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Who Is A Capitalist?

David Atkins at Digby had a post about the conversion of Wall Street to a Ponzi scheme [a point he missed] that included this Reagan quote:

“Roughly 94 percent of the people in capitalist America make their living from wage or salary. Only 6 percent are true capitalists in the sense of deriving income from ownership of the means of production…We can win the argument once and for all by simply making more of our people Capitalists.”

Owning stock doesn’t make you a capitalist, it makes you an investor. Reagan should have used the original form of “means of production”, Produktionsmittel, a German word, because Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital in German.

The really interesting quote on the page is before the Reagan quote in italics:

“Critics raised questions about what would happen when employees had a choice between benefits and capital investment, and whether they would prefer higher salaries in the present to the possibility of larger salaries from long-term investment.”

This was in reference to employee ownership of corporations, and it is interesting that the objection to employees being stockholders, is the exact behavior that we see currently from the MBA CEOs that lead corporations, i.e. the future of the corporations is ignored in the pursuit of short term profits.

I called the stock market a Ponzi scheme because, while it once was a rather staid and conservative investment institution, it was reconfigured to so that it can only survived with massive infusions of new money. If you look at the way the Dow has leaped up, it is obvious that the rate is only sustainable if new ‘suckers’ can be found to throw their money into the pit. It has become a casino, and the house always wins in casinos.

The Occupy movement doesn’t object to capitalism, they object to the government helping the plutocrats steal and not arresting those who commit blatant fraud. It is a matter of justice, not economics.

2 comments

1 Steve Bates { 11.05.11 at 9:32 pm }

I’ve said it before… Occupy is not about politics, and is not against political things of either major party: it is against crime. People who commit serious crimes, including financial crimes, should be made to answer for them. Wealth is no excuse for criminal behavior.

2 Bryan { 11.05.11 at 9:54 pm }

Crime is not supposed to pay, but it obviously pays very well for the financial sector. They get to keep their winnings and the 99% cover their losses.