Sunday, May 19, 2013

More Capitalism Waiting to Happen

All my life I've heard the stories of oppressed peoples who rose against their oppressors to secure justice and freedom.  From colonial patriots to  pioneers to the "Greatest Generation", America has collective imagery of triumph over distress. 

So I guess I should take heart when I look at the forces arrayed against the public interest.  According to the national myth, the good guys win.  Looking at reality, the story is less positive.  Money wins, if not immediately, in the long run then.  And even when it loses, money can often manage the results in its interest.

These gloomy thoughts are amply illustrated by Gary Rivlin's article, "How Wall Street Defanged Dodd-Frank", in The Nation.  It's a case study of massive lobbying on behalf of private interest at the expense of the public.  It's all-too-typical of how national policies are established.  A hard-fought, not-perfect-but-good-start attempt to regulate the excesses that crashed the economy is slowly whittled to nothing by the same monied interests that created and profited from those excesses. 

And this is simply one front in the corporate wars.  The Trans-Pacific Paratnership is a "free trade" agreement that gives preference to corporate interests over silly, "un-scientific" national and public interests like social, enconomic and  environmental concerns.  Think NAFTA only bigger  Add in the US-European Union trade negotiations and it looks all too much like the private interest and profit has won despite our best efforts.  

This tells me that the myth of good triumphing over evil is only part of the story.  Any victory will be hard fought.  Nor will any victory be complete or final.

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