A few thoughts on a chilly March Monday. Only two days from spring yet we are expecting 20 to 30 meters of snow. So it goes.
Today in the HuffPost we have an article in which Bill Gates tells us that capitalism has gone off its rails. Of course, billionaires like Gates, Soros, and Richard Branson need to believe that Capitalism, in Branson's words, has "lost its way," because it this kind of global instability and inequality is what is at the heart of capitalism then these guys have chosen the wrong side of history. I would humbly correct the titans of industry and tell them that rather than losing its way, capitalism has just entered a new phase. The globalizing phase of capitalism represents a whole new opportunity for international exploitation of workers and the environment. As political borders mean less and less and politicians become the servants of multinational corporations, it simply becomes more and more difficult for people to oppose the worst abuses of capital. In a time when capitalists (at least in the Western, capitalist nations,) depended upon their own working-class as both producers and consumers, it gave the working-class a position from which to fight against their exploitation. Now we simply have a race to the bottom as capitalist to global labour market in a war of all against all. As far as the rich are concerned, capitalism has found its way rather than lost it, and the way it toward environmental distraction and growing inequality everywhere. And we are, to use the old English phrase, their mugs (those who will be their victims).
Meanwhile the group of incompetent, ragtag, thugs that we have the misfortune to call a Federal Government are continuing the raping and pillaging of our nation. Kevin Page, the Parliamentary Budget officer, talked recently about the thuggish intimidation he suffered at the hands of the Harpercons who will do ANYTHING to silence critics and turn people away from the facts. This government is little more than a petty, thirdworld-style dictatorship which is precisely what they claim they despise. They lie, they cheat, they silence, they marginalize, and they seek a world in which a small, wealthy minority have complete power over a desperately impoverished majority.
And today Harper and his buffoons think (boy is that an exaggeration that all we need is the right kind of pipeline technology and a few Golden Tugboats and we will have no danger of the complete destruction of the BC coastline in a historically large series of oil spills. They conveniently overlook the fact that the billions of dollars that they supposedly are going to spend on safety constitute huge sums of corporate welfare (many, many times more than is spent on average people who really need help).
The irony is, of course, that it is technology that has, in large part, caused us to enter than new phase of capitalism I spoke of. As technology increases, individual entrepreneurship becomes less and less a central mechanism of capitalism. The entry requirements for more and more markets become too much for individuals to become meaningful players (it would take literally billions of dollars to start a new car company for example.) The simple truth is, if you understand what is going on, the so-called market plays less and less a part in the working of capitalism as governments become de facto working-partners of the richest corporations.
But then, most people don't understand what is going on.
So it goes.