We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, April 15, 2016

“Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class”

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog.
No, that’s not the democratic socialist candidate for the Democratic nomination. It was actually Al Capone who once said that “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.”
Capitalism has a lot in common with organized crime because of its tendency to rob and murder others to gain wealth and power. The main differences between them is contained in the title quote above, that is, that capitalists have not only gained dominance over their societies by stealth, murder, and robbery; but have also gone on to establish many other institutions to provide legitimacy for them. This is especially true in their legal system where laws are made and enforced to give them the right to steal the fruits of working people and where the enforcement of their laws is done deferentially based on social class; their ownership and control of media is used to present news coverage that justify their rule and behavior; the educational system is used to instill capitalist values into unsuspecting, innocent children; and the entertainment industry is used to distract, entertain, and reaffirm their values. Capitalists make considerable use of deception in all these institutions. These efforts give this dominant class a certain veneer of respectability and legitimacy which organized crime doesn't bother with. 

There is a blurring of lines between organized crime and the institutions of "legitimate" institutions. They both share the same basic anti-social proclivities and they often collaborate when it is to their mutual advantage. Most often this collaboration can be found in drug and arms trafficking, and was dramatically evident in the assassination of John Kennedy in which many independent investigators turned up evidence of organized crime involvement. One sees collaboration most frequently in business and entertainment where members of both camps cooperate in plundering activities, and members easily cross over from one camp to the other. (Read The Money and the Power by Denton and Morris, Double Cross by the Giancana brothers, and Gangster Capitalism by Woodiwiss--in that order.) Capitalism is a perfect system for sociopaths--both capitalist and criminal types.