Ponzi Capitalism and the Deepening Moral Crisis

Published on political affairs pa, by Jarvis Tyner, November 2, 2009.

Today we are faced with a major economic crisis, but along with it there is also a deepening moral crisis of US capitalism. However, the people who are always finding fault with poor people, from teen pregnancy to deadbeat dads, are not speaking out about the immorality of the sub-prime robbery that resulted in mass foreclosures, especially for Black and Latino families. They say nothing about the moral aspect of the crisis of over 12 million working families who are now stuck with overpriced homes. The growing poverty and unemployment is “not their thing.” They want to define immorality in terms only of their opposition to gay marriage, their dislike for welfare cheats and fear of street criminals. But crime in the suites is of little concern to them.

According to recent polls, only about 20 percent of the American people today identify with the Republican Party, because GOP policies have nearly destroyed the country. We are in the fix that we are in because of the actions of greedy capitalists who put their profits before people and the money they collect from interest above the national interest. These are the big moral problems, problems that are rooted in an economic system that creates the conditions that destroy families and whole communities and, place tens of millions of working people of all races and nationalities at risk.

These are the big moral questions. What are the policies responsible for turning poor communities into fertile ground for drugs, crime and broken homes? What is the ideology that has led to gross underfunding of public schools, millions without health care, and 2.5 million prisoners behind bars? Need we mention the immorality of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have cost us dearly in blood and national treasure?

Capitalism has always had its crooks, conmen and swindlers since its inception. The very nature of capitalist exploitation at the point of production is a form of robbery. Modern US slavery was more barbaric then ancient Greek and Roman slavery, because it was forged under capitalism and was the source of the wealth that laid the basis for modern US capitalism. It was the commoditization of human beings during slavery that created the material incentives for capitalists to promote systemic racism.

In a recent issue of Business Week there was a very telling piece which illustrated how capitalism is morally corrupt and getting worse. The tobacco companies are still killing people. Even while cigarette smoking is on the decline in the US, it is growing around the world, especially in Asia and Africa, as a result of very aggressive advertising campaigns by the tobacco companies, particularly Philip Morris USA, the makers of Marlboro. As one high school student in Japan put it, “Marlboros are cool” …

… Obama won the presidency because he provided a ray of hope. He therefore can be be a powerful force for change, a leader who represents the renewal of the best ideas and moral standards of our nation, a morality based on a spirit of caring and deep concern for the wellbeing of all people, a morality based on putting peace and negotiation before war and aggression, which defines patriotism in democratic terms, and promotes racial unity instead of strife. Putting the rights of working people and their unions in the forefront is essential for real economic growth. Withdrawing from Iraq and seeking what ultimately will be a nonmilitary solution in Afghanistan are also crucial. The people rallied around Obama because he was restoring a sense of real morality to the soul of our nation. By doing so, he stopped the capitalist fundamentalists dead in their tracks. Now it is time to rally the people to provide mass support for the forward-looking, morally-based programs of the Obama administration, and to apply friendly pressure when we don’t agree. Obama believes in capitalism – but because it is not the capitalism of Bush and the neocons, the change he represents is a big step in the right direction. (full text).

(Jarvis Tyner is the executive vice chair of the Communist Party CPUSA. See also his writings).

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