Representative Government is Dead — Long Live Capitalism

The Flat Tower (on the left) — 2nd Place, 2011 Skyscraper Competition

The extraordinary structure above doesn’t exist yet, but the proposal to build the aptly-named Flat Tower recently took second place in an annual architectural design competition put on by eVolo — a highly respected architecture and design journal “focused on technological advances, sustainability, and innovative design for the 21st Century.”

Both the proposed building and people who brought us this competition are prime examples of how capitalism is helping pave the way towards a better world.  However, most of us know all too well that capitalism and our “democracy” both have a dark side far uglier than its polite to speak of in public.

For decades, the elites in this country have pulled the strings of government while the middle and lower classes do all the work.  Now they have declared outright war on the 95% of society who make their lavish existences possible, with their puppets attempting to enact all sorts of outlandish laws.  Desperate measures perpetrated by tragic fools, squealing as their control over the populace slowly fades away.

In Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest, people are finding the courage to stand up and voice their opinions against government policies which cater to the rich and powerful.  Even as most mainstream news organizations continue perpetrating falsehoods about the ongoing battles, the truth is getting out; more and more of us are learning the dirty little secrets our lawmakers don’t want us to know.  Here’s a prime example:

Really Bad Reporting in Wisconsin: Who ‘Contributes’ to Public Workers’ Pensions?

“When it comes to improving public understanding of tax policy, nothing has been more troubling than the deeply flawed coverage of the Wisconsin state employees’ fight over collective bargaining.

Economic nonsense is being reported as fact in most of the news reports on the Wisconsin dispute, the product of a breakdown of skepticism among journalists multiplied by their lack of understanding of basic economic principles.

Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to “contribute more” to their pension and health insurance plans.

Accepting Gov. Walker’ s assertions as fact, and failing to check, created the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not.

Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin’ s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers…

Gov. Walker says that he wants them to “contribute more” via deductions from their paychecks. But since the workers already contribute 100 percent of the money going to the pension plan the real issue is changing the accounting for this to reduce cash wages…”

State employees, who pay dues to belong to a union, are fighting to keep the state from robbing their pension funds in order to pay for wealthy tax cuts and entitlement programs they are exempted from due to their pension (like social security, which many of the “wealthy” still collect with impunity.)

While many are still lost justifying and attempting to follow ever-changing partisan lines, others have seen past the mirage and figured out how to fight back.  Civil protests and involvement with local government are important ways to combat this insanity, but they are not the only ones necessary if we are to finally achieve victory in this so-called “class warfare.”

Far and away the most effective tool for transforming our government is oneself, through the remarkable vehicle of capitalism–where true freedom and democracy reign supreme.

Let’s take, for instance, the ongoing battle in my home state of Montana over the “medical marijuana” law which has been around since 2004.  Roughly 30,000 Montanans now have state-issued cannabis licenses while the industries surrounding the medicinal herb have become worth billions practically overnight, prompting certain “representatives” to push legislation which would overturn the voter-passed referendum completely.  Something which has never been done before, perhaps for obvious reasons..

Thankfully, Montana’s honorable Governor Schweitzer is intelligent and strong-willed enough not to let this happen while he is in office.  He and a growing list of other politicians are no longer blind to the economic and medical benefits of this remarkable plant.  Although there are much bigger games being played with our lives and freedoms here, in other states and at a federal level.

If the Feds Get Their Way, Big Pharma Could Sell Pot — But Your Dime Bag Would Still Send You to Jail

“..It’s not public pressure that’s motivating the agency to consider rescheduling an organic cannabinoid for the first time since the creation of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act of 1970. (Under this act, all prescription drugs are classified as schedule II, III, IV, or IV controlled substances, while all illicit substances are categorized as schedule I drugs.) And it’s not the recent publication of a series of FDA-approved “gold standard” clinical trials affirming the plant’s safety and efficacy that’s prompting the agency into action. (The DEA has so far refused to acknowledge these studies even exist.) Rather, the agency’s sudden call for regulatory change is inspired by far more politically influential forces: The DEA is responding to the demands of Big Pharma. (emphasis is mine)

Rescheduling ‘Dronabinol’

The DEA initially made public its desire to recognize the use of marijuana plant-derived pharmaceuticals in a “notice of proposed rulemaking,” which appeared in the November 1, 2010 edition of the Federal Register.

The agency posted, “This proposed rule is issued by the Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to modify the listing of the Marinol formulation in schedule III so that certain generic drug products are also included in that listing.” (Marinol is the brand name for dronabinol, a prescription pill approved by the FDA in the mid-’80s that consists of synthetic THC in sesame oil and is encapsulated in a soft gelatin capsule.)…”

This effectively means the DEA wants to treat all synthetic and/or patented forms of THC as schedule III (relatively safe and unregulated) pharmaceuticals, while the actual plant itself is still treated as a schedule I (deadly and highly illegal) narcotic.  Pharmaceutical companies would stand to rake in billions, eventually trillions of dollars; while the public goes further into debt propping up these 21st century snake oil salesmen.  Not to mention all the lives shattered in an ugly, futile and pathetically manufactured drug war.

But none of this is likely to happen, because thankfully our capitalist system is not limited only to producing the blood-sucking corporations we know and loathe all to well.  Small businesses still provide the real economic backbone in this country, while even some large corporations popular today are leading the way towards a values-led society.

Humanity, not greed, is the true driver of capitalism.  Or, rather, it is a more effective driver of capitalism.

Ben & Jerry’s is one prominent example of what a corporation can actually do.  Their book, “Ben & Jerry’s Double-Dip: How to Run a Values-Led Business and Make Money, Too”, does a great job of explaining why and how they have gotten into the position they enjoy today.  I would recommend it very highly for anyone interested in starting or developing a successful, values-led business.

On a local level, in my particular community of Missoula, MT; there are a number of examples of small businesses who have become successful not in spite of their values like conventional business “wisdom” would suggest–but, precisely because they have taken a values-led approach to doing business and customers continue to show their appreciation.  Just like what Ben and Jerry explain happened with their little business venture.

This type of intelligent behavior frightens those who count most on society’s ignorance for their gluttony, but it is becoming commonplace all over the country.  People are using the internet and other various forms of social media to learn about the companies they do business with; making more enlightened decisions and helping develop sustainable culture along the way.

Capitalism continues leading the way towards a more enlightened, more sustainable society with every intelligent decision we make as consumers.

Being far and away the most potent naturally occurring energy source (by weight and volume) known to man, petroleum’s relative value is hard to compared with natural gas, coal or alternative energy sources.  Exactly when does it become no longer cost-effective to keep sucking every last drop of petroleum out of the ground?  A whole lot of careers are currently hinging on this precarious question, which many would argue the answer to is simply never.

If all energy sources were created equal, there would be a very simple and logical answer to this question.  But one gallon of high-grade petroleum is not even remotely equivalent to any amount of “clean coal” or corn ethanol.  As this commodity becomes more scarce, it becomes worth a whole lot more money (and, presumably, dirty energy) to suck it out of the earth.  The extraction of petroleum is quickly becoming a much bigger environmental threat than burning it could ever be, yet it is happening with virtually no press coverage or oversight from any governmental agencies.

The recent BP disaster in the Gulf has obviously received a lot of press coverage, but very few articles I have run across mention the fact that these types of accidents are bound to become more commonplace as oil companies push the boundaries of what is “possible” in order to obtain this precious fuel.  Wells get deeper and/or further offshore, risks get bigger and energy requirements continue to increase exponentially.  But the demand never seems to waiver; there will always be willing buyers in the foreseeable future, regardless of any so-called price.

The underlying point is that our government and its laws do not act on the behalf of the citizens.  We live in a truly capitalist society, where profit-driven corporations have been writing and championing legislation beneficial to their bottom lines since before any of us were even born.

The real problem, in my opinion, is we have been taught to think representative government can actually function as a democracy.  The true inner-workings of our government are much tougher to swallow than the fairy tales we were taught in high school and can still hear all over the television today.

Although for those of us willing to take a good, hard look in the mirror there are plenty of useful tools now available to help us understand and take charge of this beast we call capitalism.


One Response to Representative Government is Dead — Long Live Capitalism

  1. Pingback: Representative Government is Dead — Long Live Capitalism | Abel Williams

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