This Isn’t a Democracy, This is Capitalism!

This isn’t a democracy, this is Capitalism! (They are different in case people don’t know)

I have been finding that big business and corporations are now running things, and gov’t (although of the people and for the people) is falling neatly into their silver lined pockets (effectively silencing our votes).

It’s really sad to think that some many millions of people can be held hostage to the rules of some 1000’s of people.

*Comment also put on T4T’s blog ‘Freedom! Don’t touch my free…Oops I mean limited choice’

I just watched Capitalism: A Love Story by Michael Moore last night, and with some things he is spot on.

1% of the world owns 99% of the wealth of this planet…anyone else see an inherent problem there? How good of a society can come from this imbalanced sharing of wealth? This inequity is making an irony out of the West, the richest, and poorest, country at the same time.  

Companies function like dictatorships, not like democracies…and companies are moving politics in this direction as well (money may be stronger than a vote).

People do not know they are losing their freedoms and rights for the sake of corporation’s lifestyle.

I have come to thoroughly believe, like Sodom, Capitalism as a system is thoroughly ‘evil’ (forgets the poor and needy).

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29 thoughts on “This Isn’t a Democracy, This is Capitalism!

  1. No kidding! I watched the documentary and felt guilty for being part of the system! I think there is going to be a revolution some day, but “we the people” need to wake up and stop dreaming!

  2. Yeah, I remember reading this article in the NY Times back in December about how the Supreme Court blocked an effort to cap corporate spending during elections.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/politics/22scotus.html?_r=1

    Essentially what this means is that corporations can give as much money as they want to a particular candidate. I don’t think that it’s any stretch of the imagination to say that corporations could essentially *purchase* the candidate of their choice. Scary stuff.

    “1% of the world owns 99% of the wealth of this planet…anyone else see an inherent problem there?”

    This is one of the things that really pisses me off when it comes to Christians who are staunch conservatives when it comes to economic matters and support an economic system like capitalism 100%. The reasons given are always that freedom and liberty and work ethic are good things and if we work hard then no gov’t should be able to take what’s “ours”. Frankly I think this is a misunderstanding of property all together. We need to start with the understanding that everything is God’s and what we have access too (including the ability to work) was given to us by him but not for us to keep and hold onto. God has given us these things for the enjoyment of all, not the enjoyment of the few. Anyways, I could keep going as this is something that I’m pretty passionate about, but I’ll stop short.

    This past year I studied the works of a Dutch fellow named Bob Goudzwaard. I’d encourage you to read his stuff if you’re at all interested in thinking about economics and development from a theological stand point. “Aid for the Overdeveloped West” is a good start and it’s very short and manageable (it’s a couple decades old mind you) but anything by him is good. Check out some of his stuff here http://www.allofliferedeemed.co.uk/goudzwaard.htm (the annotated bibliography is worth a glance and that way you can know where you want to dig further).

    “I have come to thoroughly believe, like Sodom, Capitalism as a system is thoroughly ‘evil’ (forgets the poor and needy).”

    Goudzwaard suggests that part of seeing an economic system function properly is understanding enterprises as *stewards* of creation rather than simply existing for the purpose of profit. I wonder what sort of difference we would see if corporations understood themselves this way?

    Of course, this will never happen, short of Jesus returning. And this is precisely where I see a place for the church to function. The church ought to be an alternate community that lives out and demonstrates and different (better!) way. In this sense, when it comes to economic matters the church ought to be a prophetic voice proclaiming and living out God’s future in the very present.

    Now that sounds a bit more like good news to the poor and freedom for the captives.

    Peace!

  3. “The church ought to be an alternate community that lives out and demonstrates and different (better!) way. In this sense, when it comes to economic matters the church ought to be a prophetic voice proclaiming and living out God’s future in the very present.” (JT)

    This is why you rock!!! I agree 100% and this is my theological stance based on what I have read from the gospels and letters. I will take some time on my holidays to read some of the stuff from the link you provided – it’s also a field I am quite passionate about (having a business degree and theological background – I care about business ethics).

  4. “I think there is going to be a revolution some day, but “we the people” need to wake up and stop dreaming!” (Ken)

    Agreed. I am always posing questions about when was a better time to live, now or sometime in the past. The benefits of past systems is we owned what we made and then bartered with others for products or services. Now that’s all replaced by a generic system of ‘money’…and he who holds the most calls the most shots.

  5. I think it is possible (but not probable) to create a democratic economy. I have thought about how people would rebuild the economy if it collapsed. Would they look at critics like Moore and say “That’s not what I want, how can it be done different?”

    I liked the factory on the documentary where everyone from the assembly line up to the top manager were paid the same. And it was a good wage.. $65K! Why do we allow a system where Judges and CEO’s and Politicians write their on ticket in life, while the people doing all the work get to scrape by. Both Mom and Dad (and sometimes the kids) working. And when any of the top guys screw up and the economy goes to crap… who has to “dig deeper – work more for less”. You know the big guys aren’t suffering, in fact they are getting huge bonuses to get more out of less staff!

  6. Why do we allow a system where Judges and CEO’s and Politicians write their on ticket in life, while the people doing all the work get to scrape by.(Ken)

    Because the truth is you dont have the freedom to decide. You need to earn more money. Either that or make a better bomb. 😦

  7. “Because the truth is you dont have the freedom to decide. You need to earn more money. Either that or make a better bomb” (T4T)

    Or rally the people via vote and shut that system down.

    • I guess first you have to renounce the system you play in now. I dont see too many people giving up their nice cars and ipods, dvd players and other shit very easily. Its nice to be idealistic until the rubber meets the road. 😦

      • I agree, idealism alone here won’t do the trick. However, this isn’t to excuse a lack of imagination. We must be able to imagine another way of life while at the same time living that way out. We must start with each step take and each transaction we make to begin to create a more just society (or, as I’m arguing, a more just community which can act as a witness to an unjust society).

        Also, in regards to your commentary on “stuff”, I think the way of the kingdom isn’t about owning vs. not owning stuff but rather about *how* we “own” stuff. This begins with the realization that all we have (cars, ipods, houses etc) has been graciously given to us by God for our enjoyment but not *only* for our enjoyment. We must imagine and live different ways of ownership that don’t involve exclusive ownership, but rather, ways of ownership that serve the good of the community.

  8. “I guess first you have to renounce the system you play in now” (John)

    True, and I am pretty much willing to renounce the ways and means of Capitalism for a more ‘just’ living. The stuff you buy is not the problem, it’s the profiteering of the wealthy that is, while we piddle around with toys that make them rich(er). But what if we all owned where we work but still made the same ‘toys’? The system is the problem, not the products.

    That all being said, I welcome the day of living off the land and each of us making our own stuff as a community. You grow corn and I grow potatoes, then we trade. You have milk, I have some clothing material my family wove together. Idealism functions 2 ways…forwards (more toys) and backwards (less toys and a more responsible way of life).

    “We must imagine and live different ways of ownership that don’t involve exclusive ownership, but rather, ways of ownership that serve the good of the community” (JT)

    I concur! If we lived in a society that acted like a democracy and bartered ‘fairly’ – we wouldn’t have a poor class of people…they would be cared for..and we wouldn’t have a struggling middle class…we’d all provide alongside one another.

  9. We need to build governments that can not be bought by corporations, unions or religions. The answer is to change government. Capitalism is useful. Democracy — rule of the masses is dangerous and must have all sorts of checks.

    My humble opinion.

  10. “The answer is to change government. Capitalism is useful. Democracy — rule of the masses is dangerous and must have all sorts of checks.” (Sabio)

    I agree, but they all need checks – gov’t and Capitalism as an economic system as well. I am more for balance than I am for anything else, democracy – but a balanced one where we all get a voice, but we do follow the best understandable and ethical path – and this by vote (in cases of corporations – my dream is they would all function like that).

    Capitalism is the bane of my existence, concerning community. Unchecked Capitalism is taking a serious toll on this world, environmentally (ie: global warming), humanely (ie: slavery), violently (ie: wars), and in disparity (making and taking of from the class systems underneath the very rich). I see a huge injustice and I have for some time (since the early 2000’s) – as soon as I learned economics and business ideology. I remain a version of socialist to be honest because what Capitalism (which functions like colonoialism) has done is disgust me. But if that can be balanced more for the ‘people’ – I am all ears.

  11. Capitalism at its core is dysfunctional because its based on consumption. The more you consume the more money can be made. To have people consume more you have to ensure that they are unhealthy. Because the healthier a person is, in mind and body, the less they consume. Simple formula that has dire consequences, so with that said, I think I’ll go grab a beer. 😆

  12. “Capitalism at its core is dysfunctional because its based on consumption.”

    I’m not sure this is true. I mean for starters there is nothing inherently wrong with consumption. In fact, we *must* consume in order to survive. Humans are consumers. I think the problem is consumerism which isn’t so much about having something as it is about having something *else*. It’s a restless spirit that leaves us discontent with what we have. And this I think is a necessary component of Capitalism because consumerism is the engine that keeps the whole thing going. But maybe that’s what you were getting at.

  13. every system has it’s flaws, some more pronounced than others. But it’s not the system itself that is evil, it’s the greed that the system nurtures that is evil. But I agree, we need a overhaul for sure!!!!

  14. The big surprise for me was the stat Moore found about the younger generations in America moving towards pro-socialism (30% pro-socialism compared to 37% pro capitalism, if I remember it correctly). Wow, so the capitalist propaganda is starting to wear thin, finally? Democracy and quasi-Socialism do work together — several test-countries have been generating years of data to show successes.

    So, have I stepped into a backroom meeting of the New Founding Fathers? What’s this new system going to look like? And how can we put proper checks into play so that greed and over-consumption is not rewarded? What’s going to be the ‘reward’ if there are limits on property, power, propaganda?

  15. with the “Freedom of Speech” given to corporations, campaign finance repeals, and other recent rulings in favor of making corporations more like individual ppl, capitalism is becoming more and more a horrible idea. plus, we don’t have a capitalism in the pure sense, we have a socialized one where the corporations risk and fail, the government bails them out, meanwhile taxpayers are foreclosed on and go starving into the streets.

    this is why i believe that the government cannot be a source of support for people and it is the church that must step up and help in their local environs. even if you don’t go to worship, get in the trenches, get into a food bank, donate to homeless shelters, give to social workers. let’s take back our neighborhoods and hopefully it will “trickle up.”

  16. “let’s take back our neighborhoods and hopefully it will “trickle up.”” (ZGhost)

    I like that, take back our communities and localize more (ie: shop more local).

  17. “So, have I stepped into a backroom meeting of the New Founding Fathers? What’s this new system going to look like? And how can we put proper checks into play so that greed and over-consumption is not rewarded? What’s going to be the ‘reward’ if there are limits on property, power, propaganda?” (Andrew)

    I think the limits have to be on the economic system more than anything, so the wealth is more properly shared amongst the people (ie: no one goes starving). I am not sure the limits to be exact, but it has to start restricting the mass profiteering that is burdening the middle class.

  18. “I think the limits have to be on the economic system more than anything, so the wealth is more properly shared amongst the people (ie: no one goes starving).” (societyvs)

    I don’t see any limits for the sharing of the wealth… at least not in the ideal situation. My ideal situation would be a total voluntary sharing of the wealth. I agree with a certain amount of tax dollars going to world relief funds, but the local needs should come from the masses where they live… food banks, building programs, child care, etc.

    This may never happen voluntarily, but if it did you would find the result to be more permanent and vibrant. You can see what happens when major national crisis occur… the masses send a bit of money and there is more than enough to restore the people’s homes and communities. For example, it may take years but a fund is in place that should go a long way to restoring Haiti.

    We need to be proactive in helping people understand the desperation and need among us. If people understood how better our communities could be if we voluntarily helped others, many would not hesitate to get involved. But it we make this a mandatory giving (like a tax) then there would be no end to the opposition.

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