- Capitalism and Alternatives -

A problem with your thinking

Posted by: Stoller on November 15, 1999 at 11:41:34:

In Reply to: companies will make what governments buy. posted by DonS on November 12, 1999 at 11:42:29:

Don: The difference is substantial. The buisness down the street isn't going to have some sturmtruppen break in my door. The government might. I don't have to buy what the buisness sells or give them money if I don't want their product. Not so with the government.

Actually, I should have attacked this line of thinking a bit more vigorously in my post above.

You see things from the perspective of the CONSUMER---' I don't have to buy what the buisness sells or give them money if I don't want their product'---but you disregard the perspective of those who must SELL their labor-power.

While you point to the CONSPICUOUS control of government---'sturmtruppen' and all---you evade the effects of COVERT control, i.e. the laborer's 'desire' to sell his / her labor-power to BUSINESS because the capitalist class 'just happens' to own all the means of production.

The issue isn't only the monopoly on force; it's also the monopoly on the means of production.

You may say anyone can access the means of production, start their own business, etc. but the facts won't be on your side.

The average American income is only $17,746 annually.(1)

The average American's savings is zip.(2)

Indeed, total household debt is 98% of total disposable annual income.(3)

That's not real promising for budding business-people.

But then again, if EVERYONE is a boss, who will be the EMPLOYEE(S)?


1. Statistical Abstract of the UNited States 1998, table 740, p. 469.
2. New York Times, 18 January 1999, sec. A. p. 17.
3. Business Week, 1 November 1999, p. 40.

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