Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Capitalism: A Hate Story

By Daniel Greenfield

In Year 1 of Obama, two fat cats named Michael Moore and Harvey Weinstein released a movie. Their magnum opus was "Capitalism: A Love Story". The unsubtly sarcastic point after the colon was that capitalism was an unmitigated bag of evil. And to reaffirm the faith of capitalism-haters in the evils of capitalism, here was a movie put out by a bunch of corporations owned by millionaires.

The traditional image of the anti-capitalist as a ragamuffin who dies of consumption in his garret has always been at odds with the real image of the anti-capitalist as a rich man or the son of a rich man. When Obama launched his big push for higher taxes, he enlisted as his ally none other than the richest man in the country. And when Occupy Wall Street's demographics were broken down, the courageous opponents of capitalism turned out to be the sons and daughters of the upper class.

This sort of thing isn't a surprise, it's history. Lenin's father was a nobleman. Cuba's dictator attended Castro's wedding. The man of the people is rather often stuck at the bottom of the top of the pole. The people who make revolutions are not the dispossessed, but those who are close enough to see what power really looks like, but have no hope of wielding absolute power unless they enlist the mob. They are close enough to see the throne, but not close enough to non-violently sit down in it.

That's not even the case in America. Here we instead have the bizarre spectacle of Nicholas II and Batista calling for a revolution against the petite bourgeoisie. It's a class war being waged by billionaires against people earning six figures a year. It's millionaires making movies for profit using workers to denounce the practice of making things for profit using workers.

All of this is done in the name of democracy. Just look at the Democracy Alliance, an alliance of left-wing billionaires spending huge amounts of money to win elections. What could be more democratic than that except actually paying individuals for their vote. But just as there are bad capitalist movies and good capitalist anti-capitalist movies, there are bad billionaires who use their fortunes to influence the political process and good billionaires who use their fortunes to etc...

The Koch Brothers are bad. George Soros is good. Sheldon Adelson is bad. The Sandlers are good. The good billionaires on this list have arguably done far more damage to the little people and to the political process, but good money and bad money have nothing to do with real world consequences. Good billionaires give money to the left. Bad billionaires give money to the right or just swim in giant piles of it every evening before taking a cruise on their solid gold yachts.

We are told incessantly that income inequality is a serious issue by organizations receiving millions from the holders of billions to say that. But income inequality is only a serious issue in some sectors. It's fashionable to talk about the outrageous compensation packages for CEOs in for-profit companies, but not the outrageous compensation packages for CEOs in non-profit companies.

The president of a snack food companies who uses corporate profits to cover a huge salary is an evil pig, but the president of a charity who pulls in a huge salary using donations and government grants is a humanitarian. Again, the non-profit president is arguably a worse human being than the for-profit president, but it's not about the consequences or the moral weight of the act.

Good evil CEOs work at non-profits and do nothing while chewing up public money that is taken by force from the people. Bad evil CEOs oversee the production of productions that people voluntarily buy.

Similarly the university presidents of liberal arts colleges who saddle their students with six-figure debts in exchange for useless degrees are advancing the cause of knowledge, no matter how many dirty deals they make with financial institutions. But the presidents of for-profit schools that hand out useless degrees in exchange for five-figure debts are a blight on the educational landscape. It's not just anybody who can hand out useless degrees in exchange for debt. You have to know some Latin too.

Read the rest here.

No comments:

Post a Comment