I recall two grocery stores, a Publix, which is an ESOP, and a Winn-Dixie, at the opposite ends of a strip mall, each competing and thriving and selling groceries. I saw the same shoppers go in each store at various times, and I saw workers submit applications at each store, yet one store gave the employees the profits in the form of stock, while the other store sent all profits to Wall Street. Politicians had no real impact on whether the shoppers or employees wanted the profits to stay in the community or be shipped off to distant shareholders. The “capitalist form of wealth distribution” is not a law, like gravity, or even manslaughter or speeding.

When workers and shoppers are presented with two options, one owned by workers which therefor retains all profits within the community, and another that ships all profits out of the community, yet the workers and shoppers seem indifferent to which one they support, it is clear that the workers and shoppers, the residents of the community, are indifferent to whether corporations re-invest in the community or bleed it dry. And yes, you protest, many are uninformed and do not realize there is a huge difference between a Publix and a Winn-Dixie, and you would be right. Plus, some are actually under the impression that there is a law of some kind forcing capitalist corporations to send all profits to distant shareholders. But there is no such law. (Though, yes, politicians can make it easier or more difficult to run, or foster, coops or ESOPs, which are both technically corporations existing in the capitalist economic-system. )

It is clear there is a vulture style “capitalist form of wealth distribution” corporation, and a community sustaining “capitalist form of wealth distribution” corporation, but explaining the differences doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker. Politicians don’t change the economy, or determine which type of corporation to start or work at or shop at. Expecting politicians to change the economy is like disliking a dish at a restaurant, complaining to the waiter, and then expecting the waiter to change the recipe. The consumers must stop ordering the crap and then the cooks will change the recipe. Change comes from changing what we are doing, starting or shopping at or working at a vulture style corporation versus a community sustaining corporation. (In case my points are lost, politics and economics have different words describing them for a reason, and democracy in the workplace is non-existent in most corporations yet thriving at worker cooperative corporations, where workers also have a say in the plastic packaging, and wealth distribution, and many other things that affect humans.)

I am apparently not very charismatic, so here’s an informative video from somebody with a bit more charisma.

The Story of Solutions:

 

Hat tip to Professor Gar Alperovitz and the Story of Stuff for the video.

PS: I recall in undergrad a prof saying the short definition of Pol-Sci was “who gets what and when.” He was obviously referring to taxes. Then I studied accounting, and went on to law school and thought more about how things work and interact, all the while thinking I should have become a psychologist since humans are so emotional and self-absorbed … hmm, the more I learn the less I understand. Politics seems to me like the movie poster outside the theater, not really relevant to [economic] script-writing, just affecting the perceptions of passer-bys. Or, as a friend frequently says, “Politics is theater for ugly people.”