Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Still down with capitalism?

Things are pretty busy here at the Village Green these days. There may be a crisis on Wall St, but on my street, in Kenmore, summer is over and fall is upon us. I see a few more reddening tomatoes in the garden and lots of tidying up to do before the snow falls. I'd love to go about my work and home chores secure in the knowledge that my pension is growing slowly but surely and that I won't have to sign away money I don't have to stay healthy in my so called "golden" years ahead.

Instead, I've been fantasizing about what human existence could be like in a non-capitalistic society. Maybe life would be better for us all if we were living in collectives dedicated to simpler life-styles and all contributing in one way or other for the benefit of the individual as well as the community. Anarcho-syndicalism, for example, showed lots of promise in Spain. Fascinating to read about entire industries running themselves without an owning class sucking off the profits.

The old Epic Battle of Communism vs Capitalism is so last century. Both of those economic theories collapsed under the weight of those excessively greedy few of the ruling classes. When corruption rules, it doesn't matter what economic system is in place.

I've been doing a lot more listening to others than blogging about the recent current events. I don't trust the talking heads on TV because they all make way more money than I do and tend to marry into even bigger money. All reports are that multitudes of citizens are contacting their elected representatives to complain about bailing out Wall St. Why not bail out us first, they say? Look at the debts we are all struggling under because the banking industry thought it would be a good idea to place bets on our homes and and other things like student loans.

On the other hand, we find ourselves living in a massively excessive society that consumes far more than is healthy. Rampant capitalism has produced multitudes of products that make life so convenient and so very toxic. American consumers are part of the problem as well. If this crisis can shake us out of our old ways of doing business, maybe the Big Bail Out needs to be put on permanent hold. Maybe we should be listening more to Dennis Kucinich who talked about solutions that focus on the bottom up, with a whole lot of clamping down on the monied overlords. His explanation of "the crisis:"
Here is a very quick explanation of the $700 billion bailout within the context of the mechanics of our monetary and banking system:

The taxpayers loan money to the banks. But the taxpayers do not have the money. So we have to borrow it from the banks to give it back to the banks. But the banks do not have the money to loan to the government. So they create it into existence (through a mechanism called fractional reserve) and then loan it to us, at interest, so we can then give it back to them. [The rest here.]

Lots of people are expressing the suspicion that this Bail Out is one final money grab for the Bush regime as it skulks out of office. Geeze, how much more damage can the idiot Bush inflict upon the rest of us?

But I think it goes beyond Bush. Actual people took actions that got us into this lack of liquidity or in plainer terms, into this mess of hugely over-extended credit to people who had no real ability to make the ballooning payments. Loans were bundled and sold again and again. (Ace sends us a link to a highly informative slide show, The Subprime Primer.) Real people thought up that scheme and followed through on it, linking up chains of greedy blood-sucking mortgage leeches. I don't know about you, but I'd like to see lists of actual names of the people -- and I don't care if they are Democrats, Republicans or non-voting non-partisans -- the ones who brought about this need to take 750 billion dollars from the people's collective wealth.

The amazing Wobbly Art displayed above was anarchistically borrowed from The Vancouver Wob.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that my topic is completely off topic. Will you have a chance to comment on state issue 3 before the election?

Anonymous said...

Maybe my question wasn't so off topic after all.

Village Green said...

Sorry -- I'll have to get back to you on state issue 3. One of the reasons I'm not running off for early voting is that I'm not ready on all the issues and local candidates.

Village Green said...

State issue 3 -- increased gambling in Ohio with the promise to use the proceeds to fund higher education scholarships.

I'm agnostic on gambling issues. Can't get all het up on it one way or the other.