The Free Market at it’s Finest

Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all. –Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824. ME 16:73

In our great westward movement, Manifest Destiny was postulated as the fate and duty of the Shining West to civilize the pagans and tame and temper nature into something useful, as if market utility was necessary for nature to exist. Rather than seeking to fulfill the obligation imposed upon us by God to steward the land, it was radically reinterpreted to mean the conquest and exploitation of creation for the means of producing profit. Because capitalism, unrestrained by morals, reduces the entire earth and its contents to nothing more than commodities to be bought and sold. In fact, the actual and potential monetary value as commodities and services is the only thing that capitalism recognizes as a legitimate method of valuation. All life and the environment it inhabits is simply a resources from which profit can be and are extracted from, any other use is illegitimate and foreign.

And so slavery is not dead, not in America, certainly not anywhere else, not even marginally meek in it’s existence, but loud, proud and institutionalized. It even has the support of many of the slave themselves, with no hope of manumission. It is a slavery so integrated into the national and global economies so as to be irreducible; any abrupt de-institutionalization would mean certain collapse and global catastrophe.

The very notion of owning stocks or shares of a company is something that we are very familiar with as modern people. But I think that the implications, the very substance of such a practice is lost upon most of us. The question that we must ask is, what exactly is being bought and sold upon the open market? The answer, at least on the surface, is the value or the perceived value of the product or service that the Public company produces or provides. In a very real sense, we, the public, endow the company with the very value it commands based upon what we are willing to say that a piece of a companies pie means to us by conferring monetary value upon said shares through purchase. And the reality is that the company is not composed of products or services, it’s composed of people.

But that’s all just so much makeup on an old whore. From a distance she still may cause the eye to wander, but upon a closer look, all the age and abuse come right through the façade. What we are buying is people, plain and simple and no amount attenuation can change the harsh light of that reality.