All posts tagged: capitalism

A Taxing Question: Re-reading Piketty

Frank Lee reviews Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty This book by Thomas Piketty was first published in 2014 and became an instant best seller. It had taken the author some 15 years to research and complete, and deserves a detailed attention and analysis rather than the usual one-off, production-line tracts which are read and instantly forgotten. Piketty describes the end of an old epoch, the rise of the new – the golden age of welfare-capitalism, Le Trente Glorieuses, the Keynes/Beveridge consensus, call it what you will, circa 1945-1975 – and the re-emergence of a second rentier capitalism regime which began the early 1980s. Using apposite literary references to writers of the first gilded age he quotes: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice An immortal sentence which says a thousand words. Such was the moral zeitgeist in Europe during the 19th century; Piketty then drives home the point by adding …

Privatization is at the Core of Facsism

Privatizations are increasingly fashionable, such as in Greece, Ukraine, the U.S., and UK — and privatizations are a central feature of fascism. Eric Zuesse The first group of privatizations occurred in the first fascist nation, Italy, in the 1920s; and the second group of privatizations occurred in the second fascist nation, Germany, in the 1930s. Privatizations started under Mussolini, and then were instituted under Hitler. That got the fascist ball rolling; and, after a few decades of hiatus in the wake of fascism’s embarrassing supposed defeat in WW II, it resurfaced and then surged yet again after 1970, when fascist forces in the global aristocracy, such as via the CIA, IMF, Bilderberg group, and Trilateral Commission, imposed the global reign of the world’s main private holders of bonds and of stocks: the world’s aristocrats are taking on an increasing percentage of what were previously public assets. Privatizations, after starting in fascisms during the pre-WWII years, resumed again in the 1970s under the fascist Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet; and in the 1980s under the fascist British …

Paradigm shifts: The Great crash of 2008 revisited

Frank Lee Some years ago, I reviewed a book – State Building – by Francis Fukuyama. This was one of his lesser known works, he is more famous for being the theorist of the ‘end of history’ – a view fashionable during the days of neo-liberal triumphalism circa the 1980s. But the views espoused are much the same in both works. After the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, and social-democracy effectively throwing in the towel in Western Europe, Mr Fukuyama postulated that liberal, deregulated, market capitalism was now the historical norm, and if countries had not arrived at this terminal point in their history then in the fullness of time they surely would. This teleology became the received wisdom in official circles, and I would argue still is, at least among the political, financial and media elites. Paradoxically, this consensus – let’s call it the Thatcher/Reagan settlement – represented almost a theoretical mirror image of the cruder types of Marxist historical materialism. The term ‘cruder’ is used sparingly, since it is questionable whether Marx …

Fascism Is the True Face of Capitalism

by Bertholt Brecht, 1935 The truth must be spoken with a view to the results it will produce in the sphere of action. As a specimen of a truth from which no results, or the wrong ones, follow, we can cite the widespread view that bad conditions prevail in a number of countries as a result of barbarism. In this view, Fascism is a wave of barbarism which has descended upon some countries with the elemental force of a natural phenomenon. According to this view, Fascism is a new, third power beside (and above) capitalism and socialism; not only the socialist movement but capitalism as well might have survived without the intervention of Fascism. And so on. This is, of course, a Fascist claim; to accede to it is a capitulation to Fascism. Fascism is a historic phase of capitalism; in this sense it is something new and at the same time old. In Fascist countries capitalism continues to exist, but only in the form of Fascism; and Fascism can be combated as capitalism alone, …

Pope Francis and the Battle over Cultural Terrain

by Gary Olson, September 14, 2018, via CounterPunch “… [W]e should not be fooled: Much of the organized opposition to Francis has nothing to do with how we care for the divorced and remarried. It is this, his trenchant critique of modern capitalism that keeps money flowing to conservative outlets intent on marginalizing what the pope says.’ — Michael Sean Williams, The National Catholic Reporter, 10/29/17. So far, we have the still unsubstantiated allegations by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò that Pope Francis covered up sex abuses by the now disgraced Theodore McCarrick, the Cardinal who oversaw Washington, D.C. churches from 2001-2006.  Vigano named 32 other senior clerics, all allies of Pope Francis and called for the pontiff’s resignation. Although I remain highly skeptical of Vigano’s charges, I’m reluctant to draw any hard conclusion at this juncture. And being neither a Catholic nor a believer, I don’t have an ecclesiastical dog collar in this fight. However, my sense is that this matter is far more serious than a civil war within the Church — and that …

How a Free Market Inevitably Produces Dictatorship

Eric Zuesse Who rules the land? A deeper and truer version of this question is: What rules the land? Is it the money (the aristocracy), or is it the people (the public, the residents on that land)? (For the interest of paleoconservatives, the issue of residents’ citizenship will come later here, as “immigrants” instead of as “citizenship”; but our basic focus is not ethnicity/nationality; it’s class: the money, versus the voters; not the natives, versus the foreigners.) In a democracy, the public rule — the people do — and it’s on authentically a one-person-one-vote basis, and anyone who is a resident in that land can easily vote, just like anyone else who lives there, because only the residents there, during the specific time-period of the voting, are the ultimate decision-makers, over that land, and over its laws. This is what a democracy is: it’s one-person-one-vote, and, in the political sense, it’s total equality-of-rights and total equality-of-obligations — real and total equality-by-law: equal rights, and equal obligations, for all residents. A democracy applies the same requirements to everyone. This does not mean …

The West has Performed a “Philosophical Coup” Against the Left

It has been happening for quite some time, but no one has been paying much attention: Western academia, mainstream media, and the most visible propagandists, were trying to convince the world that 1) ideology has died, or at least became irrelevant 2) in case it did not die, the Left is actually… hold your breath…right-wing!

Especially the Left that is holding power, particularly in Asia and in Latin America, is being ‘re-defined’ in London, Paris and Washington. The Western propaganda gurus are apparently rejuvenated, lately, as there are great budgets available to them, in the United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere. They are openly told to go after certain countries, particularly Russia, China and Iran.

New Study on Rising Suicide Rates in the US Suggests Capitalism Is Quite Literally Killing Americans

by Grit Post Editorial Board, June 11, 2018 A study released late last week showed that suicide rates have risen significantly across the country. The culprit appears to be capitalism. t’s largely assumed that people who decide to kill themselves are suffering from a mental illness. Mental Health America estimates that 30 to 70 percent of Americans who end their own lives are suffering from either severe depression or bipolar disorder. However, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 54 percent of Americans who committed suicide in 27 states in 2015 had no known mental health condition. The CDC study, which examined suicide rates in all 50 states between 1999 and 2016, found that the rate of Americans taking their own lives increased by an alarming 38 to 58 percent in 12 states, 31 to 37 percent in another 12 states, and 19 percent to 30 percent in another 12 states. The CDC found that on average, suicide rates jumped by more than 30 percent for all 50 states. The only state that …

Capitalism Reduced Indonesian Cities to Infested Carcases

From Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Samarinda and Pontianak, text and photos: Andre Vltchek Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta’s posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he ‘had something urgent to tell me’, after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital. What he had to say was actually straight to the point and definitely worth sitting two hours in an epic traffic jam: “No one will be allowed to build comprehensive public transportation in Jakarta or in any other Indonesian city. If a mayor or a governor tries and defies the wishes of the ruthless business community which is in fact controlling most of the Indonesian government, he or she will be dethroned, or even totally destroyed.” These ‘prophetic’ words are still ringing in my ears, several months after the complete destruction of the progressive Jakarta governor, known as Ahok (real name: Basuki Tjahaja Purnama), who tried …

Borneo – Island devastated, people oblivious

from Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan): Andre Vltchek and Mira Lubis She was just standing there, in the middle of burning land, surrounded by stumps of trees, fire everywhere, smoke rising towards hopelessly gray sky. The expression on her face was mischievous, almost girlish. I had no idea how old she was: she could have been 28, just as she could easily have been 55. This island, this village, this charred land: it all looked like hell to me, but obviously not to her: it actually made her laugh, burst with pride. After all, it was her island, not mine; it was her land, her trees, and it was all getting royally fucked. She was personally participating in this carnage of nature – she, as well as her husband, her entire family, her neighbors. Her name was Bu Elvi. ‘Bu’ means mom, or mam or Misses, in Bahasa Indonesia. Her scorched land spans near the village of Dusun Terusan, and Dusan Terusan is near Sintang, in the heart of Borneo, on the largest island in Asia, which …

A Partisanship Of The Heart: Interior Measures Towards A Re-Visioning Of Capitalism’s Imperium Of Death

by Phil Rockstroh According to a nationwide study [https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm] conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a greater number of U.S. Americans died (approximately 65,000) from drug overdoses last year than were killed during the course of the Vietnam War. All part and parcel of capitalism’s war against life itself. The emotional and physical pain, anxiety, and depression inflicted by the trauma inherent to a system sustained by perpetual exploitation has proven to be too much for a sizeable number of human beings to endure thus their need to self-medicate. The root of addiction is trauma. The soul of the nation is a casualty of war. There is not an Arlington Cemetery for these fallen, no hagiographic ceremonies will be performed over their graves nor statues erected in memoriam. Their ghosts will howl through the long, dark night of national denial. Listen to their wailing. It is an imprecatory prayer. A curse and augury … that admonishes, our fate and the fate of the nation will converge … as the nation will …

Long Live the Great October Revolution – 100 years of screwing Imperialism!

The world is in ruins. It is literally burning, covered by slums, by refugee camps, and its great majority is ‘controlled by markets’, as was the dream and design of individuals such as Milton Friedman, Friedrich von Hayek, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Führers like Kissinger and Brzezinski, sacrificed tens of millions of human lives all over our planet, just to prevent nations from trying to fulfill their spontaneous socialist, and even, God forbid, Communist dreams and aspirations. Some of the tyrants were actually very ‘honest’: Henry Kissinger once observed, publicly, that he saw no reason why a certain country should be allowed to “go Marxist” merely because “its people are irresponsible”. He was thinking about Chile. He “saw no reason” and as a result, several thousands of people were murdered…