I just finished reading Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater or Pearls Before Swine (1965) which helped me to understand the basis on which todays fucked up capitalism is built upon. This, instead of being something completely new to me, helped me to create a somewhat fuller picture of especially American capitalism and consumerism. I know it's just a novel by an author, exaggerated and blown out of proportion, but I believe that I, as a reader, am able to pick up the little pieces of truth and form a picture of some sort.
United States of America was a country based on freedom. Freed from the ties of their pasts, people colonializing it would all have equal chances and possibilities to become whatever they might wish to become. These people we're full of dreams and high hopes, that they'd raise their name above others, they would become something truthfully unique and special. This thrive for uniqueness, quite common among all mortal, self-acknowledging life forms, is a value that's easy to sell to people. You'll be a self-made man, and weaker people will say to their friends and families: "I want to be just like that guy."
Quite shortly after the founding fathers had put their names on the Declaration of Independence, things started to go wrong. Enterprises grew and swallowed smaller ones, grew bigger and started the on going process of inequalisation. Rich get richer, they fuck the poor, and poor poeple will get even more poor. Poverty is something that is described in thousands of books, mainly because most art is born through suffering, and an artist leading a big corporation used to be rare. Today it has become way more common, for example Bono fucks a poor person every time you blink your eyes. But back in the days, with the Orwell and Kurt Vonnegut and such, majority of the great artists lived through at least one World War and the post-war poverty and misery. So we have many great books describing poverty (try Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), for example ).
Pearls Before Swine is set in America, in mid-sixties, in the "heat" of Cold War. It describes an America that despises things immoral and socialist. Everything needs to satisfy the capitalist minds sitting on top of the endless amounts of money, the corporate heads have invested their money on every possible loopholes they could legally find, and money and power define who you are. One of the heirs of such company decides to rebel and live along the poor, helping them and listening to their troubles, and there's a snake-like lawyer involved. The lawyer knows that if he can make their poor distant cousins want their money, he can steal enormous amounts of money for the legal help. They try to prove the contributor's mental state is not stable enough to handle such money, but in the end they lose becouse the main character "adopts" every fatherless child in his former community, letting them have all of the inheritance.
The book paints a picture of the world that was, in spite of being fictional on most parts. It describes the world as Kurt Vonnegut saw it, and it pretty much explains the situation we have in our hand today. For example almost all American media is owned by FIVE (5) different companies. The biggest have swallowed the smaller ones, there's practically no competition, which was the driving force of early capitalism. When there's no competition, it needs to find new goals. What might these new goals be? Profit, consumerism and profit. You need to consume materia, you need to consume harmless music, you need to consume their opinions without altering them, becouse any possible competition in their scale, offering better options, would probably demolish the base it stands on.
And as I have happily noted, such change is on it's way. It is called PIRACY, and as every doomsday prophet has counted, music business is drawing is last breaths before it's death. practically piracy is nothing but somewhat communist opponent to music BUSINESS. It says what's yours, is mine. Of course this does not work in the real, actual world, becouse we musicians still need to pay the rent and buy some food, which seems not to be in our global posession. But I am willing to live hand-to-mouth, if it means music BUSINESS will die. Fuck it. Let it burn. That is NOT the end of music. There was music thousands of years before the business came along, and in my opinion we do not need it. This separates musicians from the businessmen, when you need to start doing shit YOURSELF. I hope you see my point, as Henry Rollins keeps saying "I'd rather be heard than paid." You can download our music and I don't give a shit, if possible, come see us live, maybe buy a t-shirt to help us get back home, and let's just have a great time! This is serious stuff, but it's just life, you should not take it too seriously becouse you will die anyway and you have time to ponder things when you're old and alone in your retirement home and no one will never remember who you are and what did you do in your time.