Friday, September 21, 2007

Capitalism Is Like Water, You Can't Hold It in Your Hands

"But how do you get people to see that they are being screwed by their own dominant economic beliefs?" asks Jan Frel of author Naomi Klein. It's a question many of us are asking as the economic climate of the US heats up or cools down depending on your point of view. In Klein's new book, The Shock Doctrine, there are those who can't wait for the next disaster to appear so they can reap the economic benefits. In the personal finance blogosphere this discussion about motive and economic opportunism doesn't appear to have started.

It's been my experience that it's not always the issue that the media is preventing discussion, but rather that the media working on behalf of the public's general desire (of) not wanting to get into an issue. For example, this Monday, AlterNet ran article about the recent report that 1.2 million civilians have died violent deaths since the U.S. invasion. It was our top story, and the number of people who read it (24,000) was far lower than we expected.

Frel's observation jibes with the response I received when I mentioned this last week in a post on in response to a discussion about learning to live simply.

Meanwhile, Klein goes on to point out what happens in some of the media when they do talk about these issues:

but look at Lou Dobbs. Here you have a CNN news anchor who makes a concerted decision that he is going to put the disappearing American middle class and the effects of outsourcing on TV every night, and he's going to use his pulpit to drum up outrage, except that he decides that he's going to direct that outrage to the weakest people in society; to immigrants.

I have said it before at this site, I really believe in the god of serendipity. Yesterday, I just finished reading a new novel by British journalist turned author, Humphrey Hawksley, called the History Book. In it he poses what has become a standard theme in today's thrillers, a conspiracy theory. Persons in government are taking the opportunity provided by the fear of terrorism to use the fear to seize more and more dictatory powers. I know, it's just another story right? But Klein has done more than pose the question. She has spent four years documenting her book.

The timing of The Shock Doctrine's release in Canada is very relevant here because it just hosted a summit with George Bush and Mexican President Calderon to meet with Prime Minister Steven Harper to talk about the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) which is basically like
NAFTA-plus; NAFTA plus security issues. The SPP is an example of the shock doctrine I outline, in the sense that this was an agenda that would have been unspeakable in terms of integration with the United States before 9/11, and in the panic after -- in that shock -- the SPP agenda moved forward in
technocratic circles, and it was presented as a done deal.

She is presenting facts. And the interviewer is asking why we in the US
wont discuss them. I find myself thinking of New Orleans and the line from a song by Aaron Neville, "You can't stop running water" as I ponder this situation. Most of us benefit everyday from the system of capitalism, but the question that is appearing more and more in blogs and news papers, is this at the continuing expense of our democracy?

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