Austerity policy is not just a function of greed, but the end result of a quandary the global financial industrial complex and it’s policy makers find themselves in.
There’s more “money”in the global economy than there are resources on which to spend it. With global population topping 7 billion, distributing that wealth by rebuilding infrastructure in the current paradigm and paying a “living”wage would dramatically increase demand. Because of the consolidation of industry world wide, there are fewer suppliers. Demand would outpace industry’s as well as the planet’s ability to provide supply fast enough.This would lead to increased pollution, global shortages and then run-away inflation. Within a brief period of time the new “living”wage would be as hard or even harder to live on as 8$/hr is now in the US.
Ancient folklore and history seem to suggest that repeated die-offs of advanced civilizations keep happening because we can’t seem to learn the lesson of living w/in our means as a species. The logic is simple; exponential human population growth + finite resources = fewer and fewer resources/capita. In short, the petri dish is full and the medium is exhausted. We are all connected. We are one global people. We can shift paradigms and cooperate, or completely die off in a perpetual cycle of growth/competition, which I realize is likely.
To quote a commenter at a certain blog I frequent:
Capitalism is uncontrollable by design. It is uncontrollable because the laws & regulations come and go, just as the leaders who establish them come and go. To cite a few examples, we’ve already seen regulations that kept banking honest and the media “balanced” (to the extent that it once was) and tariffs, etc. dismantled by politicians, right before our eyes, while the New Deal morphed into the “Raw Deal” at the hands of the oligarchs. By its very nature, capitalism is a predator’s paradise.
I saw this man, Jacque Fresco , on a morning news show about 40 years ago. He knew then where we were headed and tried to tell the world…but Capitalism would have none of it. He’s a bit too inflexible in some of his ideas for me, but these folks grew out of his ideas…I sure hope what few of us are left, if any, after the LOCO-motive crashes, will get on board this new train in some fashion or other. Richard Wolff also has a number of lectures on Democracy to the workplace; and the co-op movement. This seems, to me, the only place to start w/in the current paradigm.
As far as population control, funny how these corrupt puppets in government want to rid us of the three things that actually DO control population; education, access to birth control and access to safe legal abortion. I guess the way they see it, the more rats you have in a cage fighting over what little air, food and water are left, the more desperate they are, thus more easily controlled and the faster they will kill each other and die off.
Climate change aside, to survive, we would have to change the way we live…Totally. Not only would we have to shift our energy paradigm, but we’d have to share sustainable dwellings, land, electronics, transportation, everything.. or there simply wouldn’t be enough to go ‘round. People keep saying they want world peace and an end to war, but they aren’t willing to put all of humanity on the level playing field that is required in order to end the fighting. We must rid ourselves of the very concept of personal ownership. Most native peoples understood this.
On redefining what it means to protest.peacefully; the reality is, when we take to the streets shouting, waving our fists in the air and demanding justice, the noise falls on deaf ears and only serves to further harden what little heart is left on the “Capital Hill”s and “Wall Streets”s around the nation. Perhaps, for example, the OWS protestors would not have been bulldozed if, instead of chanting demanding slogans, they calmly made compassionate eye contact with police while offering them flowers and singing, or silently standing their ground when told to evacuate. It would be most difficult indeed for police to arrest and bully silent peaceful protestors. This is how Gandhi would have done it. True…the fascists might end up mowing them down with impunity…but instead of the media using protestors’ fists and chants to portray them as demanding brats, they’d be hard pressed to ignore their moral high ground. Many of the the “1%”, truly view the ‘average’ person as ‘less than’ and undeserving, even of life itself. It’s going to get bad out there. We must help each other forgive those most responsible for the Earth’s destruction and their minions, or it will only be worse.
I remember seeing a clip of an interview with some higher up in Goldman-Sachs or one of the global financial Beasts…I think on the Ed Show? He was shredded by Ed for suggesting that folks were going to have to “get used to having a lot less”. While I’m sure this man’s vision of “a lot less” was despotic for you and me, in a way, he was right. If all we see in economic inequality are dollars, without thinking through the distribution of all that money to it’s logical conclusion, he is right. If enough money to live comfortably without worry was distributed to all in need tomorrow, in the current paradigm, we’d destroy ourselves and the planet in record time. We can’t FDR our way out of this one…well, we could, but at what cost to our planet which is already in her death throws? Sharing ressources in a resource-based economy would dramatically increase our quality of life in the long run if any of us survive. We have lost sight of how valuable it is to be an integral part of a larger community while on this suicidal march to individualism. We have much to relearn, much to gain and one hopes, much to look forward to, regardless of whether on this side of the veil, or the other.
Sophia Schooley is a writer and activist living in Maysville, Kentucky. She may be contacted at her blog.