Saturday, March 15, 2008



We live in the virtual reality (not truthful reality) of mature multinational capitalism. This capitalism is now in deep trouble, so much so, that some of us fear that we may be in for the worst world wide economic depression and political crisis that the world has ever experienced.
I was shocked to find from correspondence with University of Massachusetts Professor Rick Wolf that nobody is studying or planning for this eventuality. There are no alternate plans on the shelf. So, in the hope of stimulating others, this retired union lawyer will begin the desperately needed thinking and discussion.


First off, economics and politics are interconnected and interdependent. It is ridiculous to study economics without politics. It is asinine to study political science without studying economics. Alone, political science is neither political nor scientific. These disciplines have been purposely split apart to keep us in ignorance, and to preserve the lies, propaganda and ideology that underlie both economics and political science.


Let’s imagine that this is 2015 and modern capitalism has totally collapsed. There are multitudes of hungry human beings. There are a few humans who have stores of food and arms, things that every body desperately needs. There are still capable people with skills. There is fertile soil, natural resources and water. The objective components needed for civilized survival exist. Capitalists refuse to invest to produce because there are no profit making opportunities, and because there is too much risk.

Political Economy is about this question:

How shall we organize our productive capacities as human beings to meet our mutual needs?


For purposes of analysis and discussion, let’s imagine a community of 100 people, men, women and children. There is one strong acquisitive man who has acquired substantial goods and property, who is a member of this community.

The strong man, the capitalist, would say to the other 99 members of the community:

I already have some of the things you want. Let me hire you to produce more things that you need. I will pay you wages. I will then sell you what you need. If you do not have money, and I have not been able to give you a job, you will simply have to starve. That is not my problem. You should have been more skillful or aggressive. That is the law of nature: Survival of the fittest.
For the more curious of you, since we are all connected members of this same small community, I will truthfully explain the dynamics of capitalism that have long been concealed:
1. Capitalism is fueled by human greed. I want more. I will put my greedy energy to your use to provide you with some of the things you need.
2. The core operating dynamic of capitalism is: A man with money hires a man without money at the lowest possible wage to make the money-man more money by producing goods which the money-man can sell. Thus, the goods that we thus produce may incidentally benefit you all, but that is not my reason for hiring you. I want to make as much profit as I can.
3. Capitalism rests on the concept of private property. I, the money-man, must be able to own and control water, soil and natural resources, so that I can hire you to produce. I need laws, courts and some governmental structure to protect my private property, and my right to hire you. It is convenient to have a medium of exchange, some kind of money so that I can pay you for your labor and so that you can buy my goods.
4. My only obligation is to make as much short term profit for myself as I can. I will pollute the air, waste resources, and buy oil, timber and water from the public at the lowest price I can. I have no obligation to avoid pollution, to conserve finite resources, or to avoid global warming.
5. In my short term pursuit of money and power, I choose simply to ignore the part of capitalism that inevitably causes it to fall: Capitalists simply do not pay their hired workers enough so that workers can afford to buy all that capitalists produce.
6. It is important to me and my future fellow capitalists that we privatize the production of all human needs and wants in order to provide as many profit making opportunities for capitalists as possible.
7. I am ready and willing to hire some of you as soldiers. You are scared and hungry. I will use you soldiers and my arms to protect you from other tribes that may enslave or kill you. I will also use you and my store of arms to make sure that we adopt capitalism as the way to organize human production to make me a profit.
8. I do not need or want democracy. I will rule. All I need from you is your labor, your loyalty to me, and your obedience. You are free to talk, to discuss and to suggest, but I will make the important decisions.

Our community of 100 people, meets, thanks the acquisitive man for his honesty, has exhaustive discussions, and decides upon the following community organization and policies for production of their human needs:

1. The strong man has power only if we work for him, buy his goods, and serve as his soldiers. He is totally dependent on us. We can choose another way of organizing ourselves to produce to meet our needs. We do not need to work for him, serve as his soldiers, or to buy his goods.
2. We wish to provide for every member of our community. We will leave nobody out, even if some are less skillful or less aggressive than some of the rest of us. We do not wish to live by the cruel law of the jungle. We choose civilization and compassionate caring for each other. Each of us has an equal right to survive and to flourish.
3. We will try to persuade the man with goods and property to share with us in this desperate moment, as a caring human being. If he will not, we shall simply have to take them from him. We have tried his capitalist system and it has failed us and it has failed him. We served him as hired employees for decades and he got his goods and property because of our labor. We need to start over with a new system.
4. We permanently reject organization by which some of us hire others. That creates and perpetuates a power and wealth imbalance. We shall work with each other to produce to meet our needs in self-employment, partnerships, and cooperatives. We shall also use our community as our employer, with the provisions that we are paid equally, and that we have an equal say in what the community does.
5. We as a community will create and publicize a production plan so that we can produce what we really need, avoid waste, and preserve our environment.
6. We reject the concept of private ownership of soil, water or natural resources. We own those things in common. We shall make careful sustainable use of those resources. We acknowledge the Gaia concept that the earth with all of its life forms is a living self-balancing organism. We humans shall strive to live in harmony with other life forms on the planet.
7. We can simply barter and trade with each other, but as we rebuild, things will become more complex. Therefore we shall establish a coin with an agreed value of one hour’s work. We can use this coin as a medium of exchange.
8. There will be other hungry humans and communities of humans nearby whom some might see as threatening. We shall say to those other humans and communities: “Join us. We need your skills and productive abilities. We will share our seeds, our food, and our goods with you, until you can be fully productive with us and help us.
9. We resolve to educate ourselves and our children so that we remain alert to the wealth and power imbalances that result from allowing one human to hire another human. We resolve that we shall never allow production based on such private hiring to be established again. We now see labeling us humans working cooperatively to produce what we need with the epithets of “socialism” or “communism,” as idiotic.

Alarmed by this turn of events, and like most humans having a dark side, the strong man tries a different tack to preserve his profit making opportunities. He tells the other 99 community members:

1. There is terrible danger facing us! The other communities around us are ready to attack us. Some of those people have secretly infiltrated us.
2. The other communities around us are different from us. They are a different race. They worship false Gods who tell them to kill us. There are hordes of hungry desperate people around us. They have weapons. They are about to attack us.
3. Wrapping himself in the flag of the community, the strong man says: I am strong. I have arms. Follow me! Protect your flag and your community! I will protect you and keep you safe from both internal and external threats.
4. In order to capture those evil persons who have infiltrated our community, I ask for your support and your cooperation. Tell me of suspicious persons or activities that you see. Be careful who you talk to.
5. To meet this threat, you must sacrifice. You must forego wage increases. You must accept a lower standard of living. You must pay taxes to me.
6. The strong man is aware that there are differences among the other 99 members of his community. Some are greedy too. Some tend to be more selfish than cooperative. Some are less bright and susceptible to his manipulation. The strong man works on them one by one and enlists several as his enthusiastic supporters and lieutenants.
7. We dare not wait for them to attack us. Our best defense is a strong offense. We must attack them before they attack us.
8. The 100 people of the community then accept arms from the strong man and embark on perpetual war with surrounding communities. They live by the law of the jungle with others. They accept martial law in their own community. They forget global warming. They accept environmental degradation.

When capitalism falls, which of the above choices will we make in our communities?

Dated: March 15, 2008

Douglas R. Page