It has only been in the last several years that I've started worrying that I really have been too much the anthropological optimist.
The reelection of W Bush didn't truly astound me. It disgusted me mostly for the way in which Kerry handled the whole election. The way he "didn't dignify" the Swift boaters' claims until way too late. His semi-irrelevant points on the deficiencies in Republican Tax policies and, most tellingly, his refusal to speak of the swelling real estate bubble which was at the time, 2004, beginning to show the first signs of massive instabilities which would eventually lead to '07's financial meltdown. And please don't say, "well No One knew it was gonna happen." A Lot of economists were saying it was a catastrophe in the waiting the way the U.S. and Britain had opened up to Speculation the lending reserves of Banks. How the rules allowing insane packaging of loans into assets which only the richest investors could possibly use as defense against bad investments.
Doesn't anyone in Politics understand Economics for civilizations? The only thing they do seem to understand are the finer academic points which show how the wealthiest investors can secure and invest their wealth at the same time, as if that siphon segment of the pool of international wealth is somehow the only one that matters to the health of the whole system.
Is it Ignorance? Is it Hubris? Is it really, I mean seriously can it really be as simple as Greed?
I don't think it is, but I am now, after years of non-utopian optimism about our near term future, starting to believe that greed really is become too much a driving force in our culture in general, and Politics in particular.
In this Op-Ed essay by Henry Gireaux of Truthout my growing Nationalist fears are given an almost ecumenical form and dimension. It is quite the literary Op-Ed and touching in an emotionally devastating, yet at the same time, satisfying way. Where Robert Reich does state his analyses plainly and with statistical and historical empiricism, Gireaux does so with a flair for the historically dramatic. If he does occasionally dance with hyperbole I think it only is because the subject matter truly is of such an Historically massive nature.
I've said I don't believe the United States is in any real danger of falling into the a 2nd world economic strata. I think that I still believe that. I'm just not as sure as I was when I was much younger and had not yet been subjected to the reality of which these past forty years of economic diminution of my country's middle class has resulted.
We will be to see...
I think that preface paragraph by Tony Judt does an excellent job as a synopsis to the essay which follows. Note the footnotes as well. Excellent all 'round!
In the Twilight of the Social State: Rethinking Walter Benjamin's Angel of History
by: Henry A. Giroux, t r u t h o u t | Op-EdBy eviscerating public services and reducing them to a network of farmed-out private providers, we have begun to dismantle the fabric of the state. As for the dust and powder of individuality: it resembles nothing so much as Hobbes's war of all against all, in which life for many people has once again become solitary, poor and more than a little nasty. (1) -Tony Judt