There are two main parts to Karl Marx’s theory about evaluation of capitalism. One is that corporations will continuously exploit their workers and consumers in order to make an exorbitant profit. And two, that the workers will eventually rise up - tired of constant manipulation - and take control of the ways and means.
One seems pretty astute in regards to today’s times, but what about this supposed revolution, when is that going to happen?
I wouldn’t hold your breath? It’s going to take a lot more reports like the United Airlines snafu a week ago before people start to catch the scent.
No, this is not a commie propaganda piece, just a comprehensive look at how our capitalist system is starting to categorically deteriorate the quality of life for us, the consumers.
The incident, which lead to a concussion, broken nose and a couple of lost Chiclets for Dr. David Dao, has driven the airliner into a PR circus as they try to recoup some of their depleting passengers and stock value. But this overbooking fiasco isn’t relegated to just United, every major airliner does the same thing. They do this in order to quench their thirst for greed by squeezing every last penny they can get off an individual flight while minimizing the chance they have a flight that is half-full.
Would it be such a huge deal if a few flights a day weren’t as jam packed? I doubt it. I’m sure their margins aren’t that slim. Plus, more people are flying today than have ever before, so the likelihood of having one or more flights half full is minute.
The fact that a multi-billion dollar corporation can bring in airport law enforcement to forcibly remove a paying passenger, whose only crime was refusing to get off because he had to get to work and see patients the next day, should be a blunt reminder of who is in charge. Let us not forget though, this could have been any airline, United isn’t alone in the overbooking practice. Basically this is just a byproduct of the America that we live in, where exploitation is just the name of the game.
Let me explain:
• Social safety nets like welfare, unemployment benefits and homeless shelters have dwindled through our austerity measures over the past three decades, leading to greater income inequality.
• Labor unions have been gutted through the years, leaving workers with little protection against exploitation from their employer.
• A universal healthcare system - while gaining popularity and used in all major western countries - is vehemently opposed from a majority of both sides because of the pharmaceutical and insurance industry that spends hundreds of millions in lobbying and campaign contributions.
• Citizens United (2010) essentially gave corporations the power to buy elections and politicians through unrestricted - and sometimes undisclosed - campaign contributions, thus ensuring the needs and wants of the corporation are kept first and foremost.
• NAFTA and other trade agreements have consistently been pursued without an inkling given to the possible externalities; loss of jobs, slave wages or environmental degradation.
• The agency in charge of protecting the environment is now run by climate deniers and people who have spent their life fighting against the very agency they work for. Because somehow that makes sense.
• Our education department, now under Betsy DeVos, is now pursuing more ‘for-profit’ charter schools, despite evidence that they have proven to be highly detrimental to the public school system. DeVos also led the charge in rolling back various protections intended to protect student loan borrowers, effectively putting the welfare of the loan contractors above those of students.
• The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population yet we have almost 25 percent of the world’s total prison population despite the fact that crime has been at a historically low level compared to 30 or 40 years ago. This all while our Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants to bring back mandatory minimum sentencing, the immensely failed war on drugs and increase private “for-profit” prisons.
So really, it’s not United Airlines that has the problem, it’s our entire system that allows them and other corporations to continuously get away with it.
Can you smell that?
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or NCW Media as a whole.
Zach Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-682-2213