Monday, August 27, 2007

Robert Reich and Robber Barons

Cody's Books presents an evening with Robert Reich, former Clinton administration official and now professor of public policy at UC Berkeley. Mark your calendars for Monday, September 10th.

Mr. Reich will be speaking on the subject of his new book, supercapitalism, or what I prefer to label "extremist capitalism"

Modern Western societies are stumbling toward democracy. Along the way, the divine right of kings has been craftily transformed into the divine right of corporations to destroy local economies as well as destroy entire planetary ecosystems.

This is no joke. The cold, hard science is there to draw a picture of both climate doom and an ever-increasing frequency and severity of war for natural resources. If you think the War in Iraq is bad, just wait a few decades for the real war over oil to fire up. Denial is a river in Egypt (Mark Twain).

The faceless corporations wielding bulldozers in the Amazon are the terrorists you don't hear about on CNN.

We cannot go on living a lie promulgated by corporate media, the government, and the chamber of commerce. There will be no future whatsoever for humankind if we continue pretending there is no end to oil or no end to tropical forests, and believing the corporate lies that "extremist capitalism" is benign.

We are living in an era of the new aristocracy--the aristocracy of megacorporations. The top two hundred corporations have greater assets than 80 percent of the present world population of 6.6 billion people combined. The inequities are not just in Mexico or the Sudan. In the US, the wealthiest one percent own 75 percent of the land. Land reform, and decentralization of power from the corporate elite is not a concept limited to the third world.

Democracy has always been subversive to the centralization of power and wealth, for wealth is accumulated through the disproportionate centralization of power over public policy and law. The rule of law remains the rule of the elite in the US. We've got work to do as we fumble toward democracy. The Robber Barons of modern society would like us not only to believe otherwise, but controls the media to assure the uniformity, or "manufactured consent" (to use the title of a book by Herman and Chomsky) of the professional class.

Abuse of power will never be acknowledged by those who abuse power. The news will never appear on CNN or a Rupert Murdoch newspaper. Recognizing modern media as corporate propaganda isn't that much of a stretch considering that the media is run by the likes of General Electric and a tiny handful of media moguls. Corporate media reflects corporate interests. No big leap of logic there, but we're all instilled with the assumption from infancy onward that what is good for Wal-Mart is good for America. Not.

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