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 7, 2011
Why are so many Americans unemployed and underemployed? And what could we do about it?
He has some excellent ideas about what could be done to provide for more employment, but he is very short on why nothing is being done. The best he can offer is that the "powers-that-be" wouldn't like it, or the Republicans and blue dog Democrats wouldn't like it. To hide the fact that both parties work for the same ruling class, political analysts, particularly in mainstream media, often resort to vacuous explanations like this.
Off the top of my head, I can think of several reasons for the government's lack of progress to solve the unemployment crisis. The ruling class that sponsors and directs the government are supported by their ownership of bonds and stocks. Increasing employment gives labor more bargaining power for increased wages which, of course, cuts into profits. Likewise, unemployment does just the opposite. High unemployment rates keep inflation down which preserves the value of bonds. Last, but not least, the ruling class prefers to invest their money in countries that can supply them with cheap labor and weak environmental restrictions.
So, you see, the system creates class conflict, and working people face a powerful opponent. It doesn't help when many working people are brainwashed into thinking that the system is good for them.