Anand Giridharadas: "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World" (there's a book behind it)
Jane Mayer - Dark money (there's a book behind it)
Rutger Bregman . Utopia for Realists- The Case for a Universal Basic Income (there's a book behind it) All of the above on the background discussed here:
Yanis Varufakis with Professor Noam Chomsky at NYPL, April 16, 2016 | DiEM25 Then, meet Bernie. then,
maybe you want to sign the Manifest for democratization of Europe, or
[work | get along] with DiEM25. or, briefly, if you aim to live in a free and democratic society, you have to aim for these principles in your country's Constitution:
- democratic principle: the personal wealth of each and everybody is limited from above (capped) to an amount equal to a max lifetime of average wages (assuming last year in your national economic system the average wage was 1000 units, your total personal wealth is limited to 130 years*12 months*1000~1.500.000 units).
- freedom principle: the society has an obligation to provide to every citizen the minimum wealth necessary to cover the basic living needs (roof, clothes, food, energy, means of communicating).
- education, healthcare and free access to research results are mandatory public infrastructure and off-limits to commerce (i.e. paid, in principle, directly from public taxes and not from private investments or acts of private benevolence which may follow the looting)
in essence these are the parameters which will guide the economy and its modeling, and not the reverse. Pay attention permanently whom you vote/let in public power: Any politician/bureaucrat who doesn't aim for these three principles explicitly is a demagogue, an impostor or an unevolved chimpanzee in a suit-and-tie, it doesn't deserve your vote=doesn't deserve an income from your trust/efforts/taxes. See you younger next year!
The above is not a poetic figure of speech, the details come in these few lines:
- free market is never a realistic approximation of an economy, market never comes empty: it's filled from the beginning and you, the gullible, are most of the times cornered by it;
- liberal capitalism seems to work (for a minority) until it fails them, then you, the majority, pay, to make up for the difference: the free-market promoting US, bailed-out its own banks with non-market public money when push came to shove; the liberal global trading rules are becoming tariffs if they don't serve the bullshitters.
- the self-interest of all living humans cannot create an invisible hand as in
They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without know- ing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species.Anyone with a Physics 101, or some bits of neocortex, would discover immediately that the first thing someone self-centred, with a random economic advantage, would do is to continue growing that advantage as far as possible, meaning that the resulting society is a pyramid, with a few ultra-rich on top, and all the rest forced to work for them just for own survival. If that's too abstract to you, here's an example: A self-centred idiot in the market finds a 100 bill in a corner, next thing he does: pays two muscles to "lobby" some other participant to give up its products or its bought merchandise. Then he sells the stuff and pays some more muscles and does it all over again. Next year, he's writing the law of the markets where he's the chief. Until his self-centred idiot neighbour kills him and proclaims himself chief/lawyer of the market. History shows that these guys only stop when they are divinity, that is, never alive. History also shows that this is obviously outdated for countries which practised socialism.
- all the capitalist systems insist on "the property", the problem is that only the socialist countries managed to make their citizens property owners: don't believe me? check the statistics of the EU countries in terms of house ownership, you'll be surprised to find that all the previously socialist countries have a larger proportion of house owners than all the capitalist ones. And here property means truly owning it, not having a mortgage to pay.
So, in capitalism, it's not your property the economists and politicians are talking about.
- no so-called capitalist "developed country" can or could afford free education and free healthcare. Socialist countries could. If you disagree, call your senator/president/prime-minister to prove it! I lived in a socialist country and I know it did.
So, if we let a capitalist system evolve, it destroys the host society: it becomes a tribe with few rich and in power, and the rest of the population as a decorum fussing for the enjoyment of those few. A capitalist EU does not have a future, the Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union reads:
The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.
...it is our sorting of the world that brings thieving into being, and that in insisting on that sorting we affirm a particular image of the artistic self. It is a self, for one thing, distinct from the "others" whose material it uses, and that distinction creates, I think, what Rimbaud calls "the false meaning of the Ego".
Lewis Hyde -
Common as air (2010)
My advocacy for various things will startle some readers, since people often think professors should stay in their ivory towers and “be above it all” (or at least “out of it”). But I think, to the contrary, that professors have an obligation to speak what they believe to be the truth, especially when they see important social values such as freedom and equality under attack. This is the big reason for tenure. It pays a free society in the long run to safeguard teachers so they can say whatever they think is true without fear of losing their jobs. It’s an implicit part of our role to profess the truth, as best we know it. That’s why we’re called profess-ors.
Bob Altemeyer's -
The Authoritarians (2006), one of the few books worth reading if you're interested in the strong links between politics, religion and psychology, or if you simply have the right to vote and want to keep it. Also, it's freely accessible. Check it out before your next discussion about god or democracy with your friends.