Good Cop - Bad Cop
Because it is often so extremely brutal, the re-production of capitalist ideology requires especially adroit marketing strategies. Take for example this latest dust- up over "speculators". These (according to the new narrative) are the evil, greedy people who would take advantage of a bad situation, say a credit crunch or housing bubble or short oil supplies, to further drive up prices by betting on future price movement. BAD SPECULATORS! MEAN PROFITEERS! I'll bet they light their Cuban cigars with twenty dollar bills and hate children! Both presidential contenders are doing their part in the great charade, acting outraged, just OUTRAGED! that people would act so self-interestedly, so against the National Interest!
We see this farce re-played every time capitalism acts like capitalism and some bubble bursts, or gamblers get caught cheating, or some form of "creative destruction" destroys the lives of the "little people" caught up in the grinding gears. We call them Barons or Moguls and Frank Capra makes a movie where they get punished for their excesses, reasurring the working class that such gouging will not be tolerated by those who act as their Guardians. ( usually the State) This strategy is ,of course, the classic good-cop, bad-cop con and the American people in their wide-eyed innocence seem especially prone to it. "Gee, look" they say, "Obama who loves the Markets is ready to condemn those who take advantage of the system. He will regulate those darn Profiteers!"
They spank Exxon or the Keating Five or the Ken Lays or the Leona Helmsleys and let them serve as "teachable moments". These ritualistic punishments are embraced by all sides in the "partisan" divide between liberal capitalists and less-liberal capitalists creating a great kum-bye-ya moment of unity and good will. And then capitalism will begin some other destructive rampage across the landscape and the lives of working people. "There's a sucker born every minute" and it is their re-production upon which capitalism depends.