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, June 28, 2015

How Corrupt is Britain?

Click here to this review by Lindy Syson of a book by the above title posted in CounterFire (Britain).

From Syson's review it appears that in this collection of articles the authors rather carefully circumscribe their analyses. I am referring here to references to Britain, "neoliberalism", "structure of impunity", the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and of course all the government corruption. What the authors apparently carefully avoid discussing is that the adverse symptoms are not limited to Britain, that neoliberalism is merely the end stage of capitalism, and that all of these problems are symptoms of this end stage.

Referring to all the British banking and government scandals in the past decade, Syson writes:
Such scandals have mainstream commentators seemingly puzzled and outraged in equal measure. One common response is to argue that individuals are inherently greedy, or that corrupt individuals are surrounded by those acting in the same way which normalises the situation. Either way, corruption tends to be psychologised and seen as an aberration in a liberal democracy, one that can be and must be rooted out.

That view is challenged in How Corrupt is Britain?....
Okay, this conventional view might be challenged by the authors, but their view replacing it also limits our understanding of the underlying problem. According to Syson, the authors' analyses of all the corruption (apparently only found in Britain) point to neoliberalism as the cause. This fits in nicely with the circumscribed view of Naomi Klein that "unregulated capitalism" is the problem. Fixing this with enforced regulations will restore a mythical "liberal democracy", a major propaganda concept of capitalism which they apparently support. 

Judging by a Bloomberg article quoted in a critical article in The Automatic Earth, it seems that our masters aren't always that supportive of "liberal democracy" when it gets in the way of their interests.