Friday, March 6, 2009

Class Consciousness

With the release of The (Un)Employment Situation this morning, one might expect that 651,000 would be the most important number of the week. This is however, not the case, at least insofar as the world is viewed through our set of lenses. That ignoble distinction belongs to the number 31,800,000, which represents the number of Americans receiving food stamps in the past month. In case our readers are not sure, this is a record number of enrollment in the Program, and amounts to roughly 20% of the US workforce. The current economic situation, we believe, is deteriorating at a rate that endangers the foundation of the Capitalist System.

We would hold that the current Capitalist System within the United States, in general, relies upon two principals:
1) Maximizing the number of individuals who believe that devotion to the System will eventually lead to a spectacular financial reward OR will at least provide financial security in old age.
2) Minimizing the number of individuals who have lost hope in the System.

To clarify, those who have fallen into Category #2 generally do not pose a threat to the System unless they have developed what is known as Class Consciousness i.e an understanding of the predicament that they share with fellow workingmen. The Predicament can be best summarized by a passage from The Jungle, one of the great literary works in American history:
"It is all theirs-it comes to them, just as all the streams pour into streamlets, and the streamlets into rivers, and the rivers into the oceans-so, automatically and inevitably all the wealth of society comes to them The farmer tills the soil, the miner digs in the earth, the weaver tends the loom, the mason carves the stone, the clever man invents, the shrewd man directs, the wise man studies, the inspired man sings-and all the result, the products of the labor of brain and muscle, are gathered into one stupendous stream and poured into their laps!"

We would submit that Congressional/Fed/Treasury actions thus far have not been motivated by a desire to improve the condition of the average citizen for purposes of general happiness. The reason is simply that the news of half a million job losses per month terrifies the Government, for a certain portion of the unemployed will inevitably shift immediately into Category #2. Furthermore, the longer that a mass of peoples remain unemployed, the more are likely to develop Class Consciousness. For obvious reasons, the Government must avoid this mass realization at all costs. This is at least how we see it.
Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Post a Comment