Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Communism, Capitalism, and Republican Democracy

The knock on Communism is that it doesn't work in the real world because it does not provide sufficient economic motivation for people to encourage invention, innovation, and the taking of responsibility for the quality of one's work. But capitalism, as practiced by the Republicans and their cronies, gets people to buy into the system with a false promise of future wealth that Republicans and the already wealthy themselves keep from coming to fruition for anyone else. Republicans, through corporate welfare, tax breaks for the wealthy, and attempts to eliminate the estate tax, work very hard to keep the available capital in the system locked up by those already wealthy, preventing access to capital for those just starting out. The system is set up to prevent established businesses from facing competition from upstarts and to prevent those not already wealthy from becoming wealthy.

While most big businesses used government money to start up their businesses, those same companies, with the help of their Republican cuckholds, work hard to keep the government from helping new businesses as much as they possibly can. There's a reason something like 90% of new businesses fail in the US, and I don't think it is just the tough marketplace. The system is set up to favor established companies and the already wealthy. The legal system makes it easy for big companies to force little companies out of business. Business law makes it easy for big businesses to force little companies to sell themselves to the big companies. Big companies get corporate welfare and tax breaks that smaller businesses don't get.

The whole system is based on the myth that anyone can succeed in America, that we can all be rich. But, as Tyler points out in his speech in FIGHT CLUB, very, very few will ever live that American dream. American capitalism motivates people to work by making them think that the system is working for them to help them get rich, when, in reality, the system is designed to prevent them from getting rich. This is why Mike is such a goddamned idiot. He likes the system because he thinks it is set up for him, but it's not. He's almost certainly never going to be rich, no matter what he thinks. Dumbass.

All this makes me really worry for the future of liberal, republican democracy in the US and the world. Democratic republics depend on there being a working system of checks and balances to prevent abuse of power and prevent the wealthy from taking control of the system. But we see, all over the world, in places such as the US, the Ukraine, and elsewhere, that republican democracies easily turn into oligarchies of the rich and powerful. When those in power control the media, control voting procedures and vote counting, and control the judiciary that rules on voter fraud, then the only thing preventing the government from becoming an oligarchy is the people. But, as evidenced by the last election, the people are very susceptible to lies spread through the media and by lies coming from their leaders.

Communism, as I said, is supposedly bad because it's naive theories don't work in the real world. But do capitalism and liberal republican democracy really work any better in practice? We have a lot more examples of those, as opposed to only a few examples of communism (none of which were truly communist states as Marx defined them), and they fail at a prodigious rate, often turning into military dictatorships, fascists states, or theocracies. If the measure of a political theory is in how well it works in practice, I'm afraid that history may not judge liberal republican democracy any less idealistic and flawed than communism.

I mean, look at Russia! Supposedly a republic, but when the guy who owned that oil company (can't remember the names) said things that Putin found threatening, he used the power of the government (through trumped-up tax charges) to jail the guy and break up his company. I'm starting to think such things are the norm rather than the exception.

I am not trying to trumpet communism, by the way. I don't think communism really works any more than the Republicans do. I think socialism works much better. But I just fear that we are in the midst of proving that capitalism and republican democracy are not going to fare much better in history than communism, because I think we are watching the greatest republic in the world fall into oligarchy and theocracy.



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