- Capitalism and Alternatives -

There's only one easy target: CAPITALISM

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on December 07, 1999 at 11:07:08:

In Reply to: blaming the easy targets alone is not the answer posted by Gee on December 06, 1999 at 19:04:42:

: : How many corporations have committed fraud, violated laws, flagrantly abused the environment, etc. Who is to stop them?

: Given that you consider these laws to be the product of corporations in the first place why then do you imagine they would make a law in order to break it?

SDF: Go read Handelmann's COMRADE CRIMINAL, about syndicates in Russia. The Russian government have made dozens of laws that are only enforced against certain individuals or collectives. When private businesses approach the Russian government about these laws, their representatives are encouraged to violate such laws. Russia, of course, is the paradise of "commerce without rules".

"Justice" is often a facade anyway, a promotional message of the bourgeois state. Al Gore claims to be strongly pro-environment, but his initiative at Kyoto and his coffee-table book are toothless photo-opportunities.

: You exaggerate the extent to which corporations can buy or bribe laws. Its not as one sided as many socialists appear to think - any criticism should be about the principle behind a given law being broken, rather than about the relative size or influence of particular corporations.

SDF: Sorry, under capitalism justice is a commodity, O.J. Simpson bought some and it paid off, the cops who thrashed Rodney King bought some and it paid off, and Gee's argument is just gainsaying. Lawyers really do cost money, and the purchase of their labor-time really does benefit the class that rents them.

Politicians are a commodity too.

: If, for instance, you decide that the free movement of people and material is a good principle to stand by then you must rail against all laws restricting this - whether they be laws which purport to protect 'big business' from competition or 3rd world import tariffs and ceilings which purport to pretect fledgling and vulnerable populations.

SDF: If populations are "vulnerable," as they are when they are in debt to the tune of their annual GNPs as they are now, then the movement of their goods is not "free". Understanding this is perhaps a starting-point for understand how the nations of the South have subsidized the nations of the North to the tune of six Marshall Plans, or that nations such as Senegal could be net food exporters while at the same time being the recipients of famine relief. Hint: the South is not "freely" giving its labor-power and resources to the North in such a self-destructive way as it is doing today. And "free trade" is only going to help those who are already "free," i.e. the nations of the North, "free trade" isn't going to make anyone any "freer" if their choice is between immediate labor in a sweatshop and immediate starvation, or if the only commodity they can sell doesn't fetch them a price they can live on.

: If you think about laws in this way then you realise that you can't have your cake and eat it too

SDF: In other words, you can't sell your labor hours to the Man while eating cake, you just can't afford it.

: - and more over you realise that many interest groups are behind 'bad laws' not just the easy targets of 'big business'

SDF: Big business is not the only thing that sucks about capitalism. It's just the most important thing.

: That is the essence of my argument - that just blaming all 'big business' for everything thats wrong with the world is just another wrong itself.

SDF: Oh those big businesses! How they suffer in their pathetic role as collectors of the globe's financial profits!

: : Doesn't the internal logic of capitalism guarantee the generation of these monsters of profit whose control of governments is just "part of doing business"?

SDF: Bill, you're thinking of CAPITAL ACCUMULATION. Those that have have an incredible advantage in getting more, as they compete with those who don't have any yet. It's a tendency.

: No it doesnt - no part of 'private property' requires by logic or otherwise that it become as you describe - that it has in many cases is well worth exploring and criticising, but just saying 'its inevitable' is to suggest some universal law of nature is in operation.

SDF: That's why it's best to discuss capital accumulation as a tendency.

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