Revista Mensual y Gratuita
Nº98, October 2011
Inequality, direct result of the accelerated process of economic concentration, lies in the basis of the crisis that currently strikes affluent countries. Its impact transcends the ethic, the unfair and projects itself to be a major factor of systemic instability. It is true, inequality and concentration are gripping our future, although they are not the only aspects that are necessary to transform.
The global community is confronted with the problem that achieving the agreed goal of eradicating poverty will require much more economic progress. But the economic progress of the past is the cause for most of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions responsible for climate change. To conquer poverty without endangering the planet will require the adoption of radically different technologies for the global economy.
Six centuries before the Christian era, a wise man taught how to overcome cares and troubles. He said that overcoming cares and troubles was possible for he who knows and who sees however not for he who does not know nor does not see. But, he wondered, what is it a person must know and see in order for him to let go of his problems and concerns? And there one of his masterly reflections was beginning.
Facing the European emergency, once again some countries turn to traditional financial and fiscal measures. Reacting to threats only with the very variables that were unable to prevent the crisis is not the most appropriate approach. The imposed measures, sustained by the hegemonic line of thought now claiming urgencies and emergencies, are not the only ones available nor the most effective: different approaches exist, approaches capable of providing another kind of solutions.
The bias stems from not fully recognizing the socioeconomic dynamic that led to the crisis; that is, the underlying logic beyond the fiscal and financial dreadful management that no doubt existed. The thing is there were- and which is even worst, there still are- other fundamental issues that led to the abyss: to begin with, the accelerated process of economic concentration in certain minority groups which has catastrophic implications for the contemporary globalized world. Huge mismatches and gaps were generated between a supply that naturally seeks to expand and a demand that, due to concentration is relatively left behind. As there is not the will nor the capacity to break the concentration pattern by increasing genuine income, countries turn to substitute solutions such as financing demand over and above the point of prudence. Hence financial bubbles and the actions of the usual greedy to speculate in horizons that kept getting loaded of risks and threats. We should also add superfluous, irresponsible consumption of those who concentrate purchasing power, the enormous environmental destruction, the oligopolistic handling of world savings, the investment funds’, pension funds’, sovereign wealth funds’ and hedge funds’ management (among others), each one focused on their own returns whichever the systemic impact of their decisions might lead to, the financial usury against the weak, the criminal ‘tax havens’, the commercial extortions of the strongest, the massive tax evasion and tax shelter of large multinational corporations using subtle under and over billing mechanisms between related companies, the control over media and ‘serious’ development agendas, among other critical factors.
In fact, it is not only about denouncing and protesting but also about understanding how things work and how can one operate on those other factors of the real world. The challenge is to transform what threatens a sustainable systemic course by substantially improving the way we function. If general well-being happens to be the goal, billionaire bailouts to restore instead of transforming the pre-crisis dynamics will wind up being futile. If, instead, it is about maintaining privilege and inequality (with the implications derived from them), those bailouts are well oriented. And what about the social cost dumped upon majorities? Well, the helmsmen of privilege say that is the cost that will be necessary to pay.
Until next month.
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Opinion Sur Collection
Introducing three new additions to our collection
Getting out of the Crisis towards a sustainable development
STORM: The ways of the crisis and the ways out of it
International Crisis: Adjusting the Course and Improving the Systemic Functioning