Sunday, April 10, 2016

the rich are just different...., right?


alternet |  Who writes the laws, in a society dominated by finance capital, neoliberal economics and the ideology of free trade and globalization? In a system, to quote the author I alluded to earlier, “under which the market is the regulator of social production,” including the production of culture and thought? (Yes, that would be V.I. Lenin, of October Revolution fame.) Whose interests are those laws meant to protect? Does the world of Mossack Fonseca and its ilk, where morphing, shifting corporate entities shepherd amazingly large sums of money in secret from one jurisdiction to another, sound like the operation of a free and fair market society where everyone who works hard or has talent has an equal chance to become Donald Trump or Kim Kardashian? Or does it sound like a rigged system designed to delude the powerless and make them accomplices in their own impoverishment, while ensuring the indefinite oligarchic rule of the rich and powerful?

One of Lenin’s main points, in the essay “What Is to Be Done?,” was that the market system produces its own rules, its own ideology and its own self-justifying structure of thought. Those things are enforced upon the entire society, and you can’t do anything to fight the system until you get outside that ideological structure. One does not have to agree with Lenin’s concrete solutions (which I am not inclined to defend) to see that the problem is still with us. It may be the secret narrative behind the Democratic primary campaign between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, for instance: While they are nominally not far apart on many issues, Clinton is a member of the Mossack Fonseca-level social stratum, and represents its interests. Whatever his flaws as a candidate may be, Sanders isn’t and doesn’t.