One of the major problems with capitalism is inheritance. If this is a meritocracy, how come the children of rich people get to start out life with millions of dollars? One of the other questions, one that doesn’t get discussed very often, is the simple fact that the system relies on unemployment. People have to be unemployed for the system to work. If unemployment ever drops to zero, analysts and markets freak out.

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About Ted Rall

Ted Rall is the political cartoonist at, editor-in-chief of, a graphic novelist and author of many books of art and prose, and an occasional war correspondent. He is the author of the biography "Trump," to be published in July 2016.

11 thoughts on “Capitalism

  1. No one in debating immigration and employment has talked about what would happen if all illegal immigrants, DACA recipients were deported: Inflation would happen big time.

  2. Q: Why aren’t there enough jobs for everyone, seeing that so many things would need doing?

    A (conservative): “Everyone can get a job who really wants one, some people are just lazy”. Convenient so we don’t have to face structural iniquities as shown in the cartoon. Or racial bias, i.e. if your parents and grand-parents have been integrated into their communities than they might know someone who could give you a job through nepotism.

    A (liberal): “Unemployed and under-employed people just don’t have the right education”. This cop-out, is nicely compatible with the conservative one (since only people with the “right work ethic” make it through college…). Quickly stop thinking after blurting this out before noticing that if everyone were to try even harder than they already are, that would just shift the curve without there being more people ahead of it.

    If you look knowledgeable and maybe shake your head in exasperation at those less privileged with modern skills, this may stop your brain from connecting those dots and noticing that the carrot of empowerment and self-actualization dangling at the entry of higher education merely translates to willingness to show obedience and ability to work long hours studying, thus screening out of the applicant pool lot of the more non-conforming and lively people along with those who have serious illnesses. etc.

    So either blurt out one of those cop-outs with a loud and somewhat shaky voice (so as to not have to openly face the nature of the beast that most are intuiting by now) or shout back at those people who do… this will keep us from asking the even more fundamental question:

    Q: Is really a good way to run society to need to be good little obedient cogs in an inhumane machine throughout most of our lives to have the “privilege” of a job in the first place.

    A (for now): Very good, sir, thank you, sir, may I have another, sir?

    • Wow, have you read “Disciplined Minds:A Critical Look at Salaried Professinals and the Soul-battering System That Shapes Their Lives” by Jeff Schmidt? It argues for what you wrote above. It changed my thinking about our education and employment system. Everyone should read it.

      • @ No
        thanks for the suggestion! Yes, I have read Jeff Schmidt, perhaps it shows? 😉

        I agree that his book is really helpful in general and in particular for those of us who go through graduate studies (as I did)…

        A lot in his perspective reminded me of Pierre Bourdieu’s – and of those influenced by him – but it shows that Jeff Schmidt is American and a physicist instead of French and a sociologist and so may be more applicable (especially with regard to solutions), not to mention much easier to read 😉

    • @andreas5

      eh, I’m “between jobs” – so being an obedient little cog is looking good right now.

      We, as a society, produce a certain amount of wealth, and we also decide how to distribute that wealth. Right now, those who produce the least garner the most. What’s wrong with this equation?

      We produce enough wealth that there is no need for unemployment – we could put people to work on infrastructure (for instance.) We could take care of our sick, the same way we would want our fellow citizens to take care of us. No one need go hungry or homeless.

      Damn! I talked myself into being a Communist again. 😀

      • @ CH

        Not sure there is anything wrong with being a Communist – although living under capitalism it does tend to make one feel like a fish out of water unless one can find some niche in which to splash about…

        I agree, if we were to organize distribution of the fruits of production – and of what we decide to produce in the first place – collectively, the concept of unemployment wouldn’t make much sense anymore… (unless I guess one would want to work on a particular project that does not have enough popularity to get started or something, but there would be other projects in the meanwhile so it’s really not the same thing at all).

        We feed and cloth ourselves (and children, elderly, and sick…) quite apart from whether we’re on or in between jobs. This (“re-productive”) work is probably the major part anyway, so, come to think of it, it’s really quite absurd that work in general isn’t allocated in the same way – according to need and ability and all that insurgent commie talk 😉

  3. There are not more workers than jobs, there are only more worker than jobs _at current wage rates_. Before you complain about wage rates name a system that’s better at providing for the worker than capitalism. There isn’t one.

    “If you don’t have the good luck”… stop you there, luck’s got little to do with it. Particularly if you are prepared to work on commission in which case you are almost never unemployed.

    “You can’t afford a roof over your head” lots of people are unemployed and not homeless.

    “If they fixed the system so everyone could find a job”.
    Pretty much everyone can, they just can’t do it instantly. Can you imagine a situation where everyone, people who just dropped out of high school that day, people’s whose skills were obsolete, housewives 10 years out of the paid workforce, got a job that day? What would that mean? It would mean that employers were so desperate for people that they will take literally anyone. Does that sound like a productive system to you?

    • Hey, there’s this new thing called “Google” … why don’t you use it to look up “Economics?”

      There are two kinds of Republicans: Millionaires and suckers. I’m gonna just assume you’re not a millionaire…

  4. Economics dresses itself up in mathematical models so as to sell itself as an irrefutable science, in denial of alternatives (TINA).

    If only some of the same skepticism fueling climate science denialism could be redirected toward the so-called “science of economics” as now practiced, the world might have a chance to become a more livable place for the billions now necessarily impoverished by it only, and in order to, fund the world’s present generation of economic royalists.

    War technology and war itself is among the leading causes of climate change.

  5. «People have to be unemployed for the system to work.» Indeed – how else would one get people to work at wages that hardly support life, much less a reasonably comfortable existence ?…


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