A World of 'Thieving Financiers': Vendor Arithmetic, Underhanded Capitalism
Prof. John Kozy
"The world belongs to humanity, not this leader, that leader, kings or religious leaders. . . . Each country belongs essentially to their own people." Dalai Lama
At times, something seemingly insignificant, when thought about deeply, reveals truths that the establishment seeks to keep hidden, the most important of which is the real purpose of a nation's existence. Most Americans, for instance, believe that America exists for their benefit and they expect the nation's institutions to serve their needs. But astute observers know that history proves otherwise even though the Constitution clearly states what the nation was established to do.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Notice that the phrases, "promote business" and "protect property" do not appear in this paragraph, but "promote the general Welfare" does.
In fact the Constitution to this day contains nothing about Capitalism or any other economic ideology. The document is completely neutral as Justice Holmes, dissenting in Lochner v New York writes:
"[A] Constitution is not intended to embody a particular economic theory, whether of paternalism and the organic relation of the citizen to the state or of laissez faire. It is made for people of fundamentally differing views, and the accident of our finding certain opinions natural and familiar, or novel, and even shocking, ought not to conclude our judgment upon the question whether statutes embodying them conflict with the Constitution of the United States."
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has enshrined laissez-faire Capitalism in constitutional law for much of its history, and Justice Powell made it quite clear in his writing that he considered that to be the Court's primary function.
The disingenuousness of the practice has made obvious injustice legal and the American people into mere means to serve the system's nefarious goals. Whenever and wherever necessary, the people must suffer to preserve the system. The practice violates the Constitution on two accounts: it establishes injustice rather than justice and hinders rather than promotes the general welfare.
To see how this works, consider this simple business claim that most readers will have heard or read numerous times in various forms: An executive of a local electricity provider went on television recently complaining about people stealing electricity by tampering with meters. He said the theft costs honest customers thousands of dollars in higher electricity costs and should be stopped. The same claim is made by merchants about shoplifting and automobile insurance companies about insurance fraud. The claim is accepted silently; I have never heard of anyone questioning it. So let's look at it carefully to see what can be learned from it.
The electric company sells electricity at a published rate of usage. If honest customers are being charged for the losses the company experiences because of thieves, the company isn't losing any money. Why are they complaining? What's happening is that the company is charging honest people for the actions of the dishonest. That's neat for the company but it's hardly just. If a person's home is burglarized, the person can't get back the loss from those honest people who had nothing to do with the burglary. What companies are allow to do is steal back what they have lost from honest people. If that were made into a general legal principle, it would read something like, you may steal from the innocent what others have stolen from you. Of course, the judicial system contains no such principle, but it acts as if it does when a business is involved.
To protect ourselves from theft, ordinary people must buy theft insurance. Why aren't companies required to buy it or else tolerate the losses? Is it because the system exists to protect the property of businesses but not the property of ordinary people? How many people seeking office who flat out told their constituents that do you believe would be elected?
But it's even worse. Remember, the electric company has built the expected losses into its current rate. What do you believe happens when the expected losses fail to materialize? Does the electric company rebate its customers the losses they have been charged for that didn't happen? Sure it does!
So this seemingly innocent story that everyone accepts silently hides two common vendor forms of theft that are protected by the legal system whose justices have enshrined an economic bias into law because they have subverted the Constitution from the goals the founding fathers wrote into it to the almost exclusive promotion of laissez-faire Capitalism. There are countless other similar unjust business practices that are similarly protected by the system.
Capitalist countries everywhere are similarly unjust and exploitive. The nations that make up the European Union are now twisting themselves into contortions so that creditors can be protected by inflicting actual physical and economic pain on their citizens. But when people must not only suffer but be sacrificed to preserve the system, the only moral conclusion is that the system does not deserve to be preserved.
Until the system is discarded, the Dalai Lama's claims are false. The world does not belong to humanity. It belongs to thieving Capitalists who are protected by biased legal systems. And because the legal systems embody thousands of these little seemingly obvious injustices, changing it is virtually impossible. Underhanded Capitalism picks the pockets of common people during every economic transaction. People, you cannot win! Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, the sixteenth century Dutch humanist, called lawyers jackals. Today these wolves are allowed to delineate right from wrong. Try calling that progress!
John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/and he can be emailed from that site's homepage.