Friday, October 4, 2013

Free Markets, Capitalism, Inequality: No Representation

The Brookings Institution, a mainstay of Washington DC think tanks, found that 42% of Americans do not think capitalism is working for the United States. Only 9% believe capitalism is working very well. The only age group that thinks they are better off than the previous generation is those over 66 years old.

According to a survey by Brookings Institution, more than a quarter of Americans say capitalism is working “not too well” while 16% say capitalism is working “not at all well.” More than 4 out of 10 don’t care much for our sacred system of unfettered free markets that the Tea Party likes to tout.

An article at TruthOut suggests that the problem may not lie in what "the left" considers the usual suspects of the failures of capitalism, but namely free markets, which are fraudulent markets.

Capitalist enterprises exclude most workers from key decisions: what, how and where to produce and how to use net revenues (in Marx’s terms, the enterprise’s “surplus value”). Capitalist enterprise decision-makers include only enterprise owners (e.g., major shareholders) and the boards of directors they select.

Ownership of an enterprise is not particularly important as long as the decision-making about finances are determined democratically by the workers who spend most of their waking hours toiling for the enterprise. Those workers are unlikely to outsource labor, pay a huge salary to the CEO at the expense of everyone else, or close up shop and move the operation overseas. If workers can’t democratically control their economic lives, are they really free?

Americans want government to reduce the wealth divide (63%), provide assistance to people who need it (62%) and guarantee health care to all --- even if it means raising taxes (56%).

They would also like the rich to pay their fair share of taxes.

Obviously, members of Congress are out of step with the people, and instead, are moving in the opposite direction on all these issues. The discord between what the people want and need; and what government is doing, is the foundation of the growing resentment they have for Congress. The problem is, that there is no real democracy in our system of government or in our economy.

Some describe the DC battle as two warring brothers, where the mainstream media’s simplistic analysis (Democrats vs. Republicans or Tea Party conservatives vs. the GOP establishment) hides what’s really taking place: a bipartisan drive for austerity where both parties ignore what the public wants. The war is not only particularly bad for the 800,000 furloughed workers, but also for poor and working class Americans that need healthcare and other government services.

The cause for the conflict between the two corporate political parties [Democrats and Republicans] is ostensibly healthcare. It is a bizarre battle since the Democrat's Obamacare is simply the Republican's version of Romneycare, which originated in the right wing Heritage Foundation. The truth is, the United States needs a totally different approach --- one that neither corporate party will put forward, but one that the American people want --- a national health care plan funded by the federal government (such as Medicare for All). A single payer system would end the divisive political debate.

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