Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
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.

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Wim Laven
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
David Yearsley
Shock-and-Awe Inside Oracle Arena
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail