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Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

To Capitalism: Notice of Termination of Employment

| 21 Comments

From: History
To: Capitalism
Subject: Termination

Good Morning:

In light of the length of your service, we felt that a personalized letter was appropriate. You have been with us for five hundred years, and, though there is much to complain of in your work—as there is in anyone’s—we recognize that you have done good service. Early in your career, you spread democracy, increased human rights, and, above all, built up the productive forces to the point where today no one need to be hungry, or homeless, or without health care. While these activities were accompanied by whole file cabinets full of HR complaints about you (cf colonialism, sexism, racism, &c. &c. &c.), still, they are noteworthy accomplishments, for which you will have our eternal gratitude.

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. Please understand that the decision to let you go was not made lightly. But the democracy you spread is contracting, the human rights are turning into abuse, more and more people are homeless, fewer can afford health care, the planetary ecology is in imminent danger, and, well, I know you don’t like to talk about it, but there’s the whole war issue, about which we’ve been trying to schedule a meeting with you for eight years. After a thorough discussion, the Department of Basic Human Decency has had no choice but to conclude that your most recent act—the hiring of Donald Trump as manager of our US operations—demonstrates that you are no longer able to address our needs.

I understand that your replacement, socialism, hasn’t been tested, but the resume is outstanding, and after a thorough investigation of all of the objections (which I have to point out we traced to your office, and many of which are libelous to a degree that could be actionable), we believe we can expect outstanding results for some time to come.

Please take with you our sincere thanks for those contributions you have made.

If you aren’t gone by Monday, we will be forced to have security remove you.

Sincerely,

History

skzb

Author: skzb

I play the drum.

21 Comments

  1. Well put, history. I volunteer to clean out capitalism’s desk and file cabinets.

  2. Give capitalism a nice cardboard box to put its personal items into before heading to the parking lot. If only capitalism would go away that quietly…

  3. Capitalism has a temper problem, but so did feudalism. If people escort capitalism to the door, there shouldn’t be any problems.

  4. > If you aren’t gone by Monday, we will be forced to have security remove you.

    Sigh.

  5. Will Shetterly, especially considering how many of them have expressed enthusiasm for punching people in the face. Hmm.

  6. I despair. I give in. Yes, I’m sure you intend it to be witty satire, but it is unlikely to look amusing to those who already think they are likely to be on the receiving end of US nukes, a subset of whom will therefore be planning to get their retaliation in first. It just looks like another iteration of ‘America First’, and that got old very, very quickly…

  7. skzb

    Stevie: I am utterly baffled about how a post in favor of socialism—an inherently, by definition international economic system—can possibly mistaken for nationalism in any sense. Especially given that there is only one, brief mention of the US. Where in blazes are you getting that?

  8. It’s replacement is what tends to replace all economic and political systems – and that is croneyism. What I’m waiting for is to see what happens when automation is the next thing to change everything.

  9. I think your post offers some insights that might not have been intended. Capitalism for all of it’s flaws has been in operation in one form or another for 500 years. Socialism has only briefly lasted for a few months at a time on only a very few occasions. I believe the reason for both of these things is the same, human nature. Human nature is to collect. We collect things we need or want or just think we want or need. When I say things I mean anything, food, money, power, lamp shades, cookbooks, whatever. We tend to define ourselves by what we have accumulated and how comfortable our possessions make us. It is VERY difficult to remember how nice it is that everyone else is benefiting from your labor when all you see or hear is your own share of the aches and pains of those labors. It is also very difficult to appreciate your own small portion of what there is to go around without asking ‘How can I get more for myself or my family?’

    With all due respect, I do not see Socialism working for any length of time. It looks great when compared to the glaring flaws of capitalism but it just cannot be made to last, I believe because of human nature.

    I believe our efforts should be spent on continuing to improve capitalism, incorporating Socialist ideals whenever possible instead of trying to replace capitalism like a bad tooth and shoving a tarnished gold nugget into place we know is made from Pyrite.

    Capitalism has been around in America for a long time now and has benefited from near constant improvement. Child labor, worker unions, health care, racism, gender-isms, are all issues that capitalism has been forced to contend with in America. Ironically many of our current problems, including POTUS are the direct result of Capitalism being here in America and NOT in other countries where children sew shoes, worker unions are illegal, health care is not available or not required to be supplied to full time employees, or state sponsored racism is rampant. For example: try going to China and getting a job, a job doing anything, while not being Chinese. These are just a few examples.

    Capitalism has serious problems, it will take serious people with serious resolve to finding solutions to fix those problems. It will not happen quickly, it will not happen without pain and I believe there will always be something that needs to be addressed but the problems can be fixed. Socialism offers an ideal that should be strived towards and in many cases illustrates possible solutions to the problems inherent in capitalism but it is only part of the solution not a cure for tooth decay.

  10. Capitalism put Trump in charge. Socialism put Stalin in charge. When Trump builds his Belomor Canal and fills his gulags I’ll call it a draw.

  11. skzb

    calisto: I think it would take you less than five minutes of cursory research to establish you’re wrong. “Collecting” is not part of human nature, but a psychological response to class society. Read a little–seriously, it won’t take much–anthropology about how humanity spent most of its existence, and you’ll be disabused of that notion.

    oneils: A reaction against socialism put Stalin in charge. A reaction, I should add, largely the responsibility of the Imperialist money and armies that were used to finance and fight the Civil War. This is like me tying your ankles together and then saying you shouldn’t be allowed in the race because you run too slow. As for the entirely valid question of how it is that Imperialism was able to do that, if you’d like, I can point you to some sources. And, by the way,capitalism also put Mussolini in charge. And Franco. And Hitler.

  12. oneillsinwisconsin:Capitalism also put Hitler in charge, but that is rather missing the point of the post.

    calisto01:I think we are only just now reaching the technological, resource and economic theory positions where a Socialist structure has a real shot at working. As the post mentions, Capitalism had a lot of use. Eventually, though, it is time to replace the buggies with autos. Give the horses a nice pasture to graze in and they’ll be perfectly happy while the rest of the world drives on by.

  13. Calisto, societies shape human nature. That’s one reason capitalists hate socialism. As for what’s human nature beneath what society shapes, sharing and helping seem to be common in all societies, to the extent that people have the resources to share and help.

  14. Steve Halter, nice point about Hitler being funded by capitalists! I tend to focus on him imprisoning socialists, but the funding is the stronger answer to whether the “socialism” in National Socialism means anything.

  15. skzb

    Will: One of the things Dad did in Germany was visit the house were the financiers and industrialists met, I think it was in the late 20s, to make the initial plans and arrange financing for what eventually became the Nazi Party. It really was that deliberate, planned, and cold blooded. I think about that, from time to time, and wonder what is going on today that won’t emerge for some time yet.

  16. I may not agree with any of your ideology, but this was really quite awesome.

    I may prefer to hire a replacement with less of a criminal record, but I agree with your performance evaluation on our current implementation of capitalism, wholeheartedly.

  17. Love the piece, Steve. Do you think that perhaps part of the problem of the left today is that too much of it clings to old school Marxism-Leninism?

  18. skzb

    adonisus: No, I think the problem is too many think that it is possible to defeat capitalism without study of Marx and Lenin.

  19. Oh, I don’t disagree. Marx and Lenin are important. I mean Marxism-Leninism the ideology itself. AKA Stalinism, Maoism, Hoxhaism, etc.

  20. skzb

    Marxism (Leninism, Trotskyism) is a living, growing, evolving theory. Certainly there are some who treat it schematically, as a dogma, and are thus unable to do more than spout formulas, and are helpless before changing conditions. But it is also the case that there are many anti-Marxists who can’t see the difference between Marxism as a method, and the empty repetition of formulas.

  21. Excellent.

    Socialism has been tried, and worked, in many places in Europe and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the capitalists have quickly moved in to discredit it, and when possible, remove it. Many of the “reforms” brought in by the New Deal in the 1930’s were originated by socialists; that’s why people like the Koch brothers have been brought up to work on removing them – and they have almost succeeded. Pure socialism has not yet been tried, but these things take time. I’ve always been a Fabian Socialist myself, and we were going that way until Reagan.

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