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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Tyranny of Bondholders [18:01m video]

Click here to access video and transcript from The Real News Network.  (The transcript can be accessed by clicking on a tab within this website.)

In this video Paul Jay interviews Kevin Gallagher who is a professor at Boston University, a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute, and also associated with Tufts University.

This subject is quite complicated and is not easily covered in 18 minutes. Also, Professor Gallagher discusses the subject in rather abstract academic terms, and always within the context of the reigning capitalist system. However, the subject deals with urgent contemporary issues and needs to be understood by working people. 

The picture that the professor paints of the sovereign debt crisis suggests to me that the capitalist elites, who are the bondholders, have structured in all kinds of laws and mechanisms to prevent any kind of democratic response or solution to the problems by working within the system. 

Instead of paying taxes--and they don't pay much--the ruling class prefers lending money to the government in form of bonds and treasury bills. According to Bloomberg News, this ruling class of bondholders are making sure that their loans be paid back and that their bonds have priority over Social Security recipients, military personnel, welfare recipients, and unemployed.