18 November 2016

Finance Capital and the Shopping Mall

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-property-cmbs-idUSKCN12L0XB

The destructive and wasteful nature of Finance Capitalism is on display. Profit margins must always increase and this imperative produces its much celebrated dynamism.

But how destructive it is! Resources are wasted, communities are in constant upheaval and what is the price that is paid by individuals and families as this system generates, nay is founded on a constant game of instability?

The US economy rests on retail and yet the desire for profit is now driving the retail sector into its grave. Wealth is being accumulated but only for the investor class.

These stores are caught in a death spiral. The globalised system of production has fundamentally changed the nature of supply and inventory. Online sales have driven down prices and at this point profit margins are so slim that stores can no longer afford to sit on inventory. As a consumer it's become frustrating. You go into the store and they don't have what you want or need.

At one point shopping online was a novelty or by some viewed as a luxury. Now it's becoming a necessity because you can't rely on the inventory at your local brick and mortar outlet.

With the collapse of the industrial sector many American workers shifted over to jobs in the retail and service sectors. Globalisation the exploitation of cheap labour platforms overseas, technological revolutions in logistics and production have combined to undercut and destroy the retail and service sectors...

What's next?

Capitalism rather than equalising the opposing forces in society, countering and checking them via the means of the market and the so-called Invisible Hand instead builds up and then destroys. When it runs out of things to consume it starts to consume itself. It is a self-destructive system and even those who sit atop the pyramid will in the end turn on each other. Capitalism might bring prosperity and even some 'freedom' for a season but that's not at the heart of the system. In the end it will exacerbate divisions, promote instability and result in a destruction of both options and freedom.

Our society is headed toward the two-class structure so common in the Third World. We will have a class of wealthy, with a few subsets and a huge class of poor with some subsets. There will be little mobility and just as the portfolios of the wealthy are expanding the poorest classes are slipping into destitution. The United States is not Mexico but it's moving in that direction and faster than some realise.

Countries like Mexico and China have benefitted (temporarily) from the Globalist infusion of capital and the exploitation of their labour. But already they are beginning to discover the model is not sustainable or static. Unless they can build up a huge finance sector that generates an economic spin-off (when the industrial sector collapses) and has access to international markets, they will find themselves in a bad way before long. The bad way comes not just in the form of economic disparity and the consequent despair of the masses but it comes in the form of violence.

5 comments:

  1. I wonder if the continual collapse of labor centered around objects deteriorates (from producing objects to selling/managing/maintaining objects) whether this will turn the lower rungs of the US market towards commoditization of Human flesh. Besides the food-service industry, what else is left besides marketing yourself. This isn't just sex, but all sorts of man-servant type jobs.

    This might be a kind of subtle reinstitutionalization of a kind of slavery, but a soft kind. There was certainly a world of difference between those on the plantation and those in the house. What global capitalism cannot see is Human dignity or the broken spirit of the man is crushes underfoot. People are degraded not only by poverty, but by a social system that reduces them to the equivalent of a cog or a tool (which, fittingly enough, is Aristotle's definition of a slave).

    But such is This Age, I suppose.

    cal

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  2. Cal, while I agree with your grim analysis of our economic system, I choose to be somewhat more optimistic at the risk of sounding like a heretic in economic matters.

    I believe to prevent the massive concentration of wealth and the resulting misery and instability for the majority of the laboring population, we must allow for economic organization that transcends private ownership. Public ownership of natural monopolies like natural resources and utilities as well as co-operatives for medium- to large-sized businesses (such as farms and small manufacturing) should help toward building a society with a more equitable distribution of wealth.

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    1. Yeah, that would probably be a better arrangement, I absolutely agree. The problem is to concentrate the this wealth means taking it from the wealthy. For this sort of thing to actually happen, and not merely be a rhetorical flash or a legal trick, it would probably be violent. One sees this over and over again in the ancient world, where tyrants are populists in as much as they destroy the money-hoarding aristocrats.

      I recall hearing a philosopher giving a lecture, and how he said he was deeply democratic. He rhetorically constructed a scenario where the people demand the wealthy to be accountable to them. He qualified that democracy was not violent and wouldn't take it by force. But then, I think, why would the wealthy listen? Why wouldn't they buy the arms to make their will possible? It gets really messy. It's part of this that transpired in the French Revolution. The Terror was not merely a psycho-social breakdown, but a logical process of trying to root out internal enemies who threatened the increasingly working-class dominion of the Sans-Culotte Jacobins.

      I am cynical about a peaceful transition, and I think a real overhaul would end up in a bloodbath. But even so, I'd prefer your option, even if it would bring out the worst in those clinging to the levers of power.

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    2. If there's to be any violent revolution, it would more likely occur in a developing country like India than over here. In fact, I'm surprised it hasn't happened already. Back in early September, up to 180 million public sector workers went on strike to prevent the closure of what were deemed "unproductive factories". What's amazing is that no one was killed and the government wasn't toppled. It sent a strong signal, though.

      The Western press was surprisingly silent about it, too. Thankfully, alternative news outlets like RT provided the coverage this needed.

      Compare this to another event that happened just this past week, where some mining magnate lavished his daughter with a $100 million wedding. This happened just when the government pulled high-value currency notes out of circulation to combat tax evasion, inadvertently impoverishing many who relied on them to conduct everyday transactions such as buying food.

      It's variables like these that bring societies to the boiling point of revolution. You'd be surprised just how close the US came to experiencing this just after the Great Depression hit. FDR's New Deal was designed to prevent specifically this from happening.

      I would like nothing better than for a peaceful transition to take place as well. I think co-operative business organization is one feasible route. In the end, however, the resistance of the 1% - in addition to their hordes of useful idiots who have been brainwashed into thinking that public roads = socialism - will sadly result in violence. However, given the prospect of winding up like India - not to mention the widespread environmental damage our system is causing - it may be a small price to pay.

      In the midst of all this, faithful Christians will be looking up waiting for Jesus to return.

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  3. Dominionist blindness... making disciples...used wrongly.... by learning real estate and flipping houses? Hardly honest work. It's a usury based business rooted in taking advantage of other people and their lack of due diligence. I grew up in such a business environment and I am all too familiar with the anti-Christian 'survival of the fittest' ethic that is its credo. Flipping properties is not loving your neighbour as yourself and it is not looking out for the interests of others... things we are commanded to do.

    While I don't favour the sodomite crusade that shut them down... I'm glad they're off the air... for the Kingdom's sake. Blind guides such as they only harm the Kingdom and the Testimony.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/benham-brothers-hgtv-show-make-disciples-of-the-nation-192111/

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