Capitalism Driving Humanity’s Downfall

Raw Story, March 6th, 2010

In his film Capitalism: A Love Story [set to be released on DVD and Blu-ray Monday], Michael Moore squares off with the free-market system for its role in leveraging the United States’s wealth into the hands of a few.

But in one clip cut from the documentary — which Moore provided exclusively to RAW STORY — he interviews Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, who explains how capitalism is actually contributing to the very downfall of the human race and the “degradation of the planet.”

“All sorts of people who have spent their lives studying climate change, from Bill McKibben on down, have warned us that we don’t have a lot of time left,” Hedges said. “So it’s not just that capitalism has destroyed our economic system and hijacked our political system, but it literally is extinguishing the system that sustains life. If that’s not thwarted soon…then we will begin to see massive dislocations, environmental refugees, further depleting of natural resources. Overpopulation is also an issue. The UN estimates that by 2050 the size of the planet will double.”

The very concept of capitalism, Moore declares in the film, is the problem because it inevitably leads to a system where the richest few control the means of production as well as the levers of power — leading to a “plutonomy,” a term used in a leaked Citigroup memo from 2005, in which the finance juggernaut concluded that the United States is no longer a democracy.

In the interview, Hedges decries America’s turn toward supply-side economics over the last three decades as the cause of stagnating middle class incomes, contrasting it with the increasingly lavish fortunes of the wealthy and the aid they often receive from the government at the expense of working people.

Citigroup Oct 16, 2005 Plutonomy Report Part 1


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    • Edger on March 7, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    more good news I can take…

  1. my eyeballs are hyper-extended out of my skull.  That’s possibly the most honest report from the banksters I have ever read.

    Tell me it’s a joke, and I will admit my abject gullibility.  I’m totally flabbergasted.

  2. First off machines make stuff so you don’t have to.

    Machines build stuff so you don’t have to.

    Tractors plow fields so you don’t have to.

    So what is left?

    Well you can build industries around fucking other people for profit!

    You can build industries around mis-informing people for profit!

    You can build industries around enslaving people for profit!

    • banger on March 8, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    I love your research!

    • dkmich on March 9, 2010 at 12:00 am

  3. say. They have to get a healthy cut of the action to

    play ball. As things worsen in this squeeze play between the Corpobanks and the MIC, it’s obvious who loses.

    The New Deal had to bow down before the Manhattan Project.

    Now it’s being kicked and dragged to its final breath.

    IMHO, it is permanent war that is the doom of empires.

    It sucks the moral fiber out of the polity and leaves it spiritually and financially empty. But the workers/slaves will toil as is their calling; the great insurance policy of the ruling class.


  4. i particularly choked on this bit:

    With the exception of the boom in the Roaring 1920s, this super-rich group kept losing

    out its share of incomes in WWI, the Great Depression and WWII, and till the early

    eighties. Why? The answers are unclear, but the massive loss of capital income

    (dividend, rents, interest income, but not capital gains) from progressive corporate and

    estate taxation is a possible candidate. The rise in their share since the mid-eighties

    might be related to the reduction in corporate and income taxes.
    Also, to a new wave of

    entrepreneurs and managers earning disproportionate incomes as they drove and

    participated in the ongoing technology boom. As Figure 3 shows, while in the early 20th

    century capital income was the big chunk for the top 0.1% of households, the resurgence

    in their fortunes since the mid-eighties was mainly from oversized salaries. The rich in

    the U.S. went from coupon-clipping, dividend-receiving rentiers to a Managerial

    Aristocracy indulged by their shareholders.

  5. Put into historical context here in the United States, the current conditions we see in regards to distribution of wealth and the greater overall Plutonomy, will at some point regress. This will be in one of either two ways:

    A systematic unwinding brought about by regulation and taxes by the government



    The current economic conditions, brought on by massive amounts of money printing and fiscal stimulus are masking greater structural problems inherent in our financial system. These include the commercial real estate time bomb and the second wave of defaults in home lending along with sovereign debt issues in many EU countries and debt problems in municipalities across the US. Couple this with a possible implosion in the Japan economy and the bubble that is China imploding and you have a very toxic cocktail that is going to unwind. When is anyone’s guess but possibly very soon.

    If so there will no longer be any support for the current system as it stands and there will be ‘Change’ It will not be the hopey rope a dopey changey shit either…it will be visceral. I am beginning to wonder what form this country will take in the next few years…

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