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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Karl Marx --- And the Wall Street Journal?

There is what I think to be a pretty good, if brief and fairly light article in none other than Right Wing-owned, Rupert Murdoch's own Wall Street Journal, describing where America and Americans are today, financially and socially:

Seeing it, I was pretty stunned.

It recognizes that America's middle class is struggling, shrinking, in fact, along with what got us here, where it stands in history and what we should maybe do to correct our financial, national problems. It begins with this sub-line heading:

Over the past few decades, the Western World has increasingly become a society of "have lesses," if not yet of "have nots." 

They already had me right there, just with that opening, recognizing that the middle-, lower- and working-classes were being crushed with our economic system in that business-supporting rag. But then they go on to outdo themselves:

If Western countries want to disprove the dire forecasts of Karl Marx, we must think creatively about how to make the middle class more prosperous and secure.

Karl Marx

They had me at "Karl Marx."

Some of the article:

In the U.S. and Britain, the percentage of citizens owning stocks or houses is well down from the late 1980s. In Britain, the average age for buying a first home is now 31 (and many more people than before depend on “the bank of Mom and Dad” to help them do so). In the mid-’80s, it was 27. My own children, who started work in London in the last two years, earn a little less, in real terms, than I did when I began in 1979, yet house prices are 15 times higher. We have become a society of “have lesses,” if not yet of “have nots.”

In a few lines of work, earnings have shot forward. In 1982, only seven U.K. financial executives were receiving six-figure salaries. Today, tens of thousands are (an enormous increase, even allowing for inflation). The situation is very different for the middle-ranking civil servant, attorney, doctor, teacher or small-business owner. Many middle-class families now depend absolutely on the income of both parents in a way that was unusual even as late as the 1980s...

The author asks an important question, an extremely important one;

What is the use of capitalism if its rewards go to the few and its risks are dumped on the many?

And here is where the under-rated, discounted and even disregarded, if brilliant Karl Marx comes in:

Where might one find a useful analysis of what is happening today in the market democracies of the West? How about this: “The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the bourgeoisie.”

Or this: “Modern bourgeois society…is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the power of the nether world which he has called up by his spells.” 

Or this: “The productive forces no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property: on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions…[and] they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property.”

The celebrated bearded communists had argued that capitalism would reduce all of society to only two classes: the prosperous bourgeoisie, who owned the capital, and the impoverished proletariat, who contributed their labor.

Who, today, is able to say this isn't precisely what's happening and what's been happening here in America? Who can honestly deny this? It's incontrovertible.

Is that not what's been happening in the last at least 30 years? I can't count the number of articles and news segments pointing out how the "people at the top", the "1%", with hedge fund managers as the best example, have been getting many more millions upon millions of dollars and wealth and riches while, again, the middle-, lower- and working classes have seen their costs escalate but wages stagnate---shrink, in fact.

And here is where the article and the Pope's visit, this week, to our shores coincidentally converge:

The relationship between money and morality, on which the middle-class order depends, has been seriously compromised over the past decade.

I'm not advocating Communism here by any means. While I think Karl Marx was correct in his writing, I also know Mr. Marx didn't take into account the human factors, especially the factor of just sheer greed, let alone the love of power. Communism would only work in a perfect world. Would that we were so lucky.

But the fact is, what we have going on in America now and what we've had doing on financially, fiscally and economically is precisely what Karl Marx and Friederich Engels described in their famous-through-the-ages "The Communist Manifesto."

The author of the article ends it very well and correctly:

...Marx did have an insight about the disproportionate power of the ownership of capital. The owner of capital decides where money goes, whereas the people who sell only their labor lack that power. This makes it hard for society to be shaped in their interests. In recent years, that disproportion has reached destructive levels, so if we don’t want to be a Marxist society, we need to put it right.

What we need to do as a nation, through our government is get our government back for the people. We have to end the Supreme Court's Citizen United ruling and end campaign contributions--both--so we can then begin to put back into place the simplest of rules to keep corporations and the already-wealthy, and the greedy and power-hungry among them, from crushing these 3 classes (middle, lower and working) with rules and government that only works for them.

We have to get the government back for the people.

Links:  Believe it or not: Karl Marx is making a comeback

Marx Was Right: Five Ways Karl Marx Predicted 2014

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