From the mid 1800’s, economists have adequately pointed-out the inherent failures of the capitalist system, and there are several. However, since the prevailing powers in the U.S., Britain, Germany, and elsewhere were in positions to benefit from capitalist expansion, they propagated against the dissenting voices and alternatives they presented. An odd thing about economic systems is that it’s hard to have two competing systems within the same political boundary(nation-state), especially if the proponents of one won’t tolerate the other.
So, this particular failure is at the very foundation of the system: the production level. Those who have accumulated wealth are able to purchase, basically, the exclusive rights to produce a particular commodity. The technological infrastructure they build, through the use of massive capital, is a barrier to entry for smaller (or individual) producers. The unemployed then become competitors against one another to get an overworked, underpaid job working for the capitalist owner. And those investors continue on as parasites to the system ad infinitum; once invested, their ownership of the profits becomes a permanent status, while the workers earn no profits, nor even enough to live on.
The pressure over keeping a job, remaining productive, eliminating competition, kissing the boss’ ass, and dealing with workplace politics, in addition to the repetitive nature of such jobs, only adds to the unhappiness of taking home a paycheck that barely meets ones needs. As a matter of fact, at $7.25/hour as a minimum wage, companies like Walmart and McDonald’s mooch off the taxpayers and enroll their employees in TANF and food-stamp programs, rather than paying a livable wage.
In the last century, labor movements (unions, wage and workplace improvements) were aware of these realities. Unions formed to raise wages, reduce work hours, improve conditions, and keep the selfishness of the capitalists in check. In addition, U.S. Presidents like FDR, JFK, and LBJ instituted sweeping programs to provide security for workers; during employment, between jobs, and in retirement. The 1970’s however ushered in a long period of push-back from the Wall Street investors and corporate entities. They formed think-tanks, political action committees, PR campaigns, and engaged in political corruption to turn the government and legal systems in their favor.
“Deregulation” is the most widespread attack on our protection systems. They have eliminated and modified laws and agencies that were established for public benefit and oversight in banking, investments, collective bargaining rights, torts, the environment, and even the primary and secondary education systems. And they constantly fight to cut budgets for social necessities, and refuse to consider raising taxes on the wealthy or the corporations to levels that would be adequate to avoid budget deficits.
In fact, corporations and the wealthy are horrible about not paying their taxes. There are tens of thousands of off-shore accounts and billions of dollars in unpaid taxes every year. The 1999 Congressional Budget Office had forecast that the U.S. would be over $4 Trillion in budget surplus by 2012; instead, we’re nearly $17 Trillion in debt. This is due to the Bush tax-cuts that got him bought into office in 2000, the economic recession he ushered in, and the subsequent collapse in the banking and investment sectors that resulted from decades of deregulation, fraud, and failed oversight. Today, they slaughter education budgets for our children, but continue with $600 Billion annual defense budgets, because that money becomes profit for defense industry corporations (the parasites of the murder industry).
So, I ask you:
given that the system that’s been hoisted on us, capitalism, is inherently destructive to job opportunities, is it not just and mandatory that we have social security programs to compensate those who want to work and live but can’t find jobs ? Should we tolerate the lying corporations who call themselves the “job creators” while they go about building their fortunes on the backs of hard-workers and the suffering of the unemployed ? What do we say when we hear the nasty rhetoric about “lazy Americans” who don’t want to work ? And what do we do to change this deplorable system that’s killing our people and destroying our planet, our children, and our future ?
For more facts and opinions, read Lynn Parramore’s excellent article: