Dr Paul Craig Robert “The Looting Machine Called Capitalism is absolutely correct. However, the environmental cost and all things PCR mentioned are just parts of the real Externality ( I put it capitalized) , which are born by all of humanity. The full picture of externality is actually much larger and the real cost of externality is so much deeper and higher that it is impossible to be measured and calculated. The cost that those ‘re championing this kind of capitalism never want to see and hear much less talk about this.
Human lives have been wasted in hundred of million for the profits of the few, let alone the uncountable sufferings of those survived. General Smedley Butler said it all in his speech more than half a century ago War Is A Racket. War is the main and very effective tool for profit-making, apart from being “the health of the state.”
Millions of children today virtually have been guinea pigs for the profit and “medical progress” of big pharmaceutical companies, juvenile diabetes and child autism have been on the rise. (Vaccines Revealed), which is a direct result from profit-making strategy of pharmaceutical and food industry. (for the sake of pure economic analysis the political agendas, the true purpose of this “phenomenon” is not discussed here if one wants to understand the true scope of this scheme-or rather a real big conspiracy, please read Seeds of Destruction, one of the well-researched books by F. William Engdahl)
If one believed and accepted that Economic objectives are to serve human society, people welfare, and people well-being, then how would an economist calculate the cost of people lives in horrible death and the sufferings of their survived loved ones within and after a war? One should remember Frédéric Bastiat‘s broken window fallacy, which has been used as real argument for war by many dumb shit warmongers . The whole thing is contradictory and absurd.
How would an economist calculate the cost of life-time sufferings of an autistic person (from childhood to adulthood) and the sufferings of the family in caring for this autistic person? I am sure an economist can calculate without much difficulty the benefits and profits of all involved and related industries that have been generated from all the human sufferings mentioned above.
Well , from the very monstrous horse mouth I heard: “The price is worth it”!
We all know how much profit the Military Industry Complex has made. But did we know how much 500,000 children are worth? Did we all know how much the sufferings of their mothers are worth? I don’t know either. But I do know my humanity hurt badly whenever I think of 500,000 dead children and their families, particular their mothers .
- Thêm Một Khía Cạnh của Tác Động Ngoại Hủy của “Nền Kinh Tế”
- Lợi Nhuận: Đập Nát cửa Kính hay Đập Nát Nhân Tính!
- Vi Nhân Bất Phú, Vi Phú Bất Nhân: Cái Giá của Chủ Nghĩa Tư Bản
So the last but not least question remains to be answered seriously by all of us:
What has made this looting possible? Who has well protected this destructive and inhumane looting machine? Without such powerful protection, will this capitalist machine remain looting and so-destructive as it has been?
I have come to the conclusion that capitalism is successful primarily because it can impose the majority of the costs associated with its economic activities on outside parties and on the environment. In other words, capitalists make profits because their costs are externalized and born by others. In the US, society and the environment have to pick up the tab produced by capitalist activity.
In the past when critics raised the question about external costs, that is, costs that are external to the company although produced by the company’s activities, economists answered that it was not really a problem, because those harmed by the activity could be compensated for the damages that they suffered. This statement was intended to reinforce the claim that capitalism served the general welfare. However, the extremely primitive nature of American property rights meant that rarely would those suffering harm be compensated. The apologists for capitalism saved the system in the abstract, but not in reality.
My recent article, “The Destruction of Inlet Beach,” made it clear to me that very little, if any, of the real estate development underway would be profitable if the external costs imposed on existing property holders had to be compensated.
Consider just a few examples. When a taller house is constructed in front of one of less height, the Gulf view of the latter is preempted. The damage to the property value of the house whose view has been blocked is immense. Would the developer build such a tall structure if the disadvantaged existing property had to be compensated for the decline in its value?
When a house is built that can sleep 20 or 30 people next to a family’s vacation home or residence, the noise and congestion destroys the family’s ability to enjoy their own property. If they had to be compensated for their loss, would the hotel, disquised as a “single family dwelling” have been built?
Walton County, Florida, is so unconcerned about these vital issues that it has permitted construction of structures that can accommodate 30 people, but provide only three parking spaces. Where do the rental guests park? How many residents will find themselves blocked in their own driveways or with cars parked on their lawns?
As real estate developers build up congestion, travel times are extended. What formerly was a 5 minute drive from Inlet Beach to Seaside along 30-A can now take 45 minutes during summer and holidays, possibly longer. Residents and visitors pay the price of the developers’ profits in lost time. The road is a two-lane road that cannot be widened. Yet Walton County’s planning department took no account of the gridlock that would emerge.
As the state and federal highways serving the area were two lanes, over-development made hurricane evacuation impossible. Florida and US taxpayers had to pay for turning two lane highways into four lane highways in order to provide some semblance of hurricane evacuation. After a decade, the widening of highway 79, which runs North-South is still not completed to its connection to Interstate 10. Luckily, there have been no hurricanes.
If developers had to pay these costs instead of passing them on to taxpayers, would their projects still be profitable?
Now consider the external costs of offshoring the production of goods and services that US corporations, such as Apple and Nike, market to Americans. When production facilities in the US are closed and the jobs are moved to China, for example, the American workers lose their jobs, medical coverage, careers, pension provision, and often their self-respect when they are unable to find comparable employment or any employment. Some fall behind in their mortgage and car payments and lose their homes and cars. The cities, states, and federal governments lose the tax base as personal income and sales taxes decline and as depressed housing and commercial real estate prices in the abandoned communities depress property taxes. Social security and Medicare funding is harmed as payroll tax deposits fall. State and local infrastructure declines. Possibly crime rises. Safety net needs rise, but expenditures are cut as tax revenues decline. Municipal and state workers find their pensions at risk. Education suffers. All of these costs greatly exceed Apple’s and Nike’s profits from substituting cheaper foreign labor for American labor. Contradicting the neoliberal claims, Apple’s and Nike’s prices do not drop despite the collapse in labor costs that the corporations experience.
A country that was intelligently governed would not permit this. As the US is so poorly governed, the executives and shareholders of global corporations are greatly enriched because they can impose the costs associated with their profits on external third parties.
The unambigious fact is that US capitalism is a mechanism for looting the many for the benefit of the few. Neoliberal economics was constructed in order to support this looting. In other words, neoliberal economists are whores just like the Western print and TV media.
Yet, Americans are so insouciant that you will hear those who are being looted praise the merits of “free market capitalism.”
So far we have barely scratched the surface of the external costs that capitalism imposes. Now consider the pollution of the air, soil, waterways, and oceans that result from profit-making activities. Consider the radioactive wastes pouring out of Fukushima since March 2011 into the Pacific Ocean. Consider the dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico from agricultural chemical fertilizer run-off. Consider the destruction of the Apalachicola, Florida, oyster beds from the restricted river water that feeds the bay due to overdevelopment upstream. Examples such as these are endless. The corporations responsible for this destruction bear none of the costs.
If it turns out that global warming and ocean acidification are consequences of capitalism’s carbon-based energy system, the entire world could end up dead from the external costs of capitalism.
Free market advocates love to ridicule economic planning, and Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers actually said that “markets are self-regulating.” There is no sign anywhere of this self-regulation. Instead, there are external costs piled upon external costs. The absence of planning is why over-development has made 30-A dysfunctional, and it is why over-development has made metropolitan areas, such as Atlanta, Georgia, dysfunctional. Planning does not mean the replacement of markets. It means the provision of rules that produce rational results instead of shifting costs of development onto third parties.
If capitalism had to cover the cost of its activities, how many of the activities would pay?
As capitalists do not have to cover their external costs, what limits the costs?
Once the external costs exceed the biosphere’s ability to process the waste products associated with external costs, life ends.
We cannot survive an unregulated capitalism with a system of primitive property rights. Ecological economists such as Herman Daly understand this, but neoliberal economists are apologists for capitalist looting. In days gone by when mankind’s footprint on the planet was light, what Daly calls an “empty world,” productive activities did not produce more wastes than the planet could cleanse. But the heavy foot of our time, what Daly calls a “full world,” requires extensive regulation. The Trump administration’s program of rolling back environmental protection, for example, will multiply external costs. To claim that this will increase economic growth is idiotic. As Daly (and Michael Hudson) emphasize, the measure known as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is so flawed that we do not know whether the increased output costs more to produce than it is worth. GDP is really a measure of what has been looted without reference to the cost of the looting. Environmental deregulation means that capitalists can treat the environment as a garbage dump. The planet can become so toxic that it cannot recover.
In the United States and generally across the Western world, property rights exist only in a narrow, truncated form. A developer can steal your view forever and your solitude for the period his construction requires. If the Japanese can have property rights in views, in quiet which requires noise abatement, and in sun fall on their property, why can’t Americans? After all, we are alleged to be the “exceptional people.”
But in actual fact, Americans are the least exceptional people in human history. Americans have no rights at all. We hapless insignificant beings have to accept whatever capitalists and their puppet government impose on us. And we are so stupid we call it “Freedom and Democracy America.”
Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation Paperback – November 20, 2007
10 companies profiting the most from war
The business of war is profitable. In 2011, the 100 largest contractors sold $410 billion in arms and military services. Just 10 of those companies sold over $208 billion. Based on a list of the top 100 arms-producing and military services companies in 2011 compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 companies with the most military sales worldwide.
These companies have benefited tremendously from the growth in military spending in the U.S., which by far has the largest military budget in the world. In 2000, the U.S. defense budget was approximately $312 billion. By 2011, the figure had grown to $712 billion. Arm sales grew alongside general defense spending growth. SIPRI noted that between 2002 and 2011, arms sales among the top 100 companies grew by 51%.
However, the trend has recently reversed. In 2011, the top 100 arms dealers sold 5% less compared to 2010. Susan Jackson, a SIPRI defense expert, said in an email to 24/7 Wall St. that austerity measures in Western Europe and the U.S. have delayed or slowed the procurement of different weapons systems. Austerity concerns have exacerbated matters. Federal budget cuts that took effect in March mean military spending could contract by more than $500 billion over the coming decade unless policymakers negotiate a pullback on the mandated cuts.
In addition, the U.S.’ involvement in conflicts abroad continue to wind down. The last American convoy in Iraq left the country in December 2011. Troop withdrawals from Afghanistan also began in 2011. Finally, SIPRI pointed out sanctions on arms transfers to Libya have contributed to declining arms sales.
Many defense contractors are looking overseas to make up for slowing sales in the U.S. and Europe. Arms producers are especially keen on Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Asia, Jackson said. For instance, BAE is securing contracts with Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the chief financial officer of Northrop Grumman has recently indicated his company may sell its Global Hawk airplane to South Korea or Japan.
Based on the SIPRI report, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 biggest weapons companies. Arms were defined as sales to military customers, either for procurement or for export, but do not include sales of general purpose items, such as oil or computer equipment. We looked at sales figures for two years through 2011, among other metrics. Here are the 10 companies that profit the most from war:
10. United Technologies (UTX) — aircraft, electronics, engines
Arm sales: $11.6 billion, total sales: $58.2 billion
Gross profit: $5.3 billion, total workforce: 199,900
United Technologies makes a wide range of arms — notably military helicopters, including the Black Hawk helicopter for the U.S. Army and the Seahawk helicopter for the U.S. Navy. The company was the biggest employer in the top 10 though arms sales accounted for just 20% of revenue. UTX also produces elevators, escalators, air-conditioners and refrigerators. International sales comprised 60% of the company’s revenue in 2012.
9. L-3 Communications (LLL) — electronics
Arm sales: $12.5 billion, total sales: $15.2 billion
Gross profit: $956 million, total workforce: 61,000
Some 83% of L-3 Communications sales in 2011 came from arms sales, but this was down from what it sold the prior year. The company has four business segments: electronic systems; aircraft modernization and maintenance; national security solutions; and command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Among many products manufactured, the company has become a major provider of unmanned aircraft systems.
8. Finmeccanica — aircraft, artillery, engines, electronics, vehicles and missiles
Arms sales, $14.6 billion, total sales: $24.1 billion
Gross profit: $ -3.2 billion, total workforce: 70,470
Italian company Finmeccanica makes a wide range of arms, including helicopters and security electronics. Nearly 60% of the company’s sales in 2011 were in arms. Finmeccanica lost $3.2 billion in 2011. The Italian company is currently fending off allegation that it paid bribes to win an approximately $750 million contract to provide 12 military helicopters to the Indian government in 2010. The then-head of the company, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested in February but has denied wrongdoing. Other executives, including the head of the company’s helicopter unit, have been replaced, and the company has delayed the release of recent financial results.
7. EADS — aircraft, electronics, missiles and space
Arm sales: $16.4 billion, total sales: $68.3 billion
Gross profit: $1.4 billion, total workforce: 133,120
The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), based in the Netherlands, had sales in 2011 roughly in line with the prior year. Arms sales comprised just 24% of the company’s revenue. EADS and BAE Systems unsuccessfully attempted to merge for $45 billion in 2012, which would have created the world’s largest aerospace company. The deal collapsed in October after German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed concerns about the merger.
6. Northrop Grumman (NOC) — aircraft, electronics, missiles, ships, space
Arm sales: $21.4 billion, total sales: $26.4 billion
Gross profit: $2.1 billion, total workforce: 72,500
Northrop Grumman’s 2011 arms sales comprised about 81% of total sales even after a sharp decline in arms sales year over year. The company attributed the decline to reduced government spending on defense projects. Nevertheless, the company was more profitable than in the prior year.
5. Raytheon (RTN) — electronics, missiles
Arm sales: $22.5 billion, total sales: $24.9 billion
Gross profit: $1.9 billion, total workforce: 71,000
Raytheon, based in Waltham, Mass., is one of the largest defense contractors in the U.S. The company makes the Tomahawk Cruise Missile, among others. Arms sales comprised about 90% of the company’s sales in 2011 though they as a total they were lower than in the prior year. The slide hasn’t let up. Total sales in 2012 fell 1.5%, and Raytheon is expecting sales to fall 3% in 2013, a projection which doesn’t take into account the effects of mandated budget cuts. The company can rely on overseas customers to somewhat offset weak sales at home. As of January, approximately 40% of the company’s backlog was booked overseas. The company expects approximately a 5% increase in international sales in 2013.
4. General Dynamics (GD) — artillery, electronics, vehicles, small arms, ships
Arm sales: $23.8 billion, total sales: $32.7 billion
Gross profit: $2.5 billion, total workforce: 95,100
With 18,000 transactions in 2011, General Dynamics was the third-largest contractor to the U.S. government. Of those contracts, approximately $12.9 billion worth went to the Navy, while an additional $4.6 billion went to the Army. The company’s arms sales in 2011 comprised 73% of total sales. Arms sales in 2011 were slightly below 2010 levels. The company makes a host of products, including electric boats, tracked and wheeled military vehicles, and battle tanks. The company announced layoffs in early March, blaming mandated federal budget cuts.
3. BAE Systems — aircraft, artillery, electronics, vehicles, missiles, ships
Arm sales: $29.2 billion, total sales: $30.7 billion
Gross profit: $2.3 billion, total workforce: 93,500
BAE Systems was the largest non-U.S. company based on arms sales. Arms sales represented 95% of the company’s total sales in 2011 even though they were lower as a total of overall sales compared to the prior year. The products BAE sells include the L-ROD Bar Armor System that shields defense vehicles and the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer that provides sophisticated simulation training for military pilots. In 2013, the company said its growth would likely come from outside the U.S. and Great Britain — its home market. BAE noted that its outlook for those two countries was “constrained,” likely due to the diminished presence in international conflicts and government budget cuts.
2. Boeing (BA) — aircraft, electronics, missiles, space
Arm sales: $31.8 billion, total sales: $68.7 billion
Gross profit: $4 billion, total workforce: 171,700
Boeing was the second-largest U.S. government contractor in 2011, with about $21.5 billion worth of goods contracted. The Chicago-based company makes a wide range of arms, including strategic missile systems, laser and electro-optical systems and global positioning systems. Despite all these technologies, just 46% of the company’s total sales of $68.7 billion in 2011 came from arms. Boeing is the largest commercial airplane manufacturer in the world, making planes such as the 747, 757 and recently, the 787 Dreamliner. The company is also known for its space technology — Boeing had $1 billion worth of contracts with NASA in 2011.
1. Lockheed Martin (LMT) — aircraft, electronics, missiles, space
Arm sales:$36.3 billion, total sales: $46.5 billion
Gross profit: $2.7 billion, total workforce, 123,000
Lockheed Martin notched $36.3 billion in sales in 2011, slightly higher than the $35.7 billion the company sold in 2010. The arms sales comprised 78% of the company’s total 2011 sales. Lockheed makes a wide range of products, including aircraft, missiles, unmanned systems and radar systems. The company and its employees have been concerned about the effects of the “fiscal cliff” and sequestration, the latter of which includes significant cuts to the U.S. Department of Defense. In the fall of 2012, the company planned on issuing layoff notices to all employees before backing down at the White House’s request.
24/7 Wall St.com is a financial news and analysis web site.