This morning I was listening to the radio and heard a commentary on the RI economy by Scott Mackay. Mackay was spouting the usual propaganda offered to us by the ruling class. We have to cut taxes and get folks working again. Excuse me, but we have heard this before and it still does not work.
The conventional wisdom, the dominant paradigm,, the only ideas acceptable in the public square or in the commercial media are that if we could only make the world safer for the 1% we could have good times (fast economic growth) in Rhode Island and that the biggest problem that RI has is that it does not kow tow to the 1% enough because the unions will not let the corparados screw the workers. Scott, I expect better of you, some real analysis and some real inquiry into the causes of our economic situation.
We need to ask a few new questions and have a different discussion this year. Since we are already talking about the 1% and the 99%, we could talk about how the 99% have done under the corporate reign that began with Reagan in the 1980’s versus how the 1% has done. There is NOTHING in the actions of workers since that time that in any way compares to the harm done to the American economy that the 1% has caused simply through rigging the system so that they get all the new wealth and everyone else gets poorer. That is prosperity?
Would you at least ask the question about the role increasing inequality plays in messing up economies? More and more authors are pointing out how inequality in the economy drives the growth out. Have you read any of that material? They make a pretty convincing case that only when there is actual community participation in decisions on the economy can you achieve a sustainable prosperity in the age of climate change.
Have you tried to apply this new understanding of the role of inequality in gumming up an economy to the standard wisdom being spouted in Rhode Island for the umpteeth time? Have you asked how any of the proposals from the chamber of commerce, the various foundations and commissions, from the RIEDC or legislature will decrease inequality? Or is it because no one wants to know the real answer, the one that says all of the ruling class ideas on how to fix the economy are based on a planet that no longer exists, in which true democracy is just an obstacle to prosperity. Which Congress have you been watching for just how crazed the 1% and their lap dogs are?
Some more basic truths need to be applied to the conventional wisdom in RI. The conventional wisdom says decrease regulations (I talked of taxes indirectly in the previous paragraphs and will not repeat that case here). but this morning, very close in time to your commentary there was a discussion of just how bad the air pollution in China is right now. It is a true killer smog. Just like places in the US got 50 years ago that caused us to try to get out of the stone age of regulations in which the rich could do anything and won every court case. We made great progress, with cleaner technologies almost always providing for more efficient industrial processes and better profits, but to this day the loonies on the right demand less regulation and more right to pollute, destroy wetlands, over fish, and destroy the climate. That gives us a country like China in which a small elite make the rules, they apply them selectively, and while the resistance to the rich grows every larger, the growth that the leaders crave gets eaten up fixing the problems the over development is causing. China may be eating up to 50% of its growth dealing with the damage each year. Is your goal to return RI to that condition in pursuit of growth?
The road to prosperity does not pass through lower corporate taxes and deregulation, as much as I, like everyone in Rhode Island knows of rules and laws that just plain are hard to navigate and make life a bit crazy for innovators. The road to prosperity begins with understanding that economic growth is essentially over in the west. It is more than likely that wages in the west will start to settle down towards the global mean while incomes in the poorest parts of the world continue to rise, a bit. We now have jobless recoveries in between bubbles. Workers are obsolete, even college educated young people can not find jobs and are likely to be only loosely attached to the conventional job market for many years to come.
If we have jobless, bubble growth, is it actually growth? But this is the only thing offered to us by the conventional wisdom. So let us start to try to figure out how to create jobs even as the economy shrinks. Two related places to start, ecological healing and food security. Which are completely integrated into the work to slow and adapt to climate change.
in other words building community resilience, growing more food, using less energy, recycling everything, is not to be the fringe or frill on the economy, it is the main course. If Rhode Island wants prosperous communities, the only smart thing is to begin the process of ecological healing, restoring forests, soils, fisheries, watersheds, and clean transportation infrastructure.
The conventional wisdom will not get us there. The conventional wisdom calls for austerity, deregulation, lower taxes on the rich. Can someone tell me how that slows climate change and helps us adapt? Can someone tell me how that does not lead to ever faster destruction of the ecosystems that feed us? Can someone tell me how it reduces inequality in the community and allows communities to protect themselves from corporate greed and power?
Scott, I am waiting for a better analysis, one that actually asks the important questions rather than parroting the received wisdom. .