rich people doing whatever they like and telling everyone else what is best for them , regardless of whether those people believe them or not.
- The Super Rich Are Out of Sight (seniorsforademocraticsociety.wordpress.com)
The super rich, the less than 1 percent of the population who own the lion’s share of the nation’s wealth, go uncounted in most income distribution reports. Even those who purport to study the question regularly overlook the very wealthiest among us. For instance, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, relying on the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, released a report in December 1997 showing that in the last two decades “incomes of the richest fifth increased by 30 percent or nearly $27,000 after adjusting for inflation.” The average income of the top 20 percent was $117,500, or almost 13 times larger than the $9,250 average income of the poorest 20 percent.
Speaking of CEOs, much attention has been given to the top corporate managers who rake in tens of millions of dollars annually in salaries and perks. But little is said about the tens of billions that these same corporations distribute to the top investor class each year, again that invisible fraction of 1 percent of the population. Media publicity that focuses exclusively on a handful of greedy top executives conveniently avoids any exposure of the super rich as a class. In fact, reining in the CEOs who cut into the corporate take would well serve the big shareholder’s interests.
To grasp the true extent of wealth and income inequality in the United States, we should stop treating the “top quintile” — the upper-middle class — as the “richest” cohort in the country. But to do that, we need to look beyond the Census Bureau’s cooked statistics. We need to catch sight of that tiny, stratospheric apex that owns most of the world.
- Poster Series: What Does Democracy Mean? (crimethinc.com)
Just in time for May Day, we are excited to debut a new line of posters: “What Does Democracy Mean?” [PDFs 700k] Together, the posters explain how democracy depends upon policing, borders, and other institutions of control. Please print, photocopy, and circulate widely!
- What to do about the rich? (philosophersbeard.org)
The rich may be identified by their independence from and command over others. Those two features make being rich very pleasant indeed. But they are also what make the rich bad for democracy, and indeed for capitalism. The problems I’m concerned with are not about justice. Perhaps it is unfair that some people are rich and others are poor, and perhaps it would be fairer to redistribute wealth from rich to poor, and from wealthy countries to poorer countries. But from my perspective that resembles debating the proper (re)arrangement of deck chairs. What I’m concerned with is the sinking ship - the threat the rich pose to liberalism itself by destroying its home: democratic society.
- Half of U.S. households on government dole (wnd.com)
49.1%: Percent of the population that lives in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2011.
- Nearly 30 percent of Wichita households are people living alone (bizjournals.com)
More than a quarter of U.S. households are people living alone, and the rate of people going solo is greater in Wichita.According to the U.S. Census Bureau , there were 235,977 households in the Wichita metro area in 2010, and 69,416 of them were people living alone.
- Attention Nerds: Here’s the Census Bureau API You’ve Been Waiting For (theatlantic.com)
The Census Bureau’s website is as large as Amazon’s or Target’s, with more than 5 million pages, says Stephen Buckner, the head of the Bureau’s Center for New Media and Promotions, which is overseeing the development of the API. It has numbers from both the decennial census and the more-frequent and in some ways richer American Community Survey on population, income, race, age, languages spoken, education, and on and on.
- Census Website Overwhelmed After Releasing 1940 Census Data (shoppingblog.com)
The 1940 census records, which includes over 3.9 million pages, can be found here.
- Interest in 1940 Census Nearly Crashes Website (wdok.radio.com)
There were 37 million hits in the first eight hours yesterday after the government released census figures from 1940.A lot of people want to know about their grandparents and great-grandparents, apparently.
- Islamic regime ‘may have broad appeal’ to Occupiers – WND.com (wnd.com)
A Muslim writer and political analyst who has been published in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Yemen, Libya and Iran says that the concept of an Islamic regime – a caliphate – could have “broad appeal” to Occupy protesters now demanding economic “equalization” in the United States.
- Michael Parenti: The Pathology of Wealth (Alternative Radio Podcast) (guernicamag.com)
As the planet moves closer to environmental catastrophe, the captains of industry, the robber barons of the age, could hardly be bothered. They have more important matters to consider: making money.
Profits uber alles is the guiding mantra. It gets in the way.
- “Are you a capitalist?” – social entrepreneurs respond (blogs.ft.com)
I tend to agree with Christopher Meyer and Julia Kirby, whose book Standing on the Sun points out that capitalism is “only a term for what capitalists tend to believe and do”. They suggest that in time “puzzling exceptions to the pursuit [of financial profit maximisation] – corporate social responsibility, venture philanthropy, sustainability – will be recognised to have a logic consistent with capitalism”. Which would mean that even contrarian “reluctant businessmen” like Yvon Chouinard, the surfing and mountaineering founder of Patagonia, the biggest benefit corporation, are capitalists.
I think we have an opportunity with capitalism to expand [the definition] as opposed to being focused on making money.
- Neoliberalism: Not Just A Financial Crisis But A Crisis Of Democracy (notnumber.wordpress.com)
Democracy is not the same as absence of government. Any meaningful concept of Democracy implies that by participating in democratic processes of government citizens can significantly influence the conditions under which they and their fellow citizens live.
Neoliberals believe in wealthy elites because in the Neoliberal conception of human psychology the competitive acquisition of material wealth is the primary (only significant?) motivating factor of human beings and thus having wealthy elites that the rest of us can ‘aspire’ to join is the crucial motivational mechanism that make the world go round.
Democracy on the other hand means that if the electorate decide that there should be a minimum wage or that individuals and companies should be taxed to pay for free medical care for children or to build a national road network free at the point of use, then these things will happen because the democratic state will carry out the will of the people and make them happen – if necessary by forcing all citizens within the borders of the democratic state to abide by the democratic decisions of the electorate.
free market ideology ultimately takes away the ability of communities and societies to make collective decisions about what we value and what is and isn’t morally acceptable. In a Neoliberal free market society the only thing that can or indeed should, determine what does and does not happen is whether someone can make a profit from it.
Neoliberal free markets are not an alternative to government they are in fact the child of government. Neoliberal free markets simply could not exist without the state to establish the legal framework under which they operate.
modern Capitalism bears little relationship to traditional concepts of ‘trade’, which in any event only developed as a direct result of State intervention.