In political philosophy, the idea of a social contract is that the individual surrenders some rights for the benefits of living in a civilized society that has reasonable rules for all. However, in recent decades, the greedy rich have torn up that contract, as Danny Schechter explains.
The world’s financial system continues to teeter near a very nasty brink, with the United States and Europe disagreeing about how to pull back from the edge. Danny Shechter sees crisis, crisis, everywhere.
In the same Kansas town where Teddy Roosevelt castigated his era’s financial speculators 101 years ago, President Barack Obama spoke to the concerns of America’s 99 percent, those who have struggled while the super-rich prospered. But is Obama’s new rhetoric just talk, asks Danny Schechter.
The Right’s giant megaphone is reversing the narrative for today’s crisis: It is Barack Obama’s “food-stamp presidency” and the Occupy demands for fairness that are at fault for the hard economic times, not Wall Street’s unregulated greed increasing the need for food stamps and heightening the imperative for resistance – as Phil Rockstroh explains.
Wall Street has created a “moral” universe that elevates short-term profits into the ultimate “good,” rewarding those who can achieve them with massive bonuses. The movie Margin Call follows these players when their universe collapses, writes Lisa Pease.
In America, bubbles come in two forms: how Wall Street insiders suck in a sucker’s money before the speculative bubble pops and how those same scam artists stay inside a protective bubble to spare themselves from the fallout. In this autumn of national discontent, Phil Rockstroh sees hope for real change.
Finally, a truly “populist” movement – not like the Tea Party funded by billionaires to serve the interests of billionaires – has arisen in America to challenge the growing economic inequities in U.S. society. Phil Rockstroh found his time with the “99 Percent” movement at the newly dubbed Liberty Plaza invigorating.
Over the past several decades, the Right has convinced millions of Americans that Government is the source of all problems, that Corporations must have near-total freedom, and that the Rich must enjoy low taxes. The consequence has been a devastated middle class and fiscal chaos, writes Michael Winship.
Even as another potential Great Depression looms, the U.S. political/media system seems incapable of addressing the crisis and devising coherent answers. Instead, the old partisan and lobbying games dominate the political world and obsession with trivia commands the news media’s focus, Danny Schechter writes.
HBO’s new docudrama on the Wall Street crash of 2008 details the frantic government efforts to stabilize the banking system and stave off a global depression, but the program misses the systemic fraud and other crimes that were at the heart of the crisis, Danny Schechter writes in this guest essay.