In his latest post, London Banker offers a ray of hope.
Once we hit bottom of this downturn, some years hence in all probability, we may experience a democratization of wealth and opportunity like none seen since the end of World War II when education reforms and unionisation laid the groundwork for the rise of the American and OECD middle classes. Those who have lost economic and political power during the boom years, are likely to organise and retake authority within economic and political systems during the bust years. This could provide reorientation of economic progress toward more equitable, sustainable and democratic outcomes in coming generations. I hope so, it’s the only bright spot of the week.
I hope so, too. The rich class that has seized power in the United States, with its mindless troop of religious right-wingers, has stopped at nothing to obtain its ends. It has defined and redefined what the political center means, moving it ever rightward.
Armed with lobbyists and the Bible, they made “left” a dirty word; they have approved greater and greater concentration of governmental power even as they loosen the restrictions on corporate greed. Perfect in character assassination, they claim their distorted values are divinely inspired. Claiming terrorist surround us, they refuse to see the economic terror to which we all are now subject. The angry man in McCain’s latest “town” meeting rose in fury to denounce the socialists and Bill Nye.
While I suspect the event may have been planned, the event did highlight the kind of mindless rhetoric we have had to endure these last decades. He was not worried about those who are watching their life’s savings vanish in a stock market twinkle. He was not worried about those who are losing their jobs or the small business now stretched thin, stretch so thin that this Christmas may indeed be a dark one. He was not worried about health care rising as incomes dwindle and savings vanish. He was not worried about those who now must work until they die–no welcomed retirement for them.
No, he was worried about Bill Nye and socialism. And McCain’s audience cheered.
The center is falling apart–the center the Republicans defined, the center the Democrats have too often slavishly followed. “Left of center,” what does that mean anymore?
The shadow banking system that lies outside regulation is just another reflection of the privatization of everything, from the military and Halliburton, to water and the genetic code. Along side these monstrosities is the Unitary Presidency that keeps telling us how bad government is, even as it furthers its reach into our private lives, hands out plums to its faithful, and loosens the restrictions on corporate greed. That presidency has been a long time in its fashioning.
Government can serve the people, but not when it is the hands of those who want to destroy its efficacy while increasing their own hoard of gold, not when it is the hands of people who leave government only to join the ranks of lobbyists. I speak directly here to fans of William Jefferson Clinton, he who gave us NAFTA and he who now is a well-paid lobbyist.
Government can serve the people, but not when the upper reaches of its bureaucracy is filled with the loyal and faithful, while its day-to-day workers are told that their jobs are worthless, that their jobs will soon be outsourced, that they are nothing better than leeches on society–or that, if they speak out about corruption, their lives and futures will be forfeit. Imagine having such a job. Would not you be sour and rude and difficult as well? Would you not slavishly follow the letter of the rules, forgetting the intent?
Yes, government can serve the people.
Naomi Klein claims that destruction precedes creation, that those who have risen to power worked that principle well. In that rise to power, in following the principle that private greed knows best, they have planted the seeds of their own destruction.
Let us hope that we will take advantage of their fall to construct a more humane society, a government that actually serves its purpose: The betterment of all its citizens.