The dirty secret of capitalism — and a new way forward

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    TED Talk by Nick Hanauer

    These ideas go back to one of my favorite books, written well over 100 years ago: Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution.

    Context is worth 80 IQ points -- Alan Kay


    Yea… Sure… Seattle being presented as good example of success by Nick Hanauer is now full of homeless people living on the streets with no access to toilets… Same in California. This is the result of new way (liberal democratic way) for capitalism.


    Machiavellianism sweeps the troubled land, as eternal values fade
    people await a hero who will wield the voice
    science, chivalry, morality, this righteousness has many names,
    for it has been celebrated in myths and
    legends throughout time but all of these speak to just one weapon: an aggregation of public opinion

    Using the power of wisdom, a culture had grown strong.
    In time, wisdom was used to create the ultimate weapon: management theory.
    This angered those intelligent, they sent their beasts to destroy the theory.
    A violent war rocked the world, and purpose seemed to wane.
    Before all was lost, a hero with the printing press smashed the theory.
    Though civilization had been destroyed, the world was peaceful again.
    But people are stupid… and this is why we can’t have good things.


    While that guy is amassing more riches and talking, albeit some truths. Hei sis sunning himself in his Billionairs villa but not using hios billions to help people.
    Seattle is coming together to address the crisis of homelessness and to help our neighbors living unsheltered move into safer places and toward a permanent home and better future. Seattleites recognize that the crisis has been years in the making, and it cannot be solved overnight. But the City of Seattle is deploying new and unprecedented resources in coordination with our partners at King County to make progress – from doing more to prevent people from falling into homelessness, to building thousands of new affordable housing units, to deploying new bridge housing and shelter units, to picking up trash and waste.

    Winter Response: Jan.12 – Jan 19

    SEATTLE – Last Sunday, the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) opened the Severe Weather Shelter at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall. This shelter is open daily between 8pm and 7am through Monday morning, January 20. This shelter can accommodate roughly 100 adults and their pets,

    HSD is activating an additional shelter at the Seattle Municipal Tower (SMT), which is located at 700 5th Ave. This shelter is also available to adults and pets and no one will be turned away. People may arrive at 7pm and wait inside for the shelter to open at 8pm. The SMT shelter will operate through Friday morning, January 17.

    HSD and Seattle Parks and Recreation are also opening an overnight shelter at the Bitter Lake Community Center, which is located at 13035 Linden Ave N. The shelter will open this evening at 7pm and run continuously as a warming center and overnight shelter for families with children and people living in vehicles. Single adults and couples are welcome at this facility as well. This shelter will operate 24 hours a day beginning TONIGHT.

    Additional Shelter

    King County Administration Building will offer 50 additional emergency shelter beds through Wednesday night, January 15. The shelter is located at the King County Administration Building located at 500 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle. The shelter serves people who identify as men, age 18 and older, from 7pm to 6am.

    Mary’s Place also has activated winter protocols and can accommodate those with children experiencing homelessness. Mary’s Place has expanded their intake hours and are partnering with Lyft and Uber to provide transportation to families. Please call Mary’s Place at 206-245-1026 for more information.


    The state (not as Wa. but as the US, or GB, or Holland) inherently had no interest in helping people in any way. The state could very well survive with the people who were functional part of the economy, meaning those who were exploited to keep the economy moving. There was no role expected of the state to create a safety net for the surplus of hands the economy couldn’t exploit. This started changing in the late 1800s when syndicalism spread like a forest fire and there was an organized voice from below asking for rights, part of which is a safety net for those who couldn’t produce any more or for a period of time. There was no such thing as pension, health insurance, workmen’s compensation, unemployment benefits, rights to food and shelter. In various states those came in variable degrees at different times depending on the historic development of the labor movement. But in general this story is meaningful where industrial production was mostly developed and developing.

    By the 1930s the state was evolving to undertaking roles that became too costly for the economy, and industrial development was surpassing the workers’ ability to consume. So this redistribution of wealth role collided by a shrinking tax base and the real redistribution of state funds back to capitalists came to a halt. The state couldn’t help the industry much, the industry wasn’t profitable anymore and shrunk, in the case of the US almost overnight, but for capitalism to continue or be reborn the state had to survive this crisis. So the liberal state was born to promise and provide services for those in most desperate conditions. So states begun to borrow from capitalists at a progressively increasing rate, and learned to depend on this financing to maintain social stability.

    On the other hand capitalism, after the war, seek to find ways not to be cornered and be put on the spot again, not to have to buckle under pressure by labor, to find more efficient ways in battling its enemies, those who kept pushing for organized labor and demanded more and more for it. By the 1970s both neoliberalism as capitalism’s defense mechanism and tactics, and the liberal state (social democracy) reached a common peak of coexistence, one was to survive and the other defeated. Guess who won and who vanished.

    So what are you crying about? There is no organized movement (social or labor) demanding specific safety nets for the poorest of the working people, there is no interest by the state to provide such, and global capital remains unaffected by popular pressure even if there was such an organized body to formulate this pressure. After all, the welfare state has always been a method for the state to survive pressure, protecting capital, and continuing its own life and role. Those dynamics existed at some point in the distant past, they don’t exist today, not in the US, not in Europe, and not in most other countries. The modern state is a neoliberal state even if the most radical of left wing parliamentary representatives were at the helm of the state. The state is absolutely dependent on private institutions holding its debt and providing financing for its sustainability. There is little any state can do to break this dependence and gain any form of autonomy from “capital”. The defense of this capital is the true nature of the state, so only fools would expect any state to turn against it. Any state would rather lose half its population in civil war, migration, hunger and desperation, than threaten the true interests of capitalists.

    At one period the welfare state was the best defense capitalism had to ensure its survival and defense. Those days are gone. What is sad is that populists, that used to dress as the patriotic right, are now dressed as the radical and progressive liberals “pretending” that they can bring the 70s social democracy back, when they know full well that this is both impossible and unnecessary.

    The monster of capitalism can never be beautified, to become moral, humanitarian, environmentally conscious. It will always be the same catastrophic, abusive, exploitative, destructive, system it has always been, and now it is in full control of this anti-social machine called the state. It can turn social control and brutality to unbelievable extends if it is threatened and those who will manufacture false hopes of a socially responsible state are even more dangerous than the right wing racists, populists they advocate against.

    History is nice and helpful if you can understand it and learn from it scientifically, not when it is brought back as a video clip to confuse you and make you believe you can relive the past. This is totally an unscientific way to look at history. And don’t get fooled that there are those romantics who truly want to relive the past and are asking for support to come to power. They are lying through their teeth and their only interest is to hypnotize you to return home, leave the streets and grassroots organizations, and let the progressive leaders do what is necessary. It is the most effective narcotic capitalism has devised, to delegate power to a liberal to represent you.

    It is also essential to be able to separate between rhetoric and actual state policy change. In the example of the US, the narrative changes between Bush, Clinton, Obama, Tramp, but essentially there has been 0 change in actual politics in the past 40 years. This is exactly the case in Europe as well, just the labels of the various ruling parties are different. So, if the capital’s media forces are polarizing you to thing that personas and mainstream parties is so the majority will legitimize the maintenance of the neoliberal state as is for some time to come. Don’t buy into it. There is no solution in any ballot, if there was it would have been banned.


    @ fungalnet:

    Thank you! Very nice analysis… I would just add:
    The timeframe when state stopped any caring for working citizens was end of 1980’s rather than end of 1970’s. The reason for this was destruction of communist system. This was the ideology capitalist system feared most, facing complete re-distribution of wealth if communist system were to enter America. After all, communist ideology claimed working class under capitalism was oppressed and exploited… So to prevent further expansion of communist ideology capitalist system created good conditions for middle class, large in those times. If you had a decent job then your wife did not need to work and you could afford a house (and no huge tax as it is now). I remember still in 80’s if you had a job in a decent company you were respected and appreciated by company. No fear of losing your job as it is nowadays.
    All this gradually changed with the beginning of 90’s. With the destruction of communist system there is no competing ideology and now people can be mistreated at will and no competing propaganda will be crying out, calling for revolution…


    @olsztyn. Thanks totaly agree, in England it started with what my mom called wicked lady, Thatcher.
    Today I read Official figures show one in 50 Londoners is Homeless. No mention of all those sofa surfing with friends or registered nowhere.
    Young girls who will go home with anyone who will give them a roof and feed them. Probably applies to boys too.

    In Germany where I live now.
    Safe jobs, well I was one of the last few who had one with exception of some government posts. Reality is now. Schoolkids do what is called practica, often for a year, work in a company for no pay.
    As students another year same conditions.
    In many companies 3 Months to 1 year again for no or minimal pay.
    Followed if lucky by 18 Month contract, followed by same again or in many cases sacked.
    Back to working for free.

    Homeless people everywhere.
    Sad state of affairs.


    Today I read Official figures show one in 50 Londoners is Homeless. No mention of all those sofa surfing with friends or registered nowhere.

    Why surely that is no improvement for the poor on Victorian times? Shades of Charles Dickens, “Please sir, I want more?

    Slap! “Back in your place scum!”

    All Government Is Evil

    “These are the times that try men's souls" - Thomas Paine


    Why surely that is no improvement for the poor on Victorian times? Shades of Charles Dickens, “Please sir, I want more?”
    Slap! “Back in your place scum!”

    It was from ‘Oliver’ of Dickens was it not?
    In any case over 50% of homeless in London are native Brits, reported recently…


    @ fungalnet: The timeframe when state stopped any caring for working citizens was end of 1980’s rather than end of 1970’s

    There is one problem with this statement, about the state caring. There is no evidence that the state has ever cared directly for workers or citizens except for when capitalists needed as many warm bodies in production as they could get, and they couldn’t get enough.
    There is the other problem that up until the 70s, we are talking strictly about the US, there was a lively industry, and industrial production, which near the end of the short Carter term it had begun its decline. During the 80s there was massive deindustrialization in the US, as heavy industry begun to move off-shore. So there was no reason for either the state or for the employers to give a damn about miserable, dying, hungry, slam living workers. The heavy industrial centers, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Trenton, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, etc etc. became industrial ghost towns. Working neighborhoods became slam towns, and shanty towns, riddled by alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, teenage pregnancy, and Vietnam vets who were still young. Only radicals and hippies were getting old and tired.

    Seattle was different, it had niche industries that grew during those times, Boeing, MS, genie :), and even starfaks. So it was an “industrial town” that survived till the 90s and maybe early 2000s. Luckily for salmon the mechanical chink had died. With so many nuclear powerplants and dams on the rivers what crazy salmon would climb a wall? So there was healthy union activity in Seattle during the 99 riot/wto circus. Things like indymedia and riseup are connected to this convergence. This was the spring board for transplanting a new movement culture and steam for youth across the oceans. A few years later there was Genoa. The magic of such convergence events is that it sparks a radical culture in many directions, people engage in trying to solve the problem. What problem? How do we end capitalism. This movement against this hydra is a little over a century and a half old. It has not matured enough. It is not about books and theory alone, it is about first hand engagement to radical activity, organizing, facing obstacles, realizing the practical meanings of limitations, and of interaction with the general society that chooses to remain a bystander and a witness. For every form of action there is a reaction. The good thing about trying different things is that you learn from them, long term and learn what to avoid the most. But it is a slow process.

    The real school is not the recipe of how you roast chestnuts, it is when you are putting them with your hands in the fire to cook. And there has to be a 2 way feedback and communication between the recipe writers and the chestnut roasters. If you break the connection they are both condemned. You may be stuck on either camp, get comfortable with it, and have no purpose at all.

    Let’s hope the ecosystem can sustain our slow maturity rate. Right now, there is decay, and it will last as long as the next convergence event happens. How, when, and why, it is not predictable. But some people go back to the drawing board a little more educated and mature each time, and this procedure produces political content. The fire may seem to be out but the charcoals are still red underneath. And like Brecht said, one day the planet will turn red, whatever that may mean 🙂

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by fungalnet.

    In the US we don’t have capitalism.

    I believe the northern states of US had the closest example to capitalism, here anyway, after the revolutionary war in the late 1700’s, but it has evolved to a confetti money society where the very rich have control over the corrupt and/or misguided government, and there is a kind of cronyism, where the buddies of those in power write the laws the way they want them, and basically print money to pay for it, piling the debt ever higher onto the rest of us.

    Those who see the truth are excluded. Find an economist that doesn’t think printing more debt to pay for X, Y or Z isn’t a good idea. Those are few and far between because we live in a world where only smoke and mirrors to distort reality is the only accepted way to improve things. An economist who refuses to sing that song is soon excluded and unemployed.

    If I remember correctly, in capitalism, people who work hard and save (ie forego consumption) would be rewarded for the risk loaning their savings to those who would find creative ways to improve things further, efficiently producing more and/or better products to export and for people to consume, making a profit, and enough to pay back the loaned money with interest to reward the saver. No, I guess it isn’t perfect, but at least people had a chance to improve their own lives and those of their children.

    Its interesting that they don’t teach anything about money in schools. What would the point be, LOL? It’s much easier just to click the mouse and make another trillion dollars appear, and hand it out to your buddies…

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by BobC.
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