How Inequality Was Created

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Great new animated video from former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and the folks behind explaining how inequality was politically engineered.

Check it out:

(via Robert Reich’s blog)

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  • Anonymous

    It funny that this cute cartoon in perhaps the only thing most
    open-minded but intellectually lazy Americans may
    understand. Unfortunately, I feel we are at the stage in American
    history where the corporate state and the police state that supports it
    have become so powerful and entrenched that only a wholesale
    widespread rebellion in the streets by the willing masses will change things. One
    would hope it would be nonviolent in nature, but
    that will not be easy to orchestrate given what will be a sustained
    effort by the corporate state to quash rebellion and dissent. It doesn’t take
    much of a brain to see that both major American political parties are corrupt
    to their core and incompetent and that money and control of power, not altruism, is what really motivates them, I think these truths are pretty self evident and the sooner American awakes to them the sooner we can begin on a path to actual and needed widespread reforms.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, Danny, it will take a violent revolution to overthrow the corporate and police state that is the U.S.A. today. But it will require organized violence and not disorganized, organic action like Occupy Wall Street, which ultimately fizzled. All power is centered in Washington D.C. And that is where the violence must begin.

  • Anita

    HOW do we fix it, exactly? It ended right after making that provocative statement. Hmmm!

  • Kate

    How do we FIX it? The only thing I can think of is that everyone needs to vote and everyone needs to contact their representatives in congress, and everyone needs to vote the GOP out. Fat chance in the red/gerrymandered states! Marches on Washington? Give us some hints. Give all the money we don’t have to congress to pay attention to us? What???

  • Mr. Greengenes

    If anyone really wants a thorough analysis of these problems and resolutions please check out the Zeitgeist Movement orientation essays. It’s a lot of reading but a very well done train of thought type analysis based on some of the most rational thinkers of the past and present.

  • bucadonebuvi

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

    It doesn’t take
    much of a brain to see that both major American political parties are corrupt
    their core and incompetent and that money and control of power, not
    altruism, is what really motivates them, I think these truths are pretty
    self evident and the sooner American awakes to them the sooner we can
    begin on a path to actual and needed widespread reforms.

  • Christopher T. Kipp

    We need to take action. Should we call for a Constitutional Convention? Here is a link to The 21st Century Declaration of Independence

  • Anonymous

    What? God didn’t give it to them?

  • calas500

    The Occupy movement had it right.

  • Anonymous

    Problem: Democrats are no better.

    If you address effects instead of the root cause,

    you might disagree.

    But the truth is, we DO have an option –

    (in addition to the, of course, still needed revolutionary abolition of capitalism…)

    If we ALL -in HUGE numbers- changed our voter registration party affiliation to GREEN Party, they would notice that in their pre-election statistical analyses,

    TO WHICH, sadly, they pay MORE ATTENTION than to even election results or constituent emails/phone calls, on issues.

    See to learn why.

    Because they will too, if there’s a huge, voting numbers-relevant surge.

  • chameleon

    This is what we do….we organize ourselves first and use say, Facebook or such to relay information…then, we prioritize democratically our agenda….I.e. for hi gas prices, one day We all don’t purchase gasoline at ll..the pressure is on…we all commute or similar. We can do it….

  • Anonymous

    And yes, “in order to view it,” and in the light of the NSA’s lawless power and behavior, I most certainly am NOT “willing to upgrade my browser to take advantage of the web’s newest advantages”-

    As a retired BSEE, systems designer, and Chief Software Engineer for numerous contractors at government cabinet-level agency HQ’s; I NEVER allow automatic “upgrades.”

    They are very likely Not to be to anyone;s advantage but the NSA’s corporate masters, and at the very benign LEAST, to nothing but their profit. And I have othing they want anyway, why should I pay the price of the resource hit?

    Java and M$ dot-net (and “Security” upgrades,)are particularly suspect, IMHO.
    The only security SW that’s ever in my experience caught or protected against anything nasty, DIDN’T come from Microsoft.

  • Janet

    I’m reading a book that explains this in detail – over 400 pages of detail, so it explains more than this short cartoon can. I’ve only read about 35 pages, but I’ve learned a lot just from what little I’ve read! It’s “Who Stole the American Dream” by Hedrick Smith..

  • rishicash

    Did you not see the very end?

  • Ran

    “The Rich Get Richer, and the Poor Get Prison”, by Jeffrey Reiman, points out, that if you can afford good legal representation, you’re pretty much assured never to become convicted felon, and if you grew up poor, you are more-likely to become a convicted felon in your lifetime!

  • Anonymous

    More and more I’m beginning to think that the day of effective street demonstrations is almost over. We may need to look to Europe’s method of universal strikes. Withdraw labor — across the board.

  • Frank Luke

    It happened because 9-5 folks are too preoccupied with going to their jobs and just didn’t pay attn till it’s been pointedly pointed out. Decades of no raises to talk about–is this taking it on the chin and bank accts ? What’s it going to take to galvanize US workers to start a movement to demand a better deal from employers and the Fed ? Will We the People and Workers take this raw deal lying down as we have been ? How long, O lord ??

  • Jim Shannon

    Taxing Ultra High Net Worth and Income out of existence is our only hope of ever experiencing Rule of Law for the benefit 99.99% and eliminating Rule by Money for the 0.01%!

    Clearly governments have always been about the MONEY and who gets to keep the
    most! UHNW individuals have the most because all governments have been
    controlled by the MONIED ELITE!

    Clearly UHNW individuals have NEVER been TAXED like those who are not already RICH, and the 99.99% pay for and condone the governments corruption of TAX POLICY by CentaMillionaire$ and Billionaire$ who make huge profits off the backs of the 99.99%.!

    Clearly, we need to TAX ALL the CentaMillionaire$ and Billionaire$ out of
    existence, as their wealth has corrupted everything!

    Clearly, all those who are NOT UHNW individuals are manipulated into believing they are powerless, as they ignorantly continue to support the corrupting power of the MONIED ELITE.

    That’s a clear FACT of our collective reality for anyone who can reason!

    Another Clear fact is NO ONE of any IMPORT anywhere in the world has in the past or will in the future ever talk about what is clearly the only way to ELIMINATE the corrupting power of the 0.01% who own ALL GOVERNMENTS and
    their TAX CODE!

  • womanbewise58

    there is a march on Washington planned. anniversary of MLK,jr “I have a dream” speech (Aug 26) – in response to Jim Crow issue and all other invasive and unjust and ‘questionable’ policy and representation of our governing officials. we may not all have the same voice, but our presence must speak. countries everywhere around the world are doing it and changes are happening. we continue to sit on our hands and don’t mobilize. I would love to see history made on this day by changing history. i don’t know what we are afraid of.

  • RevPhil Manke

    The “American Dream” is an illusion at best. Conjured up by politicians and promoted by many busineses, it idealizes a fantasy life over practical reason. Many do not save because the “dream” is their parachute. It is, largely, an “ex-urban wet-dream” of impracticality and belief that the political establishment will look out for and ensure that same dream will be true for all. Not only has the normal diet of obesity laden crap become mainstream in the USA, it also enables lethargy and malaise in those who refuse to recognize they have been duped, because it simply is too painful for their ego based and illusionary thought system.. This is not everyone, but enough to make it mainstream.

  • RevPhil Manke

    I agree. Register and VOTE GREEN PARTY. Dr. Jill Stein has a workable and well thought out platform, and you can bet it will enrage the two corrupt majors who will stop at nothing to prevent truth in government.. Green party needs massive support. Most of the population has wasted million$ on the looter/deception parties, so what do you have to loose?????

  • Anonymous

    The “Occupy” movement seems to have fizzled without direction. Other small movements (Move-on, PFAW, Sum of Us, etc.) seem fragmented. Labor Unions seem lethargic. The Civil Rights Movement has maintained an effective leadership and seems to have the “know-how” to get things done. Any chance to merge them all into an effective organization? I believe MLK was working with the gaining rights for garbage collectors when he got assissinated.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    Bring back cannibalism–eat the rich!

  • Terri EC Mom5

    I loved the movies. Have you seen the documentary “The Corporation”? It’s worth a look

  • Terri EC Mom5

    Darn straight!

  • Terri EC Mom5

    I’d love to be there but I can barely afford my rent and food much less afford to take a trip half-way across the country.

  • SDCountyFF_PM

    “The Corporation” is good, but it merely describes one of the many symptoms of this deadly disease, as does Mr. Reich in his piece above. However, unlike Mr Reich, The Zeitgeist Movement proposes a REAL solution to this conundrum, not just more debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin or how best to arrange these deck chairs on the Titanic.

    When enough people finally wake up and opt out of the corrupt and broken system that has ruled us since the Iron Age, we will know an end to hunger, war and poverty: A Natural Law, Resource Based Economic Model holds the key to our collective survival. The transition/collapse will happen first (and is in fact is happening now) in countries far less “comfortable” than the U.S like Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Greece (and the other PIIGS countries).

    Please educate yourselves and join the movement:

  • Valerie Lopez


  • Patrick McLaughlin

    Please take a look at this proposal for a new constitutional amendment to limit the influence of money in our political process:

    Here is the text of the proposed amendment:


    I. All political campaign contributions should derive solely from registered voters within the district, territory or state that the candidate is seeking to represent.

    II. Contributions from registered voters shall be limited to a single candidate per office in each primary or general election

    III. The total value of all political contributions, monetary or of material value, given by a registered voter during a calendar year shall not exceed 10% of the average per capita income, as determined by the most recent United States census.

    IV.. This limit on monetary and material contributions shall not be construed to limit a registered voter, or any other citizen, from contributing any amount of their personal time or labor to any political cause or candidate of their choosing, or in any other way limit the rights of speech or assembly.

  • Anonymous

    I voted for Obama with great enthusiasm, pride, and hope. Until his determination to Strike Syria, I had attributed his failure to keep promises to obstructionist bigots. Now I think that everyone who runs for office has a get filthy rich quick scheme going. I am so disappointed.

  • Anonymous

    Personally I never assumed privacy on the phone or on the internet. If it existed at any point, it is now gone forever.

  • Anonymous

    If only it accomplished something.

  • Anonymous

    Let 2014 be the year of Voter Revolt. Vote our every revolting incumbent. That is the only way politicians will get the message that the voters are POed major! Then the same in 2016. Let the voter revolt have its own platform:
    We could start with Patrick McLaughlin’s list above.
    Then add Military for defense only.
    Aid to countries that respect humanity,
    Environmental protection as a goal,
    Raise minimum wage
    Corporate tax breaks only for expanded US employment
    Tax scale increases with income including corporations
    US corporations that off shore investments, are still taxed based on estimated income.
    MPG requirements for all personal vehicles
    Improve rail and mass transit systems
    Vote against the new party and get your walking papers.

  • Anonymous

    Last time I wouldn’t vote for the Green Party, because that would have tipped the scale to Romney who embodied all that was wrong with the country. The Green Party should put out a platform in black and white, and we should vote out all incumbents.

  • Anonymous

    Look at how the people are against the Strike on Syria. The internet is a powerful tool. It can be done.

  • turtlegirl

    I’ve noticed the trend of paying more for less for a long time now. It really hit home when, about 7-9 years ago, a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger at Wendy’s was 99 cents, even with added lettuce, tomato, and onion. A Biggie fry was also 99 cents. They both were on their 99 cent menu, and the total for both was $2.08. Several years went by before I went to Wendy’s again (I hardly ever eat fast food and am mostly vegetarian) and was shocked when I ordered the same thing. The burger was at least 50% smaller and the total for the order was over 4 dollars. Yet my wages have stagnated even though I do more work. This trend CANNOT continue!

  • turtlegirl

    Well, for those who break the law, anyway, right?

  • turtlegirl

    I think it did. it definitely raised awareness of the issues to the masses who were absolutely clueless up to that point, and gave the powers-that-be a little taste of what’s to come if things don’t change. This is not over. Not by a longshot.

  • turtlegirl

    Me too. I wanted SO BAD to vote for Jill, but was terrified by the prospect of Romney in the White House. I wish I could vote based on hope, like the first time I voted for Obama, not fear, like the second time I voted for him.

  • Anonymous

    Reduction of common packaging that has been around for decades, increasing prices by unbelievable percentages. Don’t look at the dollar increase look at the percentage!
    Walking through the grocery has become as firghtening as walking through a mine field!

  • Anonymous

    Robert Reich may be a Professor, but he never received his Ph.D.

    The reason the rich have gotten richer is that the scalability of talent, creativity and entrepreneurship has increased.

    300 years ago, most people had a small farm. If you had a great idea for how they could improve the productivity of their farm, there was no way for you to (1) patent-protect your idea; (2) communicate your idea to 50 million family farms throughout the Western world; (3) fund or scale production; (4) deliver your product to 50 million family farms.

    Today, if you have a great idea, you can do all of (1), (2), (3) and (4). Similarly, if you were funny 70 years ago, you could perform in front of 300 people on a Saturday night in the Catskills. Today, you can have a show that reaches 1 billion people for 20 years in syndication.

    Both the first and the second wealthy person I describe, today, can make billions of people more productive or more happy. They deserve to be richer because they are helping more people.


    Take your Fed-related conspiracy theories and your labor-pandering populism, Robert Reich, and join the Nazis or the Socialists, or both.

    Or, go back to school and finish your doctorate.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been getting that for weeks now… on EVERY website. What browser do you use?

  • JonThomas

    Bruce, Please take this in the helpful, if maybe correcting manner in which it is offered.

    It took me all of 40 seconds to read your comment. I wish the spiritual troubles faced by this, and/or any/every other nation could be squeezed into 40 seconds of being negative towards someone’s efforts.

    This small cartoon is a great primer for young people and for those with little to no background in economics.

    I think the part of your comment where you offer a positive message about ‘healing’ families is fine…but there are many different avenues where people can pitch in to help make this a better world.

    Professor Reich and the people at ‘’ (see link above) are contributing through education. They even have more info if a person likes the cartoon (thus the link.) My guess is that people can find more than 2 1/2 minutes of information there.

    So, it’s your choice, and you may make different decisions than the next person, but instead of putting these people down for their efforts, why not just add to it with your own.

    For example…

    Great work Professor Reich, folks at, and you good people at M&C…Thank you for this information. I hope every person in the world can learn from it and use it to make the world a better place for themselves and their families. I also think Mr. Bruce Daniel Biddle had a positive message about working to strengthen families. I hope that some day soon we can all live in a better world made possible by the varied efforts of one another.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you!! a solution to most of the problem lies in reforming how the top 5% or so deformed our financial stability. Even if people don’t understand macro econ, they feel their jobs becoming more “productive” (code word for working harder and longer with less benefits – that’s the corporate shareholder definition). All anyone need do is read Seeking Alpha’s quarterly reports to see how corporate heads talk about the work force as cattle, as “heads” and how to cut more of them so they can retain some supposed “growth.” These people take 6 fig salaries as they cut jobs and benefits to maintain “growth” quarter over quarter. That’s the shame of it, voters know this intuitively but will continue to fight against their own worth. I see a 10-yr learning curve for the financially uninclined before they “get it” – people FINALLY get that congress takes too much of our taxes for their own benefit, and finally get that they insider-trade all day long, and finally they made a fuss about it… But until we truly start punishing the wrongdoers (bankers, wall st.) and re-regulating what they can and can not do w/ our economy, this willn ot change. I hope to see an amendment such as the one you propose and will check out more at your FB page, thanks SO MUCH for being part of a solution rather than the hobgoblins who only speak of ideological politics but who really have no idea that they are devaluing their own worth w/ every vote, every trolling argument…

  • DavidW

    The power of “ownership” must be taught and “pushed” down to the rest of us. The rich understand that capital and ownership of property of all kinds give them power through the accumulation of money. Individually, we have little to no impact. Cooperatively, we can form enterprises as individuals who come together to meet our economic, social, cultural and political needs. It’s called Cooperative Enterprise.

    Some of you may be aware of Credit Unions, Food Cooperatives, Mutual Insurance Companies, Farmer Co-ops, and other kinds of businesses in this sector. The more we can build and strengthen consumer owned and worker owned Co-ops the more market share we can take from these corporate “overlords.”

    So, find that Credit Union and “move your money!” Buy-in and invest in that Food Co-op and start shopping or continue the organizing to get it opened! Research your insurance providers and find those mutual companies to do your insurance business with. Patronize any worker owned Cooperative businesses you can find, or work for one yourself.

    Imagine a Credit Union sector 10 times bigger than the one today and how that can affect the big banks, they’ll have to respond to the market changes. This can be a way to keep more of the wealth we create within our communities, within our communities rather than to send it along with our purchases as “royalty” payments.

    Vote with your dollars for the political democracy you want by strengthening the economic democracy. Say no to economic totalitarians.

  • DavidW

    Political manipulation is a symptom not the core ill. I think our political democracy is in jeopardy because we have no economic democracy. People scrambling to work two jobs to make ends meet, don’t have the time to:
    Get Politically involved;
    Get Educated;
    Volunteer in your Community;
    Think about the issues to cast an informed vote;
    Motivate themselves contribute to their community;
    Blame the real provocateurs.

    The poor get blamed for the ills as a scapegoat. Why, they have no power and not enough mass in the overall population (well that can change with more people getting poorer and poorer). Imagine if the poor could get decent jobs and had time to volunteer and contribute and get educated and think about the issues.

    Better for us to concurrently build cooperative enterprises or businesses owned by the consumers or workers to:
    Take charge of our own economic, social, cultural and political needs;
    Spend money in our own communities that stay circulating in our own communities;
    Build capital and wealth that can be shared within our towns and neighborhoods;
    Grow and take market share from the corporate overlords;
    Stop worshipping the monied elite.

    We can start by moving our money into local Credit Unions, by insuring with Mutual Insurance companies, shopping at our shopper owned local Food Cooperatives, starting or working for a worker owned cooperative business.

    Political power today emanates from economic power, we need to get our economic engine in order to move the majority of the people, rather than the very rich.

    Google the Rochdale Pioneers 1844 for some history and do this yourself instead of relying on some rich person to make a donation to your charity.

  • Anonymous

    the underpinnings of insecurity are basic; food, shelter, healthcare. no wonder families are in spiritual crisis. it isn’t ‘identity confusion’ (code for gayness) which depresses, makes the family insecure, but greed. get serious.

  • DavidW

    Ha! OWS thinks that direct action is handcuffing oneself to a desk, in a bank. Does that get one any economic power? OK, it does shine light onto the issues and gets people thinking, I give them that. But today, political power springs from economic power.

    Charity is a soothing salve but won’t change things.
    Political campaigning feels good but when the officeholders get bought, what then?
    To fight fire with fire, so to speak – we have to join together and meet our own cultural, economic, social and political needs by relying upon ourselves. To make these rich irrelevant, we form our own cooperative enterprises, our own businesses we own.

    Look at Food Co-ops, Credit Unions and Mutual Insurance companies as a model to build a new economy around. Would this be the perfect way to tamp down the influence of the rich, probably not but it can be a practical solution. What we need is some real competition to take market share away from these elite rich. Losing market share is something they can understand.

    So, move your money to a Credit Union. Buy-in and invest in your local Food Co-op and shop there. Get your insurance from a Mutually owned company. Find and buy from worker owned cooperative enterprise, or find one to work for, better yet start one.

    Ownership is better as a “direct action” to take back our economy for us and to then offer us the economic democracy to balance out our political democracy.

  • DavidW

    Issues raised, yes. Problem solved, no. Moving our money to Credit Unions, shopping and strengthening our Food Co-ops and keeping our money local can make these rich less important in our lives and in our political system.

  • DavidW

    Let’s concurrently, with your suggestions also strengthen our own communities with local economies. Credit Unions owned by the depositors, Food Co-ops owned by the shoppers, Farm Co-ops owned by the farmers, businesses owned by workers, self-relliance for our communities and an understanding of the ownership culture in this society can empower our people. To give people the chance to buy back our political democracy with the implementation of an economic democracy.

    Google Rochdale Pioneers 1844 for historic background.

  • DavidW

    They want us struggling so that we don’t have time to:
    Volunteer in our communities;
    Think about politics;
    Help someone else;
    Contribute to charities, so they get all the credit;
    Start our own businesses;
    Take control of our communities.

    Cooperative enterprise can dent their shiny, new rich person’s yacht. Start our Food Co-ops, bank with our Credit Unions, work with our neighbors. All of this can give us meaning and control of our own, local economies and less dependent upon the rich man’s charities. This kind of direct action can have more of an impact than chaining oneself to a desk in a bank for the news.

  • DavidW

    We can take market share away from these “Robber Barons.” Cooperative enterprise and the Rochdale Pioneers of 1844 can be a model for local economic development without having to rely on the rich for cushy corporate jobs.

    Focusing on building our economic democracy can bring back balance to our political democracy. It is the economy, but we have to think that it is our economy. Think Credit Unions and Food Co-ops as the models to build this economy upon.

  • Jennie Bloom

    I think this is something inherent in the culture, religion & politics of the Puritans who first “took a leaky boat to US” (the Mayflower), claiming to be persecuted refugees (perhaps, in reality objecting to the riotous hedonism of Charles II reformation).

    Inherent to their Puritan beliefs is the notion that economic success reaapitalismflects God’s approval of a good life, the poor are deservedly so….Max Weber’s “Protestantism and the Spirit of Capitalism” still relevant. (If there were a God the Mayflower would have sunk.)

  • DavidW

    It’s economic democracy that missing and that has affected our political democracy. When we can as a people own properties that generate revenue whether it be real estate or businesses, the rich will influence us with their capital through projects and charities.

    Cooperative enterprise can break us from this cycle. Take away the corporate overlords share of the market and they will then pay attention to us. Think Credit Unions and Food Co-ops as one model of consumer owned businesses. They aren’t charities but actual businesses that must compete in the marketplace to remain going concerns. Competition is a word these rich will understand when we are able to build and strengthen the cooperative sector to compete with vigor in the economy.

    Only then, will we be able to have a bigger voice in our political democracy.

  • DavidW

    We can limit this obscene concentration of wealth by taking market share away and competing with these Ultra High Net Worth individuals. Taxes are subject to the power behind the political democracy and ours has been co-opted by a lack of economic democracy. Effective competition can concurrently give the people an option to paying “royalties” to these UHNW folks. Spending our money elsewhere can worry and panic the UHNW when their revenue streams are compromised.

    We compete with Credit Unions, Food Co-ops, Mutual Insurance Companies, Worker Owned Cooperatives. Google Rochdale Pioneers 1844 for background history.

  • turtlegirl

    Absolutely agree, DavidW. Yes, it didn’t solve the problem, but this problem cannot be solved overnight. The point I was making is that at least awareness was raised, and dialogue has been started en masse, so now people can start making better decisions that will directly benefit us and take some of the power away from the ones who hold way too much of it. People ARE moving in the direction you suggested all over the country. People are starting to grow their own private, backyard gardens and there are community gardens sprouting up all over the place, people are moving their money to local banks or credit unions, Co-ops are seeing their memberships soar, farmer’s markets are packed and growing, there is a lot more public discourse over the GMO issue now, (as an aside, I wrote a paper on the effects of Bt corn on the Monarch butterfly back in 1999 when I was in college, and hardly anyone knew what the hell I was talking about back then). True progress is slow, but I think we’re at least headed in the right direction; we just need to ramp up our collective effort. The ideas you presented are a great start that almost every one of us has the power to do ourselves and it will make a big dent in the problem. Just as the act of bringing your own re-usable bags to the store instead of allowing the cashier to put your items in those horrible plastic bags. I’ve been using canvas bags for almost 20 years and refuse to let them put my purchase in plastic, especially when it’s just one or two items. These ubiquitous wildlife-killers make their way into our oceans and kill all manner of sea turtles that mistake them for their favorite food (jellyfish), they suffocate many more species, and kill by ingestion and starvation as they can’t be digested and take up space in the stomach that should be holding food. Simple, easy, CONSCIOUS decisions that have a positive effect on our lives and the lives of others, except the ones in power and the ones who hold onto all the money (interchangeable). Cheers :)

  • turtlegirl

    Well said, DavidW. The elite don’t understand or can relate to anything unless it involves their almighty dollar. People need to understand this, and vote with THEIR money. When they say the top 1% hold 20% of the wealth in this country, that means the rest of us have the balance: 80%. Just envision what we could do with that if we all got on the same page! Kinda gives me goose bumps :)

  • DavidW

    Let us take it one more step and start owning our own businesses, that power of ownership grants these elites their power. Why work for them and shop from their businesses? WORK for our own businesses, shop in our stores. Cooperative enterprise can be a more lasting longer term and practical solution. Not perfect though but it can take market share away and give these corporate overlords a run for the money when we can compete with them for our dollars.

    If we can compete effectively we can hold them at bay since the rest of the market will have to adjust to us. Food Co-ops, Credit Unions, Mutual Insurance companies can be the models we can build a new economy around.

    Google Rochdale Pioneers 1844 for background.

  • DavidW

    Cooperative Enterprise can give us a shot at this “ownership” society. Think Credit Unions and Food Co-ops as the model. Food and Money is something we all have in common and if we can deal with it locally in cooperatively owned businesses in our own communities, we can slow the re-distribution of our wealth to the wealthy.

    Take away their market share and give them competition and then they’ll pay attention to us and understand.

  • Anonymous

    Social Darwinists, or Religious Darwinists, who refuse to believe in evolution theories except when it comes to wealth.

  • Dr. P

    Hmmm… “these issues” methinks are not the cause but the effect.

  • Anonymous

    If it is this simple how did the Kennedys lose their fortunes?.
    Didn’t the WWII generation working like crazy have something to do with the post war boom?
    Doesn’t the fact that a lot of baby boomers never learned to work squander a lot of the gains of their parents had made lead us down this path.

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree, David.

  • Rick Korne

    I don’t know of any boomers that squandered their parents money. Everyone I grew up with did much better then their parents.

  • Rick Korne

    I’ll add that private campaign money should be eliminated. All political campaigns should be publicly funded and the fairness doctrine should be reinstated in broadcast media.

  • Anonymous

    The Kennedy’s didn’t lose anything but their lives in service tothis country. This boomer made more money than my post war parents ever dreamed of. Nobody squandered anything but your brains on right wing talk shows. This path was carved by repugnants and a propaganda machine Goebbels would have envied. .

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Robert Reich.

  • DavidW

    Let’s make it our priority to take market share away from these oligarchs by growing our own economy. Don’t just withhold spending but re-direct it to local businesses and cooperative enterprise.

    Did you know that we could organize and incorporate cooperative corporations to run businesses. The difficult part if educating our neighbors to buy-in to this and invest in our communities instead of in these big players.

    Credit Unions and Food Co-ops are today’s model of how this works. You buy a share and can only buy one share, equal to everyone else and your vote is one member one vote. Pooled money equals consumer equity in the Food Co-op or Credit Union and you get to elect a board of directors but unlike a large public company where some shareholders are more equal than the rest by virtue of the number of shares they own.

    Then you get a mortgage and either volunteer to run the business or hire a professional staff (we are our own job creators) to keep this an on going concern. Profits, if any are shared based on patronage and not share ownership, but the important thing is the service, products and community that results. This isn’t a 501(c)3 charity, it’s a business enterprise that can grow and compete with these rich elite. They’ll understand that.

  • Anonymous

    Then why do we need Medicaid? Aid to dependent children which has succeeded in giving us more single mother families. etc, etc.

  • DavidW

    We fight fire with fire, or in this case money with money. Pooling our money at the community level to form cooperative enterprises that will lead us to rely on our neighbors rather than the wealthy. Think Food Co-ops, Credit Unions, Mutual Insurance Companies, Cooperative Schools and Day Cares, and the like can help us learn the ownership culture. Ownership means power and the more we can push it down the more economic democracy we can have and that can be expressed in our political democracy.

    Start by moving your money into a Credit Union, start shopping at a Food Co-op and then invest in it, find or start a worker owned business to patronize. We start supporting each other on the community level across the country and then when we take enough market share, the rich will take notice and they’ll adjust.

  • turtlegirl

    Wow, do you really believe Medicaid is the cause behind “single-mother families, etc. etc.” ? Ever consider that the absence of a responsible FATHER is maybe the cause? Not to say that all the mothers are any more responsible, but it takes two to tango, and to blame Medicaid for the decisions that two people make is convoluted and absurd.

  • Anonymous

    AMEN! Somebody who get it!

  • Anonymous

    It is the Pilgrims who came on the Mayflower, and the idea of Capitalism had not yet taken root.

  • Anonymous

    Spread the word, spread the word. Everything you are saying is 100% true!

  • Anonymous

    He can’t do much of anything by himself. WE need to fix it. How? We can start by UNIONIZING our workplaces! No, unions are not bad. Corporations are bad. If unions were bad, employers and the republikkkans would love them. The fact that they HATE them with a passion should make you curious about them. The next thing you need to do is STOP VOTING REPUBLICAN! No, you can’t “vote for the man, not the party”, because you must have certain viewpoints to get in a political party. So, if you are a republikkkan, you have to be anti-union, anti-worker, pro rich, anti poor, anti high standard of living, otherwise they will force you out, and in any case, will refuse to back you for anything.

  • Anonymous

    And dont forget Ohbahhma has gutted labor laws like crazy or why is there an EXPLOSION of intern “jobs” all over the place on every so call job board…….even Dow 30 companies are getting in on the act……no punishment i can see

    Except if you are an Illegal, they raid workplaces and the workers get FREE lawyers and even Food stamps cash assistance and more….Illegals……no problemo!

  • Anonymous

    We also have to re-start the Labor Movement. The employer will never willingly give the worker ANYTHING worth having, he must be FORCED, and the only realistic way workers can do that is through a strong union.

  • Anonymous

    We need to FORCE a constitutional amendment banning the private financing of political campaigns, for one.

  • Anonymous

    We also need to UNIONIZE our workplaces!

  • Anonymous

    The main cause is that we allowed that SOB Ronald Wilson Reagan to destroy the Labor Movement and we allowed our stupid government to embrace so-called “Free Trade”.

  • Anonymous

    Responsible Black father..yes but its those knee grows thats run away….and stick us with the bill

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, it will continue as long as we keep buying from those corporations. We have to bring back the boycott.

  • Anonymous

    It has become an illusion because we allowed Reagan to destroy the Labor Movement. Without good wages, it is simply un-obtainable.

  • Anonymous

    A HOME phone is pretty private. It is a cell phone that is not private.

  • turtlegirl

    I agree, but I can justifiably say I’m not part of that particular problem because, as I mentioned, I eat there about two or three times a decade. My lifestyle is a boycott against fast food every day. I’ve also never once bought a bottled water and have even refused them when offered for free because I abhor that nasty, wasteful trend. I could go on about all about the boycotts in my life, but I don’t want to bore anyone. But it is alive and well in my life, anyway. Cheers :)

  • turtlegirl

    I hesitated to reply to your overtly racist comment on the grounds that I know that no matter what I say to you it won’t remove the worm in your brain, but just so you can understand how ignorant you sound, I’ll give you this: the majority of welfare recipients are WHITE. Look it up. Also, you may want to try and evolve, just a little bit at a time, as these things can be painful. Good luck.

  • Anonymous

    Thats because YOU FAILED MATH LITTLE GIRL…..

    Whites are 5 times the number of blacks so whites will always number more on welfare


  • Anonymous

    You’ve not been paying attention.

  • Larry Beaird

    It’s time to take back the middle class. Time for a revolution with our labor laws and the return of Unions. This is how we started Unions in the first place.

  • RevPhil Manke

    True video!! Watch it again so you may learn. Stop bitching and finger pointing. The riches 1 or 2% have rigged the system. If you don’t know what to do about it, you may be already done with life. Wake Up! Petition and vote! Vote Green or non-mainstream. Avoid the two party corporate control propaganda. They keep you locked in self defeating corcles of wrong-mindedness. I say vote Green Party, and spread the word. I’m sure there are more ways to show up for true democracy.

  • turtlegirl

    Nope, I didn’t fail math. I’m an honor roll and Dean’s List-making kinda girl. But, even if I did, at least I didn’t fail at becoming a decent human being…..I’m wasting no more of my time on you. Buh bye

  • BuddyNovinski

    Doesn’t anyone get history straight? There’s too much listening to Squawk Radio. James I Stuart was king of England (and already Scotland) in 1620.
    The perversion of Orthodox Calvinism came later, especially at the end of the nineteen century with Social Darwinism. John Calvin Coolidge worshiped wealth, and the god Ronald Reagan brought it back. So you are correct in that rich of this world somehow proved by their wealth that they are the predestined elect going to heaven. What’s missing from this video is how much welfare goes to the wealthy.

  • DavidW

    Try to imagine a company that is organized as a cooperative and each worker owns an equal share, no matter their job. One worker one vote. Workers each buy an equal share of the company (installment plans) and get paid for their work. At the end of the year, if there is a profit, everyone shares based on their hours worked and not on the shares they own, since everyone owns one share.

    A manager may get paid more than a supervisor and the CEO would get paid more than all the managers, but the workers get to elect the board of directors and only worker shareholders would be eligible to run. Not some rich shareholder. You would have a say in how much the CEO would get paid.

    This is the ownership culture, this is the way to take control of our workplace democracy, there would be no need to force anything from anybody since the workers all come together for your mutual economic, social, cultural and political needs.

    We then start to take market share from these other companies and make them pay attention when they lose their economic power.

    Google Mondragon to find more background on the possibilities.

  • Anonymous

    Still, we that work for somebody else will not have better wages until we all UNIONIZE.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, this can work, but not every can do this. Their only choice is to UNIONIZE.

  • DavidW

    By Unionizing where we can and forming Worker Cooperatives where we can and having success in both areas we can each do more. There is re-distristbtion of wealth in this country but is isn’t from the rich to the poor, it’s from the middle class and to a lesser extent the poor to the rich. Cooperatives and Unions can slow that by allowing us to keep more of the wealth we create.

    But each will need marketing and outreach programs to educate the rest of the population who don’t know us and won’t change until we provide options to the current situation.

    Look up New Era Windows Cooperative in Chicago, Union Cab in Madison, Arizmendi Worker Co-ops in the bay area and Evergreen Worker Cooperatives in Cleveland to see examples of how worker Co-ops work.

  • Anonymous

    Well said!

  • DavidW

    Thanks for your support and I also want to say, when an elitist says that 47% of the population pay no taxes, they’re wrong. Sales taxes, property taxes (either through direct ownership or through a rental), service and use taxes (auto registration, etc), Social Security and Medicare, and a myriad of other local and state taxes and fees. So, maybe they get a break on their income taxes because they make so little and can get an EIC at the Federal level.

    When this point is made they never think it through because it isn’t so simple, it isn’t cut and dried, not black and white. They aren’t keyed into the nuance and the 1% has recruited and fooled this sector of our population to parrot their party line.

    We have to unbamboozle these people because they really need us more than they need the 1% and they just don’t know it. Yet.

  • Anonymous

    There’s no solution to inequality in capitalism. It could be corrected somehow, conditions for workers (the majority) could be improved, but sooner or later, with another “crisis”, this (or worse) might happen again. IF, of course, the current accumulation of capital in a few hands doesn’t even get worse, unimaginably worse. Unimaginably. There may be a point of no-return, and, if so, forget about “democracy”.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, but: (1) Paying workers “based on their hours worked” is far from “From each person, according to their capacity; to each person, according to their needs”. That’s still glorifying work and maintaining hierarchies: why should a CEO be paid more than a producer? (2) Mondragon is not totally as it looks. There are many obscure points in their “cooperativism”, starting with employment stability policies and working hours.

  • Anonymous

    All well, but… using Facebook for organizing? Giving more money to that abhorrent, messianic project of Facebook? (how many hundreds of milions people are citizens of that new Fatherland?)

  • Anonymous

    A super-rich upper layer and an evermore impoverishing “middle”-class with a weak state sector. That is what you find in third world countries. Oh yeah, I forgot about the overblown military. All that is missing is the generals with their funny shades.

    Anyway, if the middle-class and/or the Left show any real signs of recovering their lost power, wait for Pinochet-US to put in an appearance.

  • JonThomas

    So, it turns out that the Co-Op was gifted with an excellent CEO. However, the profit margin on making widgets, keeping in mind the extremely high number of workers needed in the production of these particular widgets, after expenses – is not as high as we had hoped.

    When the profits were divvied, and the CEO got the same wages and profit shares as the worker, it turned out that the shoes, suits, cleaning bills, etc… needed to make business deals on behalf of the company, were a much high expense than worker clothing.

    His travel expenses were higher, but thankfully the Co-Op covered most of those…

    An interesting situation developed. We won’t even go into what merits “need,’ but we will discuss what happened when the business that he was making arrangements with recognized, not his need, but his WORTH.

    They offered him a much better salary and more ‘perks’ than the workers at the Co-Op felt he deserved. He, being the greedy person you might probably accuse him of being took the job that offered him the modest, but solid ‘better offer.’

    Now our Co-Op has lost many of the contracts to sell it’s widgets. We didn’t get marks for determining that his value wasn’t what we decided he needed.

  • Anonymous

    I think you keep thinking in capitalist terms. (1) Of course the cooperative should cover all expenses necessary for the performance of everyone’s job. But that’s not salary — not even indirect salary, as payment for those expenses doesn’t go into the CEO’s bank account. (2) The CEO is also co-owner of the cooperative, so s/he belongs to it because s/he is interested in the project. (3) “Needs”, in the famous socialist formula, doesn’t refer to expensive suites (more expensive than overalls, no doubt), but to living conditions for human dignity: food, housing, health, education, and of course free time and leisure.

    A person’s “worth”, in your formulation, is equivalent to “value” of the labor force, in terms of its exchangeability (for money). But value is a social construction. You keep viewing it in terms of market and “comoetition” In an egalitarian system, the value of a CEO’s work (even if elected) shouldn’t be higher than that of a manual worker, as time and effort of specif work is the same for everyone.

  • DavidW

    Yes, yes, yes! It’s called Cooperative Enterprise, where consumers and workers come together and pool their economic resources to start companies that meet their economic, social and cultural needs. There is a difference between cooperatives and ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plans) where in and ESOP or other business partnership, there are always those owners who are “more” equal who own more shares and more votes than others.

    In a Co-op, it’s one owner to one vote and one can only own an equal amount of the company as anyone else, be they the CEO or the worker bee. They however all have to invest their own money into the company.

    Then when these get larger, they can compete against the corporate “overlords” and competition is something they understand as fairness is apparently something they don’t.

    With a more robust cooperative economy, we can slow the direction of money to these wealthy lords and limit their impact upon our economic democracy and balance out our political one.

  • JonThomas

    Hello Celso,

    Your name suggests that English may not be your first language, so hopefully that accounts for your use of the term ‘keep.’

    If this was a protracted discussion, as it might be, then I may ‘keep’ doing something. Really, it’s immaterial, other than semantics, but the word ‘keep’ in that context does make assumptions to my character, beliefs, and practices.

    I enjoy discussions like this because it really does take ideology and test it in practical terms.

    I’m glad that your view of a Co-Op is one that recognizes that a CEO wouldn’t be able to wear ‘overalls’ to business meeting, and the Co-Op would therefore buy all of his cloths, shoes, and pay for his dry-cleaning. I do hope however, that none of the regular workers get jealous. It’s funny how human nature can creep in. Human nature is not very ‘egalitarian.’

    In your comment you mention an egalitarian system. Would you outlaw profit and excess?

    In your point #2, you mention the greed of the CEO (I did see that coming, as referenced in my original comment,) and you say that he has an interest in the project. Here’s the thing… humans grow, they change, they also make decisions which lead to changes.

    Keep in mind that at the core, people don’t work because ‘they like it,’ they work to provide a living for themselves and their families. It’s usually people with families who ‘need’ to work, more so than people without such ties.

    A person without a family, may work for your Co-Op, but may not be committed to it at all. Let’s say you have him digging ditches. If another Co-Op has an opening where he can drive a car (or anything less strenuous than digging,) do you think he’s gonna want to dig ditches because of his commitment to the project? Have you ever dug ditches? All day, every day? I have, and although I try not to curse, I’m really wanting to curse at you at this moment.

    For the first few hours you are fine. Then your hands start to hurt…next your hands start to bleed. When you are doing such work at home, you can stop and rest, but at a job, where that other Co-Op needs a ‘project,’ you have to actually ‘compete.’ People do not want to stay at ditch digging their whole life. They a want a job that ‘values’ their efforts.

    In the meantime our CEO has decided to go work somewhere else. Why? Because his wife’s family is facing sickness in Dubuque, and truthfully he knows he’s a better worker than Joe on the production line. Joe is lazy, he takes cigarette breaks every half hour and drags them out.

    Frank, who doesn’t smoke, is always having to cover his slack. But since Joe has ‘needs’ for his large family, he actually takes home more carrots (which he doesn’t like so he trades them for pot on the black market.)

    Our CEO knows these things, and truthfully he is tired of fronting for people he knows have little incentive except ‘needs.’

    I guess I could ‘keep’ offering examples but here’s the thing…

    Your sense of egalitarian values can NEVER account for human nature. There is a sense of value and worth beyond “social construction.”

    I don’t eat animal flesh. As a food, to me it has no VALUE, no WORTH.. John is allergic to nuts, so beyond not having a positive value to him, nuts have a negative value.

    Value is intrinsic to existence. It is NOT a “social construction!”

    Tommy-boy has a larger appetite than Jane. Does he get more carrots? If you do not have value and worth, how do you trade? How do you convert time and effort into currency? It is value and worth which makes it possible.

    Of course productivity should be rewarded! You say that you are a ‘University Professor…” but I gotta tell you, there is no way I would allow my child to learn from someone who doesn’t understand that value is intrinsic to life. Without value you do not have math. Without math, no civilization.

    Now the ugly truth…

    One person DOES have more value than another. Joe, the lazy, good for nothing (yes, a ‘value’ judgement) is not worth his ‘needs.’

    If you don’t even understand that value is an innate reflection of functionality, existence, and preference (to name a few subjects in which it plays a role) than you need to dig a ditch next to Joe. Frank can take over your cushy job. Since you believe that manual labor is the same as sitting at a desk all day, you won’t mind.

    I am sorry that I rambled through this, but I really have no idea where to begin. I really do normally enjoy such discussions but, the more I write, the more upset I become.

    It’s very tough to stomach that which would cater to the lowest denominator.

    To explain this correctly, you would need to understand the effort it takes to produce. You would need to understand the basics of human nature. You would need to understand currency and the representative role it plays in exchanging effort and production.

    if you really think value is just a social construct, than this discussion is not worth the time it would take to write a detailed explanation. You could learn the lesson in 2 days by digging ditches (especially along side of Joe.)

    Co-Ops can and do work in the real world. However, the concepts found in the “famous socialist formula” are ideologies that do not translate into practicality.

    Capitalism is not necessarily evil. It is quite complicated, but we have terms that define ‘bad’ Capitalism. Terms like ‘unfettered,’ and ‘crony’ help us to distinguish a form of Capitalism that goes beyond profit and exchange.

    To really make this discussion fruitful, we would need to destroy the economic terms at our disposal. Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, are too vague. There is no reason that they should continue to define the future.

    There is nothing wrong with me wanting to work longer in a larger garden than someone else. It would allow me to produce more and trade for profit beyond my ‘needs.’ Are you going to want to outlaw that too?

  • Anonymous

    Hello Jon, you are right, English is my third language, and “keep” didn’t apply to your post (you hadn’t participated yet). What I meant is something like “what you suggest is still within” a capitalist framework. I apologize if that offended you.

    As for the rest of your message, as I went on reading, I went on seeing how much we come from different perspectives and how much you have misunderstood me, or how poorly I have expressed myself. You may curse me 😉 — I don’t care much. In fact, the reaction is typical from people who demonize “intellectuals” as if they didn’t work enough and their life was “cushier”. In some regards it is easier than other people’s lives, in others it’s the same or worse. But, still, you say that without knowing whether I have dug ditches or not before being a teacher. Well, I haven’t, but I know of people who have done very hard work before or during their university studies to become professors o what-have-you.

    Now, I see we’re using “value” (the value of one’s work) in different senses. You give me all sorts of examples of situations that happen in a mode of production that, precisely, consider that some types of work have more value than others. Value is the property of exchangeability of something for something else. In potlical economy, value is the worth (usually, in monetary terms) of specific work (digging ditches, or teaching) in the labor market. I by no means am a political economist, so please correct me if I am wrong. The perversion of the capitalist market is, precisely, that it establishes value in terms of time only, not in terms of physical or mental effort. No, it is not fair that anyone has to work 8 hours digging ditches and bleeding. In fact, their hourly wage should be higher than that of a clerk, for example, so that the ditch-digger would only need to do it for, say, 3 hours a day instead of 8. But let me give you a better solution: (1) the ditch-digger, the clerk and the professor get paid very low salaries each, as low as possible; (2) all of them work just enough to a service to be provided; (3) none of them have to feel or be condemned to do that work for the rest of their lives just because there is not anything else; (4) all of these types of specific work are mechanized as much as possible as to make work as unpleasant and as humanized as possible; (5) the collective(s) (town, county, state, other forms of organization), that is, the community, provide for as many free resources as possible for everyone: health, education, culture, transportation, etc. etc., so that salaries are not a source of social difference; (6) benefits from companies, etc., are collective; the basic mode of production is cooperative, collectivized, soclalist, however you’d like to name it.

    Let’s start from there, and we would see how would happen with all those elements of “human nature”: the evil smoker who misses many minutes of work deliberately (I am a smoker and I can tell you that I don’t take a break in the middle of a class session to enjoy a cig); the “selfish”, lazy worker, etc. etc. I bet that the role of “competition” among humans would be reduced and turned into other, non-material parameters such as “prestige” (different personalities exist) which would have a very different impact (hopefully none) on material inequalities, which are, to me, the main issue to tackle first.

    So, sorry to disagree, but yes, capitalism as a system is inherently “evil” (negative) for human equality. It is based on the accumulation of wealth and, thus, on difference. It is based on all sorts of hierarchies, and it has a profound invested interest in naturalizing hierarchies, making them “inevitable”, as a part of “human nature”. My experience tells me that human “nature”, whatever that is, is in the mind, and that by “nature” the human mind does not want domination, inequalities, or hierarchies. The amphibian renmant of our mind might want them, but reason doesn’t.

    Finally, please don’t displace the point of the dialogue by making me outlaw anything. I am not a legislator or politician, nor do I want to be one. I don’t believe in “outlawing”, but in self-organization. Obviously, as of now unfortunately the social need exists to outlaw many things: physical violence, murder, guns, sex crimes, genocide, massive theft from corporations, financial corruption, etc. etc. But I bet that if we started by outlawing the systemic theft that capitalism is (the appropriation of one’s work and life, the domination by imposing brutal working conditions), as well as other forms of slavery, many of the actions and behaviors that are now outlawed would start to diminish and would eventually be minimal (for example, it is a fact that economic crime increases in periods of “crisis”).


  • JonThomas

    I recognize that sometimes it’s difficult to converse with my off-the-cuff style, so I’ll try to reign myself in and better focus my words and points into just a few of the basic subjects we are discussing..

    It’s easy to misunderstand when not only is native language the barrier, but also when the medium is the written word. The problem is compounded when the available descriptive terms are inadequate for the discussion.

    For one example, I did not want to curse you because you are, or see yourself as an intellectual (I can’t be sure, as profession does not guarantee intellect, as I expect you see everyday in the University setting.)

    I wanted to curse you because the ‘formula’ you expressed in your original comment turns men into slaves to someone else’s — everyone else’s — needs.

    If I choose to help someone, it is not because a formula says that my ability is in service to their needs! When I choose to help someone, it is because I have engaged my brain AND my feelings to determine if there is a duty based on love or fellow feeling — along with a value judgement about whether or not they deserve (or are worth) my help!

    If it’s as a job, the only reason I would choose (and have chosen) to dig ditches is because that was the available work and I was extremely, literally hungry.

    Anyone who sits in a, warm in the winter, and cool in the summer environment and spouts a formula about another person’s duty, interest in, or commitment to the ‘project,’ while turning human motivation into compulsion, is really asking to be cursed at! lol.

    Seriously, the ideological terminology that encompasses thoughts such as Capitalism and Socialism, are NOT applicable to the real world… It’s time to go further.

    For example…Other people may argue, but it seems both you and I would agree that Capitalism, AS IT IS PRACTICED TODAY IN THE U.S., is not working for the majority of citizens.

    I would add; that by definition alone, Capitalism — an economic system in which capital assets are privately owned and goods and services are produced for profit in a market economy — is not the problem.

    My decision to work, or to not work, for my own, or for the benefit of whomever I choose, is just that…MY CHOICE.

    If I desire to grow more carrots than I can use, so that I can trade them to get a good quality cloth for clothing, is solely my decision.

    My profit, from my work, is my private affair.

    If, and when, I choose to exchange my goods for currency I can be taxed (unless of course a government wants me to pay such taxes in chicken eggs.)

    Such an undertaking is my enterprise, and the market is made up of my contacts in the business community.

    To restrict, or even just to ask, me to not make such decisions is not within anyone’s rights.

    As far as your working theme, that you stated, within your definition of Capitalism…”the appropriation of one’s work and life, the domination by imposing brutal working conditions…; ” no one is forcing people to work at any particular job (at least not legally.) Capitalism, as a method of transforming ideas, resources, and effort, into a profitable commodity is not the problem.

    The problem is with the parties involved in such ‘appropriations’ and ‘brutal working conditions,’ and with ridiculous intellectual assertions of Capitalism that would imply an invisible hand.

    An invisible hand would negate the principle of ‘Personal Responsibility’ and is therefore an illegitimate concept.

    I have my own views on how such inappropriate conduct can be corrected, but in practical terms, I think there are a few changes that need to be affected:

    First, we as a society need to strengthen our efforts toward empowering workers, teaching self-respect, and giving people a sense of dignity! No worker should want to work for someone who does not pay a living wage.

    As long as national borders continue to exist, there will always be people willing to lower their standards, but legal effort needs to be directed towards the businessmen who would employ such de facto slavery. These immigrant workers also need the dignity to understand their own value.

    Secondly, when Capitalism reaches the point it has today, and begins to view politicians as a resource to be invested in, there is a problem.

    This too, while an outgrowth of the type of Capitalism practiced today, is not a direct result of profit making enterprise.

    Government should be much better insulated from business interests. Corruption of this nature will always be a problem, in whatever economic system is in play, as long as governing people remains necessary.

    The hardest step that needs to be made is the dissolution of the entire concept of corporations. Privately owned and operated business is fine, as is investment. What needs to be enforced is investor responsibility.

    If a person is an investor in a business which causes damage or death, for example, they – along with the owners/operators, depending on individual culpability – should also be held proportionately accountable.

    These are the first steps to bring, what we see as and today call, Capitalism into a system which serves society for the benefit of all it’s members. Actually what we now have in practice is really not Capitalism…but rather – Corporatism, UN-fettered Capitalism, and Crony Capitalism.

    Concepts that are currently grouped under the labels of Socialism, Communism, Tribalism, et al, should not be so intellectually delineated. An economic system employed in the real world cannot, nor should not be confined by conceptual and ideological labels.

    Sometimes people in my neighborhood get together to accomplish mutually beneficial, co-operative tasks. The task is one that is not done for an exchangeable-profit motive. Conceptual labels aside, does that mean we should be labeled, or that task be considered communist? Of course not. That is because strict adherence to outdated, ideological labels is counter productive and becomes a tool of people who would enslave men’s efforts under the rule of so-called intellectual, deceptive, delusions.

    Again, I do have my own ideas on how to make a better system, but these ideas will suffice for now.

    Thanks, good discussion.


  • Anonymous

    Jon, thank you for your reply, but we are not going to understand each other or agree. I’m sorry I’ll have to be brief, because I materially don’t have time. You see?, it’s Sunday, 10 pm here, and I still have to continue preparing classes and class materials for tomorrow, probably until about 2 am, and it’s not as if I have wasted all my time during the week. You see? ;-), it’s the nature of my cushy job, teaching. And I can assure some teachers work many more hours than I do.

    I think you come from an individualist perspective. You think that “needs”, in the expression “To each person, according to their needs”, referes to egotistical whims. I understand it as the social needs to be a human being with dignity. There is no “slavery” (nor charity) in the fact that the community (not “you” or “me”) provide for those needs. And that’s what even capitalism does to a certain degree (disabled people get access to places by law; money has to be spent in building those accesses; textbooks in the US are free; etc.). So, there’s no logical reason not to extend the provision of those needs to all aspects of human life. No, having a 2,000-acre state is not a need.

    But, generally, and importantly, in my experience capitalism has not offered the ideal world that you depict, as if there could be “bad” capitalism and “good” capitalism. You call it “corporatism”, as some authors do, not “real” capitalism. But we also saw corporatism in the 1920’s (Fascism been its political expression in Europe), then a return to industrial capitalism, now financial capitalism… These are cycles related to how profit can be accumulated in the quickest and most advantegous way for the owners of Big capital. Perhaps what you depict is, perhaps, an Arcadia of small owners. But capitalism cannot prevent the accumulation of wealth of “small” owners into bigger and bigger corporations, because it conflates “freedom” with ‘the freedom to hire/buy your labor at a price that is only going to be lower than its real value, or else I would not have profit’. So, the “freedom” to work or not, or to accept a job or not (unemployment rates in the US are unreal; many supposed employments are sub-employments in slavery conditions), is a fiction.

    Final point: there’s nothing outdated in words like communism or socialism. They were never realized as projects, and the possibility that capitalism could turn into socialism “naturally” through social-liberalism and social-democracy (Scandinavian countries) is also a fiction. You need a different political framework and legislation to make it possible. The only evidence is that in centuries capitalism has not worked (for equality). Ot it has worked, of course (for inequality), as it was and is an ideology and model supported and promoted by the owners of capital (no wonder!). There’s no “invisible” hand in capitalism: hands of capitalists are very visible and belong, for example, to people listed in Forbes 100, whose obscene fortunes should make any well-intentioned supporter of the so-called “free market” not only vomit but also realize that something must be wrong in the concept of “free” when not everyone is “free” to reach those obscene heights of fortune regardless of how intensely, ethically, responsibly and intelligently they work for their entire lives.

  • JonThomas

    I fear you are correct, not only is there a language barrier, the limitations of the written word, the impracticality of theory vs. real world application, but also since it was 10 pm where you are (Europe I suppose,) it appears there is also a cultural divide (and please don’t say you are from Greece, Portugal, or Spain, even Italy…no one will ever take an economic word you say seriously)

    I do admit that I speak from an ‘individualist’ perspective, I have no choice, I’m an individual. That, by definition, denotes my perspective.

    Any perspective that would take the ‘community’ into account must be done with the consent of said community. I, as an individual, could offer a proposal, but I have no right to impose.

    If you have ANY understanding of the political culture in the U.S., then I’m sure that you are aware that while you are discussing Socialistic ‘formulas,’ here the most vocal are talking about creating their own states where right wing values would have no left-thinking opposition.

    They are wanting to de-fund public libraries.

    Only half the population here votes. There is little VALUE placed on public education, and even less on encouraging political awareness.

    The right wing, which controls congress and thus the budget, at this time is pushing for a complete Government shut down (except for the military of course.)

    The Volkswagon Corporation is actually ASKING for a union in it’s factory here in my State, but the State Government is fighting against their efforts.

    For the record, textbooks here are definitely NOT free, and the process of deciding what goes into them is a convoluted and ideologically corrupt process.

    As far as handicapped access, the community does not provide such access, the builder must supply it, and it’s paid for by the consumer. If it’s a public building, then it’s subsidized by the taxpayer.

    I don’t believe I have depicted any such ideal world based on Capitalism. I am not a Capitalist.

    I personally believe in following principles.

    I agree with your statement that neither ‘Socialism, nor Communism were never realized as projects.’ However, keep in mind that Capitalism has also never been seen in it’s pure form.

    I submit, as I have continued to, that it is impossible to take over-reaching theories and apply it to real world applications.

    Human nature does not allow for strict interpretations!

    The best we can hope for is to offer the most effective aspects of any system and put them to work.

    In your comment you make reference to the Scandinavian Nations as failing to ‘naturally turn Capitalism into Socialism’ and I’m wondering if that was ever anyone’s goal. I honestly do not know.

    The battles we are fighting here are so removed from Socialism, that the right wing thinks President Obama is a Socialist because he wants to build bridges… Not metaphorical bridges (those too,) but real bridges.

    I guess it’s my fault. I did make the assumption that since this was an article about the U.S. economy, I was speaking to someone who was versed in the subject.

    I do believe that there are aspects of a Socialized Economy that would benefit the U.S., but to suggest that the ‘Socialist Formula’ is in any way applicable here is absolutely ridiculous.

    As I said, I believe in principles. The so-called ‘Socialist Formula” goes against the principle of freewill. The only way to bring it in line with freewill, would be to show definitely where working for the good of the community is in the individual’s best interest.

    In some cases, it would be proper to work toward the betterment of all, but in other cases it is not. For example…does the nation in which you reside have a large armed forces budget? If so, does it even come close to that of the U.S.?

    Here, most Americans feel it in the Nation’s best interest to maintain, AND USE a large military. That takes tax dollars…A LOT OF TAX DOLLARS! If the U.S. pulled out of all it’s treaties with Europe, you over there may have to actually start building a larger armed forces and then redistribute your tax dollars to take away from many of your social programs.

    The real world is full of forces that threaten every freedom imaginable, including basic freedom of choice.Even the freedom to live. The large army paid for under the Capitalist System (for good, or for bad) has, and continues to allow the European Nations the freedom to invest in socialized programs.

    Most of your Social programs were allowed to flourish while the U.S. was engaged in an arms race with the U.S.S.R.

    Would you have had the Capitalists bow to the Soviet forces? Those Oligarchs claimed to be socialists.

    It will be a long time before ANY Socialized Programs gain a foothold here in an appreciable measure. The U.S., as a nation, is not remotely close to being ready to accept that even basic healthcare should be a community effort.

    I will describe what I think it’s going to take…If any positive aspects of Socialist thinking are to take place, the Capitalist Economy, as it is practiced today, needs to be allowed to fail. It must not be bailed out. Only then will this citizens of this nation begin to accept that what they are taught is not correct.

    Only then will they be ready to toss out what is not working and begin to make changes toward accepting what can.

  • Anonymous

    Jon, I think I’m going to leave it here. You assume I know nothing about the US, you discredit that my thoughts may be even considered if I am from one of the “PIGS” countries (yes, I am), you say that suggesting an ideal of equality (for any part of the world) is “ridiculous”, and your tone is in general very patronizing. Yes, I lived in the US for 9 years. Yes, I know the culture. Yes, I more or less follow what’s going on there.

    Yes, Social-Democrats (Krautsky) believed that socialism could be reached through democratic evolution of capitalism. All socialist parties in Europe after WWII started abandoning Marxism toward social-liberalism with that fantasmagoric goal (or excuse) in mind.

    No, “From each person, according to their capacity; to each, according to their needs” does not go against “freewill”, unless you conceive of your neighbors as your adversaries, competing for “your” resources. It’s the Frontier mentality. I’ve seen it in the US. I’ve lived there. It’s the same that led to “entepreneurs” rise on the wave of businesses, for example, and then let them crash miserably leaving their 200 employees in the streets. The “free market” and “free will” allowed for that.

    But, no, I am not for “imposing” anything. To me, socialism, communism, and anarchism are synonymous as ideologies. I am for consensus-building, permanent ideological change (you may call it “permanent revolution”), for economic democracy as well. Having the privilege to live, and to live well, on the basis of other people’s work is not democracy. It’s abhorrent to think that anyone “owns” natural productive resources: we, humankind, use them.

    I am no pubescent ignorant whom you need to show the truth. Of course now (Sept. 16, 2013) none of my (or yours, who knows) ideals of equality can be realized, in the US or in Bolivia. But I was not talking in those terms, but in terms that do not lose the perspective of those ideals. And you haven’t given a single argument why those ideals are outdated. Neither have you given a single argument why capitalism (that is, the dominant mode of production characterized by the accumulation of wealth and capital, the privilege to buy the labor force and impose the price, the appropriation of added-value, and the political organization of the State as a guarantee of those privileges) could magically turn into something good. You said there is “evil” capitalism, but that there may be “good” capitalism, though now you say the only think I agree with: that the current order must fail for people to realize that it was unthinkably dangerous and perverse. But what you want to erect afterwards sounds quite “free market” again to me! 😉 . And you even give the absurd argument that it is your tax money (which supports the US army) which makes it possible for countries in Europe to have (some, timid, totally insufficient) social policies, because, otherwise, those European countries would “need” to build their own armies. And the US was very helpful giving poor Europe money (the Marshall plan) and then keeping the Russians abay, right? The reasoning is not bad except (1) the “social” programs some of those countries have are laughable, and (b) we unfortunately also have armies, and weapons that kill (mostly Arabs and insubordinate leaders in weird countries).

    I don’t get where you ideologically come from, though I think I do: hardships in your life have made you tough, impermeable to silly ideals: you do know what “real” work is (it is what should move the world, after all, not pleasure or enjoyment), and you believe in the individual above all because you are an individual. It is that “because” that I don’t understand: no, please, no “social” impositions! Ayn Rand? Tea Party? Anyway, this commie is not very interested in your explanation. You may be an OK guy, but your tone throws me off.

    Take care.

  • JonThomas

    It’s ok Celso, I won’t defend myself and we can leave it there…

    I would like to say one thing…there is a reason that you “don’t get where [ I ] ideologically come from”… it’s simple, I haven’t told you.

    I wasn’t defending my own ideology, I was discussing ideas. I gave examples from my life only to make my point.

    You did say you live in one of the highest debt nations in Europe, but I didn’t have to make that ‘assumption,’ I did my research and made the inference from your words and beliefs.

    One last word…there is a reason that Socialist policies have put those particular nations deep, deep in debt…it stems from University professors (and others) who try to divorce VALUE from existence. It cannot be done.

    It can’t honestly be done ideologically, and it can’t be done in the real world.

    While community is important, so is the individuals who make up a community. Capitalism often leans too heavily to one side, and Socialism and Communism often leans too heavy toward the other.

    This is not directly to you, but rather a statement of how to move forward from here…Those economic terms (Capitalism, Socialism, et al) need to be broken down into their individual parts.

    For example…

    From capitalism… There is nothing wrong with benefiting from the production of your own work (profit.) There is a simple principle — If a man does not work, neither shall he eat.

    In other words, life takes effort. A person free from physical limitations, MUST at least reach up and take the fruit from the tree. He MUST open his mouth and bite down on said fruit. He must get himself to the bathroom (or the hole in the ground to compost) his waste, and he must wipe himself.

    If he will not do these things for himself (please insert ‘herself’ also) then he has not even the sense needed to live.

    No one else has the right to take that fruit from the hand of the one who plucked it.

    On the other end of the same spectrum, no man has the un-chosen obligation to live as a slave. Anytime a situation arises where men are asked to live as slaves in order to gain their right to eat and live, then the slavers have gone too far and have over-reached their ‘rights.’ It is evidenced by a reflection. They could be the slave. They are, in principle, taking the fruit from the hand that plucked it. The work of others must be compensated in some manner.

    Any legitimate economic system must balance these 2 extremes.

    From Socialism and Communism…. For the human race to survive, the individual must live with a community. Whether that community be as small as his own family to produce offspring, or as large as a modern city, the individual must recognize the reflective rights of every other individual within the community and work with them toward the common good.

    Socialized programs which serve the members of the community, as long as they serve the potential benefit for all the members of that community, are compromises which are necessary.

    Even if it’s just a small neighborhood coming together to build a road. If they wish to enjoy the benefits, all members of the community should participate.

    These are segmented examples of Ideological Economic theories broken down and combined. Any time a theory wants to go against a principle, as every theory does, then the individuals must come together and find a practical solution.

    That is why I assert that the traditional economic theories are outdated. They do not in the real world, and do nothing except foster arguments like the one you and I have had.

    Such debates may be interesting at times, but unless the end result is to admit that each theory has acceptable segments, and thus the mix and match of real world applications, they really end in unworkable solutions.

    Capitalism collapses into feudalism, and Socialism collapses into unpaid debt and de-valued individual effort.

    Thank you for the discussion and the opportunity to bloviate (and the opportunity to use the word ‘bloviate’ lol.)

  • Anonymous

    I deleted all my messages because I don’t know enough about the issue.

  • JonThomas

    Ok, I’ll leave mine up. Though, surely a laborer doesn’t have as much to say against a University Professor.

    I did read where Portugal does lag behind the rest of Europe in education. I hope that doesn’t play a role.

  • Anonymous

    You do have a problem: resentment. But it was not professors from PIGS countries that caused your unemployment.

    Apart from that, you are a bigot. That is, a Patriot.

    Patriotism + class resentment was the breeding ground for Fascism.

  • moderator

    Hey Jon and Celso,

    I think you have both made your points quite clearly. Let’s move along.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • moderator

    Hi Celso and Jon

    I think you have both made your points quite clearly. Let’s move along and please try to avoid personal attacks in the future.


    Sean @ Moyers

  • JonThomas

    Lol…I’ll chalk your anger at me up to the language barrier.

    After you mentioned that you didn’t live in the U.S. (actually you gave the time where you were, and that denoted the time zone difference,) I then researched your posts on Disqus.

    I never heard of PIGS countries until you mentioned it in your comments. I looked it up and found that Portugal lags way behind the rest of Europe in education….seems that’s common knowledge.

    You claim in your comments to be a University Professor (true, you didn’t say what subject,) but you also said that ‘Value’ is …(hmmm, how did you phrase it? You conveniently deleted your comments…wait, it’s a good thing I quoted you…)

    Yeah, you said ‘Value’ is a “Social Construction.”

    The entire Universe is based on value (even the word ‘Uni-verse’ is a value statement,) and you, a supposed University (another value statement) Professor (even another value statement…professor – one who puts forth, or adds to/claims…knowledge,) in order to defend your Socialist formula (shame on me, I failed to quote it…) how did it go? “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need…” Yeah, that one…In order to defend that you claimed that value is a ‘Social Construct.’

    That is what I got upset with. I don’t care if you are from Princeton, New Jersey, Back Water, Arkansas, Beijing China, or anywhere in between…a Professor who asserts that value is something that man has constructed is absolutely WORTHLESS.

    Here’s a small example…

    A person who is alive is represented by the #…1

    A person who is dead is represented by the # (or expression, depending on your definition)…0

    Anything that exists can be expressed with values.

    Some have positive values, some have negative values. Some are basically neutral.

    If I have 10 carrots and someone else has 2 cabbages, and we trade, then those are the subjective values that, at that time, we each have placed on those items. Even though it is a subjective value, It is not a ‘Social Construct.’

    If I had 10 carrots and the other person had a rock, and my goal was to get a variety of nutrition, then the rock has no value.

    If I thought I could trade the rock for something else, then perhaps I will assign it value.

    Either way, even though it can at times be subjective, value itself is intrinsic and measurable. The nutrition value of cabbage is broken down into it’s component parts. It’s an EXACT, MEASURABLE conversion of a specific amount (value) of energy from the sun, combined with the values of water, soil and photosynthesis…all measurable values.

    If you are a person who does not want to work, then fine, that’s your choice, but I am under no obligation to feed you the cabbage, or the carrots. Why? Because you do not understand the essence of life. The essence of life is value.

    You want to live? Then you must value life, and that which it takes to earn life!

    This principle is just about at the most basic foundation of life. It underlies EVERY-THING!

    The work I expend to grow and harvest food, is also a measurable value. I expended. I am now at a loss. I need to be compensated. The fruits of my labor are the compensation of my own efforts. How will you compensate me if I CHOOSE to give you food?

    ‘I have put life and death before you… you must choose life so that you and your children shall live.’

    Existence vs. non-existence. 1 ≠ 0

    If you do not want to work, or expend through re-compensation, then you have chosen non-existence. As I detailed in one of my earlier comments, a person must at least reach up and pluck the fruit.

    If, through your ‘Social Formula,’ you want to take the fruit from the hand of someone else, without compensating them in some way that they respect as value, then you are a thief.

    That is why I have a problem with your stance. You deleted your comments, and now you claim me to be a bigot?

    Well, my comments are on the board for all to see…I find you contemptible, not because of your class, but because you teach that my service to your needs is my duty.


    Call me names and deride my character all you want…I know the truth, and anyone here can read the truth…you have no right to steal existence from anyone’s efforts. You are exposed, and now you resort to defamation. Sad!

  • JonThomas

    Whoops, I didn’t see your post Sean when I started writing. Feel free to delete mine if you need to, but please also delete where he denigrates my character. Sorry about that…Ty

  • JonThomas

    Sorry Sean, I didn’t see your comments until after I posted. As I say below, feel free to delete what you see necessary. Please be mutually judicial.

  • Anonymous

    I never used “value” to refer to the worth of a person’s life or dignity. All human beings are equal in worth. I always used “value” from the economic point of view: the property of a commodity to be exchanged for a number of units of another commodity: a piece of bread for a number of coins representing money, money for milk, or… the time and effort (work) used by someone to produce that commodity for a given amount of money. Since labor is also a commodity (it is bought and sold), its value is not absolute, but a “social construct(ion)” in the sense that it depends on what it seems as the necessary amount of labor to produce that commodity: “socially necessary labor” to produce something, Marx said (more or less). That’s why in capitalist societies the hour of work digging ditches is low (even though ditches digged for builiding etc. are absolutely necessary for daily life) while an hour of a lecture is paid very high: the value of each type of work is a “social construct”. That’s the nature of the “labor market”, which consists of the space and circuit where people sell their work and are systematically underpaid, as the “necessity” of this work is mediated by the ideology that some jobs are “less important”, because “many people could do that job”, because that job is “unqualified”, etc. etc. That’s precisely what happens, for example, with schoolteachers or ditch-diggers: they are thought of as the lowest in the prestige scale. In a truely socialist economy, the value of one’s work is related to his/her dignity as an equal human being, not to the nature of their work.

    Research the notion of “value”, if you wish. That’s what I was talking about.

    But I deleted my comments because I honestly don’t know enough about the issue. Whether you believe this or not, that’s the truth. I was stating probably inaccurate things. Even this present comment about “value” is not accurate. I am not a political economist.

    Now, nevertheless, your reference to “low standards” in Portugal education which would justify why I don’t know enough is that of a bigot, nevertheless. And that of someone who doesn’t understand that education standards (and, therefore, their results) are imposed by educational policies about which the average citizen has very little to say. All that is cooked high up by elites who don’t want people to achieve a good education, because it would make them critical. Check, if you wish, the video “The Finland phenomenon” in YouTube: highest education level in the world with a very different educational system from mine or yours.

    I don’t even know if you are a US citizen or what, and I don’t care. If you belief in your own nation above the humankind, that’s your choice. You simply called my opinions “ridiculous”, and I don’t like your tone. Now you call me “worthless”. Big deal. You misunderstood what I meant by “value” and by “needs” (you misunderstand that we’re using the terms in diferent senses), but you prefer to stick to your misunderstanding in order to win an argument. Fine.

  • JonThomas

    I think you make some good points, and some further debatable points, but since the moderator has asked us to stop, I’ll let you have the last word. Although I do hope that there is an opportunity in the future to expound on the difference between; the value of ‘life-as-being-equal;’ and the value of what a person chooses to do with that life at any given moment.

    If the mod sets some rules, it would be a good debate to continue. However, It is someone else’s space, so I have to respect the site owner’s wishes. That is something I value lol.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Sean, I just read this after having posted another one. I honestly don’t think I called anybody names. To me, an important criticism I can make to anyone (and I have done it) is to say that they defend capitalism and the “free” market, but that’s not an insult or an attack: it’s a description of their (to me, unfathomable) position, given the horror that capitalism has produced.

    The other point where you might have thought that I was attacking is the expression “Patriotism + class resentment was the breeding ground for Fascism”. But that is, I believe, a historical fact. Working classes who felt most hardly the serious “crises” in Europe (such as the present one) were the popular support for Fascism and Nazism (apart, of course, of a powerful repressive and ideological apparatus, like today). Simply, it is dangerous. I see it daily in my country: attacks against supposedly “privileged” public servants or intellectuals who “do nothing” but talk, attacks against the entire political class as if all politicians were the same… Pure populism disguised under a type of grass-root libertarianism: the breeding ground for the most reactionary Right.

    But I take a note of your comment, don’t worry.

    PS: Oh, sorry, the expression “a bigot”. I take it back and change it: “a Patriot”.

  • Gary Burch

    did he not add how bad nafta was in the video?
    he knows it sucked or he wouldn’t have allowed it in the video.

    he clinton and both parties are complicit in our system moving to the rich….if he is having a come to jesus moment then let him…because outside of your dislike of reich (which is valid) is the video faulty?

    if no then let him educate and we remind him he was at fault.

  • cam

    wow there’s wisdom in vic, GJ!

  • cam

    Every thing you have said is true one note of interest though, unions and corporations are entity’s, there not inherently good or evil but the one’s running them can be either.

  • Tom Finn

    The main problem is over population caused by irresponsible reproduction. This creates an oversupply of workers which drives wages down. It’s simple economics. People respond to incentives.