Attached is a short article by socialist economist Richard D. Wolfe discussing how capitalism has failed in fighting the Coronus virus. While this is clearly the case, the more interesting part of this is contained in the 15 pages of comments to the article which I encourage you to read.
The long debate between capitalism and socialism has long intrigued me. It is one which I have never been able to quite come to grips with. As many of you may have observed, I have a great affinity for the benefits of socialism; but, I have never been able to completely distance myself from the need for some form of capitalism at least at the local end of the scale. This is a constant battle when considering the issue of democratic-socialism which presumes the continued operation of a largely capitalistic system overlaid with social protections necessitated for the public benefit and good.
In this sense Roosevelt's New Deal policies amounted to low-end social-democratic policies glued onto a weakened framework of capitalism just saved from its own destructive ends. Since that time we have seen several similar "bailouts" of this so-called capitalism – the most recent happening at the moment which represents a continuation of the 2007-2009 bailout which has never really ceased. It has only continued surreptitiously under the auspicious of the Fed since 2009.
The problem in thinking about this is that we really aren't talking about capitalism when discussing the system of economic domination now operating in much of the developed world today. What we are really talking about is a perverted form known as neoliberalism which has nothing whatsoever to do with the kinds of competition one normally associates with capitalism. This is not to say that there is no competition or capitalism operating in the U.S. or the larger world. It's just that it only functions at the local level among non-globalized businesses which have not been financialized – such as businesses which have been taken over by private equity vultures.
Capitalism by its very nature presumes a competitive environment in which failure is a real and present possibility and, in which, there can be no organization which is "too big to fail". Neoliberalism is a political ideology premised on the idea that government exists to serve the needs of corporate interests; that there is no such thing as society; that social-Darwinism is the principle basis for human relationships; and that the most important tie-that-binds is the legal contract. In this world politicians must be groomed and well-paid (as they are) to serve the needs of their corporate masters as they unfailingly continue to do even in the throes of a pandemic.
I raise this because the debate between capitalism and socialism is misplaced as long as we are dealing with the current economic system in much of the world today. I. for one, do not know if it is possible to have a purely functional socialistic economic and political system or if it would have to be some form of a mixed one – partially socialist and partially capitalist. I do doubt that we can have a successful purely capitalist system because capital will always work to attain monopoly and quash competition. What I do know is that as long as we are struggling within the horrors and destructive inequalities wrought on the world by neoliberalism. The first concern must be the overthrow of our neoliberal masters and their political enablers if anything good is likely to emerge. Only then can we have a real and honest debate about capitalism vs. socialism.
The propaganda system allows the U.S. Leadership to commit crimes without limit
and with no suggestion of misbehavior or criminality; in fact, major war criminals like
Henry Kissinger appear regularly on TV to comment on the crimes of the derivative butchers.
Edward S. Herman, political economist and author