free market capitalists

peter singer’s ethics is individualist, like rawls, a critique of liberal democracy that seeks to reform it. however, he doesn’t. his ethics, sense of morality, seems to insist the individual is the problem, not the system itself.

perhaps this is a problem with utilitarianism. i always find myself having to insist that individual ethics (universal or not) means nothing should we be socially organized by a power (in this case, the capitalist free market is a social organizing force) that makes our shared morality pointless. for example, capitalism depends on artificial scarcities that impoverish people and depends on class hierarchies that impoverish the majority while offering unearned ambition to a minority.

you read these singer essays on ethics and they often read well. you want to like them. as soon as you recognize the political in them, they become problematic.

Liberalism and the Left

It’s really odd that so many people have a misconception that everyone on the Left is somehow a Liberal. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Neither Socialists nor Anarchists can be described as Liberal, both political schools of thought have strong critiques of Liberal politics. Liberals are typically centre-left on the political spectrum but can also be centre-right. In essence they are moderates. They are people who actively work to maintain the status quo, and are responsible for the neoliberal reforms of the 80s and 90s. They are free market capitalists, that often believe that ethical consumption is possible in an inherently unethical capitalist society. They actively work to prevent any radical changes that would upset the power balance and wealth distribution. At best they are reformists. They believe strongly in the existing economic and political system, which they may see as corrupted but never acknowledge when a system is broken at it’s very core. They tend to view any interruptions within the system with hostility, and believe that the only valid forms of resistance conform to the established ‘legitimate’ government approved forms of protest. Typically they have good ideals, but IMO they are naive in the faith in the establishment. 

Please note: this is an over simplification and I am not well versed in political philosophy. All I know is that we have tried their way and it only dug us into a deeper hole. Sure there has been progress under Liberalism but in far too many ways we have also regressed as a society, particularly when it comes to the demise of the middle class in America and the ever widening gap between rich and poor. As well as it’s inability to address climate change in any meaningful way, and the rise of white supremacist ideologies under it’s watch. etc etc.

youtube

Today we wrap up our discussion of the media by talking about how the government interacts with and influences the content we see. Now it may be easy to assume that because we live in a free-market capitalist society, the only real regulation of the media is determined by the consumers, but this isn’t necessarily true. The government controls a number of factors including the potential for lawsuits, spectrum licensing, FCC fines, and has even tried to pass a bit of legislation. So we’ll talk about how all of these factors influence the media and end with a discussion of a pretty hotly debated topic these days - net neutrality. 

I’m replaying the original Bioshock, and I’m seeing all sorts of corrupted/detourned Atlas Shrugged motifs as a method of criticising the prevalent free market, libertarian-capitalist ideology within Rapture. That makes me happy. 

pro-capitalists argue the US isn’t actually a free-market capitalist economy, a.k.a. not “real capitalism”, so any criticisms of the US don’t apply to real capitalism. they also  argue communism doesn’t work because all the “communist countries” failed. actual communism calls for a stateless society, so a “communist country” isn’t actually communist, much the same as the US isn’t actually “capitalist”. you can’t have it both ways.

Liberals vs Free Market
  • Crony Capitalist: *buys drug company of important drug jacks price from $13 to $750 per pill
  • Liberals: this is why capitalism is bad they can jack up prices on things people need. We need to make this illegal and make more regulations
  • Libertarians/conservatives: wait! The free market will fix this just wait!
  • Liberals: no we can not wait for your fantasy to work we need it now no one will help us except government
  • Government: *crickets*
  • Free Market: ok so it's $750 now and it was $13 before but there is a huge demand for this
  • > does research
  • > makes a product
  • Ok we can fix this how about for $1 instead of the $13 it was before.
  • Libertarians/Conservatives: TOLD YOU AND IT WAS BETTER THAN BEFORE!