By Gary Brumback
Editor’s Note: This is a sweeping and provocative assessment of the situation we face as a result of runaway corporatism—technically “finance capitalism”, or, as some call it, the age of “financialization”—which many Marxian historians expect it to be not just the most destructive and parasitic of all incarnations, but the last stage of its accursed evolution.
On many points we agree with the author, on others we see things differently. But since the object of publishing this piece is only to inform and spark discussion not engage in intramural polemics, we won’t go into a detailed critique of the aspects we regard as subject to amicable debate. A single point of divergence requires mention at this juncture: after a very persuasive analysis of the ravages of corporate power, Brumback inexplicably—and some of us think illlogically and quite ahistorically— avers that there is actually a possibility of simultaneously destroying corporate power as it exists and substituting a new model of capitalism, this time responsive to human needs. The idea of a “capitalism with a human face”, or “people’s capitalism,” has been floated umpteen times before only to be shown as little more than a defensive propaganda ploy for the system, so we are surprised that Brumbeck gives credence to something that is a historically demonstrated dead end. In so doing he reminds us of libertarians who continue to claim that “real capitalism” never existed; that big government’s tentacles have killed free enterprise’s supposedly beneficial purity, and that we should give it another go, this time with more laissez faire ferocity than the first time around. Such arguments, besides ignoring Dickens and Marx, and turning a blind eye to the organic evolution of all systems of social organization, conveniently forget that capitalism, as long as it remains capitalism, follows an internal inflexible dynamic which will transform it over time into the sort of horrid, amoral, predatory system we inhabit today. In particular, Gary’s notion that, “Neither is capitalism inherently corrupt and socialism the only alternative,” strikes us bizarre. If a system unabashedly based on selfish pursuit is not inherently immoral, what is?—P. Greanville
Is America Going to Hell in a Handbasket
By Gary Brumback
“Going to Hell in a handbasket” is a time-worn phrase, probably dating back a millennium or more and referring to captured and decapitated losers in wars. It could be an appropriate metaphor for America’s fate sometime later this century. Continue reading »
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