(The title quote is from Proverbs 22:7)
In support of American capitalism, kids in the U.S. are taught in history and economics that capitalism is an American value and the reason for the country’s dominance in the international arena. In a way, that’s correct, though I’d suggest that successful capitalism on a global scale requires the assistance of militarism (and the left-hand of the CIA).
What isn’t taught is (1) that the money coming into American coffers skips over 99% of the population and ends up going to the super-rich, and (2) you have to be a bastard to get rich in a capitalist system.
Using debt as an instrument of control, lenders can exact more money from the borrower (interest, fees) or use it as a means to influence decisions of the borrower. And if you want your money to make more money, you’ll have to capitalize on every advantage – lest you fall behind in the (rat) race. That’s the being a bastard part.
China announced this past month that they are declining to do this, and they are forgiving the debt of the world’s poorest countries. The American in me is thinking, “Hey, don’t you want to buy a presidential office or establish a monopoly over a natural resource?”
But that would be a bastard move. The credit-based financial system, including the exploitation of debt, is what makes the rich become super rich. It’s at the heart of income inequality, the wealth gap problem. The idea that a rising tide raises all boats has been dashed as millions of Americans scrape the bottom while corporate earnings ride high on the wave of incoming capital.
China’s generous move and show of international good will is buttressed by a $2 billion pledge to assist these countries in reducing poverty. That fund is expected to increase to $15 billion in the coming years.
Here I thought it would take something more drastic to begin a worldwide financial rehabilitation. As it turns out, all we need is more forgiveness.