Citizen Action Monitor

Nine killer facts about capitalism you need to know – Chris Hedges explains

Until citizens have an electoral system that’s not dependent on corporate money, capitalists will continue to practice legalized fraud. —

No 2675 Posted by fw, October 28, 2020 —

In my October 25 repost, I featured a video talk by Chris Hedges, along with my enhanced transcript of his address. After his talk, Chris took part in a Q&A session. Below is my transcript of Hedges’ answer to a question on the effects of capitalism.

But first, here is a copy of the question and nine key declarations Chris advances in his answer.

And at the bottom of the post is my embedded You Tube video of his address where you can fast forward to the 1:24:23 point, the start of his answer to the capitalism question.

QUESTION ON THE EFFECTS OF CAPITALISM

Question: The [Brazilian] legal and political philosopher Roberto Unger* states that social innovation in the use of investment capital can address systemic problems. You’ve talked about the importance of local and regional capitalism. If raised to scale, do you believe that social entrepreneurship can counteract the effects of capitalism in the corporate state as well as meet the major challenges that you consistently mention with climate change reintegrating people into the economy? [* “For Unger, the market, the state, and human social organization should not be set in predetermined institutional arrangements, but need to be left open to experimentation and revision according to what works for the project of individual and collective empowerment. Doing so, he holds, will enable human liberation.”]

HEDGES’ ANSWER — NINE KEY DECLARATIONS

1/ Capitalism has two goals: the maximization of profit an the reduction of the cost of production, which is an assault primarily against labor or automation.

2/ There’s nothing intrinsically within capitalism to stop it from commodifying everything — human beings become commodities; the natural world becomes a commodity, it then exploits until exhaustion or collapse.

3/ I think capitalism appeals to a side of human nature, but it’s that dark side of human nature. And unless it’s heavily regulated and heavily constrained it will destroy the society. And that’s what it’s done – not just to the United States but to the global economy because, in fact, we have no control over our own economy.

4/ There’s no way at this point we can influence our own economic structures unless we build structures to remove ourselves from it.

5/ Capitalism is essentially — through a series of judicial and legislative acts pushed by capitalists since the 1970s — has been completely unfettered. They [capitalists] don’t pay taxes, it’s legalized fraud, they loot the U.S. Treasury they hollow the country out from the inside.

6/ In the late stages of an empire, capitalists begin to actually consume government structures that sustain capitalism itself. And that’s precisely what we’re seeing in terms of the arms industry — the privatization of intelligence

7/ So, we’ve lost control. And that was what first created a mafia economy and now has created a mafia state*. So I don’t put any hope in entrepreneurs. I put hope in heavy state intrusion to regulate and  thwart the power of capital

8/ But, in fact, these big banks after 2008 have only become larger and consolidated power. But it would be a massive breaking up of monopoly. And until we create an electoral system that’s not dependent on corporate money, we’re not going to have any change.

9/ That’s not going to happen because all of these figures achieved political office with the power through corporate money.

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FULL TRANSCRIPT OF HEDGES’ ANSWER TO CAPITALISM QUESTION

1:24:23 – QUESTION – The [Brazilian] legal and political philosopher Roberto Unger* states that social innovation in the use of investment capital can address systemic problems. You’ve talked about the importance of local and regional capitalism. If raised to scale, do you believe that social entrepreneurship can counteract the effects of capitalism in the corporate state as well as meet the major challenges that you consistently mention with climate change reintegrating people into the economy? [* “For Unger, the market, the state, and human social organization should not be set in predetermined institutional arrangements, but need to be left open to experimentation and revision according to what works for the project of individual and collective empowerment. Doing so, he holds, will enable human liberation.”]

CHRIS HEDGES’ ANSWERS

Chris Hedges

Not unless capital is heavily regulated. This is the lesson of history. And as I mentioned in the talk, capitalism has two goals: the maximization of profit an the reduction of the cost of production, which is an assault primarily against labor or automation. If capitalism is not heavily regulated, there’s nothing intrinsically within capitalism to stop it from commodifying everything — human beings become commodities; the natural world becomes a commodity, it then exploits until exhaustion or collapse.

Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation writes about this. So I’m not, in that sense, an anti-capitalist in that I think capitalism appeals to a side of human nature, but it’s that dark side of human nature. And unless it’s heavily regulated and heavily constrained it will destroy the society. And that’s what it’s done – not just to the United States but to the global economy because, in fact, we have no control over our own economy.

It’s been surrendered, which is why all they ever talk about are cultural issues like abortion because there’s no way at this point we can influence our own economic structures unless we build structures to remove ourselves from it.

And that’s the problem – Capitalism is essentially, through a series of judicial and legislative acts pushed by capitalists since the 1970s has been completely unfettered. They [capitalists] don’t pay taxes, it’s legalized fraud, they loot the U.S. Treasury, they hollow the country out from the inside. I mean one of the reasons you see charter schools is that the federal government spends about $600 billion, I think, a year on education, and the hedge fund managers want it.

Karl Marx writes about this, that, in the late stages of an empire, capitalists begin to actually consume government structures that sustain capitalism itself. And that’s precisely what we’re seeing in terms of the arms industry, the privatization of intelligence – we have, what?, I think 16 intelligence agencies and 70% are done by private contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton where [Edward] Snowden worked.

So, we’ve lost control. And that was what first created a mafia economy and now has created a mafia state*. So I don’t put any hope in entrepreneurs. I put hope in heavy state intrusion to regulate and  thwart the power of capital. But, in fact, these big banks after 2008 have only become larger and consolidated power, But it would be a massive breaking up of monopoly. And until we create an electoral system that’s not dependent on corporate money, we’re not going to have any change. [*A mafia state is a state system where the government is tied with organized crime, including when government officials, the police, and/or military take part in illicit enterprises. The term mafia is a reference to any organized crime groups strongly connected with the authorities.]

That’s not going to happen because all of these figures achieved political office with the power through corporate money. And as soon as they finish their term in Congress they go straight off to K Street for lucrative lobbying jobs. And the same with the pentagon. All these generals go straight to Raytheon and when they’re not on Raytheon or Haliburton or somewhere else they’re on MSNBC telling us we should start another war.

Capitalism clip ends at 1:28:44

You Tube Video (To see Hedges’ answer to the question on capitalism, fast forward to 1:24:23)

The Politics of Cultural Despair, by Chris Hedges, You Tube | Media Sanctuary, October 18, 2020

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This entry was posted on October 28, 2020 by in counterpower of one, economic counterpower, information counterpower, political action and tagged , .
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