LEE CAMP: Keep Calm & Just Die

The government of Great Britain doesn’t want English students studying how capitalism is killing us.   

Image by Jared Rodriguez. (Truthout.org, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Lee Camp
Special to Consortium News

The British government has ordered schools in England not to use resources and materials from organizations that have expressed any desire to end capitalism. There are several different ways one can think about this, but I believe the best may be to envision a government ordering its teachers to never inform someone on fire that they may want to stop, drop and roll. And maybe also instructing professors to hide all the water.

Look, I know this world’s crazy. I know things are getting out of hand. It takes a lot to surprise me these days, and yet I am floored that the government in England is forbidding anti-capitalism teachings. That’s fucking insane. Capitalism — whether you love it or hate it or don’t at all understand it — is an economic system. It’s not a damn religion. The goal of an economic system is supposedly to allow a society to function efficiently and effectively. Does capitalism do that?

First of all, no. Look at the table you’re sitting at right now. (If you aren’t sitting at a table, then get up, find a table, and sit at it. Otherwise, none of this will make sense.) You got it at Walmart. The wood was cut down in somewhere like Vancouver, it was sent across the ocean to somewhere like China or Bangladesh or some other place that I view as exotic but which the people living there view as boring.

Workers in one of those countries cut the wood up into nice little table pieces. It’s shipped back across the entire Pacific Ocean to be put together by an underpaid employee at some factory in the U.S.

Let’s say you live on the East Coast of the U.S. — so the table is shipped across the entire country to be on the shelves at Walmart for you to buy. In a brilliant stroke of planned obsolescence, it’s then meant to fall apart in six months or a year so that you throw it out and buy a new fuckall table.

The Amazon Model

Let’s say you don’t buy the table. Let’s say no one ends up buying it because it was ugly or painted in some sickly color like mauve. Sometimes the table gets shipped back across the entire country to the maker to hold on to. Sometimes it just gets thrown out or burned. Amazon burns or destroys millions of products every month because they don’t want a guy in Mozambique to get a TV for too cheap because that might hurt the brand integrity. (Fun fact: No brand actually has integrity because they are corporate creations to manipulate consumers. A brand with integrity would be like a swamp alligator with good business etiquette.) 

Global Climate Strike in London, March 15, 2019. (Gary Knight, Flickr, CC0 1.0)

Point being — that single table has gone all over the world like it’s a professional tennis player just so you can buy it for $40. The amount of fuel used and emissions and deforestation is bananas! All of that waste surely adds up to thousands of dollars if not tens of thousands of dollars. So capitalism — objectively — is not efficient, it’s not easy, it’s not cheap, it’s… bananas! (And don’t get me started on where your bananas came from.)

So point No. 1 about capitalism allowing for efficiency is utter nonsense. Secondly, even if you said capitalism is the best thing since sliced bread — By the way, why is sliced bread the best thing? That’s the expression, right? Best thing since sliced bread. It doesn’t even save you that much time. How hard is it to slice a piece of bread? I mean, if we’re just talking pure convenience, then a little single-serving flan in a cup is way more convenient. A pre-made flan saves you an hour of baking a fucking flan. Sliced bread saves you, like, 30 seconds. Not to mention, I’m not baking no flan. I don’t even know how. So, a little pre-made flan is actually on level with, say, a super power. It’s way better than sliced bread. (If I got to choose the expression, I would say — It’s the best thing since… um, condoms. …I mean, without those… bad things. …Very bad things.) 

Point being — even if you think capitalism is the best thing since condoms, it’s pretty hard to deny it’s now killing us. We spend, produce, consume, emit, devour, diddle and destroy at a breakneck pace. The whole system is set up to endlessly consume until it all collapses — which it is doing. We’re knocking down the entire Amazon, climate change is ravaging the planet, the oceans are filling with plastics (maybe the condoms weren’t such a good idea), and biodiversity is crashing. So even if you are just so in love with capitalism, it doesn’t matter. If we don’t evolve past it and fast, we are wildly screwed.

Soooo, point being, Government of England — and I say this with all due respect – go royally screw yourselves. You don’t get to tell teachers not to educate people on how messed up our world really is. You don’t get to tell everyone to avoid finding solutions. You don’t get to tell your citizens to simply just die — Keep calm and just die. Because that’s essentially what you’re doing when you ban people from learning the truth about crapitalism. (See what I did there? I added an “R”. It’s very clever. T-shirts coming soon.)

Lee Camp is the host of the hit comedy news show Redacted Tonight. His new book Bullet Points and Punch Lines is available at LeeCampBook.com and his stand-up comedy special can be streamed for free at LeeCampAmerican.com.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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30 comments for “LEE CAMP: Keep Calm & Just Die

  1. here we are
    November 24, 2020 at 15:35

    His field is stealing other people’s innovations and making tons of money off them. He’s just divesified.

  2. scottindallas
    November 24, 2020 at 08:11

    The level of economic literacy is very poor in America. We don’t know our economic history, nor do we know what capitalism even is. Two Republicans debated our two tax policy alternatives in 1924, one Andrew Mellon of Wall St the other, James Couzens, CFO and co-founder of Ford Motors, actually the man that devised Ford’s $5 workday. Mellon proposed low taxes on the wealthy, a policy that Will Rogers called, “Trickle Down” It was Republican Senator Couzens who proposed the progressive tax code, and opposed privatization of utilities as a way to favor manufacturing and industry over finance.

    What is capitalism is an interesting question, and one few can properly define. “Capital” is a depreciable asset” a machine or building that helps add value to rawer goods. By this light, financiers are not capitalists in deed, as they produce literally nothing, in fact only 1% of what they do is to secure funding for capital assets/investment/production; the rest is gambling–side bets in the dice game of economic production.

    Couzens understood that progressive taxes favored producers with supply chains, production facilities and distribution networks and the many, many people that make that happen. Corp execs aren’t productive, and their incomes “capped” by progressive tax rates; encouraging reinvestment, yet again. It was progressive taxes that had firms reinvest in employee training, insurance and even pensions as an income tax dodge. Firms built factories and warehouses they didn’t need as an income sink. (a form of waste, but one with real jobs, assets) Low taxes, Reaganomics, or “neo-liberalism” ended all of that.

    It was after Reagan gutted the progressive tax code (under pressure from financiers, and corp execs) that allowed execs to bonus themselves for cutting costs, off-shoring production, and hence the call for NAFTA began in earnest. As financiers were able to “hit the cheat code” and make unlimited sums in side bets that tax the broader economy for the benefit these side bettors; until their speculative bubbles pop then we bail them out with gov’t tax dollars. Since Reagan finance grew from 15% to 45% of the economy, and we’ve seen systemic wide failures every 8 years.

    I’m not sure it’s capitalism you object to, but neo-liberalism. Capital, real capitalist endeavors employ many people, represent brick and mortars and pay all the sales and non-residential property taxes. Again, the financiers, the lobbyists, the professionals produce nothing, employ few, and use very little property. They win under “low taxes” and real production is burdened. It’s Neo-liberalism, (unrestrained finance) that we oppose

  3. November 24, 2020 at 07:46

    I read somewhere that initially the financial entity known as corporations were to be sunsetted after a period of twenty years to prevent their accumulating too much power.

    I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if that restriction had been enforced.

  4. Realist
    November 24, 2020 at 02:37

    Just like a layer of iridium marks the boundary in the geological strata indicating the precise moment in time when the dinosaurs went extinct because of some giant meteor that struck the Yucatan, so too all that plastic you’re rightly on about, Lee, will tell future extra-terrestrial paleontologists exactly when H. sapiens lived in high style for a miniscule interval of time–in the grand scheme of things–and then passed from the scene when all the resources, including the non-renewable petrochemical precursors to the those virtually non-degradable tiny beads of plastic, the pulverized remnants of all plastic products that are everywhere in the here and now, were used up in the mindless pursuit of making maximum profit in the minimum of time.

    Capitalism, but most especially laissez faire corporatism, the overgrown T-rex version of this general category of economic systems initially meant simply to facilitate trade, turns out to be a highly efficient mechanism for converting essential natural resources of all kinds, including human effort, solely into an end product called the U.S. Dollar. At least that’s its name for the time being. It’s gone by other names and undoubtedly will again. I’m sure something else lies beyond Bitcoins. We’ve even invented a new word for this rapid ever-more efficient conversion process of all that makes up the world we live into dollar bills: financialisation. Everything must be financialised to justify its existence now. All must be fungible in the form of currency, preferably American. Fat lot of good those dollars will all become when the vital essentials are all dissipated and ultimately vanish in their production. It’s what happens when what was meant to be but a symbol of stored or captured energy, finite material resources, human labor and useful products becomes the end in itself.

  5. Frederick Dean
    November 23, 2020 at 21:07

    The title Keep Calm and Just Die could describe the life of the anti- capitalist anarchist David Graeber. David was characteristically optimistic and calm in his own way. David recently became suddenly sick and died in Venice. David was the catalyst for the Occupy Movement and coined the phrase ‘We are the 99%’. Like many of our great thinkers he was banished from the US where he was a professor at Yale. David went to England and didn’t stop spreading the news. ‘Capitalism Sucks’.
    Did David suffer the same fate another firebrand, spiritual leader, anti war activist Trappist Monk Thomas Merton? Thomas died under mysterious circumstances in Thailand while the Vietnam war was raging across the border. The narrative we were told is that Thomas suffered a freak accident. Decades later we find out that our beloved CIA killed him.
    Was David poisoned by the pro-capitalist British Deep State?

  6. ks
    November 23, 2020 at 20:44

    The first time I heard Richard Wolff speak I was over the moon, because in all my, even at that time, pretty long life, I had never heard anyone outside a small fringe group talk about socialism as an alternative to capitalism. Teachers were prohibited from belonging to the Communist Party, which effectively meant that we were not permitted to hear criticisms of capitalism or even suggestions that there was an alternative. I think Johnson missed the boat and his ham-handed efforts will not be successful.

  7. Truth first
    November 23, 2020 at 19:17

    Nice to see someone spelling crapitalism correctly.
    Also no trees cut down near Vancouver. Although this area once supported one of the worlds greatest temperate rain forests there are no old growth forest left here. There is the odd tree left in some park but most of the big trees are gone in a province bigger than CA, OR and WA combined. Thanks crapitalism!!!

  8. November 23, 2020 at 17:52

    Always great to hear from Lee, but also wanted to remark on the great illustration work from Jared Rodriguez!

    • Carolyn Zaremba
      November 25, 2020 at 02:11

      Agreed. I am using it on my FB page, with attribution, of course!

  9. robert e williamson jr
    November 23, 2020 at 17:47

    Any country that would allow the close to total elimination of an animal as majestic as the American Buffalo simply to starve out the native population should be considered suspect of serious economic racially motivated genocide. Animals meat and hides left to rot while the native Americans starved and froze to death.

    Old news. A terrible story that can be learned about by reading Gale Walkers “Theft of Ohio 1783 – 1795″, who has went to great lengths to reveal a small slice of Americas ‘ blood lust” history. Ugly stuff believe me.

    In short the planet is over populated in areas very difficult mitigate, the worlds rich in their relentless search for unearned and undeserved wealth feed on this problem by having countries like the United States openly and purposely destabilize those areas.

    Think not then get with it and go to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist and learn about the concerted international efforts of criminals to escape taxes, launder money and hide the sources of such illegal activities, something the American government knowingly allowed the CIA to participate in.

    And Cal please leave Dog (-ma) out of this. And! No, I don’t believe Billy Gates is a lunatic. Hell, ask him, if things don’t change the gig is up and he knows it.

    It is later than many think, PAY BACK TIME IS A COMIN’ and I seriously doubt religion will affect things significantly. Seriously which religion passes the litmus test ? Ask the true believers.

    • November 23, 2020 at 18:44


    • November 23, 2020 at 18:49

      Bob. Most who know me call me an atheist.
      Another religion of the 5000.

      • robert e williamson jr
        November 24, 2020 at 15:02

        Cal no disrespect intended, as an agnostic I try to not judge others on their religious beliefs. As you may or may not have noticed I’m a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac who lies awake all night pondering the existence of DOG!

        That I fail to see Billy Gates as a lunatic may be a personal failing. Judging from his ever present simpish grin and his lust for money I have my reservations about a man who has bought his way into being a government spokes person. You will have to take my word for it, that said I simply was in need of a path to the end of my rant.


  10. Gerald
    November 23, 2020 at 17:43

    They’ll be burning books soon and as we know, people who burn books will eventually end up burning people. Priti Patel looks like she’d enjoy it!

  11. David Wright
    November 23, 2020 at 16:03

    ‘ You don’t get to tell teachers not to educate people on how messed up our world really is’

    I happen to live in this benighted part of the planet, and have done for nine years. and I can say, without fear of contradiction, that the very talented, the very lovely Boris ‘Trump In Training’ Johnson very much can and does get to tell teachers whatever the hell he likes..

    Proof? He just did so! Because that’s really, truly, how messed up our world is. farewell til we meet again. Somewhere over the Rainbow.

  12. November 23, 2020 at 15:50

    good stuff

    • NevadaNy
      November 23, 2020 at 18:53

      Yes. Cal is Right. Good Stuff Lee.

  13. NevadaNy
    November 23, 2020 at 15:34

    I am actually sitting at a table that my Great-Grandfather made. It is over 100 years old. It was my Great -Grandparents kitchen table and I remember sitting at it when I was 3 years old. So did my Grandmother, and so did my Mother.
    He made it by hand, with local wood.

    And I make my own bread, like my Great-Grandmother did -on this very table I am now typing on.
    OK- I now usually use a Bread Machine-but still. Real Bread.

    Yes, Capitalism must die. And the way to do that-is to start living the way we should.

  14. Brahanseer
    November 23, 2020 at 15:24

    The left have always wanted to have their cake and eat it too. They want to be free to preach that capitalism is a disease, that there are an infinite range of genders, that there’s a patriarchal conspiracy with the mission of suppressing females and all minorities, that white skin is inherently racist/supremacist, that it’s impossible to be racist towards whites, that if you’re in any way right of Pol Pot you must be Nazi scum.

    But they’re absolutely intolerant of the rights and freedoms of others to present arguments to the effect that there are only two sexes. They’ll move heaven and hell to have you cancelled if you take the position “All Lives Matter”. They’ll graffiti, loot and burn your inner cities if you have the audacity to demand the freedom to parade in the streets wearing a MAGA hat.

    Being a bigot, a hypocrite and a social pariah is part and parcel of the philosophical amoury of the left. Their propaganda is the stuff of the sewer.

    • scottindallas
      November 24, 2020 at 08:46

      need to get to something other than ad-hominem

    • Carolyn Zaremba
      November 25, 2020 at 02:13

      You disgust me. The sewer is your mind.

  15. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
    November 23, 2020 at 13:57

    You seem to be so upset with capitalism per se. Actually, capitalism as originally concieved in totality, i.e. it being relatively mindful of its social dimensions is not really that bad.

    Worse than it is the rapacious, socially-irresponsible GREED that drives the top 5% of global human society. It is to cater to their greedy needs that the world is being ravished repeatedly in an unbearable and unsustainable manner !

    Talking about the British government, I recall reading somewhere that even some members of the British royalty believe that to healthily nurture an all round individual, one would need over 200 sq. kilometers of private property.

    If this is true than the lunatic Bill Gates is right to be addicted to his global depopulation agenda, but still can the remaining band of like-minded lunatics then accomodate and sustain themselves peacefully and move on with their lives safely then on ? Covid-19’s various crises help us to visualize how they may bloodily push ahead in such a future top-dog eats top-dog world !

    • NevadaNy
      November 23, 2020 at 15:39

      Capitalism is based on making Profits.
      Profits made by exploiting the Environment and We the People and the Animals.
      That is BAD.

      • scottindallas
        November 24, 2020 at 08:36

        externalities are a recognized cost in capitalism; it’s appropriate for the gov’t to control these externalities like pollution and other socially borne. We’re not under capitalism, but neo-liberalism, which is profiteering not capitalism, as it’s the financiers and execs taking all the gains, not the actual producers. A progressive income tax addresses this issue three ways. One is it leaves profitable firms with money to invest in improving their production facilities. Two is execs don’t get financially rewarded for breaking the rules, creating less incentive to lobby for leniency. Three, gov’t has resources to police these issues.

        • robert e williamson jr
          November 24, 2020 at 18:50


          Again I will say this, this time with more emphasis. You GD right we are under neo-liberalism. And I agree the government has the resources to police these issues.

          Any country that has the ability to spend trillions on war, even if it is because of money printing, has the ability to police the business conducted in it’s name.

          We are playing a very rigged game here. If you don’t have tens of million and billions you are not a player. You my friend are an expendable commodity. Cast systems work that way.

          The pace and volume of everyday business around the world has out stripped the ability of most governments to track the billions of transactions. And they ignore that truth, all of them.

          The F35 fighter jet, trillion dollars navel vessels and endless wars prove that if the government actually wanted to monitor everyday business dealing they could.

          Goddamn our government already intercepts and stores every electronic signal.

          The work by the ICIJ speaks for itself. If they can track this stuff for their investigations why can’t our government. Hell why can’t any government do it?

          ANSWER: They don’t want to collect all that revenue maybe. I was born at night but it wasn’t last night.

          The government don’t want to go there because of worlds bankers. The wrong folks might get angry!

          It might benefit many to track the history of establishment of neo-liberalism in this country. The actions of the early CIA cemented into place much of what we suffer under today.

          In the grand scheme of things this “plague of theft” by the neo-liberals in this country has a relatively short history.

          Don’t think so investigate how neo-liberal economics was introduced to America’s institutions of higher living funded by think tanks, trusts. See Jane Mayers – Dark Money for references to this topic you might be surprised what you find,.

        • Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
          November 25, 2020 at 10:12

          Sir, couldn’t agree with you more. You hit the nail rightly on its head. Blessings of God be upon you !

      • Carolyn Zaremba
        November 25, 2020 at 02:14


    • November 23, 2020 at 15:52

      Doc, I was going along with you ok until you decided to brand Bill Gates as a Lunatic.
      What’s that make you? God?

      • Litchfield
        November 23, 2020 at 21:58

        Gates is not a lunatic.
        He is an idiot savant.

        He has no business flapping his jaws about vaccines, epidemiology, virology or anything else besides his restricted field, which is stealing other people’s programming innovations and making tons of money off them.

      • robert e williamson jr
        November 24, 2020 at 15:20

        Cal you must have missed this along the way.

        I’m an ADI, agnostic, dyslexic, insomniac who lies awake at night pondering the existence of DOG.

        I’m not comfortable with those who run their lives shielding themselves with their religions, they tend to make up the rules as they see them in my opinion. I addition they use their beliefs many time to avoid thinking about the “difficult stuff” of what science tells us all about ourselves and our home here on mother earth.

        Living lives in denial as it were

Comments are closed.