Journalism, Redistribution and Social Generosity
"The earth does not belong to people; people belong to the earth" (chief Seattle). Nature is not a free good, external or sink but a living mother and the basis for future life. A third way, a reform capitalism could join social generosity and economic power. Alternative economics and community centers could lead us out of the dystopia of imperial wars.
JOURNALISM, REDISTRIBUTION AND SOCIAL GENEROSITY
By Marc Batko
Robert McChesney, professor of media studies at the University of Illinois, Campaign-Urbana, urges federal support ($30 billion over two or three years) for training journalists. Democracy requires an informed citizenry and expanded participation in news reporting and news analysis. Print media reduces or eliminates foreign news bureaus and in-depth reporting while relying on government sources. Increased concentration brings poorer coverage so people are left without background, context and history. Without encouraging and training journalists, democracy wanes just as when lobbyists write legislation and politicians dial for dollars to finance their next election campaign. "The next generation of unemployed waiters and waitresses is now being educated." (Robert McChesney)
Solving the financial and economic crises means solving the distribution problem, not only the production problem.
All people should share in the benefits of increased productivity and increased efficiency. Corporations save enormously when workers can do their work at home. All people should have meaningful work where their imagination and visions are encouraged and not crushed by old business models, trickle-down mythology and profit worship. Without equality of opportunity, our elite democracy represses the need for new business models and moves toward a modern feudalism.
INEQUALITY AND NEOLIBERAL MYTHS
Two-thirds of the income- and assets gains in the US since 1990 went to the top 1%. The richest 1% now has more assets than 90% of the population.
Deregulation, privatization and liberalizing markets where the poverty of the Global South deepened and increased the wealth of the North caused this exploding inequality. CEOs were stylized as job creators and workers demeaned as cost factors. Seniors, unemployed, youth, disabled and unions were termed special interests. Corporate profits were equated with community health.
According to the neoliberal myth, higher profits would lead to increased investments and more jobs. In truth, corporations preferred takeovers (e.g. German universities, Newsweek Canada and rivers in Canada), currency speculation and buying back their own stock to job creation. Generalized insecurity occurs as jobs often become temporary and precarious. The threat of outsourcing immobilizes unions and eviscerates living wage jobs. Corporations pursue these strategies to maintain their profits despite weak domestic demand and declining purchasing power.
The state was a complicit partner in encouraging outsourcing, takeovers and speculation. The revolving door has apparently replaced separation of powers in late stage capitalism. Lobbyists craft legislation and legislators raise money for their next election campaign.
During the 1990s, corporations played off states in a location-competition. Jobs were shifted from the US and Canada to Mexico and then Vietnam and Malaysia where labor and environmental regulations hardly exist.
Tax havens and offshore centers enabled corporations and the super-rich to evade their already reduced tax liability
RECOVERY OF THE COMMONS
"The earth does not belong to people; people belong to the earth." (Chief Seattle) Nature is not a free good, external or sink but the basis for future human life. Like children, nature has rights of its own.
Water, health care, airwaves, education, clean air and housing are the commons, public goods threatened by privatization. Rights become privileges and democracy becomes hollow when elites manipulate language and the government system.
The state has a social nature and cannot only be a power and security state defending the status quo of tax evasion, privatization, commodification and exploding inequality. If this social nature is lost, the state becomes a trough for the super-wealthy. Banks are bailed out with trillions of taxpayer dollars to prevent a system crash while education, health care and housing become unaffordable privileges instead of safeguarded rights.
Work must be redefined and shared. A guaranteed basic income should be discussed so the future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion. Perhaps this basic income could be termed an "energy savings premium" or a "digital world bonus." Creating a social net is a precondition for sharing work and reducing working hours. If all people were given health care, they would not feel chained to alienating meaningless jobs.
Living simply so others can simply live could become a social imperative to save resources and make concrete the sovereignty of human rights.
A third way, a reform capitalism could join social generosity and economic power. Alternative economics where people have priority over profits could lead us out of the dystopia of imperial wars and "financial innovations."
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