An address to defenders of capitalism – the latest report on Alberto Gonzales

Alberto Gonzales was paid $40,000 for a recent hour-long speech at the University of Florida – the amount made by 2 years of work for many laborers in America or the amount made by a lifetime of work in many other countries. That’s capitalism in a nutshell. It’s not so much “the rich get richer” as “the scum get richer”. Perhaps you call that “profit needed for poor Alberto’s survival”. Or perhaps you just call that “free market economics”. At $40,000 the market doesn’t seem so free… as the University of Florida is a public institution receiving public funds Florida and American taxpayers just paid for 3 years of scholarship money to go for one hour of scum speaking. Or perhaps you would call Gonzales a “hard worker”, a “success story”. Those lifetime laborers earning $40,000 are perhaps by your definition “lazy” or a “failure”.

The police quickly escorted a couple protestors from the same stage as Gonzales and arrested them. The same police wouldn’t so much as blink if those same protestors protested you or me. This is the capitalism you defend. Well done, sir. Perhaps you should consider who has a better effect on America, one hour of Alberto or two years of American work.


16 Responses to “An address to defenders of capitalism – the latest report on Alberto Gonzales”

  1. mad dog Says:

    Your’e kidding, right?

  2. briankoontz Says:

    I wish I was:

  3. mad dog Says:

    How does this even relate to capitalism? Alberto Gonzales was a government paid employee. He did not make his career on the market. He did not even make that $40,000 on the market. He made it from a PUBLIC university, meaning government run. This has nothing to do with the market.

    There are government officials that are extremely wealthy in places where capitalism does not and did not exist. Take the Bolsheviks and their cronies, the KGB, for example. Many of them were quite wealthy, despite the fact that there was virtually no capitalism in the soviet union.

  4. briankoontz Says:

    There’s no fundamental separation of the government and the corporate world. Corporations run the US government through lobbyists and campaign contributions. Corporations control politicians before they even get into office, and nothing changes subsequently. Gonzales will have a corporate career ahead of him if he doesn’t get back into government.

    Your second paragraph is insensible, since there’s no special link between profit and capitalism. Profit, that is to say the accumulation or loss of value in a given event, has of course occurred throughout all of human existence. Profit is a caveman killing a deer and bringing it back to the cave. The profit is “one deer” minus the cost of any damage to the spear and the caveman and whatever other factors can be included. Capitalism has only been around for a few hundred years, or a few hundred more depending on how it’s defined. The standard definition is to treat capitalism as “industrial capitalism”.

    Profit is a calculation of the net gain and net loss of any event. Any human event can be put into a profit framework. How Capitalism differs with respect to profit to other systems is that it puts profit on the purely individual level – that is to say it’s “every man for himself”. That’s the defining psychological feature of capitalism – profit is merely a gain/loss factor that is common to all economic systems. In socialism profit is a group activity. Anarchism attempts to merge the best of both systems – the individuality of capitalism with the community support of socialism. Anarchism is a kind of moderation between the two extremes.

    Corporations in turn are also individuals, interacting with other corporations. A corporation is a machine with humans as parts.

    The modern capitalist system relies on controlling the world such that it continually receives profit and avoids loss. While the scope of the caveman was merely the forest and his weapon merely a spear, the scope of modern capitalism is the world and the weapons are innumerable: laws, military coups, murder, incarceration, torture, espionage, exploitation, it’s all in a day’s work. All in the name not of profit, but of power. Of control. Profit is merely the score of the game. Control is making sure the game goes on and always favors them. Control is far more important than profit, since a loss of profit is temporary but a loss of control can be forever. That’s why the government subsidizes certain “inefficient” industries – what they lack in profit they make up for in assisting the maintainance of control.

    Capitalism pretends that everyone is playing the game and always loves to tell us the score. They call the score the “standard of living” and divides the world into “1st world”, “2nd world”, and “3rd world” based on the score. Capitalism never cares to mention it’s particular definition of “the score” and the system it maintains to perpetuate it. It’s like when you step on a basketball court and don’t want to play basketball. The whistle blows, and you’re just standing there. The opponent goes down and dunks the ball, the score reads 2-0. You end up losing 100-0 and you’re called a “massive loser”, the crowd boos, but hey, you just want to play football.

    The game itself is corrupt, tragic, and will end soon. We’ll get the game WE want and the scum of the earth can go off by themselves and rape each other, and publish the Scum 2000 to display the score. Or maybe we won’t get the game we want because the capitalists in their petulance will destroy the world. Those are the options.

    Capitalism has no limits. It wants to exist everywhere. It either grows or it consumes itself. We have to make sure when it does the latter it doesn’t take the world with it.

    Just like in War Games, the only winning move is not to play. However, we have to stop the monsters who will play till the bitter end, in order for the end to not leave a bitter aftertaste in the world.

  5. mad dog Says:

    I am only pointing out that this is really a not so good way for you to point out the alleged evils of ‘capitalism’. What I am saying is that there are a number of better ways you could have attacked capitalism, namely, with an example that related to capitalism. You did not provide such an example.

    Your first paragraph does not apply as a critique of capitalism. It can apply as a critique of government helping the corporations (which is a type of business created by the state). I believe that I have explained on a number of occasions in very clear terms that I am opposed to government helping any business. I have also explicitly stated that I am opposed to the state granting any privileges to businesses. I have also explained that I am opposed to the very existence of corporations, because of this. I do not feel that any businessperson is entitled to any special legal privilege. I am also opposed to any businessman receiving any subsidies from the state. We have discussed this on numerous occasions. I do not understand why you keep bringing it up again.

    The idea of the state helping any business, especially corporations is not really capitalism, but rather, a form of plutocratic socialism, or, socialism for the rich. No one is spending their own money. There is no real competition. The business does not need to fear losing customers.

  6. briankoontz Says:

    There’s no need to do a normal critique of capitalism. Everyone already knows it’s corrupt and horrible. That is not to say that everyone admits to knowing it of course – it’s not psychologically healthy to admit to such a thing when one exists within the capitalist world and hopes to “succeed further” therein. People like Michael Albert who are building the “beyond capitalism” system on a theoretical basis and to an extent a practical one and the Zapatistas who are living in small ways the “next step” are highly valuable – the only critiques of capitalism that are worthwhile are those like mine that address non-standard elements.

    The difference between myself and a CEO is not our knowledge about the horrors of capitalism – if anything the CEO is even more aware of them than I am. The difference is our position within the corporate structure and hence the self-willed truths we both present to ourselves and to the world. Another difference is the kind of moral deadening the CEO had to have in order to become a CEO in the first place – the first thing every corporation requires someone to lose in order to embrace them is their conscience. But consciences can be regained, and even a CEO can regain it after exiting the corporate nightmare. He won’t be able to leave without our help, however.

    I cringe when I hear someone talk about being a “success” in corporate America. Any success there follows a failure in being human. Of course, a part in a machine isn’t asked to be human.

  7. briankoontz Says:

    “The idea of the state helping any business, especially corporations is not really capitalism, but rather, a form of plutocratic socialism, or, socialism for the rich. No one is spending their own money. There is no real competition. The business does not need to fear losing customers.”

    Your pie-in-the-sky version of capitalism might be nice in terms of the contents of your head, but the version of capitalism that exists will devour your version just as it devours everything else. Maybe you’re right that there are some people out there who really want to make it a reality, but I’m not convinced of that. What I do see are people who are working to make democracy a reality.

    The case that would be good for you to present is the effective action proponents of “true capitalism” (per your concept) are taking *against* the version of capitalism that actually exists in the world. Maybe Ron Paul is part of that, but if he’s alone he has about as much chance of success as Kucinich has.

    There are plenty of people like me who are suspicious of the motives and suspicious of the ignorance of people who claim to support “true capitalism” against the supposedly different version called “corrupted capitalism” or “socialism for the powerful”. We believe that either in your ignorance or in your deceit you’ll be coopted by capitalism just like the “true conservatives” were coopted by the neoconservatives. You have not made much of a case for the existence of both a real and a potentially effective “true capitalism” movement. Unlike the democracy movement your supposed version of capitalism doesn’t even have a name (it’s not laissez-faire because that’s a coopted concept).

  8. mad dog Says:

    “Your pie-in-the-sky version of capitalism might be nice in terms of the contents of your head,”

    Actually, what I propose and what many others propose is actually quite simple; due to the fact that we only want government to do LESS. Doing less is simpler than doing more, right?

    “Maybe you’re right that there are some people out there who really want to make it a reality, but I’m not convinced of that. What I do see are people who are working to make democracy a reality.”

    Are you sure you are from Indiana, which is a part of the Midwest? Every day, you seem more and more like someone from San Francisco or some other part of the west coast. I’m from Connecticut, which is allegedly one of the bluest states in the Union. Yet, I do not see people demanding for more government power. Rather, I see people grumble about their taxes and the city and state bureaucracies, as well as government corruption. Just the other day, I saw a middle aged couple that I am friends with buy a book by Ann Coulter, and one about Joseph McCarthy; talking about how they despise the idea of universal health care. To top it off, these conservative books were in the FRONT of the book store.

    ‘True Capitalism’, as you mockingly call it, is perhaps one of the simplest systems of economics to implement, as it is defined by what government does NOT do, rather than what it DOES do.

  9. briankoontz Says:

    You’re confusing conception with implementation. It can’t be implemented, at least in any world vaguely resembling this one. There’s no political force that desires it.

    The tax rate in and of itself is irrelevant. What matters is how the tax money is spent. Americans hate taxes because they hate their government. They are well aware that their money is used to enrich massive American multinationals and the war machine of the American Empire.

    The political effect of a push to lower taxes is that the tax rate on the wealthy and corporations gets lowered, as we’ve seen throughout the Bush Administration. There’s never going to be a desire to lower the tax rate on the lower and middle classes because the corporate interests in control of the American government want to continue the funneling of that money into their hands.

    The only thing sensible you can do if you’re serious is to find a plan someone has made and form a political group that pushes that comprehensive plan. “Lower taxes” is not a plan.

    Not only does corporate America not want to cut government but the lower class doesn’t want to cut government either. Social Security, Education, Medicare, Welfare are at least for now functional systems which will no longer function if your fantasies come to pass.

    So if you don’t have corporate America on your side and you don’t have the lower class on your side that leaves some disgruntled middle class people. That’s unfortunate for you because the middle class is rapidly shrinking in America as more and more of their wealth is put into the hands of the war machine.

    It’s all well and good that you can find some websites that support your position, but unless those websites are heavily funding candidates they don’t have much political effect. The middle class is being shafted and there’s no hope for them in terms of a return to the fun-times of capitalism.

  10. mad dog Says:

    The only hope I really have for this country is Ron Paul. If he does not win, our nation is doomed.

  11. briankoontz Says:

    The nation isn’t doomed, but the American Empire is if Giuliani is elected and probably if Clinton is. The only question is how much damage the world is going to receive while it crashes down.

    Ron Paul has zero chance to win. Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Giuliani, and Thompson are the possible winners, although Clinton is the overwhelming favorite. If America gets another serious terrorist attack Giuliani will likely win.

    It doesn’t matter how popular Ron Paul is. The people don’t pick the president, the media does. The media, owned by big business, doesn’t like Paul. Until the American people stop watching mainstream news and filling their brains with corporate propaganda the media will always choose the president.

  12. mad dog Says:

    I am grateful for your balanced treatment of Dr. Paul, despite any political disagreements you might have with him.

    Regarding the media, Fox News is ultra pro-Rudy, wheras the rest of the media seems like they want to be in bed with hillary. The media seems to utterly hate those that take power away from the establishment.

  13. mad dog Says:

    I personally have a perverse desire to see the american empire collapse, due to lack of money and manpower. Even if these bigwig stooges resort to the draft, they will still not have enough money, unless they tax the nation like crazy, which will likely cause open revolt.

  14. briankoontz Says:

    Of course the media hates those would who take power away from the establishment – the (mainstream, corporate) media *is* (part of) the establishment.

    Your desire doesn’t seem very perverse to me. The American Empire will require not just perpetual war but more and more fascism on home soil. Almost everyone in the world including Americans wants it to collapse.

    It’s going to take a while to bankrupt the country. It’s hard to say whether it will be a matter of years or of decades, but it’s not right around the corner. Manpower is not an issue, since the American government just hires soldiers like they hire reconstruction firms. There will only be a draft in the final, most desperate stages of the perpetual war project, and only if the American people are cowed enough for the government not to worry about substantial negative repercussions.

    The best way to avoid open revolt is to impoverish the country. Middle-class Americans like to talk about revolt and then go back to their roast beef sandwich and cushy job. Poor people rarely revolt not because they are ignorant (the common belief of the “educated” people) but because pretty much any work stoppage means their starvation. If you can produce a populace that has a choice of revolution and death or slavery and life you win – that’s the fundamental basis for every form of slavery throughout history. Americans are so fat and happy and ignorant that they just think poverty means they don’t get second helpings at dinner. They don’t understand that their wealth is the only thing that makes it *possible* for them to revolt. So they need to revolt *before* they become impoverished or it will be too late. That’s why it’s so crucial for every revolutionary to target the middle-class – poor people lack the resources to be willing to fight, as I discovered the hard way while working at Best Buy.

  15. Samson Says:

    It is a fallacy to think that with our current plutocratic governmental system any revolution will be first an economic one, and considering that politicians are either rich or funded by the rich, and they will not feel the effects of economic collapse unless it is complete an excellent example is the great depression, where the rich maintained their wealth while the subjects (citizens) suffered. I agree with Brian in the we will have no hope of change unless we act before the economic downturn. The irony is that for most people change is not even an option until it is too late and apathy wins out. I believe that most people fail to realize that we have long been subjugated by corporate america, since before the industrial revolution, recently that transparency has been increased as people can be more readily sedated by an ever increasing array of products. So what can be done, well there is a reason that our founding fathers made the second amendment, not only so citizens could protect their homes from invaders but so they could protect their country from tyranny. The only difference I see between now and the time of the american revolution is that our subjugation is no longer from a monarchy but a plutocracy.

  16. briankoontz Says:

    I think the term and concept polyarchy best describes the American system of “democracy”.

    People rarely talk about the Iraq War in economic terms. Forget the moral monstrosity of killing 1.2 million people, displacing 4.5 million, and impoverishing millions more for the moment. The economic basis for the war is twofold – to funnel American taxpayer dollars into corporations connected to the war (oil, construction, private military, engineering, high tech industries) and to funnel Iraqi resources (especially oil wealth) into American multinational corporations. Also forget the likely revenge the American people will be receiving as a result. Let’s stick to the economics.

    There’s some major economic effects here. Some are obvious, like the breakdown of social services such as education, welfare, etc. Some are not so obvious, like the growth of just a few industries (those related to the war) and the decline of industries not war-related. The whole culture, the whole economy, starts shifting to being a warrior culture. That’s what’s been happening in Israel for the past several decades, and leads in part to mandatory military service. All empires becomes militant cultures. Domestic abuse rises. Violence of all sorts rises. Mental health deteriorates. Crime rises.

    I’m reminded of many parts of the world torn apart by war. Let’s say you’re a young guy trying to feed his family. The country is destroyed, there’s no jobs, but there’s always the military who pays for someone willing to wield a gun. You pick up the gun and blow apart whoever they tell you to blow apart, or maybe get blown apart, or both. The alternative is poverty, if not starvation.

    War is one of the few forces that has the ability to dominate a country’s culture and economy, and there’s no reason that can’t happen to the United States. There’s *really* no reason if we can’t make our politicians accountable to public will.

    People think a war is a kind of isolated event. It happens from time to time and then it goes away. No, not anymore. In an Empire war never goes away. It keeps going until the people either revolt or they run out of money to feed the machinery of the Empire. That’s the choice that stands before us. And if they run out of money and become useless to the leaders then things really get scary, because right now the only thing making our leaders even vaguely interested in stopping Al Qaeda is that they want (or at least have some desire greater than zero) to keep the domestic economy rolling. Every vampire with a constant supply of blood wants to keep the blood-giver alive.

    The American government isn’t actually opposed to the American economy doing well, they just don’t much care. Everything is multinationals nowadays, so if the American economy fails that will have a massive global impact but the world will recover. America won’t (nearly so soon) but that hardly matters since the corporations our leaders are tied to can just relocate. Most of their business is outside the US anyway.

    Governments are also multinational nowadays. France has a pro-US government friendly to the Neocons. South America despite its reputation still has a lot of support for the Neocons (varying by government). Germany has a pro-US government. Australia used to until recently where things may have changed. Africa has a lot of pro-US governmental support. Pakistan and India support the Neocons. Gordon Brown from the UK mostly supports the US. Israel of course completely and utterly supports it. Canada supports the Neocons. Mexico supports the Neocons. So you’d better believe if the US fails the Neocons will find a friendly home elsewhere and set up shop. Maybe they’ll have to relearn some new ways to manipulate the media and the other shit they pull, a kind of re-education for them, but they’ll manage. Most of the world operates in varying degrees by the same Neoliberal economic models they invented and favor.

    So their attitude to the United States is, “Who cares?” Who cares about a country when you own the world? Who cares about a blood supply when another one is right around the corner? Might as well bleed it dry.

    It’s interesting – back in the ’90s when American industries were shutting down en mass and the products being made instead mostly in Asia, some in Mexico, some in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, everyone talked about the economic effects but noone mentioned the national security disaster. That is to say, if America is no longer producing goods there’s not as much of a reason for the government to protect the country. America used to contain people with money and factories producing economic wealth and now it’s down to mostly just the people. Given the changes that happened after America lost the factories what changes might be in store after it loses the wealth of the people?

    Look around the world to see what happens to governments after the people become impoverished. They turn to the US for economic support and take their orders from Washington instead of from their own people.

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