Looking at our societal crisis from the standpoint of economists
is a futile, and actually distractive, error.
As much as Joseph Stiglitz, Krugman, Jamie Galbraith, and even Marxist economist, Richard Wolff, have made some progress recently in critiquing predatory capitalism (which has 'captured' government), all of these attempted diagnoses are wrong and distractive of a truly "adequate diagnosis".
[Quoted by Berman, Morris (2011-02-07). Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire (p. 22). Norton. Kindle Edition. ]
We face a vast and multifaceted "ailing social order" to be sure.
Politicians and the media talk and make us think in terms of "issues" and problems --- which are all only 'symptom problems' and 'identity issues', like; increasing foreign wars, vast economic inequality, austerity/debt, environmental destruction, spying and torture, "fiscal cliffs" [a Frank Luntz scare term], increasing tyranny and police-state, et al.
Only one economist, who I can quote, seems to have touched at all at this hidden and underlying causation, and that was George Akerlof in 2001 when he stated correctly, but not completely, "This is not normal government economic policy, but rather a form of looting".
[By this Akerlof did not mean direct looting by the government itself, as right-wing deceivers and anti-tax shills like Grover Norquist would rant, but indirect "looting" which the captured government orchestrates and allows by law for private elite, wealthy, and corporate interests.]
However, even Akerlof's partial accuracy about crony economics does not provide, as Dr. Bauman requires, "an adequate diagnosis" of the hidden and causal pathology that is actually the core tumor of the disease of our woefully "ailing social order".
Both Joseph Stiglitz, in his fabulous new "The Price of Inequality; How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future", and Richard Wolff, in his equally fabulous new book and lecture, "Occupy the Economy; Challenging Capitalism", extensively address the problems of a dysfunctional capitalism --- which the existing Occupy Movement also addresses.
But even "capitalism" is only a tool of the real disease in our "ailing social order", and like all tools, capitalism, can be used for good or evil --- just like the other tools across all of history of; military prowess, technology, science, law, religion, politics, etc. etc.
Certainly the more modern 'tool' of capitalism is a very powerful tool, which can be used for good or evil, and which recently has turned from being used for social good to increasingly being used for evil, as the data in this article demonstrate.
Our seminal need in doing "an adequate diagnosis" of our near existential "ailing social order" today is to answer the question, "what is the causal agency that actually employs all such 'tools', and which is using the 'tool' of capitalism today for the evil purpose of increasing our overall social ills?"
We can readily see the "issues" and 'symptom problems', and some good economists are partially diagnosing that the 'tool' of capitalism is being misused into being one visible and proximate cause of some of our "ailing social order", but the real key is to clearly understand and fully diagnose at a deeper level what is the hidden but core pathology of the disease itself that is actually employing disguise, guile, camouflage as the "crucial, perhaps decisive, part of the disease", and which by disguising itself has so perverted the 'tools' of; "capitalism", politics, law, wealth, technology, and now particularly ideology to cause all those 'tools' to be misused for evil, predatory, and parasitic purposes in our death-spiraling "social order".
If we look not exclusively at the 'tools' of; economic capitalism, nor modern technology, nor religious beliefs, nor nationalism, nor deceitful politics, nor any one 'tool', but rather at the entire history of what element/agency has always turned tools from being used for good to being misused for evil we will finally have found our "adequate diagnosis" of the real underlying CAUSE of this evil ---- and that is EMPIRE.
Best luck and love to the "Occupy Empire" educational and revolutionary movement.
Liberty, democracy, and justice