December 2011/January 2012 Issue - Chicano Channel Magazine
“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone”, as stated by John Maynard Keynes, an English economist whose theories are subscribed to by many governments, seems to be the best way to describe the conflict on Wall Street. The adage, “don’t hate the players, hate the game”, we think may apply to the “Occupy” protests. The Capitalist System of the USA is what we have subscribed to since the beginning of the Country. Wars have been fought in defense of Capitalism, although they were coined as wars in Defense of Democracy. An American Writer and Poet, Fran Lebowitz, is quoted with the following: “In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.” Basically what has happened historically is that the USA has used its’ military power to ensure the survival of Capitalism around the World, primarily so that our own Capitalists would have multiple markets from which to make more money. Iraq may be an example of just such a War, in that many people believe it was initiated against someone who had nothing to do with the Invasion of New York, someone that was not liked and would not be defended and to create Capitalist opportunities for Halliburton and others.
Socialism is probably not the answer either. Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Most Americans, we believe, would prefer the unequal sharing of blessings than the equal sharing of misery. The problem though is that the inequality has been widening since its’ inception and affecting more than just the accumulation of things, while at the same time the ladder to the top that Capitalism can create, has been pulled up and harder to reach. This has made the lesser of blessings basically be miserable to the large number of people in that category. Part of the reason the ladder gets pulled up is because over time and more and more people vying to reach that ladder, only the ones with the best educations and “connections” are making it. These educations, as the gap between successful Capitalists and those who have dreamed the dream but not made it, are more and more being attained by only the children of those who can afford it, especially now that GOP policies concerning cutting budgets target education.
The Occupy protests now going on are described by many pundits as not having specific enough demands or a centralized voice. That is probably because these protests and the protesters themselves don’t have complaints about one thing, but instead complaints about many things, in some cases very complicated things, that are the result of Capitalism gone amuck and unchecked for a long time. You cannot hate or blame the Players on Wall Street for wanting to make more and more money, that is human nature especially in a Capitalist society. It is also natural that when one entity makes money, another entity, usually the consumer, is paying for it. The Wall Street Players, which includes the big banks of course, are taking what most Americans have always embraced, Capitalism, to new and higher levels of creating streams of income for themselves. It is human nature that once you’re accustomed to living a certain lifestyle, making a certain amount and having many things, you will not easily give that up and moreover will probably look to constantly accumulate more and more. It is difficult to see how the Occupy Protests will be successful because the Players may change, and the rules tweaked somewhat, but the game itself will not be changed. It was well known a very long time ago by the great minds that first wrote about Capitalism and its effects, that it naturally created a ruling and ruled class, whose disparities would naturally grow. That widening schism and thus frustration is playing out now with the Occupy Protests and was predicted along with a potential solution by Pete Holiday, who wrote, “Capitalism needs to function like a game of tug-of-war. Two opposing sides need to continually struggle for dominance, but at no time can either side be permitted to walk away with the rope.”