Capitalism Produced Trump: Another Reason to Move Beyond It

President Donald Trump departs the Oval Office, where he was to sign two executive orders related to trade, at the White House in Washington, March 31, 2017. (Photo: Eric Thayer / The New York Times)President Donald Trump departs the Oval Office, where he was to sign two executive orders related to trade, at the White House in Washington, March 31, 2017. (Photo: Eric Thayer / The New York Times)

Capitalism’s problems and difficulties have produced the contorted politics of the Trump period, and in the coming months we can expect more of the instability, inequality and injustice that’s endemic to the system. But exchanging the Trump-Bannon regime for a “normal” capitalism will return us precisely to the system that produced Trump and Bannon in the first place.

President Donald Trump departs the Oval Office, where he was to sign two executive orders related to trade, at the White House in Washington, March 31, 2017. (Photo: Eric Thayer / The New York Times)President Donald Trump departs the Oval Office, where he was to sign two executive orders related to trade, at the White House in Washington, March 31, 2017. (Photo: Eric Thayer / The New York Times)

The fact that Trump, Bannon and the rest of their coterie do not think through the implications of their acts is not unusual. One marked peculiarity of politics in capitalist systems is how those systems train politicians. Corporations and the rich provide the funds that enable election victories. They expect specific favors in return: a government order, a tariff, crisis bailouts, or a foreign intervention, for example. Politicians in office must deliver those, or risk removal. Politicians must also veneer those deliveries with verbiage about the national interest, the people’s safety, job creation and other vague yet vital-sounding priorities. The act of thinking through their actions’ implications — let alone publicly explaining such complexities — exceeds the capacity and need of many political leaders. They usually do the favors (or, at least, most of them) while allaying popular concerns with public posturing. If and when that fails, they repress those concerns.

It is impossible to identify, measure and trace the influences on every political decision. Politicians hope that their positions are strengthened, or at least not too badly damaged, by whatever consequences are attributed to their actions. No matter how…

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