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PREDATORY CAPITALISM AND COUNTERVAILING FORCE

August 4, 2018

PREDATORY CAPITALISM AND COUNTERVAILING FORCE

Professor Kennedy in her blog today notes that Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court is chiefly opposed by those who are fearful that he will vote to repeal Roe, noting further that his anti-worker bias is escaping notice, and asked for comment. The following, edited slightly, and responsive to an earlier offering of a fellow commentator, was my response.

To my fellow commentator – Thanks for your rundown of neoliberalism and triangulation, which have been known to those of us who are paying attention for years. The question now is what are we going to do about it. Piketty and Stiglitz, among other brilliant economists, have attributed the absence of “countervailing force” to capitalist expansion following Powell’s infamous memo of 1971 and a clueless and union-busting Reagan with his trickledown idiocy since 1980 and a triangulation game played by Clinton afterwards, all of which in sum set us on a course of wage inequality which has persisted to this day. Thus the Dow has since exploded while median wages have barely moved, and some at the bottom of the median measure are making less, adjusted for inflation, than they were forty years ago in a seemingly orchestrated move by the rich via their political lackeys to expand the number of those in poverty while hollowing out access to the middle class under the pretense that this is “good policy.”  > Good for whom, may I inquire. . .

Piketty and Stiglitz have identified the now destroyed countervailing force to be unions, which are now at their nadir in economic history dating from the New Deal days of FDR which, along with rampant vote-buying by the rich (helped along by Citizens United), explains the ownership of America’s politics and its economy by Big Money today. Since the union movement as traditionally formed and expanded into industry-wide bargaining has been defanged by the rich due to our political climate, I have come to the conclusion that we will have to restore “countervailing force” by statute, such as a rejuvenation of the Wagner Act, and one with teeth designed to encourage union formation and designated powers in the representation of the workforce they represent not only as to living wages but also as to such working conditions as regulation of the so-called gig economy, maternity leave and the like via legislation that will bring us up to par with other civilized nations.

How important is it to come up with countervailing force to counter current runaway capitalism? It is, paradoxically, perhaps key to survival of such system since there are already signs that millennials (our future) are reacting to such excesses with a hard turn to the left where “socialism is not a dirty word anymore.” I worry about this turn to the left for fear it will get out of hand and bring us an externality few expected as radicals, like moths, are attracted to the fire. I think this attempt by millennials to bring their own version of countervailing force would be unnecessary if we had a Democratic administration and Congress that provided the alternative of countervailing force via a Wagner Act #2 – with teeth – among other reforms in leveling the playing field.

Someone, probably Marx, wrote that capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction. We may be seeing this view fleshed out in plain sight these days as the rich and the politicians plunge on with their tax cuts and other greedy policies risking a hard left millennial reaction in a country containing 42 million Americans in poverty and many others not far from that cutoff designation what with rampant wage inequality and terminal greed of the financial sector. To do > elect those who will restore wage equality, our #1 domestic issue (aside from Trump’s banalities), that is, Democrats who want to bring a fair and equitable employee sharing of the income and wealth of our economy into the 21st century. As I often write, I am not a socialist and am trying to save capitalism, if the capitalists will let me.        GERALD       

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One Comment
  1. there seems to be good democratic socialism working in European countries. THAT is NOT “hard left” as you put it. Millennials are not stupid or radical. They are following Bernie Sander’s lead.

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