A few words of support. Notes on Econ.

13 Mar

A few words of support for OWS:

1. These are bitter times. We are experiencing the war between the haves and the have-nots. The current situation of the USA is one in which there is widespread toleration of the violation of our civil rights, as the overlords seek to perpetuate the conditions that create “wage-slavery.” The unionization of labor is the only force that can overcome the principal force source of capitalism‘s inequity, namely the exploitation of labor at its cheapest price, currently the unlivable ‘minimum wage.’ This constitutes what economist David Ricardo called the “Iron Law of Wages.” Wealth is always appropriated upward; in other words, appropriation of  “surplus labor” = profit! The bosses will always screw you. The bottom of the economic pyramid, from WW2 until 1990, earned 70 percent of the US income, but now earn 50 percent! Clearly, that is due to the decline of unionization.

Ninety percent of the US is of the “working class.” As Sen. Michael Bennett of Colorado (D) said, “90 percent of the citizens of the US have a flat income.”

The decline in unionization, the destruction of the manufacturing sector, the outsourcing of jobs, have led to the atomization of the work-force and precipitous social decline. Finance capitalism has prevailed over manufacturing as a model. This constitutes big business’s war against labor. They feel that the CEO’s have a ‘right’ to earn 200 to 300 times what a lowly worker makes. They may even consider it a patriotic show of support for capitalism in a time of war.

In this context, patriotism means, “not wanting to think.”

2. The NY Daily News reports that in NY City, one in five persons lives in “poverty.” Extrapolating this to the entire US, and that constitutes 46 million people. We are living in a kind of Mickey Mouse malaise. What have we experienced of late, but the dot.com bust, the NASDAQ crash, Bernie Madoff‘s crimes, Enron, World Comm, Nine-eleven, war = all add up to a lost decade. W and his cronies profited from the era through Halliburton while Jane and Johnny went off to a war without end. Meanwhile, Exxon-Mobil  not only turned a profit but has skipped out on paying any income tax!

The favored model of Wall Street is one of “Social Darwinism,” or the Law of the Jungle. Republicans seek to destroy remnants of the New Deal, the Great Society, and the union strength of the workers, the teachers and the people standing behind the Democratic Party.

Recently, Nurses in San fran-bay were on strike. Teachers in Tacoma, Washington were on strike! And Wall Street has been occupied since mid-September! These are the stirrings of a popular revolution, and a  demand for reform of the social and political order!

In the US now, 400 families have more wealth than 50 percent of the public combined! In 1900, ¼ th of the world’s wealth was in the hands of a small number of British and American bankers and aristocrats. The Rockefellers, Morgans, Carnegies, Rothschilds are some of their names. The end result is that we ended up with a PLUTOCRACY in place of a democracy. It required Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt’s wise and timely reforms, which prevented a popular uprising against capitalism. People demanded reform, and received it through the democratic process.

3. This generation must understand what it is fighting for and against.

We are becoming the slaves of capitalism. Workers at the bottom of the social order have no voice! The reality of the class system is one of capital v. labor. The bourgeoisie- the middle-class- supports the system. They are protected by a police-state which suppresses the workers, the young, the minorities, and the new immigrants. The poor at every turn are oppressed. Wall Street and finance help people profit from the system of social Darwinism. Welfare and TV help to keep the poor contented and ignorant. The military is presented as a viable alternative to work, for this keeps the working-class from uniting and rebelling against the gross inequities of hegemonic capitalism. Religious authority smooths over the difference with homilies about a ‘reward up in the sky’ while the churches go tax-free!

Wars against smaller nations seem to be taking place almost continuously now. In the name of the American people of whom at least half don’t support war!

Capitalism tends not to ‘free markets’ but to monopolies, and to further spreading of the wealth upwards. The political system is corrupted by the lobbyists of big economic interests. Corporations have found a useful friend in the state, and banks look to it for bailouts. The words for what we live under is corrupt capitalism.

We are becoming wage-slaves toiling away in the name of freedom. We aren’t free from taxes, wars, dysfunctional families, bad schools, drugs and alcohol, and meaningless mass media domination of our lives. What goes unsaid in daily life is nothing less than the truth. The truth spills out like blood on a soiled newspaper in a hospital waiting-room: poverty, racism, crime, illness, drugs, theft, fear… the underbelly of society cannot be ignored. This is the final result of American dreaming.

—–

Notes on Econ, or “Slaves of Capitalism”

“If you tell people the truth too clearly, they won’t believe you”

Thesis: It is the corporate elite that runs Amerika. A CEO can start with 140,000 dollars, and be in the top 10 percent of salary earners, ie ‘slave-drivers‘. This upper class runs Amerika, just as Britain has its upper class of ‘Aristos‘. The truth about the “American class system structure ” is simply not told publicly, or at least is not told too clearly.

Inequality is the essence of life in the USA. Society, indeed, produces inequality. So why does no one, virtually, protest the way that things are? Is it because people are misinformed? Is it because they’re afraid, a bunch of  consumerist “sheep”? Is it because they’re apathetic, indifferent, and just don’t care? Where is social solidarity?

“We’re free” the press declares. President Bush agrees. The consensus is overwhelming. But are we in fact “free”? And define what you mean by “freedom”!

After World War Two, the US had six percent of the population, but produced fifty percent of the world’s goods. There was no question who had won that enormous conflict. America’s competitors lay in ruins. But that was then… now the entire economy of the world has been shown to be vulnerable, out of the control of the White House, and certainly out of the control of your average “Joe”.

During the Oil Crisis of 1973, it was proven that the US’s position was far more vulnerable than it had been perceived to be previously. In 1974, median family income was $40,000. In 2008, it was just $45,000, according to my sources, after taking into account the decline of the dollar.(Lou Dobbs). Meaning that “median family income’ has remained stagnant!

Median family income went up from 43% from 1960 to 1974, a tremendous boom that went on despite the Vietnam War. People worked harder, and society seemed to be improving. Progress had occurred,  and America, if not for the Vietnam War, was the envy of the world. The Consumer Society was working, but at the price of an horrific war! But, after 1973, it started reversing those gains, after the Oil Crisis showed that the US was vulnerable because it was dependant on Arab oil. Society during the 70’s started to have a massive nervous breakdown, along with ‘the family”, the car companies, the White House, the Army… everything seemed to be shuddering with dysfunction and collapse.

As if that weren’t bad enough, we endured the Reagan era, when all the gains went to the top ten percent. And then the Bush I era, which gave the world its first major US-led war in over twenty years. WE Suffered through two major wars on the subject of who will control the Gulf’s Oil. “No blood for oil’, was the anti-war cry, but it went unheeded. Neither Bush I nor Clinton could alter the calculus of oil dependency in our economy.

If Americans perceive that their way of life is stagnating or slipping away, since it is dependant on cheap oil, reasonably priced autos, and corporate profits, then how long will it be before signs of mass discontent start to show themselves? The Seventies were a period of ‘stagflation’, and of the beginning of America‘s economic decline. Certainly New York City began to decline, in terms of the quality of life

What will the coming decade bring? This unanswered question terrifies half the population. Post-industrial Amerika may be morphing into the end of the “rising tide of prosperity” America of smiley face Ronald Reagan. We may be witnessing now the destruction of the American way of life .

According to Karl Marx, Capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction. The worker sells his time and labor to the capitalist employer, who pays him just enough to keep coming back for more (wages). The “democratic system” really serves the interest of those who employ the masses, who merely vote to perpetuate the system that brings great wealth to some — and “not enough‘ wealth to the worker.

In order to keep the economy going, new machines proved to be the key to productivity. Machines  increase productivity and the profit margin of companies, leading to the creation of an excess of consumer products which must be used up if there is to be further production. “Use and throwaway” is the nature of the post-industrial economy. If there exists a lack of consumer demand for a product within nation number  one’s borders (demand must be stimulated by advertising), then this requires that colonial markets have to be ‘conquered” in order for nation number two’s masses to consume the surplus of what nation one creates. If Americans don’t buy the number of cars produced, then foreigners have to begin buying them or else the corporation is in trouble. If Americans don’t buy the amount of oil that keeps the Arab Gulf States profitable, then they will either go out of the oil business, or have to seek “new markets” i.e., China and Russia. The problem is that the incomes of Chinese and Russians are too low for there to be enough cars and oil consumed, leading to a “crisis” such as we are presently experiencing. These are the problems of the globalization of the economy, under which workers have neither protection nor ‘rights‘.

The deflation of the currency hurts the worker. The value of a dollar declines by half over 10 years. This can only lead to mass discontent and dissatisfaction, which may lead to who knows what form of mass behavior? Drugs and religion and TV help prevent the emergence of any mass awareness of what is really going on. Sinister, isn’t it?

Finance capitalism, meaning banks and investment houses. Managerial capitalism, meaning corporate America. These exist at the top of the food chain, along with those who control the mass media. Society is structured like a pyramid, and those at the top of the economic pyramid*, ‘the ruling class’ create the soft media that helps brainwash, or persuade, or influence, the masses.

In 1980, the top ten percent‘s share of all taxable income went up by 1/3 or 1/ 2. Reagan gave away the store to the most powerful of the powerful, and helped turn America into a veritable banana republic. “Thirty four to forty six percent of taxable income went to the top ten percent of the wealthy”. Ten percent control almost fifty percent of the wealth. If that isn’t a banana republic, then what is? While median family income declined or stagnated, they made a staggering thirty-three percent profit. And this applies only to ‘taxed income’, ie ‘revenue’.

Whom are we all working for, anyway?

By 1970, Annual rate of growth was near zero. Before that, it was five percent. Inflation was at six percent. Inflation ate up the gains made unless one had invested in something that “beat the system”. Gold, perhaps. Or companies, which have tricky accounting procedures in order to realize gains and avoid taxes.

The top one percent of 15,000 taxpayers made 26 million dollars in income. One percent owns sixty- two percent of private business income. One percent owns fifty-one percent in stocks. One percents owns seventy percent of bonds. One percent owns the store!

Half of America is “working class”. They will NEVER share in the wealth that accrues to the few. “Trickle down” — my foot! The rich get richer, as they say, and the poor get… babies. Or abortions. But they don’t gain in the share of the pie.

And who in government looks out for the interests of this class? Perhaps, no one!

What is TV, radio, media, et cetera, except ‘spreaders of false consciousness’? Has no one ever asked why the US government had such a nauseating spasm of hysteria over a few communists during the fifties? Is it because they were not so much afraid of the communists, as of the population discovering the truth about society? Hmm?

The film, “Network” is the only one that I’ve seen that even touches on the diabolical pyramid structure of Amerika. The character Howard Beale very clearly analyzes how the elite control society, and use television as a means of increasing their own power at the expense of the truth. He enunciated the whole process by which Gulf Arabs and large corporations and large banks and big media profit off our society. Is government protecting us from them? Of course not!

American post-democracy, or pseudo-democracy, is what we live under. A regime in which the people are powerless to alter their situation. How did Ancient Rome control its heavily-taxed working class? With Bread and circuses: i.e. welfare and television. When that method began to fail, they instituted Christian religion, which more or less succeeded.

——————————————

definitions:

Marx’s capital: Surplus value, or the excess value created by the worker.

Exchange value: the amount of labor used to create the product.

The difference between the value of products of labor and the cost of producing them (value: cost). Subsistence wages, or the near starvation of the worker, was what helped keep the system in place. Marx wrote about the ‘dehumanizing effect of money’.

Capitalism signifies the exploitation of the worker.

Alienation; the existence of wage labor is based on the violent separation of the masses of producers from control over the tools and instruments with which they work.

The capitalist machine: US steel, standard oil, gulf, Swift, Armour, general foods, AT&T, GE, Westinghouse, Alcoa, Anaconda, DuPont, American tobacco, GM, RCA.

It all comes down to “Who owns what and whom?”

They want only one thing: to keep the working class working, ad perpetua, ad infinitum. We’re being used like guinea pigs on a treadmill.

Marx posited that there is a structure to society, built on private property.

On top, was the aristocracy. In the middle, the bourgeoisie, or ‘middle class’. Below them was a mixture of the working class and the poor.

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“The ruling ideas of each age have been the ideas of its ruling class”, Karl Marx.

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