Capital Apples and Kapital oranges

Michael Moore has made a thought-provoking movie about capitalism. We watched it last night on dvd, since Pat and I don’t do theaters. For this ole boy (me) whose career as a house-builder spanned thirty years in a non-union southern state, it was quite an education.
I’m thinking pretty seriously about what this Capitalism thing really is.

As I consider the merits and demerits of the infamous Capitalism: a love affair, it seems to me that Michael’s masterpiece of proletarian indictment is deficient in one critical omission.
He neglects to mention that there are two capitalisms, and they are very different from each other. Let’s call them Capitalism 1.0 and Kapitalism 2.0.
Capitalism 1.0 is:
a) a natural development in human progress
b) a time-tested, fair system for efficiently exchanging goods and services among free people
c) a means of gathering resources and wealth  for individual persons and groups of persons
d) a set of conventional practices by which diligent investors can share ownership with innovators in new business ventures
e) a dynamic, responsive source for accumulating and perfecting tools for human progress.

Kapitalism 2.0 is:
a) a bastard mutant that has metastasized in the last two decades
b) an elaborate house of greed-breeding ponzi cards constructed on an unsound foundation of unqualified debt
c) an exponential multiplier of systemic, predatory profiteering by greedy market manipulators
d) the biggest “bank job” in human history
e) a huge bubble of unprecedented size, inflated by unregulated delirious derivatives, enabled by irresponsible crap-shooting credit default swaps. Together, they comprise the nuclear option of financial debauchery, and although we have survived a Chernobyl disaster of incalculable economic fallout, there is, yes, still a very long, arduous cleanup that needs to be undertaken.

But I ask you, Michael, are these two capitalisms the same thing?
No, they are two different entities. So let’s not, as we say down south,  throw out the baby with the bath water.  The capitalism 1.0 that evolved among our forefathers and foremothers must be, for the sake of our species’ continued progress, retained and reconstructed. It’s back-to-basics time for us.

Back to basics, like they used to do in schools.

Your brilliant movie has taken a blunderbuss aim at this thing called Capitalism. But we need to get our target right here. You don’t want to kill capitalism, not really; What we want to kill is the possibility of criminals commandeering the system for their own aggrandizement.
We don’t really want to kill Capitalism. What we, the people must do is correct it, like
Sister Mary Ignatius did with your papers in school.
That’s what this whole debacle is coming down to–a, as they say in the business, correction.

Now, as to the question of how to accomplish a retention of productive Capitalism while dismantling predatory Kapitalism–I’ll leave that to the experts. I hope there are still some out there who  have their ethical compasses correctly orientated. So I’ll leave that delicate  work to the experts, because I am, like Michael Moore, just another citizen with an opinion.

And I’ll not attempt a citizen’s arrest, as Michael  so melodramatically did in his movie. We, the People have hired help–Congress, the President, and the Justices– to perform those regulatory and enforcement tasks. As a civilized citizenry, we need to make our system work. We need to demand that democratic republicanism function as it was designed to do.  Here’s why: if the system falls apart, the wingnuts on both ends will take matters into their own hands and we’ll have a bloody mess on our hands.


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