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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Capitalism Is Taboo in America | Richard D. Wolff, truthout

Wolff makes excellent points in this article. In the United States, we seem to question everything, for good and bad, about the value, future, purpose, weaknesses, and strengths of various institutions. We question the structure of government, the news media, education, the entertainment industry, even our families.

Yet the value, function, and weaknesses of capitalism aren't discussed much. It's like such a discussion would lead to socialism, at best, or communism, at worse.  And that narrowly focused fear is silly, to say the least.

What makes capitalism so sacrosanct. It's not mentioned in any of our founding documents. It's not officially stated in those documents that capitalism is essential to our democratic way of life. In fact, the only related reference in our Constitution is that Congress has the power to "regulate commerce"!

Wolff writes:
Fear-driven silence has substituted for the necessary, healthy criticism without which all institutions, systems, and traditions harden into dogmas, deteriorate into social rigidities, or worse. Protected from criticism and debate, capitalism in the United States could and has indulged all its darker impulses and tendencies.
Wolff asks:
Does capitalism serve the interests of most people? Can we do better than capitalism? ... It is possible to democratize the economy? And is it possible to advance society beyond capitalism?
This discussion continues in Wolff's new collection of interviews with David Barsamian: Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism.

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