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Personal Decisions, Global Catastrophes: Capitalism is Not Inherently Friendly to Human Life

For the past few years, I’ve been coming back to this idea about the danger of treating self-replicating, amoral systems as if they were a fit substitute for governance. The people who defend these systems imbue them with non-existant ethical faculties as if ethical choices were a consequence of their design, rather than a conscience decision to fight for ethical outcomes by people within the system.

Primarily, I am talking about Capitalism. Capitalism is treated as if it were a universal good, as if it could self-regulate or consistently reward individuals for moral or ethical behavior and has been firmly established as the international religion by the only people holding the megaphone. Anyone who questions the “Free Market” isn’t a serious thinker, is fringe, an extremist. Capitalism only works, they explain, when absolutely no restrictions are put upon it or the people who wield it.

This belies the fact that we already check the reach of Capitalism. We put a lower bound on the amount of time a product can take to kill someone. We attempt to hold companies responsible for their actions, and too often we fail dismally. We each accept increasing personal irrelevance on the world stage because a group of billionaires want to strip mine every continent on the planet and retreat to their private islands when the world collapses.

Very few of them are twirling mustaches and stroking cats, but they have been taught to expect that if they want to make money off of it, and it doesn’t kill too many white, able-bodied, straight men with social security numbers people should just mind their own business. These individual choices aggregate; those with power in this system can make their own guilt diffuse and remote enough to squash, abetted by an industry that exists to tell them that they are under attack for their “success” and deserve every ounce of profit they can wring from this life, no matter the collateral damage.

The mouthpieces of unregulated capitalism can wrap themselves in the justifications provided to them by conservative think tanks and convince themselves they have no choice but to place their own self-interest above the safety and health of the nation. That they have no choice, for example, but to reject a bill that would fund after school programs because it would raise their taxes ever so slightly and Damn it, they deserve nice things/have private boarding school fees to pay/need to live in a nice house and believe they are more worthy of investment than poor children, that their luxury is worth the destruction of the safety net the “very poor” rely on. Each of these people can think of themselves as good people as long as they “give a little back” while dispassionately placing their foot on the necks of everyone not deemed worthy to suck breath.

They can send more and more money out of the country, bust unions, push a more regressive tax code, demand harsher and harsher prison sentences while turning their back on institutional rape and abuse, build private prisons to turn human misery into equity, stoke fear and hatred of queer people abroad and push for their execution in order to please and delight religious bigots at home, fight environmental innovation, nurture White Supremacy, claim to value the lives of children while reifying rape culture and a culture of domestic and casual violence against members of society not deemed credible witnesses, push through a drone program to be implemented no later than September of 2015 to put cameras in the sky, track everything anyone does online because the law has not caught up the technology and the suveillance arm of the government now exists only to grow, “purchase” the incarceration of non-violent teenagers accused of petty crimes, discourage clean, healthy, well-educated citizens, rob poor and underserved communities of health care to prove their Fundamentalist bonafides, swindle entire communities by bribing public officials, sharpen their tools of disinformation, pump millions into campaigns to deny Queer Americans rights because they do not consider us to be human and they would slightly inconvenienced if we could legally commit to each other, prop up Christian Supremacy and train a generation to expect that religion is trump card in any argument, support war crimes because if you can’t sell anything to people they can at least be targets, kill abortion doctors by calling them baby killers on National Television, support ALEC, smear a rape victim because the man who raped her is the son of a police captain, at the helm of a rapidly-militarizing police force that regularly abridges the rights of people without institutional power, murders minorities in cold blood, and savagely attacks anyone they deem a threat, up to and including having a man committed for collecting evidence that they regularly arrest people for no reason at all, AND because her attacker works for a news station that that is owned by News Corp, which owns the Post, and News Corp has a monetary incentive to deny her justice, can promulgate racist stereotypes during the almighty mother of all religious ceremonies, the Super Bowl, steal from their employees, dismantle industries in favor of quick profit over national investment while raking in government subsidies whose passage was justified in the name of “job creation,” leaving the state with a giant tab when they refuse to honor their responsibilities to their employees, lock people out of their own houses with trumped up claims of ownership, break laws by forging signatures to churn all of the mortgages they have no incentive to compromise on, genetically alter our food, stifle innovation using patent law, treat the poor and minorities as if they were what was wrong with the country, rewrite history to suit them, engage in historical revisionism, scapegoat people of color to distract from the corporate grift and the tentacles of the ultrarich and the zombie capitalists, invest in the failure of the nation, denigrate the President for a credit downgrade that was inevitable in the face of their failed economic policy, elevate the profile of Rick Santorum, distort the lives of Civil Rights Leaders, engage in apology for Slavery, Eugenics, Racism, Fascism, Capitalism, Rape, Hate Crimes, Misogyny, Sexism, Hate Groups, Astroturf, & Christian Supremacy, espouse hatred of Muslims to justify the erection of a police state, make publically-funded elections seem like some weird European joke, push for laxer industrial regulations no matter the environmental impact, support the teaching of bad science, and sleep very soundly at night, thank you very much.

Everything in their life convinces them to think of their actions as if they existed in a vacuum. They actively shy away from information that contradicts this. They can ignore the damage they do because Capitalism, like any system, survives by adapting. It gives people incentives to perpetuate it. It spawns things like “The Culture Wars” to distract the population from the pillaging of the entire world. It whispers in our ears that there is no other way, that capitalism is flawed but necessary. We spend every day reading stories about people who were destroyed because someone wanted to make money off of them and we haven’t advanced in our conversation enough to connect all of these things together and point out that Capitalism is not inherently friendly to human life. It must be treated like a wild animal in a cage, as should all the people that are charged with protecting us and given a wide berth in doing so.

I’d like to sit down and create a timeline of a person’s life in a functional society and I hope some of you will help me. I want to write a story about a person who grew up in a society that did not believe the national business was business, but instead believed the nation’s highest duty was the production of happy, well-educated, respected, free people. If I can pick on Glenn Beck for a bit, it always astounded me that he claimed conservatives surrounded progressives. In reality, either party can claim to be the hammer of the world, if they can win the moderates over. Conservatives are good at articulating the complete visions of the society they want; we aren’t so great at that.

[Note to Commenters: I don't give a damn how long you spent composing your apology for Capitalism and outlining your right to ignore the incomplete litany of abuses it is guilty of that I have provided, I will delete it with no discussion because I don't believe in debate, don't want to hear the truth, am a monster, etc.]

17 Comments

  1. Emily Manuel wrote:

    Yes! The only times when capitalism has not been horrific for substantial amounts of people in Western countries (let alone the rest of the world) was when strong unions and the fear of the Communist alternative produced ameliorating effects in the form of decent wages and the welfare state.

    Now that the capital class no longer fears those two things, capitalism ain’t so grand even for the former American white middle-class monetarily–without even taking into account the ticking timebomb that is the environment.

    In many ways, the fight for fair wages, conditions and regulations is just beginning again.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  2. Kristen wrote:

    Garland, this is excellent. I love the idea of articulating an affirmative vision of someone’s life in a productive society.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink
  3. Molly wrote:

    As a child, Hypothetical Person went with one of his caretakers to buy a new toy. Every aisle had boxes with various colors. The truck driver dolls were on the shelf next to the trucks, which were next to the legos. He chose a chef doll with 5-piece toy cookware set. Daddy Ben helped him make matching chef hats, one for him and one for the doll.

    When he was a little older (say 10) he spent a month going to a local restaurant with a small group of other kids who were interested in cooking. Three days a week they spent an hour watching the kitchen staff prep and cook and serve the food. He decided it was too loud and fast for him, so next month he joined the group shadowing a local food writer.

    When HP was 22 he went through an episode of clinical depression. He had learned a lot about mental health tools and self-care in school, so he recognized the symptoms early and went down to the local clinic. He started going to a weekly discussion group, and took a one-month sabbatical from his responsibilities at his live-work collective. Within six months, he was doing much better.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink
  4. zhinxy wrote:

    A huge blow could be struck by cutting off that government the conservatives don’t want to touch, the very welfare that keeps Capitalism afloat. The best answer to their pleas for so-called free enterprise against greedy moochers is to point out the sheer size of government largesse to “the job creators”. They need us and the government far more than we need them. Let Progressives be the ones demanding the government get out of business, by cutting off the flow of blood to the beast, and see how their “small government” rhetoric fares. You can’t get them with appeals to the poor who need a safety net. It’s been tried. So get them with the ongoing subsidization that dwarfs partisan bailouts.

    A Progressivism that merely ameliorates the worst of Capitalist excess by taxation and regulation, but doesn’t cut the beast off at the trough is always vulnerable to loss of those mercies.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  5. zhinxy wrote:

    When Hypothetical Person was born, he was born in a co-operative hospital organized and run by the workers on both sides of what we still quaintly called “The Border” between The United States and Mexico.

    Hypothetical Person directed his own education, supervised by community teachers, but always with regard to himself as an end, not a member of a future “workforce”. He grew up stubborn and independent, with a strong desire to work for himself, exactly the qualities “Public” schooling of the 20th and early 21st century had been literally designed to discourage.

    Hypothetical Person lived in a society with a remaining State safety net, a very good one to our starved early 21st century eyes, but few people made use of it. It was too easy to support yourself, even if it was only a matter of lazily subsisting on communal owned farmland, exactly the conditions that Capitalism had found intolerable and had made a business of denying to those it expropriated.

    And the vast array of organizations and unions and cooperatives and communes and social experiments that were willing to provide any number of services and guarantees to their members made the remaining State welfare even less of a pressing need.

    Hypothetial Person was raised with the certainty, obvious to himself and everyone, as far from a platitude as possible – that he mattered. He was a vital part of a Direct Democracy that was human scale and not merely the choosing of elected betters at pre-determined intervals.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
  6. Kate wrote:

    These are just little facets, not a comprehensive picture:

    Little HP loved to tell xirself stories, but had a lot of trouble understanding signs and symbols on paper, including letters and numbers. Thanks to the extensive resource library (staffed and supported by the community, with access to online materials and a part-permanent, part-traveling print collection) and the help of a traveling specialist, xe was able to learn some strategies for making reading easier, as well as learning to be xir own advocate for other forms of communication and transfer of information. Many texts had already been transferred to audio and were “shelved” in a database to which the library had access, but if there was something xe wanted to read that didn’t yet exist in this form — especially as xe got more and more interested in engineering — there was a pool of part-time readers (very few of the people HP knew did one thing all the time) to whom xe could put in a request. Sometimes it took a little time, but eventually someone would read and record it.

    As HP got older, xe fell in love with a writer and teacher who told HP from the beginning that she didn’t want to be a parent. HP loved kids, so xe spent a lot of time with xir brother, his spouse, and their two children, often taking care of the kids when Brother and Spouse were taking a shift cleaning the streets or working at the clinic. HP knew that if one of the kids ever got hurt or sick, xe could authorize them to be treated with no questions asked and no money paid — xe just as if xir partner were to become seriously ill, xe could draw on a pool of part-time caregivers (some paid, some volunteer) to help her continue to live her life and do her work to whatever degree or sickness and health occurred. They had agreed that this was what they’d do for each other while they were together, in the same way that they’d made a plan for dealing with the housework and told each other (a little shyly at first) what turned them on: like most interactions in this society, an agreement that had available precedents, was negotiated between all parties involved, and was binding until renegotiated.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink
  7. skull0kid wrote:

    This piece does a fantastic job of deconstructing the many (many, many, many) ills of capitalism. It’s awful how many people are willing to jump onto the ‘it’s not so bad’ bandwagon, as if this exploitative, unfair system is somehow the best possible option for the world. And the sad thing is, it’s not just the conservative pundits who vehemently defend it. I’ve encountered too many open-minded, progressive people who ignore all of its wrongdoings. Some even take the apologist route, which is disturbing. It’s a relief to see that tiger beatdown is still one of the best progressive sites out there. Thank you for this fantastic read, Garland.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink
  8. Julian Morrison wrote:

    The analogy of capitalism to “un-Friendly AI” has occurred to me before. It’s a rule driven amoral rational optimizer built of laws and running on humans, whose utility function is pure money-maximization. Just looking at it from an AI perspective, there’s no sensible reason to expect it to be friendly and every reason to expect that, as it power crosses the line from human to super-human, it will become actively inimical.

    Friday, February 10, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  9. anarres wrote:

    I wrote a dorky little story like that, except trying to imagine how the transition to a better society could come about, it’s at http://septisphere.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/the-day-we-all-decided/

    Friday, February 10, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink
  10. Caitiecat wrote:

    Capitalism: the process of requiring infinite growth in a bounded system.

    Cause that can’t ever go badly wrong, right?

    Friday, February 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Permalink
  11. Doone wrote:

    @Anarres

    That was a very, very interesting story. In some ways I do think that’s the prime reason we allow our world to continue to function the way it does: the fear that the way we’re doing it is the Only Way and that anything else is a decent into anarchy and a return of the Dark Ages.

    Fear.

    Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink
  12. Megpie71 wrote:

    Okay, rather than bother with the story of a hypothetical person, instead I provide my experience growing up as an Australian in the 1970s and 1980s (in a socio-economic system which combined regulated capitalism with a relatively strong welfare support system):

    I was born to a two-parent family in a small country town in Western Australia. I was born at the local hospital for this small town. Apparently my birth was likely to be complicated – it was discovered fairly late in the pregnancy that I had the cord tangled around my neck, and I was apparently incorrectly aligned for a safe birth. The government-provided, government-paid doctor at the hospital was able to fix both of these problems, and I was born safely. As an infant, I received regular health checks from the local child health centre, which was staffed by a government-salaried child health nurse (a “triple certificate sister” – so a highly trained specialist in her field). I received regular vaccinations at government expense, thus avoiding some of the more dangerous childhood diseases, like measles, mumps, and whooping cough.

    My father was a minister in the Churches of Christ, my mother was a midwife. Dad also worked as an assayer’s assistant at a nearby tin mine to bring in extra income, since the church stipend wasn’t very high. As an assayer’s assistant, he worked in an environment where his working conditions were the subject of union negotiations, as were his working hours, his hourly rate of pay, and his opportunities for advancement. (By contrast, as a minister he lived in a church manse which was provided by the local congregation of his church. According to both of my parents, this property was cold, draughty, and not in the best of repair. My mother has a very good story about the necessity of getting the stove in the kitchen replaced, and the performance she had to go through in order to convince the church elders that this was actually a necessity, not a luxury – it involves a fruit cake batter which she had in the oven for an entire day, and wound up pouring into the bin).

    When I was about nine months old, we moved up to Perth (Dad was assigned a different parish – so, another church manse, this one somewhat better built). Until the year I turned six, we lived within walking distance of the local swimming pool (local government), a railway station (state government), a technical college (state government), a number of bus routes (state government), and a small shopping precinct (local government). My parents received a regular child endowment payment from the federal government to cover the costs of raising a child, which helped out with the family income. Mum found another job as a midwife (this time in a private maternity hospital) and Dad worked as a paid labourer for the Op-Shop and welfare organisation run by the Churches of Christ in our state.

    Again, as a labourer, Dad’s working conditions, working hours, and rate of pay were in line with those negotiated by various unions. As a minister, he was ostensibly working for God (and thus the stipend was still low). Mum was working as a permanent part-time midwife – she did Friday and Saturday night night-shifts, and through doing those two shifts per week earned an equivalent income to what Dad earned working Monday through Friday for eight hours a day (this was due to her receiving night duty rates and weekend rates – again, things which had been negotiated by unions). This meant that Mum looked after me on Mondays through Fridays, while Dad looked after me on the weekends while Mum slept.

    As a small child, I developed a squint not long after learning to read (age two or thereabouts). Between them, my parents were able to afford private health insurance (since the premiums for such things in Australia were generally low cost, private health care being largely regarded as an adjunct to the government system; a bonus, not a necessity), so I was able to receive surgery to repair the problem in a private hospital when I was around two-and-a-half to three years old, rather than waiting on a bed in a public hospital. By contrast, my younger cousin who lived in a different country town was found to have a hole in his heart a year later (at around age two) and was rushed up to the major children’s hospital in Perth to receive open heart surgery (the difference being between urgent and non-urgent surgery).

    My younger brother was born when I was about three and a half, in the private hospital where Mum worked as a midwife. Again, he received the same sort of checkups and immunisations from child health clinics that I had.

    The year I turned five, I was eligible to start pre-school. I wound up going to a state-government funded pre-school, which I primarily remember for the collection of Dr Seuss books they had – I think they had the full set available at the time, which I thought was *great*. There was also a lot more play equipment than we had in the back garden, and a lot of new kids to meet.

    At around this time, my mother’s parents helped my parents financially, by providing them with some of the capital toward a deposit on a new house. This house was built in an area of new development which was provided with drainage, sewerage, water supply, power supply, gas supply and telecommunications supply by the state government as standard. The house which was built had to comply with local, state and federal building codes to ensure it was structurally sound, constructed with materials which were safe to live in, wired correctly, plumbed correctly, sanitary to live in, and likely to survive long enough for the mortgage to be paid on it. We moved into this new house around December that year.

    I started primary school at the state school nearby in the year I turned six. The teachers soon discovered I could read (and it was ascertained that I had a reading age of nine at age six). I was started early on the required reading curriculum, but since I wasn’t ahead of my age peers when it came to mathematics or writing skills, I wasn’t eligible to be put forward a year. I continued in the state school system throughout my primary and secondary schooling.

    In the year I turned ten, the state government decided to trial extension classes for academically gifted and talented students in state schools. I was lucky enough to be selected for these classes in the region I lived in, and once a week I spent a day in a different school, doing extension classes – something different each week which I could look forward to. In the year I turned twelve, I was eligible for full-time extension classes (another trial), where a group of academically gifted and talented children would be effectively working on additional material to the standard curriculum for an entire school year. As it was, we surprised the teacher by burning through the standard year 7 curriculum in a single term, which left him slightly at a loss as to what to do for the remainder of the year!

    For secondary school, I was eligible for the academic extension program at a state high school. This required me to commute to a different suburb each day via public transport (state government supplied). Fortunately, this didn’t cost my parents the full fare each way, because student fares were subsidised and capped (they’re still the same rate today – 50c each way). The state transport system had recently introduced multi-ride tickets (10 rides for the price of 9) and this was a further saving. While I was in high school, I received public health screenings for scoliosis (paid for by the state government) and a vaccination for rubella (paid for by the state government as well). The schooling I received was mainly geared toward heading into the university system (even though neither of my parents, none of their siblings and none of my grandparents had been to university).

    I started my first job (casual work) in the year I turned fifteen. It was a checkout job at a local discount department store, and my wages, conditions and hours were subject to an award negotiated between the federal government, the unions, and the employers. I was handed a union membership form as part of my standard paperwork when I started working there, and filled it in. Union dues were subtracted from my weekly pay as part of the wages calculations done by the pay office (just like taxes) and I received a pay slip in my weekly pay packet explaining what had been deducted and why. That financial year, I also filled in my first tax return to the federal government. (It’s worth noting, most years when I fill in a tax return, I get a tax refund from the government… I tend to see this as a good way of saving money for treats or large expenditures).

    Due to changes which had occured in the thirty years between my mother finishing her third year of high school and me completing my third year of high school, there was no longer any question as to whether my family could afford to send both of their children on to further schooling – I was definitely going to continue on past year 10. So I continued high school, and achieved my high school graduation, sitting the Tertiary Entrance Examinations (as they were called then) and applying to go to university.

    I was accepted into one of the local universities in Western Australia, and wound up studying toward a degree program. While my university education wasn’t fully funded by the federal government any more (the system had altered very recently) I still didn’t have to pay any fees up front – instead, the federal government would cover my fees, and I would be paying them back out of my taxes once I’d completed my degree (or if I was earning a sufficient amount of taxable income in a given financial year).

    As an adult (I turned 18 the year I started university) I was eligible to vote in elections in Australia, and indeed I was expected to turn out and receive ballot papers for both federal and state elections. The election system in Australia, rather than being run by the various political parties, is administered by a federal government agency (with state government agencies in parallel). This agency is responsible for determining where the boundaries of the electorates are situated, and for providing polling places, ballot papers, ballot boxes, polling booths and staffing polling places and tally centres for all elections.

    It’s worth noting: my family was working class, with aspirations toward lower-middle-class. We could have used more welfare support than we were eligible for (we were at pretty much positioned on the awkward point – earning just enough to be ineligible for welfare support, but not enough to be able to ignore financial stresses). There’s a lot of other government stuff in here I haven’t noted – things like consumer and public health regulation which ensured that the food my mother bought from the shops was safe to eat; regulations which made certain that toys were safe for children to play with; regulations which ensured our houses weren’t slowly killing us; speed limits and public safety laws; content rules for television programming – basically a lot of the background stuff which shaped the way I grew up. Things have changed on the Australian scene since I was a child (not all of it for the worse, but not all of it for the better either).

    Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink
  13. Baeraad wrote:

    Whenever I hear some would-be economist gushing about the magnificent complexity of the free market, I feel like I’m a villager watching the monster rampaging through the street, all while Doctor Frankenstein is standing next to me going, “yes, it’s completely taken on a life of its own. We have absolutely no way of controlling it anymore. Isn’t that *fascinating*?”

    Unfortunately, there seems to be laws against applying torches and pitchforks to gushing would-be economists. Stupid laws. :P

    Seriously, yes. To everything you said. Capitalism is not our friend, and if it was the only possible way, then we’d be thoroughly screwed. At *best* it is a dangerous, violent animal that can, with the utmost caution, be made to work for us. Letting it run around wild? We have seen, for years, what that gets us, and *still* so many people refuse to accept it!

    Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink
  14. Nanasha wrote:

    Now, honestly, I don’t like capitalism. And I don’t like a lot of the other options (which often quickly devolve into anarchy or outright dictatorship). But I do think that honestly, capitalism in and of itself needs heavy regulation to work even semi-well, and that sort of regulation is nowhere to be found.

    Now let me start by saying that capitalism *can* work (and, economically, CAN be one of the best systems for growth and innovation), but it has to be properly trained and regulated in order to truly succeed in the long term.

    I liken it to a German shepherd.

    If you have a German shepherd as a pet, many times, they will be really terrible pets if what you want is basically an animal that will just stay outside and you can pet it when you want. German Shepherds are smart, they tend to be alpha in nature, and they need constant stimulation and direction in order to keep themselves from tearing your whole house apart, attacking people, and generally being destructive to themselves or others.

    Many German Shepherds are bought by idiots who have no idea about how to properly train and treat this breed and they get abandoned all the time because they are “troublesome” or “hard” or “violent”. This is why there are so many German Shepherd rescue organizations that help take these dogs out of destructive homes before they behave badly enough to get a court-appointed death sentence.

    But if you get the average German Shepherd in a police training program, OH MY GOD, they excel beyond belief! They do immensely well under the direction and training of those who know what to do with these animals and they become very loyal and very expert in what they do, from drug sniffing to surveillance, to finding people in rubble after an emergency.

    What we have are people arguing that if we just let the German Shepherds of their leashes and let them run wild in the street, that they’ll just magically train themselves and we’ll never have to worry about bad stuff happening ever again.

    In reality, these animals would just go feral, start attacking people in packs, and probably end up making us fear for our very lives if we encountered them while walking down the street.

    In essence, this is what deregulation of private companies does to the economy and to the average worker.

    When you have a good amount of control on the health, safety, wage levels and other important things to sustain a booming and growing economy, you can keep it going steadily for quite awhile. The problem is that some people want to get greedy and think that if they just get let off their leash they can get away with heinous gutting and outsourcing and absconding with millions of dollars after they leave the company with their golden parachute.

    I know. The average dumb, uneducated, blue collar American seems to have this dumbass pipe dream that one day HE can be that CEO screwing over the company while giving himself a nice big payout that he ships off to his Cayman Islands account. But guess what? That’s never ever going to happen. So every time one of these idiots seems to think that if we just cut workers rights and let the sociopaths up on top get more wiggle room in raping and pillaging your ability to live decently in this country, think again.

    It’s just going to end up that even all those guys with those pipe dreams of grandeur will be up to their armpits in vicious attack dogs, just like the rest of us. Sometimes I’m not sure if I want this all to implode on itself so I can shout “I TOLD YOU SO CORPORATE JERKS,” or if I actually have the power to do anything in the long run to fix all this crap.

    Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Permalink
  15. Hari wrote:

    Capitalism is the natural extension of patriarchy, both founded in the objectification of womyn/the body/nature. On those grounds, it is an inherently lethal system to all of life; no form of it can be made to serve life for humans or the Earth. I don’t want to just see the production of happy people–but our full respect for all of life, with our fully-restored sense of our own belonging within the natural world and our whole understanding that the planet is not here for us to use and use-up in order for a small group of humans to be as cozy and satiated as they might desire.

    Thanks for this critique. Over the years, as my feminist understanding has deepened and broadened, I’ve come to look at every one of our institutions with an eye for feminist critique. No amount of people’s patient explanations of how ‘pure capitalism’ should work for the good (except for us wrongheadedly messing with it), has ever convinced me that capitalism is anything less than a natural extension of the perversion that is patriarchy, privileging the few at the grotesque expense of the many (including all life forms/the Earth). It’s good to see more feminists critiquing capitalism all the time.

    Friday, February 17, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink
  16. christian wrote:

    nailed it. capitalism kills, as you eloquently enumerate here. it is a pleasure to read and be pissed the fuck off by your writings.

    love you garland.

    Friday, February 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
  17. Zombie Ghost wrote:

    Why the hate for genetic engineering though ?

    Seriously, it has immense potential to make life better (and nature is genetically engineering stuff anyway. Just google how much of human genome is actually defunct viruses :) )

    Monday, February 20, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink