FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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.

April 25, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Selective Outrage
Dan Kovalik
The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
Joseph Essertier
The Abductees of Japan and Korea
Ramzy Baroud
The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago
W. T. Whitney
Imprisoned FARC Leader Faces Extradition: Still No Peace in Colombia
Manuel E. Yepe
Washington’s Attack on Syria Was a Mockery of the World
John White
My Silent Pain for Toronto and the World
Mel Gurtov
Will Abe Shinzo “Make Japan Great Again”?
Dean Baker
Bad Projections: the Federal Reserve, the IMF and Unemployment
David Schultz
Why Donald Trump Should Not be Allowed to Pardon Michael Cohen, His Friends, or Family Members
Mel Gurtov
Will Abe Shinzo “Make Japan Great Again”?
Binoy Kampmark
Enoch Powell: Blood Speeches and Anniversaries
Frank Scott
Weapons and Walls
April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Paul Bentley
A Velvet Revolution Turns Bloody? Ten Dead in Toronto
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail