Capitalism

Fri
31
Mar

David Rockefeller: An Alternative Obituary

by Erik Wallenberg
Jacobin
March 31, 2017

As a child growing up in a mansion on 54th Street in Manhattan, David Rockefeller remembered roller-skating with his siblings down Fifth Avenue trailed by a limousine in case they got tired. Rockefeller and his family, which included billionaires and politicians at all levels of government, spent a lifetime ensconced in this kind of luxury. At the time of his death on March 20, Forbes estimated that the 101-year-old Rockefeller’s investments in real estate, share of family trusts, and other holdings stood at $3.3 billion.

Tue
20
Dec

Why Capitalism Creates Pointless Jobs

By David Graeber

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that technology would have advanced sufficiently by century’s end that countries like Great Britain or the United States would achieve a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

Fri
21
Oct

Capitalism Is Doomed — Without Alternatives, So Are We

by Jake Johnson
Common Dreams
October 21, 2016

In 1946, George Orwell pondered the fragility of the capitalist order.

Reviewing the work of the influential theorist James Burnham, Orwell presaged several concepts that would later form the groundwork for his best-known novel, 1984.

In his book The Managerial Revolution, Burnham envisioned, as Orwell put it, "a new kind of planned, centralised society which will be neither capitalist nor, in any accepted sense of the word, democratic. The rulers of this new society will be the people who effectively control the means of production."

"The real question," Orwell adds, "is not whether the people who wipe their boots on us during the next fifty years are to be called managers, bureaucrats, or politicians: the question is whether capitalism, now obviously doomed, is to give way to oligarchy or to true democracy."

Fri
26
Aug

The Wages for Housework Campaign and ‘Women’s Work’ Under Capitalism

By Rebecca Winter and Jasmina Brankovich
Australia

“Why has woman’s work never been of any account? […] Because those who want to emancipate mankind [sic] have not included woman in their dream of emancipation, and consider it beneath their superior masculine dignity to think “of those kitchen arrangements,” which they have rayed on the shoulders of that drudge-woman.[…]Let us fully understand that a revolution, intoxicated with the beautiful words Liberty, Equality, Solidarity would not be a revolution if it maintained slavery at home. Half of humanity subjected to the slavery of the hearth would still have to rebel against the other half” – Peter Kropotkin (1).

Thu
25
Aug

Most Welfare Dollars Go To Poverty Pimps

Twenty years after President Bill Clinton fulfilled his vow to “end welfare as we know it,” it’s fair to say: mission accomplished. The old U.S. welfare system is dead. Whether the system that replaced it is better for the poorest Americans remains the subject of fierce debate.

The welfare reform bill that Clinton signed into law 20 years ago this month fractured the U.S. welfare system, from one managed mostly by the federal government to one largely directed by individual states. As each state became empowered to spend its welfare grant as it saw fit, one monolithic system devolved into 50 different ones — with far less money going directly to low-income families.

Thu
11
Aug

An Illustrated Guide to Guy Debord’s ‘The Society of the Spectacle’

by Tiernan Morgan & Lauren Purje
August 10, 2016

Guy Debord’s (1931–1994) best-known work, La société du spectacle (The Society of the Spectacle) (1967), is a polemical and prescient indictment of our image-saturated consumer culture. The book examines the “Spectacle,” Debord’s term for the everyday manifestation of capitalist-driven phenomena; advertising, television, film, and celebrity.

Mon
25
Jul

America's broken digital copyright law is about to be challenged in court

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit on Thursday that American copyright wonks, technologists and security researchers have been hotly awaiting for nearly 20 years.

If they succeed, one of America’s most controversial technology laws will be struck down, and countries all over the world who have been pressured by the US trade representative to adopt this American rule will have to figure out whether they’ll still enforce it, even after the US has given up on it.

The rule is section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, the “anti-circumvention” rule that makes it illegal to break an “access control” for copyrighted works. These “access controls” often manifest as “digital rights management” (DRM), and the DMCA gives them unique standing in law.

Fri
15
Jan

Ultra-Rich 'Philanthrocapitalist' Class Undermining Global Democracy

by Sarah Lazare
January 15, 2016
by Common Dreams

From Warren Buffett to Bill Gates, it is no secret that the ultra-rich philanthropist class has an over-sized influence in shaping global politics and policies.

And a study (pdf) just out from the Global Policy Forum, an international watchdog group, makes the case that powerful philanthropic foundations—under the control of wealthy individuals—are actively undermining governments and inappropriately setting the agenda for international bodies like the United Nations.

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