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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Tale of Two Economies

by David Korten from Yes! Magazine.
Have you ever wondered why the Wall Street speculators who brought down the economy are still being rewarded with vast fortunes? Or why teachers, nurses, factory workers, truck drivers, and all the people who do real work are struggling to put food on the table? The pundits talk about a jobless recovery. But how can it be a recovery when jobs remain so scarce and pay so little? And why do so many people find that the harder they work, the more they owe the bank?
Although the author has made many significant contributions toward understanding the negative role that corporations have played in our lives, his recommendations always seem overly simplistic and naive. It is quite possible that he chooses to discuss the issues in this style in order to reach a lot more people in the US who have been thoroughly indoctrinated in the values and ideas of capitalism. 

Capitalism in the US has taken the form of a religion even though it is not recognized as a formal one. However if you stray too far outside of its doctrines, you will feel its wrath. Unlike earlier times when the formal religions were so powerful and when one transgressed, instead of undergoing an inquisition and being burnt at the stake, today one is more likely to suffer in terms of job and income loss and social ostracism.