[p2p-research] Capitalism's Self-Inflicted Apocalypse by Michael Parenti

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 16 06:32:31 CEST 2009

does anyone have any data on this:

the number of billionaires is increasing faster than ever while the number
of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world's

On Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 2:38 AM, Paul D. Fernhout <
pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:

> Someone just sent me this link; some people here might like it.
> "Capitalism's Self-Inflicted Apocalypse" by Michael Parenti
> http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Parenti/Capitalism%27s_Apocalypse.html
> """
>  After the overthrow of communist governments in Eastern Europe, capitalism
> was paraded as the indomitable system that brings prosperity and democracy,
> the system that would prevail unto the end of history.
>  The present economic crisis, however, has convinced even some prominent
> free-marketeers that something is gravely amiss. Truth be told, capitalism
> has yet to come to terms with several historical forces that cause it
> endless trouble: democracy, prosperity, and capitalism itself, the very
> entities that capitalist rulers claim to be fostering.
>  ...
>  The corporate capitalists no more encourage prosperity than do they
> propagate democracy. Most of the world is capitalist, and most of the world
> is neither prosperous nor particularly democratic. One need only think of
> capitalist Nigeria, capitalist Indonesia, capitalist Thailand, capitalist
> Haiti, capitalist Colombia, capitalist Pakistan, capitalist South Africa,
> capitalist Latvia, and various other members of the Free World--more
> accurately, the Free Market World.
>  A prosperous, politically literate populace with high expectations about
> its standard of living and a keen sense of entitlement, pushing for
> continually better social conditions, is not the plutocracy's notion of an
> ideal workforce and a properly pliant polity. Corporate investors prefer
> poor populations. The poorer you are, the harder you will work-for less. The
> poorer you are, the less equipped you are to defend yourself against the
> abuses of wealth.
>  In the corporate world of "free-trade," the number of billionaires is
> increasing faster than ever while the number of people living in poverty is
> growing at a faster rate than the world's population. Poverty spreads as
> wealth accumulates.
>  Consider the United States. In the last eight years alone, while vast
> fortunes accrued at record rates, an additional six million Americans sank
> below the poverty level; median family income declined by over $2,000;
> consumer debt more than doubled; over seven million Americans lost their
> health insurance, and more than four million lost their pensions; meanwhile
> homelessness increased and housing foreclosures reached pandemic levels.
>  It is only in countries where capitalism has been reined in to some degree
> by social democracy that the populace has been able to secure a measure of
> prosperity; northern European nations such as Sweden, Norway, Finland, and
> Denmark come to mind. But even in these social democracies popular gains are
> always at risk of being rolled back.
>  It is ironic to credit capitalism with the genius of economic prosperity
> when most attempts at material betterment have been vehemently and sometimes
> violently resisted by the capitalist class. The history of labor struggle
> provides endless illustration of this.
>  To the extent that life is bearable under the present U.S. economic order,
> it is because millions of people have waged bitter class struggles to
> advance their living standards and their rights as citizens, bringing some
> measure of humanity to an otherwise heartless politico-economic order.
>  ...
>  In sum, free-market corporate capitalism is by its nature a disaster
> waiting to happen. Its essence is the transformation of living nature into
> mountains of commodities and commodities into heaps of dead capital. When
> left entirely to its own devices, capitalism foists its diseconomies and
> toxicity upon the general public and upon the natural environment--and
> eventually begins to devour itself.
>  The immense inequality in economic power that exists in our capitalist
> society translates into a formidable inequality of political power, which
> makes it all the more difficult to impose democratic regulations.
>  If the paladins of Corporate America want to know what really threatens
> "our way of life," it is their way of life, their boundless way of pilfering
> their own system, destroying the very foundation on which they stand, the
> very community on which they so lavishly feed.
> """
> Anyway, this helps explain why in theory markets work to some extent
> (ignoring external costs etc.), but in practice, if a rich-poor divide
> increases, given it takes money to make money, then eventually markets will
> fail in various ways if not taxed and regulated -- although even then,
> excessive wealth in markets may capture the taxing and regulating processes
> to their own benefit. That is one point made in "Capitalism hits the fan":
>  http://www.capitalismhitsthefan.com/
> --Paul Fernhout
> http://www.pdfernhout.net/
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