The Capitalist Belief System is Killing All of Us
By Robert Achen, Published 11/12/2008
What is the most dangerous belief system to all human beings? Is it Communism? Is it Socialism? Is it Islamism? Is it Catholicism? Is it Divine Right of Kings? Is it Democracy? No, it is none of these. The number of belief systems from the past or present are innumerable. This is proof positive that human beings need belief systems, or at least one of them. But there is one belief system, before all others, that has been, and is now, killing all of us. That is the belief system of Capitalism.
Belief systems, or preferably, a belief system, is necessary for human beings to function. It is necessary for interpreting the world around us. This is because we have a brain, which is developed enough to be called a mind. This mind requires that we come up with reasons, explanations, answers, and justifications for all of the other content in our minds. Intelligence requires that all of the content in the mind be logically organized. The failure to do this results in all kinds of mental aberrations.
A belief system enables us to take action when action is required. The action may be discretionary, in which we can decide upon activities which we enjoy and find pleasure in. Or the action may be compulsory, the option being compulsory to our survival and well being.
For survival it is necessary for us to recognize that faith is required for us to be able to act upon our belief system in all circumstances. This is because our minds are finite and limited, and there will always be situations where we cannot have absolute certainty. In physics this is called the principle of uncertainty. In pragmatic science we gather all the facts we can to form our opinions about what the world is like. But at some point we have to end our accumulation of data, of facts, and say that with what we know to be facts we can be practically certain that some proposition, some idea, is true or false We make a leap of “faith” to fill the gaps in our knowledge Nowhere are the leaps of faith greater than in the realms of the social sciences and humanities.
In the fields of political ideology, religious faith, and social philosophy, the gaps can be quite immense. Almost all conflicts between humans will involve a clash among these fields of faith. The actual conditions underlying these conflicts may have nothing to do with their fields of faith. But for many reasons, rhetoric of these fields of faith, are used to organize, justify, and energize, the members of different groups.
So we establish that all humans have one or more belief systems that they act upon, that the very nature of being human will result in the individual creating or adopting such belief systems, and in the absence of a greater force humans will engage in conflicts justified by different fields of faith.
Now in the entire history of humans, there has never been a period of time that somewhere in the world humans have not been involved in activities that we call war, or the preparation for war, or the reconstruction after a war. Now that is a startling fact. All of these conflicts involved fields of faith which justified, encouraged, and explained these conflicts of war. War has always been going on. In the face of that, what are the prospects of eliminating war, all of a sudden, in the affairs of humans? On the surface, “a leopard never changes its spots.” But we are considering belief systems, and fields of faith. These are entities that, unlike biological structures, in the right environment, can evolve very swiftly.
Which brings us to the belief system of Capitalism, which has features that make it a social cancer. Like all diseases, we should organize to eradicate it. It has been around as a belief system for about the last four hundred years. Its origins are roughly coincident with the advent of democratic political philosophy, the economic industrial revolution, and the development and expansion of public education.
Human societies, historically, have been organized on the genetic prowess of hunters and gatherers, warriors and farmers, and Capitalists and workers, in a division of labor in the factory and office. The structure of social organization was closely associated with physical strength, manual labor, and military acumen. All social bodies had a minority elite who directed and controlled the social group. As societies developed, the size and design of social groups evolved.
The distinctions within the groups were based on social role, but generally represented a hierarchy, with a small elite at top, a more numerous but still small middle class, and a large worker class. As such the structure of the modern corporation, and military, carry on this pyramid scheme. The distribution of societies product was geared to this pyramid structure, those at the top getting the most, the middle class getting less, but enough to keep them loyal, and a lower majority of the group, who received little more than required to keep them alive and in a condition to work.The belief systems, and fields of faith, in the older groups were directed toward magical and religious themes. Folklore and custom traditions were an important source of ideology. The variety of these belief systems was considerable since there were many groups spread widely over large distances. As technology, such as it was, and populations grew, large empires were forged by the great military leaders. Domination and conquest were key belief systems, arising from the divinity of the warrior leaders, or their civil coronation.
The Capitalist ideology, the belief system, was created on, and intertwined with these origins. It was developed to justify the elite status of the Capitalist in the industrial society. In the older social organizations the social elite could rely upon their physical strength and prowess, or that of their military, to sanction their elite status. The Capitalist belief system was developed along side of the Darwinian belief system’s “survival and propagation of the fittest”. The capitalist easily saw how they fit into this scheme as the fittest. This world view however conflicted with the Christian belief system of divine creation and biblical absolutism… So too was the belief system of democracy evolving at this time. Many wars would be conducted in its name.. Americans thought they lived in a democracy, or a representative democracy, although most of them failed to make this distinction and just called what went on in the political process a democracy.
Horatio Alger became the symbol of the capitalist American dream. This literary hero conquered the world of business by his industry, hard work, thrift, learning, initiative, creativity, and a whole host of superlatives. As the story went, any man could become a rich capitalist by emulating Horatio Alger. By the year 2000, this was obviously not true, and the rich elite substituted the plain and simple “American dream” which consisted of owning a house, and had long ago stopped talking about Horatio Alger.
By the end of the 20th century capitalists were strutting in all their glory. This was flying in the face of the fact that the Capitalist system had collapsed in 1929, and offered no answers to economic dilemmas during the entire period 1929-1945. By this time capitalists were calling themselves entrepreneurs. In one way or another entrepreneurs were hustlers. What others might call con men. The distinguishing characteristic of these hustlers was that they had no socially redeemable values. And they gathered in a lot of money.
Capitalists were closely intertwined with the political process. They either gained political office, or acquired control of those individuals who did acquire political office. In the free enterprise system, as capitalism was described, there was the historical struggle (competition) for survival and existence. Competition, which term was used as synonymous with capitalism by the capitalist, was said to 1. keep prices low, 2. produce better products and performance, 3. weed out the inefficient, and 4. to reward the successful. That this was not the case was proved by the facts that all business tried to eliminate competition, by whatever means necessary; all business attempted to gain a monopoly in its industry; attempted to buy out its competition. entered into market regulating agreements with its competitors; forced the government into anti trust legislation and activities. This last, anti trust activities by government, was a violation of one of the salient principles of capitalism: that the market should be left to regulate itself.
In capitalistic rhetoric, to the victor go the spoils.
Labor, which was composed of the lesser beings, according to capitalist mantra, constantly struggled with management to get a living wage. They considered it a great achievement when they got an increase in the minimum wage, under the minimum wage laws. The capitalist was always concerned with keeping his costs down, so that he could maximize profits. Doing this was capitalist wisdom. The minimum wage was the lowest price the capitalist could pay his workers. This, as was the case in all economies down thru history, was an amount that kept the worker alive and capable of working. In other words it was a pittance. While the capitalist worked to get the most money he could out of operating his business, at the same time he sought to pay his workers the least amount possible.
The history of capitalist behavior towards his fellow human beings, in the form of his workers, is appalling. The capitalist sought to extract the full measure of his employees. Including child labor, physically abusive work practices and methods, arbitrary and capricious management policies and behaviors, psychologically degrading behavior. The only excuse for this was the limited will, and inhuman values of the capitalists. Both he and his workers were caught in a historical circumstance that neither could rise above.
From a sociological point of view, the most far reaching, and corrupt provision of capitalism, was/is the imposition of the provision, sanctified by law, and all the Christian religions, that the organizing principle for all human life, the single and only organizing principle, is that every transaction a human participates in should be for the purpose of extracting the maximum profit possible. This is the heart and soul of the capitalist belief system. And to reiterate for emphasis, this organizing principle is sanctified by all capitalist economists, who are uneducated in any other field of knowledge, by all educators, by all religions of whatever stripe, by all politicians, by all media, by the judicial system, and by all the laws on the books.
Most people are oblivious as to why they hold certain belief systems. We are all taught certain belief systems from the moment we are born. We adhere to these belief systems consciously and unconsciously. The amount of pressure from a myriad of sources, commanding us to absorb, and act upon, certain belief systems is overpowering. None is more thoroughly forced upon us than the principle that is the heart and soul of capitalism: all behavior on our part, applicable to every behavioral transaction we engage in, should be for the purpose of extracting the maximum profit possible.
Now this is not a very bright nor self beneficial idea to live by for 99% of the population. It is human to compare, and if you live by the capitalist principle, every time (99 out of 100) you compare you are going to come out on the short end of the stick This accounts, directly or indirectly, for 99% of the mental depression, anxiety, feelings of inferiority, lack of self worth, lack of confidence, lack of ambition, lack of joy and appreciation of others – of not feeling life is worth it.
It is this capitalist principle which is the warped energizer which propels the American consumer to engage in mindless shopping and worthless purchases. The capitalist political leaders believe that their consumers must purchase 4% more this year than they did last year, or it will be necessary to declare a crisis. Economies must only go one way, they pronounce. They must grow. They should never recede. Where in all the places in the universe do you find anything that only expands? That goes on growing forever? Even we humans stop growing, and enter into a regression that will terminate in our death. Is it surprising that our economies, which are a product of our nature, should perform in a similar manner?
The compulsion to expand markets, to increase sales, to grow beyond our limits, is blind obedience to this capitalist principle. Always expand territory, always grow maximum profits.
The current economic situation is telling us that we are misallocating our human resources.We do not need to employ our people in expanding “consumer” markets for ourselves. We tell each other that we live in a global economy now. There are some six billion people in the world. Many of them live in poverty. Many live with disease. Many need to build up their countries infrastructure. We need to repair ours. We need to provide education and medical care to all of our people. We need many more doctors and nurses than we have. We need more teachers. We need politicians who are diplomats, and not war lords. We need alternative sources of power. We need to green our society and world. We need to do it now. We do not need any more profits. And we are not efficiently using our human resources, our people. And we are not because we are stuck in a for maximum profit economic system and institutions.
The for maximum profits capitalist system has outlived its usefulness. The board game Monopoly shows you why. The game always comes to an end. Someone, the winner, controls all the money and all the property. Shortly the game becomes very boring and monotonous. In any economic system for maximum profit, there are always some players who are really good at making profits. These are a minority number in the population. The major majority of the population is not good at making maximum profits. They are gifted with many other abilities. Over a period of time the adept for maximum profit, profit makers gather all of the profits, and therefore all of the money and capital. The not good maximum profit makers end up broke. Under those circumstances the economic system cannot function, and it collapses. That is what happened in 1929. That is what is happening now.
In the name of making maximum profits, all kinds of legal and illegal arguments to justify the acquisition of these profits, are made. Untold sums of money are spent on our legal system to conduct litigation over conflicting claims to these profits. All sorts of illegal behavior are encouraged by the desire to make the maximum profit possible. Fraud, misrepresentations of fact and truth, are routinely engaged in to produce and maximize profits. The for maximum profit capitalists are encouraged from all sides to find ways to cut corners in the production of its goods and services. The government is then forced into regularity activities of products and services, to assure that the products and services produced are safe, and that they are consistent with the claims made about these product and services. The avenues of development of all citizens are blocked, by the capitalists need to regulate competition. The capitalist desires a low cost for its employees, as it tries to maintain the optimum ratio between costs of production and services, and the prices secured in the market place. The practice of cutting large numbers of employees, during periods of decreasing demand, leaves the worker paranoid about losing his job, and without economic choice in how to earn a living income. The mania for innovation of dispensable consumer goods and services, resulting from the need to pay stockholders a maximum profit through its dividends, results in the production and importation of low priced and irrelevant goods and services. The capitalist is encouraged to keep his low paid employee base, as a low paid employee base. He needs a constant supply of labor, and is not inclined to actively promote educational and occupational efforts on behalf of his employees. All types, if no less than 95% of crimes, are forced upon the uneducated, ill trained, mentally challenged,opportunity deprived, and socially denigrated members of society. Many of these resort to criminal activity in order to achieve the only value that society makes universal – money..Many of these organize into gangs that are anti social, and commit acts of defiance, created and energized by its member’s frustration at not being assisted by the rest of society into the larger social system. The members of these gangs all share the many aptitudes that are found in and rewarded by the larger society. There are random, and not so random, murders by the angrier and mentally inclined members of these gangs. Some of the gang is possessed by all the motivation for money, the qualities of military leadership, and the desire to succeed, that characterized the guerilla groups of Vietnam, Iraq and the Muslim revolutionary groups. And which characterize many of the business and corporate members in American society. The illegal status of many drugs, creates a ready market, for the illegal use of these chemicals. Like prohibition and alcohol, the drug laws deny a product that large numbers of the populous want. That the users continue to get and use these chemicals, in spite of all the efforts and money spent to suppress them, should give you cause to think. Like alcohol, illegal drugs, demonstrate the fact that the way society is organized, the effects of the capitalist system, are destabilizing to large segments of society. Yet in fact, the widespread existence of this drug use, has created no calamity in the larger society It has caused chaos and pain to the individual members of the economy, but it has not prevented the entrenchment of the capitalist belief system. Like alcohol drugs are not consistent with a fuller individual life. But, like alcohol,by itself it has not prevented the larger society from attaining its economic goals. Therefore, it should be legalized and regulated, and the efforts to get at the root cause of these chemicals popularity should be continued. This would get rid of the criminal drug business, and would free up the manpower on both sides of the law, to be employed in more productive roles in the economy.
It is fair to say that almost all of the problems in society are the result of the widespread effects of the capitalist belief system, and the logical consequences that flow from it. The most destructive aspect of the capitalist belief system, are a consequence of the capitalist preoccupation with pursuing the maximum profits possible. This idea may have served some useful benefit in the hard labor days during which economic activity was born and grew to adolescence. But technological and educational advances have been so great that they render the capitalist belief system antiquated, of little positive effect, and self destructive.
We see that the expansion of the capitalist economic system in the U.S. has resulted in a shift of focus that has seen us turn from making products, to providing services. This change engendered many other changes. One of the most far reaching changes involved the wide spread increase in the number and type of outside the home jobs that women could engage in, and successfully compete with men. This impacted the nature and quality of male-female relations, and promoted a robust divorce rate. With the consequence that sacred vows made at marriage ceremonies were broken, thus lowering individual responsibility for the promises and commitments that they made, and reducing the willingness of Americans to work through hard times, and to solve problems. The habit of running away was legitimized, and Americans did this with their marriages, debts, and social responsibility to their fellow humans.
We are a service economy they say. Now what does this imply? One of the first things is that the pricing system changed. In a product producing economy prices are very closely associated with the cost of the inputs to make the product. Capitalist theory says that the price of an item is a consequence of the interaction between the forces of supply and demand. The capitalist theory goes on to say, that because of this interaction between supply and demand, all free markets are self regulating. This is not true. As we have said, humans do everything they can to determine supply, demand, and price. The capitalist wants to control everything. There is some guidance in pricing in a product driven economy, as it is closely tied to costs of production. In a service economy all of this falls apart. What is the supply price for lawyer’s services? What is the demand price? What is the service price of a doctor, a radiologist, a nurse, a hospital administrator? What is the service price of a McDonald’s cashier, an accountant, a geologist, a CEO, Alicia the movie actress, George the movie actor, Alex the third baseman on the home team, on Gary the third year quarterback for the Topeka Tigers? Service pricing takes place variably in a vacuum. The only apparent operative is “to get all the market will bear.”
The buying and selling prices on homes, businesses, franchises, etc. is more ethearial, depending on the personalities, demeanor, and knowledge of the negotiators, and on cycles, and on the whims of euphoria or depression that grabs the transaction parties. Game shows, lotteries, gambling establishments, contests, and promotions, all serve to remind us how life is driven by the acquisition of profits (money). Money is on the tip of every body’s tongue.
Where money is the supreme value of a group of individuals, individual humans are variably valued less. It is very hard for individuals to have any further values in a capitalist society.In America nationalism is a secondary belief system, especially among the older generations This is entwined with the idea of patriotism, although this is primarily expressed by cheering at the Olympic games.
In America Capitalism has been primarily expressed by personal indulgence for consumer things. In it’s leisure time, where it is free to express its individual preferences, Americans are not known for their intellectual pursuits, but are known for being retail shoppers, and sports spectators. Once they are occupationally trained they are rather indolent. They watch a hundred television channels, and attend many spectator sports events, and watch many movies. Otherwise they spend their time in passing time in miscellaneous ways.
Capitalist society is very social for the upper classes, and for the most part unchallenging. The elite upper class rich engage, as they always have, in conspicuous consumption, and material excess. They spend extravagantly for clothes, multiple grandiose houses, automobiles in the double digits, entertainment, travel by all methods, planes, boats, vacations, additional homes around the world, face lifts, weight reduction, being pampered by professional pamperers, eating the most exotic and expensive foods, the latest fads and fashions, whatever personal indulgence that their whims and fancies suggest. They do this without a care about the poverty and plight of the poor and diseased around the world, even those in their own country, and never think about social justice, the general welfare, and humility. They are arrogant,condescending, self centered, selfish, and of little redeeming social value.
The rich elite think that they are self made, and therefore entitled to hoarding their wealth, or they were born to a privileged status and circumstance sanctioned by their ancestors and peers, and therefore self righteous about consuming the social product that was created by the rest of society, and holding their assets defensively away from those people who would deny them the license to corrupt the lives of others by their selfishness. This is as it has always been for the rich ruling elite. But this time they are self justified by the belief system of Capitalism. And the walls of Capitalism are now tumbling down.
In the United States the political position of the rich ruling elite has been propagated and defended by the Republican Party. This group was the chief architect of the first Great Depression in the world. They are again the spokesman and defender of the Capitalist belief system as the second Great Depression unfolds upon the world.. With amazing lack of self awareness they now struggle to find the reason for the economic collapse.
Richard M. Nixon, Republican, assumed the presidency in 1969. He was nick named “Tricky Dickey” because of his corrupt campaign tactics. In October 1973 the man that Nixon had chosen as his Vice President, Spiro Agnew, resigned his position pleading no contest to a tax evasion charge. This was indicative of Nixon’s judgment.
In August 1974 Richard Nixon, Republican, resigned the presidency under threats of impeachment and pressure from his own party. This was a consequence of the criminal activity and break in at the Watergate complex, which Nixon had authorized, and then participated in the attempt to cover up his and his aide’s complicity in the crime. During the investigation of the crime Nixon made the famous declaration that “Your President is no crook”. This was typical Republican garbage, that is, the Republican penchant for lying.. Not only was he a crook, but he was a stupid and vain crook. He probably would have lied his way out of this crime had it not been for his megalomania which prompted him to tape record the conversations in his office. He recorded conversations with two of his top aides as they planned and enacted the cover-up of the Watergate crime. The existence of these tapes became known in the testimony of his chief counsel in the Congressional hearings into the crimes. His counsel had spoken up about the tapes because he suspected that Nixon was maneuvering to make him the scapegoat in the affair. The Congressional committee immediately subpoenaed the tapes. He might still have weaseled out of his complicity, even though his aides were falling one after another, by pleading ignorance of his aide’s actions. However, perhaps paralyzed by his fears, he failed to destroy the tapes. Instead he resisted the subpoena and claimed Executive Privilege. There ensued much political maneuvering over control of the tapes. The tapes were eventually revealed, and Tricky Dickey was pressured out of office.
In September 1974, Gerald Ford, Republican, who had assumed the presidency upon Nixon’s resignation, granted Nixon a full pardon for any and all crimes he may have committed. The reason Ford gave for his action, was that the affair was interrupting him so much that he could not keep up with his paperwork. In a flash Ford had stripped the government of any pretense as to accountability in government. It was the beginning of a long absence in governmental accountability that would result in the dismal eight year performance of the George Bush administration, and the beginning of the economic collapse that began in 2008. A message had been sent to all politicians, and all the American people, that their political system was corrupt, and “Hey kid, that’s okay”.
Ronald Reagan, Republican, assumed the presidency in January 1981. Reagan was a self made man, was once a Democrat, but after financial success in the acting business, decided it was time to make himself a Republican, and join the other self made men in America’s rich elite. He was wildly popular, and won resounding victories to two terms as president. If there was corruption in the world he didn’t care, nor did any of those who wildly supported him. He would play the role of President, as only he could do, and make the world safe for Capitalism. The American people had learned to turn and look away during the Nixon charade. Now they turned to look with pride at the hero who had rode into town spiting out American patriotism, the American way of life, the way of American business, and the good times of a Capitalist nation in the paroxysm of deregulation. Reagan was bringing the reality of Capitalism, where supply and demand regulated the markets, and assured the rich that they would make maximum profits.As for most of the people? Well, he said that his was a “trickle down” down theory of Capitalism. Candidly, he told the people that the profit makers would make great profits, and that enough of this would trickle down to the lower classes to keep everyone happy. He and his adoring, twinkle eyes actress wife, his second marriage, did in fact keep everyone happy.
When he started to manifest his Alzheimer’s is not known. His economics was so screwed up that it might have been long ago, perhaps when he decided to wave the American flag and play president.
But you may ask, “What was wrong with the American majority?” Why did they submit to this economic degradation with such docility? Was it because they didn’t really know how to govern themselves? Was this so called democracy lost upon them? Were they so willing to be led to the slaughter? Was this in fact the reason for the gas chambers and furnaces of Nazi Germany?
The deregulated nation of Ronald Reagan’s trickle down Capitalism was followed by the Republican presidency of George H. W. Bush, and the Democratic two terms of President Bill Clinton. Of Clinton it has been said that he was not too mature. America had assumed no responsibility for the world since the end of World War Two. Major world and domestic problems went without notice. Americans were too busy with mindless affairs to exert any energy on behalf of the education of future generations, of integrating the urban gangs into the larger and hopefully more beneficent society, of providing for the care of the ever longer lives of their aging population, of caring for the health of it’s under society, of taking care of it’s infrastructure, of developing alternative fuels, of feeding the hungry within its borders, of reestablishing a system of national values to rival that of the founding fathers. Ronald Reagan played an old movie for us. An outdated, nostalgic, ineffective movie, of how things had been. It left us unprepared for the challenges of the 21st century.
Then the culmination of all our errors. The presidency of George Bush, the son of George H. W. Bush. He assumed the presidency in 2001. He was a Republican. He was a Capitalist believer in deregulation and the unsupervised operation of economic activity. On September 11 of 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, collapsed on themselves as the result of the impact of two hijacked commercial passenger air planes, flown into them by suicide terrorists. The U.S. was aware of terrorist activity in the world, but had taken no measures to guard against terrorist attack before this attack on the twin towers. A homeland defense was immediately installed. Bush declared that he would catch Osama Ben Laden, the leader of the attacking terrorist group, and bring him to justice dead or alive. Bush made some military maneuvers in Afghanistan, where Ben Laden was believed to be hiding. One special ops member who went to Afghanistan to catch Ben Laden said that they nearly had him, but he escaped. Time passed, Bush gave up on Ben Laden, and turned his attention on Iraq and its dictatorial leader Saddam Hussein. On March 19, 2003 the U.S. declared war on Iraq, and with nominal support from allies, invaded that country in pursuit of its dictator. The U.S. military quickly subdued Saddam’s military. Saddam fled, but was later found hiding in a dugout. He was held over by the Iraqi government, was tried by the Iraq’s, and hung.
If the regular Iraqi army was quickly subdued, the insurgent forces in this polyglot land were not. It was reminiscent of the American Revolutionary war in which the American irregular guerillas were able to defeat the regular military of the British, and of the American Vietnamese war in which the guerilla Communist North Vietnamese were able to defeat the regular military of the Americans. The Americans were truculent, but generally costly and unsuccessful over the past fifty years. The Republican leaders during that time swaggered and brandished their military weapons with uncloaked jestures of ethnocentric superiority.
To get the American citizens to acquiesce to the war on Iraq, President Bush, Republican, and Vice President Dick Cheney, Republican, lied about the circumstances in Iraq.. They declared that Iraq had nuclear weapons, and that they were an immanent threat to attack the United States. The Republicans are noteworthy for being liars, and for using scare tactics to promote their agendas. It is something in the Republican psyche. I think it reflects some of the most distasteful effects of their belief system Capitalism. It is partly that believing in the Capitalist belief system makes you exhibit certain traits. And it is partly that because you do have these traits that you are susceptible to being influenced by the Capitalist belief system. Capitalists live in fear. Their economic philosophy is based upon a superiority-inferiority duality. They assume an aura of superiority to compensate for the basic inferiority. They are drawn to the money belief system as a means of demonstrating the superiority that they so drastically need to project to others. Their basic inferiority “compels” them to display a false demeanor of superiority. They have to hide from the secret of their basic sense of inferiority, to hide from themselves, to lie to themselves, so that this basic dishonesty to themselves requires them to create a basic inclination to lie about other things, and especially to other people. Lying is just accepted to be a necessary part of life, and they construct elaborate contradictions in their own thinking to submit to this necessity, and to hide truth from themselves.
An unhappy compulsive trait is thus predisposed to them. Because of this they are compelled to glorify “competition”, which used to be central to their beliefs, conscious or unconscious. The Republican psyche, which can never be satisfied, forces them to be “perfect” and “right”. They must project these traits to all other people. This is accomplished in the main by being a slave and toady to all things related to money, the acquisition of money, and the frantically intense acquisition and control of “their” money. Being perfect reflects itself in all the material things they call their possessions, and a “proper” display of these possessions. Manners, etiquette, social and status awareness, and an acute sensitivity to deference from others. They are also adamant in demanding of others that they acknowledge that they are “right” They are prime prospects for recruitment to movements that promote their protective beliefs. In any discussion they conclude a closing that repeats their side of the facts as being correct, they interrupt your dialog to insert their corrections as to facts, however absurd they are, and insist you verbally concur to facts that are so mundanely accepted by everyone that they need not be mentioned.
There was a book and movie many years ago titled “What makes Sammy run?” It was the story of a young man in corporate business who did all the right things, and then did some more, as he “competed” to climb the corporate ladder. The Capitalist belief system? It must be noted that those who run fueled by Capitalist belief system have no room for alternative values and ethics. There was another book titled “Death of a Salesman”. It was a culmination of the life of Willy Lowman, and how he was Capitalist possessed to achieve and reach the pinnacle of wealth and social recognition, through his entrepreneurship as a field salesman for women’s wear. He was late in his life. He demanded that his sons enter sales as he had. It was the road to riches, he exhorted them. But Willy was not successful, and he tried to hide the truth from his family. In his waning days he became increasingly delusional. He died a failure in many ways.
Money is a power trip to the Republicans. They want it not only for the power that it brings, but for the distraction it brings to the subconscious conflicts that rattle in their minds. Money sanctifies the supercilious attitude and countenance so typical of them. Many of them are quick of tongue, and adept verbally, talking very fast so that you do not have time to think about what they said. When you talk with them you will find that they do not acknowledge what you say, nor appropriately respond. The Governor of Alaska who ran for Vice President on the Republican ticket with John McCain in 2008, engaged in a “debate” with Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate on the Democratic ticket. She had speech habits like those described above. But she went a giant step beyond. When asked a question, which by debate rules she was supposed to answer, she started briefly to answer, and then abruptly said, “Oh shoot. I don’t want to talk about that” and proceeded rapid fire to monologue on something that she thought her campaign managers would want her to talk about.
Because of their psychological needs, Republicans are tight fisted with the money they have. They are always talking to the assertion that the government taxes them too much, takes away too much of their money. Senator McCain in the 2008 presidential campaign, scolded his opponent for taking the position that the country should not provide more tax breaks for the wealthy and should give some tax relief for the middle class, who were suffering. When his opponent said that he wanted to spread the wealth around, McCain yelled out, “You see that, folks? He wants to take your money and spread the wealth around.” McCain said this derisively. The Republicans were always worrying that someone was going to take their money away, and give it to the less wealthy. That is what the Republicans think of their fellow humans. They live in a society, but could give not a damn, about the other people who lived in their
society. That is the Capitalist ethic “All for one, which is me, and none for all.” They don’t care about the lower classes, the poor, the sick, the disabled, the old.All they were concerned about was that the economy was expanding so that they could go on making more money to gather protectively unto themselves.
The Republicans look upon their possession and control of wealth as a divine right. They could have received this wealth as an inheritance, the deliverance of fate and chance in a lottery, or any other game of chance, or hard or easy work. They may have acquired it legally or illegally. Their financial condition may be the result of genetic endowment that left them gifted and alive. Or they may have inherited their wealth. Or they may have acquired their wealth as a result of hard physical work and a stable savings plan. Or less strenuous efforts and a stable savings plan. Or the investment of earnings in a legal venture, the collection of which they acquired illegally Whatever the source, they would not have acquired anything had they not been born. They had to be conceived as a result of natural or artificial means. This designed them with a slate of possible characteristics which enabled them to be healthy, or not. Or they had received the attention, love, support, and teaching by knowledgeable care givers. They were born into the world with nothing. When they leave this world they will have nothing. As gifted or lucky maximum profit makers they will be given by the rest of the world’s population fantastic wealth. This is not by the explicit consent of the world’s billions. This is not to be drawn by rational deduction from the world’s expressed sympathies. It is in fact the humility of the worlds overwhelming majority that permits, without approval, the greed and covetousness that the worlds most successful maximum profit makers revel in, without any shame or embarrassment or sense of awareness, that the manner of their existence is injurious to the rest of the world’s population and the planet upon which, for a brief time, they live.
In the United States the purpose of the Constitution that obligates their behavior states, that they are bound 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…”. The purpose is to promote the general welfare, not to endow the rich with the power, means, and sanctification of their disdain and deprivation of that general welfare. That debt which we so carelessly ignored during what has been the good times, is now being called due. Those of us who have been so irresponsible, for so long, must now assume their share of the responsibility for the world and its human population.
It is our challenge in the coming days to deal with the reality that those who call themselves Republicans do not share these sentiments. They are preoccupied with devising schemes to make money for the blessing of only themselves in these challenging times. They feel naked and alone. They always feel alone because they are in competition with every single other human being in the world. By long tradition they deal with this isolation by counting their money, the number of their automobiles, the number of their houses, their wealth, and its security from the claims of the people who made that wealth possible. An amazing fact is that so many of the people who have supported and elected the Republicans in previous years, are people who are not so very rich. Just as they identify with the New York Yankees, or the Boston Red Socks, or whatever other sports team, they identify with the Republican Party. It has been easier for them to pretend that by this identification that they are one with the Yankees or Red Socks. That they belong. It is now dawning upon them that they belong to the world, that they can have an influence on world affairs, that they have an innate right to live comfortably no matter what they do for a job, that they are not responsible for the family they were born to, that that family and the geographical area, the nation, that they were born to, do not cast them into a life of suffering and regrets for the very fact of being born.
The Capitalist belief system does not provide a plan, nor provide any ideas, as to how we will assure that the world and its people will survive and in the end thrive. It was devised by people who were cunning, but not wise. It was devised in a place and time that to us seems harsh and primitive. Its code of values was intended to justify the glory of the individual, and whatever they did in the name of innovation and increasing the national power. Just as individuals competed with all other people, in a survival of the fittest. so too did the nation states that the world organized itself into. Alliances, and realignment of those alliances, and the continuation of wars as a national necessity and inevitability, were given as a fact of life, and more properly, as a fact of death. The world as it haphazardly evolved, was accepted for whatever it was, and no one really thought of changing it, or that it could or should be changed.. It was a corrupt belief system and it produced corrupt societies. But the rich elite of society always maneuvered to maintain the status quo. In the end everything else was acceptable to the rich elite, except for any threat to their inequality of wealth, and their ultimate control of political power. The overwhelming majority, up to now, in their humility, accepted these conditions.
Nowhere is it written, except in certain economists books, that societies be organized on the principle that all people shall arise everyday, and plan their day to compete with all other people for the maximum profits possible. No one considered what the logical consequences would be if such a state of affairs existed. In some haphazard way the belief was established that the objective of all economic activity was a four percent annual growth rate. If this was attained and maintained, it was said that all was well. Well, what was to be produced? The Capitalists said that whatever was produced should be produced in free and open markets. The Capitalists shrugged off all social responsibility by saying that the markets should determine all activity, and if this was allowed to happen that everything would take care of itself. So here you have a multitude of people all competing to produce something that will bring them maximum profits, and thus bring them security and happiness. What was produced was a deluge of the same thing, which nobody needed, and which created a huge refuse problem. Most people found that the safest thing to do was to copycat whatever others were producing. This was not fool proof, as half the businesses started went down the drain during the first year. But it was safer than to try and come up with something genuinely unique and “needed”. So the growth oriented Capitalist belief system turned out an immense amount of unneeded and unused goods and services. This created a huge problem for those “advanced” economies that were called “service economies”.
Nowhere is this more glaringly apparent than in the entertainment industry. Nowhere is there more over expansion, duplication, and misallocation of resources and personnel. The advertising industry is an appendage of the entertainment industry. It too represents a gross misallocation of resources and personnel. There is very little to be found in the entertainment industry that is “necessary”. We could all live quite comfortably, and more creatively, without the entertainment industry. In a world that has so many problems and undesirable circumstances, the waste of so much financial resources is a damning commentary upon what the Capitalist belief system brings us, and what it turns us into. John McCain is not a maverick. He is a follower. Above all else he parrots the Capitalist mantra. He is a warrior who shoots from the hip. The entertainment industry gave him a chance. He is quite funny, and should perhaps consider that field for his talents. The entertainment industry is drawn to anything that will attract attention. It is the current day opportunity for mimicry. With an ever growing cast of characters the industry strives to be novel. But there are only so many ways to tell a story, and then you must end up repeating yourself. And still to be reckoned with is the millions upon millions of people who shovel ought their money and time in blind allegiance to the media,. another appendage of the entertainment industry.
The question must be asked, how can we justify spending so much time and money on the entertainment industry, when its incumbents are so badly needed as doctors, nurses, teachers, diplomats, arbiters, and advocates? To mention a few. The answer, of course, is that the Capitalist belief system mandates it. That is where the easy work and the money are. The Capitalist belief system does not produce what we need. In the end it produces that which is popular. There are no criteria, in a service economy, for deciding what is beneficial and necessary. It is the nature and construct of the belief system that is used, that determines how a people will spend their time and resources, and therefore what those people stand for, what their character is, and whether they will survive or not. The entertainment industry expands the number of Republicans, those people who believe that they have earned the right to be well off, and to be exclusive. The many television channels provide exactly the same news, the same entertainment programs, delivered by a menagerie of people who all look the same way if they are female, and a little less so if they are male. They run their weather news at the same exact time, take their advertising breaks at the same exact time, and feign the same cordiality and humor in the same manner.
Under the Capitalist belief system nothing happens without money. Money is monopolized by the small rich elite class. 98% of the rest of the population spends their money on pleasure searches. Idleness, just hanging out, purposeless lives,are the ruling activities. The repetition of the same old stories, and the need to be popular, to attract attention, leads to an ever lowering of standards, and quests for purpose. The lack of mutual interactive support, one person to another, leaves the population insecure. In the Capitalist belief system, and as adopted by the Republican ideologues, people are left in isolated paralysis, a result of the mistrust created and enforced by the maximum profit makers. Everyone is in economic competition, where the rules say that everyman is in it only for themselves, and it is a mandate of the economic belief system that the “inefficient and unsuccessful” should be excluded (fired, let go, phased out) from the economic group. That threat is always there in the Capitalist belief system. When the CEOs bankrupt their business, they give themselves sufficient millions so that they need not work anymore. 98% of the workers in the economic system do not have that protection. The 98% are told by the Republicans that they are on their own. The Republicans worked to privatize all of the social supports that collective social action had established. It wanted to “privatize” all social benefits, and make them dependent on the uncertainties and vagaries of the stock market, or some other business without guarantees. This was to take place in a society where all the people did not trust each other, and maneuvered to aggrandize themselves, and to the detriment of everyone else. No one asks to be born. No one elects to be forced to take a meaningless job that does not pay enough to support their needs, and yes, some of their desires.
To cope with the isolation, dependence, frustration, threats, and insecurities inherent in the Capitalist system, members of the group turn to alcohol, legal and illegal drugs, cigarettes, overeating, sexual excess and aberration, graffito, and violence in groups that war, and shoot innocent bystanders, and people who abuse and kill others for the wealth they might attain.
The Capitalist belief system creates crime. It creates entrepreneurs who organize, to an astonishing degree, the illegal drug trade. It is staffed and operated with energetic people who want the abundant life that the regular society has. These gang members display many of the traits characteristic of Capitalism in its initial stages. With its zeal and violence the drug gangs exhibit competition to the extreme. Economies spend large amounts of money to catch and prosecute, groups and individuals who conduct this business. Many people want the products they sell. In the case where a user creates no harm to another human, the user should be free to consume any drug they wish. This drug use should not be at the expense of the larger society. But no one asks to be born. Life is forced upon them. If they are born to defects or disabilities that cause them personal suffering, they should be granted the right to a control of their own body, including the use of classified drugs This rule would greatly reduce the illegal trafficking in drugs that we spend so much time and money on. The abundance of people using legal and classified drugs is great. Some of the misallocated funds offered to a war on drugs could largely be diverted. to much more needy efforts. We would have to divert sum of our reconstruction and community development money to the ghetto areas in our urban areas, and provide the training and identification they need to be a part in real terms of our new democracy.
Capitalism creates a society which extols “winner takes all.” The lotteries which create an ocean of losers and occasionally just one winner, is representative of the operation and result of the Capitalist compensation system. Why should an economy which permits billionaires to create themselves, be justified by any standard of practicality, fairness, judgment, and equality.? Our Constitution does not call for, or condone this. The precepts of democracy do not call this one of their requirements. No religion of the establishment offers that God ordained this. No one of reason has ever demonstrated the social utility of this. This is the for maximum profit economics at its absurd extreme. No one requires this excess to live comfortably and securely . It only serves as a grotesque symbol of Capitalist self indugence and greed. No one creates this disproportion of wealth by their singular efforts. They get assists along the way. A system that permits such extreme inequality is prima facie corrupt. And those who wallow in it with no sense of impropriety are arrogant corrupters and abusers of the society which gave life to them. No amount of charity “work”, or charitable “giving”, can redeem those who participate in, and benefit from, such grandiose possessiveness.
The end result of the for maximum profit economic system must always be an extreme inequality of wealth as between a small protected elite at the top, and the vast majority at the bottom. The necessary accumulation of all the wealth by the expert for maximum profit, profit makers , leaves the mass of the economy broke. There is no one left who can support the spending that the for maximum profit system requires. Somehow the wealth must be redistributed to be able to start the game again. During the period of the first Great Depression the rich did not want to do this. They clutched their ill gained wealth to their bosom with clutches of steel. No one was going to take “their money.” It took a decade, and the shattering of the Great War, to force people from a rural outlook into an urban view, and the inventiveness that fueled once again, the for maximum profit, profit makers, dreams of winner take all.
We as a country, and as members of the world’s human race, are confronted by circumstances that appear to be ever more dangerous to our well being. The economic belief system that we have lived under no longer serves us well. It is arguable that it never has. We have already noted that there has never been a time when the human race has not been divided and actively engaged in wars with each other. Some of them the most horrendous and barbarian as can be conceived. There has never been a time in human history in which there has not been an arms race between the groupings of humans. A race that seeks ever more lethal and destructive weapons by which to kill and maim each other. There has never been a time in which belief systems have not conflicted among us, the conflict inflaming us and pushing us to indulgence in the most barbarous mental and physical abuse. We have the means in our military arsenals to immediately unleash the destruction of all human life and the hopes contained therein. How, in the face of this unbroken chain of wars and mutual annihilation, how can we believe that we are going to stop on a dime and cease all warring? There is only one way. We are all going to have to willingly and freely step down from our positions of arrogance and unjustified superiority.We are going to have to reflect and acknowledge that we are, in the absence of any further wars, still killing each other by degrees, to a result that it is no less certain. These are the facts, and no matter how deeply we stick our heads in the sand, no matter how hard we try to deny them by immersing ourselves in our diverse belief systems, either we are going to change our belief systems, or be subdued by the belief systems that have always betrayed us.
The immediate challenge to us is to conceive of, and implement, a new economic belief system. I believe it can be found in Desirable Whole Economics. Capitalists view all human life as unconnected and at war with each other over limited, or desirable, resources. Desirable Whole Economics sees a world in which the individuals are all necessarily connected. This idea would have been unconceivable in the environment in which Capitalism was first devised. But technology, or the people who worked and created that technology, now provides us with the capability of communicating with everyone else, as individuals, or as members of a mutually supporting group. Under the old system of economics people, and most grievously the leaders of our people groupings, and today the sovereign nation states, have been unable to communicate with each other in a friendly and relaxed manner, on any and all subjects. And this within a common belief system. The Republican, Capitalist view of this, as was emphasized over and over by the Republican John McCain, is that certain people must not talk to each other without preconditions. This is the 19th century belief that everyone is out to “get you”. That it is necessary to conduct all conversations as contract negotiations, in which all parties are maneuvering to outsmart the others, and to gain advantage “over” the others, in an emotional environment in which each party seeks,” ultimately” to destroy the other parties. This is an incorrect view, but one that is maintained by the fearful leaders who speak for large segments of the world. The Republicans do not trust other people. They do not contain a world view that permits whole diverse populations to unite for the benefit and goodwill for all humans.
The Republicans construct a defensive wall between the United States and Mexico. The theatrical Ronald Reagan challenged the Russians to tear down their wall that divided East Germany and West Germany. The Republican McCain defended the idea of “protecting our borders” from the Mexicans. Why the divergence in tactics as between Reagan and McCain? The answer is that Republicans are opportunists. They react to what is expedient and short sighted. They constantly maneuver to obtain elective office. The Republican McCain repeated over and over again, that he loved his country, and that he had lived his life solely for the benefit of that country. In McCain’s mind he and his country was the same thing. That is a grandiose idea, but it fails the test of credibility.
A final “mini crash” then occurred in all the worlds’ financial markets. In the United States too. The U.S. president, George Bush, who preferred to enjoy himself rather than struggle with the problems of political administration, was forced into action. Somehow he and his financial advisors came up with the idea that what was needed was a huge infusion of money into the financial system to save the system. There first proposal was to appropriate 750 billion dollars, to be given to the Secretary of the Treasury, to manage a buyout of all the failed real estate mortgages, that the captains of industry, had committed to in exuberant Republican greed to expand their bottom lines. They were just seeking to keep the for maximum profit belief system functioning. As must eventually happen in the Capitalist system, the economy had run out of qualified buyers who could afford the mass of mortgages that business was so eager to sign them up for. Bad news travels fast they say. All around the world, in unison, the financial system was destabilized. In the U.S. there was an initial reluctance to hand over 750 billion dollars to the Treasury Secretary for a proposal that had no plan. The Congress had finally resolved to exercise some influence over the audacity of the Executive. But not too much.. After much talking the legislative branch asked for some oversight privileges on it’s funding, and then added 100 billion more to the finance package, for special projects, so that it approved an 850 billion bailout of the financial system. Well, businesses were going belly up in sizable numbers, and of sizable size. The government then recognized that this was not only a financial crisis, but an unfolding economic crisis also.
The fact that the world had turned into a global economic system drove itself home to the world’s leaders. Meetings were called for by these leaders, who vowed to coordinate their activities to address the situation. There was some manipulation of interest rates, which government always did in the face of economic distress, and some nationalization of banks and other financial institutions. So the Capitalist political leaders of the world had moved like lightening to shore up the Capitalist system with Socialist remedies. That this was a blow to the Capitalist belief system was recognized by the less dogmatic, but many Republicans in the U.S. who were less knowledgeable and less open minded, would continue to insist that the problems were a result of the failure of everyone to blindly follow the Capitalist belief system. Old habits die hard. In the middle of all of this the American presidential elections were held. The victory was overwhelmingly in favor of the biracial Barack Obama, the Democrat, which victory spelled hope in the U.S. and throughout the world.
The pivotal problem for Obama was that no one had a belief system to replace the failed, once again, Capitalist belief system. The actions recommended to address the deepening collapse of the Capitalist belief system , all ran to the usual and customary maneuvers that had been used in all the previous “recessions”. But it was dawning in the minds in some that what they had was not the typical recession, which was always really left to work itself out, but an economic event that was a “depression”, that rivaled, and would surpass, the depression initiated in the 1929 crash.
It was time for the Desirable Whole Economic belief system. In the Desirable Whole Economic belief system, society, the worlds population, was not conceived as a collection of unconnected individuals, all operating without influencing each other, and in fact competing with each other, with success for a few, which few could care less about the defeat of the majority, as was the case in the Capitalist belief system. The Desirable Whole belief system said, that in fact all people in the group were interconnected in an endless number of ways. That these interconnections were inviolable, and must be recognized by everyone, if the group as a whole was to survive, much less prosper.
The members of the Desirable Whole group, in the nature of their abilities, talents, dispositions, in sum, all of their characteristics, were diverse, giving expression to their genetic diversity, and the variety of life experience. No individual was more important than any other individual, in relation to the desirable whole. To exclude and not consider any individual would leave the population as less than a desirable whole. This was not viable for the desirable whole, and had to be guarded against. At any given time the individuals who composed the desirable whole would be in different states an stages of development. The desirable whole had to acknowledge this and facilitate it.
As all individuals are necessary to create a desirable whole, there is no basis for saying that one individual is more important than another to the formation and functioning of the desirable whole. This being the case, there is no basis, in monetary terms, for saying that one individual is more important, more valuable, or necessary, than another, to the formation and functioning of the desirable whole. All are necessary to form the desirable whole. In terms of economics then, all members of the desirable whole should share equally in the product of the economy of the desirable whole This is not unfamiliar to us, as we have always maintained that one’s political vote is always equal to the vote of any other voter. That is the democratic way of valuing individuals. On another level, the members of the Chinese desirable whole have demonstrated that the economic performance of a desirable whole group is independent from its political structure. They have achieved admirable results, with a vast population, in various stages of development. It is clear that democratic forms of government, no matter our parochial and prejudiced preferences for plutocracy, are not necessary for rapid economic development, and social and educational development. More important than the forms of government are the values, knowledge, maturity, and disposition of those who do the leading., as well as those who do the following.
From our economic heritage we retain a belief in innovation, invention, productivity, quality, efficiencies, responsibility, and equality, among other things. Desirable Whole Economics does not ignore any of these, nor the profit incentive. The Desirable Whole Economy recognizes the importance of growth and economic viability. However, it does also counsel that there are limits to the growth of everything in the universe. In the end a service economy can fall victim to over evaluating everything , thus bloating its balance sheets, and creating a paper bubble that will ultimately collapse with immense force.
With equal shares to the economic product, everyone shares the desire and benefit of promoting economic growth. The can work with the knowledge that they are promoting their own well being, they can have a sense of self worth in the knowledge that they are contributing to the achievement of the goals of their desirable whole, they can be freed of the antagonisms that they are cheated and not appreciated by “the system”, that they do not have to resent the promotion of others to leadership positions, that fair play is real, that products and services do not have to be over advertised to the detriment of savings, that they are recognized and appreciated for their unique personality and performance specialties, that they are valued for what they are, that they don’t have to sell themselves to the highest bidder, that they do not have to worry if they take another job, that they can be secure in the desirable whole, and not worry about not having an income, that they can have the solace that everyone shares the risks of life, that they will have economic peers with common problems to console and celebrate with, that envy and greed will be checked, that crime will not have a profit incentive, that it will be unnecessary, that they will be freed of the resentment of paying taxes as everyone pays the same, that education will be provided for all, and that a person can achieve to the limit of their ability in education, that desirable whole administrators and motivators will have a plan, that these will balance the needs of their plan with the ability, aspirations, and desires of those who will be their supporters as well as their peers, and the potentials are exponential.
This reorganization of the activities of the Desirable Whole will finally provide for the planned, efficient allocation of the Desirable Wholes human resources. It is pathetic to watch the endless parade of the actors in the TV commercials, soap operas, media shows, news shows, TV dramas and comedies, TV movies and magazines, traditional movie films, and all their hangers on. And this is not to forget the music industry. Huge amounts of money are paid in these activities, and no one knows how to price their services. It’s all done on paper. These are people who would be called good looking. They come out of a mold. These people prefer the good money, and mindless duties of these activities. There are so many of them. But they don’t produce anything, not a product nor a service, they are just looked at. I’d like to see you price that, not to mention the prices that are paid to “the stars” in this industry. The Capitalist belief system created this circumstance. The lower classes in that system could not afford the high priced automobiles which expressed status, prestige, inequality, and domination. But they could afford a CD or a DVD. They had to buy something with their money. That was the cultural imperative of the Capitalist belief system. Life in that system was disastrous. You had to have a job. But there was no planning. So in an arbitrary and capricious way , people stumbled around looking for a job, applying for many that employers said they were unqualified for. But no one in school ever told them, or in reality training showed them, what was required in those jobs. The United States economic system was archaic and outdated. The techniques used by the successful corporations within their company when organizing and allocating their labor, was far different from the systems employed in the less gifted companies. Personnel administration was costly and ineffective.
Desirable Whole Economics was a way out for the United States. If they had the comprehension and energy, and the knowledge of how to install new systems, and persevere, they could reestablish their ventures, and find they had much freed up personnel in their group who could participate effectively, in the economic, energy, education and health care agendas they wanted to make real.