Read also my previous blog: The Story of Stuff
For years, we’ve assumed that capitalism and democracy fit hand in glove. We took it as an article of faith that you can’t have one without the other.
However, Robbert Reich says capitalism doesn’t need democracy, it doesn’t necessarily provide enough protection for individuals to take risks with their opinions. Read more ….
Robbert Reich in “Supercapitalism” argues that as the U.S. has grown stronger as a capitalist economy, it has grown weaker as a democratic nation.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Kerry O’Brien interviews Author Robbert Reich on his new book and the current economic and political state of America.
Labor economist Robert Reich argues Americans are split between wanting low prices and opposing the corporate behaviors that make them possible.
Here’s a quick quiz. Do you love bargains? Do you enjoy the power and convenience of shopping online for the best deals on electronics or travel or anything else? Do you favor cutthroat corporate competition that devours small, local businesses? Do you applaud the sweatshop labor it takes to produce your sweatpants for less?
Feeling schizophrenic, yet?
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich believes we are all suffering from this split agenda — as consumers we want low prices, while as citizens we may oppose corporate behaviors that make them possible. And he believes — at least on a national scale — our citizen selves are losing
According to Reich, “supercapitalism” is overwhelming government with lobbyists and money, while citizens are dazzled by the promise of previously unimaginable riches and consumer choices.
In his book, Reich asks, “Can democracy survive in this environment?”
Do you think Robbert Reich is right?
We’re addicted to convenience today, we are addicted to our gadgets and we accumulate stuff. For example, we love our cell phones and the selection between different models has never been bigger. But the production of phones has a dark, bloody side. Have you ever thought that your phone can hide precious minerals bloodstained victims of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo? And each call indirectly supporting the biggest conflict since the Second World War, which over the past fifteen years, fell victim to five million people?
Many don’t pay attention to that, we love bargains and convenience. This is closely linked with the corporate takeover of society.
This all goes back to the theory of conspicuous consumption, first proposed by the great economist Thorstein Veblen in his Theory of the Leisure Class more than 100 years ago. For Veblen, the notion of conspicuous consumption was defined as the lavish spending on goods and services acquired mainly for purposes of displaying social status. A related term – “invidious consumption” – Veblen reserved for the special case of conspicuous consumption deliberately intended to create envy.