- Moloch



This is the fourth chapter of The NEXT THRILLING CHAPTER. It’s the anti-capitalist chapter



... When I run over in my mind the various commonwealths flourishing today, so help me God, I can see nothing in them but a conspiracy of the rich, who are fattening up their own interests under the name and title of the commonwealth. They invent ways and means to hang on to whatever they have acquired by sharp practice, and then they scheme to oppress the poor by buying up their toil and labour as cheaply as possible...


(Thomas More, 1516)



I can hardly pretend I’m a committed anti-capitalist. Money has passed through my hands over the course of my life, and yet, by the grace of God, I’ve never been rich—so what do I know about capitalism? On the other hand, I’ve been fortunate. I’ve never starved, I’ve always had a roof over my head—so what do I know about capitalism?

     I know what I don’t like. If capitalism must be identified with an ideology that not only excuses but commends the unregulated exercise of economic power to the detriment of those who lack that power, then it’s not to my taste. If that ideology is so constructed that those who exercise power feel excused from all moral responsibilty because the hidden hand of Adam Smith will ensure that what must happen will happen (so long as their pursuit of wealth is unchecked) then I find it reprehensible.

     Yet when I see some of Trump’s supporters suckered by their longing to return to an incoherent mix of irresponsibility and blind trust, I wonder: are my own hopes any more realistic? Is my longing for a better, fairer world any less childish?

     Given these doubts, I’m hardly cut out to be a propagandist. Chapter 4 was an attempt to pretend I might be. The premise is, I hope, obvious: that capitalism is an organized racket, involving corruption, deceit and murder. This is taking a one-sided and negative view of the situation, but I didn’t feel it exactly required me to lie. The thesis might be justified by example; there are always people who take advantage of a situation, and try to get away with whatever they can get away with. No sense being either too innocent or too cynical about it.

     But, unless I’m willing to accept that capitalism is, in its essence, a criminal enterprise, I figure I’m entitled to gripe when I see some of these hyenas getting away with murder...