US and World Politics

What to Do With All That Wealth

By Bonnie Weinstein

The worlds’ working class is being blown up by direct U.S. bombing or bombing by U.S.-armed allies; being shot to death by police; being incarcerated; being driven from our homes by war and poverty; then being jailed and deported and our children taken away for seeking refuge.

The wealth of our nations and the wealth that our labor produces have been stolen by the commanders of capitalism—U.S. corporations and their C.E.O.’s and allies—the leading pillagers.

Capitalism in crisis

But capitalism’s reign is coming to an end. There are only two alternatives left to the world’s working class. Either we take control of the wealth created by our labor across the globe, or we descend into barbarism, death and the end of life on Earth.

Capitalism cannot be fixed. It must be replaced by an economic system that replaces with a worldwide system of production for need and want, and not profits. A world shared by all.

Where we are now

A May 25, 2018 New York Times article by David Gelles titled, “Want to Make Money Like a C.E.O.? Work for 275 Years,” elucidated the absurdity of the capitalist profit motive by comparing C.E.O. profits with how long it would take an ordinary worker to earn what the company’s C.E.O.s earn in one year. Here are a few examples:

“A Walmart employee earning the company’s median salary of $19,177 would have to work for more than a thousand years to earn the $22.2 million that Doug McMillon, the company’s chief executive, was awarded in 2017.

“At Live Nation Entertainment, the concert and ticketing company, an employee earning the median pay of $24,406 would need to work for 2,893 years to earn the $70.6 million that its chief executive, Michael Rapino, made last year.

“And at Time Warner, where the median compensation is a relatively handsome $75,217, an employee earning that much would still need to work for 651 years to earn the $49 million that Jeffrey Bewkes, the chief executive, earned in just 12 months.”

This is an upside-down economic system where a tiny minority, protected by a giant war industry and police force, has more money than they can spend in a lifetime while billions are barely surviving.

The capitalist profit motive is a worldwide system dependent upon continuous wars across the globe. Its profits are fed by the production and sale of weapons—small automatic weapons, massive conventional weapons, and nuclear weapons—capable of wiping out life on Earth. It’s the biggest war industry the world has ever seen.

Turning the world downside-up

What we could do with all that money wasted on war.

Reorganizing our economic system into one that produces the things people need and want instead of production for private profit and war will free the world.

  • Workers would contribute our labor to society and society would distribute the wealth that our labor produces equally among all people according to need and want.
  • We could produce things that are designed to last ending “built-in obsolescence”—i.e., products designed to break down forcing us to continually replace them and creating enormous amounts of waste.
  • We could take all the necessary measures to make sure that all production is safe for human beings and the environment because the cost of safe production would no longer be an issue.
  • We would be able to automate industry to the fullest degree freeing up workers’ time for personal development and leisure.
  • All borders would be torn down, and all the wealth produced by labor would belong to all, equally everywhere.
  • Our first concern would become the wellbeing of all life on Earth and the health of our planet.

We have the modern-day wherewithal to carry this out. We have the ability with the world-wide-web to calculate all the things that are needed by people and design our production to fulfill those needs free of the profit motive.

Instead of a tiny minority of capitalists violently hoarding the wealth we workers produce, all that wealth could be put back into schools, housing, hospitals, clean water supplies, cleaning up the oceans, air and land. We could restore our environment and protect the multitude of species that share the Earth with us.

This is not a pipe dream. The real pipe dream is believing that the capitalist class will become more benevolent—kinder and gentler; that their wealth will trickle down to us; that the capitalist parties will represent “all the people.” That’s a pipe dream!

Freedom, true freedom, is freedom from hunger, ignorance, violence and oppression. A united worldwide working class can bring about true freedom—freedom from capitalism—and the establishment of socialism. It’s feasible in the here and now and it’s humanity’s only hope.

We have nothing to lose but our chains and a world to win!