There’s a lot of talk about how Capitalism is the greatest form of economy (which is a nice way of what I really want to say which is, “during American presidential elections the two candidates lazily lap at the bell-end of Capitalism’s drunk, semi-chubby hoping to prove how American and presidential they are by glazing their faces in corporate ball goo”). Free market capitalism will fix all ills. “Remove your restrictions, for the market shall correct any injustices.” Riiiiiight, that’s why Upton Sinclair had to write The Jungle, because the free market was working with flawless precision.
Let’s look at my myopic, devoid-of-nuance-or-alternative-ideas view of capitalism:
Open on grocery store. Grocer drops apple. Person picks up apple, before handing it to Grocer, takes a small bite out of the apple.
Grocer: What the hell? You owe me $1.
Citizen: What!?! Why?
Grocer: You took a bite out of this apple.
Citizen: That apple? The one that was on the ground? Yeah, I did. That bite, that tiny nibble is my compensation for the labor I provided you.
Grocer: Your labor? Your–
Citizen: Yeah, the work it took to retrieve your errant apple. In this scenario, it didn’t seem like compensation was forthcoming, so given market economics, I valued the labor I provided to you as the equivalent of that bite, that substandard, mealy bite of that unwashed ground apple.
Grocer: Hmmm. Okay, you’re right. For the minuscule effort you put forward, you deserved equivalent compensation . . .
Citizen: Thank you, I’m glad you recognize–
Grocer: HOWEVER. If you are asserting yourself as part of the labor force, I, as the employer, have to factor in the overhead and risk on my supplier end which affects your compensation. The space you’re standing in costs me rent and your simple existence in that space is a liability for which I have to pay insurance and–
Citizen: Wait, wait, wait, hold on, you can’t expect me to–
Grocer: Can’t expect you to consider the cost of your very existence? Yet I am expected to calculate post-facto the value of your labor in a vacuum?
Citizen: Nice try, but as an employer, all of these calculations should be built into the price of your product. If your prices aren’t premeditated with overhead having a bearing on your prices, then it is incumbent upon me, the labor market and consumer to correct your oversight.
Grocer: Ha! That assumes the labor market, which grows unchecked annually, has any power in the market and isn’t a neutered stray dog desperate for scraps, competing to sup up sewer water.
Citizen: Seems harsh to liken me to a stray dog.
Grocer: Not you, ALL labor is akin to a stray dog with a basketball sized tumor hopelessly longing for anyone to just look at its red rocket let alone permit it to dry hump a couch that is being thrown out. I reject your labor price offer, yet you STOLE your compensation regardless. Not only are you not entitled to compensation for your labor, by my calculations, you owe me for your audacity. You owe me for the percentage of time you spend in here that affects my insurance; plus rent; minus the specialized skill you possess to crouch, retrieve and extend your arm to hand it back; plus utilities; carry the three; minus marketing budget; my time that you have monopolized which could have been better spent tending to the needs of this retail outlet; then there’s taxes; my bonuses; security; stocking fees–
Citizen: Wait! Go back, your bonuses, bonuses plural?
Grocer: Of course. Performance bonus and incentive-not-to-go-bonkers-and-masturbate-in-the-middle-of-the-cereal-isle-bonus. If I didn’t get these bonuses, what’s my incentive to stay and lead this rickety ship? If I didn’t have these bonuses, then I’d be destitute.
Citizen: Gimme that apple! (Snatches the apple, takes another massive bite, turns it into a pipe, smokes weed out of it, pees on it, hands it back) Now, give me the funds I deserve. One dollar, thank you.
Grocer: I am now going to garnish your future earning potential, the clean-up will cost you a bone marrow donation that I’ll tell you up front that I’ll be using as a garnish for my foie gras, and I also own your grandmother that will be used by my stock boy as a jelly sleeve. I hope you’re proud of yourself. Also, you will be–Hey, Bag Boi Billy, bring the brand–branded as a hippy leftist communist socialist anti-business radical (not in the ninja turtle sense) Castroite pro-terror pinko. Because I have a marketing budget that I can use to literally drop a turd on the faces of evil grinder-monkeys like you and make it seem like it was your idea and you’re not grateful.
Citizen: [scream crying, throwing his wallet at the Grocer then curling into a ball and sucking his thumb] I should have gone to Piggly Wiggly.
Grocer: [flipping through the wallet] Just be happy you’re not a woman. [Spits on the Citizen.]
Moral of the story: Mess with the bull market, get the horns.