single header

If you want to comment online, use the Reply form following this commentary.

FROM MY CORNER: My Wall Street Journal Attack

Howell Hurst American News, Consumerism, Corona Virus, Corporate Avarice, Economy & Finance, People Politics, Poverty

Carmel, CA . . .

 August 19, 2020

 A business colleague of mine some short time past suggested I try an online subscription of the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ is owned by the extreme rightist publishing mogul Rupert Murdoch.

I was highly skeptical. Particularly, because my Murdoch aficionado and I utterly disagree with one another about economic and financial matters.  But, in the spirit of liberal openness, I decided to give the WSJ a try.

It has not taken me long to realize that it – like its equivalent friend, the rightist journal The Washington Examiner– spends most of its time promoting the continued rampant “Growth of Capitalism.”

The “Growth of Capitalism” it promotes is that which continues to enrich the minority multibillionaires and multimillionaires at the cost to all the rest of the middle class, including my colleague, and all the economically-deprived of America.

There is a Mantra that the WSJ fervently repeats within the context of its stories. It is the simplistic message that the solution to all economic and financial problems is our ever-growing increase in “Consumption.”

“Go buy more,” it says, “and all will be well.”

I do not buy that. You can’t sell it to me. Buying too much, in my opinion is, instead, the source of our problems. We do not need to buy more. We need to buy less. Our outside private storage bins are already crammed full, coast to coast.

We are all addicted buyers. It cannot be denied. Retail buying is the major portion of our GDP, our gross domestic product. It is the benchmark we use to determine our alleged economic health. It is a fake economic measuring tool.

We do not need to buy and consume more. What we need is entirely different. We need to Share. We need to share available work, to share jobs, to share income with all Americans who do not have work and jobs and income. We also need to fulfill  thousands of unmet needs to sustain our society, our species.

Gigantic corporations need to stop trying to get Americans with current jobs and incomes to buy more stuff. They need to realize that mandating their employees keep working 40 and 50 and 60 hours a week is not smart.

It is not smart because it is a major reason why millions are out of work. If one group of employed people are working 40 – 60 hours a week, and buying stuff, and stowing it in storage bins, that creates waste. It wastes physical assets and it wastes our most important asset: People.

It would be far wiser to mandate that people can and may work 30 hours a week. And that they be mandated to train presently unemployed people how to also do the same jobs they, the presently employed, are now doing: to assume part of their work.

The barnacle-encrusted, ancient argument that the unemployed are not smart enough to learn and do the jobs is baloney, to put it nicely.  To put it more honestly, it is BS. We all know what that abbreviation means. If you don’t, contact me. I will explain it personally.

The 13 million unemployed Americans are not dumb. They are unemployed. They are unemployed because other people have all of the jobs. They are currently without jobs largely because of Corona Virus, of course.

But, partially, they are out of work because much of the work they do is unnecessary and low paid. For instance, we don’t need half the restaurants of the country. We’ve gotten along fine without them during the pandemic.

What we need is for the giant corporations to hire unemployed Americans and train them to do really valuable, adequately-paid work. And to halt the massive over consumption by the people who presently do have jobs.

America is a mindlessly-rampaging over-consumption machine. We are hypnotized by overconsumption, with an irrationally-fervent drive for luxury and entitlement. Too many people buy new cars every three years. Too many do it every two years. Way too many do it every year.

The passion to buy and own the latest new car and the other next new thing is massively wasteful. Cars can and do last for ten and twenty years by the simple expedient of having old parts replaced every time they wear out. If we all kept our cars longer, it would also create millions of new mechanics’ jobs.

Our landfills are crammed with wasted things we bought and threw away before they were worn out. Our attics are full. Our basements are full. Our closets are full. We don’t need all this damned stuff we are addicted to. It is a detriment to our economic health.

Extremely wealthy people don’t need and don’t deserve third, fourth, and fifth houses while millions are homeless and facing eviction. It’s simple greed. They don’t need dozens of cars and boats and planes and vacation getaway homes.

They need to stop “mal-earning” their incomes, taking the lion’s share of America’s wealth, and doing so by their corporations disenfranchising poor people financially in our undemocratic Oligarchy.

This is not some Ideological fantasy. This is the rational, alternative, practical solution. Our economy must start encompassing all mentally and physically healthy people by the action of corporations sharing training and employment with them. The corporations have billions of dollars of accumulated profits to accomplish it with.

America’s brand of “Damned-the-torpedos-full-steam-ahead “Over-Consumption Capitalism” is doomed, I contend. And rightly so. We need, instead, a rational, steady-state economy that – by conscious design – includes everyone, and consumes far more moderately. Whether our leaders can learn how to consciously utilize their minds to such an end is the question.

Our economy neither needs to be, nor should it be, a form of Socialism mandating that The State owns everything. It certainly doesn’t need to be predatory Capitalism. It needs to be a rational combination of Capitalism and Socialism. A Socialized Capitalism if you will. And not simply for the corporations, as is the de facto present case of our unemocratic Oligarchy.

Its Capitalism needs to start including everyone. Its Socialism needs to support private ownership and a rational Capitalism that starts taking responsibility for the unemployed by sharing work and income with our entire population. Doing so is the solution to our social unrest. It seems ethically out of bounds for the powers that be.

With all the knowledge and wealth this country possesses, anyone who thinks that accomplishing such a transformation is impossible is, in my opinion, suffering from some kind of deep-seated psychological defect.

Such persons are just stubbornly petrified by intellectual laziness, or some other mental incapacity, of envisioning a rationally-imagined middle way between the Far Left and the Far Right.

Return to Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *