FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Where are Marx and Lenin When We Need Them?

shutterstock_152766644

Marx and Lenin were ahead of their time. Marx wrote before offshoring of jobs and the financialization of the economy. Lenin presided over a communist revolution that jumped the gun by taking place in a country in which feudal elements still predominated over capitalism. In 21st century America capitalism has been unfettered from the regulations that democratized it and made it serve society. Today capitalism is being financialized with the consequence that its productive power is being drained into the service of debt.

When I was a young man, an individual with one million dollars was very rich. Anyone with a few millions more was considered richer than rich. Today there are people who have thousands of millions of dollars.

Few earned their billions by producing goods and services sold to consumers.

The neoliberal economists, who prescribe economic policy not only in the West but also in Russia and China, incorrectly claim that money received is money earned. In fact, how did the Less-Than-One-Percent really get their thousands of millions?

They got them through political connections and through purely financial transactions.

When the Soviet Union fell apart as a consequence of hardline communists arresting President Gorbachev, well connected individuals in Russia and the Soviet province of Ukraine, especially those well connected to Washington and Israel, ended up with massive holdings that formerly were state properties.

In the US billionaires result from bank lending for leveraged takeovers of companies. The takeovers produce riches for the takeover person from curtailing company pensions and using the company’s cash to pay off the takeover loan. Often the company and its employees are ruined, but the takeover artist walks away with massive amounts of money. Manipulation of initial public offerings are another source of riches as are securitized derivatives.

Classical economists, and Michael Hudson today, define these profits as “economic rents,” the income from which required no increase in real output to produce. In other words, these billionaire wealth gains are a form of parasitism based on exploitation and not on the production of real output. The gains result from draining income from production into the service of debt.

Today’s capitalist economies are far more dysfunctional than Marx supposed. For the past two decades Western economies have served no one but the very rich, and the exploited masses have submitted to their exploitation. The Western public may as well be slaves.

There is no reason for a person to have thousands of millions of dollars. The money elevates the political power of individuals over the power of the electorate. Indeed, the money becomes the electorate. The money is used to purchase political control, which destroys representative government. Billionaires, such as Sheldon Adelson, George Soros, and the Koch brothers, use their billionaire fortunes to control the US government in their interests. A Republican Supreme Court has made this easier for them.

The rise of financial power in Russia and China has created private power centers in those countries that, like the ones in the US, are independent of the governments. These power centers have the potential to capture the governments and to use public offices to further concentrate wealth in few hands. Privatizations in Russia and China will strengthen the independent power of narrow private interests as they have in Europe and the UK. Neoliberal economics guarantees that eventually private money controls the government.

Oxfam, an international charity headquartered in Oxford, England, reports that 62 billionaires own half of the wealth in the world.

It was Warren Buffett, one of the richest mega-billionaires, who said that his secretary’s tax rate was higher than his. If governments do not rectify this, revolution will.

But apparently voters won’t, at least not in the US. Hillary represents the One Percent, as the
Clinton’s $153,000,000 in speaking fees attest, but the 99 percent are self-destructing by voting in support of Hillary’s ambition to gain the presidency. Apparently, H. L. Mencken was correct, the vast majority of Americans are morons.

More articles by:

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
September 20, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Unipolar Governance of the Multipolar World
Rob Urie
Strike for the Environment, Strike for Social Justice, Strike!
Miguel Gutierrez
El Desmadre: The Colonial Roots of Anti-Mexican Violence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
Andrew Levine
Why Democrats Really Should Not All Get Along But Sometimes Must Anyway
Louis Proyect
A Rebellion for the Wild West
T.J. Coles
A Taste of Their Own Medicine: the Politicians Who Robbed Iranians and Libyans Fear the Same for Brexit Britain
H. Bruce Franklin
How We Launched Our Forever War in the Middle East
Lee Hall
Mayor Obedience Training, From the Pet Products Industry
Louis Yako
Working in America: Paychecks for Silence
Michael D. Yates
Radical Education
Jonathan Cook
Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage Before He Exits?
Valerie Reynoso
The Rising Monopoly of Monsanto-Bayer
John Steppling
American Psychopathy
Ralph Nader
25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality
Vincent Emanuele
Small Town Values
John Feffer
The Threat of Bolton Has Retreated, But Not the Threat of War
David Rosen
Evangelicals, Abstinence, Abortion and the Mainstreaming of Sex
Judy Rohrer
“Make ‘America’ White Again”: White Resentment Under the Obama & Trump Presidencies
John W. Whitehead
The Police State’s Language of Force
Kathleen Wallace
Noblesse the Sleaze
Farzana Versey
Why Should Kashmiris be Indian?
Nyla Ali Khan
Why Are Modi and His Cohort Paranoid About Diversity?
Shawn Fremstad
The Official U.S. Poverty Rate is Based on a Hopelessly Out-of-Date Metric
Mel Gurtov
No War for Saudi Oil!
Robert Koehler
‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’
David Swanson
Every Peace Group and Activist Should Join Strike DC for the Earth’s Climate
Scott Owen
In Defense of Non-violent Actions in Revolutionary Times
Jesse Jackson
Can America Break Its Gun Addiction?
Priti Gulati Cox
Sidewalk Museum of Congress: Who Says Kansas is Flat?
Mohamad Shaaf
The Current Political Crisis: Its Roots in Concentrated Capital with the Resulting Concentrated Political Power
Max Moran
Revolving Door Project Probes Thiel’s White House Connection
Arshad Khan
Unhappy India
Nick Pemberton
Norman Fucking Rockwell! and 24 Other Favorite Albums
Nicky Reid
The Bigotry of ‘Hate Speech’ and Facebook Fascism
Paul Armentano
To Make Vaping Safer, Legalize Cannabis
Jill Richardson
Punching Through Bad Headlines
Jessicah Pierre
What the Felicity Huffman Scandal Says About America
John Kendall Hawkins
Draining the Swamp, From the Beginning of Time
Julian Rose
Four Funerals and a Wedding: A Brief History of the War on Humanity
Victor Grossman
Film, Music and Elections in Germany
Charles R. Larson
Review: Ahmet Altan’s “I Will Never See the World Again”
David Yearsley
Jazz is Activism
Elliot Sperber
Captains of Industry 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail