A Rant on the Current State of Capitalism

The current state of capitalism (especially in the United States) is one in which most imagine that it is possible to put capital gains ahead of economic and social responsibility in a way that is morally neutral. When the growth of one corporation blacks out another, so that hundreds if not thousands are left unemployed, the saying usually goes “Nothing personal. It’s just business.” How one could imagine this is morally neutral is beyond me. You first have to assume that capitalist competition somehow transcends ethics and the maxim of Christ to “love thy neighbor,” if you are going to placate your conscience that one corporation’s capital gains resulting in another’s loss has no moral implications whatsoever. It’s just the game of the market. The fact that there are winners and losers apparently has nothing to do with our ethics, even if the losers end up homeless, divorced and suicidal.

That’s only to speak of when someone goes from being a real participant in the capitalist game to then losing big. There are also those who are simply cogs in the wheel. The labor force who have a one in a million chance at being anything more than a low-ranking step in the means of production. Wage workers are at the mercy of their employers, receiving nothing but the residue of a corporation’s profits, and for all their contribution, have no stake or ownership in the fruits of their labor, so that it could all count for nothing if their employer decides to cut them loose. These too should keep in mind that it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

What’s even worse about this is that in the U.S. the majority of supporters for the current state of capitalism are Christians. Granted, there are many who call themselves Christian as nothing more than a group identity for what seems to be a hijacking by social conservatives, and this is hardly more than Christian in name (Donald Trump being exhibit A-Z). It is apparent that a commitment to a risen Christ, in practice, often comes at best second to a commitment to the republican party, if it comes into play at all. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, and the money lovers have coopted the name of Christ, so that you are not Christian if you are not capitalist.

Overall, the current state of capitalism is one where capital gains are valued over economic and social responsibility. From massive corporations to small businesses, increase in capital value is often accomplished by socially irresponsible means, if not by downright criminal methods. If one argues that capitalist gains without environmental mindfulness has resulted in serious harm to our planet, conservatives call them a tree hugger. If scientists demonstrate that global warming is resulting from high emissions, then it must be a liberal conspiracy. Anything that threatens the unhindered growth of capitalist pursuits is seen as the enemy to human progress, even though humanity is the last thing on the capitalist agenda.

Not only so, but the increase of economic inequality threatens democracy as the elite become more and more tied up in politics, where corporate lobbyists with six figure salaries can pursue legislative advantages for their employers, while low wage employees barely have the time, education and mental energy to learn about who’s running for president, let alone for the senate or congress. Of course this is seen as “their” fault rather than the consequences of a system rigged against the working class. The fact that future generations of the families in the lowest economic classes will scarcely be better off is a crushing fact of life, in a system where growth in inequality is simply how the game is played. The statistics are clear. Poverty is generational, even in the supposed “land of opportunity.” To say that generations of people remaining in poverty is “their” fault (as if among so many people they were just all so lazy as to not take the clear path to wealth), borderlines whatever goes lower than ignorance, maybe a willing and immoral ignorance. Worse than turning a blind eye to a neighbor’s needs is to ridicule him for it, and perhaps even worse is to support a system that will hold him there, and an ideology that refers to social welfare as “theft.” If giving of what one has to ensure the well-being of others is theft then Christ was the biggest thief in human history, and if such “theft” is not Christian, then perhaps what Christian means today is not what it meant back then. After all, it wouldn’t be “theft” if all of these Christians were happy to give it.

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