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Capitalism’s uneven development affects our willingness to help others – Richard Wolff

Capitalism’s uneven development affects our willingness to help others – Richard Wolff


But if we believe, having adjusted to
capitalism, that the only way poor people, downtrodden people, people who have
suffered from the colonialism of the United States (informal though it was for
the last 200 years in Latin America), if we think the only way they can be lifted
up is if we are pushed down, then we might be open to being told “You got to
keep them out. You got to push them back.” Not because we’re under sympathetic to
their suffering but because we don’t want to join them. We don’t want to be
the victims of a capitalist uneven development that helps them at our
expense. If you listen to the rhetoric that right-wing politicians use to
mobilize people against immigrants, you will see, and you will hear uneven
development as the unspoken assumption on which their right-wing activity is
based. All around the world you can see that. The anxiety, born of capitalism, that
if you have something and people who don’t get some it’ll be at your expense.
You know what’s interesting about that? It’s that we don’t think that there could
be, that there should be, a way in which we can lift up the people who have been
unfairly pushed down so that they catch up to us not that we are deprived of
what we have. Is that possible? Of course it is

7 comments on “Capitalism’s uneven development affects our willingness to help others – Richard Wolff

  1. I’m the middle of a small community somewhere in the United States; there is a local bar. The only one in town. During lunch hour; there are three patrons to the bar: A working-class laborer, a wealthy “businessman” whose father runs the local bank, and an immigrant who janitors for the local school.

    They are all sitting at the bar when suddenly a man that works at the bakery across the streets bursts through the door in a panic.

    “You guys have to help me! I have made 100 extra cookies than can be sold. If my boss finds out I have been so wasteful I will be in big trouble…. could you fine gentleman help me and take these 100 cookies so there is no evidence?”

    The three men at the bar agree to help the man out… but there is a problem. How do you split 100 cookies among 3 people? It’s an uneven number.

    The wealthy “businessman” offers a solution.

    “My father is a very important and wealthy man. Without him creating jobs and loaning people money this town would bankrupt. Our family is very important and powerful, so naturally I deserve more cookies”.

    He scoops up 99 of the cookies and begins to leave out the door. But as he does; he turns around to the working-class laborer and warms him, “If I were you I would watch out! I think I saw that lowly immigrant eying your cookie!”

    The working-class laborer becomes worried. If he lets his guard down; the immigrant might steal his only cookie and he will have nothing. He must defend his cookie. He must guard his cookie. He must ensure that nobody takes it. He might even build a wall around it…

    He becomes so pre-occupied with guarding his sole cookie…

    The thought never crosses his mind: “Hey wait a minute…. why does the wealthy “business” think he deserves 99 of the cookies in the first place?”

    That is exactly how capitalism in America works.

  2. X-Files.

    Darkness (business) exists so that stars (hearts) have a place to "be".

    But the anti-love, anti-christ called Count ing Dracula (Trump) and his crew of evangelical counting corpses (vampires) think that stars (light and warmth) exist to be sucked out of the heavens (joy, beauty and harmony) by ignorance (greed/hate).

    Ignorance (greed/hate) is bliss for the evangelical vampires (greed/hate). But not much fun for the earthling human beings (hearts/love) who they are sucking the joy out of.

  3. Providing a safety net for those who for any number of reasons do not have sufficient income to obtain even the minimum goods of a decent human existence is (or certainly ought to be) a societal commitment. Changing our laws to ensure something close to equality of opportunity would result in a far smaller number of people requiring use of the safety net. The issue to be resolved by those of us who are convinced existing laws are unjust is reaching consensus over the necessary reforms. Not even all progressives agree on what needs to be changed.

    Electing a progressive president and getting a progressive majority in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate would at least stimulate debate on specific measures that could then be enacted into law.

    The mantre of activism has long been "think globally and act locally." When Bernie Sanders was mayor of Burlington, Vermont he helped to introduce the nation's largest affordable housing land trust. I would like to hear him talk about how this has helped the working people of Burlington over the decades and that he would do all he could to encourage the establishment of CLTs in every community across the nation.

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