Other terms for Fred Goodwin would be - considering he received a massive severance package for crashing and burning the Bank Of Scotland - an asshole, or, per the libertarians and Randians who always get things completely ass-backward, a"looter", a fucking leech, part of the rich parasite class.
|Scott Walker Loves Koch|
So, Governor Kasich, there is a special place in Hell for you, and, with a little luck and timing, I will be the executive demon in charge of supervising the shoving a white hot, razor-sharp, barb-wire-and-spike-encrusted, million-volt cattle prod up your butthole for the next million years or so.
But that's not what I want to talk about. Just for the heck of it, in wondering just how efficient capitalism is. I think it is obvious to anyone above the mental age of an eight-year-old that our market system is neither rational nor efficient. People panic to sell and panic to buy. Greed, a complex emotion consisting of equal parts envy, fear, covetousness, and stupidity, teamed up with fear, seems to be the primary driver of capitalism, and the question is, is capitalism really the most efficient system there is? Clearly it is not the most equitable, but if the argument goes that the efficient spread of labor and resources results in a kind of equity within human society, then you can't do much better. Kind of like Winston Churchill's funny about democracy, that it is the worst form of governing except when compared to all other systems.
Seems to me a system that:
- Perpetuates eliminable forms of human suffering
- blocks universal suffrage, as to equal access to emplyment, and community- and self- improvement
- encourages authoritarian behaviors, stifles individual freedoms and autonomy
- violates liberal* egalitarian ideals of social justice
- artificially restricts laborers choice of work, or ability to work, or access to work
- is environmentally destructive, and fails to register the true cost of this destruction, and in fact foists the true cost of destruction onto society as a whole, in some fucked form of socialism
- has a systematic bias towards restrictive consumerism
- undermines moral and ethical systems in favor or market mechanisms (another weird and fucked up form of socialist garbage disposal)
- corrodes community and social ties, creating artificial class structures to "divide, conquer, and devalue" the dignity of the real producers of wealth - the workers
- limits democracy
All of the points above could be argued against, save for the most damning point of #5, which I would suggest is an inefficient and wasteful use of "human capital", poeples' time, skills, needs, and most importantly, will to work. I looked at the wikipedia website (I generally do not trust wikipedia) to see how many times the US economy has gone into the shitter. Back then, they called them "panics". Nowadays, we call them recessions or depressions. Regardless, it is interesting how those with the capital seem to thrive regardless of the boom or bust cycle. Indeed, it is interesting how they do even better than average during the down times.
Now, to be fair, you simply can't just count up the number of years the economy went south and divide by the total time, or tally up the drop in GDP from peak to trough to see how the American worker has, for over two hundred years, been fucked by the rich guy. Although a very good case can be made that Americans are fucked daily.
But I think you need to divide history up by time periods. So, from the Revolution to the advent of true laissez-faire capitalism under the Democratic jackass Andy Jackson, you've got the Panic of 1797 when the first real estate speculation bubble went bust, through the first real depression of 1815-1821 (climaxing in the Panic of 1819), the Panic of 1825 (another land speculation bubble burst), to the recession of the 1830s, you have the nation's economy in the shitter more than half the life of the US. There are no records of GDP or unemployment for that time, but , considering the nation's economy is relying upon the continuing western expansion onto "free for the taking" lands, basically a cheap and/or free exploitation that is a Communist wet dream, that's a pretty piss poor performance.
The period from, say, 1836 to the 1865-1867 downturn just after the end of the Civil War saw 8 recognized periods, with the depression of 1839-1843 seeing a whopping 39% drop in business activity (the Great Depression of 1929-1933 was -24.9% of GDP), the Panic of 1857 saw banks and businesses collapse like card houses. In total, the percentage of years in downturn (nearly 20) to elapsed time (31) was 64%. Again, considering the expansion into "free" land with "free" (slave, indentured, and underpaid) labor, that is still fucking dismal.
The period up to the Panic of 1907 (when JP Morgan bailed out the government) must be considered the period of the unsupervised economy. After 1907, and increasingly, the federal government steps in to restrict unbridled capitalists, and protect the consumer and the investor. From 1869 through 1907, there were nearly 20 years of collapse out of 38, or 52%.
This period include the Long Depression of the 1870s, the Panics of 1883, 1884, 1893, 1896... jesus, Get the idea? This is, outside of the Great Depression, the closest the US ever came to revolution by extremist elements. As it was, with conservatives firmly in control of all political and economic institutions, I can practically guarantee that any attempt at revolution would have followed existing history, and resulted in declaration of emergency, a right wing dictatorship which would probably exist to this day. (There can be no doubt that, throughout the history of the US of A, the Left has never, ever posed a serious threat to power. A socialist or communist America is simply not in our cultural DNA. A Nazi right wing America is far too easy to envision and contemplate).
So, the period of 1907 to 1933? Thirteen years of economic downturn in total. A percentage of 50%. Well, it seems to be getting better, ignoring the fact that this is generally considered a boom time.
1933 to 1982. I make this a separate period because, with the advent of the Neoliberal Revolution, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II dismantle the financial safeguards and protections put in place by the New Deal. From 1945 to 1976 you have the Long Boom, powered by one-time rebuilds of bombed out economies from WWII, and, of course science and technology. From the Recession of 1937 (with a peak unemployment of 26.4%, far worse than after the Crash of 1929, and due to an attempt by Republicans to tighten fiscal policy and balance the budget - sound familiar?) to Reagan's Recession, we have a total of 13 years in the shitter, 49 years in span, a percentage of 26%. The greatest boom in the history of the world.
1983 to present: a duration of 28 years. Wikipedia seems to ignore the Panic of 1987, but there you go. That's wikipedia for you. They tally up almost 3 years of downturn. A percentage of 10%. Well, that's an encouraging trend. But, considering we are, in many respects, what with wages flat and benefits down, what with productivity and profits at a paradoxically and anomalously all time high, despite the offshoring of decent jobs, despite the prevalence of new jobs being menial shit jobs, or part-time jobs with no benefits, living in an economy that is like eating a giant fucking turd sandwich.
And I blame the bosses. Maybe it isn't capitalism that sucks after all. Maybe its all the psychotic boneheads that, because there is something inherently insane within our collective psyche, get put in charge of shit. Maybe that's why the labor statistics show, again and again, that people ready, willing, and able to work , aren't allowed to work. Maybe the Russians are right: "Whether salt water or fresh, shit floats to the top".
Myabe the prisons are filled with the wrong people.
Something to fantasize about, at the very least.
*In actuality, like it or not, since we all seem to have a sense of justice that probably stems from the detection of cheaters in hunter/gatherer times, we are all of us practicing liberals. Yes, because we all think fair play is a good thing.