The Truth Behind Crapitalism*

The Truth Behind Capitalism

Truth Behind Politics UK (2015)

Film Review

The Truth Behind Capitalism examines the current demonization of “socialism” in the mainstream media and the corporate interests who drive it. It begins by exploring growing interest in Marxism stemming from the obvious failure of capitalism to cope with the 2008 economic collapse. It also attempts to correct the popular misconception that Karl Marx was responsible for the totalitarian dictatorship that developed in the former Soviet Union. About half the film is devoted to three century battle against central banks and the privilege governments grant them to create debt-based money out of thin air. It incorporates lengthy segments from Inside Job, an excellent 2010 documentary narrated by Matt Damon.

The filmmakers, who describe Marx as a sociologist, philosopher and student of capitalism, maintain his central concern was capitalism’s use of exploitation and oppression to keep poor people poor. Oversimplifying considerably, they summarize his ideal society as one run by workers themselves through a combination of worker cooperatives and state owned enterprises.

The film ends with examples from all over the world – including the 2008 Iceland revolution, the Occupy movement and the rise of Syriza in Greece – of working people organizing to strip private banks of the control they exert over our lives.


*Crapitalism (def): an economic system that treats ordinary people like crap. See A Mini-Dictionary of Neoliberalism

20 thoughts on “The Truth Behind Crapitalism*

  1. Wish I could say I learned something from this film, maybe i’m just slow but I think we need a more definitive explanation of bankruptcy of capitalism.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to agree with Alan. To summarize briefly, the capitalist economy is on the verge of collapse because so many people are jobless they have ceased to spend money. Meanwhile there is no cure for unemployment when banks have cut off credit for industrial expansion, which is largely blamed on unsustainable debt levels. And debt can only increase when we have an economic system in which banks create money out of thin air every time they issue a loan.

      Gerry, I’m not sure if you have seen the films “Money as Debt” or “97% Owned” but they’re both available free online and provide an elegant illustration of how our global monetary system operates.

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  2. I haven’t watched the film, but if half of it is about banks and ‘the privilege governments grant them to create debt-based money out of thin air’ than it’s on the right track. Dear Gerry – you don’t need to understand much more than that to see why capitalism doesn’t work.

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      • Very much enjoyed the video. A lot of important information presented in an accessible format.

        About why Marx perhaps didn’t spend more time writing about privately issued debt-based credit: banking is not the primary destabilizing factor of the system although an exacerbating one, one which the financial sector knows how to use to further concentrate real world productive assets into the hands of the uber rich.

        Debt-free credit issuance is perfectly compatible with capitalism, which is what “QE” is, although only for the oligarchs. Private ownership of the means of production is the crux of the issue; so long as production is the production of commodities for sale in the market at higher than their cost of production, economic crises are inevitable.

        Both selling for profit and preserving a situation where the majority has no stake in the ownership of productive property, where the majority remains expropriated from the means of subsistence, are for Marx the nub of the issue.

        Resolving the banking issue by nationalizing credit only amounts to this: the disappearance of but one fraction of the capitalist class, leaving the field less crowded for the remaining private monopolies in the game of wealth appropriation.

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        • Norman, you make a good point about nationalizing credit only eliminating a fraction of the capitalist class. It’s a reform. And most people who call themselves Marxists don’t believe that reform will ever solve the misery caused by capitalism – they believe that capitalism itself must be totally dismantled. Unless the capitalists are stripped of economic and political power, they will simply undo the reforms.

          The problem organizers face is that it’s virtually impossible to go out in the street and build a self-governing movement capable of dismantling capitalism. It’s only realistic to build a movement around reforms and to use this movement to educate and empower people to progressively take back control of various aspects of their lives.

          Here in New Zealand, I’m friendly with people in the New Economic Party who make the same argument you do – that we’re going to create all this lovely publicly controlled money and the capitalists are just going to grab it away from us again. They propose preventing this from happening by combining publicly controlled sovereign money with a Land Value Tax. I thought you might find their thinking interesting: http://neweconomics.net.nz/index.php/2015/07/tax-reform-or-monetary-reform-which-is-most-important/

          But again. They are talking about changing the political/economic system through reform. And I honestly don’t think this is how it will happen.

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          • By the way, I agree:

            “The problem organizers face is that it’s virtually impossible to go out in the street and build a self-governing movement capable of dismantling capitalism. It’s only realistic to build a movement around reforms and to use this movement to educate and empower people to progressively take back control of various aspects of their lives.”

            That is, although the reforms, even if successfully implemented in the short term, will eventually fall short of their intended effect, the movement serves to educate us about what we are up against. We have no other means at hand, for the time being, for pushing back against the plutocrats.

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      • Like you, my take on public banking and Georgism is that they are a best, even taken together, a short term fix (that is, a short term stimulus to economic activity as we currently understand that) and in essence — which is also how both Marx and Engels saw it — a redistribution of profit, which continues to be extracted from wage dependent slavery, among capitalist monopolies concentrated in industrial and market distribution activities.

        The reason these reforms strike us as progressive is because for the most part our thinking has been conditioned by our social context, and it is the thinking characteristic of the petite bourgeoisie who see in these reforms, and rightly so, money making opportunities for themselves since they have to produce goods and services in order to thrive: the less overhead they have to carry, the better off they will be, and least for a time.

        However, as you know, for-profit market dynamics being what they are, long term economic stagnation and recurrent crises are unavoidable. It just doesn’t work and cannot work.

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