Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Crises of consumerism:

In every society where a culture of consumerism prevails, the whole of life succumbs to that class of investors enlisted to further the aims of capital.

We begin our investigation into the circuitry of consumerism at the site of its conductivity; we begin with the commodity.

The first lesson we learn from consumerism is that we want the commodity; the second lesson is that we will have to work in order to get it. This introduces us to our first contradiction, aptly expressed in the Marxist idea of class -- the investor and the employee set at cross purposes while cooperating toward the same goal: the production of commodities.

But where the employee cooperates in order to gain greater access to the market, the investor consents only where this is accompanied by an overall reduction in costs. Otherwise, the classes are set in conflict: the employee wants more money to buy commodities; the investor wants to squeeze more money out of the process which makes commodities. Where the employee cannot ascend the hierarchy to assume a position of responsibility closer to the investor, that employee's aspirations in the market are dashed.

In order that people have jobs, investors must believe that one community will impose fewer costs on their operations than another. Naturally, this means taxing the gains on productive wealth as little as possible, leaving tax revenue a responsibility of the public, who at the same time are paid as little as possible by their investor/employers. This leads to tax revenues that are uncoupled from gains in productivity.

People who want more buying power in the market don't want to be taxed, and this point is not lost on investors, who find themselves a useful ally in the American electorate. The political parties reinforce this consensus through heightened antagonism on less important issues (for investors).

The huge public expenditure dedicated to making the world safe for democracy at the point of consumption is best viewed as the armed expression of State Department trade policy; but perhaps there is no way a country could spend this much money on the engineering of global culture unless it was in the name of "defense" against those elements -- here traditionalist, there populist -- which still assert themselves in spite of it (e.g., "Islam," "Chavismo").

Public outlays that advance investor causes at the expense of society engender a reciprocal need to borrow from investors to finance these outlays all the more. This places "the whole of life" into their debt; it puts the public budget under their authority, as the creditors of their own profit-making, for which the public can only hope to touch the hem of their garment, and in doing so take something away from the transaction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

keep up the absolutely vital work! this series improves with each installment, and the clarity of your thoughts is remarkable.