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Learn What’s Ailing You at the Museum of Capitalism

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Guest Post by Steven T. Jones

San Francisco uber-capitalist Warren Hellman – a private equity titan who had been the youngest partner ever at Wall Street powerhouse Lehman Brothers – told me in 2007 that the central struggle of our times was this: “Capitalism won, and now we need to save the world from capitalism.”

The ravages of capitalism only became more apparent in subsequent years, as capitalist greed and chicanery collapsed the real estate market and banking system before being bailed out by taxpayers. Wealth consolidation and income inequities continue to grow into dangerously destabilizing terrain. And now we have a capitalist con man for president, destroying every regulatory check on capital that he can.

Against this frightening backdrop, the Museum of Capitalism opened a temporary summer run in Oakland’s Jack London Square in June, offering various artists’ takes on capitalism and its spawn: the police state, prison-industrial complex, history of sowing racial and class divisions, and the other ills that Hellman wanted to save the world from.

For what is essentially a DIY artists’ pop-up, the Museum of Capitalism was impressive, even if it left me wanting more substance, insights, and analysis. But just the fact that it secured this huge beautiful space – obviously filling in between capitalists clients who could pay full freight – and called itself the Museum of Capitalism was a coup by itself.

Our lives are dominated and exploited by the modern capitalist system – a rigged game controlled by the wealthy and powerful – yet it’s amazing how little we discuss it. Hopefully that will change during the (fingers crossed) downfall of CEO-in-Chief Trump, prompting a national discussion of the role and influence of capitalists in modern society.

But in the meantime, go check out the Museum of Capitalism before its run ends on Aug. 20. It’s at 55 Harrison Street, Suite 201, Oakland. Admission is free, comrades.

And here are a couple events there this weekend that may interest you:

AUG 11 6 PM – 8 PM: Museum of Capitalism Publication Release

AUG 12 5-8PM: Occupy Museums: Shakedown – a conversation about debt and the future of museums with several artists

All photos courtesy of Yelp.

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