We pointed out that reappointing Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman would be inconceivable in the private sector, since CEOs who preside over disasters are dismissed (captains have the good taste to go down with their ships).
But of course, Bernanke is a failure only if you believe that the Fed’s official mandate – soundness and stability of the banking system, full employment and price stability – is the real one. But if you think his job, like that of Soviet apparatchiks, is to preserve the existing order, no matter how rotten it and its incumbents are, then he has succeeded admirably.
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