[Marxism] ZCommunications » Capitalism’s Ironic Defenders

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Feb 1 19:51:08 MST 2014

Capitalism finds some of its most under-acknowledged supporters among 
liberal and progressive commentators who pile ridicule on some of its 
most egregious offenders atop the financial sector. Look, for one 
example, at television personality Dylan Ratigan’s book Dirty Bastards: 
How We Can Stop Corporate Communists, Banksters, and Other Vampires From 
Sucking Us Dry (2012), a New York Times bestseller. In Dirty Bastards, 
Ratigan claims that the United States’ current “vampire” economic order 
is “the opposite of capitalism.” He calls the new order “extractionism”: 
a system based on “taking money from others without creating anything of 
value, anything that produces economic growth or improves our lives.” 
His book is dedicated to exposing the gluttonous Wall Street financial 
“bastards” who are “tearing down” America because they “take,” like 
“vampires,” rather than “make” goods, like good capitalists.

A similar narrative, more elegantly developed, pervades another New York 
Times bestseller, progressive journalist Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia: A 
Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in 
History (2010). Telling much the same story of parasitic financiers who 
suck up the nation’s wealth while dismantling its once proud industrial 
base, Taibbi says that the difference between understanding and 
misunderstanding Wall Street’s complex financial instruments “is the 
difference between perceiving how Wall Street made its money in the last 
decades as normal capitalist business and seeing the truth of what it 
often was instead, which was simple fraud and crime” (Griftopia 14). By 
Taibbi’s account: “….the financial leaders of America and their 
political servants have seemingly reached the cynical conclusion that 
our society is not worth saving and have taken on a new mission that 
involves not creating wealth for all, but simply absconding with 
whatever wealth remains in our hollowed-out economy…. The same giant 
military-industrial complex that once dotted the American states with 
smokestacks and telephone poles as far as the eye could see has now been 
expertly and painstakingly refitted for a monstrous new mission: sucking 
up whatever savings remains in the pockets of the actual people living 
between the coasts, the little hidden nest eggs of the men and women who 
built the country and fought its wars.”

The notion that the destructive, sponging, and crisis-prone behavior of 
the financial elite and its corruption of political officials mark a 
ravenous, bloodsucking, and criminal departure from the benevolent and 
balanced norm of capitalism is common in recent liberal literature on 
the U.S. economy.

full: http://zcomm.org/zmagazine/capitalisms-ironic-defenders/

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