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Privileges are now the focus of attention, yet again. Late modernity, which systemically insulated the very few from earthly toil, at the expense of the sweat and blood of the many, is facing increased mayhem vigorously threatening to undo unfairly bestowed privileges the world over. This ascending bold orientation of the disillusioned sheeple (human mass) has become a formidable challenge to the power that be. The prevailing global status quo, propelled by polarizing globalization, has and continues to cause chaos, migration and wars. On the other hand, a potent transformative and liberating agenda of the downtrodden still awaits coordinated global leadership that is yet to emerge! Why all of a sudden such a ‘Great Refusal’ by the global sheeple to go along with the current flow?
To be sure, this unfolding phenomenon is not an ‘all of a sudden thing.’ The global sheeple has been on this slippery slope ever since the ideology of neoliberalism ascended to the throne of dominant economic thinking. In the third world countries, development economics was demoted and at times completely discarded in favor of unfettered crony capitalism, always at the service of neoliberalism. In the core countries of the system, extreme financialization ensued after the demise of the Bretton Woods agreements (1971), giving rise to interstate sanctioned fiat money. The fraudulent system of fractional reserve banking, coupled with fiat money, is the root cause of polarization, both within and between countries. The main problem of financialization is; it unashamedly and generously caters almost exclusively to the incestuous world of rarefied finance, while neglecting, almost categorically, productive activities. Bankers and their hangers on (states, etc.) employed credible sounding discourses to impart an aura of scientific analysis behind themonopoly money they profusely create, so that they canget away with murder, so to speak! As expected, the resultant polarization and downstream consequences have now come home to roost. What gives? See Smith’s articles next column and on page 23 and 41.
Enter ‘crypto-currencies’ and ‘blockchain’! These two innovations of the Internet technology are recent additions to the burgeoning arsenal of the uncoordinated but gradually coalescing strategy of the sheeple, which we can call the ‘Great Refusal.’ These new Internet technologies are being built around the central issue of peer to peer (p2p) exchanges, be they information, values, etc. The bluntly stated objectives of both crypto currencies as well as the powerful processes of the blockchain technology are,1) to cut out the middle meddlers: like banks, when it comes to money, loan, etc.; brokers, in transactions(financial or otherwise);lawyers/consultants in the intentionally devised obscurant world of litigations, etc. 2) to organically incorporate integrity within all interactions. Don’t forget; the middle meddlers of the world system are the ones who have been immensely benefitting from the polarized global order, more than the working stiff in production and services. The battle between those who want to keep things as they are and those who want to change them, is not only restricted to the world of Internet technology. In fact, aspects of the war of liberation are coming back to the old traditional spaces within the human collectives. Unearned and undeserved privileges are being interrogated in all societies, in various forms!
All sorts of autocratic governments and their sheltered operators/manipulators, ranging from the oil monarchies of the Middle East to dictators of the third world, are in panic modes. They are extremely anxious of their impending fate, even though they are not willing to change or even compromise their wicked ways. Amongst other things, these governments want to shut down independent media, curtail alternative views, frustrate critical discourses, etc., so that the sheeple will remain ignorant about all and sundry. For example, the rich oil monarchies want the global broadcaster Al Jazeera to permanently shut down, just like that, no reason or excuse given! It is more or less the same elsewhere, whether in the first, second or third world countries, though restrictions might be more subtle and nuanced in richer societies. A clear indication trouble is brewing! See relevant articles on page 44 and 46.
Admittedly, traditional labor (organized) is very unlikely to propose alternatives acceptable to all. First, it has become a marginalized collective, for obvious reasons. Secondly, its appreciation or awareness of intractable complexities that abound in current societies makes it ill equipped/prepared to lead universal global movements, though its contributions will still remain immense, just like before! Importantly, the new globally oriented liberating drive must, perforce, congregate around the important task of saving planetary life from the destructive tendencies of the prevailing ‘economism’ of dominant interests. At this late hour, humanity cannot afford to get bogged down only in the discourse of ‘mode of production’, a la the traditional ideology of organized labor. In this regard, the new orientation of the UK labor party, under its current leader Corbyn, seems to throw some encouraging light. Most importantly, in the process of trying to change the global system, the global sheeple should not be sucked, yet again, in wars of the bankers (remember; all wars are banker’s wars)!
Emmanuel Saez, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, estimates that the top 1 percent of American households now controls 42 percent of the nation’s wealth, up from less than 30 percent two decades ago. The top 0.1 percent accounts for 22 percent, nearly double the 1995 proportion. “We are living much more cloistered lives in terms of class. We are doing a much worse job of living out the egalitarian dream that has been our hallmark.” Thomas Sander, Harvard Kennedy School. Good Day!