Kind and Cruel Capitalism and Governments
From 1945 through till 1980, the West – Europe and North America – experienced a Golden Age when Societies and Economies were rebuilt, and economics were good. Even music flourished in a renaissance, and the weather was also pretty favourable.
The kind of Capitalism which we in the West experienced then was a caring, sharing, benevolent Capitalism. A large percent of the value-added in the production process went to the workers, and a smaller share went to the rich – the owners of the business.
One must note that before 1945, the West had a rapacious form of Capitalism, where the major percentage of the value-added – even up to 99% – went to the owners. That rapacious form of Capitalism has always held sway in the Third World – the benevolent type has never ever appeared.
Simultaneously with this Kind Capitalism in the West during 1945-1980, the world as a whole (well not quite!) had Kind Governments – the job of Governments was to assist, subsidize and provide for the People, the Citizenry.
Now jump to 2011 – what do we have? Cruel Capitalism and also at the same time Cruel Governments. Capitalism is intent on hunting down the lowest paid labour, moving factories and all kinds of production and services offshore. Maximising shareholder profit (actually – they are maximising the take-out of the top Management – the shareholders also usually get cheated), at the expense of suppliers, customers, and (especially) workers. At the same time, Governments have been moving taxation away from companies and corporations and towards individuals and citizens. The result? – we have created a class of ultra-rich, we have decimated or eliminated the middle class, and the poor have gotten even poorer. This is very visible in both America and Britain – who are at the forefront of this Economic Reform Program.
As examples, in the 1960’s a higher-level worker would not have to have his wife working – she could stay at home. That luxury no longer exists. In the 1980s, a car worker was a well-off guy – once again, no more.
Looking at cruel governments – they are rolling back state pensions, unemployment and social benefit/ welfare payments, while allowing the rich as usual to avoid taxation. They have sold off state assets (Gordon Brown’s sale of State Gold Reserves at a historically low price has to be the ultimate example of pandering to private interests), and privatized almost everything which can be privatized. The result of privatization in the UK – services got worse and much more expensive. But the complicit and compliant media kept beating that privatization drum!
There have even been attempts by the Establishment and the Media to create a Culture of Cruelty – in the UK one can see this with TV shows such as Big Brother, the Weakest Link and Dragons Den – Cruel people are rich and successful. Kind people are poor and failures.
So – what next?
Let us be brave and visionary – it is the correct time in history to signal a Return to Kind Capitalism and to Kind Government.
How do we do this? With great difficulty. Very few important changes in world history have been achieved without blood, sweat and tears.
Do we intend to kill Capitalism? No – it can bring so many benefits. Do we intend to tame Capitalism? Yes. A domesticated animal can bring so many more benefits to mankind than a wild animal – the same with Capitalism.
Is this a campaign for the West Only? Never – this is a Global Campaign and a Global Movement. Kind Capitalism and Kind Government are essential throughout every country.
Alex Weir, Gaborone, Botswana, Afrika.
Thursday 23 June 2011