(LA Progressive) -- Americans in large numbers are becoming puzzled and agitated. Every day newspaper headlines blare out that the US is in trouble, together with our Western free market allies. The government doesn’t work as political divisiveness freezes decision-making. The extent of inequality is “obscene,” to borrow an oft-used description by Bernie Sanders. The elected president comes over as an egomaniac and buffoon. The middle class is in continuing decline, struggling to survive through multiple jobs. The infrastructure is decaying and CEOs dismantle industry, transporting production to more profitable global domains. Racism abounds, punctuated by recurring protests against police brutality. Workers face unemployment, declining wages, reduced benefits, and weakened unions to fight their cause. Homelessness is a continuing, intractable shame. All around us students agonize about being able to afford college and old people worry about whether Social Security will hold firm for them.
At the same time, America’s foreign policy (its imperialist cast ever more obvious) has fomented a sequence of unwinnable wars that have damaged our reputation and drained our treasury—while destroying the lives of so many of our young people and of populations around the world. Increasingly Americans have disturbing doubts about what has been happening to and around them. Why else do almost a hundred million eligible voters fail to go to the polls? Scholars generally agree that capitalism is in deep crisis and many see it positioned at cliff’s edge.
The dysfunctions and heartaches of capitalism are no mystery. It stands to reason that a greed-based model emphasizing maximum profit accumulation as a philosophical value, together with dog-eat-dog competition, inevitably will cause an amassing of social ills. That’s a normal, to-be-expected result that we see around us—a lopsided distribution of wealth, a threadbare safety net, rampant racism, and a commercial, dumbed-down culture.
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