Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
All good points, and I grant that it is conceivable that the world economy can respond to looming resource and labor constraints and be put on a sustainable basis in the medium term.

But what about the oligarchs? In the last ten (30) years, they've managed to capture an ever larger share of the world's wealth, and the bailouts, as you note, rescued them at the expense of our societies. It seems to me that unless some effective wealth transfer mechanism can be put in place, the transition to sustainability will mean plunging the masses into poverty while leaving the oligarchs ensconced in their position.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 04:26:24 PM EST
We've already discussed before (and indeed I wrote about) the necessity to kill the host to get rid of the out-oc-control parasites, but it is also conceivable that it won't be required.

As I noted in the dKos thread:

[The optimism is] about the fact that (some) politicians will realize, at some point, that it is better for them to betray the oligarchs in the pursuit of populism in the form of actually sensible (for the common good) policies.

Because, make no mistake, they absolutely have the power to take on the oligarchs on and win. The politician who would run on a simple plank: annul Goldman Sachs' banking license (ie sentence them to death) would be elected in a landslide. And it would be exceedingly easy to do, once in power.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 at 04:53:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We need to identify a minimum set of priorities and goals that will enable us to successfully influence policy and then recruit as many individuals and groups as possible to support helpful action. Below are the first thoughts that come to me:

# ONE: Most of our current problems are the consequences of the transformation of our societies into adjuncts to the economy, a process that began in earnest in the 19th Century and is now almost complete. That transformation involved subordinating all aspects of our societies to the requirements of an industrial market economy, which has since evolved into a global financial market economy that cannot presently be regulated by any single country.

The consequences of this transformation has been the commodification of human labor and of nature, in addition to money. These three are treated as commodities even though they are not created for the market. The consequences of this fact has led to the destruction of social values and the destruction of nature. By treating money, which properly is a relationship between people, as a commodity we have created an unstable system of exchange and storage of value that accentuates the destructiveness of the commodification of land and labor.

The way out of our problems involves a second transformation into a society which makes appropriate provisions for the needs of business but also provides for the needs of the individuals and the environment and provides a monetary system that can be a predictable basis for exchange and for storage of value. The idea that the mechanisms of the market can do this by themselves has proved to lead to repeated disasters. The chief mechanism through which these disasters have been brought about has been the wide spread belief that markets are self regulating in the face of the fact that powerful interests and individuals have, de facto, come to be able to regulate these markets in their own short term interests.

# TWO: Like it or not we are all in this together. Solutions have to help everyone, not just the very few. Call this Wealth And Its Discontents.

There are numerous high net worth individuals that have an understanding of this and who have a corresponding concern for the futures of their descendants. Their support is crucial if the mass of the people are to be adequately informed. This is a much more functional use for their wealth than just donating half to charity.

# THREE: It is imperative that we create mechanisms of governance that allow policies to be discussed and adopted on a rational basis and with the informed consent of the broad population. The fact that this seems oxymoronic is the chief part of the challenge facing us.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 23rd, 2010 at 01:55:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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