Friday, December 30, 2011

My Perspective on The Political Economy of 2011

"It is notable and inspiring that as the Occupy Wall Street movement took shape around the United States and other parts of the world, the participants in the occupations organized themselves as communities of equals, in which every voice is equally prized and harmonious consensus is avidly sought. The hunger for democratic community and self-determination is palpable. This is not the laissez faire form of self-determination, in which each individual strives only to determine the course of one individual life, but a more encompassing phenomenon, in which people strive to build and sustain communities and then work together as equals in order to make well-founded, democratic decisions to determine the direction of the community. It’s hard work. But the work is inspiring and ennobling, and people are naturally drawn to it.

In both the United States and Europe, policy-making elites – whose allegiances are to the plutocrats who are responsible for funding and sustaining the political operations of these elites – are aggressively working to take advantage of the stress and confusion caused by the present global economic crisis to dismantle progressive social systems. They are targeting systems of public ownership and organized social cooperation, and are working to undermine the capacity for democratic governance. For the very wealthy, democratic governments represent nothing but competitors. These governments have sometimes acted in the past to diminish some of the formidable power the wealthy would otherwise possess over entire societies, and they sometimes even strip them of some of the wealth that they have earned from the sweat of others. Plutocrats would like nothing better than to put real democracy out of business, and to leave behind nothing but a toy facsimile of democracy – something like a high school student government that is allowed to engage in a little democratic role-playing inside an adult social institution that the students really don’t control".

This is a quote that describes what the economic debate has been about in 2011. It is not about economic theory. It is about a 30 year battle to determine whether democracy can be made to serve the public interest, or whether it will be made to serve the interests of the plutocracy which views real democracy with disdain, and also as a threat. The attack on government, and the encouragement of despair about our ability to govern ourselves democratically, are part of the game plan. The Occupy Wall Street protests, are the beginning of a counterattack. Hopefully, it will be a spark that informs others, and inspires others to work with them to align government to the public interest. Link to article

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