Capitalism Is Killing Us

china number twoCapitalism is Killing Us

The Chinese iPhone workers in China are jumping out of buildings on purpose, taking their own lives because they can’t take it anymore. These are the deleterious effects of capitalism in the world’s second largest economy.

Foxconn, the company that makes the ever-popular iPhone, apparently is a fascistic company that treats its employees like dogs. Hours are too long, management is too rigid, and the assembly line too fast. Capitalism is all about making money — and for this company, profits have been made at the expense of labor rights. Foxconn has had twelve worker suicides this year, and they’ve installed safety nets—yes nets—on their buildings to catch those workers who just can’t take it anymore. The company has even increased wages. But the real eye-opener was the contrived, half-baked, forced pep rally that it held in Shenzen, where 300,000 people work and most of the suicides took place. It’s as if the company is telling its employees, “you’ll be happy or else.” Oh, what a piece of work they are.

Now, anyone can look at China’s rapid economic growth and react with wonderment and awe. They have surpassed Japan, and are outranked only by the U.S.—for now. Plus, they are the largest owner of American debt at the better part of a trillion dollars. China shows what you can do with a little industrial planning, policy, and guidance from the government. But then again, many things are possible when you don’t have those annoyances, those minor nuisances like environmental regulations, workplace safety, worker’s rights, and democratic government. Chinese-style capitalism seems to be a purer form than its U.S. counterpart, and therefore a Republican nirvana, minus the part about government planning. And for now, we wait for a nascent labor movement to kick into gear and transform a country that responds to massive public unrest through military crackdowns.

While Chinese workers jump out of windows, Americans are dying as well. In the U.S., workers die on exploding oil rigs and in deathtrap coalmines because their regulation-hating employers want to maximize profits. And besides, they say, regulations are dumb. Consumers die from unsafe food because food companies want to cut corners. Just like the Great Depression days when people lacked a safety net, the unemployed, foreclosed and student debtor-prisoners of today are turning to suicide at an alarming rate, with an increase of calls to suicide prevention hotlines.

The jobless take their own lives at a rate two to three times higher than the general population. That could be a scary proposition in a nation that sanctions the corporate-sponsored proliferation of firearms. Meanwhile, all of this happens in a country where the chronically unemployed number as many as they ever did, yet the jobless are characterized by conservatives as lazy drug abusers that would rather have a welfare check than go to work. Let them work at McDonald’s, as Glenn Beck would say.

In the face of predatory capitalism, totalitarian and other repressive regimes do not have to justify their oppressive policies to their public, and all dissidents face the barrel of a gun. But in the U.S.—which touts itself as the land of opportunity, yet ranks at the bottom of advanced nations in upward economic mobility—years of corporation-friendly policies have gutted the American middle class. The economy was transformed into a casino with no holds barred, and compulsive gamblers threw away the lives of hardworking Americans.

In the past eight years, black and Latino homeowners lost up to $93 billion and $98 billion respectively, the largest loss of wealth for people of color in this nation’s history. And as 17 percent of Latino borrowers, 11 percent of blacks and 7 percent of whites either have lost their homes or are about to, there is scant distinction between poor and middle class, as we are all po’ folks now. These days, it seems, everyone is having a black experience, save a relatively few lucky souls.

But there is a threat that too many of us have noticed the crisis already. So, the oligarch puppeteers just have to come up with something, anything, in order to obfuscate, change the subject, and hope that not too many people begin to truly understand the contradictions of a “free” and unequal America. Republican-owned media subsidiaries will have you fixated on the four “Ms” of Muslims, mosques, Mexicans and Gay marriage as the source of all your woes.

To safeguard their financial interests and retain their wealth, right-wing billionaires become purveyors of ersatz populism, setting up phony-baloney Tea Parties and other front groups because “this right-wing, redneck stuff works for them.” And as the low-information voters with short attention spans fight over the trivialities and distractions—poor shlubs that they are, devoted to an Islamophobic “news” network whose Saudi co-owner funded the very mosque they repudiate– business lobbyists fight to keep those same folks poor and dumb and make the wealthy even wealthier.

david loveCapitalism is killing us, with the exception of the handful of capitalists who thrive because they successfully pimped the system and bought the corrupt politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike. They own the system now, but it is time for new ownership.

David A. Love

This article first in The Black Commentator and is republished with permission.

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Comments

  1. Oscar says

    The real solution to all of humanity problems lies infront of our eyes and we dont even see it. I suggest everyone who visits and reads this comment takes a look at the Venus Project by Jeaque Fresco. Its a plan for the future in which Ecological balance would be maintained and stability within the communes would be prosperous. a reminder we must all remember is that we only have one wrold and under the capitalistt system our wrold would perish itself forever. We need to re-structure our social aims and promote rights to our natural resources. we got the brains and know hows on how to create a whole different civilization in which the earths resources would become a common heritage for every indidvidual on this planet.

  2. Bachi says

    so much talk for nothing. of course its the biggest flaw the world made along with country division.

    a system is created not to tempt fate (hospitals, rescuers and food producers, etc, should be kept) but capitalism is centred on tempting fate, killing people in wars for oil and leaving them to starve, while some people are brainwashed to think they want power and fancy cars

  3. Elaine says

    Capitalism is not what is killing us. What is killing us is Obama, his administration, his Congress & his Senate along with his czars & his trying to force us into a Global One World Order. He has made power grabs for everything & has got them. Look around you. This is no longer the “Land of the Free & the Home of the Brave” that stand together with our Pride for our country, our flag & our Constitution. To Obama these things should not ever exist. He wants us all to become good little commies in a third world country. That is why Cass Sunstein thinks we can be led into lives of nothings & nobodies. But that is the legacy he wants to leave. He will never understand because he thinks we want to live off the government like all those folks in Acorn wanted to do. When he told Joe, that he wanted to spread the wealth, I honestly thing he expected Joe to be happy about that. He just does not understand we love our freedoms, our country & our we do not like the government taking care of us.

  4. Mad Jayhawk says

    That is a hoot. The world’s problems and people jumping out of windows in China are caused by capitalism, Fox News, Republicans, and Tea Parties? Really really insightful analysis.

  5. Ryder says

    Of course, the obvious truth is that capitalism is doing just the opposite. It is exactly because China is socialist that the workers are mistreated… Not a pure form of Capitalism at all.

    The wealth that true Capitalism generates is the primary force behind saving lives… Wealth means life… At least up to a point. America is so wealthy, we have vastly more deathe resulting from being so fat on food that our hearts simply give up… We party to excess, alcohol and drugs taking their toll.

    But it is the state controlled workplace, and worse, the state OWNED workplace where workers the world over are in greatest danger, simply because government can always exempt itself from safety rules.

    It is not as if mines only collapse in capitalist countries… Or nuclear power plants melt down (as happened in the Soviet union).

    Capitalism has mass the wealth possible that *allows* for enhanced safety regulation. You must have excess profits in order to spend anything on safety and health. It is only through a strong economy that this can be done at all. History shows clearly that an economies that have suffered a crash, and have to rebuild from square one, are filled with workplace hazards of every kind.

    Safety requires wealth first. Without it, we are naked apes hunting for food with our bare hands… Risking our lives in an effort to survive.

    That is the history of mankind.

  6. Marshall says

    Sorry, forgot this question, China wants a profit and do you know what it is doing with it? It is not giving it to the folks jumping out the window, it is building a large navy, and for why?

  7. Marshall says

    Your first paragraph is an unfounded claim, China is not like any country, it runs a for profit economy but only for the owner of the company, which is the government. No one has a vote for or aganist either the company board or the government, which are in fact one in the same.

    Companies in America are not that powerful, ie citi, bac, gm, ge, and others who were put into a position of government ownership by our government but may work themselves out of that control. Control in China is forever. I also get to vote for board members of companies I own but do wonder how much that means in the end of the process.

    • Steve says

      Exactly this is not a republic these people have no say and the government can come and claim ownership at anytime!!!

  8. Hambledon says

    I agree with the article, although I wish we would all give up the “like dogs” metaphor, as if it were okay to mistreat dogs. (It’s not!)

  9. says

    You’ve almost stated the problem. The root problem is that humanity has been duped into thinking that money is a wise way to manage a civilization. Money is slavery by proxy and all the evidence proves it.

    Go to YouTube and look up “Money as Debt” and watch the series to better understand that the root problem is money itself. Until we grow wise and turn away from money and greed, humanity is doomed.

    Here is Wisdom,

    Seven

    • Elaine says

      Amelia – Socialism is not good ideas. You need to read up on Socialism a lot more before you take this WSWS articles to heart. Do you believe Cass Sunstein that we all have a little Bart Simpson in us and that we can easily be led wherever they wants us to go?

  10. Fed up says

    Don’t blame capitalism. The whole point of the Wealth of Nations, written by Adam Smith A Moral Philosopher from the University of Glasgow, was that the wealth of a nation didn’t reside in its gold and silver, but in the labor of its people. His whole exercise in thought was an attempt to find a way for regular people — not just the aristocracy — to get a share of wealth and create a society where everyone would prosper.

    Nita Colaco does a good job explaining succinctly in this article: http://www.oxonianreview.org/wp/adam-smith-a-moral-philosopher/

    In addition, any time an individual or entity can “influence the market” the market is no longer a free market. So by definition, letting these huge mergers that allow banks or other corporations to get too big to fail, are the opposite of a free market. Don’t blame capitalism for these disruptions of the free market, put it squarely where it belongs, on individuals who through their own greed and corruption deliberately rub off their own stink on the rest of us. We need to reject the Ayn Rand view of capitalism and get back to Smith’s.

    • Amelia says

      “In Smith’s opinion, commercial society is the last stage in human development, the farthest cry from the primitive world of warlike savages.”
      That alone should tell you that Smith’s opinion is erroneous, as nations continue wars to maintain their ability to accumulate wealth. Capitalism in it’s very nature perpetuates the subjugation of the lower class of laborers to the upper class of landowners, it is an archaic model of society resulting from feudalism that should be disposed of if we ever intend to see true liberty of the people.

    • Hambledon says

      Several points:

      I’ll be that you haven’t read Adam Smith himself. He also says that profit margins should be low! And he was writing long before international corporations appeared on the scene, so to take him as a model is to ignore two centuries of historical change.

      “Individual responsibility” clearly doesn’t work in an unregulated international market, nor does it do any good to say so. “We need to … get back”–who is going to make this happen and how?

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