Dear Unknown Friends:
Here is part 4 of Eli Siegel’s lecture Shame Goes with It All—one of the historic Goodbye Profit System talks he gave beginning in 1970. In them is the means to understand the economic tribulation of America now: for example, the huge debt, including student debt, burdening millions of people; the feeling you may lose your job at any moment—if you have one at all; the being paid much less than once; the fact that millions of people who considered themselves middle class no longer are; the fact that hunger is real and widespread—over a fifth of America’s children are “food-insecure.”
As I have described in these TROs: Eli Siegel explained in 1970 that a way of economics which was always cruel, and which is based on an ugly motive, no longer works. The profit motive is the motive, not to see a person justly, but to get as much money for yourself as possible from his labor or needs while giving him as little as you can. Economics impelled by it, Mr. Siegel showed, has failed and will never recover. To succeed now an economy needs to be based on ethics: the oneness of individual expression and justice to all people.
The lecture we’re serializing is about the fact that shame has always accompanied profit economics. That is because the profit way is fundamentally against the purpose of our lives. There are, Aesthetic Realism makes clear, two desires fighting in us. One is the desire to like the world, see big meaning in it, and add to that meaning. This is our deepest desire; it’s what our lives are for. Our other, completely opposed desire is to have contempt: get an “addition to self through the lessening of something else.” The profit system arises from contempt, and this economic way brings out the contempt, and shame, of those involved in it.
In the section published here, Mr. Siegel refers to unions. One of the biggest campaigns of our time is the gigantic effort to annihilate unions. It is run and massively funded by persons who think the wealth of America should belong to only a few. Read more