Monday, April 4, 2011

"Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%"

We're not surprised that Qaddafi clings to power. We think: yet another kleptocrat cliché. And watching his intransigence from these many miles we console ourselves with the knowledge that, whatever happens, the sands of Ozymandias await him, too.

But what of the Libyans cheering his speeches? What about the mercenary Africans taking up arms in defense of a man who has spent 40 years robbing them blind, fomenting violence across Africa, and silencing anyone who dares to oppose him?

Inconceivable, right?

Sadly, no.

In America we work, fight, and die for our oligarchs, too. More than that: we voluntarily vote for them. Eagerly, we listen to their news channels, as if what they have to tell us were meant for our benefit. They tell us: "Blame the teachers!" And we blame the teachers. They tell us: "Taxation is theft!" And we lower their taxes. They tell us: "Subsidize our companies!" And we subsidize their companies. They tell us (after collapsing our economy): "Bail us out!" And we bail them out.

But the day will come—as it's come in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and across the Middle East—when we will say, "Uh, wait a minute...." Because Joseph Stiglitz is right:
The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn't seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually learn. Too late.
From a Nobel Prize-winning economist: essential reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment