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obama, the new steward of american capitalism

July 17, 2009

I’ve read two interesting articles recently which I think clearly illustrate the fact that the primary role of the capitalist state is to look out for the interests of the capitalist class first and foremost:

Obama’s Ghana trip underlines oil reserve

‘Recovery’ You Can’t Believe In

I should note, however, that this isn’t a criticism of President Obama per se — I think he’s an ambitious, decent, relatively honest and intelligent human being — but of the structure of the economic and political system in which he unfortunately finds himself.

For example, I’m fairly certain that the present system and its ruling class (i.e., the monied interests) have a much greater influence over his actions than his actions have over the system or its beneficiaries. In fact, I’d bet that under a different set of historical and material circumstances, he’d truly be able to set himself apart from the status quo (e.g., I’ve a sneaky suspicion that newly discovered oil deposits are the main reason for Obama’s recent visit to Ghana and not its “commitment to democracy”).

Nevertheless, as it currently stands, the state in which he now serves as chief executive is dominated more by lobbyists and giant multinational corporations than average citizens, and as far as I can see, there’s not much that a single individual can do to challenge their disproportionate influence over both domestic and foreign policy.

(Note: As an addendum to “‘Recovery’ You Can’t Believe In,” according to OpenSecrets.org, Goldman Sachs was the 2nd largest contributor to Barack Obama’s campaign ($997,095), while Citigroup ($699,790) and JPMorgan Chase ($695,132) were 6th and 7th respectively.)

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