Thursday, August 05, 2010

Capitalism Is Wonderful 2

Today is Thursday, 5 August 2010.

Commenting on the column, “Capitalism Is Wonderful”, “wondering” wrote: “So, what do you propose we, in middle America do about it?”

Alas, this is one of those things about which we can’t do much, given the current state of the world. One thing we can do is to be honest, with ourselves and others, about the true nature of capitalism: that it’s an economic model intended to suck wealth up the food chain, and increasingly concentrate it at the top, increasing the misery of those at the bottom.

We can be honest about the fact that, the vast majority of the time, poor people aren’t poor because of laziness or immorality, and we aren’t prosperous because of prodigious work habits and superior morality, but because the world economy is systemically structured so as to manufacture more people who are poorly off than people who are well off.

We can be honest about the fact that there’s something very wrong when we enjoy the “freedom” to choose from a hundred brands of toothpaste, all fundamentally alike, and dozens of brands of toilet paper, all fundamentally alike, and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, while billions in this world struggle to put barely-life-sustaining amounts of rice and gruel on their tables, and never enjoy freedom from want.

We can be honest about the fact that most middle Americans lead lives that are quite “rich” (there’s that word again!) compared to most people in the world.

Just possibly, were enough people in the First World to become honest, and to act honestly, we might create a situation in which we can reform our economic and political systems, before the First World lifestyle of excessive, irrational, and useless over-consumption immiserates us all.

One concrete thing we could do, which I’ve mentioned before. Instead of wasting hundreds of millions of dollars in a vain attempt to eradicate opium growing in Afghanistan, encourage tightly-supervised production.

A United Nations agency, for example, could purchase the opium, turning it over to a nonprofit corporation which would manufacture morphine from it, and sell it at cost in the Second and Third Worlds. First Worlders take pain control from morphine for granted, but countless millions tens of millions in the rest of the world suffer in agony because they have no access.

A fruitful war on pain, instead of a bootless war on drugs.

What a concept.

[See this article to understand the magnitude of this suffering:]

According to a new CNN poll, 11% of Americans believe that Obama was definitely not born in Hawaii, and 16% believe Obama was probably not born in Hawaii. So, chances are that one in four of the persons you meet today is as unhinged from reality as folks who wear tinfoil hats to block the mind-control rays beamed by the multi-tentacled Space Invaders hiding on the moons of Jupiter.

Time to buy a Taser?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we're WAY past taser-time. I have my bang-stick (ruler wrapped in duct-tape and colorful rubber bands) ready for use on those who wear the tinfoil hats. They're a scary bunch and I want to be prepared! I think it's quite time to give it a go.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay... Who decides how many different styles of toothpaste we are allowed?

3:39 PM  

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