Capitalism and hierarchy kill (leaflet)
leaflet to distribute while wearing this sign:
How hierarchy kills. Our so-called democracy is an illusion. The 2014 statistics of Gilens and Page prove we’ve had plutocracy, rule by the rich, for at least a couple of decades, the range of their data. Our mainstream culture urges us to elect better plutocrats, but that won’t fix things — the Stanford Prison Experiment proved power really does corrupt. We can see it all around us: Bosses bully workers, guards torture inmates, police shoot the poor, and the rich start wars to become richer. These are not isolated instances. Power from any source – elections, revolution, or the market – corrupts. Yet we respect our rulers, like some national Stockholm syndrome. And if we somehow jail the crooks without changing our culture, it will just generate a new batch of crooks.
We’re so used to hierarchy that it’s hard to imagine any other way of life. But somehow, we must replace it with horizontal networking, so no one rules others. That means replacing privately owned workplaces with worker-owned co-ops, and replacing so-called “representative democracy” – one of our society’s sacred cows – with direct democracy. To make that work, we must understand and care about each other more.
How capitalism kills. “Corporate capitalism” and “crony capitalism” are often described as superficial corruption, amenable to reforms, so it rarely occurs to us to question the fundamental principles of capitalism itself. But take a look. Its principles are vile, a contract with the Devil.
The market is not efficient. Its calculations ignore costs borne by anyone besides buyer and seller. Thus wars, poverty, and ecocide will continue as long as someone “earns” from them. Ecocide will kill us all — the world is heating faster than most people realize. Plutocrats think their wealth will protect them; they’ll discover they can’t eat money.
Capitalism turns us into commodities to be used or discarded. The satisfaction of meaningful, appreciated work is displaced by a grind for a paycheck; that’s why we hate Mondays. Private property separates us — I can’t care about you while competing against you. Soon some suicidal madman will build a germ warfare lab in his basement to kill us all.
The solution. We’ll only be made safe by a culture of caring and sharing that leaves no one behind, so no one wants to hurt others. To see that’s possible, just look inside yourself and your friends. Why can’t we all be friends? The first step is to get more people talking about all this.
2017-6-28, version 2.07. Related links at LeftyMathProf.org. The leaflet is formatted to fit on two sides of 1/2 page. It was designed so that I can distribute it at a festival, such as the upcoming Solar Eclipse festival (2017/8/21), while wearing the 20 by 30 inch sign pictured at the top of this page. I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet; I’ll try to remember to let you know how it goes.