Capitalism, where is it going? I suppose we could look at the most developed capitalist country in the world and gain some idea. America, King Capitalist, the big boy in the game, the pinnacle of capitalist development, what does it show us? Over the last six years, America's wealth has grown by over $30 trillion, a staggering 60%, over roughly the same period, the number of homeless children has grown by the same staggering figure, 60%. In 2013, 2.5 million children experienced homelessness, 1 in 30. According to UNICEF, America has the highest child relative poverty rates in the developed world.
Homelessness in America is another indicator of what capitalism brings to people, approximately 3.5 million people experience homelessness in America each year. Roughly 15% of Americans, 4.8 million, live in poverty, with 7.7 million classified as living in poor households. These are figures from the crowning glory of capitalism.
Apart from the poverty and homelessness in America, there is a much more sinister aspect to American capitalism, the road that we are all heading down, its prison system. America incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, its recent figures stand at 2.3 million, of its citizens locked up, mostly Black and Hispanic. America has locked up half a million more people than China, which has five time the population of the US. America, with 5% of the world's population, accounts for 25% of the world's prison population.
The prison system in America is big business, the system is highly privatised and a wonderful money maker for the corporate world.
“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work, lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”
The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”
The US prison business is no small-fry production unit, this is BIG business. The American prison system produces for the American market,
100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts pants, tents, bags and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98 percent of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93 percent of paints and paintbrushes; 92 percent of stove assembly; 46 percent of body armor; 36 percent of home appliances; 30 percent of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21 percent of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.”
When you can get that kind of labor for less than a dollar a day, it’s hard to see the government’s motivation for incarcerating fewer people. And it’s all done at the taxpayer’s expense.