hungarian horntail dragon at universal studios

Unregulated Predatory Capitalism

Whenever you catch yourself in self-blame over being tired, broke, frustrated, and depressed, get into the habit of casting the blame on “unregulated predatory capitalism”. The problem isn’t you — it’s not that you’re not macho enough or righteous enough or sufficiently virtuous. Besides having to recover from being traumatized by unregulated predatory capitalism, you’re mostly ok. If you weren’t broke all the time, there’s a lot more stuff that would be taken care of around you, but again, that’s not your fault. It’s unregulated predatory capitalism. 

Control of trade was something held closely by the Church, so when the English colonies in America created a land without a Church, they also created a land without any rules except for any specifically adopted after the constitution was signed. So anything not specifically illegal, no matter how immoral, was okay. We are now in possession of a significant body of regulatory law that has eliminated a great deal of what had been legal, yet immoral, and insofar as we put resources into maintaining these regulations, they have been greatly beneficial. Yet still anything not monitored or categorically prohibited is allowed, no matter how evil, immoral, or soul-draining as it may be. In many ways we still live in a pirate nation: the never-never land of the free.

When you hear folks voicing support about the “free market”, what they want is more unregulated predatory capitalism. When folks talk about wanting to “cut taxes”, what they mean is that they want more unregulated predatory capitalism. When you get advice that you need to work harder to stand out, that’s because of unregulated predatory capitalism. When a company that posts profits in the billions raises prices 2-3x and lays off tens of thousands of employees — that’s unregulated predatory capitalism. Virtually any problem you see in the world can be traced to unregulated predatory capitalism.

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Write it on a note or a card and take it out to read on the regular. Remind yourself that there is a great evil in the world, and you’re immersed in it. Like a demon from a medieval grimoire, it has a name, and with that name you can devise a defense and even take control. Say the name aloud and place upon it the blame for all that thwarts you. 

“Unregulated predatory capitalism, you’re the reason my pants don’t fit!” 

“I can’t buy groceries in my neighborhood because of unregulated predatory capitalism!”

“I can’t afford a place to live in town because of unregulated predatory capitalism!”

You’re not broken, you’re being artificially restricted by rules designed to make the wealthy richer and crush the poor. It makes it hard to breathe, which makes it hard to think, and you don’t have the energy to fight against the system – as intended. It’s like a great dragon upon its hoard, throwing fire upon its enemies and squashing the people in its wake. It’s impossible for one person to control, and this is the key.

Alone, you are toast. If you feel toasted, that’s unregulated predatory capitalism. When people come together in great numbers, a dragon can be driven away, even captured. All of the words that are used for this action have been perjured in our culture: communes, communism, socialism, unions, social-unions. The key is the collective, it doesn’t matter what you call it. When the collective includes everyone, and everyone is given the resources they need to live well, everyone has a chance to grow and create and learn and give and love and share and provide.

There’s a reason those words have been demonized. Unregulated predatory capitalism doesn’t want to deal with you as a collective, but individually, where it can strip you of your rights and demand fealty under threat of violence. It wants to set the terms of the agreement, and be the hand of enforcement – and these are exactly the things it cannot do against an organized collective. The successes we have had have come from just such collective actions.

Do not be complacent and fail to appreciate the extremely violent danger that comes from confronting a dragon. Many had suffered and died in an effort to put limits on work weeks and work days. Those who benefit from the system – the predators, if you will – have rarely felt limited in the range of physical or economic damage they could inflict on a person or a town that thwarted them. They will not hesitate to destroy everything in an effort to control anything. This is the literal force that has kept you underpaid your entire life, unless you belong to a union and have a union job.

We had a civil war over whether it was okay to work people to death and while the union remained whole, I’m not sure that the idea of slavery ever really died. There seems to be this idea that some people don’t matter and deserve to work to death that has never gone away. Our entire agricultural economy is based on a couple of corporations that shed all the risk to local areas but collect all the profit from the local resources, and still require government subsidies and an unregulated, underpaid immigrant work force maintained through threat of deportation. That’s a lot of power and money flowing out of many hands and into a few. That’s unregulated predatory capitalism!

Illustrative image from

It’s not you. You’re okay. There was no accident, but the contrived result of a long game being played by extremely wealthy and disturbingly psychotic individuals who traumatized their children into keeping the game going. You’ll be unsurprised to know that these very people also live in fortresses surrounded by armed guards because you know how dragons are. If you want to continue to suffer under the boot, at least now you know who is wearing it, and that there’s not some sort of personal failing keeping you down.

If you want to get out from under the boot, you can always start today. Today is a good day to find someone to share a meal with, conspire about work or housing together, and start a union together. A big union is formed from a whole bunch of little unions that form between folks as a part of working together. If all you think of a union is strikes, consider that there are many kinds of unions besides workers’ unions: housing, utility, and agricultural for some. Anytime people agree to share in the cost to maintain a needed resource, everyone in that union benefits. Unions of two different kinds can merge to become a single, larger union that helps to maintain both things. 

The United States is a union of states, but also a union of all of the people in those states. We all agree to live by the rule of law, and reserve to our democratically representative government the right of violence under specific circumstances. Through this union, we have been peacefully self-governed through multiple transitions of government officials at every level. A brief scurry through the violent upheaval over the past five hundred years of European history should illuminate the value of this system. 

Inasmuch as we can manipulate the levers of the system at the state and federal levels, we should feel encouraged to do so. Coaxing, training, supporting, and funding representatives to office is a great way to have a direct impact on legislation and policy. While third parties offer a chance for ideological purity, working within the existing structures offers a more direct approach. It simply requires coordination and many hands in every state – this is usually done with money, but money isn’t required to spread an idea. Money doesn’t make a heart beat. When the dragon has all the money, you work with a different form of currency.

To confound the dragon, you need a currency that never runs out, and never diminishes in value, but which can’t be accumulated or controlled. One that builds and strengthens relationships and collectives. One that disappears when all the people are gone. When this currency becomes the reason for the decisions we make, then the dragons will be unable to control us economically.

As long as we persevere in the delusion of self sufficiency and toxic masculinity instead of working together for the common support of all, we will continue to feed our own children to the dragon.


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