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We cannot salvage a growth-based economy

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From http://www.opednews.com/populum/uploaded/one-percent-20120305-130.jpg: The top 1% captured 93% of the income gains in the first year of recovery.  The bottom 90% of Americans lost $127, the bottom 99% of Americans gained $80, and the top 1% gained $105,637.
The top 1% captured 93% of the income gains in the first year of recovery. The bottom 90% of Americans lost $127, the bottom 99% of Americans gained $80, and the top 1% gained $105,637.
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As any literate citizen knows, the global economic crisis was brought about by the unregulated banksters who run Wall Street. Few realize that in the aftermath of the near-collapse of the system of international credit, they have expanded a shadow economy that has been financed by taxpayer dollars. The total value of the derivative and commodities markets is now many times the world GDP. This system amounts to a pyramid scheme. If unchallenged, it is destined to leave the rich more powerful than ever and the 99% destitute. The growth-based debt economy is not capable of recovering, yet mainstream economists cannot seem to fathom why.

Classically trained economists are beginning to see that prospects for economic recovery in the post-bailout era are dismal to nonexistent. Although increasingly recognizing the consequences of crony capitalism, they must learn to question their most basic assumptions to understand the problem and its solution. The answer to the continuing global economic crisis requires a complete restructuring of the economy based on principles of environmentally sustainable local production and trade, worker-owned enterprises and nationalization of monetary policy.

It isn't hard to understand why the economic system cannot recover as currently structured. As jobs are shipped offshore, those being created in the US are mostly low-paying. This limits the flow of wealth upon which growth is based.  With declining demand, corporations are unwilling to invest in the real (productive) economy in the US. Economists who blamed the consumer for incurring excessive debt failed to recognize that the banksters had created an economy that depended on ever-expanding credit. Driven to consume ever more by systematic brainwashing, Americans amassed huge debt under the assumption that the economy and especially housing prices would continue to grow forever. Sadly, they have not learned the lessons that the collapse of the Ponzi scheme that fueled the economy in boom times have to offer. There will be no return to prosperity as long as we continue to equate economic health to growth in GDP.

The architects of this system walked away with billions while homeowners, taxpayers and those dependent on the social safety net paid the price. Austerity for the 99% is hailed as the answer because it is the only way to maintain the privileges of the 1%.  In the face of austerity, the growth-based economy is destined to fail. Continuing to amass government debt to promote war over natural resources, sustain a system of corporate welfare and provide even fewer protections to a population devastated by economic collapse consigns future generations to debt slavery. We can only escape this fate by transitioning to an economy that places human needs over corporate greed.

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Capitalism itself depends on the assumption of endless growth. When the wealth and power of the economic elite depends on its ability to extract wealth from workers, production has to increase exponentially. This requires markets for the goods produced. If jobs are not available and workers cannot provide this demand, there is nothing to sustain them. Even is the global elite were to suddenly realize that wealth distribution were in their best interest, it could not save a growth-based economy that is ultimately limited by the planet's finite resources. When the trillions of dollars in debt that the derivatives and commodities market begin to be called in as investments in the globalized economy fail, the collapse of 2008 will seem like a mild recession in comparison.

There is a solution. The United States is the driver of the global economy. If Americans want to create a world economy that is just to all, they will have to create a true representative democracy. That is the only way that the People can prevent human civilization from collapsing when the resources upon which it is based become inaccessible to the masses. It is up to us to unite to challenge the corruption that has made us the pawns of the global banking elite. We can start by making a campaign issue of support for a constitutional amendment that would establish that money is not speech and that corporations are not people with constitutional rights.

If we have any concern for our children we will put aside partisan differences and together, take back America for the People.

Readers interested in learning more about the consequences of endless growth and the principles of a steady-state economy are encouraged to read Enough is Enough  by Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill.

This article originally appeared on the website of Soldiers For Peace International. It may be produced unedited and with attribution without prior permission of the author.

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http://www.soldiersforpeaceinternational.org

I am a former Army and VA psychiatrist who ran for the US Senate in 2010 on a campaign based on a pledge to introduce a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood. Now that the general public is beginning to understand the (more...)
 

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The only way to economic justice for Americans is ... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 at 11:15:22 AM
Thanks, Dr. Rick. Saved me from commenting the sam... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 3:25:19 PM
I agree that population growth can be a problem, p... by Bruce Stewart on Monday, Apr 14, 2014 at 2:59:44 AM
That's right Rick, creating an economic system in... by Mark Whittington on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 1:52:23 AM
The math is a bit over my head, but I am glad to ... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 12:44:19 PM
Well said! ... by David Vicks on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 7:02:02 PM
Mark, So....are you advocating for state owner... by Bruce Stewart on Monday, Apr 14, 2014 at 3:12:14 AM
"So if you want to design a system that is fair an... by David Vicks on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 7:10:49 PM
Oh yeah, Here's an important article that rece... by Mark Whittington on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 2:19:38 AM
In contrast to Paul Krugman's near constant parti... by Eugene Patrick Devany on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 10:44:17 AM
The problem with this approach is that it still a... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 11:11:19 AM
I agree with everything you said in yellow except... by David Vicks on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 9:22:37 PM
I didn't say that he "deserved" the money, only t... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 11:54:20 PM
Ok. Adding to the statement: "got rich through h... by David Vicks on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 1:06:36 AM
I absolutely agree that the effort it takes to pic... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 7:30:11 PM
If you define wealth as what you can exchange for... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 7:31:03 PM
Right on. Thank you for clearing/elaborating.&... by David Vicks on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 8:40:55 PM
Thanks, David.The accumulation of wealth at the t... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 9:23:46 PM
It's unfortunate that eventually the unsustainable... by David Vicks on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 7:28:15 PM
I'm guessing when you say resource-intensive you ... by David Vicks on Sunday, Apr 13, 2014 at 3:38:43 AM
Unfortunately, it isn't just Republicans who prom... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Sunday, Apr 13, 2014 at 1:53:21 PM
Yes unfortunately many of Obama's "baby steps" ar... by David Vicks on Sunday, Apr 13, 2014 at 6:34:49 PM
There are some great arguments here, but Piketty'... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 7:33:21 PM
Corporations and associations are groups of people... by Eugene Patrick Devany on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 10:40:53 AM
So are you saying that corporations are people? ... by Mark Whittington on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 12:01:59 PM
Not only are corporations not people, they are no... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 7:27:10 PM
Agreed, good article.  The fascist IMF/WTO/F... by Kent Welton on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 11:17:18 AM
I agree that public financing is necessary, but n... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 7:37:38 PM
Capitalism is not necessarily our enemy, in fact, ... by Bruce Stewart on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 3:48:40 PM
I am less sanguine than you about whether capital... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 7:45:33 PM
Corruption is a human condition that is hardly co... by Bruce Stewart on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 11:37:45 PM
You are missing the point. Speaking of extinction... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 8:50:47 PM
I get the point, and I presume that austerity is ... by Bruce Stewart on Sunday, Apr 13, 2014 at 3:15:57 PM
Austerity is what we get on our present course, B... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Sunday, Apr 13, 2014 at 9:20:11 PM
Actually, our American poor are middle class by w... by Bruce Stewart on Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 1:24:40 AM
As far as getting "rid" of capitalism. What exact... by Bruce Stewart on Sunday, Apr 13, 2014 at 3:25:03 PM
Believe me, most of the upper 1% do not profit fro... by Bruce Stewart on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 12:03:16 AM
I agree with some ideas presented by the article, ... by Bruce Stewart on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 1:24:20 PM
Interesting Article__There was a book written titl... by urb musak on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 8:22:31 PM
I absolutely agree, Urb. I am a big fan of Ellen ... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Saturday, Apr 12, 2014 at 8:55:29 PM
Repealing Glass-Steagall was probably the biggest ... by Bruce Stewart on Sunday, Apr 13, 2014 at 3:49:10 PM
"I oppose giving it more power. As I have always ... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 3:44:05 PM
I generally agree with you David, but I think tha... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 at 8:51:17 PM
It doesn't matter what Bruce means by "Big Governm... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 2:49:42 PM
David,  My point is this: As long as governme... by Bruce Stewart on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 12:58:16 PM
Your point is well taken.I like your Dr. evil pic ... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 3:47:33 PM
I think where you are making a mistake is where yo... by Bruce Stewart on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 4:25:12 PM
Interesting and you are definitely not fitting int... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 8:08:10 PM
Technology CAN and WILL save us, as long as it is ... by Bruce Stewart on Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 at 1:16:57 AM
You want a detailed list?Well, I think that we pay... by Bruce Stewart on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 4:37:25 PM
Who is the "We" pay too much taxes?That is a class... by David Vicks on Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 at 11:03:55 PM
Believe it or not, I am not just here to express ... by Bruce Stewart on Monday, Apr 14, 2014 at 1:04:39 PM
Bruce, I don't answer the majority of your commen... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Monday, Apr 21, 2014 at 11:10:48 AM
You define communism as a system based on "big go... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Monday, Apr 21, 2014 at 11:44:23 AM
I believe one of the few times that I agreed with ... by Bruce Stewart on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 1:23:22 PM
You are mostly repeating yourself rather than resp... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 1:53:17 PM
Rick:  Okay, then, how do you propose that we... by Bruce Stewart on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 6:34:02 PM
Again, your presumption is that all workers are ca... by Bruce Stewart on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 1:35:45 PM
While I certainly don't believe that all workers a... by Bruce Stewart on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 1:49:16 PM
As far as a pure "democracy" is concerned- the Fou... by Bruce Stewart on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 1:55:04 PM
When did I imply that crony capitalism and crony c... by Bruce Stewart on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 2:10:32 PM
Rick,  Sorry if I test your patience. As far ... by Bruce Stewart on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 1:08:47 PM
I suspect you are right that most people who call ... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 2:00:43 PM
I define myself as a fiscal conservative and a soc... by Bruce Stewart on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 at 2:23:36 PM