Essays

Capitalism’s Other Losses

greedThree easy-to-understand ways that capitalism literally sucks — sucks unearned money away from the rest of us, that is.

by David Sims

AMERICANS HAVE gotten used to third-rate grocery goods. They buy supermarket coffee and drink the beverage that they make from it, even though it tastes like it was brewed from floor sweepings. For really good coffee, you have to order it from an importer who knows what he’s doing or else from a trusted foreign supplier.

The same is true of tomatoes. Supermarket tomatoes are mostly the product of agribusiness, which always sacrifices taste to profitability whenever a choice must be made between the two. Supermarket tomatoes are, therefore, thick of rind, woody in the interior, and generally very poor in taste. That’s why they are commonly either salted or doused in dressing.

Hobby gardeners, such as my Grandpa DuBois was in the 1950s, and such as I was myself during the 1990s, grow heirloom tomatoes chosen for flavor. If you think that a supermarket tomato is “good enough,” then you’ve never had a real Fritsche Pink, a medium-sized pink tomato that has a tomato-candy flavor that explodes in your mouth.

The variety of knock-your-socks-off flavors that go with various heirloom tomatoes is something that you must experience in order to appreciate what you don’t get at the supermarket — what your grandparents had, and what you have lost with the rise of agribusiness.

I’ve used groceries to illustrate a principle: Capitalism does not deliver the best, as Ayn Rand said it would do. It delivers the cheapest stuff that people will put up with, along with marketing that credits the goods with praise that it does not deserve.

How Capitalism Corrupted Medicine

The ostensible mission of the medical profession is to eradicate disease. But what business will seriously pursue a course of action that would, if successful, put it out of business? The doctors wouldn’t like that. Neither would the pharmacists. Neither would the stockholders in the corporations that own the hospitals. There is a conflict between the purpose for which the medical profession exists and the financial interests of its personnel.

What usually happens is this: poor people don’t get cured of their diseases. The doctors, hospitals, and pharmacists just prescribe, administer, and sell palliatives while sucking up Medicaid money. The people who actually get cures are the richer folks who can front all the money that the medical parasites will charge.

The poorer people, meanwhile, serve the industry as a reservoir and as a vector to reinfect the richer folks on a steady basis. Thus, the medical profession can pretend to be pursuing its purpose, while in reality merely managing diseases for their greater profit.

Capitalism Uses Government to Suck Money from the Public

There’s a lot of talk just now in Congress and among NASA administrators about an initiative to clean up the space near Earth. Let me clue you in on something. The politicians are merely grandstanding, and the corporations are looking for yet another way to squeeze the 99% for the greater gain of the 1%.

The only way to keep space clean is not to dirty it up in the first place. Why is that?

Because the part of space most infested by cast-off human debris begins at the top of the atmosphere, at about 100 km altitude, and continues to about 600 km altitude. Within that range of distance is about 300 billion cubic kilometers, though which maybe 1000 tons of debris, in bits as small as a spoon or a glove, is flying in as many different orbits at speeds of about eight kilometers per second.

Think of the cost of the rockets needed to chase all those bits down, to make rendezvous, to match velocity, make the grab, and then go after the next little bit, which might happen to be 500 kilometers away and heading northwest at a relative speed of 3 km/sec.

It can’t be done. Not for any price that any nation can pay. And so the talk about doing it is a bunch of flim-flam: noble-sounding, but with a very corrupt actual purpose: getting the Average Joe to pay more taxes so that Big Business can have another road to big profit.

For Further Reading

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3 Comments

  1. WHITE_WARRIOR
    December 30, 2015 at 2:43 pm — Reply

    I can still remember the family doctor. He knew me, my parents and my grandparents. He would visit you at home. He would have a cup of tea and a chat, and he would discuss your medical problems, and any other problem you might wish to raise with him. He was a friend, a pillar of the community, and in many cases a local personality. Of course I am talking about a time long ago. Today we have what is called a medical clinic, which looks more like a fast food outlet. It is a just a business – run on what I call the 8-minute cycle. To remain profitable the clinic must get patients in and out in 8 minutes – conveyor belt medicine. Of course some patients require more than 8 minutes, but most see the doctor and receive their script for medication in less than 8 minutes.

  2. Anthony Collins
    January 2, 2016 at 8:11 am — Reply

    The German term “Raubwirtschaft,” which means “robber economy,” sums up the kind of economics described in the article above perfectly.

    According to Revilo P. Oliver, knowledgeable “New Dealers” defined Roosevelt’s “four freedoms” as the rake-off, the shake-down, the pay-off, and the fix. I don’t know precisely what these “four freedoms” entailed, but none of them sounds ethical.

    The talk about cleaning up the space near Earth sounds like a colossal boondoggle like the “Star Wars” program, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the same principals were involved. (From memory, I recall that there’s a good chapter dealing with the “Star Wars” program in Chalmers Johnson’s book, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. It seems that none of the systems developed in this program worked at all or could not be easily defeated or bypassed.) Developing the means to deal with the asteroids that threaten to crash into this planet and cause large-scale devastation or even mass extinction would be a worthy project, but there doesn’t appear to be much interest in doing this.

  3. Thomas Plaster
    September 6, 2017 at 12:28 pm — Reply

    The main reason for loss and diminishment of health care in this country is the involvement of the federal gov’t. It has introduced one unnatural “stress” after another in an attempt to give medical care to (largely) those who do not produce wealth to pay for it. And this is done at the expense of (largely) those who do produce wealth to pay for it.

    Many of the health care problems of those who do not produce are self inflicted, something they knew better than to be doing.

    Many of the health care problems of those who do produce are unforeseen, or otherwise not in their control.

    Federal gov’t law making it criminal for local emergency rooms to not treat the indigent. Result? 100s of millions of dollars, sometimes for one single hospital, of unpaid care passed off onto other patients. After years of this, many of the patients who had unpaid shouldered onto them are now some of the ones who can’t pay.

    Tort law, allowing a very few to receive multi-million dollar awards while the rest of us get our health care costs jacked through the roof. Yes, someone harmed by medical services should be compensated but not to the point that it harms others. That isn’t right/just either. Besides, much of the jury awards go to the lawyers. And we all know which Tribe many of them belong to. Plus, much of the money going to the plaintiff will be used to increase the consumer lifestyle of themselves and friend/family. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. I don’t care to pay increased costs for medical care to accomplish that.

    Federal gov’t law not allowing health insurance companies to compete for customers across state lines.

    Those three are the main culprits to high medical costs. Let’s fix those and then see what happens.

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