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

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Real China Problem Runs Through JPM and Goldman

by Matt Stoller from Naked Capitalism.

This is one of the best, most concise explanations of many of the current contradictions of capitalism--debt crises, balance of payments problems, unemployment, depressed wages, economic collapse, etc--that I have seen.
This instability is leading to declining standards of living around the world, which is resulting in civil unrest in Europe, increasingly nationalistic rhetoric, global lawlessness in the form of cyber-attacks and piracy, and military build-ups. The big banks that intermediate these flows like this situation. So does China, whose mercantilist policies are allowing the acquisition of a massive industrial base. And the oil producers do as well, because of the wealth and power they acquire through a global dependence on their resource. 
But contrary to the suggestions in the final paragraph, there is no permanent "way out of this box" under the present system.