Sunday, June 2, 2013
Capitalism - opiate of the masses
During the Global Financial Crisis we saw just how much influence large Corporations have as the Government handed out welfare to prop up Big Businesses that were deemed 'too big fail'. Meanwhile individuals went bankrupt, losing everything that they had gained in the name of Capitalism, in pursuit of the 'American Dream'.
And dream it was. Capitalism is merely a tool of the rich to subdue the masses, to have them believe they can also be filthy rich if they work hard enough ... if they work hard enough enslaved to the rich, to the corporations run by the rich. Capitalism makes a very few uber-rich, while the rest are sold an unattainable dream and fed just enough scraps to keep from rebelling.
Aristotle wrote that 'poverty is the parent of revolution and crime'. It is in the best interests of the rich to ensure the 'common people' don't revolt. What better way to suppress revolution than by providing a dream, an illusion of potential wealth that not only subdues the public, but has them willingly enslaved in pursuit of the dream.
Capitalism is the opiate of the masses.
The insidious nature of Capitalism has seen it follow it's natural course by usurping Government that once represented the people, with Government that represents the rich and their corporations. Such Governments are no longer democracies, they have became plutocracies which have yielded to corporatocracies through privatisation - Government by the corporation, for the corporation.
The fuel on which the Corporatocracy feeds, is consumerism. Of course, this is sold to us from a young age through advertising that challenges us to have the latest 'thing', to keep up with, or be better than, the Jones's.
In order to keep up with consumerism, we must have wealth, and to have wealth we must work. There is nothing wrong with working, in fact, it is necessary for society to function. But when workers are exploited in order to transfer wealth to the rich and the Corporations, then there is something seriously wrong.
Capitalism is transfer of wealth from the worker to the rich.
Workers were once proud members of Unions and would often vote for parties that supported workers rights, such as Labor or the Democrats. These days, workers are disparaging of Unions through negative campaigns run by corporations and parties hijacked by the Corporatocracy, and are more willing to vote for parties opposed to union membership. Why do they do this? Because the opiate of Capitalism has convinced them that they are not an exploited proletariat, but are temporarily embarrassed millionaires (as John Steinbeck once observed). These workers do not understand that they are the commodity with which the rich get richer. It is overworked and underpaid labour that builds mega-profits. And these profits do not trickle down in the way that the Corporatocracy leads the gullible to believe.
Alvin Toffler stated, 'Profits, like sausages… are esteemed most by those who know least about what goes into them'. An insightful comment that describes the dichotomy between worker viewpoint and worker reality.
Small businesses once operated independently and were often family-owned. These days there has been an incredible growth in franchises, which has effectively turned business people into workers while they think they are operating their own business. Many small businesses are reliant on contracts from multi-nationals, effectively turning their owners into glorified workers for the corporation while under the illusion that they 'work for themselves'.
Corporatocracy is a form of feudalism. Banks hold over-valued mortgages on houses and land, forcing the vassals to work. The exploited vassals return profits and homage to the corporation. Yes, the vassal may make some money from their ventures, enough to keep them from total poverty and subsequent revolution, but it is a pittance compared to the obscene profits being made at the expense of their freedom.
Voltaire said, 'The comfort of the rich depends on the abundance of the poor'. It is no accident that we now have a growing class of people known as the 'working poor'. They are the ones at the end of the corporate production line; the ones who work extremely hard for little return. They are exploited by corporations both through under-paid jobs and the wealth-transfer of consumerism.
And then there is the candy-coated Capitalism of pyramid schemes, or multi-level marketing, which market themselves as legitimate ways to get-rich quick. Again, the only ones who get rich are those at the top of the tree, while the rest are exploited proletariat.
If ever there was a time for a workers' revolution it is now.
Revolution, however, does not necessarily have to come in the form of the flag-waving proletariat burning Parliament. Vladimir Nabokov said 'revelation can be more dangerous than revolution'.
The revelation that Capitalism is an opiate, that it feeds on greed and fear - the fear that 'someone' may steal our wealth. It is this greed that keeps people giving up their wealth as they strive to accumulate more Capital. It is this fear that keeps people willing to sacrifice freedoms for the illusion of protection provided by Government which supports a 'strong' Capitalist economy through propping up those corporations deemed 'too big to fail'.
Greed and fear can be overcome through generosity, caring for each other and understanding that individual accumulation of wealth is more dangerous to society than sharing wealth for the benefit of all. This revelation will undermine the power that Corporations and the Corporatocracy have over the masses, ultimately leading to a revolution that returns power to the people and ensures that wealth is spread evenly in order to overcome poverty and provide equal opportunity for all, rather than exploitation of all.