Daily Archives: November 13, 2011

It’s Everybody’s Business

I saw clips from this chamber of commerce cartoon in the documentary on the Greek crisis, Debtocracy, and found it in its entirety on youtube. It’s probably safe to say that the version of capitalism asserted by the cartoon– and its vision of US history as a Horatio Alger-style narrative of “struggling upward” completely purged of chattel slavery and the theft of indigenous lands– remains compelling for some people. In that sense what we have here is fantasy in its most active sense– the indispensable “screen” filtering out the Real of history. Yet it’s also instructive that the cartoon essentially defends the necessity of taxation in order to provide a bare minimum of social welfare. Made in 1954, It’s Everybody’s Business can’t imagine the changes in capitalism that will arise in just a few years. By the mid-70s global capital was in crisis, oil prices (the blood of production) had quadrupled, profits were falling, and postFordism was beginning to de-industrialize the US and other leading economic powers. The Golden Age was over and new means of accumulation had to be located. One of these was the burgeoning use of credit by workers, a compensation for wages which have remained stagnant throughout the Neoliberal Era.