Towels: The Latest Enemy of Capitalism

towelie As somebody once observed, capitalism is a system that cannot stop, cannot rest, cannot respect any boundaries, must colonize everything as it drives its players to “nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere…over the whole face of the globe.”

In this unending totalitarian thrust, any activity that leaves room for further commodification will eventually be seized upon and efforts will be made to increase the degree to which it employs maximally profitable corporate wares. In the process, nothing counts but the bottom line.

And so it is that our old friend the Kimberly-Clark conglomerate is now pushing Kleenex brand hand towels, on the theory that cloth towels are a dire public health risk. Words can’t do justice to the amazing chutzpah of this campaign:

The shamelessness of this stunning proof of capital’s inherent heedlessness does not, of course, stop Kimberly-Clark from claiming that it “challenges itself” to “respect our planet and conserve its resources.”

Orwell was an amateur compared to this stuff.

5 Replies to “Towels: The Latest Enemy of Capitalism”

  1. Presumably they’re targeting people who can’t bring themselves to use paper towels in their bathroom, and for whom the hopelessly antiquated model of the terrycloth towel isn’t working anymore. I’m reminded of nothing so much as the Nestle corporation’s at least temporarily successful campaign to convince third-world mothers that their infant formula was better for their babies than the milk from their own bodies.

  2. Germ theory has long been used to sell paper products. According to Susan Strasser (Waste and Want), Kimberly-Clark conducted a scare campaign “Germ-filled handkerchiefs are a menace to society!” in the 1930’s.

  3. Susan Strasser’s Waste and Want refers to a 1930’s Kimberly-Clark campaign: “Germ-filled handkerchiefs are a menace to society!”

  4. Capitalism is daily proving that it doesn’t work for anyone but the tiny sliver of the population that is already wealthy, the billionaire ruling elite. Capitalism is just a glorified pyramid scheme, only of benefit to those “in the know” at the top of it who already realize it’s a scam. It survives on human ignorance like a pyramid scheme as it wouldn’t be feasible if the working masses understand they are being exploited.

    And that’s what it’s all about: exploitation of the many by the privileged few. For the rest of us all we get is varying degrees of exploitation from the overworked accountant to the cashier ringing up customers for $7.25/hour when nobody anywhere in the U.S. can afford to live on that starvation wage.

    Nothing ever changes no matter which party is in power and there’s a simple reason for this: because the billionaire ruling elite buys out all the candidates before we have a chance to vote on any of them, guaranteeing that whomever we elect is going to be someone already in their waistcoat pocket. Barack Obama is a perfect example.

    What needs to take capitalism’s place (and WILL take its place eventually) is worker ownership of the means of production and exchange, with direct democracy and publicly-financed elections. Worker ownership is the ONLY way that workers will be paid what their labor is worth and is the only way that they will have an actual stake in the success of their company. Capitalism just doesn’t work unless you’re a billionaire and even then it doesn’t work forever, Consider: the better capitalism is at doing what it does, making the rich richer with the consequence of making everyone else poorer and more desperate, the sooner it brings about its own inevitable demise at the hands of hungry people with nothing more to lose. As Marx said “What capitalism ultimately produces is its own gravediggers.”

    Humanity has a beautiful, bright future ahead of it. That future just doesn’t in any way involve capitalism.

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