There needs to be a crystal-clear layout for why issues stemming from corrupt money interests should be a concern for everyone across the political spectrum. Far too often when criticism of the rich and corporatism arises, those in the ideologically differing side descend to character assassination and dismissal of that person as a radical instead of examining the actual grievances to engage in a rational manner. We see this with the older and younger generations, the caricature of an old-timer telling those damn hippies to stop protesting the crimes committed on Wall Street and by Goldman Sachs and get a job.
People who are vocally critical of overreaching authority cannot rationally defend capitalism and massive establishments built on money at all times. Wealth forms a separate power. One that political philosophers on all fronts have acknowledged and warned of their potential dangers for centuries, and formed theories on dealing with them along with government powers. In a statement in an 1802 letter to Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, most attributed to Thomas Jefferson, “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered… I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies… The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”
In the United States, this isn’t a question of “How will Democrats and Liberals benefit from Wall Street regulation and campaign finance reform?”, or “Why should Republicans and Conservatives defend the idea of Laissez-faire”. This is a matter of a nation whose political process and sense of right and wrong has been gutted by special interests to establish an oligarchy and a rigged economy to benefit them at the expense of the people.
Because of this simple fact that is far underrepresented in the media and political dialog, I want to look at the overall situation in a simple set of observations from the bottom-up: the root of money, to greed, to the establishment of industry and corporate entities, to legalized bribery and how it hinders democratic policy action and thus the progress of society in the people’s favor.
First, lets consider some of the influence and effects of money itself on a basic level. We have a model (The Dollar, The Euro, etc.) at the disposal of people and enterprises which is used to obtain goods, services and labor. Naturally, this model is going to be prioritized since everyone depends on it, and over time we see desperation for it as the levels of money coming in and out shift, either due to larger competition, lower productivity, etc. This is where compromises and methods are put into action by businesses to correct these negative outcomes. Some are less ethical than others. These include cutting wages and benefits and moving effort into earning more through a certain period than making sure workers are getting what they deserve. In more harsher circumstances, the offshoring of jobs for cheap labor. This is where the scales are tipped to accumulate more money at a certain expense of workers — one example of desperation arising from money being what decides the actions of an enterprise, which in turn decides the conditions for workers and people who need things from centers of production. From this, its easy to understand that its money and the value system around which things like greed and the unethical compromises of industry revolve around.
But this is simply a function of large businesses when faced with economic challenges, not the individual seduction by the green which branches into other, more severe societal issues. This is the fault of human nature rather than (entirely) the system which we’ve accepted. And in exchanging material satisfaction and its unfettered domination for the good in the human spirit, we see it flourish more rapidly over time.
The nature of money collides with the impulse to hoard, cloaked as sustaining massive businesses when they’re already too big to fail; which creates immense wealth disparity, not obtained meritocratically as the defenders would claim, something poisonous to the bottom 90 percent of American citizens and to equal opportunity. Even worse when the crimes which arise from this formula are defended and largely ignored by the press when they are catastrophic to the global economy. This is greed in the modern era — its as simple as barbarism in a nice suit and tie gets. Those who got to the top, through nepotism or previous criminal activity, follow this compulsion which leads them to pillaging the underclass through a rigged economy and raking in the dough in the most incredible fashion, all in a trail of cover-ups and paying off corporate media outlets to defend them.
Knowing that business shouldn’t be generalized as unethical or greedy simply in nature, those wich are and deserve regulation (or prosecution) are seldom given so. Most of the largest industries that exist as they are now rely on abysmal means of maintaining production in compliance with a quota of supply and demand. Outsourcing and feeding off the fruits of cheap, third-world labor seems to have become too commonplace for comfort, leaving some to wonder if the moral standards for enterprises has changed, and what the next over the top will look like.
Disastrous ‘free trade’ deals are endorsed by the heads of global economic superpowers as the champions of labor and business, while transparency groups release their texts locked away from the public, revealing their racket of malice and domination over the world.
As the very rich become richer and the poor become poorer, we aren’t living in a fair, sustainable society where necessary regulation is in place to balance monetary distribution, as we continue seeing socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., through the years of corporate welfare being made a priority as thousands go starving and unemployed. Adam Smith remarks in The Wealth of Nations that “it is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion”, and yet attempts to implement effective progressive taxation and other such resolutions have been shot down on sight by politicians on the right, major media outlets and by the base of unfettered industry who bought them.
When this recklessness is ignored for what it is in public discourse, it lacks treatment and infects more of society. The rise in wealth inequality and corporatist crimes are the fault of us not collectively calling it to task, and even worse, the funded blockade of policy solutions: when money has control over the internal function of the state.
The stereotype of incompetency and corruption does not exist within the political realm for no good reason. The very simple function of returning the favor unfortunately exists where it shouldn’t. Where private funders of political campaigns get what they want through endorsing a politician, the politician has an incentive to endorse the interest of the funder and not of the people. This being a major reason for the irregular ratio between the polling numbers on issues and the actual policies that remain. Take for instance the majority of Americans who support Marijuana legalization and the reaction from the pharmaceutical industry and the politicians who have been known to accept money from them. The same scenario applies to universal background checks for firearms, and gun manufacturers pandering to public servants with money. One can’t reasonably conclude that this doesn’t turn democracy on its head.
In the most basic sense, people are critical of the wealthy because their fortunes afford them significant power and influence in all manners of the world, only half as similar to the prudence of being critical of your cops, military and government. Wealth and the concept of money should be the foremost thing to question, as it is now what dominates the whole tangible space of the earth instead of the simplicity of living and doing as you please without the constraints and demands of business.
Like I said before, wealth buys power; not in the manner which you and I need to go in accomplishing things. The myth of meritocracy playing out in the world has been one such thing that has repressed bringing this subject to light. The immediate response from the defense is that people aren’t working as hard, as if a poor family in Harlem could amass a similar amount of wealth as the current top one percent of people in a reasonable amount of time by working multiple, honest jobs and not eating on some nights. It simply isn’t possible for one regular person, family or generation.
Its incredibly frustrating to people who see these things as what they are when genuine evaluations of them are dodged with cop-outs like “Well, you just don’t understand economics”, or “Well, you’re just a left-wing lunatic”. Neverminding that this is horrible, careless reasoning — it isn’t correct. If anything, leftists policies are the last resort for the integrity of the working class and American democracy. Social democratic policies such as those articulated by Bernie Sanders in his presidential campaign are centrist or center-left and socially and economically stabilizing across the board in many European nations, particularly in the case of Scandinavia. But because of the United States’ political spectrum being biased in favor of the right and the unwavering love of capitalism, the second that these proposals reach the ears of the resolute public of this bias, the palpable snark and dismissal of the very thought as crazy ensues immediately. Luckily, the new generations are awakening to the fact that they’ve accepted a crumbling society owned by the few, robbing the many, and they are eager to resolve that quickly.
The most basic solution, in my opinion, which would open the way for the gradual resolve overall is to remove the influence of money from the United States political system. To mandate public funding of elections and abolish SuperPACs, ingraining the message that the government will not be privately owned into the heart of Congress. From here, when the people are far more likely to have the actual say in elections, we will begin to see their desires springing up from the renewed democratic process and thus the much-needed socioeconomic balances.
We need a division between money and humanity to define the direction of ourselves as a society. And for this to happen, we need to acknowledge the crimes and injustices of industry just as we would those of our government, reject those who serve dollars and cents and not the people, ammend what has been planted by private interests within democracy, and not be afraid to challenge capitalism and corporatism in favor of either the equilibrium of public and private forces, or complete elimination of their grasp on life. Moreover, people just need to know the simple reason why we are critical of the rich so we can progress in the conversation. Thats all I really hope for out of this article.