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Well if you take Marx's view of what perfect capitalism would mean then it never really got off the ground.

And so he sets the stage. We enter a world of perfect capitalism: no monopolies, no
unions, no special advantages for anyone. It is a world in which every commodity
sells at exactly its proper price. And that proper price is its value -- a tricky word. For
the value of a commodity, says Marx, is the amount of labor it has within itself. If it
takes twice as much labor to make hats as shoes, then hats will sell for twice the
price of shoes. The labor, of course, need not be direct manual labor; it may be
overhead labor that is spread over many commodities, or it may be the labor that
once went into making a machine and that the machine now slowly passes on to the
products it shapes. But no matter what its form, everything is eventually reducible to
labor, and all commodities, in this perfect system, will be priced according to the
amount of labor, direct or indirect, that they contain.

Well that is interesting, actually what we have seen is something else entirely.

hmm...

The rise an rise of the Multinational Corporation.

What have we seen since WWII:

1] The number of companies working in the same field has been greatly reduced, thus reducing competition. Virtual regional monopolies now exist, exerting great economic pressure wherever they are based. Hence too big too fail.

2] The use of labor prices on a global scale, thereby assuring only the cheapest is used. China for example where labor costs are now 4 times as expensive as it is in Cambodia. So there will be outsourcing in this direction. The result of which has been to reduce the earning power of the middle class at any given time or location. Insecurity within different countries ensures that labor costs are driven to a minimum, hence the destruction of the Unions in the West over the last 40 years.

3] Globalization whereby corporations now have greater buying power than many first world countries, and are less in debt. Corporations have also been able to migrate headquarters to where taxation is less of a burden, many are given tax right-offs to relocate to a given region. Often when this tax honeymoon is over the company then relocates to another more 'friendly' local. Although this practice is in essence illegal other methods may be used. Setting up a rival production facility hence taking the existing facility into loss, thereby justifying closure due to economic factors. Where unions exist; tactics to incite union resistance can be implemented, once again economic hardship can be used as justification for plant closure.

4] Labor prices in the industrialized world have stagnated and indeed regressed. The tax base has shrunk since many corporations now profiting from these effectively lowered costs do not pay local taxation. Hence the government in place has less access to resources from taxation to call upon and thus runs up a deficit. This situation changes where financial power remains but does not contribute except to destabilize democracy; as economic decisions are now removed from elected officials since they are global in nature and are in fact in the hands of corporate executives.

5] The vast wealth generated is now in fewer hands and is moved around freely to wherever conditions are most favorable. Executives flit between boards, and indeed many are on multiple boards within the same industry at any given time. There is hence collusion; amply shown by industry lobbies around the world. Standards that pertain to product performance and consumer safety are negotiated by companies with the same basic interest, profit. This has also been highlighted by the recent fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico.

6] The unprecedented public bailing out of many companies within the same business area. This immediately negated any pretense that competition was indeed possible or even desired. Once again insecurity was used to justify such an undertaking. The precedent has been set and will be used again no matter what legislation has been put in place, the dire consequences of inaction will once again be trumpeted. There has been no fundamental shift in either fiscal or political philosophy, hence it is impossible that the reaction will be any different in the future.

7] Information is controlled by a small number of corporate entities, the internet if this continues will also be reined in to conform to business requirements. Technically its quite easy to prioritize certain segments and indeed censor content. The only challenge is the ever increasing speed and subsequent data transmission, yet once again this again can be confined. Information is the life blood of our high-tech society and the battle for its control is all but over. Again data transmission standards will involve the corporations concerned before they are even in the public domain.

8] Political destabilization, it is good business practice to polarize your competition; hence we have seen funding by the corporations of so called AstroTurf movements. This renders effective political oversight all but irrelevant. The idea is to have continually changing governance, yet it remains in the hands of the same people. By financing many of these functionaries in their daily quest for reelection they can in fact be rendered ineffective. Priorities are not given to what is right but what is possible, if major social decisions are rendered incomplete or toothless then business can benefit. Where elected government fails to provide business can step in to fill the gap. We can see this happening as a result of the current fashion of austerity programs. We can also clearly identify the the danger of the recent SCOTUS decision; now it remains to undermine the political will thereby effectively negating the undermining of this legal precedent.

9] The us of and the use by the Military Industrial Complex in driving 'diplomatic' and economic decisions. The need of the Oil Corporations [and other sectors] for their primary material has driven much of the decision making in global diplomacy; if indeed you can call it diplomacy. Threats, menaces and economic embargoes all backed by a threat of action drive negotiations. Decisions such as global warming have taken a back seat to our immediate needs. Indeed the decisions have not been in our hands at all, public opinion first poisoned enough to allow military action, then ignored to allow it to continue are par for the course.

10] The more we are at conflict with each other; both domestically and internationally, the more a few profit. We always have to have an enemy, and funnily enough one always seems to present itself for consideration. At the moment we seem to have a war on just about anything imaginable. Xenophobia is always a plus since this also reduces communication and eventual understanding. Creating a climate of, they want to take our jobs here, when in fact the corporations have taken jobs here and but them there is almost risible, yet it is effective when used for political destabilization.

11] Stirring up of religious tensions, bigotry and distrust, this is always a fertile ground for those willing to sow dissent. One of the best ways of highlighting cultural and sometimes racial divides. Intolerance of the other can be used effectively, and because of the passions involved volunteers are readily found.

We have now been rendered incapable of facing our greatest challenges.

1] Climate Change

2] Equitable distribution of resources.

Poverty, hunger, disease and lack of access to shelter are common in the Industrialized world and rampant in the rest.

We have been successfully divided both nationally and racially; and if you believe people have different basic requirements around the world, then the propaganda has indeed been effective. Religion also comes into the divisive category, not for its beliefs but from its use.

No Capitalism is not dead.

Something that never existed cannot cease to exist.

What we have is something entirely different.

An Oligarchy is about as close as I can come, Corporate Feudalism perhaps another. A Democracy? Not even close.

Just where we are going, who knows.

note:
Sorry no great sweeping theory with a thousand links spanning 2500 pages like das Capital, just some rambling mid week musings.

Originally posted to LaFeminista on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 09:52 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  what never happened was the (11+ / 0-)

    model of "perfect competition".  Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production.  You can have monopoly or oligopoly or imperfect competition in the real world of capitalism.

    But free market fundamentalism is based on a ludicrous unattainable model of "perfect competition" which has never existed and never will.

    •  No level playing field was created (9+ / 0-)

      when it developed, the money was already poorly distributed and unfairly so. Capitalism as we see it merely concentrated more of the wealth in the hands of the already wealthy.

      Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

      by LaFeminista on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:06:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Capitalism is simply normal human behavior... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        C Barr

        Some work harder or get luckier and end up with more.

        Some don't work as hard or suffer bad luck and end up with less.

        The ones with less sometimes need to borrow stuff from those who have more.  The "mores" want something in exchange for the loan.  That given the "mores" even more.

        The playing field will never be level.  Some will be born with more abilities and some will be born into better circumstances.

        The greedy will always be among us.  (Unless we GMO them out.)  They will always be working to get a bigger share.

        In order to keep the greedy from gaining so much that they harm the rest of us we will have to create systems to limit their greed.

        Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

        by BobTrips on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:15:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then we are doomed to fail (3+ / 0-)

          as a society. Wont be the first time wont be the last, Some people say it is inbuilt into our very nature, I would argue that intelligence in that case is not as good as it is cracked up to be.

          Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

          by LaFeminista on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:18:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think you are overestimating (5+ / 0-)

          "working harder".  Alot of people work very hard and do a great job and make very little.

          Those who get the breaks or who have capital do best.

          Yes, there are rags to riches stories but they are the exceptions that prove the rule.

          Add to "luck" - inheritance, fraud, illegal activities, political favoritism, cronyism, etc.

          •  Never have we been more productive (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Orange County Liberal

            never have we been more mobile.

            Yet....

            Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

            by LaFeminista on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:25:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Please don't quote part... (0+ / 0-)

            and then argue against that part.

            Here's what I said...

            Some work harder or get luckier and end up with more.

            Some don't work as hard or suffer bad luck and end up with less.

            There's nothing in your argument which is not in my statement.

            Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

            by BobTrips on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:47:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Capitalism is ordained neither by the gods... (4+ / 0-)

              nor our genes.

              Here is where I would agree with you:  Capitalism, by its nature, concentrates wealth and power.  The world that the diarist describes in the diary cannot exist in Capitalism because of this tendency.  We see how this operates all around us.  If you are a Capitalist producing a product--computer software, for example--you know that the surest route to profit lies by way of monopoly.  You may try to gain market share by producing a better product, but once you have acquired a certain amount of capital, the easiest way to beat the competition will be to buy them or lawyer them into non-existence.  In 25 years, Microsoft went from a small player to 90%+ of the OS market, and we all know that it sure wasn't because they made a great product.

              On the question of Capitalism being the "natural" system toward which we human beings tend, you're completely wrong.  Your view if human nature is over-simplified, even naive.

              Marx saw human "nature" as formed primarily by social relations and experience.  Thus, it was highly malleable.  Live in a system that promotes ruthless competition, and you'll be a ruthless competitor.  Live in a society that promotes cooperation and sharing, and you'll be cooperative and sharing.  Of course, there will be resisters who tend the other way in any kind of society.

              A contemporary and rival of Marx, Michael Bakunin, saw Marx's anthropology as flawed.  He was concerned about the potential for abuse of power within a revolutionary elite.  That's why he went the anarchist direction.

              From our perspective, we'd say that Marx should have taken certain genetic predispositions into account.  We're still learning about such things, but one thing is already clear.  Humanity does have some tendencies to compete, even to be violent, but it also has some genetic traits that lead it toward altruism and cooperation.  We have been, after all, social animals for a very long time.

              And anyone today who doesn't believe that human "nature" is quite malleable given the extent to which we are manipulated by our Madison Avenue environment is quite naive.  Your entire view of human nature is a product of propaganda that you have swallowed whole without even bothering to digest it.

              And the idea that the woman from Bangladesh selling chicken is a Capitalist is ludicrous.  A Capitalist is someone who earns his money not by working or producing something himself but by taking the surplus value of the labor that he has hired and put to work.  His ownership of the means of production is what allows him to do that.  Even if your example hires a few neighbors to help produce her bucket of chicken, she is distinguished as a member of the petit bourgeoisie who make make some money from extracting surplus value but who work alongside their workers.  As we see quite clearly in today's America, the interests of the bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeoisie, Wall Street and Main Street, often conflict.

              Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

              by goinsouth on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 11:45:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  arbeit macht frei (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Euroliberal

            Capitalism distilled.

        •  I think you may want to study up on the (3+ / 0-)

          "economies" of early humans and the history of economic systems.

        •  For practically all of human history... (5+ / 0-)

          ... there was no such thing as capitalism.  So I'm not sure your shtick holds much water.  I figure the day's gonna come when the historians and anthropologists look back to this "Age of Corporations" (or of petroleum?) as a very ignorant and cruel time.

          You cannot save the Gulf. But you can make its death mean something. -- Crashing Vor

          by Land of Enchantment on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:32:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  really? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          churchylafemme

          well, if the fact that there will always be greedy people makes capitalism normal human behavior, then why is it we don't have social systems entirely built on the validation of lust, sloth, pride, envy, gluttony, and anger? Why aren't we saying that rape or murder are normal human behaviors so it's absurd to try to get rid of it, but rather, it should be merely moderated and channelled?

          people have lots of contradictory impulses and drives.

          capitalism on the other hand has only been around for maybe five centuries or so, so if it's just normal, how come it took people so long to figure out how to behave normally?

        •  The entire livable world is capitalist (0+ / 0-)

          Norway, Sweden, France, Canada -- anywhere worth living is capitalist.

          And it is not going away, because it works.

          It may not be working for you right now, but it works for me and most of the industrialized world.

          •  Again one must look at the underlying flaws (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LightintheShadows

            in what we have created, the power base is changing due to excessive debt in the industrialized countries, funny you should put Norway and Sweden in your list, they have been waging a steady war against rampant corporatism for decades.

            Personally I'm fine but cracks are appearing in the structure.

            Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

            by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 12:13:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It works? What was all that ruckus in 2008? (3+ / 0-)

            End of the world.  Martial law.  Blood in the streets unless the taxpayers ponied up, the Fed turned on the printing presses and all the rules were changed.

            That's "working" as far as your concerned?

            Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

            by goinsouth on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 06:13:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The game has changed.... (3+ / 0-)

            It may not be working for you right now, but it works for me and most of the industrialized world.

            We don't make stuff in the United States anymore.  We've transitioned from Industrial Capitalism to Financial Capitalism.  We don't create wealth anymore here.  Now the money handlers are extracting whatever wealth was once created by labor and reinvesting it elsewhere.

      •  perfect competition and the mythology (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        goinsouth, Orange County Liberal

        surrounding it say nothing about a level playing field. What it says is things like

        perfect information for all producers and consumers

        no barriers to entry

        little or no cost to enter the market or stay in it

        Nothing about a level playing field or everyone starting with the same amount of capital.

        The problem is that the free market fundamentalists use the model of "perfect competition" to "prove" that competition "always works best".  They use it to oppose very necessary laws and regulations.    

      •  start a new game. all old currency is worthless. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orange County Liberal

        issue new money & give everyone the same amount. i want to be the race car.

        Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

        by rasbobbo on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:32:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm happy to see Marx being quoted. (6+ / 0-)

    It's clear that communism hasn't been tried any more than capitalism has -- so there's no question that "communism" is really relevant to what Marx has to tell us.

    I believe Marx's critique of capitalism should be read from that perspective, rather than as an apologetics for left-wing ideology.  Thanks for the post.  Now I'll go back and read it, lol.

    _______________________________
    Healing the universe is an inside job.

    by spotDawa on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:02:55 PM PDT

  •  Interesting, but somewhat over the top... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginislandsguy, Lying eyes

    Let's look at this part...

    We have now been rendered incapable of facing our greatest challenges.

    1] Climate Change

    2] Equitable distribution of resources.

    Poverty, hunger, disease and lack of access to shelter are common in the Industrialized world and rampant in the rest.

    We have been successfully divided both nationally and racially; and if you believe people have different basic requirements around the world, then the propaganda has indeed been effective. Religion also comes into the divisive category, not for its beliefs but from its use.

    No Capitalism is not dead.

    Something that never existed cannot cease to exist.

    1.  We are making progress on climate change.  Europe and China are ahead of the US, but we are all moving away from fossil fuels.

    Will we move quickly enough?  That's a different question.

    1.  Resources have never been equally distributed and they are less equally distributed in the US than they were in the "golden years of the middle class".  But they are more equally distributed in other parts of the world than previously.  

    The US is less racially divided than it has ever been.  Sure the racists are making a bit more noise than usual right now, but has there ever been a time when non-white were more interwoven into the general culture?

    1.  That capitalism never existed is a bunk statement.  Yes, Marx's utopian version of capitalism never existed.  But that's not what you posted.

    Capitalism has overtaken the world.  Even the diehard socialistic countries such as Cuba are signing on.  

    Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

    by BobTrips on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:09:21 PM PDT

    •  I would argue that its is not capitalism (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jagger, BentLiberal

      at all.

      Progress on climate change is local and insufficient. When you can relocate production to areas where pollution control is not in place then it loses effectiveness. China has passed the US in pollution.

      Everyone screams about the Gulf of Mexico spill where the Niger Delta gets no attention or compensation at all, no massive clean up is underway nor planned.

      The US was less racially divided on the surface until the last few years, however the underlying racial divide was always there and it was an economic divide.

      Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

      by LaFeminista on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:15:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I really don't believe that you are entitled... (3+ / 0-)

        to your own personal definition of capitalism.  

        That is, if you want to clearly communicate your thoughts to others.

        Progress on climate change is both local and national and international.  

        China has passed the US only in terms of overall pollution.  One billion Chinese do produce more CO2 than do 307 million Americans.

        The US is still far, far ahead of China in terms of pollution per capita.  We are roughly #10 on the list of largest CO2 producers on an individual basis.  The first people on the list are mainly oil-producing countries in the Middle East.

        China is cleaning our clocks in terms of installing wind turbines and solar panels.  While they are still building coal plants, they are at least building state of the art coal plants and have torn down something like 7,500 "dirty" coal plants.

        Yes, we are paying a lot of attention to the spill in our back yard and about zero attention to the spill in Africa's.

        Perhaps you haven't lived as long as I have.  I got started back when FDR was president and I grew up in the segregated South.  I'll argue with you all day long that we are right now the most racially "undivided" that we have ever been.

        We have a generation or two who have grown up in an integrated country and who really don't get what all that segregation stuff was about.    

        Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

        by BobTrips on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:26:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would say capitalism has been defined and (0+ / 0-)

          distorted by those who most benefit from such a definition. I mean if this was a game I would play it the same way to win, doesn't mean it happens to be the best choice for any of us however.

          Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

          by LaFeminista on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:31:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  half-full, half-empty (5+ / 0-)
      1. We are making progress on climate change.

      but then, climate change is making progress faster.

      1. But they are more equally distributed in other parts of the world than previously.

      but dwindling and so each equal part will end up being less than before

      1. That capitalism never existed is a bunk statement.

      the name capitalism existed, but the practice, properly named, would be "plunderism" or "exploitationism." And in that sense capitalism still thrives.

      Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

      by Jim P on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:16:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  capitalism as an abstract theory existed nt (0+ / 0-)

        Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

        by LaFeminista on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:21:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  but you know, the theory always (3+ / 0-)

          left out the plunder part as the chief feature. So...

          I think this is harmonious with your topic, if not directly relevant. From the book The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie

          In a sense, New World conquest was about men seeking a way around one of life's basic rules–that human beings have to work for a living,
          just like the rest of the animal world.

          In Peru, as elsewhere in the Americas, Spaniards were not looking for fertile land that they could farm, they were looking for the cessation of
          their own need to perform manual labor. To do so, they needed to find large enough groups of people they could force to carry out all the laborious tasks necessary to provide them with the essentials of life: food, shelter, clothing, and ideally, liquid wealth.

          Conquest, then, had little to do with adventure, but rather had everything to do with groups of men willing to do just about anything in order to avoid working for a living. Stripped down to its barest bones, the conquest of Peru was all about finding a comfortable retirement.

          Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

          by Jim P on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:34:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  PS Cuba (0+ / 0-)

      Cuba is not willingly signing on, it is being throttled and forced to do so by unfair and foul means.

      Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

      by LaFeminista on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:24:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cuba... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burrow owl, virginislandsguy

        Is starting to turn over some of its small businesses to individual owners.  I recently heard a piece about barber shops/beauty parlors "going capitalism".

        They've also allowed farmers to run their own farms, moving away from their previous model.

        Cuba is not willingly signing on, yes.  And that's because they have realized (after they lost their support from the USSR) that they weren't making it taking the socialism route.

        They're even moving away from the "employment for all" system that they've had.

        Their system has failed.  Just as it failed in Russia, China, North Korea, .....

        Socialism just doesn't work.  It violates basic rules of human behavior.  Few will work, work hard, and work consistently "for the good of all".

        Even the ones who will work for the common good eventually get pissed off at having to carry the load for the slackers and quit.

        Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

        by BobTrips on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:34:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Pfft Cuba have you been recently? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice

          Go first then we will talk. Even in the tourist enclaves it has gone downhill because of the US embargo.

          Cuba remembers capitalism all to well and is wonderfully represented in the memory of Batista's rule.

          Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

          by LaFeminista on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:37:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's just a nonsense post... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            virginislandsguy

            Sure Cuba has been hurt by the US embargo.  And Batista was an asshole dictator (whom, unfortunately, the US supported).

            But Cuba has ample farmland to feed its people and it failed to do so using the socialism approach.  

            Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

            by BobTrips on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:57:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh what a load of crap Bob. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wilderness voice

              Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

              by LaFeminista on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 11:03:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Which part? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                virginislandsguy
                1. Cuba has been hurt by the US embargo.  
                1. Batista was an asshole dictator (whom, unfortunately, the US supported).
                1. Cuba has ample farmland to feed its people and it failed to do so using the socialism approach.  

                Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

                by BobTrips on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 11:10:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Geting to be my bedtime... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                virginislandsguy

                Let me leave you with this quote...

                Now, just by looking across the table, I saw that Fernando Funes had since gained the twenty pounds back. In fact, he had a little paunch, as do many Cuban men of a certain age. What happened was simple, if unexpected. Cuba had learned to stop exporting sugar and instead started growing its own food again, growing it on small private farms and thousands of pocket-sized urban market gardens—and, lacking chemicals and fertilizers, much of that food became de facto organic. Somehow, the combination worked. Cubans have as much food as they did before the Soviet Union collapsed. They're still short of meat, and the milk supply remains a real problem, but their caloric intake has returned to normal—they've gotten that meal back.

                Please pay attention to the "small private farms" and "urban market gardens".

                Link...

                Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

                by BobTrips on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 11:21:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You don't know what Capitalism is. (5+ / 0-)

                  You seem to have the idea that any kind of market or private ownership constitutes Capitalism.  It doesn't.  There were markets in the feudal systems that pre-dated Capitalism, but that doesn't eliminate the distinction between feudalism and Capitalism.

                  The essence of Capitalism is that the Capitalist makes money by extracting the surplus value of the labor he hires and puts to work.  His ownership of the means of production is what allows him to do that.

                  People who have a little bakery or raise vegetables and sell them are not Capitalists.  They are making money from their own labor.  In that case, the worker owns the means of production, not some owner/capitalist.

                  Tito distributed the land and housing to individuals in the former Yugoslavia.  People established little butcher shops or bakeries in a floor of their house.  They were regulated by an absurd bureaucracy, as some businesses are in this country, but they were privately owned.  The large enterprises, however, were state-owned until the breakup, at which point, most were handed off to cronies as in the former Soviet Union.

                  Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

                  by goinsouth on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 11:56:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's one definition. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    virginislandsguy, BobTrips

                    It doesn't comport w/ most definitions, though.  Bob Trips' is much closer to the more prevalent definition.

                    •  By prevalent, do you mean "popular" (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      churchylafemme, wilderness voice

                      in the sense of uninformed?

                      "Capitalism" doesn't have much meaning or value as a historical concept if it just means having markets and some limited private property.

                      Wouldn't you agree?

                      Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

                      by goinsouth on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 05:50:28 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The definition which I posted... (0+ / 0-)

                        Is the one accepted by economists.

                        A problem with this diary is that it creates a new definition to suit an agenda....

                        Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

                        by BobTrips on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 08:02:50 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  As I wrote... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          churchylafemme

                          I agree that some idyllic paradise of little firms competing with each other was never and will never be Capitalism.

                          But a women raising, cooking and selling chickens in Bangladesh isn't a Capitalist.  LOL.  If she is, then we have had a Capitalist system for a few thousand years rather than a few hundred.

                          Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

                          by goinsouth on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 08:24:20 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  We've always had a capitalistic system... (0+ / 0-)

                            It's just more organized now than it was when Woz loaned out his extra spear to Tog with the agreement that Woz got a cut of the meat that Tog drug home in exchange for the loan.

                            Then Woz traded that meat to Zar the Spear Maker for yet another spear for his 'rent a spear' business....

                            Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

                            by BobTrips on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 08:36:37 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  in the begining God created capitalism (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            churchylafemme

                            and saw that it was good.

                            We are post any notion of capitalism that your definition covers.

                            We are in the unkown.

                            Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

                            by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 08:41:25 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Man evolved... (0+ / 0-)

                            Our economic system evolves.

                            Just like the evolution of organisms not all new variations have survival value or mesh well with the existing order.

                            Some non-productive/destructive variations die off on their own.  

                            Some, like smallpox, survive until they are intentionally killed off by other organisms.

                            We're always in the unknown.  Stuff happens and then we have to make a "bad/good" judgment and take corrective action as needed....

                            Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

                            by BobTrips on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 08:45:46 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Its got out of control, it has not evolved. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wilderness voice

                            it has in fact regressed, more Robber Barons than honest traders.

                            Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

                            by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 09:00:59 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It evolved... (0+ / 0-)

                            We are currently on a less desirable route which needs correcting.

                            Very large corporations are acquiring lots of power.  We have to work to minimize the damage they cause.

                            Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

                            by BobTrips on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 09:07:57 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It has a momentum all its own (0+ / 0-)

                            you need to break it first otherwise its like the Hydra.

                            It has regressed not evolved, just a bigger version of feudalism without the armor and horses.

                            Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

                            by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 09:18:27 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Of course greed has it's own momentum... (0+ / 0-)

                            Greed is a driving force that almost all of us have to some extent.  Some have excess amounts.

                            We'll always be fighting back the greedy.  Feudalism, slavery, monopolies - those were previous systems for the greedy to get more and we squashed them.  Count on the greedy to invent new techniques as time goes along.

                            Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

                            by BobTrips on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 09:49:34 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  PS if it had evolved then it would not (0+ / 0-)

                            have needed bailing out from the public purse, if you hadn't noticed it was in meltdown, a social action saved its bacon and now we will pay the bill.

                            I call that regression not evolution. Its like screaming save the tyrannosaurus.

                            Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

                            by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 09:28:27 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Derivatives were a newly evolved lifeform... (0+ / 0-)

                            Unregulated, they turned out to be a disaster.

                            We did not fully recognize the danger of this newly evolved beast and it hurt us very badly.

                            Now we've created legislation designed to control it.

                            Be assured that the greedy will look for rat holes and if they find them they will scamper through.  And then we'll have to nail tin over those rat holes.

                            Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

                            by BobTrips on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 09:52:42 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  ha ha, dont kid yourself (0+ / 0-)

                            they just go round the back door its a global business.

                            You are looking at micro events in a macro system.

                            You know; woods trees?

                            Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

                            by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 10:13:22 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We are evolving into a global economy... (0+ / 0-)

                            Before we had regional economies.

                            Before that, national economies.

                            Before that, local economies.

                            Before that, village economies.

                            Before that, family/clan economies.

                            At each stage we had to deal with keeping the greedy under control.

                            Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

                            by BobTrips on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 10:24:32 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Devolving into global pillage more (0+ / 0-)

                            like.

                            Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

                            by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 10:58:52 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You know, I just have low tolerance... (0+ / 0-)

                            for cynicism.

                            I'll let you go now....

                            Enough of this reality crap. I voted for MAGIC!!!

                            by BobTrips on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 11:05:17 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Why thank you so much (0+ / 0-)

                            I am so grateful.

                            Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

                            by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 11:24:43 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Does the transition... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            churchylafemme, LaFeminista

                            from a feudal society to a capitalist one have any significance for you?

                            It was a pretty big deal that England and France could make that transition while Russia failed.  They really were two different systems.

                            Native American tribes traded and used various media for money, but were in no way a capitalist society.

                            You're taking all the meaning out of the word.

                            Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

                            by goinsouth on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 09:35:20 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  the definition that you are using (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          LaFeminista

                          is that people who get up in the morning and go to work are capitalists.  I doubt that economists would accept this definition.

                          •  ;-) I'm not sure they even know what the hell (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wilderness voice

                            is going on, its totally unpredictable.

                            Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

                            by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 09:03:27 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  economists (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            LaFeminista

                            are the only academics where "liberal" or "conservative" is part of their professional characterization.  Not even a pretense of impartiality.  

                            Aside from the political arena, economists are prone to fantasies not remotely connected with reality.  For example, the "efficient market" hypothesis held sway for many decades, yet it can easily be shown to be false in any number of ways.

                •  Growing cane to produce and export sugar (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wilderness voice

                  when the populace lacks basic food for sustenance?  Sounds like a country under management of the World Bank.  Small individual farms and community gardens meet the needs of people instead of bankers.  Whatever you want to call them, some systems feed the people, some feed the powerful.

  •  Have cheer! If there are people yet to plunder, (7+ / 0-)

    and physical resources, then Capitalism lives on in every sociopath's heart. (A tear falls.)

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:10:37 PM PDT

  •  I'd say the myth of capitalism died (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terri, LaFeminista, Ultranaut

    Instead, capitalism has been revealed for what it always was: expropriation of collective wealth into private hands by way of the state ... also known as feudalism.

    Whoever screams the loudest gets to decide what color the sky is.

    by rf80412 on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:28:20 PM PDT

  •  My mom, recently... (9+ / 0-)

    ... told me she's just about "given up on capitalism."  She shocked my brother a few years back by announcing she's an atheist.  She's in her 80s and has 2 kinds of cancer, and all sorts of arthritis, too.  No time left for BS, I guess.

    You cannot save the Gulf. But you can make its death mean something. -- Crashing Vor

    by Land of Enchantment on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:30:31 PM PDT

  •  Marx's world disappeared in the 1900's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginislandsguy

    His theories all relate to manufacturing or farming -- few people in America do either.

    His ideas make for interesting thought exercises, but have no direct relationship to our knowledge-based Internet driven economy.

    Do you know anyone who makes hats or shoes?

    I make money completely with my mind.

    In the 1970's (the Mythical Man Month), we discovered that knowledge work, like computer programming, does not follow the same rules as unskilled labor.

    If you want to move more bricks, you hire more workers, but hiring more programmers/accountants/lawyers may actually slow down a project.

    Marx's theories only worked (poorly) in a world where everyone made or grew things.

    That world is long gone, and when it disappeared so did Marx's relevance to this world.  

    In the 21st century, everything is reducible to information -- not labor.

    •  One would suggest looking at the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LightintheShadows

      balance of trade this tends to favor those that produce. I think Marx is as irrelevant as capitalism, we are on a whole new playing field, I thought I made that clear

      Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

      by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 12:10:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think too many long for the "good old days" (0+ / 0-)

        where every one worked in factories. I think this is counter productive.

        I also think dreaming the world was different is not helpful.

        Life is like surfing, you do not alter the sea to fit your will, you just grab the next wave and hold on.

        I see too many people here fighting the waves.

        The world is as it is, and it is not changing.

        The trick is to understand the way the world actually works (not how you wish it would) and to use that understanding for your advantage.

        •  Information is labor (0+ / 0-)

          I create information by calculation and sell this data on.

          I wasn't dreaming I was looking at what is actually going on, re the final sentence, there was no wish list

          Just where we are going, who knows.

          Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

          by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 01:28:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What a solipsistic view of the world. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          churchylafemme, wilderness voice

          Life is like surfing, you do not alter the sea to fit your will, you just grab the next wave and hold on.

          I see too many people here fighting the waves.

          Just you and the waves out there, huh?  And since you're such a clever surfer, you're doing fine.  Fuck everybody who's drowning.

          The reason you see people around here "fighting the waves" is that some of us have empathy for other human beings and are determined to change an unjust and destructive system.

          With your haughty comments on this thread, you've earned another rendition of Propertarian Paradise:

          They've been spending most their lives
          Dreamin' of a Propertarian Paradise
          They've been spending most their lives
          Dreamin of a Propertarian Paradise
          They've been wasting most their lives
          Glorifying Ayn Rand's sick fantasy.
          They've been wasting most their days
          In remembrance of selfish John Galt's praise
          Tell me who of them will come to be
          How many of them are you and me

          Deregulation
          Privatization
          Financialization
          Disintegration
          Isolation
          Exploitation
          No taxation
          No relation
          No creation
          Just accumulation
          Confirmation.......to the evils of the world

          Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

          by goinsouth on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 06:30:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Try eating knowledge. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goinsouth, C Barr, LightintheShadows

      My point is that there is very little difference to the wage slave who works on the factory line in a beef processing plant and the guy at Wendy's who puts the patty in the bun: both have been proletarianized, both follow a C-M-C circuit rather than an M-C-M circuit, and in both cases the conditions of labor themselves create the possibility of an alternative.

      Marx is quite relevant to the 21st century - and beyond.

      No public option. Well, at least we are no longer in Iraq or Afghanistan...

      by Pierro Sraffa on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 02:09:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ah ha ha (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilderness voice

      In the 21st century, everything is reducible to information -- not labor.

      There is no such thing as a post-agricultural society.  You can't eat information.

  •  Anyway I have work to do (0+ / 0-)

    nobody else is going to do it.

    Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

    by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 12:16:30 AM PDT

  •  Capitalism is based on surplus value aka profit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goinsouth, C Barr, joedemocrat

    that certainly hasn't died..

    it isn't even sick unfortunately

    What makes capiitalism even more exploitaive of other systems of ecomonic inequality (eg skavery feudalism etc) -- is the central focus on profit.. Commodities themselves--including wage labor --  are now irrelevant except as a means to ac generating more profit..

    Yes Marx critiqued industrial capitalism and colonialism but that critique applies to our service-sector capitalism and neo-colonialism aka the global economy..

    Capitalism is insatiable and that is the seed of capitialims eventual destruction..It may well be that the envirnment will be the central factor in the demise as opposed to the some developing revolutionary consciousness among workers..

    I do hope the human fog of confusion lifts before the planet has had enough..

    "....while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." Eugene V. Debs

    by soothsayer99 on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 12:29:35 AM PDT

  •  Just curious (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, virginislandsguy

    Where do you get the data which say that global wealth concentration is increasing, i.e., that there is a growing gap between the richest and the rest of the world?

    I would be surprised to learn that this is true over any significant period of recent history, e.g., since the beginning of the 20th century, or even since WWII.

    On the contrary, I would expect to learn that global wealth distribution has become far less concentrated, on the whole, even if there are a small few hyper-rich individuals who deviate from that trend.

    And, within the United States in particular, I would expect to learn that, although in recent decades the middle class has stagnated or moved backwards relative to the richest population, the poorest have also moved up: i.e., there is much less poverty today than 50-100 years ago.

    Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf

    by dnta on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 01:02:08 AM PDT

    •  Since WWII (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jagger

      Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

      by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 01:24:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burrow owl, virginislandsguy

        This is an interesting paper, and I appreciate your substantive response.  But it doesn't actually get to the central point that I'm wondering about.  It focuses on "top" income shares, the very richest of various societies.  I'm more curious about wealth distribution beneath that top level.  In particular, I'm curious about reduction of poverty and rising standards of living for the lowest tiers, in relation to the higher -- but not necessarily highest -- tiers.

        The point is, I guess, if a small fraction of the population is becoming ridiculously rich, as seems to be the case, this may be of secondary importance compared with the bulk of the population, if the poorest segments are nevertheless moving up a bit.

        It's undoubtedly more complicated than this, but I'm curious about how this issue has been studied.

        Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf

        by dnta on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 01:32:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  here is an interesting discussion (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dnta

          that may answer some of that

          http://multinationalmonitor.org/...

          Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

          by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 01:42:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It doesn't. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            virginislandsguy

            It only focuses on relative measures, and not on the absolute measures that the commenter is interested in.  We rarely hear about absolute measures from lefty commenters, which raises the inference that people have become better off over time.

            •  Its all relative and depends where you are on (0+ / 0-)

              the chain, most of the US is in the upper tier, even those on unemployment benefits.

              The effects of capitalism are global and have nothing to do with selling your neighbor a chicken [re: top of comments section].

              Just stay away from my body and my rights, and everything will be just fine. ~LaFeminista Mon May 17, 2010

              by LaFeminista on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 04:25:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Poverty rates in recent history. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          C Barr, wilderness voice

          Poverty rates in the U. S. went down substantially in the 60s due to three factors:

          1. increased transfer payments, especially to those over 65;
          1. the War on Poverty;
          1. a strong economy.

          Since then, there has been no progress.  Poverty rates went down slightly during the 90s.  They have jumped up in every recession beginning in 1974.

          We're worse off now than at the end of the 60s.

          Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. - JM Keynes

          by goinsouth on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 06:21:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  excellent analysis... (3+ / 0-)
    and i fear that we may be too late to change anything.

    read the robert ludlam book "the matarese circle", (written in 1979), followed by the "apocalypse watch" (1995) and the final in the trilogy, "the matarese countdown" (1997).

    after reading the first one, i remember going "UH oh!" as he perfectly described the birth of the multinationals and what their affect on the world would be.

    in his follow-up novels, he extended his prescient view of the changing world and takeover by corporations with chilling results.

    truth in the guise of fiction - he was one of the first to warn us of what would happen by letting the corporations grow beyond control and regulation.

    what is the fix now?

    enforce the anti-trust laws vigorously.  REALLY break up the monopolies - not like the sham breakup of the bell system back in 1984.

    oh, anybody notice how the bells are once again merges into that amoeba that swallows all?  and the little indie phone companies have all been gobbled up by at&t, sprint and verizon?

    so much for choice!  (thank GOD for metropcs, t-mobile and the few out there who are trying to maintain success despite the larger sharks in the water!)

    while times were "good", i am afraid that WE dropped the ball by not paying close enough attention to elections - we let reagan get a foot in the door and then followed by the two bushes - disaster has possibly made america as we knew it as dead as the capitalism that never existed (except for a VERY brief time, long long ago)!

    MOVE'EM UP! ROLL'EM OUT... MOVE'EM UP RAWHIDE!!! meeeoooow! mrraaarrr!! meeeOOOOOW!

    by edrie on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 01:24:00 AM PDT

    •  my bad - apocolypse watch (0+ / 0-)
      was sequel to holcroft - been a few years since i've read them.

      planning to go back now. not looking forward to being depressed all over again!

      MOVE'EM UP! ROLL'EM OUT... MOVE'EM UP RAWHIDE!!! meeeoooow! mrraaarrr!! meeeOOOOOW!

      by edrie on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 01:30:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As it unfolds everything becomes clearer. (3+ / 0-)

    Be careful about the word freedom used by those seeking power or who are in power because it may be that the  definition of the word  'freedom' is not what many think it is.  

    It may be that to many in our corporate government 'freedom' is the freedom to take advantage of everyone that isn't 'them' and pass laws to make it legal to plunder.

    'Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.'

    'You need security to be free.'

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