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When people start to ask questions

from David Ruccio

poor

Marx, it seems, just won’t go away.

According to Charles Moore in the Wall Street Journal,

When things go backward in nations accustomed to middle-class stability, people start to ask questions. What is the use of capitalism if its rewards go to the few and its risks are dumped on the many? The rights of property do not seem so enticing if the value of what you own collapses or if that property is trapped by debt. What is so great about globalization if it means that the products and services you offer are undercut by foreign competition and that millions of new people can come to your country, take your jobs and enjoy your welfare benefits?

Great international banks and other corporations—and their top executives—can devise a life that escapes normal tax jurisdictions. Their successes are globalized and accrue chiefly to them; their failures crawl back home to die, at the expense of the rest of us.

So instead of feeling that it is a privilege to be an ordinary citizen of a free country, many of us start to feel a bit like suckers. Hope—the inseparable companion of progress—fades and is replaced by disappointment, even bitterness. It has always been understood that opportunity carries some price of insecurity, but what happens if insecurity rises and opportunity contracts?

Moore warns that, if Western countries can’t disprove Marx’s “dire forecasts” about a growing gap between the haves and have-nots, capitalism is going to be in trouble. In fact, he concedes,

Marx did have an insight about the disproportionate power of the ownership of capital. The owner of capital decides where money goes, whereas the people who sell only their labor lack that power. This makes it hard for society to be shaped in their interests. In recent years, that disproportion has reached destructive levels, so if we don’t want to be a Marxist society, we need to put it right.

  1. September 29, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    What we have in Western countries is not capitalism (respect for private property) but state socialism. The state takes lots of money from the capitalist middle class through taxes, gives welfare to the poor and gives subsidies, tax concessions, anti-union powers, bailouts to corporations and banks (which pay little tax). True capitalism, small businesses and the middle class are being systematically destroyed. That’s why there is economic stagnation and eventually Keynesian collapse. Marx is irrelevant.

  2. Macrocompassion
    September 29, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    It all depends on what you mean by the part of our macro-economy known as capitalism.

    The definition I employ is about the various activities with which capitalism is involved. I think that what ever way this definition goes, one can see that capitalism is necessary and that when looking for a scapegoat for the poor functioning and unjust distribution of wealth within our macro-economics system, one needs to go outside capitalism and include two more of the 6 functional entities of which the Big Picture comprises. These 6 entities are: Householder, Government, Producer, Capitalist, Finance Institution (to include the banks) and Landlords.

    It is only the greed and socially unjust behavior of the last two entities aided by current laws from the Government, that are responsible–in other words we should not blame the capitalist part of the system for our problems. This raises the question as to whether capitalism is itself a system or more simply the functional things in which a capitalist indulges?

    • antireifier
      September 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      So you seem to suggest that Capitalists are mediators or intermediators for the others? That goes in the face of evidence which suggests otherwise. They are the determinants of the policies the others operate under. They also may overlap with some of the other categories. Also as a landlord, i know that your characterization of them is wrong. Some are but to condemn them as greedy and socially unjust as a class is highly inappropriate. In my country the government serves as a landlord very often.

  3. antireifier
    September 29, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    The Cancer Stage of Capitalism. John McMurtry.

  4. October 5, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    “Capitalism is the “best” system yet devised by mankind” So Where Did We Go Wrong ?
    Comments by Justaluckyfool ( http://bit.ly/MlQWNs )

    “Capitalism is the “best” system to date devised by mankind. As it is administrated, perhaps, is where the “flaw” is manifested. If capitalism used its Central Bank properly,that is for the betterment of the common good, with equality and justice for all, capitalism would be the best ways and means to help “form a more perfect union….”, (Do not recall where exact quote, Believe ( Pontifical Council Report?).

    SOLUTION.(A) ADMINISTRATION.

    “LEGISLATE FOR “We the People” WHAT WE HAD LEGISLATED THE CENTRAL BANK TO DO FOR THE Private For Profit Banks (PFPB) ! ISSUE OUR OWN MONEY AS LOANS AND CHARGE A TAX CALLED INTEREST ! ! ! ”

    SOLUTION (B) PROPER CENTRAL BANK USAGE.
    Create an honest Central Bank that shall fund-
    ““We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,…””

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