Recovery hype: American Capitalism's Weapon of Mass Distraction

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This article originally appeared at The Guardian.

From President Obama on down, defenders of the status quo insist that the US economy has "recovered" or "is recovering". Some actually see the world that way. They inhabit, imagine they inhabit, or plan to soon inhabit the world of the infamous top 1%. Others simply seek security in life by loyally repeating whatever that 1% is saying.

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This article originally appeared at The Guardian.

Organized Labor's Decline in the US Is Well-Known. But What Drove It?

Organized labor's decline in the US over the past half century is well-known; what drove that decline, less so. The New Deal's enemies – big business, Republicans, conservatives – had...

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This article originally appeared at The Guardian.

Detroit's Decline Is a Distinctively Capitalist Failure

A Catalan translation of this article is available at Espai Fàbrica.

Capitalism as a system ought to be judged by its failures as well as its successes.

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This article originally appeared at The Guardian.

How Capitalism's Great Relocation Pauperized America's 'Middle Class'

Detroit's struggle with bankruptcy might find some relief, or at least distraction, by presenting its desperate economic and social conditions as a tourist attraction. "Visit Detroit," today's advertisement might begin, "see your region's future here and now: the streets...

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This article originally appeared here, at Monthly Review's MRZine.

Capitalism, Democracy, and Elections

Capitalism and real democracy never had much to do with one another. In contrast, formal voting in elections has worked nicely for capitalism. After all, elections have rarely posed, let alone decided, the question of capitalism: whether voters prefer it or an alternative economic system. Capitalists have successfully kept elections focused elsewhere, on non-systemic questions and choices. That success enabled them first to equate democracy with elections and then to celebrate elections in capitalist countries as proof of their democracy. Of course, even elections were and are allowed only outside capitalist enterprises. Democratic elections inside them -- where employees are the majority -- never happen.

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