The titans of commerce have made capitalism an ideology instead of a tool. As such, its inhumanity and barbaric, intrinsic nature are on full display for those who choose to see it. Adherence to this economic system requires an uncanny ability to make excuses for the reality that very few Americans have partaken of the country’s growing wealth.
Many people point out that under our economic system we built great skyscrapers, monuments, and more. But one must ask: what percentage of the population can take advantage or partake of the spoils? Most buildings, structures, and the like are off-limits to the vast majority of Americans, yet we praise their existence as some collective accomplishment. They are not. Like slaves, one builds them for the benefit of a few, as others are generally allowed entry just to serve.
One must not forget the likes of the Toys ‘R Us saga. Its demise can be directly attributed to vultures that shuffled a few papers to extract capital from the company in exchange for saddled debt. In the end, 30,000 unemployed American citizens were the waste, the byproduct of a few amassing an inordinate amount of wealth from the transaction. Humanity was irrelevant.
Elon Musk’s recent tweet showed the ease with which the entire economic system can be compromised and/or manipulated (in Musk’s case, it applied to Tesla stock). It is clear the emperor has no clothes.
Elon Musk’s tweet and the resulting financial results should dispel any notion that the stock market is anything but a legalized gambling platform. Nothing changed at the company to justify the change in the value of the stock, assuming it was based on anything other than a whim. Yet a tweet meant a lot of lost wealth for many, even as it made a lot for others. That is the definition of gambling: losing or winning cash without producing anything.
Many vultures shorted Tesla stock. Elon Musk’s single tweet cost them $1.3 billion in just a few hours. These guys produce nothing while they make millions on the service and innovation of others. Elon Musk turned the table on them yesterday as he pulled the rug from under them. Many think it is a bluff. But if it is not, the vultures would have justifiably lost their shirt as the price of the stock approaches the supposed purchase price to take Tesla private.
Tesla has the type of problems any innovative cutting-edge company has and as such, should not be judged on a quarter-by-quarter basis. Of course, don’t tell that to the titans of finance who scrutinize the company ad nauseam. When companies enter a stage where the stock price may fall because of market forces or investor shortsightedness, financial vultures enter and short the stock. Shorting a stock is an evil technique to make a profit when a stock falls in price.
Most financial companies make money not by investing in companies for the sole purpose of making money from the success of their products and services, but by merely moving paper and money around. Their investments produce nothing useful for society. They generate money off of the backs of others that have formed companies, others who have created products and services. I fail to see how this is substantially different from welfare recipients. Maybe welfare recipients should put on suits and ties as they use the system to get something for nothing. Oops—corporate welfare recipients already do that, and it works. Working-class welfare recipients: Are you listening?
To be clear, most citizens on welfare are there because we do not have an economic system that rewards the real value of work. We reward capital more so than human labor. In other words, those with capital profit more than those who actually do the job to maintain that capital. But our indoctrination has taught us that those with capital are more valuable to society. Put a farmer on a deserted island alongside a stockbroker. If each is left to their own devices, who do you think would survive? Who is more valuable? The one with capital, or the one who can produce something?
It is said that capitalism affords the efficient allocation of resources. That may be the case in theory. The reality is that capitalism has failed to do that, and instead allocated resources to the least deserving. For the economic system in the aggregate, it has allocated them stupidly. Why are we burning fossil fuels when the technology exists to go green en masse? Why are the most valuable workers who produce paid less than paper pushers? One could go on and on.
Only when Americans understand the corrosive nature of of our economy will they force a change. Only when they realize that the economic system isn’t divine, but human-made, will they engage to change the parameters and fix it in a manner that gives all equal access to success.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.