Capitalism is a Form of Totalitarianism

They equate freedom and democracy with capitalism. But in practice it’s really a form of totalitarianism: a form of government that demands all of your free time.

32 thoughts on “Capitalism is a Form of Totalitarianism

    • Money rules, big money dictates.

      The wealthy minority has the loudest voice and the greatest political power.

      Monopoly capitalism accrues the largest amount of money, making greatest number of billionaires who easily strangle the voices of the weakest and most economically precarious.

      The wealthy buy Senators from the empty states the same way that seats were bought in the British Parliament by buying the rotten boroughs. Fifty US Senators come from the 25 least populous states having only slightly more than 16% of the total US population.

      Read Tom Paine’s “Rights of Man” for free on google books and search for “rotten boroughs”.

      • Wait … WHAT??!

        Tom Paine was a FOUNDING FATHER!

        He was a SLAVER!!

        He was a wealthy capitalist one-percenter!!!!

        He was Evil, Wicked, Mean, and Nasty by definition!!!!!!!!

        “Give me plutocratic slavery or give me stock options!”

      • Wrong again, CH.

        Tom Paine had ZERO input at the Constitutional Convention. Check the attendance.

        I wouldn’t expect Tom Paine to give bonus House seats to slavers.

        The PTB appreciated his revolutionary rhetoric, but he was kicked aside after he served the Federalist’s purpose.

        TP was a true believer who wound up in prison in France for his support of the French Revolution.

        Advice:

        Pay more attention to what people actually do, than what they say.

        It’s easier to decrypt the lies and weasel words once one gets a few clues on what they’re really going after.

      • Don’t look at me, dude – I’m not the one who insists that all founding fathers” were slavers. Just because he never owned a slave and even though he spoke out against the practice he’s still a slaver. At least, that’s what people tell me.

        Just for giggles, you might Google “No True Scotsman.”

  1. Also left out of the mix…
    As the rumblings about JRC considering a presidential run get more ominous–I say ominous because Clinton will lose for the same reasons as before and for at least one new reason that has emerged since her previous loss, so her declaring might as well be a concession–I notice one further form of capitalism-totalitarianism.
    Candidates for office are almost always part of the capitalism shtick. They are sponsored by the major parties, sing the party anthems, and constantly serve their masters. A country with over a dozen burger chains on the national level and my choices come election time are always one of two options, neither of which is appealing to me. Ah, capitalism. I can have any candidate I want so long as it is either Trump or Clinton.
    I hope Sanders declares the day before the midterms now. Or maybe I hope he doesn’t declare. Then I can sit the election out.

  2. Very true, except inasfar as capitalism is not a form of government. And inasfar as totalitarianism as seen in what is normally termed a totalitarian society not only wants to sell you something but also forbids everyone not in line with its mission to try to sell anything else, a feature noticeably absent in America or, to a substantial extent, in modern Russia. So if a capitalist society can be said to be a totalitarian one, it represents a very peculiar form of totalitarianism: competitive totalitarianism, with different totalitarian companies and cults competing (not on level terms, of course) for people’s attention. Personally I find it largely agreeable.

    • @DaniilAdamov –

      “,,,, forbids everyone not in line with its mission to try to sell anything else, a feature noticeably absent in America”

      Competition in America is not so healthy as advertised.

      I subscribe to a cable service, and like 85% of Americans I hate it. They provide very poor service at a very high price, but I have no choice because they have an exclusive contract in my area. Most DVD players won’t play discs from other “regions;” it’s hard to get a cellphone that isn’t some provider’s indentured servant; prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas because it would compete with gambling, etc, etc.

      If US Capitalism worked, these businesses would fail as consumers freely chose ones they liked better.

      “… inasfar as capitalism is not a form of government”

      It is hard to discuss economics and politics as separate concepts – they’re inextricably intertwined. The discussion is further muddied by the fact that my fellow Americans have been fed a bunch of lies about what Socialism and Communism actually are. I’ve heard rumors that Russians have been told lies about what Capitalism actually is as well.

      I only know what other people tell me. 😉

      • I never said the competition was healthy. And the economic aspects of it are indeed often deplorable. The “totalitarian messaging” aspect, though, seems quite tolerable because of its variety. Although this may just be my personal quirk – I find it easier to tune out or ignore this sort of pressure, while other people may find it more stressful.

        As for the concepts of capitalism, socialism, communism… at the end of the day they are just abstract terms that are often used in very different ways. Capitalism is an economic system – one that can effectively coexist with many different forms of government. Socialism can mean an alternative economic system, not a very good one based on our experiences here, though somewhat better than the unregulated capitalism that replaced it. Socialism can also mean two different, barely related ideologies: original socialism that dogmatically privileges the socialist economic system, and any kind of system that regulates capitalism and supports social welfare. That the latter is what is now commonly called socialism is perfectly absurd – it is the result of freemarketist slurs against them being accepted and appropriated by people from Napoleon III and Otto von Bismarck to your Bernie Sanders. Communism as a system has never existed and never been very well defined; communism as an ideology is just a variant of socialist in the original sense. That is how I see it, anyway.

        Of course, many Americans have been persuaded to view socialism as anything that restrains capitalism, while many Russians have been persuaded to see unregulated capitalism, the more vicious the better, as the way to go if you want to have a first world economy – with disastrous consequences.

      • > abstract terms that are often used in very different ways

        Unfortunately this is very true, it makes conversations difficult when we use words we can’t actually define. Most Americans think communism is synonymous with ‘brutal dictatorship.’ I’m pretty sure that’s not what Marx & Engels had in mind. 😉

        I tend to stick by the ECON/POLISCI 101 definitions. At least it gives us a well-defined starting point.

    • The US government IS increasing, if not yet completely, controlled by capitalists.

      That’s not an accident and the populace has been well prepared over a few decades to essentially regard the economic system as the government.

      To understand this better, if necessary, just engage any commentator on any favorite site with “libertarian” in his/her user name.

      • I do not doubt that the very rich have a great deal of influence, and are getting still more. But I wouldn’t conflate the economic system and the political system (especially since it’s still not a 100% overlap). It strikes me as misleading.

        As for the libertarians, it was my impression that capitalism-as-government is what they WANT to have – and that they deplore the current system for not actually being that.

      • > t was my impression that capitalism-as-government is what [libertarians] WANT to have

        Good example for our conversation above.

        Today’s “Libertarian Party” is not the same as a libertarian philosophy. I, myself believe in a republican form of government, but I very strongly disagree with the “Republican Party.” (The same applies to the “Democratic Party” – democracy is cool, the entrenched power structure using the name, so much.)

        Another problem is that as soon as we slap a label on something, we tend to quit thinking about it. “Oh, that’s a Conservative idea” – even though there is nothing inherently wrong with conservatism in the dictionary sense.

      • “Conservatism” is the worst, even worse than “socialism”. The same word can be used to describe the doctrines of “steady progress with intelligent precautions” and of “obstinate resistance to change”. Each of which naturally comes with many different flavours.

      • @Daniil –

        I think we’re in agreement here … so long as we agree on the definitions of “think” and “agreement”

        😀 🙂 😀 ¯\_:-)_/¯

  3. An additional aspect of totalitarianism? In totalitarian regimes “othering” is baked into the mix. In capitalism, the SECOND you lose your job–regardless of whether that job loss is due to incompetence or indifference or laziness or market forces beyond your control–you are shunted toward the bottom of the pile.

    Unemployment benefits? Ask anyone who has gone through the unemployment office. You are instantly “othered” into either being a simpleton, lazy, a lazy simpleton, a freeloader, etc. You are ordered to provide documentation on your job search activities (this often amounts to nothing more than three searches a week). The documentation is simply to reinforce the argument that you are worthless and not to be trusted. Once you run through your benefits, that’s it. If you have any questions, the staff treats you like you’re trying to scam them out of something.

    Bills? Expect to be lectured–overtly and covertly–about how you need (hand clap) to (hand clap) stick (hand clap) to (hand clap) a (hand clap) budget (hand clap). (Repeat as though you’re an infant.) Ditto rent. Ditto health insurance. Ditto groceries. Ditto utilities.

    Our capitalist society consists of workers who toil for pennies and the “others” who get what they deserve for not working.

    The fix? Simple. Two-prong approach.
    1. With very few exceptions, any large company that does not employ an age-reflective workforce, is assessed a penalty. Older workers have more trouble getting jobs because young people work cheaper. Level the playing field. You’ve got one 55-year-old and everyone else is 25? Nope. That’s a $100,000 penalty. You’ve got to the end of the week to get some older UNEMPLOYED people in here. Move your tight young core and get it done.
    2. If you’re unemployed, one of your requirements is to post the outcome of every single job you apply for. “This is Ms. Jones from the Labor Department. Sir, we’ve received notice that you didn’t respond to at least one resume from a qualified candidate. No phone interview, no request for follow-up information, no anything. We’ll need you to come down to our office–no, sir, I’m not kidding; you personally, not an assistant, you, the head of the HR department–and we’ll need you to explain how you aren’t discriminating against unemployed people. Please remember, you must be hare at 8 a.m., and we don’t know when you’ll be called. Cell phones are not allowed and you’ll have to check your computer as well. We’ll call your name exactly one time, so be sure you pay attention. You will be asked to provide documentation of ALL outcomes of ALL resumes submitted for the last five jobs you’ve placed ads for: how many responses, and how you responded in every single case. No sir, again, I’m not kidding. What your company is being accused of is discrimination, and that’s serious. And unless you can answer our questions satisfactorily, you, not your company, will be assessed a fine. Sir? Sir? Have you seen our Twitter account? I hope to God that you’re able to defend yourself because otherwise, you are going to be spending a lot of time trying to find work yourself because your company will throw you to the wolves to protect itself. See you tomorrow.”

    • As soon as I got laid off, I contacted my mortgage company to see if I could set up some sort of interest-only deal for the short term.

      The response was disheartening. “So, you want to default, do you, slacker? Is there any reason we shouldn’t just foreclose on your worthless ass?”

      Mind you, I’d been paying this mortgage for twenty years, had a solid-gold credit rating, 85% equity in the house, and had never missed a payment.

      • What burns my ass is that the-UNEARNED-income-owners of corporate artificial persons look down on EARNED-income workers who do productive work.

        If a corporation is a person, then owning a corporation is slavery, and the wealth producing workers surrendering the products of their labor, is doing just as slaves do in enriching the masters who own slaves.

        Owners receive unearned income, this being one of the last vestiges of linguistic truth remaining from the lying freeloaders now holding government elective offices, these who live off the taxes coercively extorted from productive workers.

      • > owning a corporation is slavery,

        HA! Love it.

        “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one” – some bumper sticker or other.

        Speaking of unearned income, why are capital gains taxed less than earned income? Why can stock traders write off losses? If I win in Vegas, I’m taxed at full price – but if I lose I can’t write it off. It’s an entirely different story for those who choose to gamble in the stock market.

        I’m sure that’s it’s purely coincidence that the market is played by those with more disposable income.

  4. Remember Jerk Hard? He was convinced that “Freedom” was 100% synonymous with “Free Market”

    Essay: “What freedom means to me” by Jerk, age ten: “Buying stuff”

    (The above is not mean to be a personal attack, but rather a concrete example of an extremely odd interpretation that many seem to share. )

    Onward to my pet peeve: ADVERTISING!!! You can’t get away from it, you are bombarded with it 24/7. It’s not just on electronic media, it’s on the front page of my paper, the side of the bus, the side of the road, the side of the buildings, product placement in movies, corporate logos on clothing – as I sit in my office I can see at least a half-dozen examples of ADVERTISING.

    It’s designed to grab your attention, so as you walk down the street you’ve got all these constant contenders for your attention, your brain is pre-wired to read them, your consciousness is drug a dozen different directions a second until you can’t hear yourself think. The constant unwanted intrusion is the exact opposite of freedom and I suspect it has a negative impact on cognition.

    That’s a large part of why I live out in the woods – I can look out my window and see not one, single, piece of advertising. ahhh, much better.

    • I have a pair of 30 dB ear protectors that I wear around the house to block out electronic noise without interfering with others who choose to endure the noise in order to use electronic media.

      It’s bliss to be in my own head without ad noise eternally trying to bore into my consciousnesses.

      A life in the woods is my aspiration. Lucky you.

    • The worst aspect of electronic media, and advertising in particular, is the constant quick image motions and scene changes that the human eye responds to unconsciously and unwillingly.

      And teasers that try to make one stay on the same channel through commercials, especially because the teasers are longer than the news story used for the tease.

      I call television sellavision, and commercial television commercials television.

      I don’t watch television with people because I can’t comfortably remain silent while enduring a stream of lies.

  5. Once having worked in a factory, the best of my waking hours were spent serving the needs of a machine, where contact with other humans was prohibited.

    I am awed by the voluntary service people pay to their machines, even when not coerced by the violence of money, and yet still prohibited by the very nature of their machines that mediate and limit human contact intrinsically.

    Occupy Wall Street formed a community that was not coalesced around the earning and spending of money, but one that rebelled against the crimes of Wall Street that isolate and atomize humans, thus creating the fertile fields for totalitarian fascism and the forever wars now more ubiquitous but receding evermore from common consciousness, becoming unspeakable.

  6. In addition to the totalitarianism of the consumption side, capitalism affords a very efficient and brutal system of economic terrorism on the earning (or not) end of the spectrum.

  7. Wow, bravo Ted.

    I don’t know how you guys can take it in the states.
    I live in China, but I’m not (really) learning Chinese, on purpose.
    I can’t read “sale!” signs. I love that.
    When idiots say idiotic things, I can’t understand them.
    My school takes care of my phone and my English-speaking landlord takes care of the rest.
    All I have to do is be at peace and teach kids.

    • Aaron, may I suggest that you do learn Chinese ? There’s a great deal more to Chinese culture than «Sale !» signs. And not everything said by folks in 东北 is necessarily idiotic….

      Henri

      • Henri,

        I hear ya. And sure, I can get around. I can shop, get a taxi and go where I need to go. But I’m not going to learn to read. Nor am I taking lessons or pushing my spoken Chinese. It’s a personal stance. This cartoon really speaks to me because I always hated the non-stop commercial bombardment of US culture, and the non-stop idiocy. Now, I don’t deal with that, at all. For me, a victory. Am I missing out? Yes, certainly, but that’s the trade, that’s the point.

        I love the Chinese, and I learn about them everyday, from my co-workers, students and parents.

        I also read Chinese news everyday, in English.
        These two sites fit my taste, but there are others:

        http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/

        http://www.globaltimes.cn/index.html

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