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Critical Theory and Capitalism

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Created: January 31, 2002
Latest Update: February 3, 2002

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ITS NOT ABOUT ENRON
by Walter Leming

Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individaul Authors, February 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

Critical theory on capitalism and Enron: essay up soon. For your convenience I left up the whole post. As the essay is written I'll keep only the references we need. The essay is on PSN. It's Not About Enron

Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002
From: Warren Leming

Don't be deluded by the corporate media, as the Enron debacle plays itself out in sound bite wisdom's and toothsome news reader platitude.

The scandal is not about Enron. It is about something called Free Market Capitalism. As "your" government, business "leaders" and media schills bend reality to fit the greed graph: heres how it invariably will get played out.

The media will cover outraged senatorial types demanding Enron heads, and new rules and regulations. The President and his party and cabinet will moan at the "unethical" behavior of people who a month ago were lining their pockets. Bespectacled academics will wax prolix answering prime time perennials: Is Regulation a Good Idea, and Will We Need New Laws ?

At no point, repeat, no point will the System be either questioned or condemned.

Enron, like the Savings and Loan Associations, BCCI, and the million other instances of the essential treachery at the rusted heart of Capitalism- will be blamed; and there the matter will end. .

Bush's entire family are the products of a deep culture of crony Capitalism. Cheyney, Rumsfeld, O'Neill and the rest are also.

For three decades beginning with Noble prize winner Milton Friedman's sordid career, the University of Chicago style free market fundamentalists have been banging young, undergraduate minds into shape with one idea: there is no public interest.

Capitalism is not sanguine about human kind: man and the markets he makes are the accumulation of greed, self interest, opportunism and a lethal competitive "instinct." But this profane, demeaned view of humanity will somehow produce, we are told again and again, market systems which benefit everyone. Its the sorriest, saddest, most toxic Lie since Reagen and Stockman promised poor Americans "trickle down economics."

Corporations, as we have seen for well over a hundred years, seek to control markets, dictate regulatory policy where they can, and abolish it where they cannot. The American Frontier was brought to heel, not by gun slingers and Good Guy Lawmen; but by Railroad cartels, banking and real estate collusion, and the wholesale purchase of state legislatures and city councils by the urban merchant princes.

Twain called it the Gilded Age, the period following the American Civil War when the dogs of commerce and capital were set loose in an America soon reeling with Class bloodshed. The death toll was never to be calculated. The stories of that struggle carefully erased; erased at Ludlow, the McCormick Works, Pittsburgh Steel, Gary Steel, Seattle, the Ford Plants, the Chicago Stockyards, Pullman,in the mines of Harlan and Hazard, in the back alleys of Akron, Detroit, Cleveland and Biloxi, and ten thousand places more.

Enron sought, with the collusion of the Bush regime, to simply remove the regulatory and legal fetters on that whirlwind of avarice we call Free Market Capitalism.

Senator Phil Gramm of Texas and his wife were simply purchased outright. He put together the package that helped Enron evade the law, by reworking the law in their favor, and his wife moved from an anti regulatory fanaticism at the Commodity Futures Trading Corp. to a job - at Enron.

All of this is nothing new. This has happened again and again in the history of the Republic.

The essentials remain the same: the crony capitalist insiders who leave tens of thousands in penury; the corrupt senators, congressman and state officials who profited in campaign "contributions," the sniveling corporate media defending its own Systemic interests, the President whose fortune was made even as he mouthed platitudes about Free Markets.

In the house of the hanged man: no one speaks of the rope.

Warren Leming