Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Yay capitalism :\

Capitalism is as much an ideology as communism, and no more or less of an economic system. Isn't it amazing that we have not only avoided questioning it, but seem to find it more and more impossible to do (even in India! If anyone should be able to see the dark side of capitalism, it should be the erstwhile jewel in the imperial crown. Even Adam Smith questioned the functioning of the British East India Company!) Probably we haven't doubted it seriously just because it hasn't completely collapsed thus far (yeah, why not wait till it does, and then figure out what was wrong with it). But it really isn't working, and has never worked. Its "success" would not exist without the things most of its votaries consider illegitimate (and therefore, illogically, not even associated with its success, as if they were exceptions to rules that otherwise work smoothly), but which are nevertheless crucial industrial and also post-industrial capitalism: slavery and colonization/imperialism (good head start there, with the free labor and raw materials), unemployment (keeps wages in check), neo-colonialism, neo-imperialism, outsourcing (pits rich countries' poor against poor countries' poor, and relies heavily on informal labor and environmental recklessness, at least in manufacturing), wartime profiteering and enslavement (IBM, Dow Chemical, Benz, Halliburton, Blackwater), environmental devastation (dear Dow Chemical again), all that good stuff.

IN SPITE of it all, it hasn't done well. (How stupid do you have to be to cheat on an exam...and flunk!) Far too many "respected" companies have done themselves -- and investors -- in with their financial roulette (Enron, Tyco, Adelphia). And now the "most trusted" names in capitalism are being bailed out by governments (Northern Rock, Bear Stearns). I think this is a good question: why is the Fed putting retirees' incomes at risk by cutting interest rates and spurring inflation, in order to bail out irresponsible investment bankers?

Oh, here's an amusing clip of Jim Cramer (CNBC dude in the video clip above) "reflecting" on his comment about how "silly" it was to take your money out of Bear Stearns. Not so funny for investors who were desperately trying to get out of the stock and couldn't, of course.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There was a major group of people who hysterically avocated letting the Wall Street controlling their Social Security (although there is no much left in the fund), and their health care because (according to their words) the free market economy and competition will solve all problems. The image of private industry as a lean mean machine vs slow, gloated government is just a myth for big corporation is just full of bureaucracy just like its counter part, the government. Capitalism had run aground causing the Great Depression but somehow all is forgotten and its faux pas is polished and resaled to the general public. I still wait for the day Capitalism and its wonderful competive nature cure AIDS and cancer, create eternal world peace, and invent a miracle medicine that makes us immortal, but I'm not holding my breath :)