THERE ARE SOME VERY FINE COMPANIES IN THE U.S.—WHICH TREAT THEIR WORKFORCE WELL
BUT THE BEHAVIOR OF ALL TOO MANY TOWARDS THEIR WORKERS IS REPREHENSIBLE.
OVER THE LONGER TERM, IT WILL PROVE TO BE BAD BUSINESS
There isn’t just one form of capitalism. In fact, it comes in as many varieties as ice-cream. It all depends on the various checks and balances on the free market established in the country concerned.
Most developed countries devote considerable effort to ensuring that workers have a social safety net and an extensive array of worker rights (and still manage to thrive, let me stress).
All seem to understand that to have a good game, you need good rules. No game that is worth playing lacks good, and thoughtful, rules.
In fact, in many cases, countries that look after their workers—extremely well—are doing better than us—much better than us if you count the wellbeing of the average citizen as being important.
After all, what is the point of a country that makes a few rich and exploits the rest of its inhabitants. Traditionally, that was the structure of a classic ‘banana republic’ where a few reaped the rewards and the rest tilled the fields for a minimal wage. Retreat a century and a half, and it was the structure of a slave owning nation—this United States of America.
It is salutary to note that after all this time, the economic status of African Americans is still so far behind the rest of the population—and though there are many exceptions, it is not good.
Will that be the fate of the Middle Class generally as they slip behind? It seems entirely possible.
Distressingly, that is the economic structure the U.S. has been evolving since the 1970s. Business has dumped any concern for anything other than maximizing shareholder value—a false god at the best of times—and the results have done quite remarkable damage to the economic wellbeing of most Americans, and to the Middle Class in particular.
A byproduct has been underinvestment in infrastructure for decades. Much of the U.S, now looks decrepit or shabby—because it is. Much of it, particularly dams and bridges, is structurally unsound. That scarcely speaks well of the richest country in the world.
What should one call that particular form of American capitalism? The name ‘Predator Capitalism’ fits well because it is a mode of behavior that preys on all for the benefit of a few, which lacks conscience, scruples and loyalty, and where greed is the only accepted value.
Notably, it bears only a passing resemblance to Free Market capitalism, because Predator Capitalists rely heavily on:
- Corrupting Congress, and government at all levels. DONE
- Fixing the legal system in their favor. DONE
- Vast government subsidies of various kinds. DONE
- Forming monopolies, or de-facto monopolies. DONE
- Speculating rather than investing. DONE
- Exporting jobs without regard for their own workers. DONE
- Passing more and more medical costs to their workers. DONE
- Removing the security of defined pensions or raiding pension funds (in some cases). DONE
- Destroying unions. NEARLY DONE
- Removing job security. DONE
- Passing the costs of training onto the government whenever possible. DONE
- Blaming government whenever possible. ONGOING
- Despite raising worker costs, squeezing worker earning power whenever or wherever possible. ONGOING
- Underinvesting in plant, equipment, infrastructure, and innovation. ONGOING
- Evading taxes in every way possible to the point where corporate taxes, when offset by government grants and other subsidies, make—at best—a marginal contribution to the nation. ONGOING
- Polluting our air, land, and oceans to the great cost of the public at large (fatal in many cases)—but at no cost to the corporations responsible. ONGOING
All in all, the above adds up to reprehensible behavior. One could call it disgusting, and not be adrift. By any standards, it is both morally wrong—and incredibly unpatriotic. It’s as if the business community had declared war on the both the people, and the values, of this Great Nation.
Well, they did just that—and they are winning.
But, just look at the state of the country. If wage slavery is the future—and God preserve us if it is—be cognizant of the consequences.