Wednesday, October 5, 2016
It's About Time, But...
...Why didn't the principles involved in this horrendous example of usury got to jail. Also, the fine does seem to match the magnitude of the outright theft that was going on here, but we don't get the full context of how this amount compares to what the lending company made overall during the time that these outrageous interest rates were being charged. If many billions were profited, does even a billion and a half suffice as punishment?
It is heartening, though, to read that company owner, race car driver Scott Tucker, may face criminal charges in another case pending in Manhattan. One can only hope that ultimate justice prevails there.
This is, of course, just one example of how the payday loan industry preys upon people who have no other alternative. What we see in this is the other side of Capitalism, apart from the structural realities that now make it obsolete. The side that embraces greed without any moral compass whatsoever. In this, though, we also have to realize that, as a system, it was never conceived to value moral constraint. It was simply a mechanism by which to organize and coordinate the utilization of capital in maximizing the efficiency of labor, production, and markets, where efficiency was a combination of both the maximization of profit, proper division of labor, and the distribution of output so that capital could keep up a constant reinforcing circulation. Nowhere in this is there any outright mandate for any consideration of social equity; which is of course why it has always been so saturated with disenfranchisement, abuse, and misery driven conflict.
The one thing you do have to acknowledge about Capitalism is that it was certainly an amazing engine for general material gain, as well as in advances in science and productive capability. Of that there can be no doubt. Saying that, however, does not in any way mitigate the observation that a tremendous price was paid for that gain. It also doesn't change the observation that the system itself, through its own advances in science, has made the mechanism described above no longer viable.
This is so because human labor was always meant to be a fundamental component in the mechanism; both as the essential element of labor, as well as the major part of the consumptive end of things (so that capital could be recycled). Labor as a commodity, however, has changed drastically now that production is globalized, and that machines can compete against humans ever more effectively. By driving the value of human labor down, that competitive disadvantage has thrown an electronic monkey wrench into the works, disrupting the continued recycling; where the increasing ability of production can be absorbed by human consumers (they can't buy what they can't afford after all); as well as, and perhaps far more importantly, outstripping the human ability to change skill at the pace that our new, technology driven, hyper competition demands; something which the machines have no problem at all with.