We have been told that factors such as the over-regulation of business and the “declining moral fiber of the American worker” caused the worst economic crisis since the depression.
However, testifying before the California Senate Committee on Industrial Relations, a UCLA professor, Maurice Zeitlin, outlined one basic cause which was not widely publicized.
In brief, Zeitlin said we no longer have a competitive economy, and that monopoly, militarism, and multinationalization are at the root of our economic crisis. Following are just a few of the points he made to support his thesis:
– The 200 largest non-financial corporations control at least 60% of the net capital assets of all American companies.
– The 20 largest manufacturing corporations alone control about a third of the total net capital assets and get some 40 cents of every dollar of profit made by all the manufacturing companies in the country.
– The 100 largest commercial banks control about half of the deposits of the nearly 14,000 banks in the country; the 14 largest alone have a fourth of all the deposits.
– The 400 largest U.S. companies played the foreign-exchange markets and gambled against the American dollar. The compounded result fueled inflation and diverted capital from productive and job-creating investments in the U.S.
Military spending is the most inflationary form of federal expenditure and preempts capital and technical resources from the civilian economy. By 1979, 53 cents of every federal tax dollar was going for past, present, or future military operations. At the same time, the 20,000 prime military contractors were encouraged to minimize efficiency and maximize profits by cost-plus contracts and always allowable cost-overruns.
Through his analysis, Zeitlin documents how monopoly, militarization, and multi-nationalization caused the inflation and stagnation we now suffer from. Critical economic decisions have been based not on what is best for us as a nation but rather on what is best for specific individuals and economic groups.
Clearly defining and publicizing the real cause of our economic problems could help us correct them. The media’s failure to expose the roots of these problems qualifies this story for nomination as one of the “best censored” stories of 1981.
Voice, 1/81, testimony by UCLA Professor Maurice Zeitlin before the California Senate Committee on Industrial Relations, in San Francisco, 12/9/80.