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Oligarchy, not Capitalism Exposed in GameStop scandal

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Capitalism has failed. Capitalism is dead. Capitalism must be replaced.

These have all been refrains over the past week and really the past year, as we watched our lives and livelihoods upended by a pandemic and then the audacity of Reddit users playing God with failing stocks.

You see, GameStop, a company with a failing model of brick-and-mortar stores in malls that are largely shutdown by government fiat, was the subject of a big game of its own. Ironic in one sense, sad in another. The only difference is the game that was being played wasn’t on your big-screen TV, but in real life and it certainly had had real life consequences.

In one corner, it was small-time investors using apps like Robinhood or more traditional places like TD Ameritrade. In the other corner, it was Wall Street billionaires and Hedge Funds who were set to bet big on the failings of GameStop and other stocks.

By now, we all know how this story played out. The billionaires won, the little guy got screwed. A stock that went sky-high, came back down to earth, just in time for those billionaires and their short sales to get fulfilled. A group who made furious trades to raise said stock price, were relegated to only being able to sell the stock as it took said nose dive.

It was perhaps the worst example of the big guy sticking to the little guy that we’ve seen in the past decade. But, seriously, who do you think stood a chance though? It was never going to be the little guy. NEVER.

Regardless of what happened, what Terms of Service were or weren’t violated or what the truth of SEC regulations and guidelines were, something failed in a major way.

For many in the media and those on social media the answer to the question of “how could this happen?,” was that capitalism failed us once again. But, it just simply isn’t true.

It’s a lie that those who hold the power want us all to buy in to. It’s the same lie that we’ve been sold, and largely bought, for the last year. It’s the same contradictions we’ve all noticed and wondered aloud and in thought for the better part of a year now.

You know, things like:

  • A wall at our Southern Border is bad, but one around our Capitol must be built.
  • Target and Walmart can be full of hundreds of people, but that mom-and-pop store or restaurant must be limited.
  • George Floyd’s funeral could be packed to the brim, but you likely didn’t get to say goodbye to that family member like you wanted to because only Floyd’s life had meaning beyond the grave or urn.
  • Governors and politicians of all stripes can not wear face masks, but if you don’t, you’ll be fined.
  • Indoor dining must be closed, but in order to keep your outdoor patio open for any sort of dining, you must enclose the space to keep it warm enough to serve food all in the name of keeping the virus from floating around in enclosed spaces and getting you sick.
  • States got to make up whatever election laws they wanted to, regardless of the constitution, but if you dared to suggest you had constitutional rights to opening your business or church, the government would fine you.

None of those examples from all across society happen in a truly capitalistic society. They do happen when there is a perversion of capitalism, a perversion that looks and feels much like how an oligarchy would operate.

They do happen when tech giants set the laws and regulations of the industry in their favor and then crush the competition once it becomes just a bit too popular, ala Parler.

They do happen when massive Hedge Funds and investment firms populate the halls of government and make the rules that govern themselves and then get mad when people figured out their game and played it for themselves.

So, here we sit with a lot of questions and a whole lot of anger looking to be directed somewhere.

The media and elite from around the world want us to know that capitalism is where we should direct our anger and the answer is in a new economic system called “stakeholder capitalism.”

But, the real answer to it all? We aren’t living in an actual capitalistic society. We live in an Oligarchy, where the Wall Street elite, the corporate elite and the tech elite are all setting and rigging the rules of or economy and political life for their own benefit. Which means the answers that people, like those from the World Economic Forum, are coming up with aren’t even answering the right question.

So, what has been the real lesson over the past year or so here in America? It’s that individual risk-taking (like opening up a restaurant or tech start-up without massive hedge fund backing) will get you nowhere and that those who are tied in with the government will continue to rig the game in their favor.

An economy that doesn’t reward risk-taking, but instead rewards those that figure out how to get in bed best with the government isn’t a capitalist one anymore. It can’t be, it’s antithetical to the very ethos of capitalism and certainly free-market principles to say the least.

Real capitalism seeks as small of a relationship between government and the economic life of the society. Yet, we have heard all week from the World Economic Forum that the answer is actually more of the very thing that has us in this place in the first place.

Do you trust those that got us here or the rest of us to figure it out without government picking and choosing the winners going forward? That is the real question we must answer.

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Veteran of the Digital Sports Media world, with work featured on Fox Sports, ESPNU and other outlets. Previously employed at Bleacher Report, The Comeback and FanSided. Consumer of sports media and member of it since 2011, you can find me still beating the drum of independence and truth in sports coverage.

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Critical Thinking 03.16.21: A Year to Flatten the Curve

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Today marks a year since the government told us we all had to lockdown for 15 days in order to slow the spread. In the course of the next 365 days, what have we seen from America? Well, there’s a lesson I learned early on — that there is no reasoning with those so gripped by fear that facts don’t matter.

I was reminded of that during a conversation this weekend over the beginning of the NCAA tournament and the audacity to suggest that life has to go on. There was no reasoning with someone who saw three teams bowing out of conference tournaments.

But, this attitude has permeated our society for the past year. Which brings me to a bigger point than rehashing the whole year of fear, lies and panic that we have seen. That point? None of the research, facts, figures or charts will ever matter against a society that buys in to fear over facts. Arguing with facts to those gripped by fear is not going to work. We must prepare for a much larger battle ahead.

It’s a Tuesday, so we also play Truth or Fiction and of course, us sports nuts had to give you our picks for the upcoming NCAA tournament. By the way, you can join us in a tournament challenge over at ESPN, where the sole winner gets an awesome Critical Thinking prize package to include APR coffee and show swag! Join the Critical Thinking Show Challenge (1 entry per person, 1 bracket per person — man up).

Find our highlight of the day on our Rumble page too.

Don’t forget, you can see this show every weekday by becoming a Critical Thinker on our Locals page. Subscribe today ($5 a month) and find the video version of the show for your viewing pleasure.

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Critical Thinking 03.08.21: Gig Workers Get the Shaft

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So many are talking about the $.19 trillion Covid-19 relief bill that passed the Senate and moves one step closer to being signed by President Joe Biden, yet a lot of people are missing just how hurtful this bill is to millions of Americans.

One prime example is what this bill does to the federal tax code and it’s impact on so-called gig workers. What in the world does gig worker tax code issues have to do with Covid-19 relief? We discuss that and we chat on other fun things that happend over the weekend.

Get your week started off right with Monday’s Critical Thinking on MoJo 5.0 Radio.

Find our highlight of the day on our Rumble page too.

Don’t forget, you can see this show every weekday by becoming a Critical Thinker on our Locals page. Subscribe today ($5 a month) and find the video version of the show for your viewing pleasure.

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Critical Thinking 03.02.21: The Daily Pass to Hell

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Los Angeles Unified School District has teamed up with Microsoft to create a “Daily Pass” allowing students in the school district to return to in-person instruction, by jumping through the hoops and giving their kids data to Microsoft.

It’s all in the name of compassion and stopping COVID-19…at least that seems to be what those two groups believe. There’s a whole different way to look at it. Andrew and Pat explore the dystopian, and arguably unconstitutional, project that schools and big tech are entering in to.

We also debut a new segment, called Truth or Fiction, where we grill each other with statements on the news and views of the day and the other must decide if the statement is the truth or a fiction. Things like, “Andrew Cuomo Won’t Make it Through the Summer as Governor of New York.”

You can hear today’s full episode here:

Find our highlight of the day on our Rumble page too.

Don’t forget, you can see this show every weekday by becoming a Critical Thinker on our Locals page. Subscribe today ($5 a month) and find the video version of the show for your viewing pleasure.

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