Hell thaws again

Hat tip to Rick Lowe, for linking to this blog.Since our brief moment of harmony, though, I think we're going to part ways again. Here's why hell couldn't have stayed frozen for long.I'm a great big fan of The Wire -- the TV show about the Baltimore streets that's set up to be the classic story of cops and robbers, but which is a whole lot more.You watch The Wire, you get an appreciation of how our government works, and doesn't. I've long thought that our country runs rather like the municipal government of a major American city. So fine, the Mayor has more direct and absolute power perhaps than the Prime Minister does -- he doesn't appear to have a cabinet that he has to work with or around (or which he has to put to work for him); but the very same deals and development schemes and favours and lobbying take place. Well, maybe not the lobbying; we're not so good at that round here. But pretty well most of the rest. Not sure whether the violence that occurs on the streets of Baltimore is matched by our crime, but for that we can only be thankful (and hey, I might be wrong -- we don't have any TV show to reveal to us our underside).The show is created by David Simon and Edward Burns. David Simon was known to me because I was a fan of Homicide before I was a fan of The Wire. He's got grittier. In fact, he claims to have become a cynic. And he's got a view of the world, and of the USA, that rings true -- for the most part -- for me. (The remainder of this address can be seen on YouTube).Enough woffle from me. Watch the clip(s), and see what you think.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJNkL12QD68&border=1&hl=en]What struck me most about Simon's take on the world -- the postindustrial world -- is his claim that human beings are being valued less and less. I don't know whether I agree with that position in its entirety, but I certainly see where he's coming from -- and I'm not sure he's wrong (though I would like him to be).What also struck me, and what I can accept more readily (though not wholeheartedly), is his claim that whenever the USA has had to choose between human beings and profit, it has chosen profit. Anyway.***I posted the above last night, through the thickness of imminent sleep, and didn't take the time to explain why I think Rick and I would fall on different sides of this issue. I've been hard pressed to articulate just what my overall objection to unrestrained capitalism has been for much of my life. Simply stating I have socialist leanings isn't enough. Simon's claim that capitalism makes people worth less than things rings true to me. I'd like to be shown I'm wrong, but I don't know that I am.It's not coincidental that the rise of capitalism parallelled the development of the slave trade, or that the abolition of the slave trade in Britain occurred at roughly the same time as the rise of factory work. Profit over people from the beginning; why spend time on housing, feeding and preserving the lives of forced labourers when it can be cheaper to pay small wages to factory workers who then have to go fend for themselves?I'd love to be wrong about this. It would make living in this society -- a society that can only survive on entrepreneurship and the selling of things and ideas -- a whole lot easier, but the brand of capitalism I see practised again and again, both here at home and abroad, does not make me hopeful.