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FROM MY CORNER: Society’s Savior?

Howell Hurst Corporate Avarice, Economy & Finance, Humans, People Politics

In Time magazine’s February 3rd issue, J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s viewpoint,“How to save capitalism,” states: “Capitalism has been the most successful economic system in history. But we can improve upon it to help solve society’s problems and lift up more people. Now is the time.”

Begging Mr. Dimon’s pardon, I suggest it is far past time for such a desirable goal. His statement could have better been said in 2008 as America’s Capitalism spawned the worldwide recession and his financial industry was bailed out with $800 billion taxpayer dollars.

He provides a handful of corporate success stories to enhance his premise. However, he neatly ignores the fact that American capitalism has consumed 50 – 60% of the earth’s production since the end of World War II.  Yes, America invested money in numerous locales about the earth. But in far too many places it took far more inequitably from local populations than it returned.

Indeed, Capitalism from its point of view efficiently used resources and people. Not from the point of view of the people who were economically used, though. Thousands of Capitalistic systems operate in Central and South America, The West Indies, and many other places where local people received shallow benefit.

American capitalism’s deals were struck with leaders of countries and local wealthy investors. In both the geographic locale being helped, and in America, rich people gained immense financial strength by inequitably sharing the profits produced. Capitalism consistently – by Corporate design – exploited many people.

While Mr. Dimon applauds Capitalism’s newly enlightened intent to help humanity, the American financial community is again recreating the same conditions that produced the 2008 recession. The January 27, 2020 edition of Business Week documents the details of this in its article: “Resetting The Debt Trap.” It explains exactly how financial companies are again quietly raising lending limits on subprime borrowers. Does that not sound familiar?

Writing similarly, The Wall Street Journal on January 18 featured an opinion piece criticizing Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders’ admiration of Socialism. Mr. Dimon in his piece equates Socialism to government controlling the means of production.

This is not the kind of Socialism Sanders and others define as what they want to see in America. Sanders has often defined his version of Socialism as akin to that practiced in Scandinavian countries: where it positively supports a more equitable capitalist economy.

If Mr. Dimon’s Capitalism wants to “lift up more people,” as he states, it is going to have to economically engage with the American people who work for it. Capitalism needs to start sharing both management and profits with its workers.

American Capitalism has not simply been a silent, idle bystander to the income inequality and outright poverty of tens of millions of its citizens. If Mr. Dimon means what he says, he and his allies are going to have to start infusing their brain cells with pithier thinking.

If Capitalism is going to survive, capitalists are going to have to start taking responsibility for the effect of their biggest corporations’ lack of responsibility for the consequences of their totally self-centered behavior.

American Capitalism doesn’t work if it does not create the means for all citizens to comprehensively share in both work and income. Otherwise, it becomes little more than socialism for gigantic corporations, and drudgery, or worse, for employees.

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