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View Diary: Euthanize Wall Street to save the economy (34 comments)

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  •  Too Many Middle Men (6+ / 0-)

    Ultimately, the problem with the lack of manufacturing in this country is the advent of Middle Men. From stock holders to insurance agents and mortgage brokers and even so-called consultants, there are too many people that come between the people who produce or deliver a service and the people who consume the product or utilize the service. And those people want to get paid for essentially being an intermediary for the exchange of money. These aren't people who produce anything, they are not people who make any hard decisions, nor are they people who do any hard labor. They simply speculate on what will happen and butt into transactions because they are literally following the money.

    So-called capitalists got irked off when they had to start sharing their money with workers in the US. The strength of the unions and government regulations saw that everyone involved with the production of goods were able to share in the wealth of the sale of those goods. This, by the way, led to the unprecedented expansion of the American Middle Class.

    Not so coincedently, the growth of this once "working-class" Middle Class also led to the expansion of the Democratic Party in the US and Labour Parties in Europe. The party that most represented the concerns of the wealthiest, the Republican Party, were hurting politically and they knew one of the best ways to win back voters is to cut off the power and influence that strong unions provided to the Democratic Party. Reagan's policies saw to this and the Democratic Party has been flailing for powerful backers ever since. Sometimes this even leads to them sucking up to PACs once exclusively supportive of the Republican Party.
    Since these workers and their unions no longer have the same kind of political influence in Washington (and elsewhere) their job security and wage parity has been greatly reduced.

    Of course, all of this has been done under the guise of "free market" (a capitalists favorite cozy confine of rhetoric). What the free market really is is a foot race where American and Western European companies were able to amass huge mountains of capital for centuries by enslaving populations, monopolizing industries, and polluting our environment and the second that the rest of world wants to get into that foot race, we create laws that make it impossible for them to compete by utilizing the same destructive and unfair tactics to amass their own mountains. In other words, the "free market" is a foot race where some countries get to start 10 steps ahead of the starting line and others have to start 10 steps behind it, highly inequitable competition but then we call it "fair trade".

    But the cold hard fact about American labor is that our form of capitalism has never been able to truly work without the use of de facto slave workers. At the beginning of nation we had slaves in name, afterwards, we simply all but enslaved our new immigrant population, and once they got wise enough to organize, we turned to enlsaved 3rd world labor (including children) to cheaply make our products for us.

    This form of "free market" cannot sustain itself (without heavy civil confrontations) for long. The only way to have a truly free market is to have parity in wages, environmental and safety regulations, corporate subsidies (for farmers in developing nations, for example), truly leveling the playing field and then see which companies flourish (through innovation and smart business practices) and which ones die off.

    The imposition of Wall Street is as much responsible for influencing these inequitable conditions as any other organization. If, when selling stock, your prospectus came with the information such as "this company employs children in Indonesia, pollutes the only water source for half an entire continent, and has strong arm war lords on their payroll" most people would never invest. As long as the average stockholder does little to truly investigate what the business practices of their portfolio companies are, we will be doomed to this continual downward spiral.

    •  Bit too Engels/Lenin-ist for my taste with the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wondering if, Quicksilver2723

      'its all slavery' explanation (starting with actual slaves, then 'slave nations', then 'slave... eco-systems?'.  

      I prefer the original Marx - this is the natural result of capitalism - concentration of ownership of the means of production (of an ever smaller number of ever more mega-business 'conglomerates' by an ever smaller number of ever more mega-banks) and parasitic exploitation and alienation of labor. (Only $ 540 Bn ciphoned off? Only if you actually believe that things like the rest of the financial sector actually create any real wealth.)

      You are correct as to why Reagan-BushI put the nails in the union's cofin and what the effect has been tho.

      •  I don't insist that that's (0+ / 0-)

        the way it should be. I'm not trying to promote Marxist dogma (although, it should be noted that when Marx made those statements there were VERY FEW speaking for the burgeoning manufacturing working class). From the time that unions got a strong hold in the 1930s to the time when Reagan began to dismantle them in the 80's there were all but 2 elected Democratic Presidents and a huge tide of Democratic control over the federal government. Five Democratic presidents (one who won 4 elections in a row) to the Republicans 2 (and a half if you count the un-elected Ford) was too much for the corporatists to handle. Let alone the instillation of such populace policies like Social Security, minimum wage laws, civil rights and affirmative action policies, etc which mandated the hiring and wage standards that corporations must adher to. And, not coincedently, this era saw the greatest most thorough expansion of our economy in it's history.

        That was until corporate control got an even deeper influence on our policy making (after removing the barrier of the stranglehold of unions). And still these corporatists and the capitalist philosophies they represent have to turn to slave labor, environmental degradation, and tax incentives (ie. corporate welfare) to compete. Still, many of these fiscally, ethically, and morally irresponsible acts are done in the name of "progress" and to feed the bottom lines of stock holders (who's only finger lifted in the production of a product is the one they use to buy and sell stock on the e*trade account or to call their broker to it for them).

        I'm not argue for the head of Wall Street on a platter (as the original poster is), although I'm not entirely sure that that would be such a bad scenario for our economy. I think speculators have a place. But "speculators" should be like "spectators". On the side lines watching the game, not paying off the referee to infringe upon the outcome. The Dow Jones and NASDAQ should be a barometer and like the weather what happens happens. When the weather man tries to change the weather to suit his predictions there's a problem.

        In the end, I'm not advocating Marxism. I'm advocating a mixed economy (which we already have BTW). But not only for us but for all other nations as well. Sovereign nations should also be able to set their own tax codes, labor laws, and environmental regulations without heavy and, often, forceful influence by American and European multi-nationals convincing the leaders of poorer nations to do ease restrictions for their ability to profit. What is often done in developing nations in the name of "globalization" (ie. the maintenance of the stock prices of the wealthiest 5% of the world) is no different than tactics used against wildcat strikers and even worse. Allow other nations the bulk of control over their own resources and economic policies should be done not only because it is the right thing to do, but because the way things are are not sustainable. Eventually people of poorer nations will resist to these conditions (as they already are) and hard capitalism will run out of people to exploit. Unless, of course, our space endeavors allows us to find a race of aliens willing to be enslave.

    •  There is slavery and there is slavery (1+ / 0-)
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      As a side remark to your interesting comment, a statistical study (by a black historian) showed that prior to the US Civil War, the standard of living for factory workers in the North were worse than those for slaves in the South.  And with debt to the company store which they could not hope to repay, they were scarcely more free than those who were called slaves.

      They are continually talking about your patriotic duty. It is not their but your patriotic duty that they are concerned about. -Eugene Debs

      by geomoo on Wed Apr 23, 2008 at 11:00:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why I've not bought the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "North good - South bad" garbage (regarding the Civil War and after) - direct legal chains v. economic-legal chains really makes no difference to a beaten worker or a starving child.

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