CAPITALISM’S COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES by Perry Mann

CAPITALISM’S COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES

I am prompted to write this in reply to a piece written by a Republican politician that has in it these words: “No reasonable person would consider trading the economic freedom and prosperity of free-market capitalism for the additional government regulations and the stagnant economies of a more socialistic-style system.” And this: “Let us secure a brighter future for current and future West Virginians by following the proven path to prosperity, opportunity, and hope: American capitalism.”

Without question many reasonable people would trade and have traded laissez-faire capitalism for a more socialistic style system. In fact, all the nations of Europe with few exceptions have done so. They have done so because they know intimately the history of capitalism and its dire costs and consequences.

Capitalism is a cancer on the environment and on nature, the mother of all life and the creator of the legacy that sustains and nourishes all life. If the environment goes, it all goes and all life with it, including mankind.

Capitalism is not the path to prosperity, opportunity and hope but eventually it is the primrose path to desolation, disillusionment and to ruin, once it has reduced the earth to a moonscape, filled every hollow and crevice with junk and created mountains of the  dumped residue of maniacal consumerism. There is no other end to a nation’s future but ruin if it insists on pillaging prodigally its natural wealth and nature’s legacy.

Capitalism is fueled by greed; that is, the prospect and chance of expropriating the surplus value created by labor. No man can get rich from his own labor. He must acquire the value of the labor of ten or twenty or thousands in order to become wealthy.

Capital goes where it can invest and grow on the cheapest labor, wherever the cheapest labor is. Capitalists have no nation. Wherever there is cheap labor there is their nation, particularly if it allows unfettered exploitation of its people and resources. The super wealth of this nation is the expropriated surplus value of millions of Asiatic, who slave for pennies.

It inevitably creates a wealthy class; and if it is unregulated it creates an extremely wealthy class and a very poor class, thus giving impetus to class warfare. It divides a nation and causes internal conflict, preventing a nation from achieving the goal of every nation: security for its people at home and abroad, an income adequate to provide for a family and the creation of foundations from which hope and optimism arise and national longevity is better assured. No nation can long survive with the few super rich and the many poor.

Prosperity confined to the few spawns ills. The poor become embittered and turn to crime. Some become depressed from boredom and hopelessness and turn to drugs to make the days endurable. The rich gravitate to gated communities, modern castles with a moat. And the wretchedly poor end up homeless or in slums.

Prosperity prompts the wealthy to flaunt their wealth with mansions and obscenely conspicuous consumption. It seduces them to divorce, to remarry and divorce again. It is the solvent that unglues families. It induces the women to be barren by using contraception and abortion. Wealth becomes the nemesis of a nation. It concentrates people in cities where the conditions of living and working are alien to people’s nature. Decadence succeeds wealth and urbanization as the night the day. So History attests.

Capitalism does not lead or encourage a society to a life style that is physically and mentally healthful or spiritually inspiring. On the contrary, it caters and panders to people’s animal nature, to their preference for ease and comfort, for grease, salt, sweets and sex. And with the help of hawkers who use hype and hokum, it sells to people the grossly superfluous, much that the people would be better off without and things that are deleterious to the people’s health. Thus, with an abundance of ease and comfort and excessive calories, the people grow fat and develop no end of ailments from a life style totally out of harmony with that which nature evolved them to live.

But not to worry: Capitalists concoct a pill to counter every ailment and the medical industry steps in and replaces rotted organs resulting from unhealthy living. All at a costs most people cannot afford.

Capitalism needs abundant resources to fashion into consumer goods. If there is a shortage in the home country, then a government beholden to capitalists uses its military force to find resources outside the home country; that is, the nation becomes imperialistic. It uses it economic and military might to cow weaker nations into arrangements favorable to it and if a nation resists, it invades and conquers and then exploits it. To wit: Iraq

Once capitalists have acquired more than enough surplus value to live as they have become accustomed, they must invest the excess and they have no rest until they have invested it with the expectation of a substantial return. The current sub-prime lending crisis is the result of rich entities, eager to acquire returns on their surplus, lending recklessly and predatorily with the hope of squeezing a good rate of return from the duped poor. Capitalists do not secrete their money under mattresses.

To claim that unfettered capitalism is the path to prosperity, opportunity and hope is specious and worrisomely simplistic. One making such a claim is ignorant of history; for it is the story of the rise and fall of nation after nation, in which the tale of every nation’s rise and fall is repetitive: From rocky acres, to republic, to empire and then to memories and ruins.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to Amazon.com to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (wvhighlands.org), and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation (ksff.org). I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at martinjul@aol.com or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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