Originally published at www.lastearthdistro.blogspot.com.
Obvious fact: money talks. It yodels angelic to the captains of
industry and finance who steer the fine ship of our economy (from local
to global), and its silver tongue can smooth over any perceived
conflict, can bridge any enmity, can cement any friend. Money is the
grease on which the axle of the world spins, and its slippery utility
stems from its ubiquitous persuasion. Money talks.
means that those with money do all the talking. To take the most
obvious example, it's more or less publicly recognized that our current
presidential election boils down to a bidding war. There are ideological
and concrete differences between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney (though if
you caught their first debate, you'll recognize that these differences
are rather more nuanced than either candidate wants his own party to
believe), and as a faggoty, poor, socially and economically left-leaning
young Seattlite I know where my own loyalties lie. Still, nobody
seriously disputes the efficacy of effective advertising in this (or
any) election, and advertising is a pretty direct function of
cash-money. Substantive differences between Romney and Obama are like
substantive differences between Starbucks and Seattle's Best: they're
real, but only as efficacious as their ad campaign.
-What decides which textbooks get printed, and which university programs get funded?
"democratic" social media like Facebook and Twitter democratically
owned and administered, or are they regulated and tracked by private,
-In general, who can read, type, create websites, upload videos, write books, film movies? Poor people, or rich people?
ten living millionaires or billionaires you've never met. Now name ten
poor or middle class people you've never met. Which group was easier to
-In TV ads for military recruitment, are patriotic
citizenship or financial rewards (like job training and college tuition)
I don't mean to imply a nostalgia for
some yester-generation when our minds were clear, our hearts pure, our
politics public-minded, and our teens virginal. But I do mean to connect
the dots between Obvious Fact #1: Money Talks and Obvious Fact #2:
Expanding Capital. No one seriously disputes the expansion of money as a
determining force in human society. As Marx and Engels describe in The Communist Manifesto,
this began with the twilight of the Middle Ages and sped up with the
Industrial Revolution. And that Revolution never stopped: the explosive
advances in technology have only accelerated since the arrival of the
cotton gin and the steam engine. Advance in technology, and corollary
advances in markets: where once tradition and God dictated human
behavior ("I'm a peasant because I was born a peasant and thus I'm meant to be a peasant"), now capital does so ("I'm a contractor because I chose to become one [within the limited possibilities which existed within the market]").
of which has consequences which are cleverly discussed elsewhere by
commentators more thoughtful than yours truly. But a colleague of mine
did have an enlightening experience recently with DSHS, which--he
explained--taught him two things:
"First, that my
automatic bias toward fair-play, transparency, redress within the
system, and non-violent, civil protest is largely a result of my own
middle class upbringing. I tend to believe that officials are decent and
sane, because in my upbringing they almost always were. Having been
repeatedly lied to and insulted by disinterested bureaucrats, I'm
beginning to suspect that this might not be the experience of everyone.
Second, I can sympathize a little bit more with seemingly senseless acts
of violence now that I've gotten a taste of what it feels like to get
pissed on without redress. Here's what it feels like: it's degrading.
Not being poor, but having someone abuse the power they hold over me: I
can see how this would quickly lead someone to attack the system in
general rather than just criticizing the parts that directly injured
Money talks, because in a market-society, money
is power. And if you don't have it, then whatever your bosses might tell
say to the contrary, they just don't hear what you're saying.
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