For all of the critiques against capitalism, the stupidest one I have seen yet is that capitalists want to let infrastructure (roads in particular) crumble into nothingness because it helps them…make more money?
You can’t make money without the infrastructure necessary to transit goods and services. Without [good, quality] roads, your fleet of Wal-Mart trucks ain’t going anywhere.
imo that’s a pretty good way to strawman “a contingent of ultra-rich people who own both corporations and the sort of capital necessary to buy government are, by deliberately impacting the latter, acting to legitimize the former, advancing a formulation of right-libertarianism that’s damaging to the working class and slanted toward the interests of capital.”
To draw a comparison – Amazon is losing money, too, but its investors keep throwing capital its way. They can afford to lose a little money, as long as what they’re spending it on is controlling society and the economy.
Can you dumb this down for me? I am sincerely looking to understand what you’re saying (as it relates to my OP) and I am struggling to parse what you mean.
Maybe I just haven’t had enough coffee.
Sure, let me be more specific-
I think it’s an oversimplification to say “capitalists want to let infrastructure and roads in particular crumble.”
They want the government to let infrastructure and roads crumble, so that they can send in – say, for example – Domino’s, in order to fix the damage. The capitalists who own Domino’s then take credit for fixing a problem that they, themselves, created.
The money they’re losing out on due to infrastructural damage isn’t worth as much to them as the narrative and the control they’re buying elsewhere, and I think this holds as true for Amazon and its investors as it does with Domino’s and theirs.
It’s an act of corporate propaganda meant to delegitimize the government while legitimizing corporations.
Thank you that’s much clearer. On it’s face, I can see the merits of this perspective, but I think the premise breaks down under scrutiny.
For example, who or what incentives are signaling to the State to diminish or withdraw spending on infrastructure? I suspect the answer would be that the cuts in spending are related to tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, but why should that mean—necessarily—that infrastructure spending goes down? The corporations aren’t forcing the State to draft a budget where this spending is cut, and the revenue of the Federal government has skyrocketed over the last two decades; there is plenty of money being spent, and many facets of that spending have grown despite revenue cuts.
It is difficult to imagine that Domino’s, for example, has lobbyists actively petitioning legislators to cut infrastructure spending in order for the corporations to obtain the much-valued legitimacy (in lieu money, and to usurp the State).
But although I disagree with this particular example, I will not dismiss the notion that large corporations are actively working to upend the traditional institutions in this country and replace them with corporate-friendly “government”.
For example, who or what incentives are signaling to the State to diminish or withdraw spending on infrastructure? I suspect the answer would be that the cuts in spending are related to tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, but why should that mean—necessarily—that infrastructure spending goes down?
Look at the U.S. tax code for clear examples. But the simple answer is if there’s less income spending goes down by that amount.
You’re right in saying that there is plenty of money being spent, but it definitively isn’t going for infrastructure; that’s because you make relatively little money off infrastructure.
You can make bank, sure, but you also have to deal with millions of construction workers, national laws, multi-state laws, labor unions, etc. There’s money to be made there, but compared to (for example) buying more planes that nobody needs it’s pulling blood from a stone.
It’s not inherently “stop funding infrastructure” or “roads suck”, but more a matter of roads being pushed to the literal bottom rung of importance, in addition to “Walmart’s roads are fine and it doesn’t care about yours”. Which is wholly dysfunctional with services and goods necessary for everyone with pricetags that only a few people can afford ($3k-6k for a driveway).
But this relatively poor profit margin has lead to a severe underfunding in favor of other programs/projects. That is literally what happened in the real world with a government that, to varying extents, is meant to help people. Removing the power of the people at large from the equation would only lead to less benefit for average schmoes.
The corporations aren’t forcing the State to draft a budget where this spending is cut, and the revenue of the Federal government has skyrocketed over the last two decades; there is plenty of money being spent, and many facets of that spending have grown despite revenue cuts.
Except that’s literally what’s been happening in the real world.
There’s no getting around this. Private interests have manipulated public spending to line their own pockets at the cost of the public good to the tune of at least a trillion dollars a year. Yes, trillion. Yes, every year. And that’s on top of extra-governmental costs, such as higher private insurance rates ($4,600 per person per year), deflated wages and wage theft ($19B/year), and more.
I think a lot of your disagreement comes from the concept of this being a necessarily deliberate plan. A lot of public corruption is composed of smokey back rooms and deals with code words. But far more of it is people grabbing what they can, gobbling it to the bone, and then not caring about anyone else.
Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and BAE Systems don’t want Americans to have crumbling infrastructure. But they sure as fuck aren’t going to give back the $2billion+ they made from sheer corruption for the F-35.
Thank you for this breakdown. Can’t say that I disagree with any of the observations you’ve made here, especially considering that you put my own observations into a broader (and more applicable) context.
I try to do that sometimes.
Common memes really are shit sometimes (re: all the time). “Who will build the roads” isn’t an expression of “there will be no roads”, but rather “there will be no roads for poor people who can’t afford them”.
My favorite case study industry is postal services. Vast swaths of the country don’t have UPS or FedEx just because they’re fundamentally unprofitable places for there to be offices. Too few people and too little work to justify the cost of function; nobody can pay what the prices would have to be consistently enough. But there are always local post offices.
Not because FedEx doesn’t think Appalachia needs mail service. But because FedEx doesn’t care if they get it explicitly because they’d lose money.