Do You Get Out of Bed in the Morning to Make Money for Billionaires?
Do You Get Out of Bed in the Morning to Make Money for Billionaires?
By Joe Brewer / medium.com

We have been told a great lie about capitalism — that everyone who works hard in life will be successful, make a lot of money, and have a good life. So why is it that most of us wake up on Monday morning with groggy heads, grab some coffee to stir our minds, and go off to jobs that make money for someone else?

Think about it. The logic of corporate capitalism is for owners to “invest” their money in the work that other people do, then get a “return on investment” as all that effort creates value in the world.

Or said more simply, you get up in the morning and go to work to make money for billionaires.

The statistics bear this out. Seventy-four percent of all the new income billionaires get comes from the hard work of other people. They just sit back and let their stock portfolios “do the work” for them. The sleight-of-hand trick in this sentence is that stock portfolio is a stand-in for all working-class people on the planet.

Is this the natural consequence of all market-based societies? Is it somehow a law of nature that the only way to make a society prosperous is to have a tiny elite sucking wealth off the sweat labor of the masses? Most definitely not. But it is the core logic of capitalism. As I’ve written elsewhere, the Story of Capitalism is really a history of inequality and poverty creation. The historic roots go back to the British Enclosure Movement that kicked peasant farming communities off their land in a feudalist society and allowed owners to extract rents from people working the land they now controlled with the backing of Parliament.

All the wealth and prosperity in the world comes from two places — the natural world (which we are a part of) and the social webs of human cultures converting some of the energy and materials of the natural world into things that are useful for our species.

What capitalism does is create systems of wealth extraction that syphon off this natural wealth into their private estates. They do this with the backing of governments that enforce the legal arrangements of ownership that let the capitalist ownership class charge debts and imprison those who don’t pay them. Sound familiar? Isn’t your job (if you are lucky enough to have one at this late stage in the capitalist game) merely a debt repayment program? Wouldn’t you rather be doing something else with your time?

It is vital that we connect the dots and see how it is that 62 people can aggregate the same total amount of wealth as 3,700,000,000. They do it by setting up systems of wealth extraction that syphon away our productive efforts and hoard it in their estates. So we built their wealth and it isn’t really theirs to control. The principal “owner” of all that wealth is the natural world — as we can see in the mass extinction and environmental damages all around us. When that ecological debt comes due it may well mean the collapse of our civilization. Or worse, it could be the death of all humans.

We are currently on a path to extinction, which would be bad enough except that the REASON we are on this path is to make super rich people even more wealthy as we increasingly find ourselves malnourished and deprived.

Herein lies the spiritual choice for global warming, mass poverty, and inequality. Will we honor the sacredness of life on Earth and evolve our global economy so that is in service of life? Or will we desecrate all that is sacred in this world so that a handful of families can have a few more yachts, a few more marble bath tubs, and bragging rights that they are the ones who died with the most toys?

Because if we choose that latter path, it will be all of us dying together. And I don’t think any of us — the billionaires included — really want that.

We can do better my fellow humans. Indeed we must do better.

Onward, fellow humans.

3.5 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
The Myth of Positivity: Why Your Pain Holds a Mighty Purpose
umair haque · 15,768 views today · Of all the great myths of contemporary life, one of the most toxic is positivity. It says: there are negative and positive emotions, and only the positive ones are worth...
Stunning Summary of US Imperialism and Native Resistance... on MSNBC!
4 min · 11,959 views today · On The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, Lawrence explains why a protest by Native Americans in North Dakota reminds us of the history American always tries to forget.
Standing Rock Wisdom: How Sacred, Nonviolent Activism Has the Power to Succeed
Charles Eisenstein · 6,654 views today · I am told by Native American friends active at Standing Rock that the elders are counseling the Water Protectors to undertake each action prayerfully and to stay off the...
Seven Must-Have Skills for the 21st Century
Tommy Lehe · 4,899 views today · We live in a world that moves faster than we do. Trying to keep up can be an overwhelming task that at times feels hopeless, like we are falling further and further behind—but...
Veterans at Standing Rock Ask Forgiveness for War Crimes Against Tribal Nations
Jen Hayden · 4,392 views today · Jon Eagle Sr., Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has reported something wholly unexpected happened at the Standing Rock Reservation today. The...
Why People Cling to Old Beliefs
1 min · 4,038 views today · Cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist at McGill University, Daniel Levitin, explains why people can be so stubborn when it comes to false beliefs. This behavior is...
The Other Way of Knowing
Lilian Na’ia Alessa · 3,477 views today · Western science and Indigenous worldviews are often seen as incompatible, with the Indigenous view usually being far less valued by society at large. But an inside look at...
DREAM: A Spoken Word Meditation For When Life Is Kicking Your Ass
4 min · 3,129 views today · If life is kicking your ass and the general un-coolness of everybody on planet erf is making you want to off yourself, TALK to someone: 800-273-8255 (national suicide...
Forget Air Force One, Pentagon Wastes Billions and Billions Every Month
Nadia Prupis · 3,115 views today · President-elect Donald Trump's focus on single Boeing contract ignores enormous waste of bloated Pentagon budget
Solar is Already Producing More Energy Than Oil, Says Major Scientific Review
Nafeez Ahmed · 2,996 views today · And is twice as powerful than previously thought
13 Crises That We All Must Face
George Monbiot · 2,515 views today · We face (at least) 13 major crises, some of which are immediate. It’s time for some hard thinking about how we confront them.
Dear Activists, Maybe It's Time to Admit That We've Got It All Wrong
Mickey Z. · 2,322 views today · “The first step in the revolution is eye contact.” - Alicen Grey
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 2,232 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
How a White Supremacist Became a Civil Rights Activist
Araz Hachadourian · 2,141 views today · The story of a KKK leader’s transformation shows us that we need not live forever with the kind of violence we saw in Charleston this month.
Andy Goes In - Working Undercover in a Factory Farm
10 min · 2,066 views today · He's a $10/hr farmhand, and his name isn't Andy. Andy Goes In is a compelling 10-minute documentary short about a Mercy For Animals undercover investigator. The vast majority...
15 Films Inspiring and Illuminating the 'New Story' Revolution
Tim Hjersted · 1,531 views today · Charles Eisenstein is one of the first people I heard talk about the "new story," synthesizing a diverse movement that has been emerging for the last several decades. When I go...
Sean Carroll - The Meaning of Life
7 min · 1,459 views today · The world keeps happening in accordance with its rules; it's up to us to make sense of it and give it value. Sean Carroll Music: Moby - God Moving Over the Face of the Waters
Satish Kumar on "What Is a Sacred Place?"
3 min · 1,372 views today · Satish Kumar brings a Hindu, Buddhist and Jain perspective to the definition of "sacred place." We found his explanation so compelling that we edited a three-minute piece...
Amanda Abbington Introduces iAnimal - 42 Days in the Life of Chickens
4 min · 1,319 views today · Shot undercover in British factory farms and slaughterhouses, this immersive 360° video gives you a birds-eye view of what happens to chicken from farm to plate.
Sky Roosevelt-Morris: The Secret of Indigenous Resiliency
2 min · 1,235 views today · Activist Sky Roosevelt-Morris is of the Shawnee and White Mountain Apache Nations. She is a member of the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado. In...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Do You Get Out of Bed in the Morning to Make Money for Billionaires?