An Outsider’s View – 6- Karma of have-nots in United States:None so blind as those who won’t see
Posted on October 1st, 2011

By Shelton A. GunaratneƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Professor of mass communications emeritus, Minnesota State University Moorhead

Right-wing Republican backers, particularly the Tea Party troglodytes, disingenuously argue that the mixed economy of the United States (where privately owned businesses and government both play important roles) is the main reason for its current economic plight. They hold that deficits and debts would be a thing of the past if the Congress could make the U.S. a full-fledgedƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ free market economyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬‚meaning aƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ marketƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ free of government intervention as intended by the framers of the Constitution.

However, what the Tea Party fails to do is to tell the public that no capitalist democracy has ever had the gumption to adopt a full-fledged free-market economy because of the inherent injustices built into such a system based on the Darwinian principle of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-survival of the fittestƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ or the Hindu concept of the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-law of fishƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ (matsya nyaya), also called the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-law of the jungle.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ Just as perfect competition is a mere theoretical construct in classical economics, so is a pure free-market. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ To get over this hurdle, some have applied the term ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-free marketƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ to include markets wherein economic interventionƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ regulationƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ by theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ stateƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts. Americans have an aversion to socialism although they unabashedly enjoy some of its features like social security, unemployment benefits, health subsidies, etc.!

However, contrary to the view of the Tea Party folks, the judicial system has, over more than two centuries, given a wider interpretation to the intentions of the founding fathers who declared in their preamble that they wrote the constitution

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-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.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

We all know that there are no degrees of perfection. The courts have construed the term more perfect as referring to the shift to the Constitution from the Articles of Confederation. In this transition, the “Union” was made “more perfect” by the creation of a federal government with enough power to act directly upon citizens, rather than a government with narrowly limited power that could act on citizens (e.g., by imposing taxes) only indirectly through the states (Wikipedia). Perhaps, the Tea Party folks interpret ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-more perfectƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ to mean unfettered free enterprise?

The focus on historical understandings of the constitution is sometimes in tension with the changed circumstances of modern society from the late 18th century society that drafted the constitution.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Courts have ruled that the constitution must be interpreted in light of these changed circumstances. Unlike the Tea Party ideologues, the courts have shown a preference for broad interpretations of individual freedoms (spelled out in the Bill of Rights).

From an Eastern philosophical point of view, the courtsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ interpretation of the constitution reflects the three features of existence (ti-lakkhana) in BuddhismƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬‚change/ impermanence (anicca), no self/mutual dependence (anatta) and feeling of unsatisfactoriness/sorrow (dukkha). The broad interpretations of individual freedom are consistent with treading the middle path or the dialectical completion of relative polaritiesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬‚the yinyang duality of everything in the universe. The illusionary selfƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s ceaseless desire/craving (tanha) to hold onto impermanent things invariably ends up in unsatisfactoriness (dukkha) sums up the truth of existence.

The Tea PartyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s desires to change the U.S. mixed economy into pure capitalism is a simplistic remedy for a much deeper problem in the context of the countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s vast expansion from 13 states to 50, and from 3 million people of European origin to 308 million people of global origin over the last 238 years. The U.S. economy operates within a vast global economy involving global capital and global labor. Advances in technology, which the founders could not have imagined in 1788, have changed the countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s economic infrastructure.

Capitalism, as Karl Marx saw it in the 19th century, was a system in which a small group of people (the upper class) who controlled large amounts of money, or capital, made the most important economic decisions. Moreover, Marx said that capitalist economies concentrated power in the hands of wealthy business people, who aimed mainly to maximize profits. Capitalism flourished by ceaseless accumulation of profits through exploitation of labor (the lower/ working class).

Kevin Carson, American social and political theorist who writes in the mutualist and individualist anarchist traditions, believes that a true free market society would be “[a] world in which… land and property [is] widely distributed, capital [is] freely available to laborers through mutual banks, productive technology [is] freely available in every country without patents, and every people [is] free to develop locally without colonial robbery.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

Even today, no consensus exists on the precise definition of capitalism, associated withƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ laissez-faireƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ economic philosophy. However, there is general agreement that the elements of capitalism include private ownership of the means of production; creation of goods or services for profit in a market; and prices and wages. Price is the result of buying and selling decisions en masse as described by the theory ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ supply and demand.

Government intervention in economic matters is confined to regulating against force and fraud among market participants. Because no national economy in existence fully manifests the ideal of a free market as theorized by economists, some critics of the concept consider it to be a fantasyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬‚outside of the bounds of reality in a complex system with opposing interests and different distributions of wealth. In short, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-free market,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ just like ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-perfect competition,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ exists only theory.

Class models devised by American sociologists indicate that the top 5 percent of families with an annual income of $9.5 million or more in 2007 constituted the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-richest of the richƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ upper class. Between 30 percent and 35 percent of the U.S. population belonged to the bourgeoisie (of the middle and aspiring classes). Roughly 53 percent of the population belongs to the proletariat (of the working or lower classes). All models agree that the underclass (of those living below the poverty line constitute the bottom 12 percent to 14 percent of the population.

A 2008 study of wealth (viz., income plus assets) in the United States done by the Wall Street Journal was more revealing: It found that the richest .01 percent (that’s 100th of 1 percent, or 14,000 American families) possess 22.2 percent of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 90 percent of 133 million families, control just 4 percent of the nation’s wealth.

The Republican Party, and its Tea Party supporters in particular, are the agents of the upper class and the super-rich whose claim to represent the voice of the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-grassrootsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ is a big lie. They are troglodytes who want to make money out of exploiting the hoi polloi further by curtailing the intervention of the federal government on the pretext of implementing the intentions of the founding fathers.

The Republicans, particularly their Tea Party backers, who relentlessly advocate free-market capitalism and unregulated competition as the solution to all the economic ills of the United States, as well as the capitalist world-system, want to perpetuate the vast wealth gap between the top 5 percent of the filthy rich and the rest. Surely, these statistics donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t show ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-justice,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-general welfare, and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-blessings of libertyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ that the preamble seek to achieve.

As the proverb says, thereƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s none so blind as those who will not see.

10 Responses to “An Outsider’s View – 6- Karma of have-nots in United States:None so blind as those who won’t see”

  1. AnuD Says:

    For me India and USA are almost one and the same. For India, Religion and the Caste system is the way to classify people. In the USA, wealth is the way to classify people.

    Even though USA does not want to understand, USA capitalism has failed. See the poverty, debt, wealth distribution, and health of people ( so many mentally affected, young die as they did not have medicare) and more. As the system progresses they did not change the model.

    Now, Chinese capitalism model is emerging as a better one.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Dear Professor, The proverb can also be read as “” NONE ARE SO BLIND, AS THOSE WHO DO NOT WISH TO SEE “”

  3. Ben_silva Says:

    Chinese Capitalist model appear to be working as the driving force is greed. However, safety nets to protect the poor and the weakest should be built in , with more democracy and media freedom.
    It has to be recognised that the success of the chinese model is due to removing restrictions on ‘desires and greed’
    to operate. It shows the economic power of greed and desires. Asking people to give up desires make people lazy and poor.

  4. Ben_silva Says:

    Good article. However, Shelton is strill promoting unproven myths such as Karma, which may keep the Sinhalese trapped in an era 500 years BC. Nalanda Buddhists were wiped out as they believed in Karma and did not want to resist invaders. If Karma is thougt of as a consequenses of action, it is accepotable.
    It is however Bull shit to think of Karma ater death or causing people to be poor.
    Shelton dod not respond to my comments on rebirth (in his previos article).
    We have to be careful not to mislead the gullible.

  5. Ratanapala Says:

    Dear Professor,

    When idiots come with idiotic notions and do it repeatedly in spite of so many attempts to make them see right, best thing is to ignore – simply because the idiot virus is difficult to cure.

  6. Ben_silva Says:

    Ratnapala is right. Idiots cannot see the naked emperor’s clothes. Only idiots believe in unproven myths that even Indians do not believe any more.

  7. Dham Says:

    Shelton does not respond to FOOLS

  8. Dham Says:

    Fools are not asked to remove desires because they cannot. Only the wise can remove desires and “the wise” cannot be lazy.
    Take Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Chist, Ramana Maharashi, Krishnamurthi if you don’t like Buddha. Are they lazy people you big fool ?

  9. Sri Rohana Says:

    Dham ignore Ben Silva. He is an anti Buddhist Christian fundamentalist. No doubt he must be a Jehovah cult group member. Since Buddhism is a peaceful philosophy he can insult us. But he will learn a damn lesson the day he insult Islam. If he insults Islam they will cut him to pieces.
    Christian fundamentalist Ben Silva preached us to believe slut Magdalena’s partner Jesus’s bullshits. Portuguese, Dutch and British invader’s tried their best to eradicate Buddhism from Sri Lanka since 1505 A.D but failed how come this Jehovah cult member/Christian fundamentalist Ben Silva do it now.

  10. Kath W Says:

    Even with Goverment intervention currently .01 percent (that’s 100th of 1 percent, or 14,000 American families) possess 22.2 percent of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 90 percent of 133 million families, control just 4 percent of the nation’s wealth. If this is the case now, what hope would they have if it is totally free of any intervention? In a democratic country, it is not unusual to see people expressing various, ideas, some not so sound, but the irony is how quickly the others embrace and promote these ideas. How quickly the tea party movement manage to become such a strong movement. Having said that in most democratic countries this seems to be pattern of wealth distribution.

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