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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Inside Story Americas - Has capitalism proven its durability?

From Al Jazeera via YouTube an interview featuring Chris Hedges and Richard D. Wolff.

Hedges and Wolff dramatically describe the horrible state of today's societies caused by the ravages of advanced capitalism. I was surprised to hear that Hedges believes it is too late to turn things around. From some of his remarks and in other writings it seems to me that he is as worried about the "fringe or extremists"--you know, like anarchists who break windows--as his apocalyptic vision of the future. Forgive my cynicism, but Hedges sometimes reminds me of a fundamentalist preacher who loves to give impassioned sermons on hell and damnation.

Wolff holds out hope for sudden dramatic changes once a critical point is reached, like what happened in the Soviet Union. In this interview Wolff briefly suggests that democratizing corporations is the answer, whereas in other media he has proposed worker cooperatives. He really doesn't say anything about worker cooperatives as suggested by the super-inscribed message on the video which reads "Worker-Owned Co-operatves Fastest Growing Business Model in the World". This and Al Jazeera's headline for the interview indicate that they intended to frame this depressing discussion in a much more positive framework than it turned out.