Punchinello’s Chronicles

December 3, 2008

Walmart Trampling Death and Capitalism

Filed under: Surely a Jest? — Punchinello @ 2:28 am
Tags: , , , ,

The other night, the radio talk show topic was the tramping death of a temporary Walmart employee on the Friday holiday shopping kick-off known as Black Friday. With hundreds of people waiting to enter a Long Island, NY store, the 34 yearold employee was knocked over, then suffocated as they ran over him to get to deals, bargains, and specials.

Anthony called in and explained how this event was clear proof that our capitalistic system doesn’t work. It’s failed, it’s broken, and what better proof of this do we have than how “capitalism killed someone.”

Unbelievable! Can you imagine the level of ignorance, failed education, and superficiality in this fella’s mind that he would really believe what he’s saying?

Then, in a related discussion a forum post claims that corporate greed and greed on the part of executive management, as well as with business owners is another “proof” that capitalism has failed. Further “proof” is that nowhere else on the planet does anyone have capitalism in place, “therefore” it must be wrong.

Too many people believe that if a million people say something stupid, it must be true, or wise. The fact that so few other countries on earth use capitalism is why so many other countries are behind the curve in relation to America’s strength and lifestyle. Communism has been tried in many other nations, and has proven to fail over and over again.

Capitalism has hardly been fully developed, being subjected to never-ending controls and regulations in macro-economic situations. When it’s in place in smaller situations, it works over and over again.

But to address the idea of corporate greed, most news reports and historic examinations of this type of greed aren’t very well developed. More often than not, it isn’t the owners of a corporation, or the executive management structure that introduces crime and greed. Of course there are those instances where the high-level management is involved, but not as often as people think.

Instead, there are all sorts of additional circumstances involved. Often, the corporate leadership has tried endlessly to prevent the eventual problems. Take the banking collapse in relation to the federal regulations that forced so many banks to underwrite bad loans, for example. In lots of other cases, it’s employees and mid-level managers causing the problems.

Naturally, stories are starting to show up as lawsuits against Walmart get under way. But far more worrisome are the “Anthonys” of the world who believe the root cause is capitalism itself. He, and so many like him, also believe that the banking collapse is based on business owners and the “greed” of capitalism.

The real problem is consumer greed. And that means you and me, and the neighbors down the street. It means each and every one of us who has used a credit card to excesss. It means the pile of presents under the tree each holiday season, vastly overwhelming any child’s capacity to understand all of those consumer products.

It means accepting and demanding cheap merchandise from China, throwaway commodity items that used to be repairable. It means investing in companies offering outrageous returns on investment, never questioning where or how those returns are coming from. It means ignoring reality, paying no attention to political scandals and robbery.

Consumer greed means wanting instant gratification, without the slightest concern for what anyone else on the planet needs, wants, or cares about. That greed has been growing and evolving for decades. Countless articles, year after year speak to the loss of the “true” holiday spirit. We hear over and over again about the commercialization of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and all the other national holidays.

Think about the many stores that are open on Veteran’s Day. If consumers didn’t want to shop there, the stores wouldn’t be open. Just so; if it weren’t for those hundreds of piggish, salivating “shoppers” waiting for hours outside the doors of the Walmart, the store wouldn’t be operating that way.

No, it isn’t capitalism and the ideal of private ownership that was the cause of this death. It was unrestrained, out-of-control greed on the part of the shoppers. Even when the store announced it was closing due to the man’s having been killed, many shoppers immediately and self-righteously complained, refusing to leave. They’d spent all that time, after all, waiting in line, and by gosh they were “gonna get what they came for!”

A society can only go for so long without values, empathy, and a unified sense of national culture. And then it all comes crashing down. The signs are here, and now it’s only a matter of watching the inevitable play itself out.

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