The unending hunger for accumulation driving capitalism reveals its ugly face most readily in a deep crisis. Whether it’s the mindless carnage of an imperialist war like World War I or the invisible threat to life of a new virus like today, the inhumane, anti-social, selfish soul of capitalism surfaces for all to see. Like the brutal, rigid generals of World War I who relentlessly sent their soldiers into the killing fields for the sake of their vanity, today’s money moguls and their servants are willing to add workers onto the growing list of victims of a killer virus for the sake of their stock portfolios.Read More
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, worth over $100 billion, who makes on average $230,000 per minute is asking the public for donations to provide basic support to his 800,000 employees who are suffering in poverty in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. His calling on the public to help his own impoverished employees was not met well by many.
Amazon is notorious as a bad employer. Forced to forego bathroom breaks, many company warehouse workers are effectively compelled to wear diapers during their shifts. Other employees report working in unsafe environments and being punished for injuries sustained on the job. The company also does not provide its employees with regular access to clean water.
Amazon workers are really poor. In Arizona, for example, the company’s own data suggests that one in three employees depend upon food stamps to put food on the table. It is the twenty-eighth largest employer in the state. However, it ranked fifth on the list for most employees enrolled in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Across the United States, it is a similar story. In Pennsylvania, for instance, Amazon is the nineteenth largest employer but is in fifth place on the SNAP employees list of corporations.
Privilege does strange and unpleasant things to human beings. I saw these distortions among my rich classmates as a scholarship student at prep school and at Harvard University, an institution designed, like all elite schools, to perpetuate the plutocracy. Living in privilege spawns callousness, even cruelty, to those less fortunate and feeds a bottomless greed.
All our institutions—the press, the courts, legislative bodies, the executive branch and academia—have been perverted to serve the oligarch’s narrow, selfish interests while an oppressed citizenry, struggling to survive, is seething with mounting rage and frustration.
Oligarchs, freed from outside oversight and regulation, wantonly pillage the political and economic institutions that sustain them.
Greed is bottomless. It is the disease of the rich. All societies are plagued by social inequality, but when those on the bottom and in the middle of the social pyramid lose their voice and agency, when the society exists only to serve the greed of the rich, when income inequality reaches the levels it has reached in the United States, the social fabric is torn apart and the society destroys itself.