Monday, 21 June 2010

Capitalism: a Sunday Times non-story

Some words to David Smith, economics editor at the Sunday Times, who sent this rebuke to the Media Lens editors after they had questioned his and other corporate journalists' failure to criticise capitalism:
“Most of us get these things out of our system when we are students.”
Dear Mr Smith

It's unfortunate that you chose to evade the questions put in the recent Media Lens Alert and use such cheap words in dismissing the editors' points about the deep social impact of capitalism.

I was wondering if you had seen Michael Moore's current film, Capitalism: a Love Story.

In the movie, Moore charts the ruthless and unsparing nature of 'capitalist-loving' America, illustrating the personal insecurities and mercenary nature of market life, including the airline pilot just getting by on food stamps and the appalling practice of corporations like Wal Mart taking out secret death insurance policies on their employees.

Moore's considered conclusion: "Capitalism is evil". It's a system bereft of fairness, justice or compassion, distributing the mass of wealth and wellbeing to the richest and most competitive, while leaving the rest scared, subservient and, in many cases, suicidal.

The "love story" is really about an abusive relationship; one in which capitalist interests - the corporate profiteers and their media ideologues - lead us to believe that there is no other way of living; that there's 'no alternative' to the economic and social abuses we must all face in dealing with the 'axiomatic reality' of market existence.

Which begs the question: are corporate journalists bearing false witness to that abuse, while offering no analytical options on the means of escape?

Beyond neo/marxist and humanitarian critiques, even many advocates of market relations have come to recognise capitalism's inbuilt tendency towards social misery, from the concerned realisations of that other Mr Smith, who came to see the severe downside of its "invisible hand" mechanisms, to a certain Mr Heath and his 'one-nation' Tory warnings about the "unacceptable face of capitalism."

How telling that this Mr Smith can find no space or grace in his columns and correspondence for a mature consideration of capitalism's dark vicissitudes, particularly in these days of grand bank larceny, corporate welfare and 'no-alternative' austerity for the poorest.

Would you agree that the unquestioning media endorsement of the capitalist system by senior economic editors like yourself helps legitimise the kind of "evil" Moore is speaking of?

Is Moore also some kind of 'immature romantic' in talking about capitalism as a predatory and unsustainable system?

Or does he, like the Media Lens editors, have a more serious and dutiful grasp than you of its brutalising effects on society?


John Hilley

No comments: