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

Saturday, December 29, 2012

America’s Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff: Part I

Click here to access article by Michael Hudson from Naked Capitalism

This American economist provides excellent arguments and evidence that support his conclusion:
...as long as the financial sector is winning its war against the economy at large, it prefers that people believe that There Is No Alternative. Having captured mainstream economics as well as government policy, finance seeks to deter students, voters and the media from questioning whether the financial system really needs to be organized in the way it is. Once such a line of questioning is pursued, people may realize that banking, pension and Social Security systems and public deficit financing do not have to be organized in the way they are. There are much better alternatives to today’s road to austerity and debt peonage.
He is absolutely right, but the problem is he and his fellow left-Keynesian economists (Bill Black is another one--read this.) do not go far enough; and because they don't, they become utopian capitalists. That is, they indulge in wishful thinking about how a capitalist economy could work "if only people understood." It's a chronic disease among left capitalist economists, one which they cannot seem to rid themselves of. They want people to believe that a capitalist economy can do something which it is incapable of doing--it's like trying to teach a wolf to become a vegetarian.

Whenever you have societies structured by classes, by definition you have a ruling class whose powers give them control over nearly everything. They write the histories and economics that people learn in school because they control education. They control how reality is interpreted in all significant media--because they control the media.  

In our present period they exercise this control because of a system they forcibly introduced approximately 300 years ago called capitalism, most dramatically and stealthily during the American and French revolutions. This system based on "ownership" of the economy promotes the private accumulation of wealth, and over time capitalism has lead to the accumulation of wealth on a huge scale. The concomitant factor of wealth, and even more important than wealth, is the power this gives people as a class (of owners) over the rest of society.
Power is extremely addictive--much more so than cocaine, heroin, meth, etc. The people of this class are driven by this addiction. After all, after the first $1 million, what have they need for more in the way of material comforts? It's the accumulation of power, that is, the ability to exert influence over others to do one's bidding, to be catered to, to be flattered, even adored that they are after. The system of capitalism is the perfect delivery system which supplies them with this drug.