I went to see Michael Moore’s latest, Capitalism: A Love Story, and I have to say that whatever your political affiliation (or lack thereof); regardless of whether you “like” Mr. Moore (or not), you have to see this film. You may not agree with his political ideas -- you might even find them offensive (or not), but free societies will always need people like
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-=[ The Psychological
It is said that when the slaves in
Today the average working stiff accepts more hours at a lower wage, or fewer hours, which usually means the loss of health care and other benefits (how do you think Wal-Mart makes all that money?). All this in the name of profit. You can be assured that when a slave is freed it is because he or she will make more money for Boss Hawg as a free agent. When a worker is praised, you can be sure he is more than likely sweating gold.
Today we measure progress by increments in the margin of profit: how much you make off the sweat of others (whether the labor of your employee or the slave labor of some child in some far off country). Your success is measured how much you make off your money in the bank, off the exchange of international currency -- and how much you stand to lose.
We are all governed by this margin. It is like a river we have come to depend on for our subsistence; a river that gives us life-giving water and news from upstream. It has been the major artery of human interaction for centuries, and most of us believe it is the only way that a nation can be great. If we fail at education, when our children cannot add or read, we can always import mathematicians from
We can buy almost anything we want because almost everyone seems to want to live where he or she can be a millionaire from hard work or pure luck. Not even real profit, but just the illusion or dream of a profit holds millions of Americans and American wanna-bes, in thrall. It’s like an obsessive/ compulsive disorder -- like gambling or drugs. But this over preoccupation with profit is far more harmful than any drug. This obsession with the margin of profit grinds everything that is good and human about us into the unnamable glob of meat by-products squeezed into synthetic cases that are sold by the pound and then forgotten.
Our values are turd-like products pounded out with assembly line-like efficiency and sealed in plastic -- this is our identity. Truth here has no value. The cure for cancer is far less important than the commodified ideal of profit over people.
For profit we will overlook the needless deaths of tens of thousands of our fellow compatriots, we will ignore rape and genocide. For profit, we will accept and rationalize apartheid, slavery, and even lawlessness in isolated cases. For the margin of profit, we will enslave our own people. For even the hope of a profit, a worker will mangle mind, soul, and body doing the work of two women or three.
And here we are -- all of us. Profit is made on a grand scale in
Broken roads and schools, children who can’t read, and prisons that are traded on the Dow Jones -- these are also the margins of profit. The verb, then, is to marginalize. We are all marginalized by the dogma of Capitalism. We are mere entries in the ledgers of Citibank, Halliburton, AIG, and the rest. We are the skin that defines the monster that ells us He is the only way. God, this monster tells us, can only be defined by the margin of profit. We pray to him and even sacrifice our children to him.
Let us be clear: the world of profit is a world of plunder. Progress is defined by this margin but it says nothing of the quality of life and of goodness. Fair, defined by the margin, is what you can get away with.
If profit is the only way, then we have truly never left the inner plantation of our collective psychological enslavement. Like the poor souls whose minds have been broken, we can no longer envision a world without a master...