Wednesday, July 08, 2020

What a Future!

Prior to the pandemic, 37 million Americans - 11 million of them children - lived in food-insecure households, meaning that they weren’t able to afford healthy food for their families. In June 2020, Feeding America, a national network of food banks, estimated that another 17 million individuals were at risk of joining that group. An April survey of mothers with children age 12 and under found that the percentage who were running out of food - and lacked enough money to purchase more - had jumped from an already dire range of 15-20% to around 40%.

The state of family finances is dire. A report published in 2019 found that nearly 40% of Americans couldn’t come up with $500 without selling something or taking out a loan. Another survey found that 49% were planning to live paycheck to paycheck, and that was before a coronavirus-led string of over 46 million unemployment claims. Meanwhile, the total wealth of US billionaires surged by over $600 billion. Jeff Bezos ‘earned’ $24 billion in that time.

Viewed by race, the picture becomes even more bleak , since Black and Hispanic families have a fraction of the savings held by white families. They’re also far more likely to be renters, who lack the legal protections that benefit homeowners. Evictions, like incarcerations, hit such communities disproportionately, but the landlord still comes on the first of the month.

 Back in April 2020, nearly a third of renters didn’t pay their rent on time, a significant increase over 2019. States put eviction moratoriums in place as the wave of unemployment unfolded, but those protections are expiring. Amid a global pandemic, millions of people are at risk of being turned out into the streets. The answer is simple: doing otherwise would refute the central premise of capitalism - profit. We live our lives shackled to the ideas of mistaken economists.  

For centuriescapitalism has exploited working people and damaged our ecosystems. It has destroyed our hopes and dreams to benefit the few. For years, millions of people have toiled ever harder under this relentless economic system that says that not succeeding is a matter of personal failure

 It takes time, effort, and resources for new ideas take hold. The longer and harder the status quo has been maintained, the greater the struggle. Eventually, however, it will break. The question is how.

The main idea underpinning capitalism is very simple: your job is to maximize profits for your employer. And you only have to accept one lie - that it is in your own self-interest and your boss is being benevolent by permitting you to work for him. That so many people are willing to accept such a “truth” is reflected in Upton Sinclair’s famous quip, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

A society’s economic system should serve its people, not the other way around. We live in a world which can potentially feed, house and provide for every single man, woman and child on Earth. The resources exist to banish material want as a problem for members of the human race. Yet millions throughout the world are malnourished, live in squalor or are actually dying of starvation or hunger-related diseases. The big question that faces the human race is what can be done about it? The ruling elites who own and control production who through their governments aim at their own self-enrichment.

The things that are desperately needed—food, clean water, housing, sanitation, transport, medical services and so on, can only be provided by useful labour, of which there is an abundance throughout the world. Finance is part of a system which operates as a barrier to useful labour producing what people need. Useful production must be freed from the constraints of profit and class interests. Only useful labour applied through world cooperation in a system of common ownership can solve the problems of world poverty.

World socialism could stop the dying from hunger immediately, and provide the conditions for good health and material security for all people across the Earth within a short time. It would do this by producing goods and services directly for need.

World socialism will operate with one simple and ordinary human ability which is universal—the ability of every individual to co-operate with others in a world-wide community of interests. For too long has indignation at human suffering been dissipated by useless causes. How much longer must the price of failure be the misery of countless millions?

Socialists want a society without charity. The function of charity is to throw crumbs at the poor and pity at the disadvantaged.

The problems occurring around the world are fundamental to the capitalist system. When the working class world-wide understand and accept this then the remedy will be the abolition of the system that puts countries and peoples against each other either on the marketplace or on the battlefield. Think of the number of fans at a Premier League football match. If they were all committed to the introduction of a society based upon free access could they be ignored? Think of the number of workers on the dole. If they understood the reasons why capitalism has to go, to be replaced by a society which no longer screws people in every aspect of their lives, could they be ignored? Strength lies not only in numbers but in an understanding and an overwhelming desire to exercise the political power which the working class possesses. The means to abolish for ever the psychological traumas which living in a capitalist society induces. The inequality, the unfairness, the pressure of the state to conform, and the economic exploitation of the majority by the minority, are waiting for the working-class majority to say, the joke is over—let’s create a humane world.

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