Capitalism will make you sick.
The dire and even deadly consequences of our irrational, greed-driven, vice-into-virtue economic system
Perverse priorities are undermining democracy and destroying our sense of humanity and community...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
While the recent recall of more than a half billion eggs, in the wake of some 1,470 Salmonella infections, has triggered a renewed focus on the dangers posed by factory farms to human health and to the environment (see videos below), the discussion stops short because factory farms are but one symptom of the deadly consequences of a perverse ideology whose sole purpose is to expand the already obscene wealth of less than 1% of the population at the expense of a healthy economy, community, the environment, peace and the very ability of our planet to sustain life...
Wealth disparity and control of mass communications permits billionaire sociopaths to poison the well of public discourse
Earlier this summer, in 'Savage Capitalism,' we covered the Maude Barlow's assessment that "the world has divided into rich and poor as at no time in our history." Barlow stated:
The richest 2% own more than half the household wealth in the world. The richest 10% hold 85% of total global assets and the bottom half of humanity owns less than 1% of the wealth in the world. The three richest men in the world have more money than the poorest 48 countries.
While these numbers are astounding, they are an abstraction. A rare opportunity for a glimpse of the excess that flows by permitting so few to possess so much occurred when two out-of-wedlock children sued Donald Bren, a real estate developer whose estimated $16 billion net worth placed him 16th amongst the 400 richest Americans.
In court records, former girlfriend Jennifer McKay Gold described a luxurious lifestyle, including a fleet of five jets with two full-time pilots, a 240-foot yacht with a crew, lavish homes in Bel-Air and Orange County, a ranch in Idaho and a large staff of servants.
As observed by Kevin Phillips in Wealth and Democracy, quoting political scientist Samuel Huntington:
"Money becomes evil not when it is used to buy goods but when it is used to buy power…Economic inequalities become evil when they are translated into political inequalities.' Political inequality, in turn, leads to more dangerous economic inequalities.A lavish lifestyle, of itself, doesn't begin to scratch the surface of the combined $35 billion inherited fortunes of Charles and David Koch (pronounced "Coke") which, as reported by Jane Mayer in "Covert Operations" "is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett."
The Koch brothers are a testament to the unhealthy nature of a capitalist economy.
Koch Industries, whose conglomerated holdings include "oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline," produces an estimated $100 billion in annual revenues and so much pollution that it has been listed as one of the nation's ten worst.
But the Koch brothers do more than pollute the planet. They have funneled so much money into "organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups," that Greenpeace has described Koch as "the kingpins of climate science denial."
It is the Koch brothers who, like their John Birch Society father before them, have poisoned the nation's discourse by covertly funding the pseudo grass-roots "Tea Party" movement, whose uninformed followers simply do not realize that theirs is an anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian agenda that is intended to solidify corporate wealth and power at their own expense.
The goal of billionaire sociopaths, like the Koch brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife and Rupert Murdoch, is a plutocracy; that is, government of, for and by the wealthy --- a government which masquerades as a democracy.
Concepts like "liberty" and "freedom" become but a facade which hides the brutal reality of a system which, in the words used by former Vice President Henry Wallace to describe the "American fascist," is designed "to keep the common man in eternal subjugation.
The goal of the hard-right propaganda machine is to not only divert the attention of the working class useful idiots/'Tea Party' followers by way of what George Orwell described as "the three minutes of hate" --- as was reflected by the recent insanity on display regarding the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" --- but to convince the uninformed that their subjugation by capitalist inequality is the very essence of "liberty" and "freedom."