Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dictatorship and Other Hazards of Capitalism

The great thing about this depression recession is that a lot of people are finally paying attention to this thing called capitalism as it really is, not as fabled. Indeed, we're all discovering that, for a small-d democratic country, we sure have and encourage a lot of capitalist dictatorship in our society.

We go through these slick marketing political campaigns every four years in which we wonder whether we like the preacher of a man who, come down to it, can't really feed our family, any more than he can stop teenagers from getting pregnant or help us reach our healthiest BMI level. Yet we surrender every personal right to an unelected individual who can tell us in precise detail what we must and must not do for most of our waking hours: our boss.

Who is our boss answerable to? Ultimately, some "chief executive officer." And the CEO? To a board of directors. And the board? To the stockholders. And all of them together? To a misty legal fog designed, essentially, to make sure that them who've got keep getting more.

You have free speech in the public park, but not at the business meeting or in the lunch room (try organizing a union there). Your boss doesn't legally have to give you a vacation or paid sick leave. Or a raise. Or pay you more than $6.15 an hour. If you don't like it, you can starve.

We don't elect these people. We have no say in how they run things. They have power just because.
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