Skip to content

EXERCISES IN WHAT CAPITALISM IS – AND ISN’T (PART 2)

January 27, 2013

EXERCISES IN WHAT CAPITALISM IS – AND ISN’T (PART 2)

In the mid 1960s, Hollywood produced an Oscar-winning movie called “Oliver Twist.” It was a musical and was based upon the novel of the same name by Charles Dickens, a mid-nineteenth century social activist/reformer and a contemporary of Thomas Hobbes. Both Dickens and Hobbes were social commentators on conditions in 19th century England, and the novel “Oliver Twist” did not involve the happy music Hollywood applied to it in the movie.

It was rather a grim tale of an orphan in English workshops where the concept of child labor was not yet recognized as evil by English capitalists (if it ever was). English capitalists of the mid 19th century exploited labor much as it is being exploited today in the Orient and Central America. Right to work and similar suppression of labor rights these days in this country signal a return to the capitalist heyday of mid 19th century England, albeit now dressed up in virtuous political garb of union-busting as “freedom” and other such PR propaganda terminology funded by Wall Street and superrich capitalists.

My followers will recall that Newt Gingrich advocated a return to child labor when running for president not so long ago. It seems that modern day capitalists and their political mouthpieces such as Gingrich are willing to ignore the reformist movement in England which ended the horrid practice of employing children in sweatshop conditions and the rationale for ending it. It had to do with morality, not profit, so that may have been a term omitted from the capitalists’ (and Gingrich’s) lexicons.

Profit is the only name of the game, and all resources, human or natural, are to be utilized without government or unions or any other kind of interference in the pursuit of gain. To talk of regulating such uses for the public good (air, water and perhaps even the use of child labor) is an infringement on the freedom of capitalists /to pursue gain in a “free market” economy and cannot be tolerated.

Hobbes summed up mid 19th century England with his famous statement that life there was nasty, brutish and short. He, of course, was referring to the laboring classes of England, not their capitalists, who were prospering greatly.

Followers may have noticed that such an observation of some 150 years ago has increasing application to the social conditions of this country today, where ordinary Americans have stagnating wages (if they have jobs) in the race to the bottom engineered by capitalists with their overseas interests. They may also have noted that corporations today are sitting on historic shiploads of cash and historic “political pull” in Washington as well on matters of taxation, regulation, subsidies, bailouts and other such matters which affect their bottom lines. Profit remains the name of the game irrespective of where its pursuit leads America and its people in a global marketplace, the identical motivation that put the orphan Oliver Twist into a capitalist sweatshop in mid 19th century England.

I think another “reform movement” should be initiated, one which leads to a set of policies which take into consideration labor rights as well as those enjoyed by capital, and a strong regulatory regime which takes the public interest into account as well as the profit interests of the rich and corporate class. As things now stand, there is no parity between labor and capital and none even between capital and the public interest.  This is not democracy. The “people” should not be owned by anybody.  GERALD  E

Advertisements

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: