Capitalism: The Systematic Poverty and Exploitation of Human Beings by Finian Cunningham

by Finian Cunningham
Writer, Dandelion Salad
East Africa
Crossposted from PressTV
April 26, 2014

Capitalism Kills

Image by Infinite Ache via Flickr

Workers in Western countries are now paid so badly that businesses are reportedly finding it profitable to return from China – having relocated to Asia in the first place to exploit cheap labor there.

It is an astounding indictment of how capitalism has created a global race to the bottom of misery for workers – yet the Western corporate news media actively conceal this abomination.

This week a BBC business report sounded almost celebratory about the fact that Britain, the US and other Western countries were now said to be “cost competitive” with China and Brazil. The upshot is that many businesses and companies are now re-setting up in Western countries because of the “competitive” wages of workers, according to the BBC spin.

The competitiveness, said the BBC, stemmed from workers’ wages in the West being “held steady” and because they have “become more productive”.

This is Orwellian language to obscure the conditions of systematic poverty and exploitation that exist for many workers in Western countries – the scale of which is so appalling that companies are finding Western countries more profitable than other destinations that were formerly thought of as providing cheap labor.

Such companies had previously closed down, or as the Orwellian language called it “downsized”, operations in the US, Britain and other Western countries to boost their profits by taking advantage of low wages in China.

But several years with chronic unemployment driving down pay and government policy facilitating wage cuts, workers in the West have now been turned into a cheap labor army. Western governments are also using taxpayer money to give corporate tax breaks to entice them to return – in order to exploit the ordinary worker ever more intensively.

It is estimated that the value in terms of average wages in the US is less than what it was back in the 1960s – a half century ago. This has led to a huge rise in poverty and polarization of wealth into the hands of the tiny social elite. America’s top 400 rich individuals own more wealth than half the population of some 155 million people. A quarter of all American workers are officially classed as subsisting below the poverty line. The real figure may be as high as 50 percent.

In Britain, for example, the average salary for a company executive is now 120 times that of an average worker, according to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. Twenty-five years ago, the difference was 49-fold.

It should be obvious that poverty, social decay and vast inequality are not only systematically linked but that this abominable situation is an indictment of capitalism as a failed economic system.

The astonishing thing is that Western politicians and media live in complete denial of this glaring reality. It is obvious that the capitalism system of private profit for a tiny social minority should be openly condemned and that it is unworkable as a social organizing system, based as it is on massive exploitation of human beings. But when do you ever hear the subject being discussed by public figures in the West? It’s like the proverbial elephant, or perhaps we should say dinosaur, in the room being ignored.

What the Western public needs to do is to force this subject into open conversation. Politicians and corporate media need to be treated with contempt for their denial and misinformation about the most pressing reality of our time – the destruction of societies under capitalism.

Just because the political and media elites do not talk about capitalism does not mean that we should also suppress the issue. Otherwise we are conforming to “group think”.

People should realize that all existing political parties in Western countries – whether Republican or Democrat, Conservative or so-called Labor – are all, like the mainstream media, apologists for capitalism. They benefit from the system and will never acknowledge it, never mind challenge it. The same criticism applies for much of the labor union establishment, whose leadership are also beneficiaries of the system.

The time has come for a genuine socialism in which the economy is organized and planned through public ownership and where production is driven by human needs, not private profit. Historically, capitalism has become redundant as an organizing social system. Not only redundant, capitalism has degenerated into the nemesis of the world, threatening its very survival.

It is destroying human life through relentless exploitation. The system is irrational, iniquitous and unsustainable.

Moreover, the insatiable lust for private profit is also driving geopolitical rivalry that inevitably manifests itself in war. War is not just good for capitalist business; it also distracts the public focus away from the dinosaur in the room.

There seems little doubt that Washington and its Western allies are agitating for war with Russia not out of any legal principle, but simply to avert attention from the class war that is being waged against workers and the majority of people in their own societies.

Despite the effective official censorship on the matter, the Western public needs to start talking en masse about capitalism and its destruction of societies, the natural environment, and international relations to the point where a nuclear war is being recklessly risked.

Alternative media such as Press TV deserve great credit for its freedom of thought by raising this urgently needed public debate on capitalism and the pressing need for its abolishment. It is also partly why the Western public is abandoning their established media in droves and turning on to alternatives like Press TV.

It is absurd, but deeply revealing, how the Western corporate media refuse to hold any views or discussions about capitalism and its abhorrent impact of poverty and warmongering.

As former German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg once said, we face a stark choice between the present barbarism under capitalism or creating a new democratic, viable world under socialism.

A first step would be for the Western public to begin talking and thinking openly about the destructive irrationality of capitalism.

That is what Western politicians and the rich elite, including their media mouthpieces, are most in fear of. They fear that moment when the vast majority of people will start to shout out “the emperor has no clothes!”

Finian Cunningham, is a columnist at Press TV, the Strategic Culture Foundation and a Writer on Dandelion Salad. He can be reached at


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15 thoughts on “Capitalism: The Systematic Poverty and Exploitation of Human Beings by Finian Cunningham

  1. Pingback: Capitalism: The Systematic Poverty and Exploitation of Human Beings by Finian Cunningham – Dandelion Salad

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  8. It is indeed a tricky business, rearranging this world of ours. Is it really “ours?” Do other species have a say in the life of the biosphere?

    Either/or binary logic does not serve the deeper purpose, that is the liberation of mankind from all kinds of tyranny, including intellectual fanaticism, bigotry and political dogma ~ not to mention the self-imposed tyranny of (biological) ignorance.

    Socialism has many empirical truths, but arguably capitalism also has redeemable qualities. Extremes are always unhelpful.

    Capital gains need ethical unions, guilds, alliances and strong human rights’ representatives to validate its organizational power; whereas socialist ideology always runs the great risk of defaulting to state -focused monocultures that impoverish by conformity, to the exclusion of innovative ideas and by suppressing individual genius & limiting existential horizons.

    I think the narrative must change, to open up the frame of reference so as to transcend received prejudice to embrace deeper spiritual values more tolerant of planetary difference and greater cosmological realities.

    There never was a human world like this before, that is so complex, nuanced, multicultural and biodiverse.

    We need a politics that acknowledges common denominators that are up to the task of meeting the challenges posed by a rapidly evolving ecosystemic morality, as the guiding intellectual energy of a “post-nuclear” world..

    • David , the best work i have ever read on this comes from a self taught guy named Eric Hoffer called ”The True Believer ”, about binary thinking in the political world and the nature of the fanatic that it produces . Small book , but a bullseye.

      • Thanks Rocket, found it.

        Now that’s the www ya’all, instant reference; pretty amazing, but then we have to figure how best to absorb & redeploy so much ready information on tap ~ it still takes the same old human “nouse…”

  9. If you all want to know the trouble with Finian’s take on the global chessboard you need look no further than this article .

    Finian is a binary thinker. He thinks that if something is wrong , then its opposite is right . That is why he has missed the whole Ukraine thing . that is also why when this Pope said he was not a Marxist , Finian took him to task , assuming that he was a capitalist. Not realizing that there are other alternatives . in this case the Pope’s usage of Fransican liberation theology , verses a Marxist liberation theology.

    This binary thinking exalts Putin as a white knight and Pope Francis as someone who does not speak out enough against war and its root cause poverty . Never mind that Finian has not read the Pope’s encyclicals nor understands that Putin is just patient enough to wait for the West to plunder before he moves in for the kill . And kill …Putin will. .

    Binary thinkers and writers like this are setting up a polarity by which to judge a person , and then they support the alternative . This support makes one a cheerleader for oppression . When Finian talks about how bad and warlike Obama is and Capitalism is he is dead right . It is just his praising the opposite which is dead wrong .

    A good example of this kind of thinking is what Kurt Vonnegut explained about the Mccarthy Era. The reason why Mccarthy’s demogogury worked is because after the Allies beat the Axis power in WW2 the American Empire thought because they defeated something so evil ,that the Empire was pure in comparison . Vonnegut’s take on that Era can be applied to the change in Finian’s recent writings , and they are going unchallenged , except by me .

    During and after WW2 there were 3 great thinkers in Europe .
    1. Heidigger -nazi
    2. Sartre -communist
    3. Camus –neither .

    the first 2 on the list played the lesser of 2 evils game as binary thinkers . only Camus refused to fall into that destructive binary thinking . We need More Camus like thinking and acting instead of reactionary cheerleading

  10. I think we have to make a distinction here between Free Enterprise capitalism of the West, especially the USA, and state-market power systems like China. The Chinese system has brought hundreds of millions of persons out of crushing poverty, and is increasing the annual income of the people by nearly 10% a year. This is usually considered a modified form of capitalism, but is it bad?

    Suppose for example that such a system over historical time morphed into co-ops. Would this be a form of socialism even though it was still set in a market economy? Just askin’. We are prevented from thinking outside the traditional truth consensus by conceptions of academic economics, and our own fear of telling the simple unprofessional truth. And by the weight that Marxism has had in the 20th century, being the major world social theory.

    In the 21st century we need a more general ideology that includes aspects of Marxism, but also conceives of other alternatives of social and power change. Luckily for you, possibly, I am considering such a historical transformation of ideology.

  11. Pingback: Global Economy Confounds Washington’s War Mentality by Finian Cunningham | Dandelion Salad

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