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By and large, I'm in agreement with Andreani. Laying aside the points made by MarekNYC (which I agree with so-so), Andreani's main thrust is against the tiresomely repetitive discourse about failure and doom, and the evident need for reform... And France does seem to be the central butt of this agenda-driven language.

"The point is that governments are increasingly using arguments of "failure" , "doom", "suckiness" to pass reforms", says Alex in Toulouse. To "governments" let's add "corporate power", "financial power". Melvin posted a fascinating article about Japan (The Lost "Human Country" by Uchihashi Katsuto), which says this:

the formation of public opinion in Japan increasingly takes place through ideas initiated by a ruling stratum that includes the government as well as academia and business interests. This is called `reform`

By a discourse of `power` I mean those discourses that descend from the `peaks` embodied by the interests of the side wielding power, authority and jurisdiction... ideas opposing it as well as dissenters always end up becoming objects of exclusion by being labeled either `defenders of entrenched interests` or `rebels`.

This is especially deplorable among so-called `scholars` who actively expend their energies in the formation, dissemination and universalization of discourses of power, and swarm around political power.

Though this is aimed against the Koizumi government, there are elements that apply globally. Laissez-faire capitalism has taken over the word "reform", and describes its opponents as conservatives. And the discourse on the failure of "social market models" has become common wisdom. The only thing that "works", we are told, is a more fragmented, individualized, competitive society. And far too many people believe that is where their interest lies, when in fact it's in the interest of an extremely wealthy few which most of them will never join.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 04:20:06 PM EST
The only thing that "works", we are told, is a more fragmented, individualized, competitive society. And far too many people believe that is where their interest lies, when in fact it's in the interest of an extremely wealthy few which most of them will never join.
This is because people identify with the wealthy, not with their fellow working poor.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 04:31:32 PM EST
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Only 1% of the poor in 1969 got to be rich by 1989. Only 15% got to be average or better.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 06:41:10 PM EST
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Absolutely agree.

Inequality is a huge problem  in the US.  I recently finished a great book by the same name that chronicled how unequal America has become.   There's a group called  Demos that's behind the book.  You should check out the website.  It's got lots of good stuff that I'm sure you'll like, and might find useful.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 11:22:48 PM EST
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This is because people identify with the wealthy, not with their fellow working poor.

I suspect, rather, that such people are on the whole happy with what they have, grateful to have it, and afraid of losing it. They believe that big corporations and the wealthy class generate prosperity. They don't want to kill the goose that provides them with the standard of living they have.

Go to any 'company town', and you will find that this is the dominant attitude. "Before [the company] came in here, we had nothing."

Class warfare does not sound like a good idea to such folks.

Pogo: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

by d52boy on Fri Dec 30th, 2005 at 10:28:36 AM EST
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