Boeing Is Just Another Symptom Of Failed Capitalism

Currently, Boeing is seemingly being raked over the coals in front of CONgress for their mistakes at best, outright fraudulence at worst regarding their 737-MAX jet.

The evidence keeps mounting that Boeing covered up information which illustrated how unsafe the MAX jet system truly is. This was done in an effort to bring the jet to market before their competition brought a new model to production. In other words, for profit.

Nothing but theater. The biggest problem with this is that there will never be criminal charges applied. It doesn’t matter at all if overt, intentional fraud is clearly demonstrated with full knowledge that human beings were going to die because of it. There is not even the suggestion of criminal charges coming out of these proceedings.

Not the first time by a long shot. We have seen such fraud committed by corporations for as long as this country has existed. Companies have intentionally dumped hazardous waste in waterways, which they continue to do as of this moment. Oil companies have hidden their full knowledge of the fossil fuel connection to climate change for decades. Drug companies hide drastic, even lethal effects of medications every single day. We’ve seen tire companies hide known catastrophic tire failures while continuing to produce and sell the same tires. Auto companies cover air bag failures. Vehicles that explode on low speed impact. Brake systems with known failures common on certain vehicles. The list can go on indefinitely.

No consequences. The biggest reason we continue seeing this is that there are no real consequences to this kind of corporate behavior. The corporation is typically given a slap on the wrist with a ridiculously small fine in relation to the consequences paid by consumers who are sickened, injured or killed because of such malfeasance. In this case, Boeing will likely have a fine imposed which still allows them to walk away with billions in profits. They will be forced to retrofit the MAX jets. Which will be done as cheaply as possible, so think about that. The CEO will be voted out or forced to resign while receiving a severance package worth dozens of millions of dollars. Boeing stock may decrease for 1–2 quarters, then bounce back. (If the economy doesn’t crash beforehand.)

This is not a flaw in the system, it is a feature of the system. The reason we keep seeing this over and over is because apathy to human consequences is literally built into the capitalist system. The word “capitalism” literally means a system which places profit (capital) above physical/emotional/environmental health or life/existence itself. Capitalism is a religion which worships itself and nothing else. There will never be consequences paid by the priests of capitalism when their actions have been for the purpose of promoting capitalism.

You pay for it. What will happen after Boeing is forced to pay a nominal fine and retrofit the death jets? Your airfare will increase. Your baggage fees will increase. You will pay for the theatrical performance CONgress is staging. Boeing will be faced with lawsuits and you will pay for those too. Just like you pay higher prices for tires, medications and vehicles. You subsidize the alleged “losses” brought on by products known to be unsafe yet that information is hidden, while the corporation posts higher profits, higher stock values, higher stock dividends and corporate executive bonuses/severance packages. Corporations poison and pollute the environment and you pay for it for decades, for generations in terms of over 1300 Superfund sites. You pay for it with your safety, with your health, possibly your life or the lives of your loved ones. You pay for it in stress, in fear, in hypervigilence, in loss of freedom of speech to protest against these same corporations, censorship by media corporations who threaten journalists who report negatively about advertisers, in laws favorable to corporate campaign “donors” while stripping more of your rights away.

No, none of what is happening with Boeing right now is an anomaly. It is business as usual. It is so normal that most Americans will not be listening, not be paying any attention to the CONgressional proceedings. Mostly because we know nothing will change in our favor because of this. For those of us that do pay attention, we can cheer, we can jeer, we can sneer. The result will be the same. That is, until we stop worshiping corporations, stop bowing down to the rich, stop allowing this to be just another day in corporate America.

Inflation Is A Myth

Capitalism and the capitalist media, even education, teaches us that inflation is a fact of life. That’s not true. This is where you should be asking questions.

Labor cost. One myth we are told is that the cost of labor drives up the cost of goods and services. This raises the question of why workers need pay increases. Of course, the answer is the increasing price of goods and services, often just for basic survival. If prices did not keep increasing, workers would not need increases to their pay.

Automation. One method businesses use to decrease the cost of labor is automation and technological advances. While it comes at an initial cost for capital outlay, the entire reason companies do this is because it saves money on wages and worker benefits in the long term. Technology increases productivity, meaning each worker can make more products, serve more customers. This means the company needs fewer workers. Pay remains the same, the cost of benefits stays the same or keeps costing the worker more each year. Automation often completely eliminates jobs. Do prices go down commensurate with the decreased labor cost? No but company profits keep going up, prices keep going up and corporate profits keep going up.

Raw materials. We hear the argument that the cost of raw materials keeps increasing. Typically, this is not true. Corporate mega-farms use more machines than labor. While labor costs have increased, go back to the second paragraph of this article. Many raw materials are imported because of lower cost. Like steel. China isn’t “dumping” unwanted steel on corporations. The American corporations are buying that steel. This goes back years, when corporations began buying steel from China because they did not want to pay for the cost of American labor. Which caused the near collapse of the US Steel industry. Consumer prices never decreased but corporate profits kept increasing. Pick any raw material that is imported yet available domestically and the same rule applies.

Lawsuits. One claim is that lawsuits drive up the cost of goods and services. You would have to look more closely by specific industry and company but lawsuits account for less than 1% of the cost of business in this country, overall. Even when faced with lawsuits, the damages are minor and still make the abuses which led to the lawsuits worth the price, leaving corporations with massive profits. The worst thing that happens is that their stock price dips for a few days. Who pays the cost of the lawsuits in reality? Consumers.

Tariffs. Numerous companies have laid workers off or exported jobs while citing tariffs as a rationale. This is disingenuous at best, a complete fabrication at worst. I’ll go back to steel as an example. If the cost of imported steel increases, it does not increase for only one company, it increases for all companies that utilize imported steel. So the cost of products increases across an entire industry, like vehicles. The consumer pays the price. The corporation preserves their profit margin. While sales may decrease, that is more of a function of stagnant wages than increased cost. Consumers either cannot afford or are hesitant to pay the higher prices.

Taxpayer subsidies. The ultimate fact of the matter is that while media rages about a “free market”, we do not have a free market. We truly have no idea how much we pay in subsidies to corporations. Lots of estimates but real numbers are elusive. From milk to corn to oil to gas to soybeans and on and on. One big problem is that subsidies are not always direct. When corporations pay wages so low that employees qualify for public assistance, we foot the bill. That’s subsidizing that corporation. When a company offers free shipping but the government offers subsidies and tax deductions for that company, that’s a subsidy. When US troops provide security for poppy fields in Afghanistan or navy ships protective escorts to oil tankers, those are subsidies. The entire military industrial complex is nothing but subsidies. So are superfund sites. The purchase of vehicles and fuel by small local governments all the way up to the US military are subsidies to vehicle manufacturers and oil companies. So, we pay the subsidies, then we pay the price at the pump, in the grocery store, on our utility bills… Socialism for the rich and corporations, capitalism for the rest of us.

Real inflation control. If we even discussed real inflation controls, it would implement such mechanisms as corporate profit caps by percentage of gross income, not allowing for stock repurchases or executive bonuses. It would look like implementing a maximum income. It may include price controls without subsidies. It would include stringent penalties for consumer abuse and price gouging. It would enforce anti-trust laws and practices. It would penalize every job eliminated or reduced while maintaining or expanding production levels. It would make stock repurchases illegal.

No going back. The point to be made here is that there is no going back on inflation. Not within our current system. Yet there is no valid rationale that bread is not 25¢ a loaf. Or that gas costs as much as it does. There is no valid rationale for oil being a top export and top import.That does not increase our energy security, does not help the environment, does not control cost or inflation.

Inflation is a myth. Like I began, inflation is a myth. A story we are told and just accept as fact. We have lived our lives without really questioning why prices increase while wages do not. We recognize the need to increase wages without asking why we need to do so just for survival. Schools teach inflation, media preaches inflation, corporations profit from inflation while causing most of that inflation for their own bottom line. Politicians promise to control inflation, then offer subsidies we pay for in order to maintain the profits of the corporate structure that causes inflation, in effect rewarding those same corporations.

Stop accepting the idea that inflation is a fact of life. It’s not. It is not a consequence or complication of capitalism. It is a core feature of capitalism.