LEARN THE ISSUES
"Advocating Economic & Personal Change"
One of the many great defects of our money-and-profit system is that it does not allow us, as a society, to meet our basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. However, in the United States, isn't there a relatively high degree of home ownership?
Relatively, yes. But when you drive around this or that city in the U.S., past the attractive homes with green, manicured lawns, on quiet tree-lined streets, what you're not seeing is the unattractive, often dramatic price that those homeowners are paying for that home. Under capitalism, the more material possessions one owns, especially large possessions such as cars or homes that require a huge expenditure of cash, the more tightly one is bound to their job--however alienating and miserable that job might be. The British refer to such a mode of existence, collectively, as "lives of quiet desperation," and indeed, they are.
Maybe you are living such a life, right now. If not, it's likely that your parents are, or have.
Moreover, the price for this suburban quasi-illusion is not restricted to homeowners.
Have you realized yet that no one can actually afford to buy a house? We know this is the case simply by considering that almost all home purchases require a mortage (an industry euphemism for the extension of credit over a long period in order to buy a home). Accordingly, a particular set of capitalist banking and finance operations, called the "mortgage industry," has been created to provide these mortgages, i.e. to extend this line of credit. However, since the fundamental financial status of most homeowners is poor or tenuous, reliably meeting that monthly mortgage payment is always in question, and never a given. As happens regularly under capitalism given the never-ending shaky financial condition of individuals and families (insofar as something called a "family" still exists under capitalism), and the larger, organic instability of the capitalist economy, itself, the economy suffers regular hiccoughs of smaller or larger dimension: depressions (nine in our history, so far), recessions (thirty-two in our history, so far), and every manner of miscellaneous other economic derailment.
The latest example of an economic derailment is the "sub-prime lender" crisis of Summer 2007. These so-called sub-prime lending "institutions" provide mortgages to consumers who otherwise have difficulty obtaining them. However, scores of these institutions are going out-of-business, sparked by the fundamental inability of many homeowners to meet their monthly mortgage payment.
Why is it, however, that so many people cannot make the payment?
Simple. It's because--as we argue throughout this website and our parent site--as a matter of course, capitalism keeps people poor!
Yes, Virginia--it's as simple as that!
And it's important to understand that keeping people poor is not an anomaly, not some deviation in the system, or fluke, that will soon be corrected. Keeping people poor is part-and-parcel of the normal operation of capitalism. Remember--our economic system is called capital-ism. Capital-ism exists to serve the interests of capital, in other words, to continually and absolutely maximize the profit earned by the capital-ist on their capital. Capital refers to the warehouses, offices, and other buildings, trucks, and computer and telecommunications equipment of every kind, provided they are used as part of a business operation. In other words, capital refers to the means and mechanisms of design, production, and distribution required and used by capitalists to make money. Capital includes airlines, software publishing companies, book publishing companies, supermarkets, automobile manufacturing companies and dealerships, clothing manufacturing companies, health care companies, computer makers, internet companies, manufacturers of personal hygiene products, fast-food and restaurant chains, pharmaceutical companies, and indeed, every kind of business that exists.
One of the key rules of capitalism--perhaps its most important rule--is to keep costs low. And now with global competition, to keep them as low as humanly--well, inhumanly--possible. Of the various kinds of costs that businesses incur, the cost of labor--yes, that means the cost of paying you and me to work--is the highest. So, while you and your family may require higher pay, the capitalist and their accountants and business advisors spend a large part of their time calculating how to give you lower pay--as low as possible, in fact. You see the problem here?
If keeping labor costs as low as possible means moving your job to Mexico--goodbye, job.
If keeping labor costs as low as possible means moving your job to India--goodbye, job.
If keeeing labor costs as low as possible means moving your job to China--goodbye, job.
If keeping labor costs as low as possible means busting up unions and keeping them broken--well, goodbye unions.
If keeping labor costs as low as possible means developing ever-faster and more powerful computer hardware, and then replacing you with it, well--Hello, Michael Dell.
If keeping labor costs as low as possible means developing ever-more sophisticated computer software, and then replacing you with it, well, Thanks, Microsoft.
If keeping labor costs as low as possible means replacing you with a robot, well, Hello, my mechanical new friend.
And by the way, just prior to your termination, assuming your replacement is a human being, and present at your location or nearby, you can bet that the company will ask you to train them! The final insult in the long line of insults from the money-and-profit system.
When the capitalists--whom we collectively refer to as the ruling class--can't replace you, they simply work continually to keep your wages as low as possible. This is the plight of the "modern" homeowner; this is why so many people simply can't make their mortgage payment, even when they scrimp, sometimes giving up health care, needed car repairs, or even food; this is why so many mortgage lenders are shutting their doors in Summer 2007.
And as bad as this situation is, it comprises just a fraction of the many reasons we must, in the 21st century, replace the obsolete, illogical, and obviously immoral profit-and-money system of capitalism, with the forward-thinking, economically logical, and morally beautiful Cooperative System, and create our new Cooperative Society!
To help bring this about, please join O.H.F. now, and help strengthen our presence and influence. Do it now while you're thinking about it!
~ Advocating Economic & Personal Change ~
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