by Dr. Boyce Watkins
September 4, 2014, financialjuneteenth.com
One of the things that I’ve always felt, which I communicate in my book, “Black American Money,” is that black people have to realize one important fact: America is a capitalist society. In fact, the beast of unchecked capitalism has now infected our government and our collective soul to the point that we often make decisions with the dollar bill at the top of the priority list, like a God on the invisible alter that we pray to for much of our lives.
Is this good for our country? Of course not.
When you tie your humanity to profitability, you often end up making otherwise horrendous decisions, all for the sake of saving money or making more of it. One great example is our healthcare system, where we’ve decided that anyone who can’t afford their medication deserves to die. We have wealthy people who will let poor children starve to death so they can avoid paying an extra half-percent in taxes. We declare war on other countries unnecessarily, sending teenagers to their graves, all for the sake of corporate profitability.
This development is truly, truly sick and a very strong argument for those who want to abolish capitalism altogether. I don’t believe that capitalism and free enterprise are inherently evil, but when they are applied toward evil purposes, they can be as destructive as a nuclear bomb planted in the chest cavity of your society.
The primary and most destructive influence of capitalism in America is the fact that many of our government officials are now owned by major corporations and no longer working for the American people. Just go take a look at some of the decisions being made by The Congressional Black Caucus, as well as other members of Congress, who seem to be deciding our nation’s fate in a money-filled vacuum, like drug-addicted prostitutes doing any and everything in order to get the money for re-election.
Most political candidates don’t start their careers expecting to sell themselves for money. I suspect that either a) they eventually realize that this is a necessary part of their survival on Capitol Hill and/or b) only lying, money-hungry people end up getting elected, while honest leaders are tossed to the side. So, in some ways, our poisoned political leaders are a reflection of the preferences of the American people. If we are not careful, political greed is likely going to be the thing that destroys America.
John Hope Bryant is the founder of “Operation Hope.” He is also the author of the best-selling book, “How the Poor Can Save Capitalism.” In this interview, Bryant does a wonderful job of explaining the way capitalism affects our society and how black people “never got the memo” that economic empowerment is the key to our ultimate liberation from racism and inequality.
During the interview, I mention to John that once I learned how to make my own money, I worried a lot less about what racist white people thought about me.
I most appreciate the fact that Bryant’s thinking transcends the simple-minded party politics that have kept black people socio-economically confined for so many years. The answers to our problems do not lie within the Democratic or Republican Parties, but it is beneficial when politically-inclined African Americans interact with both parties in order to strengthen our ultimate negotiating position. In other words, Democrats are likely to be more loyal to us if they know that we are talking to the Republicans too.
You’ve got to watch this interview. He deserves our respect.
Watch the 4-minute movie on How The Poor Can Save Capitalism here.
Posted by Natasha Eldridge, Senior Fellow, Office of the Chairman