Reconciling what it meant to be an anti-capitalist living in the Modern West, and especially America, has been a definitive time in my life (it has taken a while). As an artist, capitalism represents a severe form of exchange: something completely human (an idea expressed creatively) in exchange for something completely inhuman (money). Most workers are asked for at least one of their own, and most important, natural resources: time.
American capitalism has distilled itself into the essence of identity. What children study, what they are pressured to choose early on in life, what they are inundated by through young adulthood, are all social pressures based on the influence of money and not a personal truth. So while plenty of people build successful lives around these constructs, raise families of their own and the like, an emptiness remains among what was promised: Is this it?
Money will always interfere with quests for truth because it is a falsehood. It is a wholly invented and controlled yet singularly universal system of exchange. Deep down everybody knows this at some level (other maniacal institutions like organized religion tend to at least impress the dangers of gold, but usually it’s the wizard stories that attract an audience). It is not a natural phenomenon but we let it control the wonders and possibilities of our world. Money dictates the fate of all and for many it is the least but most important part of that life.
The argument for capitalism and globalism is that it stopped world war. However the tertiary wars fought by the Russians and Americans in the Middle East are just as destructive; they’re just easier to ignore. (Not to mention the irony of bin Laden’s CIA training and that these ‘off-site’ conflicts have now brought the world to a terrifying precipice of control.)
As capitalism threatens to destabilize western democracy – at which point I wholly imagine large, recognizably stable corporations to become ‘safe spaces’ and eventually ensure a global corporate state – it’s driving most of America mad. And I think it’s because everybody at some level understands the great lie that exists under all this horror; that somehow we sold our souls for this, long ago, and probably never had an option otherwise, and all that collective negative energy of feeling restricted by such a fabrication is beginning to show some teeth.
There is something incredibly dangerous about a world that is this socially accelerated. If everybody thinks things are coming apart at the seams, they’ll likely find a way to split.
Somewhere in Brooklyn