Unregulated Capitalism Means, Some Shall Die! Or:

Posted on Sunday, 26th June 2011 @ 02:00 AM by Text Size A | A | A

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If we want government to take a strictly no rules, hands off position as advocated by the free market capitalists, the right-wing, the conservatives, the Tea Party partiers, the libertarians, and any number of others, then as my new old saw saws and to be true to its nature, unregulated capitalism ordains that some shall die.

The practice of pure free-market capitalism means some shall win and some shall lose (some shall garner all the honors, and some shall buy the booze), and some shall lose through no fault of their own, some will be born that way and some shall become disabled, and others will lose in ways indicating they do not have the individual ability to ever completely support themselves or their family. To survive, these folks will need help; they will also need the time to find the help, and crucially, they need the ability to sustain themselves while seeking and maybe even finding the help. The amoral world of nature doesn’t care about their survival, it would merely smile, shrug its shoulders and say – some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you.

The free-market capitalist’s mantra consists of saying to those at the bottom of the hierarchy, “you just don’t get to mandate that I provide you with a portion of earnings or any of my wealth”, or as economist Jeffrey Sachs elaborates, “There’s a libertarian streak, in the US especially, where people say, “Buddy, if you’re in trouble it’s your fault; don’t come to me for help.”

The free-market capitalist’s position seems so simple, and it all sounds more than reasonable, especially the “require” part, but absent an organized community (meaning governmental) assistance, those folks needing help also need time (which they don’t have) to find those willing to help. If they can’t, their deaths would not even be noticed in the amoral world of nature, nor perhaps in what some wrongly label the “moral’ world of free market laissez faire capitalism.

This time frame, this gap between the loss of a family’s income and replacing it, is crucial to capitalism’s predatory nature. However, human morality should not and (I hope) would not abide this level of callousness. We would not tolerate it in ourselves and should not tolerate it in others.

In today’s terms, many of those speaking from the right-wing misuse Darwin’s true meaning of “survival of the fittest” by being only too happy to use it to bolster Spencer’s intention to explain why the poor are, in fact, poor. In other words, why the poor aren’t fit to be rich.

In the manner currently used by some, “Survival of the fittest”, along with other three to five word phrases, operate as “calls to action” used to identify and rally other right-wing group members, and as a substitute for thinking for one’s self.

For many conservatives, “survival of the fittest” applies more to economics than to Darwinian natural selection. It has become their platitude of choice, readily used to clarify laissez-faire capitalism and the economics of worldwide class structure as recognized among those who believe as they do. Instead of being able to articulate theoretical economic differences, the phrase substitutes for thoughts they can neither formulate nor convey, and all performed for their appearing to deserve membership in the group of those who believe they can.

Therein, a secretive ideology conceals a belief that once all members of capitalist society grasp the benefits of (Ayn) Randian individualism (meaning all of those fit to be members of humanity by her definition), then those individuals unable to survive free market competition, or are unfit to survive, should for the benefit of the larger society, quit complaining, stop asking for hand-outs, and gladly and graciously find value in sacrificing themselves for those folks seemingly fit enough to survive.

In other words, in the name of individualism, or anti-collectivism, or anti-groupness, or anti-socialism, or anti-communism, these forsaken creatures at the bottom of the hierarchy, should surely understand their need to sacrifice themselves for the good of and the survival of, and the irony of, the fitness of the group claimed as more deserving.

Those making this sacrifice, meaning those doing the dying, ought to be proud of themselves for making the ultimate sacrifice as their personal donation to the group, but, (and this a really big ‘but’), without any relationship to any style or practice of “Social Darwinism”, thereby making it possible for those believing themselves to be more deserving and more skilled and more intelligent and bigger and stronger (meaning more evolutionarily adaptive) to live.

Objectivism, capitalism, and selfishness arrogate a higher sense of morality by claiming the lives of those folks as their dying donation to the arrogant, complete with the dying, having little or no say in the choice of their own caste. Those deaths allow those remaining to survive and flourish until the next round of layoffs.

The Randian capitalist believes that those about to die (with no salute for Caesar) should accept their fate with a sense of prideful contribution to the survivors. Even though capitalism claims to benefit individuals, here, and with great irony, the benefit from this hecatomb flows to the group. As in the short story and one-act play “The Lottery”, those chosen to die mean to do so quietly and gladly.

Idealistically, and post privatization, a warped sense of morality claims the lives of those unable to survive the capitalist time gap between layoff and re-employment. However, with a casual conviction, the laissez-faire right-wing, of course believes the private sector will save the day by creating many more NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and minister to the poor. In other words, the libertarian sector believes these deaths, or better yet, the potential for these deaths, can actually serve society by fostering bleeding heart liberalism as a growth industry; and they know it is among the secrets allowing the conservatives to avoid acknowledging the deaths to be a part of pure capitalism. Thus they are able to use the bleeding hearts as an example of non-profits filling a void justly created by the profit-serving capitalists.

In years past, back when rectal cranial inversion ruled, Ayn Rand had me convinced altruism was actually a social disease; now, with my head removed from the sand or some place equally as dark, I believe that free market, laissez-faire Capitalism does not work, at least not as now misunderstood and employed, and certainly not as desired and defined by our most compassionate (meaning kinder and gentler) right-wing conservatives. It doesn’t work because the participants have never expected long-term reciprocation. Capitalism won’t work because humans are moral beings.

Fortunately, natural scientists have used reciprocal altruism to establish a goodly number of dismal conclusions regarding human behavior during the last thirty or forty years. Unfortunately, our economists and especially our talk show hosts have managed to deftly avoid these studies so their own Friedmaniac/Randian conclusions can remain intact.

I believe reciprocal capitalism is closer to what Adam Smith really meant, for it speaks to the longer view of the market place, including an expectation of self and community benefit by virtue of reciprocity and coöperation. As Smith said, “To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.”

I don’t believe Adam Smith meant what capitalism has come to mean (a kind of greed is good, winning through intimidation, privatized economic anarchy); and as employed by some of the current crop of economists and by extension, their academically trained team of sycophants, the Wall Street MBAs.

I use reciprocal capitalism to indicate the ease with which reciprocity applies to economics (by stimulating long-term non-zero sum results) while showing its necessity for the survival of our species. Moreover, the appearances of strength contained within the blessings of short-term profit, are actually capitalism’s weakness.

Except for arguable minor differences, the labels and meanings of reciprocal capitalism and evolutionary psychology’s reciprocal altruism, mostly amount to the same. In any case, my preferred sobriquet, reciprocal capitalism, can so easily be used to explain the current economic crisis, the mortgage crisis, the real problems subverting Randian/Friedmaniacian//Reaganesque free market economics; how the aforementioned stylish free market economics contributed to our treating humans as quantifiable entities, and how the quantifying intimately conjoined with privatization. (But, that’s another story.)

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