Is capitalism destroying the fabric of our society? Peter Joseph, the founder of the Zeitgeist Movement, argues that it is. His philosophy is at the center of Abolishing Capitalism, an Empire Files documentary hosted by acclaimed journalist Abby Martin.
The film is essentially a long form interview with Joseph as he sounds off on a variety of topics, including banks, the stock market, debt, and class division. In his view, capitalism is a scourge that has eroded our capacity for empathy. It promotes the irrational consumption of goods and services, shamelessly appeals to our primal need for social inclusion, and corrupts in its ability to reshape our priorities. In the process, it sets the stage for bringing out our worst misogynistic, racist and exclusionary instincts. Advertising is the means by which the system is able to perpetuate itself.
The average person often fails to recognize the cancer of capitalism. By design, the process is covert and muddied in complexity. The movers and shakers of the financial industry in the United States - the Wall Street traders and tycoons - create nothing. They merely make money from money. The elite line their pockets with increasing bundles of wealth while the lower and middle classes continue to struggle. Corporations are equally ruthless in their attempts to exploit the vulnerable masses. In one such scenario, Joseph exposes a major company that takes out life insurance policies on its employees. Every aspect of the financial sector is driven by profit, including the sanctity of life and death itself.
Joseph extends these grievances to the state of the world's underdeveloped countries, global starvation and poverty, and the degradation of the environment.
It's not all doom and gloom, however. His message is also aspirational. Collectively, our best and brightest have the power to transcend the capitalistic model, fully commit to the promise of renewable energy, conserve our precious resources, dismantle class divides and cure societal ills.
Abolishing Capitalism offers no counter argument to Joseph's assertions. But it does provide viewers with concepts that are worthy of careful thought and debate, and which might inspire activism for change.