The long-term aim of these policies is to eliminate the welfare state, reestablishing the competitiveness of the older capitalist powers by slashing workers’ living standards to the level of their impoverished counterparts in emerging economies like India and China. That the living standards of the world’s people are to be equalized downward, rather than upward, is an indictment of the capitalist system.
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