by John Brian Shannon | June 16, 2016
The 1 percent are already ‘In’ and for obvious reasons. Now, what about the 99 percent?
Widespread dissatisfaction among very large numbers of people is manifesting itself in various ways around the world.
We’ve seen it in regards to the Occupy Wall Street protests, the Scottish referendum, Arab Spring, Syrian uprising, in the deepening distrust of globalization and free-trade agreements, lower voter turnouts, and most recently, in the potential for Grexit and Brexit from the European Union.
But it wasn’t always that way. In the postwar world, people from all walks of life and in every country ‘pulled together’ towards a common and better future. Sure, the Cold War interrupted that mood. But if anything, and in the broadest possible context, the Cold War served to sharpen competition and increase the overall flow towards a better civilization.
When the Cold War ended, Earth’s then-population of 6 billion took a collective deep breath and said; “Now we can get somewhere!” — in regards to creating the kind of world anyone would be proud to live in.
But 26 years on, we have fallen massively short of those aspirations. And it’s becoming more apparent and it is grating on people, moreso with each passing year.
Instead of a giant leap forward for the human race, we had trillion dollar wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were based on falsehood (the U.S. Iraq Study Group said so) a major recession caused by the unethical and perhaps illegal actions of ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions (but only one person has gone to prison) we had democratic voices being dragged away from peaceful and legal #OWS rallies, we have dangerous people trying to re-ignite the Cold War because it used to be good for the military-industrial-complex economy (so why not try that again?) we suddenly have a 1 percent cohort that owns more than HALF of the world’s wealth (by 2030 they will own 76% of the world’s wealth if measures aren’t taken) we have more outsourcing of jobs (and therefore a larger proportion of low-paying jobs) and we have unelected, elitist, bureaucrats in Europe telling the rest of the continent where to go and what to do.
And that isn’t the half of it.
“It is time for the global leaders of modern capitalism, in addition to our politicians, to work to change the system to make it more inclusive, more equitable and more sustainable.
Extreme inequality isn’t just a moral wrong. It undermines economic growth and it threatens the private sector’s bottom line. All those gathering at Davos who want a stable and prosperous world should make tackling inequality a top priority.”
Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Chief Executive Officer of E.L. Rothschild and chairman of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, who spoke at a joint Oxfam-University of Oxford event on inequality in 2015
(So far, not a single recommendation has been implemented)
Consequently millions of people are losing faith in and blaming globalization when in fact globalization isn’t the problem.
Twenty-six years after the Cold War has ended, our civilization is so much less than it could be that it boggles the mind.
The 1 percenters and their acolytes can’t understand what all the fuss is about.
And I understand that! Their lives are so far removed from reality that; “Let the peasants eat cake.” doesn’t begin to describe the disconnect they have with the other 7.2 billion people on the planet.
(For the record, none of it was caused by the 1 percent — they are merely the beneficiaries of the trickle-up economy — therefore, we can never blame them for the problems of the 99 percent)
Ongoing troubles with Russia, China, #OWS, the global economy, Brexit, etc. are just the beginning of our problems. Five years out and ten years out, we will look back longingly to the 2010-2016 timeframe where we had these relatively minor problems to contend with!
We need a new global vision, one that is orders of magnitude better than the present mediocre vision, so that 7.2 billion people will say to themselves, “Now this, I can support and work diligently towards.”
The present vision of; ‘Let’s keep making corporations and the 1 percent richer and richer at our expense, getting into conflicts with Russia and China for no reason good enough to justify the risks involved, and unelected and elitist technocrats ruling the Earth (seems to be a growing trend) all so that we can feel grateful to have a low-paying job and a declining middle class?‘
That’s not a vision! That’s the path to economic suicide!
While there won’t be revolutions there is likely to be widespread voter dissatisfaction and a much lower level of ‘buy-in’ to our civilization from everyday citizens. That alone, is enough to cause irreparable damage to our world.
Everyone has a different idea about why the former Soviet Union failed;
Some say it was the sudden drop in oil prices (not really, that was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back) some say it was Western plots (slight attribution there, IMHO) while some said its fall was due to their failure in Afghanistan (embarrassing, but not Warsaw Pact demolishing by any standard) or by other, unspecified means.
But no, the real reason for the failure of the former Soviet Union was passive defiance by Soviet workers, whose favorite (quietly-spoken) saying was;
“As long as they pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work.”
And that is everything!
Once it became obvious to Soviet workers that the Soviet Union was ‘no longer working’ for their best interests, they employed a sort of ‘passive defiance’ in return for the crass neglect they felt they had endured, which lowered the USSR’s productivity to such an extent that all it took was a few months of low oil prices and some sniping from U.S. politicians for the whole thing to implode.
Now, 26 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Western workers are beginning to think in terms of ‘passive defiance’ and may soon follow the path of those Soviet workers.
Long story short; There are very real reasons for the growing dissatisfaction and the disconnect between 7.2 billion people on the one hand — and the 1 percent, their acolytes, and the elitist technocrats that serve them, on the other hand.
The grievances of that many people can’t simply be waved away in a ‘Let them eat cake’ kind of way.
We need a grand and new vision, one that is orders of magnitude better than the present non-vision, and one that 7.2 billion people will urgently wish to support.
Anyone up for that?
If not, we’re already on the path to lose everything we’ve built.
- The World’s Ins and Outs (Project Syndicate)
- Richest 1% will own more than all the rest by 2016 (Oxfam International)