Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Capitalism, Class, and the Matrix of Domination

Capitalism, Class, and the Matrix of the Domination’s thesis is “If race is socially constructed and doesn’t exist otherwise, and if human beings don’t have to be afraid of one another, then where does racism come from? Why all the oppression and hostility and violence over something that’s made up? And why would people make it up this way in the first place?” (41)

Johnson begins this article by telling how capitalism works which is simply “to turn money into more money.” (42) He tells of how capitalists’ main goal is to invest their money into pretty much anything as long as it makes them profit. No matter whether the product causes harm or provides benefits to people their main goal is make money. How capitalists invest their money is up to them and the values they hold close. Johnson says, “but the system itself doesn’t depend on such moral or ethical considerations, because profit is profit and there’s no way to tell “good” money from “bad.”’ (42) Capitalists earn their money from the products they sell which has to be sold more than what they paid for. In other words, the products are worth more than what the workers are making to make or produce the product. Workers really do not have a choice in the matter cause in this world either you are the person to set the rules, Capitalists, or you are the one to abide by them and hold on to your job, Workers. Johnson then further expands the article by stating the relationship between capitalism and class. It is because of capitalism why we have rich, upper-class, middle-class, and lower-class people. “The class system offers little security and takes an emotional toll” (44) on “employed members of the working class as well as many of those in the middle-class” (44). People within these classes have a very small chance of advancement in the workforce because of the new jobs which are created offers very little chance of advancement also these jobs are low-paying. Yet, Johnson relates all of this to how capitalism was the start of slavery. “Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin in 1792 made it possible to process far more cotton than before.” (45) It was because of this that other planters became “greedy” and wanted to make more money but for cheap. So, they set out and “recruited” slaves to do the work for them for no money instead of at least providing them with enough to have a decent standard of living. This wasn’t the only time that white people’s greed got the best of them. It was also during the times when they were trying to obtain more land as well as raw materials. “Whites managed to take what they wanted through a combination of conquest, genocide, and a complex array of treaties that were routinely ignored.” (45) It was because of this that whites made their race the most privileged because they needed something to justify their actions and make what was wrong right.

This article brings about the question, if this is how racism begun and the root to all of the violence and hostility which exists why haven’t it gone away yet? Which I believe Johnson makes a point of by stating how capitalism is a strong part of our society today. Many capitalists exist and still attempt to find workers to work for them for as little as possible. Much of this is seen in a lot of the outsourcing America does today. With all of the inequality that still exists in the class system I don’t think racism, violence and all the hostility which exist will go away. As long as people have to fight for their place this will continue to be an on-going battle.

Johnson does a really good job of explaining exactly how everything came about. I found this to be another interesting article. This article showed me how connected things are and if you don’t pay close attention to them you miss out on a lot. I never would’ve related capitalism to slavery let alone the affects it has on race, class, sexual orientation, and disabilities. It opened my eyes to reality and allowed me to critically analyze our society and this world we live in.

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