Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Starting to get it

Read today’s New York Times editorial entited Wall Street Casualties.

The last paragraph states:
“Making and enforcing new rules is necessary, but that will not be enough. The nation needs a new perspective on the markets, one that acknowledges the self-destructive bent of unfettered capitalism and its ability, unchecked, to wreak havoc far beyond Wall Street.”

The Times is starting to get it.

A new perspective on “the markets” is a good start, one containing these (and no doubt other) components:
capital being rooted much more to communities
people having a fundamental say in basic political AND economic decisions affecting their lives
financial structures accountable to elected officials and the public
recognition that economics, politics, society, and environment cannot and should not be treated as separate compartments to be thought about and acted upon independently from each other
acknowledgment that “the market” is not some invisible, untouchable, superior God-like force but a human-designed system which can be redesigned, refit, reshaped, remolded and recast to fit the needs of people, local communities, and the planet.

This new perspective must, of course, be followed up with new policies and practices reflecting these new perspectives. A new political movement is essential to make it happen — one focused on political and economic democracy.

Is there room in such a system for transnational, undemocratic, top-down business corporations (including financial corporations) which have been bestowed with constitutional rights to govern? The financial corpses through their First Amendment free speech “rights” made political campaign investments (some call them political “contributions” ) and lobbied public officials to gut financial controls and limits. Privatizing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae years ago proved disastrous. The current financial system is unsustainable.

The Times is right. A new perspective is sorely needed. So are new policies and practices. Leading it all, however, must be people united in a political movement independent of political parties.

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