Last week, reporting on the latest meeting of the US Federal Reserve Bank, NY Times reporter, Catherine Rampell, opened her story with this line: “No one knows what to do to fix the economy.”
How frightening is that? The US and the rest of the world are being sucked into a vortex of political, economic and social chaos and no one knows what to do!
In his NY Times column this morning, the liberal Nobel economist, Paul Krugman, noted that “profits are at record levels,” as though that was somehow one encouraging piece of news meant to reassure those who fear that the vast new stimulus package he has been pleading for and the increased debt it would produce are not about to destroy our economy, since, even under the present circumstances, profits are up. There’s nothing reassuring about it. In fact, corporate profits are at the heart of our problems: the concentration of wealth.
During the first quarter of this year, corporate profits ran at an annual rate equal to 11% of GDP. In essence, workers are paid $8.90 to make a widget, but when they want to buy it, it costs $10. That’s a 11% skim off the top for the profiteers, a house advantage any casino owner would lust for. Soon, the casino owners have all the money, and the only way to keep the game going is to lend some of their profits back to the losers so they can keep playing, while the corporations keep on keeping on making record profits. That’s not a good thing.
What can be done about it? Unfortunately, nothing can be done now to save this giant Ponzi scheme called capitalism. Or, taking the long view, fortunately, since it appears that the only way we can hope to see a more just, humane and free social arrangement is if the one we’ve got fails completely, which appears about to happen. The unanswered question is, what will happen when it all finally comes apart? That depends on whether we have prepared in advance. We won’t, of course, if we believe that somehow we will muddle through. However, if you fear that this is the end of capitalism, then we offer the Whole Earth Design Project as a way for us to collectively design an alternative social arrangement. I invite you to click on the WEDP tab above and learn more. If the project interests you, please go to CONTACT and let us know, along with any thoughts and suggestions you may have to offer.
Meanwhile, as conditions continue to worsen, one wonders when American citizens will finally raise their voices in protest. Here’s a little remembrance of how we responded in the Sixties to another horrendous example of government malfeasance: Country Joe and the Fish performing their famous anti-Vietnam war song at Woodstock.