The Inevitable

( – promoted by buhdydharma )



Photobucket



Karl Marx’s most profound understanding and prescient warning about the future of Kapitalism is this: It is inevitable in the Kapitalist system, wealth (generated by labor) accrues further and further away from the worker and consolidates itself into fewer and fewer hands, leading to an abyss of economic disparity between labor and “owners”, which leads directly and inevitably to rebellion by labor against Kapital.



Photobucket



Today the abyss between the Haves and Have-nots is greater than at any time in our history. In America the top 10% of earners swallow 50% of all income. And the top 1% takes about half of that.  The top 400 richest Americans own more than the bottom 150,000,000 Americans. The wage disparity between the “C” suite executive and the average worker is more than 300 to one. In the 1970s the disparity was a mere 35 to one.

Corporations systematically created a wealth gap over the last 30 years. In 1955, IRS records indicated the 400 richest people in the country were worth an average $12.6 million, adjusted for inflation. In 2006, the 400 richest increased their average to $263 million, representing an epochal shift of wealth upward in the U.S.

In 1955, the richest tier paid an average 51.2 percent of their income in taxes under a progressive federal income tax that included loopholes. By 2006, the richest paid only 17.2 percent of their income in taxes.

In 1955, the proportion of federal income from corporate taxes was 33 percent; by 2003, it decreased to 7.4 percent. Today, the top taxpayers pay the same percentage of their incomes in taxes as those making $50,000 to $75,000, although they doubled their share of total U.S. income.

“Over the past 30 years, the income of the top one percent, adjusted for inflation, doubled: the top one-tenth of one percent tripled, and the top one-one-hundredth quadrupled,” says Pizzigati. “Meanwhile, the average income of the bottom 90 percent has gone down slightly. This is a stunning transformation.”

Stunning? Or inevitable. While the rich get richer the rest of us see our wages enter into suspended animation. In 2000 the adjusted median wage for a male worker was below the wage he earned in 1979, despite a productivity increase of more than 40%. In other words, as corporate profit exponentially spiraled, due to worker productivity – and aggressive anti-tax lobbying – the average worker was left out of the reward system. Wealth was scooped to the top, while the average worker lost economic ground.

In a nutshell, as Marx said, wealth has accrued outrageously upward into fewer and fewer hands.

So, it only makes sense we have rebellion right now, right? It is the culmination of Marx’s prophecy. Except, wait a minute, hold on now, as we watch the teabagger, deather, birther, right-wing populist explosion against the rich and powerful, we see once again how the rich and powerful have ginned the game and the popular revolt is against change for the rich and powerful. Indeed, the bitter irony of calling Obama a Marxist as he tries nothing more than to put a toe-ring on the rich and powerful is to prove once and for all America is a bastion of the dumb, dumber and truly stupid.

People parade to disrupt the Democratic process, threaten violence and twist their faces in rage, all against their own best interests. Calling Obama a Marxist is like calling Dick Cheney a humanitarian. WTF? Is it because right-wing think-tanks have spent $30 billion over 30 years to propagandize against government (the People) and for corporate deregulation, privatization of public operations and the deification of the lifestyles of the rich and famous?

Our little worker rebellion of zombie ditto-heads marching to the tune of corporatist greed makes Marx spin in his grave. There has been concerted effort over the last few generations to fashion an army of Manichean Armageddonists, virulent racists and hysterical Henny Penny nutbags to fight against the real workers who are sick and tired of the King-of-the-Hill, Ponzi/Pyramid scheme scam-artists whose only loyalty is to their personal accumulation of more wealth and power.

A little tiny ineffectual public healthcare option for citizens to choose over the Medical-Industrial-Complex’s Healthcare by Ransom? Communists!!!  A $20 Trillion Dollar reverse-Robin Hood, voodoo economics transfer of wealth from the people to private banks? Marxist!!! The pursuit of empire by the full-spectrum dominance of profit at all costs on the backs of workers and the insolvency of the citizenry against their will? America Love It or Leave It!!!

No, this is the ravages of the Kapitalist model laid bare and predicted more than a century ago by a man who lived with his family in abject poverty in the Soho district of London so he could pursue his passion to study and write about political economy.  And now, instead of a prophet he is a pejorative, reviled by Kapital (and its voodoo army of zombie slaves) because he had the temerity to call a snake a snake.

And so now, as a new Gilded Age class of the pampered and privileged, protected by Orwellian machinations of thought-control, power-demons, moats, electric-fences, soldiers and mercenaries – even small changes to the ever unjust and egregious Class System are met with Stupids with Pitchforks programmed to hate, not the real enemy of unbridled, unregulated and sinful greed, but their own future pursuit of Happiness.

On the other hand, our government, no longer of, for and by the People, is but a protectorate of the very forces who believe people are not human beings but commoditized chattel whose only purpose is cannon fodder, cheap labor and indentured servitude.

One does wonder why a true rebellion does not organically spring from the populace of the 90% at the bottom, but is only manufactured against the 90% by the top 1% using the tactics of the mob to control and intimidate the rest of us. At a time when millions are thrown out of work and millions more fear the pink-slip in the next paycheck; when people are in hock up to their eyeballs to the banks; when more and more fall from the safety of the middle class into the dog-eat-dog world of daily survival; when we face pandemic disease (for the sake of Big Pharma), our water and food sources privatized, contaminated and sold to the highest bidder (for the sake of Big Food); when endless wars create desolation, poverty and seething hatred on a global scale (for the sake of murderous greed-mongers), one wonders where is the change for the better, brought about by the will of human beings who, like Marx predicted, are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore.

Nearly seven billion people on the planet and we are powerless to make the world we want but are held down by the very, very, very few at the top. The numbers are on our side but the will is on theirs – right now.

The only time in our history when there was some stability with the transfer of wealth to the top was during the Depression and World War II because of corporate regulation, higher taxes on the wealthy, strong labor unions, etc, all of which we don’t see today and nothing like these factors are contemplated to redress our current dire situation of income inequality.

So, as always, the ball is in our court for change. We can wait for change from the political class, wholly owned by the money class, or we can go out and bring change home to a desperate and hungry people.

Because we should be clear: Change is not something which is given, but taken.

16 comments

Skip to comment form

    • gottlieb on August 17, 2009 at 3:15 pm
      Author
  1. Absolutely fantastic in content but also in composition.

    Spellbinding writing.

  2. either. Counting on the pols good intentions is absurd there intentions are apparent by their agenda. Great essay, the too big’s and their PR mouth pieces the pols, need to go. The pols and the people who say we must compromise with these entities or they will fall on us, don’t seem to notice the bricks hitting them on the head. So how in the hell do effect the change, yelling louder at these entities just gets you STFU. The 90% needed to rreally affect change seem stuck in Dream promoted by the persona of a pol, Obama and a party that offers nothing but the same. I’m truly at a loss as to the way forward.    

    • Inky99 on August 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Heck, even I thought Marx was way off the mark for most of my life.

    But now, I see although being wrong on a few fundamental points, he was most certainly right in his diagnosis.

    His prescription was off, I think, but his diagnosis was spot-on!

    It always amazes me how those who rail against “socialism” or “communism” or even “liberals” never ONCE think about what caused those things.

    Communism was quite literally caused by capitalism.  

    If you didn’t have the sins of capitalism, there would be no communism.  Nobody would have even dreamed it up.  

    But the goal of the past 30 years of the right-wing and the corporatocracy has been to take us back to the very things that caused communism, revolution, the liquidation of the uber-wealthy and their stuff.

    It’s almost like the powers that be WANT us, they’re DARING us, to do it all over again.

    Is it time to dust off the guillotines?  

  3. realized just how many opiates the proletariat would consume in post-industrial America.  And that politics would as a result degenerate into a form Kabuki theater or an hypnotic trance.  Historical determinism only makes sense when the oppressed aren’t numbed to their oppression and have a reason to rise up and seize the means of production.  Right now, the proletariat is in an induced stupor and as far as I can tell isn’t going to rise up for any reason.  Except to change channels.  I wish it were otherwise, but it isn’t.  Sorry to be despairing.  

  4. Sweet Karl, hero of my youth, never found out Communist leaders became just as corrupt as the Capitalists they were fighting. It’s the power thing…it corrupts.

    The time is not right for revolution! Too many still believe, for them it’s too painful to admit the truth. Americans have been conditioned to wait for the ‘Happy Ending’, it’s been promised, and so they wait… and wait…

    It’s going to be a looong night for us.

    • pico on August 18, 2009 at 7:04 am

    including this:

    Karl Marx’s most profound understanding and prescient warning about the future of Kapitalism is this: It is inevitable in the Kapitalist system, wealth (generated by labor) accrues further and further away from the worker and consolidates itself into fewer and fewer hands, leading to an abyss of economic disparity between labor and “owners”, which leads directly and inevitably to rebellion by labor against Kapital.

    That’s just not the case, and I think you inadvertently discover why in another comment in your diary:

    The only time in our history when there was some stability with the transfer of wealth to the top was during the Depression and World War II because of corporate regulation, higher taxes on the wealthy, strong labor unions, etc, all of which we don’t see today and nothing like these factors are contemplated to redress our current dire situation of income inequality.

    In other words, a capitalist system doesn’t inevitably lead to rebellion: it can just as easily lead to reform and a more balanced mixed economy, which is what happened in this country after the first Gilded Age.  And if anything it’s the more likely route for what will happen in this country again.   I’m certainly not devaluing the role that labor unions and socialists had in promoting that change (a history we too often ignore), but we were a far cry from the kind of rebellion you’re discussing here.

    Marx deserves high props for recognizing the relationship between capital, ownership, and economics in shaping the health and life of a nation.  But he made two enormous blunders:

    1. He tried to reduce his limited sample size to a serious of unerring truths about the nature of economic development.  This led to major errors in historiography, because he was – not unlike a pundit – more concerned about the narrative he was creating than about the veracity of his claims.  Unfortunately his model for development was Industrial England, which was hardly a typical test case.  A lot of what he says is very true for the England he lived in, at that time, under those circumstances – and very much less so for the rest of the world.

    2. He tried to extrapolate from that model not only a likely future for economic development, but a teleological one.  I’ll have to admit a bias here: I have no patience with deterministic histories.  But Marx’s was especially short-sighted, and the amendments that had to be made to his theory just a few generations after his death already prove this.  Marx could not have imagined the development of an imperialist economics (which had to be added by Russian theorists), and the idea that an economy could be mixed seems foreign to him as well.  Unfortunately for his theories, the mixed economic model is now the dominant one in those areas of the world with which he was most familiar.  In this area, at least, Marx has become completely irrelevant.  

    I’m not completely down on Marx – in fact, I work in one of the very few fields where he’s still relevant.  But take any of his predictions with a gigantic mound of salt, and remember that he was making those predictions in the context of a world very different from ours.  And, quite frankly, they’re wrong.  That doesn’t invalidate his often insightful observations, but they should temper our joy at seeing something in his writings that fill us with a certain level of wish fulfillment.  

  5. But what is the end game? How do “We the People” break the bonds of CORPORATE EMPIRE? The Corporations like vampires keep draining “the people” of their jobs, their money, their health, their very futures. The Corporate vampires it seems have now “glamored”, “hypnotized” President Obama who campaigned on CHANGE, but as president, like all his predecessors, it seems he is going to just continue to “steady the tiller” of the USS Corporate Empire. Wall Street, War, Drug Companies, Insurance Companies, Oil Companies, the Supremacy of the Wealthy, etc. just roll on, business as usual, while the people still only get “trickle-down”! As Dylan said – “There must be someway out of here.”

    BUT HOW??????      

Comments have been disabled.