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
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Although the capitalist ruling class has learned some lessons from the 1929 economic collapse, they are stuck in an economic system that serves only one tiny class at the expense of the vast majority of society. Given that an economy is a crucial part of a society as a whole, an economic system that serves only one tiny segment, whose policies often conflict with the interests of the vast majority, inevitably collapses periodically.
Let's examine only one of the most important institutions controlled by the ruling class--the Federal Reserve which is owned and overwhelmingly controlled by the ruling capitalist class. They control the issuance of our currency: how much is issued, to whom it is issued, and what it is used for.
What capitalists live for, and on, are profits from their investments in "ownership" of economic enterprises both productive and financial. The latter serve the former by lending money to the former and to investors. The Fed serves all of them by issuing money for investment whether such investments are socially useful or not--it doesn't matter as long as profits can be achieved. To cite one of the worst examples, the lending of money could be for enterprises involved in the manufacture of weapons, even weapons of mass destruction.
Profits become an obsession with a capitalist class because it not only gives them tremendous wealth, but even more importantly it gives them overwhelming power over all institutions of society. With the Fed under capitalist control the Fed gives them the opportunity to issue money in the form of loans to capitalist investors who are obsessively looking for opportunities to realize profits. Whitney in this article explains how these loans have recently been used for a new purpose: to prop up their failure-prone system.