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Old October 11th, 2011, 07:25 PM   #1
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Occupy Wall Street, Capitalism's Death Rattle?

Revolutionary history in the making? It just perhaps might be that what we’re witnessing in the mass social phenomenon being called “Occupy Wall Street” are the early signs and portents of the meltdown of the moonshiny mythology of capitalism – the moonshiny mythology that capitalism is a system that can be safely and self-correctingly left to its own devices and the devices of its corporate and financial stewards atop the establishments of big business and banking.

That is, we may at long last be waking up from the collective false consciousness of our capitalist civilization. A collective false consciousness that would have us uncritically accept capitalism as the ultimate stage in man’s socioeconomic evolution, and our lot under capitalism as natural and inescapable.

The culture, the media, and the powers that be of a capitalist society of course all collude, as it were, to manipulate us into such a false consciousness, and breaking our minds out of it is not an easy proposition. Not at all an easy proposition. And in fact there are still plenty of die-hard dogmatists of free-marketarianism who earnestly if lamely believe that the cure, the surefire panacea for the ills of 21st century capitalism is more old-time laissez–faire capitalism.

But it would appear, if the “Occupy Wall Street” movement is any indication, that there’s a dawning realization in the land that free-market ideology is a reeking heap of rationalizing rubbish and that it’s about time that we, as a society, begin to realistically face up to the serious flaws and pernicious pathologies of capitalism.

If anything good has come of The Great Recession it’s that it’s starkly outed, albeit in a painfully cruel way for many working-class people, the lies and lousiness of capitalism; and delivered us to a readiness to speak the taboo truth of our system. The taboo truth that a system that socially approves of materialism and greed, that grounds economics in a jaded view of human nature, deeming consumerism and self-interest to be a sufficient ethos to guide the life of individuals and society, is a precariously unsustainable system ever on the edge of catastrophic disequilibrium – economic, social, environmental, and spiritual.

In our present episode of recession (The Great Recession) what’s of course happening is that the global economy is teetering over the edge of the precipice and staring down at the demise of capitalism. In the Depression of 1929 the world’s economy toppled over but was able to grab hold of the edge and eventually pull itself up, with a helping hand from Keynesian policies. Now as you might expect, the close call of the Depression caused a great many folks to turn their backs on capitalism, but a misguided patriotic loyalty to the heritage of American “free enterprise” prevented the working class from doing so en masse. The result has been that we’ve remained in the cruel cycle of capitalism, and are once again going through a severe “downturn”.

But the current downturn also once again presents us with an opportunity, an opportunity to rethink our economic system and culture. To reassess the rationale and supposed rationality of capitalism – from an axiological and humanistic as well as an economic point of view. That is, there’s nothing like a little ole recession or depression to make people ask about capitalism the question “How’s that working for you?”.

Well, how is capitalism working for us, on a human and a societal level? On a human level we see evidence all around us that capitalism is a monumental loser of a system. The materialistic values, or should I say anti-values, of capitalism leave human beings with a gaping and grievous “inner void”, a spiritually hurting lack of “meaning” and existential fulfillment. Modern man is pathetically devoid of an awareness of the sacredness of existence, bereft of any sense of how to cultivate such an awareness and how to find authentic fulfillment, and bombarded by the capitalist media with the shallow-making message that the “meaning of life” lies in making money, owning stuff, and gratifying one’s libidinal urges.

Is it any wonder then that legions of our neighbors are profoundly unhappy and resort to pharmacology, legal or street pharmacology, to “medicate” their unhappiness and spiritual poverty? Is it really any wonder at all that our society has such a raging addiction problem? The capitalist ethos tells people that they can buy joy, in the form of consumer goods or chemical substances, and it shows them no other or better way to “follow their bliss”, so naturally millions of us annually shell out billions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies and south-of-the-border cartels to acquire a shabby substitute for happiness!

This, our society’s drug habit, in turn massively contributes to various crime statistics and other markers of social pathology. Like an individual junkie whose life is in a wretchedly shambolic state, our society is becoming increasingly dysfunctional all around us. By directing people away from spiritual satisfaction and an inner intoxication with life, and toward a heavy dependence on external and quick fixes for their existential anguish, capitalism has devolved us into a socially dysfunctional crackhead of a civilization.

Our crack takes a variety of forms. That is, in our capitalist culture there are many different shallow desiderata that displace deeper yearnings. There’s money itself, many people’s lives are completely taken up with the sturm und drang of making money. There’s acquisitiveness-consumerism, the active coveting of the latest iPhone, widescreen TV, or SUV. And when we’re not busy striving to keep up with those trend-setting Joneses (or Kardashians), there’s escapism galore to be had in sex, drugs, video games, the internet, and television. Whether we choose to make a fetish of money or sex or what have you, we’ve become a society of people seeking consolation, release, and euphoria in externals. We respond to our desire for ecstasy by popping a pill called Ecstasy, not by seeking self-transcendence!

And of course the results are both disappointing and deleterious to the moral-spiritual fabric of society. And if this all isn’t bad enough, capitalism insidiously works against our spiritual well-being in other ways as well. For instance, under capitalism workingpeople are reduced to prostituting their talent, their productivity, their very creativity for money from an employer. Mm-hmm, we’re conditioned to accept the spiritual outrage of no longer owning our own creativity; rather, it’s sold to and expropriated by our capitalist masters – thus and so are we alienated from our inner reality and birthright, i.e. our creativity, exchanging it for a mess of wages.

And oh yeah, there’s the little spiritual injury of being debased from human beings into mere economic actors. After all, in the capitalist scheme of things that’s all we really are, economic actors and commodities. And that’s even how we come to unconsciously relate to one another. The dismal truth be told, much of the time we only connect to people outside of our immediate family through the “cash nexus”, e.g. we transact our business with a checker at the market or cashier at the bank not as a human being connecting with another human being, but as a customer being serviced by a functionary of a firm. In other words, capitalism dehumanizes individuals and their relationships with one another in favor of crass economic relationships.

[COLOR=darkgreen]The conclusion is located directly below
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Old October 11th, 2011, 07:26 PM   #2
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Conclusion

Certainly our humanity takes a major hit from this, but then there?s all the bread and circuses, reality TV and Prozac that capitalism uses to divert our attention from the harsh reality of our waningly human condition. But can anything really distract us from the fact that capitalism robs us of personal authenticity and autonomy, placing us under the social dominance and ability to enforce conformity of bosses and bourgeoisies?

And what about the aggrieving and demoralizing psycho-spiritual effects of being subjected to the inherent injustice of a system in which a favored few systematically expropriate most of the wealth produced by our labors? What about the paining of our hearts caused by witnessing the want and hardship of our neighbors, or perhaps our own children, in this double-dipping recession? I could go on, but the fundamental question is how, once our awareness of the social, moral and spiritual evils of capitalism is raised, how can we justify remaining passive and apathetic victims?

Apparently the answer of the thousands of men and women taking part in the ?Occupy Wall Street? movement is that they can?t justify remaining passive and apathetic victims. No, they?ve decided that they will no longer be impotent victims of a system that gives a few Wall Street firms and fat cats the power to instigate a global recession with impunity, and to objectify us all into mere (insufficiently) salaried cogs of an economic machine that really only gives up its bounty to those who already have overflowingly and obscenely too much wealth. And so they are taking action, hopefully effective action, which perhaps will force some real change. Kudos to them all. Let?s bring down capitalism like the peoples of the Middle East are bringing down their own corrupt and rotten systems, with the mobilization of people power.




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Old October 11th, 2011, 07:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by charleslb View Post
Conclusion

Certainly our humanity takes a major hit from this, but then there?s all the bread and circuses, reality TV and Prozac that capitalism uses to divert our attention from the harsh reality of our waningly human condition. But can anything really distract us from the fact that capitalism robs us of personal authenticity and autonomy, placing us under the social dominance and ability to enforce conformity of bosses and bourgeoisies?

And what about the aggrieving and demoralizing psycho-spiritual effects of being subjected to the inherent injustice of a system in which a favored few systematically expropriate most of the wealth produced by our labors? What about the paining of our hearts caused by witnessing the want and hardship of our neighbors, or perhaps our own children, in this double-dipping recession? I could go on, but the fundamental question is how, once our awareness of the social, moral and spiritual evils of capitalism is raised, how can we justify remaining passive and apathetic victims?

Apparently the answer of the thousands of men and women taking part in the ?Occupy Wall Street? movement is that they can?t justify remaining passive and apathetic victims. No, they?ve decided that they will no longer be impotent victims of a system that gives a few Wall Street firms and fat cats the power to instigate a global recession with impunity, and to objectify us all into mere (insufficiently) salaried cogs of an economic machine that really only gives up its bounty to those who already have overflowingly and obscenely too much wealth. And so they are taking action, hopefully effective action, which perhaps will force some real change. Kudos to them all. Let?s bring down capitalism like the peoples of the Middle East are bringing down their own corrupt and rotten systems, with the mobilization of people power.



Smaller front next time, please.
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Old October 11th, 2011, 11:27 PM   #4
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The OP is ridiculous - the occupy wall street people are just losers who are unable or unwilling to cope with hard times. They have no intellectual foundation. They've absurdly picked a scapegoat, "wall street". They have no set goals. They just want everthing to be free or cheap for them. They're infants trapped in adult bodies.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 06:40 AM   #5
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The OP is ridiculous - the occupy wall street people are just losers who are unable or unwilling to cope with hard times. They have no intellectual foundation. They've absurdly picked a scapegoat, "wall street". They have no set goals. They just want everthing to be free or cheap for them. They're infants trapped in adult bodies.
They're making the same arguments as the TP. The only difference is the TP is anti-gov't and Occupy anti-sell out politicians.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 09:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
The OP is ridiculous - the occupy wall street people are just losers who are unable or unwilling to cope with hard times. They have no intellectual foundation.
While much of the Occupy crowd is nothing more than sensationalist populism based on little intellectualism, so are many of the Tea Partiers. Even in our discussions YOU have often rejected intellectualism in favor of your intuition. Both sides have some groups with anti-intellectual sentiments. It really is sad.
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Old November 13th, 2011, 12:37 PM   #7
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While much of the Occupy crowd is nothing more than sensationalist populism based on little intellectualism, so are many of the Tea Partiers. Even in our discussions YOU have often rejected intellectualism in favor of your intuition. Both sides have some groups with anti-intellectual sentiments. It really is sad.
I do give the TP credit though, the widespread violence in the protests wasn't nearly the problem seen thus far in the OWS. The former was also better organized, and had a more united message.

As per the OP, communism was and still is marketed the same way as capitalism. In "theory" it's supposed to create an egalitarian society, in practice... I wonder if he's read the history of what happens when you try to eliminate capitalism all together.
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Old November 13th, 2011, 05:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Kyuubi View Post
I do give the TP credit though, the widespread violence in the protests wasn't nearly the problem seen thus far in the OWS. The former was also better organized, and had a more united message.

As per the OP, communism was and still is marketed the same way as capitalism. In "theory" it's supposed to create an egalitarian society, in practice... I wonder if he's read the history of what happens when you try to eliminate capitalism all together.
The same ting hat happened when feudalism died. The problem is that capitalism had over 2 centuries to get it right, socialism is sill ring to get started.
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