Gathering Critical Mass to Confront and Dismantle Capitalism

Kitanya Responds to Comments — 42

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

This week, I shared an essay I’d originally posted on my Patreon called, No, We’re Not All Capitalists, and received some interesting responses.

John Gomez shared:

It will take many years but capitalism will eventually be seen to be the biggest disaster ever to befall humankind.

Interesting story today in the NYT about the ‘decluttering’ fad. We have come to a sad point when we have to be instructed how to get rid of the rich shit of this horrid Golden Age.

The competitive acquisitiveness might be the worst psychological component of all this. All these things people don’t even want and don’t even really enjoy are purchased, often with debt attached to them, to stunt on other people. Meanwhile, more and more people are simultaneously being paid unfairly and priced out of basic needs like decent housing. Every culture has some form of hierarchy, and most have notions of wealth attached to it, but at the expense of literally the climatic conditions required for our species to survive? I don’t know if there’s language to express how wicked this is. It’s a crime against humanity, and I genuinely believe the perpetrators who set this in motion, lied about the consequences, and bought off politicians to hide what they knew would befall us should be tried at The Hague. If the legislation to do so doesn’t exist, it needs to be written.

John Brodix Merryman Jr. shared an interesting point:

Capitalism functions as an ecosystem, in which the participants are the organisms competing with one another. Though nature is cyclical, people are linear and goal oriented. We push things til they break down, but nature treats it as all one big feedback loop, positive, or negative.

The flaw in capitalism is that the medium which enables it, money, is treated as both medium of exchange and store of value. As both contract and commodity. It has mutated from the efficient transfer of value, to the manufacture of money as the end goal.

Capitalists are the greatest danger to capitalism.

I focus mainly on the moral arguments against capitalism, but there are other (perhaps more persuasive) arguments having to do with how it (mal)functions. Financialization. The manufacture of money as an end. Until you’ve been tasked with drafting prospectuses for some of these casino games, I don’t know if you can grasp just how preposterous a lot of it is. Multiplying the money even if there’s nothing of any real value underlying the transactions is the end. Even if there is something of value being exchanged, all sorts of twists and turns are made to pad the stats. The notion of “value” is completely distorted, and it’s deliberate. It’s why absolutely no effort is made to price the negative externalities into the transactions. It’s why massive environmental market failures were allowed to keep occurring until they culminated in climate change — something straight out of science fiction dystopia. The whole thing is fundamentally broken. Anyone who’s taken Econ 101 has the tools to understand why. Honestly, if it’s explained without the jargon, the average teenager could grasp the issues without too much trouble.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with owning something of value and trading it for money. Markets, units of exchange (“money”), and trade have existed for millennia — well before what we consider capitalism came into being. Pointing out that people trade isn’t the gotcha some people seem to think it is and displays a facile understanding of the conversation at hand (play those games with people who don’t read). Much of this has to do with scale. I think staunch defenders of capitalism think those of us who aren’t riding with them don’t understand how it functions.

I used to be a Wall Street lawyer. I’ve seen much more of how the sausage gets made than the average person. It’s a big part of the reason I understand the power attached to keeping this all moving as if nothing is happening and the outright comic book villainy of some of the major players. They’re willing to destroy the rest of us to purchase their summer homes, yachts, and jets. They laugh at the common graspers who fight tooth and nail to defend the “fair” capitalist system they’ve completely rigged in their favor. They loathe their everyman defenders as dupes. I think they may hate them even more than they do regular poor people. They know they’re committing daylight robbery, and they can’t believe they’re getting away with fooling so many people. Every average person going up for them is a useful idiot they deride. They have all the data. They know better than the rest of us that this plunder, this destruction, this ceaseless avarice isn’t sustainable. It’s why they grab as much as they can as fast as they can. They can’t believe their heads haven’t already been put on pikes. They know it’s become a black-and-white matter of survival. They just don’t care. They also know their propaganda has worked well enough that regular Joes will do most of their arguing for them. They’re coming to realize their days are numbered, though. What do you think all these new “ethical funds” are about? Don’t fall for the okey doke.

Dick Millet wrote simply:

If we’re to survive, we need to come to terms with the fact that there’s a lot more than money at stake.

There is so much more than money at stake. Every facet of our species’ wellbeing is under threat. I don’t trust anyone who looks at the climate crisis, what everyone knows is causing it, and asks for more of the same. I also don’t think it’s worth any of our time to engage in any meaningful way with the distraction they present. Climate change is the result of market failure. Asking those same broken markets to fix the problem is an act of utter lunacy. Arguing with crazy people just makes you look crazy too, and it wastes valuable time. This is part of the plan. To confuse us into inaction. We need to gather the critical mass required to create a sea change in the thinking about all this. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking we need to convince everyone. We just need to convince enough people — probably not even a majority.

We made a mistake with capitalism. A grave one. The overwhelming majority of us (myself included) didn’t understand the magnitude of it until it was too late. And that’s where we are — right on the brink of it being too late. It’s time for people to stop playing these stupid games, own up, and marshal our creativity to come up with something better. Capitalism has become a threat to the survival of our species, and it has to be dismantled.

This is a scary time to live in, because the answers aren’t clear. The sheer scale of the impending catastrophe is like nothing humanity has faced before. Those kids in Europe striking and not attending school over the issue are giving me some hope. It’s an absolute disgrace that the responsibility was passed off to them, but we have to start somewhere, and it’s young people’s futures that are at stake.

Thanks for reading!

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*squinting in Nanny of the Maroons* | Read my essay collection, DISPOSABLE PEOPLE, DISPOSABLE PLANET: | IG: kitanyaharrison

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