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Index » Radio Paradise/General » General Discussion » Capitalism and Consumerism... now what? Page: Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 8, 9, 10, 11  Next
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R_P

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Posted: Sep 4, 2012 - 3:58pm

52 Shades of Greed - An Illustrated Education Game

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Posted: Sep 3, 2012 - 3:20pm

Capitalism's Ideological Crutches
(...) Blame-the-government ideology supports capitalism also in another way. By portraying government as wasteful, incompetent, corrupt, power mad and oppressive, it strives to establish another "common sense" idea. Government should be kept economically weak: Keep its spending down, its budget balanced, or else in debt to capitalists and the rich (main government creditors). Limit the taxes it can levy, the regulations it can impose, and so on. Hobble the government while painting it as a negative social force, not to be trusted. Corrupt the politicians with the resources only corporations and the rich have and spend for such purposes and then denounce that corruption as the government's fault. Turn workers away from engagement, respect for, or even interest in politics. Disgusted and alienated, many workers withdraw, leaving the political arena to the capitalists and the rich to buy and shape. US mainstream politics thus serves and never challenges capitalism.

Blame the government, like all ideologies, has contradictions and blind spots. When war is on the agenda, politicians get quick makeovers from "crooks" into "commander in chief" and "national leaders." When workers strike and otherwise resist employers, capitalism's ideologues want to unleash government on those workers. In such conditions, ideology waffles from blame and reduce to celebrate and strengthen government. Similarly, when politicians get caught working for and being paid by capitalists and the rich, a troubling question invades public discussion. Who really is to blame: the politicians who serve, the capitalists who pay and get served, or the system they built and maintain together?

Mainstream blame-the-government ideology is a fig leaf that hides (and thereby protects and supports) how capitalism works. In crisis times, it intensifies (e.g., Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan and Rush Limbaugh) to shift public attention away from capitalism's breakdown and gross injustice. Its ideologues then urgently ratchet up blame on the government for taxing us, limiting guns, attacking marriage, religion and heterosexuality, mandating health insurance, imposing regulations etc. Their mission: redirect mass hurt, fear, anxiety and resentment about the effects of capitalist crisis into rituals of resisting the evil politicians and bureaucrats who want to control us.

Capitalism's ideological crutches do not necessarily or always stress blame the government. In Germany (1930s) and Italy (1920s), for example, deep crises saw capitalists embrace instead fascist ideologies and political parties that exalted extremely powerful government. Hitler and Mussolini merged powerful government with major capitalist enterprises. They used state power directly to subordinate labor to capital and to destroy capitalism's major critics: labor unions, socialist and communist parties. (...)

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Posted: Aug 28, 2012 - 8:13pm

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Communist China the most efficient capitalist country of all
 Happy snaps in front of the image of the father of liberalisation Deng Xiaoping. Picture: AFP Source: AFP
aflanigan

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Posted: Aug 28, 2012 - 7:51am

 kurtster wrote:

You seem to be changing the subject away from the idea of the American Dream and what it is about.

How can one not be broadbrushed when speaking about a broadbrushed idea like the American Dream ?

I'll offer that there was a major consensus in the post WW II years, when the present middleclass was born.

 

I think you misunderstand the definition of the term consensus.  It requires somthing near unanimity, does it not?  Such as a consent vote in Congress does?
What's the nature of this post-WW II consensus you are asserting?  The middle class existence featuring the suburban house with the white picket fence that pop culture assures us everyone dreamt of?  How many of the beatniks didn't buy into this dream?
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Posted: Aug 27, 2012 - 6:05pm

Film highlights the temptations and perils of blind obedience to authority
Indie film Compliance recalls notions that the past decade's worst events are explained by failures to oppose authority
Some noted a disturbing thirst for leader-worship that drove followers of Barack Obama. Photograph: Greg Wahl-Stephens/AP
One can object to some of its particulars, but Frank Bruni has a quite interesting and incisive New York Times column today about a new independent film called Compliance, which explores the human desire to follow and obey authority.

Based on real-life events that took place in 2004 at a McDonalds in Kentucky, the film dramatizes a prank telephone call in which a man posing as a police officer manipulates a supervisor to abuse an employee with increasing amounts of cruelty and sadism, ultimately culminating in sexual assault – all by insisting that the abuse is necessary to aid an official police investigation into petty crimes.

That particular episode was but one of a series of similar and almost always-successful hoaxes over the course of at least 10 years, in which restaurant employees were manipulated into obeying warped directives from this same man, pretending on the telephone to be a police officer. (...)

kurtster

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Posted: Aug 27, 2012 - 5:23pm

 aflanigan wrote:

When?

I think you are indulging in blatantly misguided nostalgia if you think you can point to an era where everyone in the US agreed on anything.

Even during the early days of the US, there were fundamental disagreements about almost everything.  Such as the proper role of a central government, and how strong it should be.

 
You seem to be changing the subject away from the idea of the American Dream and what it is about.

How can one not be broadbrushed when speaking about a broadbrushed idea like the American Dream ?

I'll offer that there was a major consensus in the post WW II years, when the present middleclass was born.
aflanigan

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Posted: Aug 27, 2012 - 5:08pm

 kurtster wrote:

I'll say it like this ...

Back then (?), the American Dream was working, there was indeed a consensus of what it was.

 
When?

I think you are indulging in blatantly misguided nostalgia if you think you can point to an era where everyone in the US agreed on anything.

Even during the early days of the US, there were fundamental disagreements about almost everything.  Such as the proper role of a central government, and how strong it should be.
Isabeau

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Posted: Aug 27, 2012 - 5:01pm

Srsly? Right at this moment, despite any occasional anti-materialistic rhetoric:

I'd love to be riding this Apple Wave. 
ScottN

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Posted: Aug 27, 2012 - 4:33pm

 RichardPrins wrote:
But I think what it would take is some shared national consensus about how we define a decent and responsible life in the modern complex world. I don’t think we have that. We have slogans about being successful. We have slogans about “job creators.” We have slogans about everybody having the right to reach the sky in the quest for material self-satisfaction. We have a definition of the good life, which involves the accumulation of material goods plus entertainment.

These are clusters of issues that are interrelated, and it will require a real jolt for us to start thinking seriously about how we can re-create a healthy society here that is still the compelling image for the world that it once was. Then, the American dream was widely shared. Today, it isn’t.
It's to our social and political detriment that such ideas are not even part of the national dialogue.  We have been effectively sold the idea of acquisition of goods as the road to all things good.  Add to that (commercial) entertainment, as you write, and there are the "keys to the highway".  The last person to run on anything nearly this "unthinkable dialogue" was perhaps CA former and now currently Governor—Jerry Brown.  It almost cost him his career.

Of course, there are only so many "toys" to be had.  What we think of as "our way" is unsustainable. Eventually, correcting mechanics will force us to this dialogue....or muddle around in a class warfare that will savage life as we know it.


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Posted: Aug 27, 2012 - 3:12pm

Authoritarian Politics in the Age of Casino Capitalism
The United States has entered a new historical era marked by a growing disinvestment in the social state, public goods, and civic morality. Matters of politics, power, ideology, governance, economics, and policy now translate unapologetically into a systemic disinvestment in institutions and policies that further the breakdown of those public spheres which traditionally provided the minimal conditions for social justice, dissent, and democratic expression. Neoliberalism, or what might be called casino capitalism, has become the new normal. Unabashed in its claim to financial power, self-regulation, and its survival of the fittest value system, neoliberalism not only undercuts the formative culture necessary for producing critical citizens and the public spheres that nourish them, it also facilitates the conditions for producing a bloated defense budget, the prison-industrial complex, environmental degradation, and the emergence of “finance as a criminalized, rogue industry.” It is clear that an emergent authoritarianism haunts a defanged democracy now shaped and structured largely by corporations.  Money dominates politics, the gap between the rich and poor is ballooning, urban spaces are becoming armed camps, militarism is creeping into every facet of public life, and civil liberties are being shredded.  Neoliberalism’s policy of competition now dominates policies that define public spheres such as schools, allowing them to stripped of a civic and democratic project and handed over to the logic of the market.  Regrettably, it is not democracy, but authoritarianism, that remains on the rise in the United States as we move further into the 21st century. (...)

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Posted: Aug 25, 2012 - 11:04pm


Umberdog

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Posted: Aug 25, 2012 - 9:21pm

 kurtster wrote:
2 ¢
 
With inflation it's probably a couple bucks these days. But you won't get what you pay for.
steeler

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Location: Perched on the precipice of the cauldron of truth


Posted: Aug 25, 2012 - 9:16pm

 RichardPrins wrote:
But I think what it would take is some shared national consensus about how we define a decent and responsible life in the modern complex world. I don’t think we have that. We have slogans about being successful. We have slogans about “job creators.” We have slogans about everybody having the right to reach the sky in the quest for material self-satisfaction. We have a definition of the good life, which involves the accumulation of material goods plus entertainment.

These are clusters of issues that are interrelated, and it will require a real jolt for us to start thinking seriously about how we can re-create a healthy society here that is still the compelling image for the world that it once was. Then, the American dream was widely shared. Today, it isn’t.


 



Very interesting.
kurtster

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Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 25, 2012 - 7:59pm

 RichardPrins wrote:
But I think what it would take is some shared national consensus about how we define a decent and responsible life in the modern complex world. I don’t think we have that. We have slogans about being successful. We have slogans about “job creators.” We have slogans about everybody having the right to reach the sky in the quest for material self-satisfaction. We have a definition of the good life, which involves the accumulation of material goods plus entertainment.

These are clusters of issues that are interrelated, and it will require a real jolt for us to start thinking seriously about how we can re-create a healthy society here that is still the compelling image for the world that it once was. Then, the American dream was widely shared. Today, it isn’t.


 
I'll say it like this ...

Back then (?), the American Dream was working, there was indeed a consensus of what it was.

The economy and the American Dream have been ruined in the same way as a forest.  Destruction (ala fire) is good and healthy for a forest.  We have learned that lesson most recently in Yellowstone where natural fires were prevented as much as possible, so when a fire finally broke out in the wrong place, it nearly burned the whole place down because the underbrush and old fallen stuff just got too dense to allow new growth.  Had fires been allowed to burn in the past naturally, clearing out the dead wood, the big one wouldn't have happened, or at least like it did.

Today we have prevented old or poorly managed businesses and even banks to fail and go bankrupt when they should have in a constant, ongoing natural cycle of business(es).  We will have a disaster when the House really does catch on fire because it is full of too big to fail things that are going to fail, all at once.  And really screw the pooch, good.

2 ¢
R_P

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Posted: Aug 25, 2012 - 7:44pm

But I think what it would take is some shared national consensus about how we define a decent and responsible life in the modern complex world. I don’t think we have that. We have slogans about being successful. We have slogans about “job creators.” We have slogans about everybody having the right to reach the sky in the quest for material self-satisfaction. We have a definition of the good life, which involves the accumulation of material goods plus entertainment.

These are clusters of issues that are interrelated, and it will require a real jolt for us to start thinking seriously about how we can re-create a healthy society here that is still the compelling image for the world that it once was. Then, the American dream was widely shared. Today, it isn’t.

kurtster

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Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 25, 2012 - 4:55pm

 RichardPrins wrote:


 
All roads lead to Madison Ave.

Follow the money who pays them.

Jagger warned us way back when ...

Umberdog

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Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 25, 2012 - 12:02am

We whirl up a euphemism of words to cherish and justify our wicked deeds... and pen gets bloodier than the sword.


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Posted: Aug 24, 2012 - 9:27pm


Servo

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Posted: Aug 24, 2012 - 5:08pm

 RichardPrins wrote:


 
I wonder how many people have read that and laughed, forgetting that they themselves locked into a lifestyle of "more".


sirdroseph

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Posted: Aug 24, 2012 - 10:59am

 RichardPrins wrote:


 

Great illustration! Until our society comes to the full realization that our entire capitalist system is unsustainable and shift the paradigm completely, we are doomed regardless of what the mainstream candidates tell us.
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