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, July 18, 2014

Economists say solution to problems is more of the same

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.

Few people explain capitalist economic concepts and analyses better than Dolack. In this piece he deconstructs a document entitled “Policy Challenges for the Next 50 Years,” issued by a major capitalist organization called the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). 

It appears that key capitalist policy makers insist that they must continue with the same neoliberal austerity policies with plenty of assurances that everything will be fine, but admit that their beloved system must now accept slow growth for the foreseeable future. Of course, what they are really facing is stagnation as their system which demands high rates of growth comes up against the resource limits of a finite planet, especially cheaply available energy from fossil fuels.
The implications of that stagnation are a sputtering economy, more unemployment and more inequality because capitalism is a system that requires growth. A system based on endless growth can’t function without it — slow growth (all the more so no growth) means misery for working people as the recent years of “recovery” from the 2008 economic collapse has demonstrated.
However, as Dolack correctly concludes:
An economic system designed to meet human needs, rather than private profit, would have no need to grow. But as capitalism is designed for private profit, and requires continual growth to maintain itself, harsher austerity (and the force that will be necessary to implement it) is what is on offer by the world’s elites.