A wet dream of a nodeshell.

I an twelve years old and was born in Indonesia. In 1965, at the behest of major corporations, the CIA installed one of the most brutal dictators of all time as president of my country. Those same corporations then bribed him and his cronies who live like kings to initiate policies specifically designed to force millions of us off of our land, and to keep labor and environmental standards low while they set up factories. In desperation we had no choice but to move to the filthy slums surrounding the cities and work in these factories. I work 16 hours a day for three dollars, and will for the rest of my life. With the help of the CIA, Suharto killed a million people who spoke out against what our country had become. Most people in the U.S. are unaware of what their government has done with their money because those same corporations own the media. Capitalism is not freedom for me.

I am a computer programmer in the United States. On my web page, I hyperlinked to a site that provides information on how to crack DVDs. I am now in jail, awaiting trial for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Capitalism is not freedom for me.

I live in Argentina. In the 70s the fascists then in charge of my country agreed to the terms of certain ridiculous loans from the IMF. International corporations made it 'worth their while,' and today they live in some of the biggest houses in Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, it is absolutely impossible for my government to pay the loans. It has crippled the economy and we have very little meaningful political choice or control over the destiny of our nation because the loan repayments are most of the government's budget. Capitalism is not freedom for me.

I am a farmer in Brazil. It is 2005. For generations, my family has replanted the seeds from the previous year's crop. Now, thanks to a hemisphere wide instant patent system in the FTAA agreement, a Canadian corporation was given the internationally recognized rights to my variety of seed, simply because they applied first. Now I must pay them a large sum to plant the same seeds I we have planted for free for hundreds of years. I can no longer afford to farm. I must move to the filthy slums of a city. Capitalism is not freedom for me.

I live in the Netherlands. We have created a wonderful society. Unfortunately, much of it will be under water in 50 or so years thanks to changes in global climate patterns. While the dangers of excessive carbon emissions have been agreed upon by all serious scientists in the field for nearly 20 years, oil and auto corporations continue to bribe the political process and prevent the necessary measures from being taken. Capitalism is not freedom for me.

I'm probably missing the point, but in Indonesia, the US, Argentina and Brazil I would say your problems come down to, respectively, corruption, over-legislation, fascism and (again) over-legislation. Can these be present, even persistent, in a capitalist system? Yes. But are they inherent?

I realize that attempting to posit a complete dichotomy between political and economic issues is inaccurate and misleading, but I believe it is still a point that bears repeating. I would assume from your writeup that you are strongly anti-communist and anti-socialist, due to the fact that regimes operating under these economic systems have been victim to rampant abuses of power.

Your problem seems to be more with corrupt political leaders enacting anti-capitalistic (anti-free market) legislation, or making deals in which they trade away things that are not theirs to trade. It's a matter of power... who it belongs to and how it is exercised; these are the people who try to twist any existing system to their advantage. If you would argue that capitalism is more vulnerable to twisting of this nature, then the preceding arguments leave me unconvinced. I would say that it is more indicative of current (and developing) problems with western democratic processes.

As for the Netherlands issue, I don't even know if I should bother. Although I believe it is a very defensible position (most scientists would agree) that global warming IS happening (although not undeniably so), whether or not we are causing it is another matter entirely. This issue has been heavily covered elsewhere (global warming, global warming denier, or check out The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg). Even if it IS happening, and it turns out WE are a major cause, I'd say that the blaming this on 'bribes' is an extremist position at best... the fact is, the populace has NOT been convinced... at least not enough to curb excessive consumption. If you want to blame this on anything, let's blame corporate media.

I started off my 'political life' with a very leftist bend... but lately the leftist majority has have been driving me away... mostly due to excessive concentration on the symptoms rather than the causes. I think globalization, excesses of consumerism, rampant advertising culture and environmental and political unconsciousness are all problems in the world today... but ones more symptomatic than causal. Is there any chance you may be blaming current 'capitalist' trends for the state of the populace of which it is merely a reflection? Just an alternative point of view.... I HEARTILY AGREE that the above examples show that SOMETHING is going (perhaps drastically) wrong... I'm just not necessarily in agreement about what.

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