The following was submitted to the Washington Post for a OpEd contest in 2009 and resubmitted in 2010.
Was not published.
Also see index on capitalism.
Capitalism is not failing--it is a victim of identity theft.
If I give you a gun, does it make you a protector or thug? Depends. Depends on what you do with the gun. Same with stocks that are merely symbols of capital in defining if you are capitalist or something else.
The true, literal substance of capitalism reflects its semantic origin from "capita," that is, how people use their "heads." Productive heads have leftover goods and services which they trade for the symbols of capital, metals, jewels or paper. Abraham Lincoln understood the relation and importance of substance to symbols when he wrote that labor preceded capital.
Productive heads have true "profits", that is, forward existence (pro esse) from creating more than they consume. A profitable person can honestly claim the semantic cousin of profit: pride. Proud is a true capitalist.
Indentity theft has occurred in economics. Like a murderer using a gun to destroy the real capita so are Wall Street funny paper pushers using the symbols of capital to destroy heads at work. If you use capital symbols to decapitalize production and decapitate employment, you are a decapitalist guilty of economic bloodshed.
As semantic thieves, decapitalists have hijacked many good terms. Do illegal thieves have a profit. No. Nor do legal thieves who steal playing with paper.
One can create profits but not take profits. Decapitalists are misfits without profits. Mud, not proud.
Capitalism is not failing. Aided and abetted by tenured economists, habitual politicians enable and ennoble Wall Street decapitalists to legally raid retirements with false claims of free markets. Decapitalism's false prophets foster false profits .
Unending decapitalistic cancers require crisis intervention to sustain the metastasis: infusion of government funny paper from national debt or money presses. Celebrating economic revival from deficit stimulus is akin to cheering a terminally ill patient wanting to dance after injecting crack cocaine.
Surrounded by liars, we are liars who lie to ourselves. We respect wealth without re-inspecting its origin: medical doctor or drug dealer, capitalist or decapitalist, worth or worthless. Our economic body fails as diseased organs compete for vanishing resources. Our economic engine protests and screams as its lubrication becomes a thinning worthless dollar.
As cancerous decapitalists playing with funny paper, we are not creative capitalists working with real problems. We are failing ourselves. Capitalism is not failing, for it is a victim of identity theft.
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