Doorgaan naar hoofdcontent

Socialism or Amazonism

Glen Ford, BAR executive editor
26 Oct 2017
Socialism or Amazonism
Socialism or Amazonism
“Jeff Bezos and his ilk have used their political power to create an economic order of near absolute worker insecurity.”
Two unfolding developments show the stark choices faces humanity.
In China, president Xi Jinping laid out the Communist Party’s 30-year grand plan to become “a moderately prosperous country” by 2020 and “a modern prosperous society” by 2049. The roadmap was both detailed and realistic, based on the world’s most populous nation’s steady -- but nevertheless breathtaking -- growth over more than three decades. As Eric Li noted in The World Post , “China has led improvements in health, education, science and overall standard of living at a speed and scale that is unprecedented in human history,” even as most of the rest of the world economy caught “the American disease” with the meltdown of 2008. The Party’s vision for building socialism with Chinese characteristics is stunning in its specificity on the whole range of developmental issues, “including housing, health, science, defense, artificial intelligence and the sharing economy.”
“The same ‘command economy’ that fouled the air and water now leads the world in renewable energy and technology.”
Unless this trajectory is interrupted by war with the United States, there is no reason to doubt that China will surpass the U.S. as the planet’s most important economic center long before 2049, having already overtaken the U.S. in purchasing parity power (PPP). Chinese society is being transformed at dizzying speed, with 60 million people emerging from poverty in just the past five years. In recent years there has even been significant progress in stemming the horrific environmental damage that has accompanied China’s breakneck growth. The same “command economy” that fouled the air and water now leads the world in renewable energy and technology and has decreed that electric cars are the wave of the future.
In foreign policy, China is the global vector of voluntary, non-coercive “connectivity” among nations, by far the biggest international investor in infrastructure development. The Chinese build African ports and railroads, while the U.S. builds drone bases.
U.S. rulers also have grand plans -- not for raising domestic or global living standards, but for war. As servants of the Lords of Capital, both corporate political parties promise their citizenry nothing but austerity. The political hegemony of the oligarchs is so complete -- especially since the Clinton years in the White House -- the very idea of governmental intervention on the side of the non-rich has become foreign to much of the public, including the Black political class. Corporate media define “left” and “right” based mainly on so-called “social,” non-economic issues, as if the argument over economic justice has already been settled -- in the oligarchs’ favor.
The Chinese build African ports and railroads, while the U.S. builds drone bases.”
The people’s representatives grovel at the feet of the rich, begging for crumbs that might fall from on high. As of last week, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world with a net worth of $90 billion, has received 238 proposals from local governments across North America begging for a chance to host a second headquartersfor his Seattle-based corporation. Nearly every city worthy of name recognition, and some you’ve never heard of, has positioned itself booty-up for Bezos and the prospect of 50,000 jobs. The only states from which no applications have been received are North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Vermont, Arkansas and Hawaii.
Bezos is an extortionist. Amazon has already gotten more than $1 billion in local and state subsidies for its warehouse centers around the country, where workers are paid 15 percent less , on average, than other warehouses in the region. According to a recent study, Amazon’s business model has destroyed nearly 150,000 more jobs in retail stores than have been created in its warehouses. Author Simon Head writes that Amazon’s “system of employee monitoring is the most oppressive” he has ever come across -- even worse than Walmart. However, the whole point of establishing an austerity regime is to starve working people and their communities into submission to employers like Walmart and Amazon – and to make governments pay for the privilege of hosting the extortionist.
The very idea of governmental intervention on the side of the non-rich has become foreign to much of the public, including the Black political class.
Greg LeRoy, of Good Jobs First , says Bezos has gotten tax break extraction down to a science. Amazon is shameless in its pursuit of public subsidies. “Most companies — 99.9 percent of them — go to great lengths to keep their search a secret, so this is a very unusual, highly public episode. What we’re about to see is a textbook auction for tax breaks.”
Amazon’s grand auction will doubtless become the model for further corporate predation, just as Walmart led the retail industry’s race to the bottom. Both evil behemoths deploy high-tech systems to extract every possible advantage from employees and suppliers. But, advanced technology is not the villain -- capitalism is.
Amazon is allowed to prey on workers and communities because Jeff Bezos and his ilk have used their political power to create an economic order of near absolute worker insecurity. Austerity enforces insecurity; that’s why it is always on the capitalist politician’s menu, in good times or bad.
Jeff Bezos is already in heaven. Late stage capitalism has concentrated wealth like never before in history, so that Bezos and seven guys like him are as rich as the poorest half of the rest of humankind. The Lords of Capital have no vision of a “modern prosperous society” – in American, Chinese or any other terms. They are concerned only with eliminating every threat to their wealth and power. That is the extent of their vision.
China -- or rather, the global movement towards connectivity and peaceful relations at which China is at the center -- will inevitably overwhelm Bezos’ world, unless the process can be halted by war.
That’s why, if you are anti-war, you must be anti-capitalist.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at .


Populaire posts van deze blog

Geert Mak Pleit Nu Voor Vriendschap met Rusland

Ik kwam zojuist mijn oude vriend, de bestseller-auteur en mainstream-opiniemaker Geert Mak in de regen op straat tegen. Na elkaar te hebben begroet, vertelde Geert mij dat hij van oordeel is dat Europa zo snel mogelijk met Rusland om de tafel moet gaan zitten, om de opgelopen spanningen te deëscaleren. De VS heeft heel andere belangen dan 'wij,' aldus Mak, die benadrukte dat de macht van 'onze' Atlantische bondgenoot ingrijpend aan het afnemen is. Kortom, ik hoorde wat ikzelf al enige jaren op mijn weblog schrijf. Opvallend hoe een Nederlandse opiniemaker binnen zo'n betrekkelijk korte tijd zo wezenlijk van oordeel kan veranderen.  Immers, Mak’s gevaarlijke anti-Rusland hetze was een treffend voorbeeld van zijn opportunisme. Mei 2014 beweerde op de Hilversumse televisie de zogeheten ‘chroniqueur van Amsterdam, Nederland, Europa en de VS,’ dat er sprake was van een 'Russische gevaar,’ aangezien ‘meneer Poetin’ aan ‘landjepik’ deed en dat de Russische president d…

America Has Been at War 93% of the Time Since 1776

America Has Been at War 93% of the Time – 222 out of 239 Years – Since 1776 By Washington's Blog Global Research, December 26, 2017 Washington's Blog 20 February 2015 Region:  Theme: 

Native American Rape Survivors

A sign marks the entrance to White Earth Indian Reservation in Mahnomen County, Minn. (J. Stephen Conn / CC 2.0) WHITE EARTH RESERVATION, Minn.—Candice (not her real name) awoke with a start. Someone was pulling down her sweatpants. It was a male friend. “Stop!” she shouted. He kept groping her. She kicked him and he fell off the bed. She dashed out of the bedroom, tripping and tumbling down the stairs. Gripped with fear, she heard his footsteps behind her in the dark and forced herself to stand upright as she staggered out to the porch. Candice was still intoxicated. She got into her car and drove into a ditch. A white police officer pulled up. She struggled to hold back tears as she told him about the attempted rape. All the officer saw was a drunk and disorderly Native American woman. He dismissed Candice’s report of sexual assault as a lie she had made up to avoid getting a DUI. He did not take her to the hospital for a forensic exam. The sexual assault was not recorded in his pol…