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i love these series! thank you, professor reich.

the first thought that crossed my mind after reading title of this piece, is

CAPITALISM IS FLAWED.

this relentless balls-out quest for increasing profits, regardless of the cost that will be the result, is the problem. the fact that obscenely rich can buy their own congresscritters & increasing power, leaving the rest of us with nothing, is one of those consequences. and yes, as has often been said, money corrupts. taxes are (apparently) the only way such evil actors can be reined in. billionaires should be illegal, environmental harms such be outlawed as ecocide, and society itself needs to reset its ethical and social mores so that the uber-rich are NOT admired, but are reviled.

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Nov 17, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

It's not just an American situation. It's world wide. Capitalists own most of the resources, make obscene profits and make little contribution if any to making the world a better fairer place to be. Money equals power and it is

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

" How we respond to the excesses of wealth and selfishness in this second Gilded Age will help determine whether our economy and democracy can coexist. . .

Is our economy dysfunctional because our democracy isn’t working, or is our democracy dysfunctional because our economy is flawed? "

I remember many decades ago, when I was not yet in high school, the topic of communism came up in a history or social studies class. The teacher explained that under communism, a job was guaranteed for everybody, and everybody had to work at the jobs they were guaranteed, that the government determined they were best suited that there was a need for, for which the government guaranteed you your food, housing, and living expenses, but nobody got to be rich.

By contrast, we were told that here we have the freedom to work anywhere, in whatever job we wanted to take, we could make as much money as we wanted to and spend our money any way we see fit, the government's only job was to make and enforce law, as well as provide military protection against invaders, but there were no guarantees. It's up to each of us to make our own way in life.

When the teacher asked around the class how they felt about communism that takes care of all your needs in life or living here with no guarantees, the consistent response was that communism sounded boring. In my mind, I was thinking something like: "so we're about to nuke each other because communism is boring?" To me, it looked curiously like an implementation of the Christian values I learned from my earlier, parochial education - just without being all preachy, religious, and inconsistent. (Interpret "inconsistent" as "hypocritical," which is a concept to which at that time, I had yet to be introduced.)

Now, from my perspective, having a father who couldn't seem to stay employed and a mother who had just begun her career among the totally disabled as a victim of MS, communism didn't sound so bad. I had already been having quite enough "fun" living a life with no guarantees!

Much later in life, I came to realize that Dad was probably suffering from untreated PTSD from his service in WWII as a deck gunner facing kamikaze attacks on a destroyer escort acting as a sub killer in the South Pacific at all the major festivities, while the company he kept seemed to be suffering from the same kind of PTSD for the same kind of service. He couldn't hold his hands flat out in front of him without them vibrating badly. He always said he had bad nerves and stayed about half in the bag all the time - like most everyone else around me in and around the AmVets' Village area, back then - to relieve it.

I told you that to tell you this. Seeing's how the way it was explained, communism didn't sound so bad to me, I asked: "Then what's so bad about communism that we're facing each other off with nukes?" The teacher explained that communism inherently requires a totalitarian dictatorship, while a democracy inherently requires capitalism. I took the teacher's word and didn't argue - even though I found I had a fairly well developed bullshit alert sense at that tender age, and it was a'goin' off!

These days, I'm satisfied that strict implementation of either total socialism or laissez faire capitalism will eventually lead to some form of totalitarian dictatorship, and have been convinced of that since at least the mid '70s. That is, each is >inherently< un-democratic or anti-democratic. In one case it would be under centralized control, in the other, it would be under what in another time would be called "dukes," who personally control as much of the economic resources as a small nation, who stand in the background of those in charge of government policy. >They< would be the real power behind any autocrat that could succeed in being elected the head of state. In earlier times, that would be called a king or emperor.

My message here is that neither "pure" economic system - capitalism or socialism - loves an egalitarian democracy. The role of government should be to balance each against the other in service to ensuring a vibrant, egalitarian democracy, where nobody is very rich - and nobody must starve in the street without recourse or otherwise live in abject poverty.

UPDATE: Along those lines, a relevant comment from Niel DeGrasse Tyson on MSNBC concerning the current state of society:

https://youtu.be/IGyG0A5m1mo?si=gxOL8QFEMWvUMA7l

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As Bernie says, I agree with Socialist Democracy. I think it would work better.

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Agreed, but let's reframe it. A modern technology, advanced society should include the following basic services for everyone: transportation (a mix, not just a car), housing, food, medical care. If we are "so smart" at this point in human development of civilization, this should be a no - brainer.

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And access to affordable education

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You make a totally essential point, Janet. There's no reason at all, other than massive greed at the top, that every person can't have the things you list.

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Thank you for the likes. I'm surprised.

My opinion is that we are evolving towards a modern human development / civilization. That's not socialism it's just smart living. However, I hope we can avoid falling like others (Rome etc) to decadence and decay. Cheers!

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

I like Bernie and think he's >exactly< where he should be doing >exactly< what he needs to do.

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I'm sorry to enter a dose of reality, here, but the problem is that PEOPLE have certain easy-to-exploit weaknesses hard wired into our psyches. No matter what economic system you put in place, people will eventually become the monkey wrench in the works.

The same is true for every form of human institution including religious communities. People having a certain set of dysfunctions tend to be the MOST determined to be in charge and tend to be loudest people in every room. People with a different set of dysfunctions tend to back off and let the loudest, most dysfunctional people take charge rather than stand against them.

Every form of economic system, governmental system, or faith expression can start out with the very best intentions, but unless we learn to raise our children to be fully human, BOTH compassionate, willing to help others, but also willing to stand up against loud, bullying people; to be nice and not nice depending on the situation, even if it hurts others' feeling or requires some level of physical force, the bullies will eventually corrupt any human system. To never be able to be anything but nice is a far-too-common dysfunction many moderate-to-liberal people share, and it means the bullies always win.

"We have met the enemy and [that enemy] is us."

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A study on bullying was done with our school. Bullies are popular, including with teachers (and not strivers looking for power). Bullies don’t understand the power they have, and, rudderless careen, seeking agreeable feedback. “But, I don’t want power,” said a young woman, said for those bullied. “But you have it anyway. What you do with yours matters.”

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Bullies have power until you punch them out, then they become whimpering cowards. Trump is a good example, when he discovers that all of his threats and intimidation's don't work, he will cower (hopefully) in his jail cell. I don't think he will see the inside of a jail, because Judges are afraid, and what are they going to do with his Secret Service cronies. (They belong in jail with him)

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Greg, an outstanding comment. I could not agree more. My opinion only more succinct and clear.

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Very good points Greg!

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Fair critique. See my link to the DeGrasse-Tyson interview.

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I thought so until I discovered that the DSA are raging antisemites.

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That's why I consider myself a generic social democrat. I don't really trust "party-think." Now, I don't know first-hand the DSA are as you say, but I'll take it under advisement, except to say that to my personal experience with the world at large, it wouldn't surprise me. Otherwise noble ideas tend to become bastardized in group-think environments. Take - for example - Christian churches.

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For one thing the DSA are old line Marxists. I am not. Marx was a proto libertarian, a free trader, a champion of exploiting the workers and considered gold the standard of value, by which he adjudged the labor theory of value..I can go into a long rant to back up my opinion but it is TL:DR

You are absolutely right about noble ideas being bastardized.

In the case of the DSA, I first saw these Marxists, arguing that we should get out of Ukraine (stop funding Zelensky) and that is the agenda of Putin, who is a communist, made his bones as a major in the KGB, and leopards don't change their spots.

I next notice the DSA taking up the banner of HAMAS, and demonstrating and attacking Israel and Jews.

At bare minimum they are self blinded ideologues. Who have no idea of what they are championing and what consequences follow. Idiots all.

Take Palestine and HAMAS these fools have no idea of the soulless inhumanity of Islam. I do. I have studied it, so much that an Muslim on the internet declared that I was murtadd (an apostate) for anyone who knew as much as I, just had to be a Muslim.

Trust me if you are an atheist, a Hindu, a woman or LGBT you do not want to be airdropped into an Islamic country. The salafists of DAESH (ISIS), whatever one says, are the true Muslims, as is Al Qaeda and the Taliban, any squabble between them is political, not doctrinal.

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I love your last paragraph! It summarizes my belief. It would be helpful if we had a better federal government to carry out its role. Our present federal government is broke! I like Biden, but wish we had a Roosevelt (Teddy or Franklin) or an Eisenhower and some competent Congressional leaders to run things!

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Nov 17, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

Personally, I believe Biden has accomplished amazing things in the face of a truly broken, malignant Congress. He may not have the charisma, cachet or whatever you want to call it of an FDR or an Ike, but he has my gratitude and respect.

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Mine as well. Biden IS "the adult in the room" as Prof. Reich so aptly said.

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He has my respect as well.

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A président can only do so much without backing from Congress. In his first two years, Biden should have been able to do more, but Manchin & Sinema blocked him. Now it’s the majority Repubs in the house…

(& right wing judges, & our “slow to non-existant 2-tiered judicial system”)

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

The only thing I would change in your statement concerns "Congressional leaders [who want to serve us. Not to >rule< us]" instead of "to run things." We need representation that puts the "service" into government service, in both word and deed.

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I concur! Thank for the correction.

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I visited Havana with a law school group in 1992 & remember that the Cubans felt sorry for USA because we had no welfare rights, while we worried about them because they had no civil rights. Each state had half a Constitution.

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Visited Cuba last spring. An explanation was, poverty everywhere and benevolent employers don’t exist (effectively slavery and starvation instead). So get rid of the monied, as half way to equity, and provide basics for everyone, as the other half. No one gets excited about tips, toss them in a drawer. Doctors earn about $60US a month. Seriously. And all their needs are otherwise provided for, their education is free, they are doing what interests them and not for all the money and hours they can corner. Life balance. Are there political-people? I dunno, not for the money, maybe to fill an interest for making things effectively work. No Americans in Cuba, just Canadians, South Americans, a lot of Europeans. Cuba is smart to not allow people to starve nor to use-people up.

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Agreed! I'm not in touch with current developments. When I went, we visited a human rights activist who had just been released from prison, & he was re-arrested immediately afterward. I hope it's not still the case that people get arrested for having a typewriter and a history of opinions--that might have died with Fidel.

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Acute. 👍

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

DZK: Your comment deserves a round of applause. "Socialist" democracy as in the Nordic countries uses its government to control capitalism and help with the largest needs in people's lives like healthcare, housing, childcare and other social goods for the benefit of the people by levying the appropriate taxes on every level of society. With unfettered capitalism and monopolistic practices, this country will draw more and more power to the haves and disenfranchise more of the have-nots which is a much larger and ever-growing group of citizens. This should inevitably lead to real oligarchy or even a dictatorship if we don't band together and vote out the bad actors and find some reliable and responsible leaders.

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👍

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I totally agree. After spending over a decade working/ visiting in Scandinavian countries their political and government style, no matter what it’s called, works.

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All of our social programs are sociaistic, but most people don't realize it. The Republicans think and say that if you don't work for everything you have you are a parasite. Perfect Capitalistic attitude.

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Lots of rich parasites on the dole here!

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Well, far be it from me to go all "both sides" on you, here!

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Malcom J Mckinney : many wealthy Republicans have no problem with handouts to the billionaires. They are the biggest 'Welfare Queens'!

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

👍

I've said it here before, that's what I understand from Sherer that National Socialism was like. Top-down "socialism." Remember, the Nazi's claimed to be fighting communism. They suffered from the same failure to recognize irony as the MAGAs do today. They claimed to be socialists fighting - well - socialism - another, right-wing radical form, to be sure.

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Oy, vey iz mir.

It is the “Don’t Look Up” phenomenon …

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

Look at what's not included in the "continuing resolution." Of course, the Яepuблиkan$ proudly stand for cutting everything from school lunches to Social Security - until they're shamed into denying it. They consider social programs charity, "believing" that the government has no place in providing such assistance and recognize charity as being >only< in the domain of personal contributions and churches. That's how they've always tried to justify the tax cuts they've >always< perpetrated. Besides, the IRS can catch criminals that can slip through the fingers of other agencies - just to be clear.

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That’s part of why as Robert so aptly put it, this is the “second Gilded Age”. Society is presently acting out as an attitude and a belief system of exclusivity and entitlement.

Perhaps it’s the new “American dream” repackaged except as someone else pointed out, this is a world-wide phenomenon.

I just read an article in today’s Times, “The private (and expensive) world of wealthy New Yorkers”. This article is about the 1% (the downtrodden, not even the .05 billionaires) and yet this lifestyle could well be compared to some sort of Downton-esk way of life, a phenomenon that is growing, along with outrageous wealth.

Is all this about some latent, unspoken general desire to reside in gated communities filled with huge, mostly unused houses in park-like landscapes, belong to a string of private exclusive clubs, and be waited on hand and foot by the “unfortunate” who must know their place? That’s a kid type of dream.

Is this perhaps part of the dumbing down of our society that seems more and more apparent? I don’t know. However, what I do believe is that the way to change this tide is changing the way we think, and it begins by visualizing and dreaming about a new way of life that can uplift us all and help give us all a feeling of accomplishment, trust in each other, and real communal joy in living. A society whose goals no longer promote quick violent pleasures, mindless entertainment and a way of life and produces a desperate pursuit of nothing meaningful at all.

From new desires and dreams comes the impetus and plans to do the work that it will take to make a new way of life for humanity a possibility.

The exclusivity, and entitlement mentality is financially supported by an economy based on war--not peace. It’s one that’s all about greed, getting as much from our fellow humans as we can and an unquenchable thirst for power over others. It’s an attitude of fear and limited choice, getting more limited with each passing day, and it must end.

The whole concept that an inclusive society whose first purpose and intent is that people must have the basics in life as boring is right out of some pre-adolescent mindset, and one that is fostered by capitalism.

These basics are the building blocks for a healthy, well adjusted body and mind. Why haven’t we reached a consensus that this is so at this point in our development as a people? However this is evidently not what we dream about or hope to realize as a people, or it surely by now would be so.

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

What >you< said! 👍

Now, assess the role of football in all this, along with that of the chariot races in ancient Rome, including what values they promote. We can't look at the reds, blues, and greens at the chariot races today, but look at how football fans like to deck themselves out for the game. The reds, blues, and greens eventually played a divisive role in Roman politics. Compare that with the football coaches in Congress. I'm not a'sayin' football is to blame. I'm a'sayin' it's a concrete symptom. It's the runny nose of a social disease that could kill us all.

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Forgive me for nit picking but it should read Downton-eqsue, not Downton-esk

Downton was a series about an enobled family in Victorian England, struggling to survive but trapped in their culture of superiority.

-esque

suffix

(forming adjectives) in the style of; resembling.

"carnivalesque"

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Public schools, parks, roads, utilities (Hoover dam which provides electricity which for profit utilities use and charge outrageous fees, fire department, LEO., the airways, for travel and communication, air traffic control,Navy protecting, free of charge, the sea lanes for shippers,all socialist. If it weren't for socialism none of the libertarians or MAGAts would exist.

Billionaires, millionaires, Libertarians, capitalists all are ones who would kill the golden goose.

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Hmm, I would say "perfect corporate oligarchy."

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👍

That works too, where the CEO is much like a duke.

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I LOVE NEIL!!!

And he mentioned “Idiocracy,” too. My son is friends with the guy who co-wrote “Idiocracy” - and Etan says the movie is not satire anymore. He’s not happy to realize it is much more like social commentary about reality these days.

I so love that Neil mentioned it.

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I'm a big fan of his, too.

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👍

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I too spent 12 years in a parochial school systemthat had civics taught. I wonder how I came out of it realizing I wanted to practice what I was taught but most others didn't. It is now 'do unto others before they do unto you'.

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You just reminded me of a t-shirt popular in the '60s that said:

DO UNTO OTHERS

THEN SPLIT!

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Good one. Also another one from that era, I am 75, 'Nuke the Whales'. We were followers of the Firesign Theater. Sarcasm is worth the effort. I think we are all Bozos on this bus.

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

Strictly speaking, I wasn't on the bus. I was in the nightclubs playing the music our parents and grandparents listened to. Today, some call it jazz. Back then, it was commercial, popular music. The musical sensibilities of our forebears was >completely< different than the boomers'. Even in music school, I was learning about kinds of music that many still consider noise to this day. I even put music school behind me the day one of us won a composition contest with the performance of a composition created by shooting a sheet of music paper tacked to a tree, with a BB gun, from 50 paces away. At least in the nightclubs I was able to enjoy the company of solicitous, lonely older women to divert my mind for the bullshit I saw comin' down the pike! I was expectin' to get my "Greetings from the President" letter any time, along with the portent that anything beyond that would prove to be more of the same. It did. It has.

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

For your musical enjoyment, a little something to remind you of the kind of music popular among our folks at the time, that I played when it was first released: https://youtu.be/HRXW4TWy2bM?si=y_7nGxYuGh2_fNFS It's a great song and a great group. Enjoy!

(Otherwise, I was playing the old, pre-Elvis standards from the WWII era and before.)

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The original Greek says "Do unto others as they do unto you", The would was inserted later in the Douay Rheims and subsequently KJV

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😢

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

BTW: For much the same as you observe about the others, I only lasted half as long as you in parochial school before I came to my own conclusion that the god business and those who preached it was mostly a load of crap. It took me about another 10 years before I totally abandoned the fever dream of deity - mostly informed by Aquinas. (Whatever you think god is, that is exactly what god is >not.< I think that's his "anti-ontological argument" in a nutshell - for my purpose.) On the other hand, what made perfect sense to me seems to have stuck and stayed with me.

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Sad

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Why? Just curious.

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I agree, it is not necessarily the type of government (you can even through in socialism), it is actually the leadership, regardless of the form of government, that determines the Government's success of failure. Leadership determines the priorities and picks the winners and losers in either form of government. Leadership can either prioritize the welfare of the people or chose to prioritize themselves and their inner circle. Democracy had, and to a lesser degree has, a unique opportunity because the people can actually lead. Unfortunately a small number of wealthy and bought-and-paid-for politicians have rigged the system so that democracy is no longer lead by the people. It has been hijacked and manipulated so that the people no longer realize they are the leaders and have instead accepted the roll of peasants, settling for crumbs that may, or may not, 'trickle down'!

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You wrote that “under communism… the government guaranteed you your food, housing, and living expenses, but nobody got to be rich.“ That’s an interesting trade-off.

However, it reminds me of an old joke.

Under Capitalism, man [sic] exploits man, but under Communism, it’s the opposite.

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

👍

Thanks for reminding me of that old chestnut! I particularly liked another old chestnut - appropriate for the era I came of age in - saying: "The bayonet is a weapon having a worker on each end!" Still sounds right to me! Then there's it's Civil War equivalent: "It's a poor man's war and a rich man's fight!

A little something I came across from a soviet after the fall of the wall was: "We pretended to work; they pretended to pay us!" 🤣

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One of the reasons that I fell for my husband is that he actually l did things to realize his dreams. I still live him, after about 50 years, because he knows what is ENOUGH!

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founding

I agree completely GrrlScientist and Irene Richards. Robert Reich, I don’t think I can express how pleased I am that you have brought this up as a full 10 part series. It is an extremely important conversation, and the implications of answering your question are of great significance.

My own passionate belief is that although up to this point, democracy has been the best system yet on the planet, it’s attempt to balance with capitalism has failed in the United States. Capitalism which is organized greed, has been steadily gaining control, and is now ruining our lives. I don’t think this system as it is structured and has been modified can last much longer. I do not like decisions about my country, and even my personal life made in corporate boardrooms or imbalanced greedy individuals, such as Elon musk, and Jeff Bezos. I want my freedom and independence back. I cannot stand by and watch this and other countries get sucked dry by capitalism run amok.

Even with a Biden win, and I passionately hope that will occur, We must think outside the box and create a better system where the power over local economies is put back in the hands of people, rather than having all the profits sucked out of the local regions into the pockets of the ultra wealthy and the shareholders of the mega-corporations. Donald Trump is the canary in the coal mine. You will not solve the problem simply by duct taping the beak shut or voting the canary out of the coal mine . The root problem is the owners of the coal mine.

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I'm curious: do we actually live within a capitalistic economy? Doesn't capitalism depend upon competition? If that premise is correct, then I would say we do not have a capitalist economy, as demonstrated by corporate mergers, monopolies, and the current loss of antitrust restraints.

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Capitalism has been willfully and on purpose defined for us by those that control the state, and by extension the media, publishing, history and us.

The Plutocrats.

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You mean the corporate, non-capitalist oligarchy?

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Marc N ; and coal itself is a problem!

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Great comment Marc!

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There is a better system Marc, but republicans fight

it tooth and nail because of their greed. In a word--

regulations. Regulations rein in the greed. If every

one is honest, regulations aren’t needed. But as we know, and have seen, there are many people who will take advantage of others and lie convincingly about it, blaming and scapegoating political enemies for

their own corruption.

It’s unfettered greed that created this mess we’re in

now. Greed has overtaken the GOP and the GOP demands a small government so they can get away with cheating and creating more banking schemes to enrich themselves while gambling with other peoples’ money, as they knowingly destroy both the economy and peoples’ lives.

Greed insists on dumping chemicals wherever it’s convenient--never mind if people get cancer from

those chemicals. It’s greed that begrudges giving children free lunches at school, greed that led GOP senators & reps to take illegal money from Russian oligarchs, essentially selling all of us out to a decades-long enemy. It’s greed that disgracefully underfunds healthcare for veterans, it’s greed

that motivated certain members of Congress to take the position that climate change is a hoax when they know every living thing on earth is at risk and now it’s almost too late to save ourselves, much less all of humanity.

It’s pure, irresponsible greed without a shred of compassion that has resulted in a GOP scheme to destroy not just our government, but democracy itself while at the same time convincing tens of thousands of gullible Americans that fascistic authoritarianism is a good way to govern, even though the point of it is to unleash cruelty.

We must have regulations with very large penalties, even criminal penalties for non-compliance because

we don’t have time to waste dealing with the greedy fools who’ve taken us and the rest of the world to the brink of extinction.

Whether we like it or not, the world needs American leadership. Not the idiotic fools who believe they’re making headway by accusing Dems of wrongdoing without any credible evidence to back up their claims--that’s Trumpism, not leadership.

We don’t have time to waste while the republican prima donnas in the House nit pick and block every attempt to to move forward, and the next nit wit who

challenges a witness to engage in a physical fight should be temporarily expelled and stripped of their

committee assignments permanently. People who

can’t behave like responsible adults don’t have any business being in Congress.

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Marc : Tape his beak!

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Let's go back to the founders. To a man they were rich white men, northern merchants and southern planters most of them slave owners, even in the north.

Women existed for the sole purpose of being a breed cow, a nanny, a sexual and domestic servant, and if educated, a hostess and eye candy for the master of the house.

The government they agreed on was designed for them, as a Republic. A Republic is rule of the rich, so called wise and invested, men..

The house of commons, they simply called the House, was comprised of the common person, who at the time had to be property owning men to vote. The Senate was comprised of men selected by the various states legislatures.

It took 27 Amendments to correct the problem and will take another 27, including one to correct the 2nd Amendment, which applied only to states, and in reality for the purpose of slave patrols, like the one my 3rd ggf was drafted into.

Even the amendments don't correct the problems created by the founders. National Guard has replaced militias, National Defense has obviated the need for an armed citizenry, and the 1st Amendment says nothing about Free Speech, it only says that CONGRESS shall pass no law, abridging the right of speech and assembly.

I've never heard of congress even trying to pass a law, It doesn't mean that the would be dictator has the freedom to threaten, defame, and lie.It just says congress can;'t stop him, but the long arm of the law can.

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Nothing like the USA.

We keep throwing people out of office here in France, for fraud.

Our Justices are not controlled by the Govt.

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JennyStokes: Our justices are not controlled by the government: They are bought by billionaires to do their bidding!

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Yes maybe, but there’s many a criminal in France that isn’t in jail because of a “liberal judge”, and I’m a liberal!

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The Justice system is not always perfect.

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Right now, I'd settle for just competent.

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I agree! France has its own problems (I currently live there with a French husband.)

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France has a different history. 1789 and Napoleon all squat rent free in the collective memory, especially of the organs and people who run the state.

In France judges have one eye on the "rabble" and another on the rich. As does Macron and the government officiants

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I envy you.

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HulitC; I bet it has something to do with money!

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The "liberal judge'.

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HulitC ; not all 'liberals' are the same. " love me , love me love me: I'm a Liberal" it's a refrain from an old song 🎵

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Don’t know the song, but it’s true! Liberals come in many flavors. They say Dems are the “big tent party”.

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I thought it was Republicans, because they are " elephants" and so 'big' that they need a big 🎪 tent! So much for small government

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It's a song by Phil Ochs.

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Irene, you are right about the international quality of disgusting wealth. Somehow, we have come to believe that rich people are rich because of some almost magical quality they possess. We are charmed into envy by "the homes of the rich and famous" even though most of us can't imagine wanting to live like that. Even though they have nothing to say that is of real value, people cling to their tweets, posts, and other pronouncements as though they are from on high. And, like Trump, they use those words to harm, threaten, insult, and otherwise disparage people they don't like or even understand. A wealth tax and increased inheritance taxes all over the world might help stem some of the power those guys (mostly men) have to negatively impact the rest of us for their own benefit. It's worth a try.

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"They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town,

With political connections to spread his wealth around.

Born into society, a banker's only child,

He had everything a man could want: power, grace, and style.

But I work in his factory

And I curse the life I'm living

And I curse my poverty

And I wish that I could be,

Oh, I wish that I could be,

Oh, I wish that I could be

Richard Cory.

The papers print his picture almost everywhere he goes:

Richard Cory at the opera, Richard Cory at a show.

And the rumor of his parties and the orgies on his yacht!

Oh, he surely must be happy with everything he's got.

But I work in his factory

And I curse the life I'm living

And I curse my poverty

And I wish that I could be,

Oh, I wish that I could be,

Oh, I wish that I could be

Richard Cory.

He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch,

And they were grateful for his patronage and thanked him very much,

So my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines read:

"Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head."

But I work in his factory

And I curse the life I'm living

And I curse my poverty

And I wish that I could be,

Oh, I wish that I could be,

Oh, I wish that I could be

Richard Cory." (Edwin Arlington Robinson poem; Paul Simon song)

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Kathryn, thanks for the words. That was one of my favorite songs of S&G when it came out. It made me always feel the emptiness of a life built only on money and no substance. That could explain a lot of the unhappiness in our nation, maybe world too. Rich folks accumulate money and to get it, they make life beyond miserable for those who get the money for the rich guys, they become more desperate that the money isn't bringing them anything but more money and the workers resent their jobs more and so on. How sad for all of us that the presents of extreme greed can touch so many and can do so much damage.

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Well said, Ruth. Thank you for your clarity.

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Capital is wealth in the form of money or other assets owned by a person or organization or available or contributed for a particular purpose such as starting a company or investing

The current definition of Capitalism is political, actually unrelated to Capital.

Google capitalism and you get "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit.

Capitalism is those that control and make decisions about the deployment of Capital and those are financial institutions.,and people like the Koch foundation.

Capitalism is actually a description of financial institutions. And strange it is, Marx the supposed opponent of Capitalism was actually supported by Finance Capitalists called the League of Just Men.

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Not only is Capitalism flawed, but so is Democracy. The early Greek philosophers warned of this. However, both are the best systems we have. Capitalism needs an element of Socialism to work properly for the great majority and so does Democracy. Lacking a truly benevolent dictator, or even the prospect of one, I worry bout the long term viability of both systems...and certainly about the benevolence of any would be dictator in the short term.

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The problem with benevolent dictators is there is no way to guarantee their successors will be benevolent--and they usually aren't--not to mention that someone else's idea of what is good for you may not be good for you--look that all those right-wing white supremacist evangelicals who tell you how much happier you'll be if you just accept their "Christian values."

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Yes, I can only think of 1 "benevolent dictator" who improved his country in a substantial way. I forgot his name, but he was leader of Singapore around 25-30 years ago. Now a second one comes to mind: a Chinese premier not long after Mao died did improve Chinese economic & political conditions significantly. Again names aren't coming to me during this interlude in the middle of the night while I'm semi-awake. Perhaps I could think of a few others when I'm more lucid, but not many, in modern history, anyway.

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Singapore. I have been there and it has very strong drug laws.

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It's also immaculately clean. I remember walking downtown & not seeing a single piece of litter until up ahead I noticed something crumpled on the sidewalk. It turned out to be a dead leaf.

Singapore & Malaysia have similar laws regarding litter, smoking, etc. The difference is Singapore enforces them. Malaysia does not.

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But in Singapore there is not a deer, elk, otter, fox, possum, bobcat, wild any thing or any place to be seen. This is not the way to live.

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And no chewing gum.

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Yes. Freezing shops/restaurants etc. Been there many times and a long time before all this craziness happened. It was a beautiful place.

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Agree. I also do not like people banning classics from public libraries. People need the right to have scholastic books available.

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I am an autodidact, and obtained my education in a public library, under the watchful eye of the librarian. Read almost every Classic, and scarfed up WWII escape stories and the holocaust, especially Five Chimney's.

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I wonder what response you get from Trumpers when you ask, what comes after Trump ? Dumbfounded looks maybe. No way they think that far ahead.

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Trump of course. Constitution will be changed.

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Phil: Nobody can change the Constitution enough to grant tRump life eternal. He has to die someday, just like Castro in Cuba. LOL. I suppose one of the Trump kids could try to fill their father's shoes, but they don't seem to have the type of bad "charisma" he has for reeling in the suckers.

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You don't have to change the constitution when you are the dictator of t he once most powerful nation on earth. Day one he puts his croney's in every vital position, including DOD, without the senate approval, which will probably be arrested and awaiting a death sentence for defying him.

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Look up close at the very poor quality of life people live in a corrupt dictatorship. The new season of Apple TV's For All Mankind shows one American (Margo) what it means to live in such a country. Something tells me she is about to be truly sorry that she ended up in Russia.

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So agree with you. I understand that most capitalists pay percentage LESS TAX than most low paid workers who have produced the wealth they wallow in!

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Irene : If they pay any tax at all!

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founding

They collect the taxes, rake it in.

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

Warren Buffet complained that his secretary paid more taxes than he. The most Trump paid was $750, and he didn't pay a penny on the other years

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One basic flaw in “pure” capitalism is that it is a system set up on fundamental injustices: produce your goods for the least cost (shafting workers, ignoring environmental consequences, etc.) and sell them for the largest profit possible (pricing things far above cost — something enormously enhanced by the monopoly power of huge corporations and conglomerates). For capitalism *ever* to be fair, government needs to be there to level the playing field. All the “free market” enthusiasts among the conservatives don’t want to admit that the systemic role *they* see for government is to entrench and protect the inherent injustices within the capitalist system (tax cuts for the wealthy, corporate welfare, no estate taxes, no environmental regulation, etc.) that slant things so that profits, money and power flow upwards to the upper class.

Our form of democracy, which was set up (read the Federalist papers) to ensure “the mob” (by which the Federalists meant: any man without property) couldn’t inflict its will on the minority of wealthy and educated men, has enshrined minority rule in the Senate, and with institutions like the Electoral College; the Citizens United ruling (that equates money with speech and gives corporations standing as people under the law) exponentially amplified the power of the wealthy to set the political and economic agenda in ways that favor them.

It is no wonder there are so many angry people; and it has always been easier to manipulate that anger by setting up scapegoats (especially where the “news” media itself has been bought up by the rich) than it is to educate people to the complicated nuances of our current economic/political system.

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Never have I seen “pure, unfettered capitalism” so succinctly exposed! My God, We DO need government and as our country grows, as the world faces increasing inequality and crisis WE NEED a Big Enough Government TO Deal with EVERYTHING we now face.

...To pay for people who work as immigration judges, environmental investigators, air traffic controllers, ETC --- THE RICH & RICHEST MUST PAY THEIR TAXES. And Who collects and enforces Tax Collection; the IRS. And who wants to “defund” the IRS...Republicans. Go figure! Bought n Paid For Justices & Politicians. IT Must End!!!

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Beth Hilgartner; well said!

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Tom, I can't imagine such a thing as a benevolent dictator. That "benevolent" dictator will do whatever he can to remain in power even if it is to destroy folks who don't do what he wants. He'll just work a bit to make people see that whatever he does is for the good of all (or something like that). Any kind of dictatorship is like being ruled by a toddler with no adults in the room. I do believe we can more carefully work capitalism, democracy, and a form of socialism together to make a society that is more egalitarian. Letting the super rich or even the very rich run things is a bad move. They may know something about their business, even how to cheat the system, but what they don't know is how to make life good for the majority of the people. Therefore, they should not be able to influence government at any level more than the least resourced, citizen, no matter what the Supreme Court dictator wannabees say.

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The benevolent dictator always starts out benevolent but through history I don’t think a single one benefited their country so much as their own ego and financial interests.

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@Tom Sanders. What you miss is that democracy doesn't have to be flawed. Ours has been aspirational -- some day we'll get it right. Jefferson, Al Levine (you know him as Alexander Hamilton), James Madison were all "do as I say" guys rather than "what I do" guys.

Plato wanted rule by a philosopher prince. Our first philosopher prince, George Washington, was provided a government run post office, built post roads, established a welfare system for the new city named in his honor, distributed land to Revolutionary War veterans.

Constitutional amendments led to the end of slavery, child labor, provided a basis to establish a Social Security system, gave women the vote, gave states due process, equal protection. etc. All products of democracy. We really did not have a semblance of true democracy until passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Voter preclusion has been undermining democracy since then. With a new Voting Rights Act, we may, eventually achieve true democracy.

On the other hand, make me king and I could straighten things out in a few days.

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Daniel Solomon: Hahaha!

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All democracy is aspirational

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Tim Russel : Yes, We strive to form 'a more perfect Union'': it is ongoing! Onward and upward!

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Tom Sanders : In any system , mean people suck!

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The EU is democractic socialism. Period. The attention paid to the welfare of its citizens is astonishing. Check this

https://gyazo.com/3e248921b0683191e663e696dc910972

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Tom, I like your response. What is the element of Socialism needed for Capitalism to function properly?

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I don't know what Tom would say, but I think there may be more than one element. I'm American, but married a Swede and live in Sweden now -- you know, the country that the far right seems to fear ;). Sorry, just a little joke. I think one of the most important things would be a true safety net. Unions are everywhere. I am a college educated white collar worker and I belong to a union. 90% of professions have a collective bargaining agreement. I have no fear of losing my job or home if I get sick. We have excellent healthcare, disability benefits and employers must have a rehabiitation plan to get you back to work when it is deemed appropriate. It worked very well for me after a major illnes and surgery 10 years ago. When my kids were young, I was guaranteed a minimum of one year parent leave. It is divided equally between both parents initially, but there is some freedom to change it a bit. If you are economically able, you can choose to take 50% or 70% or less than 100% and spread it out over more than one year. Daycare is provided with the maximum fee being roughly $175 per month. Schools must provide a warm lunch every day, no lunch money or packed lunch needed. My daughter had a school provided iPad for 5-6 grades and then a laptop for 7-9 as well as for high school. And my taxes are not higher than what I paid in total in the US. I pay 34% per year. That includes federal and county taxes, property taxes, school taxes, the Swedish version of FICA, my health insurance. When I compared my last tax filing in the US, I was paying 28% just to the IRS, then I had state and county taxes, my school/property taxes, 7% FICA and $78 per paycheck for my health insurance. It cost me more in the US for less service. I think that capitalist companies can coexist with this kind of safety net. I feel very safe and secure here. I recently read Robert's piece about life expectancy with regard to college vs. no college. The assessment that in Europe and many other countries we do NOT have this experience because we have committed to the idea that at some level we all do need to take care of each other. Somehow the US needs to get to that point. And we cannot allow the absolute least benevolent creature in the world to get into power again.

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Our son married a Finn and now lives in Finland with our grandchildren. Almost everything you say applies there as well. Do they have problems? Sure. But the safety nets (though the higher taxes are now straining them) continue to be strong enough to continue to deliver most of the necessary social services. We could do much worse than considering the general Scandinavian systems.

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What’s their tax rate?

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At least taking some of it and then using it as a model.

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Kate, it sounds like heaven where you live! I agree with you that we, as Americans, need very much to take care of each other. I don't know why we have veered so far off course! It seems that there are some who have no connection to the population at large and don't have any commitment to anyone but themselves! We were headed in the right direction but have suddenly veered off course! I can only hope and vote for a better America.

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Not heaven, but I feel more secure and given the situation in the US for women and Asians I’m glad I’m here and my daughter is (she’s adopted from South Korea). Nothing is perfect, but I think we should strive for things to be better for as many as possible. Even looking at it selfishly, I think I’m better off helping sure others are better off.

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I understand what you are saying. It is so frustrating and embarrassing that there are Americans in this country who are racist and very threatening to Asians, Blacks, Latinos, LGBQT+ and others. They simply will never understand that these groups of people are what make America the strong Democratic country she is. When cultures blend and come together, we are stronger and smarter! I fear for my daughter and her partner as the hate escalates. It is a scary time right now. Stay safe, Kate, and keep striving to make things better for everybody!

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Kate Engberg : "when everyone does better: everyone does better"!

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"Benevolent Dictator" is a contradiction in terms. Suppression of individual civil liberties for whatever stated "reason" is never benevolent.

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None the less, the idea was postulated in about 700 BC and has ben a subject of discussion in the circles of political philosophy every since. My own take is that even if we found such a benevolent soul, who would be the successor?

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Tom Sanders : The bottom line for both systems should be supporting the Common Good. for humans, and other living creatures and the environment : sustainability for health of living things that contribute to that health.

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Has Capitalism failed us?

Donald Hodgins <silencenotbad@gmail.com>

5:58 AM (0 minutes ago)

The system we currently employ to run our economy has problems, as no system is perfect. Capitalism is the system used by many of the more advanced countries found across the planet. Like anything that has been around for a while little imperfections tend to pop up here and there that need our attention in order to maintain the desired status quo. It's not the system that stinks, it's the active players taking advantage of a lucrative situation that have become drunk with economic greed who could use a good kick in the backside as a reality check. Our government saw the need for checks and balances to be installed in order to maintain a healthy mechanism through which to rule a country. Maybe a similar system should be employed to help our economy ride the same train. Capitalism has its negatives if left to its own evolutionary pitfalls. The age old conflict between the haves and the have nots is constantly being fought on one battle field or another, and yes at times the struggle has become bloody. The system which has brought us and many others to this point is in need of a few corrections but not the junkyard. In order to fix the problems we now face we first must come to grips with the reasons why we got to this point, then correct and redirect our initiatives to more positive ends. If we shift our attention from acquiring a healthy profit margin to maintaining the same relevance in our population this country just might make a healthy comeback. To me, the sickness at hand has shifted from our economy to the political system. A large dose of good old fashioned snake oil is needed, and after that we need to award a few "Raspberries" to some very bad actors. The color change would only help to improve the appearance of the orange guy. A little blush in those aging sagging cheeks would do wonders. That might be a "Capital" idea. My Grandfather had a saying, which he lived by, "Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves." That is a good dose of that old snake oil, and it works.

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It was brought to my attention, by an educated member of our group, that I misspelled "lucrative" in my attempts to express my opinion. Apologies to all those who felt offended by my error. When consuming a slice of pie, please disregard any errors in the crust while enjoying the essence of the filling.

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somethinkcrustisthefillingimyselfaintrealbigonspellingorgrammar. But it has it's uses.

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steve--Your spelling does bother me but the absence of spaces between your words is causing a disturbance in my brain. LOL

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Getoveritbrolol

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Lucrative. Correct spelling improves one's credibility.

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Martha---I'm sorry, I had a stroke this Spring and I make spelling errors that escape my aging eyes, and with my Macular Degeneration getting worse it's a wonder you got anything out what I tried to say. Please forgive this old man.

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I apologize, Donald. How miserable for you. I had a little macular degeneration, but surgery improved matters greatly. As a photographer, I dread losing my ability to see.

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Martha--In my youth I exposed a few rolls of Ektachrome, ASA 100 and a child under the age of 4, that was my world. Before they knew what a camara was. Your apology isn't necessary, I just can't figure out why spell check missed it.

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Please don't do that. You understood. That's the point. Ask an English teacher, like me, what's most important. Get the idea, then work on the mechanics.

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Democracy is the only form of government where people have great control over their lives. We see the corruption of one evil man wresting control of our country using hate against all minorities and alternate religions.

People in our country are losing their way in the midst of all these corrupt and illegal actions. Trmp has been modeling fascist behavior in the face of sure judicial accountability. People who don't know better follow him.

The insurrectionists in our country, particularly in 'leaders' and 'judges' who have weaseled their way into our lives, show the risks of giving credence to this nightmarish alternate option(?).

Yes, a hybrid of capitalism and socialism is the best we can do.

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I think the gross majority of people would agree that un-constrained capitalism is problematic at best and evil at worst. Therefore there is a need for guardrails (regulation) to creek the more dangerous behaviors in check.

Similarly, in-constrained Democracy (populism) is also problematic and requires regulation. This is exactly why the founding fathers established the three branches of government at mutual checks on power of the majority.

The great challenge is determining where to place the guardrails and the character of those we elect to monitor them.

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Thomas Jefferson saw democracy in action, when he visited a Baptist Church business meeting in Pittslvania Co, VA and came away disabused of democracy, and wary of factions which he saw in that meeting.And yet the alternative is upon us the 4th Reich of the Rich., and I shudder in my slippers and want to flee and there is no where to flee too, because I don't have millions and can't bring to a host country, a job that will employ 10 people

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There are two issues at least with a "benevolent dictator". First, assuming one could be found, he/she would still be mortal. Second, one never really knows that said person is benevolent. After that person is installed, it's too late to find out they aren't benevolent. The election of 45 is somewhat of an example.

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A dictator needs to be benevolent and very wise. Those are in short supply. And, even if they start out that way, they may change.

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The justice system comes first I think. Without Justice there is no democracy.

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I agree. And trump and the gop know this. They have been working for decades to control the courts. Just look at scotus. They have become yet another corrupt political tool of the super wealthy.

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Mitch McConnell’s sole purpose for 50 years was placing judges & justices in positions so we now face the likes of Roberts, Gorsuch, and THOMAS on the formerly “supreme” court and people like Ilene Cannon in Florida on the court; to pervert justice and end it to the will of The Rich & Richest.

NOT The Will and VOICE of “the people”.

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Jenny Stokes: especially when it is not bought by billionaires to serve their greed

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Our High Court here in France is not controlled by the Govt.

There is a Cour de Cassation who choose the high court judges.

Nothing to do with Politicians.

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Read The Man Who Broke Capitalism:Jack Welch. By David Gelles

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Are you are talking about the guy who (along with his successor) almost destroyed one of our largest and most successful companies, General Electric? He was a total jerk,.

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Yes...a jerk? ..He was the Earth Devil. When I read that book, at the end of every paragraph, I just shook my head in disgust.

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Obviously, I should read the book. But I have run manufacturing companies and understand the danger of getting sloppy with the standards required to stay in business. At times you have to prune to keep the company survivable and viable.

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

Yes , read the book. Because when he took over GE, there was absolutely nothing wrong with GE. His ego and goal was for GE to meet quarterly profit goals. And he did that by cutting employees. And by cutting employees , GEs revenues went up. Hence their stock went up, in which led to more profits for SHAREHOLDERS. Plus some other things he did that led to a Wall Street analyst investigation saying and reasoning, there is no way in hell a company can meet the quarterly goals for 20 years in a row!?!. Come to find out, he was , in a sophisticated way, in the simple terms , was cooking the books.

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He did not ruin GE. He was pro manufacturing before his successor focused on the financial market and not the manufacturing empire that GE had. And that caused GE serious harm in the financials market crash in 2008/9.

Yes, he was a capitalist, and probably not well liked by the working man. He believed that all that a company owed an employee was wages for the time worked. Nothing more nothing less. He also threatened each business that if they were not 1st or 2nd in the market, he would sell them off. That kept the pressure on to keep GE healthy and able to reinvest.

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

When you get a chance read the book. Anyway ,He was a "Shareholders Capitalist" not the community oriented capitalist that his GE CEOs predecessors were. All what you mentioned above, David Gelles wrote about that too.

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thank you for the recommendation. i'll try to get it.

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The opposite of Henry Ford.

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GrrlScientist - I think a large part of the problem is that people don't want to understand that we are all intertwined and interdependent. Capitalism's roots lie in mercantilism, that time in european history when the first explorers were finding resources, and capturing slaves for free labor. People of color were considered heathen animals, and the catholic church essentially gave permission for the explorers and first commercial voyagers to do as they like with the people if they would not "convert" to christianity. So, free resources and free labor - that is the underlying basis of capitalism.

After 500 years of this mentality, we accept it as a matter of faith - it is rarely questioned, and it would cause us some discomfort if we acknowledged that our standard of living is at the expense of a large part of the southern world. Those at the top, of course, those whose fortunes were made in the beginning and who have passed down that wealth through generations, will never give up their "right" to rapaciously consume and exploit anyone and anything they can.

Let us not forget also, that american capitalism was built on slavery, the repercussions continure to this day.

Billionaires should be illegal, should be stripped of their wealth except what it takes to live, and their gains should be used to create a better society. Also, as a postscript, any pro athlete who was trained at a state university should give 70% of his income to public education in his/her home state.

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To some extent, wealth indicates “virtue”— or at least “desirability”—all the way down to our DNA.

Health and robustness indicate a good object of interest to pass on our genes, so people who are robust and clearly “successful” seem to be more valuable to us than those who are less so. For sure, having wealth can help us to greatly enhance these measures of “desirability.”

That goes deep into our instinctively driven judgments of people, but we’re not likely to make wealth itself something to revile, at least not easily, and I think it’s a mistake anyway. Up to a point, amassing some measure of wealth is not at all a bad thing.

I really do think people need to be judged on their acts. How those who hanker after wealth behave, how they manage to get a corner on wealth, what they do with it when they have it, these are more important than the fact of “wealth” by itself.

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I'm trying to pass my genes on but cost hundred thousand quid to give birth to sprog in merikan hospital like onl;y later to be shot dead in one yer so called "High or middle or elementary "Schools" .. And then still paying off yer hospital bills years later for the audacity and nerve of my wife giving birth through a long term financing package that will take another ten years to pay off while going broke trying to sue folks for some kind of justice.

I guess the "Virtue" of my epigenome is doomed to failure.

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It is those Billionaires who created great things!

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OUTSTANDING, Grrl! Could not agree more on all points. Very well said!

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Money corrupts, but power corrupts absolutely. Unregulated capitalism is flawed, but if regulated against greed capitalism works best for all levels of society. See 1932 to 1964.

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Well said, the greed worldwide is astonishing.

Raising pay to a livable wage will cause the greedsters to raise the costs of everything, god forbid their profit margins aren't over the top.

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Yes and who moved those balls of balls-out / balls to the wall fame overseas to China, Mexico, and indirectly South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan ? (To name a few).

Prof Bob back in the day being one of the more oblique "Wizards" of said destruction but for sure was not alone in this.

@GrrlScientist I probably don't need to tell you the "Balls - out" comes from a centrifugal governor - really a misnomer as both you and I know it should be centripetal-governor. Centripetal force - (IMSR) Center seeking "Governor" *

You know the things that spins around like a 1980's wine bottle opener with steel / cast iron heavy balls (back in the day operating a gradated steam release valve). The machines being set to maximum speed would have the balls high and far apart due to centripetal motion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrifugal_governor

Aye - trying to scratch around for an old Fred Dibna' vid cauze thowze modern computer-lyke animations don't reayle do it jusssstize like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQKOgAt-iQI&t=40s

Weyl ayle keep loukin fer somink more appropriate... most people these days think that balls to the wall means theyre goona put yer against a wall like and get shhot with yer trowzers pulled down .

I hear in Ameahrika that they think the RUST BELT is an artisanal patina added to astrip of leather to help keep yer trousers up . (Shaking head).

That Whitmer bird is a bit of allright speaking ov certer seeking force for a governor.

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Not necessarily capitalism, but the way it has been implemented in this country.

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Hear hear!!!👍👏🏻🎶🤗💕

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totally AGREE!

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I hope Dr. Reich's includes the student loan debt crisis. It is a crisis. If the government has the money to lend us to go to college, then they have the money to fund it 100%.

Compound interest is a jail sentence.

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Then what about the students that worked their way through college? Or at least reduced the amount they had to borrow?

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well, why not work their way through high school? Jr. High is good enough to read, write, math and get a low skills job. Right? So why should I have to pay for other people's kids to have a high school education?

College costs have gone up because Reagan defunded it. It's no longer possible to "work your way" through college.

I'm just making a point. It's not that I think kids shouldn't have high school. White males had free college back in the day and now even a car rental counter job requires a degree.

My question is why not?

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At every level of the managerial ladder, the leaders are paid inordinate sums to keep their workers working at much lower wages . This occurs throughout the system of work. Wealth controls the levels of power everywhere to the disadvantage of the masses. Politics has skewed the economy at the behest of wealth that is so greedy that calamity is inevitable. Greed has no limits unless forced to share the economic pie fairly. What calamity will stop the avarice?

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i also forgot to mention: now that the election is less than one year away, and A LOT OF PEOPLE (including me) vote by absentee ballots, WHEN WILL LOUIS DEJOY BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE??

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Um, why is he still there? that's a good question.

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GrrlScientist; A better question is why hasn’t he been removed already?

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Good questions. I thought one of Biden’s first priorities would have been to work towards deJoy’s removal. He is a corrupt appointee of tRUMP who tried to throw monkey wrenches into the workings of the U.S. Postal service in order to help tRUMP and enrich himself. Biden can’t unilaterally remove the director of the postal service, but he has now had ample opportunity to appoint people to the Board of Directors who could. It is one of the reasons I am not enthused with the idea of voting for Biden again.

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Nov 25, 2023·edited Nov 25, 2023

Joe Tonini: please look @ the Wikipedia article about the USPS & it's hierarchy. President Biden HAS appointed 2 governors There's also the limitations regarding how many of each party may be in office as Governor but there are 2 Independents as well. In addition, the Postmaster General and the Deputy Postmaster General have NO term limits. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_of_Governors_of_the_United_States_Postal_Service

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I enjoyed this first episode - because it makes sense, is clear and accurate. Unfortunately, it is also very disturbing! I know far more about American politics than that of Britain (my home country) or New Zealand (my adopted country), and I despair for America and the rest of the world. If it can vote in a very obviously impaired, corrupt, sexist, misogynistic, fascist, etc, individual like Trump, and 10s of millions still support him, then WOW! I'm really worried about next year's presidential election! Please, America, don't eff this up!

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If America goes, so goes the world and around the world were witnessing this metastasizing disease of utter fascism and it seems spawned more so with the advent of Trump, a wannabe dictator in chief.

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Putin's extremely sophisticated propaganda apparatus has managed to undermine democracy, sow division & spark fascist authoritarianism in the US, Europe & throughout the world. Now the whole Republican Party & right-wing media are infected.

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Indeed, it seems the so- called Freedom Caucus has taken over the party and how long before their new leader Mike Johnson, does a doozy, many know what he like the MAGA right are all about, HATE and POWER, power to want to hurt, it's that simple.

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MAGA Mike, is all in for Trump and like the rest, yes men for the mafia boss and will do his bidding.

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Russia has not undermined Democracy you have done this yourselves by years of not paying attention to politics and not voting.

Is Russia to be your scapegoat forever?

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True, young people in other European countries have more civic engagement, at least perhaps up till now, the future rests with them

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Sabotaging democracy throughout the world has long been 1 of Russia's top foreign policy priorities. They have a huge network of agents, trolls & bots set up just for that purpose. In 2016 Russia flooded social media with anti-Clinton, pro-Trump propaganda, & they had much contact & coordination with the Trump campaign. It could've been the difference in Trump's victory. A similar propaganda campaign definitely was the difference in the success of Brexit.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, they flooded social media with pro-Putin, pro-Russian propaganda & a lot of disinformation about Ukraine & Zelenskyy, & it was very successful. Initially sentiment even on right-wing sites was overwhelmingly pro-Ukraine, but the constant barrage of disinformation turned them against Ukraine & more defensive of Russia.

Many Republican members of Congress behave as if Russia has kompromat on them, which it probably does.

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Of course Russia has been undermining democracy! They’ve been at it for years. Russia heavily interfered in our Presidential election in 2016, they’ve been giving money to U.S. candidates for over a decade (it’s illegal) and Russia invaded a democracy in Europe and killed thousands of innocent people there. Russia has also had operatives here in America for a long time. One

of them joined the National Rifle Association

and manipulated members to be extreme. We know that because she was arrested and deported to Russia. I’m not saying American’s are blameless,

I’m saying Russia has been actively undermining

American democracy for a very long time.

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I don't think this is true.

China will step in.

Already we have Leaders visiting with China. Of course US going further down will make some difference but on the whole we have strong Govts. and educated people.

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