This interview was originally published at Balkanspost.com 3/12/20 here.
BP: How would you describe the effects of a highly capitalist economic system, namely that of the United States, on the livelihood of ordinary people living in that country?
William Hawes: Well, the median individual income in the U.S. is about thirty-one thousand dollars a year. That number is high compared to most people around the world, relatively speaking. The problem in the U.S. is the high cost of living for everything — rent, food, health care, etc., which eats away at any chance for savings, investing, and retirement. Rent or mortgage payments can eat up a third or even half of wages or salary depending upon where you live, because real estate is so expensive. Continue reading →
As we approach the middle of March 2020 with Super Tuesday behind us, the moderate candidacy of Joe Biden has gained momentum, notching ten victories. The recent spat of moderate candidates dropping out (Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Bloomberg, Steyer) alongside Elizabeth Warren’s decision to stay in for Super Tuesday (and dropping out right after) boosted Biden into the lead in delegate count, but it is unclear going forward whether he will be able to gain ground or maintain his advantage.
His campaign is essentially a redux of Hillary Clinton’s in 2016, a dystopian offering of neoliberal establishment ideas: essentially the most harmful, bland, out-of-touch, uninspiring, and ignorant set of centrist policies. Biden offers nothing new, substantial, or exciting; and he himself stated to donors last year that “nothing would fundamentally change” under his presidency. By continuing to go with “moderate”, centrist agendas, the Democratic Party establishment, corporate America, and mainstream media reveal they would rather lose to Trump than get behind the progressive choice, Bernie Sanders. Continue reading →
When discussing politics, or listening to pundits in the mainstream media in the run up to the 2020 presidential election, you’ve probably heard a common refrain: certain policies are “not realistic.” It’s similar to the close-minded remark that certain politicians, such as Bernie Sanders, have issues regarding their “electability”. What are these elites and people who continually parrot these media narratives actually saying?
The most obvious translation of “that’s not realistic” is this: we the people are powerless to change things. Of course, most of those who use the “unrealistic” fallacy conveniently have power and money, which has disillusioned them from imagining any possibilities for transformative changes, and blunted their ability to feel empathy for those less fortunate. It makes zero sense to call Sanders’ policies unrealistic when nearly all of Europe maintains core social democratic institutions with mass public approval. Continue reading →
Recently, the ridiculous real estate company WeWork has faced intense scrutiny after their business model was absurdly overvalued and their CEO, one Adam Neumann, was exposed as an abusive boss as well as an overall crazy person. Investors from the Saudi royal family, companies like SoftBank and J.P. Morgan, and numerous venture capitalists poured vast sums of money into the company, fueling its overvaluation, which ran as high as 47 billion dollars. Unfortunately, mainstream media continues to trot out this story, as well as other famous instances of corporate fraud, corruption, and malfeasance as anomalies, aberrations. Somehow, absurd corporate business models, outright fraudulent behavior, and speculative overvaluations are seen as exceptions to the rule.
The bare truth of the matter is that various forms of fraud and cons are the rule for the vast majority of large corporations. WeWork is basically a tiny fish in the ocean when we step back and consider the scale of cons from various transnational corporations. For more recent and humorous examples, check out Current Affairs 2019 “Griftie” Awards.
All the signs of brazen criminality are in front of us, we have to do no more than look at the public figurehead of the con economy, our own president. His personality is the distillation of the elite grifter, a hollow shell of a human, heir to a fortune which has created a uniquely toxic mix of entitlement, hubris, ignorance, and malignant narcissism; a truly pathetic man molded by late capitalism, celebrity and TV culture. His wealth bequeathed by inheritance, profits acquired through real estate scandals and “university” scams; his brain is addled by a diet of fast food; and his worldview warped by utterly deluded conservative media. Continue reading →
BP: Evo Morales, Bolivia’s former president, was forced to resign on November 10 under pressure from the country’s armed forces, after the U.S.-backed opposition in the country challenged the outcome of a presidential election, in which Morales won re-election. What’s your take on this development?
William Hawes: This is a military coup, and a racist coup, plain and simple. It’s a huge setback for Bolivia and the region. Evo Morales and his opponent, Carlos Mesa, agreed to an OAS (Organization of American States) audit. Irregularities were found and Morales called for new elections. Morales did the honorable thing, even though the election was almost certainly legitimate, let’s face it, the OAS is not an impartial organization. Mesa, the opposition parties and the far-right began to demand his resignation and lo and behold the head of the military “asks” him to resign. What is left out of mainstream Western news is the violence on the streets against MAS supporters, indigenous protestors, and many top figures in Morales’ government.
A few weeks ago, I was invited onto Patrick Farnsworth’s podcast, Last Born in the Wilderness. We discussed my essay “Questioning the Extremely Online” in depth, and teased out a few of the mostly unaddressed and dangerous implications of social media and digital communication in our culture. Here is the link: