The American Guide to Being a Capitalist

You may think that it’s difficult to be part of the owner class here in the United States.  In reality, all it takes is millions of dollars from your family and a very simple formula, perfected over generations by Rockefellers, Waltons and more.  A proper capitalist would charge for these instructions, but then again, they probably wouldn’t tell you at all.  Enjoy the guide and let me know if you get rich(er).

Inherit money. Buy land. Build factory. Import raw materials.

This is the easy part.  Also, all the other parts are easy parts, because you’re already rich. There are no portions of this guide which present any difficulty whatsoever, which is why it’s so shocking that you’re not already on the final step.  I once heard rumors that some people will not inherit piles of cash from their families, but I’ve investigated, and it turns out these are not people; they are workers.  Huge difference.

Find workers who can’t afford to buy land or build a factory and tell them to make stuff.  Take that income, pocket most of it and give them a little. Never provide enough to buy their own land or factory.

Pretty straightforward.  Previous capitalists have kept unemployment high to ensure you’ll always have a steady supply of desperate workers on tap.  Pay careful attention to the final portion of the statement.  If we start letting workers buy factories, soon they’ll want to hire people and share the wealth.  It’s a slippery slope from there.  If we aren’t careful to keep workers out of the capital class, we could see major problems such as an end to unemployment and less bonus money.

Repeat until you’re filthy rich.

Lobby to erode workers’ rights so they can’t fight back. Lobby to remove the social safety net to make them rely on your wages.

Now that you’ve gone from rich to filthy rich, you have money to provide to the government in exchange for favorable outcomes.  In any other sector or economy, this is referred to as a “bribe.”  Fear not, though, because bribes are for workers.  This is lobbying.  With this money, you can get rulings such as “Right to Work” legislation, which prevents employees from forming a solid alliance of workers to look out for their collective interests.  This can save you from expensive benefit and wage increases that can severely cut into your large yearly bonuses.

Another option is the introduction of bills that limit government assistance of any kind for any number of silly reasons.  The less workers can depend on a safety net if they’re laid off by the owners, the more you can cut into their benefits and working conditions without complaints.  Nothing creates pliant workers like sheer desperation.  (Note:  Some owners are going after the ultimate prize – cuts to Social Security – which would help guarantee reliance on wages until death.  This is a highly desirable outcome.)

Lay off people to keep unemployment high enough so that the market doesn’t affect labor costs.

Back in the day, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were hitting homers off every pitcher… the announcers called it “a batter’s game.”  It was classic American exploitation.  They should’ve used that power to lobby for deregulation of steroids, but they simply skirted the rules, which is only a short term solution in baseball as in capitalism.  In the end, they were regulated out of existence and now they’re spreading the wealth of home runs through baseball’s version of socialism.

The point is that we need to mind our supply and demand.  In short, we’re the batters and it’s our game.  Our steroids come in the form of automation, layoffs, outsourcing, and other tools to keep a percentage of the workers from actually working.  As long as we keep the supply of jobs low and the demand high, we can provide whatever kind of conditions and wages we’d like, and we’ll always have a cheap and compliant pool of labor to choose from on those occasions when we need some real work done.

Market their products with celebrity endorsements and commercials that tie the use of their product to improved self esteem.

Nike is your role model here.  Back in the 1990s, kids were literally murdering each other for Air Jordans because Nike, Jordan, and every magazine and TV show aimed at their demographic emphasized how socially unacceptable it was to not have a pair.  They have sponsored the vast majority of marketable athletes over the last three decades to the tune of billions in profits, but their shoes only cost them about twenty bucks a pair from factory to store.  The best part?  They don’t even make the shoes.

Mark the product up another 30% because the marketing worked.

Nike didn’t always charge $180 for a pair of shoes like they’re doing with the new LeBron X Denims, which are again causing people to literally murder each other, but the point of spending all that money on celebrity endorsements is to convince kids they’re going to be more popular and better at sports once they lace up.  You’re not going to convince them of anything if your product is priced reasonably… that just screams “dorky.”  So raise the price of whatever you’re selling.  Nobody wants to be labeled as reasonable and dorky.

Give yourself a huge bonus. Tell employees that times are tight and cut their hours so you don’t have to provide healthcare.

It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s best to do these things at the same time.  For example, a retail company recently paid out huge retention bonuses to several high ranking executives (some of which weren’t even retained, despite the name of the bonus) just weeks before releasing scores of non-executives.  This seemingly agitating move actually serves to remind workers that they are expendable and that challenging the system will not be tolerated.  It’s a sobering moment when you see your peers lose jobs while those at the top reward themselves with lavish extra pay.  (You can Google this one.)

Retire. Live off the money you stashed in the Caymans when they tried to make you pay taxes.

This is where all of your “work” ends.  You’ve helped maintain the status quo by lobbying for an easier life for your millionaire peers and you’ve helped keep the working class under the boot of the owners.  You’ve maintained the permanent underclass to keep the labor market in favor of the capital class.  After all this exploitation, you deserve a nice retirement.  With the money you stashed offshore to avoid paying taxes (which had the added bonus of reduced education funding, ensuring public school kids grow up to stay in the working class) you can buy an island and live out your years in pure happiness, oblivious to the damage you’ve caused to society.

And when your glorious retirement ends in a painless death at a world-class hospital, your legacy continues…

Leave a large inheritance to your kids so they can start over at the top.