Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Times They are A-Changin

This isn't simply a natural down end of a business cycle. This is the real McCoy. These are the times most of us have only read about.

There will be a lot of unfortunate and ugly side effects of this economic disaster. It is argued that this crisis is more like 1914 then 1929 in some ways. Hopefully, the response won't come in the form of a major world war. But it might.

Then there will be some lesser but still nasty effects.

Early on we will see increased provincialist thinking and initiatives. Politicians will be begging private industry to invest in 'our' location. And if you do, you won't have to pay taxes, you will be subsidized, we will make your lives comfortable with kick-backs, prostitutes, and all the caviar you can eat. Don't worry about regulations or standards. You can do as you please in my hometown - you are the King.

Begging from the same thieves and criminals that are out to steal all they can is perhaps the most bizarre spectacle in history. In the future, when historians and social scientists look at this time, they will be amazed at how hoodwinked whole populations could be. The very same people that have sold us out and ran with massive profits will be the people that the victims will be begging to; Come back and exploit us some more.

This all has to do with the erroneous assumption that wealth emanates from the ultra rich. A forgivable assumption within the context of the extent of brainwashing that has occurred throughout the cold war and the fact that it was up to the whims of investors to say where a plant or an industry will be built. The psychologist Skinner would be fascinated by this attitude - like a pigeon pecking a key for food.

There is also a more fuzzy logic that is based on the reality that capitalism has the immense power to remove whole populations from miserable feudal existence to modern and comfortable lives. While capitalism has tremendous power and while capitalism is certainly the most radical and changing movement humanity has seen, it carries with it its own seeds of destruction and it also carries more inequality and violence than any other movement in history, including religion; and that's quite a stretch.

Capitalism is and has been an effective mechanism with severe limitations and with plenty of ugly side effects. It has set the stage for a new era. But until we get there, we will be suffering 'interesting times'.

We can't remain underneath a system that is as wildly unpredictable and volatile as capitalism has become. If capitalism is to remain the primary historical force for humanity, it has to be tamed and stabilized. All human beings vital needs must be guaranteed. Food, medicine, housing and anything that is required to sustain a human body has to be guaranteed. It must be free of charge. The necessity of paying money for life's vital needs keeps us pinned under a very real form of slavery. You might have the choice of who your master is to an extent, but the compulsion to give your life to somebody that will feed your children remains. It is not freedom.

At the point where vital needs are guaranteed, all human beings will be stable and secure. If capitalist mechanisms are utilized to that end, so be it. If they are a hinderance, to hell with them.

To get there though, the time when capitalists actually run the state and hold power over the citizens has to end. It is time that the upper classes are stripped of their privilege and power. We have no choice and we will soon have no choice but to take control. Up to now its as if the children have been running the household; party now and party loud with no view of the consequences. The time has come for adults to take the sharpe things away from little Johnny.

Wealth after all, is not equal to capital or money. You can't be blamed if you equate the two under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Wealth is the computer in front of you, the desk it sits on, the stuff all around you. We can't stop building this stuff just because the privileged class isn't making something from the process. We can build a stable and sane society without the selfishness, criminality, and greed that we have had to endure up to now.

If you don't believe that, you should seriously consider the possibility that your mind has been programmed.


Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

- Dob Dylan

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