When you design an economy to be based on short term profit to the benefit of giant corporations, the results over the long term will be a country so hostile to human life that the unreasonable and unthinkable becomes an every day reality. Wealth inequality, mass poverty, a crumbling welfare state aside, the prison system perfectly illustrated the madness of the American capitalist system. Since 1980, the state of California has built 22 prisons and only one university. Rather than invest in education, the state spends its precious dollars (around 7% of its budget) on locking people up and renting them out as cheap labor.
This sobering statistic displayed in an art exhibit at ‘Manifest Justice‘, a creative community exhibition in Los Angeles last week:
Investing in education would dramatically reduce the numbers of people going to prison, but the payoff takes several decades so by modern economic standards it is regarded as ‘inefficient’. Of course the rich understand this well and ensure their children are privately educated and given every opportunity possible to thrive later in life, whereas everyone else gets to work long hours for low wages or go to prison if they try to make money outside of the official economy.
To an outside observer this would appear to be completely insane and no way to run a decent society. But in America it is business as usual.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.