The Corporate Capture of Social Change

“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change”

Anand Giridharadas isn’t afraid of controversy. His debut book Winner Takes All is a blistering take down of the faith put in the biggest beneficiaries of capitalism to lead capitalism’s reform and change the world for the better.

Be it the next Silicon Valley start up or philanthropic foundation, the underlying assumption pushed by the rich is always that business, entrepreneurship and the private sector are the most efficient and effective means of tackling society’s collective problems.

Giridharadas describes how even the language of social change which has historically been associated with grassroots movements, social justice and mass protest has been colonised by market logic and the billionaire class.

Rather than discussing social change as being rooted in rights, justice and systemic reform, the new corporate conception of social change sees inequality, climate change and poverty as a set of technical problems with market solutions. For these people  fixing the world is not about challenging powerful interests and overhauling a rigged economic system but about empowering “global leaders and opinion formers” to leverage “capital, data and technology to improve lives.”

What this actually means is cutting the public out of decision making for what the future should look like. Instead of community leaders, unions and businesses engaging in dialogue to decide whats best for their communities, we are instead told to look to McKinsey consultants and Goldman Sachs analysts to crunch numbers and provide reports on how to “restructure” the economy, to prepare for “inevitable” disruption and spur economic growth.

The glaring contradiction of putting the winners of our broken economy in charge of its repair is that the winners are actually quite comfortable with the status quo. Why would Goldman Sachs want solutions to social change if social change threatens their status, money and power?

By capturing social change within their control they are able to ensure social change is not pursued at all. Angel Gurria secretary General of the OECD describes the top down approach as “changing things on the surface so that in practice nothing changes at all.”

[END of part 1]

 

 

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Naomi Klien On Trump And The Climate Clock

In this fascinating conversation, Guardian writer Owen Jones picks the accomplished, hyper intelligent Naomi Klien’s brain on the future of civilisation.

Speaking from her book (which I highly recommend) ‘No is not enough’ Klien aptly describes why oppositional politics is dead.

“It’s not good enough to be anti Trump, to say Brexit is worse than staying in the EU full-stop” 

There needs to be a compelling vision of a better future conveyed. Something Clinton  and Cameron had no credibility to expound after years of supporting and implementing the very policies which have led to global terror, income inequality and environmental destruction.

Part of the success of Corbyn & Sanders is the vision they convey beyond a preservation of the neoliberal status quo economy. They want health care to be a right not a privilege, environmental preservation and renewable energy seen as a necessity not just a good idea.

In exemplifying the most corrosive and repulsive elements of our current version of capitalism in such vulgar, brazen fashion Trump has helped galvanise people around the idea that only radical change can prevent climate catastrophe. And that requires designing economy that goes beyond perpetual economic growth and the exploitation of the natural environment for ruthless profit.

 

whatever your political inclination, Klien here offers a truly compelling conversation with ideas worthy of consideration.

Professor Decimates US Politicians on Taxing the Poor over Billionaires

 

I’ve featured Professor Mark Blyth a number of times here. In this wonderful clip he eloquently explains why The U.S government:

“does not have a spending problem it has a revenue problem.

Blyth magnificently debunks myths around U.S debt, government spending and the reasons for exponential growth in wealth inequality.

Why when Corporate profits have never been higher, the banks have been bailed out by the workers yet their million dollar bonuses sore is providing people with healthcare when they’re sick such a controversial, extreme idea?

One startling statistic shows just how much the rich have gotten richer.  Forbes Rich list’s richest person in the US was worth $2 billion in 1982, in 2015 the richest person in the US is worth $76 billion. While over 50% of Americans (150 million people) earn less than $30,000 a year

We have seen the largest transfer of wealth from the average citizen to the top 0.1% in human history.

How Corporations Bought Our Democracy

This riveting documentary records the birth of the post World War economic order to the financial crisis of 2008 and draws striking comparisons between the fall of the Roman Empire and our time now.

The Roman empire ended in a period of decadence, when power and money was concentrated to the few. The Four Horseman shows how our global debt-based economy, rigged financial system and private control of resources signals the end of Empire and the end of Western civilisation.

This is not a Marxist or Socialist film but features former heads of the IMF and World Bank who explain clearly the systemic and rudimentary faults of our system of money and government.

You can watch the full documentary online here: 

 

Every Opportunity is a Lifeline

 

Henry Rollins discusses his incredible story of going from a minimum wage ice cream server to a leading musician and actor. Rollins shows incredible humility and honesty shedding light on the truth of how heartless and cold America can be as a nation. He knew what happens to “guys like him” if they don’t make it to the top. They end up with no home, no healthcare, no social security etc

This is a great discussion on somewhat coming to terms with the cold truth of American capitalism and knowing that taking every opportunity that came his way was the only lifeline out of poverty

What Do Humans Really Want?

Are humans just naturally lazy, comfort and pleasure seeking beings? Or do we really want dignity and fulfilment?

in this riveting excerpt professor Noam Chomsky discusses how the billions upon billions of dollars spent on advertising has been used to psychologically manipulate are ideas of what we want.

Tracing trends from the industrial revolution of the 1800’s to the educated poor in the 1930’s, Chomsky argues that what we really want is a sense of belonging and dignity in our work, not evermore accumulation and consumption of products.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

Are we closer to a Utopia than we think?

Owen Jones interviews Dutch writer Rudger Bregman on his new book “Utopia for realists”.

This is a riveting discussion on the idea of utopia. Is it a dangerous concept?   Or can it be used to reboot the welfare model of capitalism and shape a better global future?