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Some obscuring ideological beliefs of capitalism

Barbara Goodrich, Ph.D.


E.g.: You won't see the class dimension of exploitation if you focus only on the individuals involved. You can keep emphasis there on the individuals by putting people on the defensive. "Are you worthy enough to get a good job?"   (This is a distortion of perspective, a question that omits much, and leads to an answer that omits much.)   This also makes people feel that, since no one else will help them, they must be responsible for getting a good wage by themselves, and therefore they must be able to get one, if they were just hard-working or bright enough.
(The downside of Nietzsche is that he tends to fall into this way of thinking. Sometimes your being stuck in a lousy job just isn't your fault! In fact, usually it's not your fault. In these circumstances, anger at the people "on top" isn't resentful slave morality; it's perfectly justified, and the first step towards changing things! Also, notice, most of the socio-economic "masters" in this society buy into "slave morality" at least as much as, if not more than, the working class.)

E.g. There is a strategy sometimes used by economics professors to attempt to "disprove" complaints about high unemployment. The strategy is to wave a "help wanted" newspaper section at one's students. "See how many jobs there are out there?" Of course, there are more jobs available than we find advertised in papers, and in any case these numbers are meaningless without a knowledge of how many people were looking for jobs - often many times the number of jobs available in any given area.  (So this strategy suppresses evidence by referring to some numbers -- out of context -- while ignoring more relevant ones.)

E.g.: Take the rage that many people do feel, though they're not certain why they feel it, & direct it at the wrong targets!
Rage against criminals & lenient court systems, rage against government regulations (angry white male, etc.),
And keep the focus on targets like these, so that the real perpetrator(s) remains in background.

Rage at movie stars and athletes making "too much" money, so that other people, who are making vast amounts by exploiting people, stay in the background.   (This is a distortion of perspective, redirecting focus from the "foreground" to the "background.")

Eg:  "Have we reached equal pay for equal work between men & women yet? Between different race groups?" This question obscures the fact that average income is dropping. The old criterion for a fair wage was what a working married man could raise a family on, according to the expectations of his class. Bachelors were paid less, and single women even less. The new criterion, "equal pay for equal work," sounds more fair, but ignores the fact that many incomes aren't sufficient to raise a family on.   Now, both parents usually have to work to make ends meet.   (Here, one good question is used to obscure another good question.)

Eg:  "Women shouldn't be at work. They should be at home with their kids." Obscures the fact that most working moms have to work, because their spouses, companions, ex-husbands, don't make enough.
When people start pointing this out, the usual move is to make those spouses, companions, etc., feel that their low wages are their own fault, ie shifting focus to individual, to obscure the class dimension, and to redirect blame.

E.g.: Presupposition: "We," "our national interests." "Are our national interests being protected?"  
Who is this "we"? What precisely are these "interests" and whose are they? At what cost and to whom are they being protected?   Frequently the "we" is just a few U.S.-based, but really transnational, large corporations, which have no loyalty to the U.S..   And what is in their best interests is frequently not in the interests of most U.S. citizens.     

E.g.: Presupposition: conflating different kinds of "freedom": "How can we best promote the developing freedom in China, by using our leverage in our trade relations with them, or by using threats?"
The freedom of civil rights, confused with a "free" market in China or "free trade" with China. Further, will a "free" economy produce a free society?

E.g. The implicit: "How valuable are you?" based on valuing commodities first, and people second. Putting the cart before the horse. Fetishism of commodities.

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