We Are All Commodities Now, or The Catastrophe of Laissez Faire Capitalism

The great Chris Hedges writes:

Corporations have captured every major institution, including the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government, and deformed them to exclusively serve the demands of the market. They have, in the process, demolished civil society. Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation warned that without heavy government regulation and oversight, unfettered and unregulated capitalism degenerates into a Mafia capitalism and a Mafia political system. A self-regulating market, Polanyi writes, turns human beings and the natural environment into commodities. This ensures the destruction of both society and the natural environment.

I love Polanyi! A great Marxist thinker, and like Marx himself, his analysis of capitalism is on it.

The 99% is a commodity now? Yes! No way is this going to work. Societies like this one die badly.

6 Comments

Filed under Capitalism, Economics, Government, Left, Marxism

6 responses to “We Are All Commodities Now, or The Catastrophe of Laissez Faire Capitalism

  1. I wish you allowed people to express capitalist ideas on your blog. Posts like these make me want to discuss your economic attitudes, but I don’t think you would allow it.

    • Yeah you cannot really cheer for laissez faire capitalism on here. You can support capitalism with social liberalism or social democracy or a mixed economy, or market socialism or socialism with a market or Socialism with Chinese Characteristics like in China, but laissez faire, Hell no, I ban on that.

  2. SHI

    How do you view France’s 75% millionaire tax aimed at the super rich, sports athletes, celebrities and corporation elites – as part of Francois Hollande’s “soak the rich” campaign? This has caused the flight of actors like Gerard Depardieu to Russia, led to nationalization of Arcelor-Mittal steel operations owned by Indian billionaire tycoon Lakshmi Mittal. The state’s share of the economy stands at 55%.

    France is more commie than the erstwhile Soviet Russia! But there are some advantages living there:

    1. Excellent public transport – It doesn’t cost you too much travelling anywhere in France thanks to their well laid network of metro trains, suburban transit and trolleybuses. Car ownership is quite low.

    2. The food – yes, good food (and wine) is available pretty cheap. None of the fancy stuff which French export elsewhere but for less than €5-10 a meal, it’s possible to eat and drink in a good restaurant. Supermarket stuff is even cheaper and high quality.

    3. Shorter working hours – They only work 33 hours a week. The ones who’re really hard-working may clock 40-45 hours. That’s it. This means more time to enjoy leisure activities.

    4. Longer duration of paid vacations – Anything between 2 to 3 weeks is mandatory. People usually take unofficial vacations which could extend a week or two longer..

    5. Education is free or nearly free up to graduation. No hefty student loans. The tuition varies from €150 to €700 depending on the university and the different levels of education. (licence, master, doctorate). One can therefore get a Master’s degree (in 5 years) for about €750-3,500.

  3. Sam

    The US is trickle up economics.

  4. Jason Y

    Marx said something like “What we have here is ‘dictatorship of the capital.””

  5. I might probably add crony capitalism makes it worse, as those who value markets use government for the ends of trying to “marketize” everything, thereby serving their own ends. This is not to suggest we do not need as little government as libertarians would like, however (I believe regulation is often necessary to ensure a fair and just society, even though too much can also be crippling; more though it’s the manipulation of regulations by corprorate interests that are the worst). Nor is it to suggest the “marketization” of society could happen without government involvement; its just easier to force compliance on an unwilling society when you have laws, the state education system etc. to back you up.

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