Do you hear the children weeping, O, my brothers, Ere the sorrow comes with years? They are leaning their young heads against their mothers, And that cannot stop their tears. But the young, young chidren, O, my mothers, They are weeping bitterly! They are weeping in the playtime of the others, In the country of the free. Still, all day, the iron wheels go onward, Grinding life down from its mark; And the children's souls which God is calling sunward, Spin on blindly in the dark.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "THE CRY OF THE CHILDREN" * In protest to child labor in England.
"As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master – this expresses my idea of democracy – whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy."
In another essay I said, “The elimination of poverty is not a goal in society but the actual reason for society’s existence”. I showed this by outlining the evolution of society, government, and the economic system we call capitalism. The brand of capitalism we have today has been around throughout the history of the world, since practically the inception of societies. But for some reason, today most people think of capitalism as some kind of great “free system” that is actually an irreplaceable part of Democracy and the rights of the individual. The actual fact is capitalism has never gone away, and has served under every form of government the world has known. As far as freedom goes, the only freedom it guarantees is the freedom to fail, as is shown in the continual existence of poverty in every society where capitalism has existed.
In point of fact, capitalism is sort of a delusion; it deludes people into thinking that government is the oppressor of the individual, while it offers the freedom for the individual to soar to unlimited heights, through hard work, the old Horatio Alger story. If the individual lived alone, maybe this would be true, but in a society, the only way people can keep their rights is by keeping others from the unlimited freedom to deprive others of their rights. Responsible freedom is what the government of Democracy is all about; unlimited freedom is what the economic science of greed, called capitalism is all about.
One of the primary industries of capitalism a few years back was the institution of slavery; in fact, it was probably the largest and most extensive institution of capitalism that has probably existed since its inception. Needless to say this same American Democracy that guaranteed all individuals the same rights we have today under the bill of rights, was an upholder of slavery.
Remember the civil war? It took a civil war to finally free our people from the “free” capitalistic institution of slavery. Yet the other institution, which has always also flourished under capitalism, poverty, came into its own directly after, and is still flourishing. Oh, you say this isn’t an institution? Most people today think of poverty as inevitable. That it will always exist. That’s what an institution is: a customary and inevitable part of a society, like slavery. Ask most people during the revolutionary war days in America if they thought slavery would ever end. They would laugh at you. Of course it wouldn’t; it was an institution.
Today poverty is considered an institution worldwide, and along with it, that other capitalistic institution: Charity. They live side by side, condoning and sanctifying each other, the twin institutions of capitalism. They are institutions; they will never go away. But where did slavery go? The delusion of the disease of capitalism is at work yet again.
But the slave owners made money off the slaves, nobody makes money off the poor? Think again, did slavery really go away? Or maybe this is just another delusion of capitalism at work yet again! Oh, yeah, we fought a war and all; but aren’t all the poor people today, working for slave wages, really just another kind of slave? Think about it, common people are working harder than ever to make ends meet today. The poor are finding it harder and harder to raise themselves out of poverty. Charities are thriving to keep people poor. What! Yeah, think how many jobs would be lost if poverty suddenly ended. There is a vested interest in keeping the poor, poor! Even the religions would suddenly find themselves at a loss if there suddenly were no more poor to help – more delusions of the capitalistic disease. To top it off, look at the up and coming law enforcement industry – truly another thriving capitalistic institution! Lawyers, and all the helper jobs that go with it are booming, as the criminal population is soaring as a result of poverty. The huge drain on the taxpayers is phenomenal; the criminal gets better benefits than our poorer citizens get, so their might even be a desire to get caught and go to jail, when you get out they’ll even find you a job!
How have we gotten into this insanity! We created our societies to keep all of this from happening. We created societies to eliminate the very hardships their causing. We see what we do today because business in America is outside the law. We have allowed the blindness of unlimited prosperity to cause the delusions of capitalism to spread. We have placed the dollar sign above the lives of our citizens.
The realities are simple and plain. Eliminate poverty for good, and in doing so create a society free of crime and the burden of law enforcement that goes with it. A society that trusts again, because the hope of success will lie is service, not wealth. Create a state that is the family of all families, in which truly all share the rights we guarantee under the constitution. Never again let the illusions of greed, by whatever name, distort our reality, or sway us from what we know to be right.
Our whole mindset has been distorted by this economic disease. Our students get out of schools that worship the creation of wealth, and think more about doing business then doing their jobs. The whole society is at odds with itself, a bunch of selfish individuals all working against each other for gain; and the other half only trying to find ways to cheat the other half out of it. We’ve sold out our values, our whole culture to this way of life.
“Eliminate Poverty!” One Rock group proclaimed, as they collected alms for their poor brethren. Well, mister that ain’t going to cut it! The hypocrisy makes me sick, especially since these fools actually believe they can help. Charities don’t do anything but keep poverty alive and well. As long as capitalism in this form exists there will be poverty and charities. Unless we finally come to grips with the real cause, we can’t do anything. We can’t continue to live according to a system that guarantees both winners and losers and expect anything else.
Ask yourself: Why does there have to be losers? We created government for that very reason to prevent there being any losers in society.
But another government was created by the rich and powerful, a government whose only purpose is to keep them rich; and that government is even more powerful than ours is, because it feeds on our fantasies of becoming like they are. They hold it out to us like a master holding a bone out to a dog, and we can only see the bone, not the poor animal that was butchered to provide it. The predators of capitalism have been around for a long time and they know how to beguile us in every language and every culture and every custom and myth, humanity has ever known; they are the demons inside of us telling us to hell with everybody else, only I count! The result is slavery, poverty, crime, misery, wars, and just about everything bad that man has ever experienced, and yet we haven’t learned. Again and again, Rome, the Middle Ages, the Reformation, the age of the French Revolution, the Bolshevik revolution, on and on and the same people always reemerge with the same disease. We wallow in the global quagmire it has created; we see its results all around us and yet we only see as far as the TV sets and sports figures and celebrities. We are blind, dumb and mindless robots, no longer able to function as humans; we’ve lost our humanity. We quibble about names, and dogma while we blow each other up, and see only the dollar sign as the meaning of life.
So, if any of this has gotten through the media facade that now functions as the average American’s reasoning ability, perhaps you will see that there is another reality outside of an economic one, and that reality is slowly closing in on us like a vise closing it jaws on what it holds. Once again, poverty, like slavery, doesn’t have to exist! It isn’t inevitable, or even an institution; It’s just another delusion you fat gullible people have been led to believe.
What do we need to do to make it go away? That’s the hard part isn’t it; in a few years we won’t have to worry, if things continue as they are, it will go away through another bloodbath as it always has throughout history. And another bunch of fat cats will take the place of those they butcher, and on and on it goes. But just maybe we can make the whole rotten system go away so that there will never be another set of fat cats to take their place, and government will actually create a society where the rights of the individual will matter, not only in high flown words but in actual practice. It will mean not only correcting capitalism, but also the futile government it has created to serve it, that same government that was supposed to represent all of us.
If government neglects, denies or marginalizes even one citizen then it has failed in its purpose; we have hundreds of cities full of failures right now. The bill of rights has to be upheld, not only in name, but in action. Responsible freedom, not license is what is needed. But most of all government must ensure there are no losers, which will mean we must all share the burden equally. We can all share the same level of prosperity, and look on one another without envy or malice because of greedy desires. Service to one another will replace security systems and surveillance cameras; the shadow warriors, hiding behind the façade of National Security will for once and all wither away in the light of true freedom and equality, their methods of slander and deceit replaced with honor and brotherhood.
Is this all a dream? Fixing what is broken is never easy. But the first step is to realize there is a problem. The security that greed has bred is never easy to overcome. The fat pensions, industry and government jobs and stock options are the lure to think that everything is rosy, while the disease progresses under the covers and suddenly, one fine day, the whole house of cards collapses all around us. History shows us, that this scenario is indeed inevitable. But this also holds at the other end; The false hopes of prosperity that greed holds out to the poor also beguile them into thinking that this is the only way to break the hold of poverty. They know the problem first hand, but charity beguiles them into thinking, that they are the failure, that if they continue they will make it big. And if they make it big all their brothers in poverty are suddenly forgotten.
Poverty is a failure of society. It is the failure of its primary mission: equal support to all. Greed and its minion capitalism distributes the necessities of life unfairly, and has such power that it has overruled even government, which is the safeguard of society. It is of such power and hold over our people with its artificial media, arts, news and technology that it has deprived us of our culture and heritage, and substituted a culture of duplicity, brainwashing and selfishness; it has created a fascism of greed, worse than the NAZIS of old.
There was once an America that stood up for the rights of even the slaves of another race, and went to war against its own to sanctify its principles. Where is that America today? Where are our Lincolns, Washingtons, Franklins and even Eisenhowers, who warned us against the very effects we are now experiencing? Rome fell to its own prosperity; must we too fall to the same illusion? There are still thinkers in America, and that is what America, and the world needs most of all right now, men and women who can still think. Men and women who can think of the consequences and conclusions that lie behind the names and rallying cries of the parties and factions; men and women who can think honestly and fairly, without the prejudices of factions clouding their logic. The time for saying one thing and doing another is over in America; like the old Chinese sages we must bring our philosophy in line with our conduct. We must broaden our view, so that it includes everyone, as our constitution supposedly does. Our effects on others are what matter in life, and they will mold our society and our world; greed can never produce the right effects.
People will read all this and say, “but we have corrected all these wrongs of capitalism, and prosperity has grown; we will just go on correcting each wrong that comes along, as we have done.” But they don’t see the real problem. When a person is sick, you just don’t go and take care of his complaints one by one. You try to find out what the real problem is, and if there is a cure you use it to cure the disease. If we treat the symptoms, the disease will continue to rage on and finally kill the patient. That is what capitalism is doing, its brainwashing us, turning off the Good in people so they grow into people who no longer will even notice any abuse, as long as they are doing well themselves. Many people died before we fought a war to stop slavery. Many children died before the capitalists stopped child labor. Many people died before unions stopped many of the abuses of the robber barons at the turn of the century. Many are dying today as poverty rages even in America. Do you see a pattern here? Do you see the futility; all so that a few gluttons can fill their bank accounts to overflowing. All so that a few greedy poor can continue to believe that one day they’ll strike it rich, and then they can say to hell with everybody else! They are the delusions of the disease that capitalism has grown in us. They have blinded us to the real problems. Look to History, as I did. See the pattern over and over; see it building up right now all over again as it always has. The cycle never seems to end, one set of fat cats always succeed another.
I don’t propose a new or different system, I propose fixing capitalism by removing the very things that make it a disease. Bring it in line with the same things that we looked for when we built this society, or that any people look for when they build any society, fairness and cooperation. We need to have the sources of production in the hands of the society; and we need to distribute the necessities produced so that none will be without. Free enterprise on the small scale can still exist, but all the true necessities will be controlled by the society, for the society. Service will become the new wealth. What are the alternatives? As things seem to be shaping up now: global depression; totalitarian governance; the Third World War; perhaps even Nuclear Holocaust.
The disease of capitalism is greed. It cannot be pooh-poohed or ignored. It can only be eradicated. Otherwise, it will, as it always has, in the past, destroy us. It is the source of all the evil on this earth, and has always been. It has institutionalized itself in the processes of capitalism. And has made us believe that it is something good. It has even beguiled the religions of the world into accepting it through its other institution of charity. It has forced us into creating societies that do not represent all equally, even though they pretend to. I have laid bare all its delusions… now it is up to you to face the consequences with constructive action, or merely continue to ignore the problem.
* Illustration and Poem adapted from "Poems you ought to know", Tribune Company, Chicago, 1902.
Originally Published:October 11, 2007
Revised:July 3, 2014