21st January 2012

“At the very beginning, capitalism and religion managed to form very strong bonds. Socio-economic success is often treated as a mark of specialness – that your religious faith, your prayer life and your God marked you for that success.”

Paula Aymer

10 Responses to “21st January 2012”

  1. R J Says:

    oh please.

  2. archaeopteryx Says:

    Well, if you can say “god wants me to be rich” with a straight face, then you can justify almost anything to get richer and richer.

    True, you will have to give your local clergy a cut, but maybe you can get some of it back in tax relief?

  3. Dan Says:

    At the beginning? You’ve got to be kidding me!!

    At the beginning, it wasn’t capitalism that had a relationship with religion, obviously. Capitalism is a late-comer to the scene. Has Paula Aymer forgotten about the connection to the old monarchies and the “divine right of kings,” and the mutual affinities for concentrating power that both nobility and clergy have used since the beginning of civilization??

  4. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Exactly Dan! The quote might be better said as Corporatism, not Capitalism, has formed the bonds once defined by the relationship between monarchs and the church. At least thar is what has happened in the modern era.

    It is the slightest of errors but one worth noting: Capitalism is defined as “Free Markets” or many buyers and many sellers. Markets not restricted.

    Corporatism, aka Fascism, is defined by oligopolies, duopolies, monopolies, by restricted markets, markets dominated by a few, giant corporations in league with the government, lobbying for special treatment.

    When this is understood you can see very easily how the church would actively seek a position at this table of restriction, this table of the few, or in today’s vernacular “the 1%”.

    Capitalism is and has always been about the many as in many buyers and many sellers. Many as in the 99%-eers.

    It is very popular today to mix up these terms in order to cast a negative light on what the people really want and that is free and open markets that reward them with lower prices and higher quality. Who would want such a thing? The 1%-ers would. The monopolists would. Those that hold back quality, artificially inflate prices because they control markets and limit competition, and profit excessively as a result.

    We have made a mistake. We have allowed corporations to decide for themselves that their primary responsibility is their shareholders and that is a terrible mistake. We have given away for free literally the value of our marketplace. With the many and varied tax loopholes for corporations the pathetic low tariffs, we have said to big business “rape us all you want”.

    Our markets have value and we should expect something in return for access to it. Simply being able to buy goods and services is not sufficient enough for this exchange.

    I believe that corporations should have has their primary responsibility, not a maximization of profit for their share holders, but corporate responsibility to the community they operate within.

    This was how it was originally defined and we should return to this maxim. Think of it as rent or the cost of access. If a company wants to have a presence at the mall it has to rent a space: where the mall is the market the rent is a cost of doing business at the mall.

    Doing business in the American market, the most coveted market on Earth,
    corporate entities must have a responsibility in exchange for access.

    We (the people) need to stop giving this away for free, we need to recognize who is telling us this isn’t the best thing for the people are the few, are the 1%, and are the oppressors.

    We need to look at politicians like Ron Paul(R) and from 2008 Mike Gravel(D) and see them for the “many” or “of the people” candidates they are. We need to appreciate this and not allow the 1%-ers to cast them as “cranky old”.

    We need to reject the Mitt Romneys and John Kerrys, and all the elite rich that can pay to cast themselves as our great benefactors: they aren’t! They don’t care about you, you don’t matter!

    I have mentioned to you before that I’m a Republican I am, I am also a capitalist. These values do not exist for the great many Republicans today and I think you can all see that today’s Republican might refer to me as a Republican In Name Only (RINO). If you will consider what I’ve said here I think you will agree that it is me who is the Republican and today’s Republicans that are anything but.

    Socially progressive like Abraham Lincoln, fiscally conservative like the Democratic-Republican party of Thomas Jefferson and PAYGO like New Democrat Bill Clinton.

  5. Carl-John X Veraja Says:

    Exploiting workers is a surefire sign of virtue. Like Bakunin says, If god existed he’d have to be abolished (paraphrase).
    Kill a CEO for Christ – a bumper sticker you’ll never see

  6. Jeff Says:

    Sinjin, I agree with you in almost every particular, except that I would have to say that Corporatism has been replaced by Financialism, where a Corporation’s product is completely de-emphasized in favor of its Financial performance. That is what gave rise to the corporate raiders, the green-mailers, and the vulture capitalists. It also put the world into the position where the only corporations that REALLY count are the financial ones.

    I’m a capitalist, too (Democratic style, of course).

    The problem with civic responsibility as a driving force for corporations is that it is an individual who feels it, not a corporate entity. That is why I favor a redefinition of income for corporations. An individual pays taxes on his income – a corporation pays taxes only on profit. Expenses, like buildings, transportation, payroll, etc all come out before taxes, and yet an individual pays taxes before those things are deducted. One way or the other whether corporate or human, but not both. I believe that it was Justice Holmes who said that “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.” Equality before the tax man is just as important as equality before the bar.

  7. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    I’ll go along with that Jeff!

  8. Dan Says:

    Thanks Sinjin.
    I think that the relevant aspect of capitalism here is that it generally requires (economic, in this case) power to be decentralized, whereas organized religion demands that it monopolize the spiritual landscape of society. Decentralization of religious influence is more associated with pluralism and erosion of religious devotion.

    So to say that capitalism and religion work well together is incorrect, as you say Sinjin. I’m not sure that it’s corporatism though either, so much as authoritarianism.

  9. Jeff Says:

    Dan, as any organization grows and creates layers of control, authoritarian tendencies take over. It’s hard to go wrong in corporate business by agreeing with your boss. So too with organized religion. Unless you have an extremely well run company, telling the CEO he’s full of shit is a fast way to unemployment. Telling the pope the same thing is a pretty sure way to piss him off as well. However, in either case, it’s just the top of the pyramid thinking they are closest to God.

  10. Dan Says:

    Jeff, yes, I think we agree on that. That does appear to be the modern economic incarnation of authoritarianism, doesn’t it.