Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Are job losses good?

If they’re productive jobs that help improve the lives of the majority of the public they certainly aren’t.
If they don’t benefit anyone except the business men that profit from them that may be a different story though.

Should we continue assuming that the Capitalist system is the most efficient when it eliminates teaching jobs that are needed for the lower and middle classes and creates advertising jobs to promote items that have little or no benefit to the public?

(This is a follow up entry on the previous entry titled “It’s the economy stupid…. Have the corporations created a capitalist cult?” found in the table of context link below)
If the capitalist system really is as good as people claim then a closer look should only confirm that; however it is clear that many jobs aren’t being created or are being eliminated that are beneficial like environmental protection jobs or educational jobs to help the lower or middle classes. Another problem is that the beliefs that the government is inefficient and should do as little as possible tend to be presented in a very selective way. When this means cutting programs for the poor it is often portrayed as wasteful but if the government spends money that bails out the corporations of helps them conduct business more effectively it is often done without complaint or much public comment. The biggest example is the military which is considered above reproach and is often used to fight wars that often seem to be more concerned with protecting the business interests of the multi-national corporations.

The government has also been used to break up strikes, subsidize the railroads in the nineteenth century and the internet in the twentieth as well as many other institutions then when they are profitable they have been handed over to the private sector. In fact the government has recently been used to protect the media domination of a handful of corporations when a few low budget companies tried to create micro radio stations that tried to compete with the incompetent radio stations that are no longer giving the public what they want. It seems that a closer look indicates the concerns about big government are only raised in a large manner when it is used to protect the majority from the corporations not the other way around.

As discussed in the previous post about the economy and other entries the current capitalist economic ideology was developed over the last couple hundred years through propaganda that was given to the public without much scrutiny from the opposing sides. When people of different beliefs tried to get their points of views across they were often demonized without addressing their arguments in a rational manner. This happened during the McCarthy era, when the American Protective League was active or even in the nineteenth century when there were lecturers talking about “Acres of Diamonds” and other speeches controlled by the upper classes. For the most part the ideology that has been presented to the public hasn’t been a fair one based on a rational discussion of the details of different ideologies therefore it would be unreasonable to assume that other beliefs have been discredited since they haven’t been addressed in a rational manner; however if they have been discredited in a rational manner as many capitalists claim then a second look should do so again and there is no reason not to take that second look.

Neither the Capitalist ideology nor the Communist ideology as they were practiced by the USA or the USSR has done what they claimed to do. In both cases those that control the system receive the majority of the benefits; while those who don’t control it, or in most cases even understand it, pay the price. A close look at the best details of each might help develop a better ideology that will benefit the majority instead of just those who control the message. In order to do this it will be necessary to educate the public about the details of both and allow them to understand and ratify the final product.

The Communist belief is that all people should be equal; the Declaration of Independence also says that “that all men are created equal”; this implies more in common between the two beliefs than many people have been led to believe based on the propaganda. One of the core beliefs of the communist ideology is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. This is worth considering on its own merits without demonizing it. The capitalist beliefs system doesn’t embrace this belief for some reasons that are at least partially reasonable. The basics of capitalism is that people who work hard should be rewarded based on the merits of their work. If they work harder and or if they have better skills they should be paid more which is reasonable. Unfortunately this isn’t always the way it works as many people seem to imply. The statement “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” seems to imply that those that need more should get what they need and those that can work harder should do so yet if this is put in practice many people may not bother to work too hard since the benefits of their work may go to those that need it more regardless of who works harder. So putting this belief in to practice without scrutiny won’t provide the incentive to work as hard as people can. Another way of interpreting this principle could be that since some people are accustomed to living with a certain life style their needs should be higher than those who are accustomed to living with less. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be dismissed in its entirety though; instead it should be considered carefully and interpreted in a rational manner when it fits. In some cases there may be many people that will work harder if they think the system will provide the benefits to themselves and society as a whole in a fair manner. Neither the Capitalist system nor the version of Communism implemented by Joseph Stalin has done this. In the case of Stalin and his collectivization programs he took the decision making out of the hands of the local farmers who had experience and incentive to work as efficiently as possible and put it into the hands of bureaucrats who knew little or nothing about the subject then tried to cut back on the benefits to those who did the work without any input from the people at the local level.

The capitalists in the USA and other counties rightfully criticized this but they didn’t point out the fact that this wasn’t what was intended by the people that developed the Communist ideology. It served their purpose to demonize this and say that this proves that communism doesn’t work. They continued to use strike breaking tactics that turned the lower classes against each other and keep wages down and they used the fear of war at various times to demonize Communism in a manner that didn’t look at the principles. The supporters of the capitalist system claim that free enterprise will provide the competition and incentive to encourage people to work as hard as they can. Presumably those that work the hardest make the most money. In practice this doesn’t work the way they claim though. The people that control the system routinely manipulate the public with their control of the system which enables them to use divide and rule tactics. The control of the system also enables them to prevent small businesses from starting up in many cases or drives them out of business. The competition has been eliminated in most industries leaving monopolies or oligopolies controlled by a small percentage of the public. No new business can hope to start up a department store that can compete with Wal-Mart or many other industry giants; these industry giants have enough power to manipulate the consumers and the workers as well as any small businesses that want to get started. This has turned into multinational corporations that often have more power than many third world countries and they also have much more political power with the people running the biggest countries.

This essentially means that the checks and balances that were intended in the constitution were eliminated by the consolidation of these corporations and the distortion of the only provides candidates that support this corrupt system. The capitalist system doesn’t provide incentive for many if any jobs unless they enable corporations to make a profit off of them. The exceptions that happen in the USA are not because they adhere strictly to the capitalist system; instead they are the cases where they make exceptions for reason or another. These exceptions have often been because of public support that overcame the capitalist ideology or in some cases it was done because the business community had something to gain from it. One example of this is when they found that they needed educated people to work in factories they supported education but only enough to benefit the business interests. Other improvements to the education system came because of public support often despite the objections of the politicians and the business leaders.
There are some cases where the best way of accomplishing the best results may involve cooperation by the government to do certain jobs that the private sector doesn’t do as well. The assumption shouldn’t be that we should automatically trust the private sector especially when there are so many examples of cases where the private sector is suppressing wages and destroying the environment without providing an adequate education for many of the lower and middle classes. The private sector doesn’t automatically provide necessary social programs for the poor and in the absence of these programs many social problems tend to get worse. When this happens there have often been many calls for building more prisons and standing up for Law and Order or fighting wars to protect our society. These are considered nonnegotiable yet they don’t work. There is an enormous amount of evidence to indicate that when governments in the past have addressed problems before they escalated by educating the public or addressing violence at an early age it can reduce crime in the long run. Some of the social programs that have been targeted for cut backs have been the most successful at reducing crime in the long run while the prisons that are considered above reproach waits until these problems are much worse and tends to be less effective. They lead to putting a much larger number of people in jail where they aren’t productive providing more cost to the public than the social programs that are being cut would have.

This doesn’t mean that many of the most violent people should be let out of jail since many of them continue to be a threat to society; however if the social programs were in place when they were children did their job in the first place they wouldn’t have become violent in the first place. This means that long term prevention programs need to be put in place before prison population can be reduced and violent offenders need to go through real rehabilitation programs before they should be released. The capitalist system doesn’t do this. The most effective way to accomplish this may be a public education program to teach members of the public about the most effective ways of raising children and social workers that provide direct help for the most at risk families. In the long run this will be much cheaper than maintaining the massive prison system that only treats the symptoms while ignoring the causes of these problems.

One of the most important things that the public needs is a good education in order to address the inequities in society. The current education system does very little to educate the public about many of the most important issues that affect our society including war. We have been taught that the USA has always been fighting for a good cause which most of us want to believe but unfortunately this is often not the case. Most if not all of the wars the USA has been involved in the past have included lies that often weren’t exposed until after the fact and even then they usually aren’t reported widely enough including in schools. This essentially leaves the majority of the public unprepared to hold the government accountable for the most important activities in our lives and present a serious and continuing threat to democracy. The biggest war controversy was of course Viet Nam. Most people are aware that there was a lot of controversy over it but they may not understand why. The war was supposed to be to defend democracy against communism; or at least that is the impression many people have been given. This impression is false. The USA set up a puppet regime that was loyal to the USA; with the support of the USA this regime decided to cancel elections when it was clear that they had little or no popular support; then when it was clear that they couldn’t gain any support a coup was carried out with the support of the USA and the CIA. From there it escalated into a war to suppress democracy in a country that didn’t want anything to do with the western world after living under colonialism under France. This country was no threat to the USA and most if not all the justification for the war was based on lies including the escalation that resulted from the gulf of Tonkin incident.

There are still many cases today where politicians consider the fact that they supported and in some cases even participated in this war to make them more qualified to hold office. There are also a lot of voters who believe this based on the assumption that the USA was on the right side of this war as well as every other one they participated in. If it was reported that politicians in Russia were promoting their participation in the invasion of Afghanistan in the eighties as a qualification there would be outrage in the USA and rightfully so. Yet when you consider the details it is clear that support of politicians who favored the war in Viet Nam it is essentially the same except for the propaganda that was given to the American public. This is just one of many examples where the public isn’t being told the truth about many foreign conflicts the USA has been involved in. This includes manipulations in Iran, Iraq, Congo, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, Chile and many other countries. These wars and participation in lower level conflicts weren’t done for much if any benefit for the public; instead they were fought mainly for the benefit of those in power. There is plenty of information available for those who take the trouble to figure out what is being reported from other more sincere sources, many of which I have included in the bibliography who often cite government documents or admissions that are not well reported but are undisputed.

There also needs to be more education about many other subjects including the civil rights movement and the fact that the vast majority of improvements haven’t been instigated by the government but by the people. In most history books and classes they usually teach that the politicians implemented many of the biggest changes in society; what they often fail to mention is the fact that they rarely ever do this unless there is a lot of pressure from the public. In fact more often than not only don’t the politicians implement these changes on their own but more often than not they initially resist them and agree to make them only when they realize it is in their own best political interest to do so. Many other authors including Howard Zinn and Martin Luther King Jr. have done a much better job explaining this to the public.

There also needs to be more efforts to educate the middle and lower classes in the most effective way possible. The current system doesn’t do this. The current system provides funding at the local level which guarantees that those that live in poor areas will have little money for quality education. These are the people that need it the most. The capitalist system claims that anyone can work their way up the class system but this is clearly not true and in order to change it there has to be more equal access to education. Depriving the poor of educational opportunity, for one reason or other, guarantees that they will be stuck in the lower classes from one generation to the next. The current use of copyright laws is also designed to benefit those that have the copyrights and often means that the poor can’t have access to many of the books or other educational material they need to address this problem. With current technology it is virtually free to make as many electronic copies of many books if the public has access to computers.

A change in the copyright laws could make much more information available to a much larger percentage of the public at virtually no extra cost.

The current system is inexcusable corporate welfare as Robert McChesney has indicated on several occasions. It is rare where anyone comes out and says that they want to deprive the poor of education so that they can manipulate them but there have been a few notable exceptions where people have done so or come close to saying this. The reason this isn’t discussed much is of course because that it doesn’t sound good to come out and say it if that is what you want so they usually do it without saying it or say it in a confusing way that can be interpreted differently. One of the most notable times where this was said was when Woodrow Wilson said "We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks." This was also stated or implied when they were trying to maintain slavery of the blacks or prevent them from obtaining their civil rights. They often tried to outlaw the education of blacks and when that didn’t work they often tried to accomplish the same goal in other ways by either preventing them from going to schools or having access to libraries. This is one of the things the civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther king, tried to overcome by educating the public. In some cases they indicated that the civil rights movements must be communist, for one reason or another, when they attempted to educate the poor.

They have also indicated that unions are communist when they attempt to stick up for workers rights. The implication is that it is communist or tyrannical to stand up for workers or students rights. In 1950 Illinois Representative Harold Velde, former FBI man and chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee, said “Educating Americans through means of the library service could bring about a change of their political attitude quicker than any other method. The basis of communism and socialistic influence is education of the people.” This statement was made in reference to the Mobile library service for poor people living in rural parts of the country. This took place during the height of McCarthyism when anti-communist propaganda was at its peak and efforts were being made to control the education process to make sure no one understood the truth about either communism or capitalism. This ended when Joseph Welch said “Senator McCarthy have you no sense of decency?” after this happened Senator McCarthy’s popularity ended and the rabid anti-communism slowed down but there was never any attempt to correct the beliefs drilled into the heads of the public by using intimidation and scare tactics. Many of the people that may have supported some aspects of communism didn’t push them and attempt to sort through the details to avoid starting the anti-communist witch hunts over again.

Reforming the education system and many other problems with democracy would be much more effective if we truly did have a free press instead of one controlled by the same corporations that corrupt the government. Robert McChesney has also reported extensively on this; other people that have written on this include Noam Chomsky, Ben Bagdikian, Erik Klinenberg and other people that work with McChesney at Free Press including Josh Silver and John Nichols. The current media system is far more concerned with ratings and selling advertising than with informing the public. In order to have a truly free press the people that are well informed about any given subject need to have an opportunity to get their message across to the public and the public needs to have a chance to express their concerns in a fair way. The current system doesn’t do this. By charging for the use of the air ways or requiring the Mass Media to give air time to others chosen by the public we could have a much more sincere reporting system. There also needs to be more investigation from journalism that holds the corporations and the government accountable about any given subject which the current system isn’t providing.

Another example is the protection of the environment. The current capitalist system doesn’t require the major corporations to pay as they go for the damage they do to the environment. This enables them to obtain profits by taking the resources from the land without restoring what they are taking as they go or worrying about how much pollution they cause in areas where the local populations have little or no political power. This is leading to the stripping of many of the forests and the polluting of the environment for many of the most desperate people around the world and it also leads to dealing with many dictators that allow the resources of their countries to be stripped for the benefit of the multi-national corporations and the profit of the dictator without providing any benefit to the local populations. In fact not only don’t they benefit from industries but they have their environments destroyed and their old ways of life are often destroyed leaving them in destitution. In one extreme memo (link to source below) that was disclosed to the public Lawrence Summers, former chief economist for the World Bank, said “Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]?” this was later explained as an attempt to be ironic and attempt a thought experiment, there were also claims that it may have been written by someone else in his name although I’ve heard no explanation why he didn’t immediately deny it in that case. If this was followed up by efforts to avoid global pollution it might be reasonable to assume that it was a thought experiment intended to lead to a solution; however that doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead this “ironic thought experiment” seems to have been turned into standard policy.

Even in the US the public can’t count on protection from the damage being done to the environment as recent coverage of the Gulf oil spill has indicated. A closer look at this coverage may indicate that in many ways the damage is even worse than what is being reported not just in the gulf but around the world. Most of the coverage about this disaster has been repeating the same things over and over again without elaborating or offering solutions but if you pay close enough attention there have been some hints of bigger problems. They had a brief reminder of the Exxon Valdez spill and the long term effect this has had to people in the area. Many people, including fisherman and other people without much political power, never received much if any compensation for the damage that was done twenty years ago and the environment still hasn’t fully recovered. The current spill is in a much more populated and more vulnerable area. Since there is more life of all kinds in the gulf than there is in Alaska there is more at risk. BP is already trying to avoid responsibility and if they do what Exxon did without opposition from the public they’ll succeed. Another problem that has been barely indicated in the coverage is the fact that there have been over 2,500 other oil spills.

This was mentioned briefly on CNN without elaborating on what time frame or where these spills were; nor did they say how big they were. The recent show on sixty minutes mentioned that their expert had experience in at least twenty other oil rig disasters. This implies that there are many more environmental disasters than the public is being informed about. The mass media has made a point of telling the public that the tar found on the Florida Keys isn’t chemically the same as the oil from the current disaster. This seems to imply that the public shouldn’t worry about the tar balls, which for all the public knows, might be from another environmental disaster that has received less attention. There should also be a better explanation about why there is so much oil that continues to leak into the gulf. The way it is being reported seems to indicate the spill is ongoing at a large rate; which when you consider some of the basic principles of the subject, doesn’t seem to make sense. The initial spill, which presumably involves a leak from the storage tanks or a tanker at the rig, is understandable and serious but they shouldn’t be continuing to pump oil into the gulf weeks later without some kind of failsafe to shut of the pump assuming it is being pumped. They didn’t explain what is causing the oil to continue to leak but basic hydraulics shouldn’t cause it to leak at a high rate unless there is something forcing the oil out. The fact that the oil is a little less dense should cause it to lowly leak without the help of a pump but this should be easy to shut down. If they explained the basics of the subject to the public it would be easier to understand this. Do they have a new high tech pump that continues to pump at a massive rate without a failsafe? Is that absurd conspiracy theory about using this to stop oil drilling true? This is hard to believe but they certainly are doing something wrong in the way they are handling the subject and reporting it which makes little or no sense at all.

This problem is certainly not limited to oil spills but it surely includes issues like deforestation and air pollution and much more. Without a better reporting system or other accountability system these disasters are guaranteed to continue going uncorrected until it is too late. There has already been way to much damage to the environment and not only is there little effort to fix the damage done in the past but there is little effort to prevent future disasters. If the multinational corporations are allowed to continue conducting business as usual then the whole world will have to pay the price for their profits and eventually it could lead to much more damage destroying civilization as we know it.

The capitalist system also doesn’t handle charity in a very efficient manner unless someone is making a profit out of it; and then the primary concern is often to make money not to conduct charity. There is much more talk about charity than there is actual effective charity that helps the poor or other worthy causes. In the current system many of the things that are done for charity do little if anything to directly help the cause they claim to be advocating. For example if there is a walk for hunger or something like this there is an enormous amount of effort for people to ask for sponsors, they make a lot of effort to go for a long walk and there is a lot of media coverage. None of these things directly help the cause. Yes they collect some money which is better than nothing but there have been other efforts to do the same thing that would be much more effective that have been shot down and demonized as socialism. It would be much more effective to collect money if the public could vote on whether or not a portion of their taxes could go for this cause or any other cause and they could be done with open books so that there could be scrutiny. This idea is often shot down by many of the same business interests that criticize all programs for the poor and often benefit from the desperation of the poor. If the poor are hungry and they have little or no unemployment insurance they are at a much worse bargaining position to negotiate for good wages which may be what the corporations want. Many of these social programs often reduce the dependency of the middle and lower classes on the institutions controlled by the upper classes. This enables the upper classes to use divide and rule tactics more effectively; which keeps the majority under the rule of the few. This doesn’t mean we should allow the poor to live on the dole without accountability but it could include a safety net that prevents excessive poverty and helps educate people that need retraining for new jobs when the economic system changes and some people are thrown out of work. For example this could include some programs that could retrain people for green jobs or teach people about cleaner energy like household solar panels or geo-transfer heating and cooling systems that don’t leave them dependent on the corporations. If more money that is spent on corporate subsidies, prisons and military was diverted to charity for effective causes that help the majority it would prevent many of the social problems that lead to crime wars and other much more expensive problems.

There could also be more done to provide financing for research on subjects that benefit the public. The current capitalist system doesn’t fund much research unless it is designed to help corporations make more money or to help the military fight wars and in some cases like the experiments done by Philip Zimbardo and Stanley Milgram study ways to maintain authority over the public. The choices for research projects are rarely as open as they should be to have the most positive affect. In many cases corporations often do their research in secret which means they often duplicate research some of which involves abusing animals. Peter A. Singer has looked into this and found that in many cases the research that has been done in secret wouldn’t pass ethical standards especially since in many cases it isn’t even done for important causes. In many cases research is done to develop cosmetics for profit but not done for other causes that may have more impact on the health of the majority of the public. If research was open to the public in a social system then there would be less ethical problems since they wouldn’t be done in secret and the researchers could share the information dramatically reducing redundancy.

The capitalist system also tends to create an enormous amount of jobs that do little or nothing to benefit the public; instead these jobs are created mainly because they enable the people that run the corporations to make more money. One of the most extreme examples is smoking which not only doesn’t benefit the public but it makes their lives much worse and eventually even kills them. This particular case started as a social activity that people thought was cool or something; when the tobacco companies realized this they created one of the most effective advertising campaigns ever to expand this impression so that many more people picked up the habit based on false assumptions. Then when it became clear that there wasn’t any benefit instead it was killing people they initially covered it up. There continues to be a massive effort to give the public a distorted image about the social and health implications of smoking for the profit of the tobacco corporations. This is just one example where advertising was used to create a market for something that didn’t have much if any value to the public.

Thanks to the Buckley v. Valeo ruling and the control over the major institutions that control the mass Media those with money have more rights to influence the system than people without money but more sincere intentions.

A good economic system should be based on input from everyone and it would encourage jobs that improve the quality of life. A common counter argument is that whether it is about smoking or eating fatty foods is that the public should have the right to choose for themselves. This is true; however in order to make rational choices they should have access to the information they need to make those choices; the people that claim the government shouldn’t mandate food labels, which may be more accurate, don’t seem to have objections if the corporations provide a distorted promotions of these products. There are many subjects where the public doesn’t have that information now. This includes the decisions to fight war make choices about the environment and many other things.

If there are a large amount of jobs eliminated because the public has access to accurate information to make their decisions and they decline to purchase products or services that they don’t benefit from in the long run this could actually help strengthen the economy for products and services that are worthwhile. If a job is eliminated in the tobacco industry and that person gets a more productive job then he may be doing something that brings profit to the business and provides a worth while service for the consumer. If the consumer needs this service then he will be less likely to stop purchasing it and the job will be more secure assuming there is a proper incentive system for everyone involved. Some jobs that might be reduced if the public was better informed about the subject include gambling, insurance, advertising weapons manufacturing etc. This could involve anything that society doesn’t receive as much benefit from as they’re led to believe. Gambling is one of the clearest examples which provide little no benefit for the consumer.

They claim it is for entertaining purposes but for many of the most devoted gamblers this clearly isn’t true; they do this because they want to win and they’re hooked. If they understood the fact that the gambling institutions have to rig the game in order to cover their expenses and make a profit they would be much less likely to continue gambling. Insurance works on the same principles as gambling only this is for a necessity. Health care and other benefits from insurance may be a necessity but the majority of the bureaucracy shouldn’t be. The more money insurance companies spend on advertising, lobbying, adjustments and other administrative costs plus profits the less there is available for health care. Every time you see a commercial for health care or any other type of insurance you should think of that as money that isn’t being returned to the consumer. It is virtually guaranteed that if we took a closer look at other systems run by other countries we would find they are such more efficient than the American system which is full of waste and massive profits for the insurance companies without providing nearly as good a deal for the consumer as they could and should. Insurance costs could probably be cut in half without reducing quality if it was reformed in an honest way.

The upper classes with an access to a good education have much better information available to them to make their choices including, in some cases, the education about subjects that involve manipulating the public. This includes political science, marketing research and some psychology courses. If the upper classes have the education about political science to manipulate the voters about politics and fiscal ideologies then they can control the votes of the masses against their wills. The same could be said for marketing to understand which way to present their products to the public in a manner to sell as many as possible. More often than not this involves deceiving the public one way or another. This could also include the research that Philip Zimbardo and Stanley Milgram did to understand obedience to authority. In all these cases the most effective way to overcome these deceptive tactics would involve educating the public about the manipulation tactics being used for one reason or another. This will enable them to recognize and avoid fraud in several forms.

The public hasn’t received an accurate impression about what socialism or communism is supposed to be about any more than the public in the USSR was given an accurate impression about what capitalism is about. In the USA this began in the nineteenth century if not earlier and escalated whenever communism appeared as if it might gain more support. Some of the people that advocated Communism claimed that there would be no need for violent revolution in the USA due to the fact that the USA allowed free speech and wouldn’t object to letting people review the ideology; unfortunately this hasn’t proven to be the case. Red scares escalated after WWI when the Russian revolution resulted in something that called itself communism. This led to the emotional attacks carried out by the American Protective League and censorship and harassment of people like Eugene Debs, Sacco and Vanzetti and others. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed for a crime which they may have been implicated for political reasons according to many people. Eugene Debs was put in jail for exercising his right to free speech during WWI. Red scares escalated again after WWII during McCarthyism. During McCarthyism they came up with a pamphlet called “One Hundred Things You Should Know About Communism” which was full of lies and distortions. A large percentage of the public was coerced into believing in the Capitalist system and hating the communist system without understanding either one of them. In both cases anyone who wanted to review the issues in a rational manner and educate the public about other ideologies was harassed, deprived of employment or suppressed in other ways and in the most extreme cases perhaps even murdered. If we are going to have a rational, fair and democratic system in place we should allow the free exchange of ideas whether we agree with them or not. In many cases the ideas many people believe in aren’t based on rational through but intimidation and manipulation tactics.

If one system or another is more worthwhile then a rational review will confirm that. If none of the existent ideologies is perfect then a rational review could lead to finding the best of multiple systems and coming up with the best one. This review wouldn’t mean allowing tyranny instead it would involve allowing the democracy and free exchange of ideas that we’re already supposed to have. This shouldn’t mean only that we have the freedom to agree with the powerful but no freedom to reform the system for the benefit of the majority. Contrary to what the anti-communist people claim Marx was never opposed to democracy; quite the opposite he thought we should have a democracy. Just because the USSR wasn’t democratic doesn’t mean that Marx wasn’t. In his Critique of the Gotha Program Marx said “Freedom consists in converting the state from an organ superimposed upon society into one completely subordinate to it.” This doesn’t mean that we should accept Marxism without scrutiny or assume that anyone who advocates democracy while out of power will back it up when they gain power but it does indicate that the public has been misled and should review what they’ve been told before coming to final conclusions.

The bottom line is that in a free democratic society the public should understand how the most important institutions are run and they should be able to make the most important decisions based on an accurate perception of reality not propaganda.

 Statement from Lawrence Summers and reviews from several sources:
To read the writings of Marx yourself and come to your own conclusions regardless of what the opponents or advocates claim see the following:
Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program:
The US Constitution:
Partial lists of oil spills, this doesn’t cover the vast majority of smaller spills which surely have an enormous cumulative effect nor does it cover other types of pollution:
One Hundred Things You Should Know About Communism pamphlet:
For Howard Zinn's commentary including reference to comment by Harold Velde:
(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

Zack, I could write several tomes that most of the public would never read on how "craptastic" the alleged environmental policy of today is. There is a horrible mish-mash of state and federal policies in the US which makes it almost impossible to make any forward progress at all. We have idiots bent on slashing the budget for the EPA, we have Superfund Cleanup sites which have been on that list for 20 years without a bit of progress being made towards cleaning them up. For God's sake we even have open pit uranium mines that were abandoned in the 1960s that have been open to the elements since long before they were abandoned.

In my experience, there are few people who care enough to object loudly enough to create a stink where the environment is concerned.

If there is no further deterioration to the environment, it will take another 100 years for the environmental damage from the Exxon Valdes spill to be recovered from. It will be at least that long with no further environmental damage before the damage from the Deepwater Horizons is mitigated as well. In the case of BP... they were told before that rig blew up (and it wasn't the only one... there was another offshore in Venezuela and one more somewhere else that I can't remember off the top of my head that exploded within days of the BP rig) that it would happen because they were using sub-standard materials to start with. They knew it was going to happen, they did nothing to prevent it. From where I am sitting they absolutely should not be able to "wiggle out" of their responsibility.

MrsRaptor April 16, 2011 01:30 PM

I don't understand most of what you wrote but I understand a few things very well. One of the things I have trouble with it is the capitalist mantra that pretends the harder you work, or the better you are, the more you'll be rewarded. If that's the case then why isn't a person who is smarter paid less than a person who isn't as smart but is equally accurate? Shouldn't a person who is physically smaller and in poor health earn more than someone stronger and healthier in the same position with the same output.

Isn't the weaker or less intelligent person working harder to produce the same results? If working harder or doing more is supposed to be more rewarding then why do people get degrees to earn more money while having easier jobs and working less hours? It's not like most colleges are private, they're publicly supported and the people working in them got publicly supported educations. Why don't businesses fully support the colleges if they need better educated employees?

It's a complete waste of my energy to go to work as a flunky and have some rocket scientist who knows nothing about the job people are doing move all the cheese while they're thinking outside the box and screwing everything up. They're the brilliant ones making the big bucks, I'm only compensated as well as the next flunky. I have no money to waste on housekeepers or gardeners. I'm not about to knock myself out trying to fix what I know won't work just so the brilliant boss can single handedly save the day and earn his just reward. I can't afford to waste a single drop of extra energy at work just to benefit my boss who can afford to hire everything done.

If I see work product is going to come out garbage it's not my job as a disposable to fix it. I do as I'm told, they can hire an outside consultant to come tell them where to put the cheese next month. I'm uneducated and lazy so I'm waiting for big strong Hank to bring frail winsome Dagny to save the day.

Perhaps they'll also figure out why cars are driving themselves and every other baby crib is under recall. I'ze jes cain't understand it myself but it don't make me no never mind. Our business and political leadership is a deadly combination of stupid and arrogant. At some point the reality will be that there isn't anyone left stupid enough to be used up and the whole thing will collapse. Morons, they're so arrogant they don't even know it. As they say in the South, they ain't got a lick o' sense. It's hard to believe people so dumb survive at all, I suppose being a sociopath makes up for a lot of things.

l'Heure Bleue April 16, 2011 01:40 PM

I can, only say I agree with l'Heure Bleue, except that I, most definitely, DO, understand, what You are saying.


markinjapan April 16, 2011 02:20 PM Mrs Raptor, I agree completely. We need to develop more clean energy and do much more to hold them accountable and make them pay for the damage they’ve already done. We can’t do that without election reform or something that will change the fact that they are corrupting the system. If we wait for it to escalate much longer it may already be too late. It isn’t even in their own best interest to continue business as usual but if they’re aloud to reform on their own they’ll do only as much as their own best interest requires.

l'Heure Bleue, The way the capitalist is supposed to work in theory is that those that work harder and get more results, which benefit society, are rewarded more for it; if it actually worked that way I shouldn’t object so much. One alternative theory is Marx’s “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This doesn’t provide as much incentive for those that work primarily for their own reward. I’m not opposed to a reasonable safety net especially when it comes to children but ideally I don’t think it should go too far. Some things can and should be done by a cooperative effort if they’re going to work best. The trick is to figure out which method works best where.

Thanks all

zacherydtaylor April 18, 2011 09:58 AM

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