If there's one thing politicians of all stripes seem to agree on it's the market. Textbooks tell us how a free market economy is “dynamic” and “competitive”. Markets themselves are often used as a byword for “democracy”, yet very little effort is made to explain how markets even function, much less how they function for us.
Yet, when we look at the struggles most of us face on a regular basis – finding a steady job with good pay, decent affordable housing, reasonably priced childcare – it should be pretty obvious that markets don't work in our interests as working people.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up