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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 5/12/13

News Buried by "Idiot Wars": Unchecked Globalization WILL Destroy Us

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I was deeply gratified this past weekend by the warm reception given my maiden voyage as an OpEdNews journalist: "Obamaheads--like Extreme Right--Are Useful Idiots for Corporatocracy." I suspect I merely succeeded in saying forcefully what many progressives have been thinking: that the meaningless, vicious, and highly publicized quarrels between Obama's idolaters and his right-wingnut detractors--like the current idiotic feud over Benghazi--simply provide cover for BOTH sides' criminal negligence in failing to address the screamingly urgent problems of our nation and world.

I suspect I made a lucky, insightful hit (I hope my phrases become memes) in skewering both sides as "useful idiots," and their pathetically silly mutual snipings as "idiot wars." Pathetically silly, of course, until we consider the developing tragedy--of epic Greek dimensions--their Monty-Pynthonesque trivial spats bump off the front page. To discuss that tragedy is my purpose today.

Though my talk of "idiots" derived from the fruitfulness of applying "useful idiots" to today's political context, the word "idiots" in its solitary splendor has a special relevance to our Beltway and statehouse world. To wit, scarcely any of our elected reps shows evidence of the most cursory acquaintance with the many wonderful books and online analyses diagnosing the DEEP maladies of our very troubled nation and globe. One would think, for example, that after the forces of globalization and financialization, under a lack of democratic governance, nearly tanked the world economy, many pols (at least through their wonkish staffers) would have digested the top-notch revisionist economics of Nobel laureates like Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen. Both, beyond their highbrow academic works, write non-specialist books and articles for the general educated reader, and in combo offer some of the most penetrating analysis of what went wrong--and continues to go wrong--with the U.S. and world economy.

To cut straight to the chase and reveal the dirtiest secret buried from sight by our "idiot wars," neither Democrats nor Republicans are making the faintest effort to manage globalization. In fact, neither party shows the faintest inkling globalization might NEED to be managed, and are simply ceding all control of its unfolding to those who stand to profit maximally from it, and the rest of us--and the climate and global environment be damned. To put the matter bluntly, our pols have a bipartisan consensus to abdicate governing--and above all, governing democratically--in matters that concern the well-being of Americans most. And mark my words: their continued abdication of governance--their failure to manage globalization--WILL beggar most of us, it WILL destroy our global climate and environment, and it WILL spell death for democracy and civil rights. In this context, it's hardly surprising that Stiglitz was a warm supporter of Occupy Wall Street.

I draw the need to manage globalization as my take-home lesson from Stiglitz, and the essential role of democratic governance in a well-functioning modern economy as my take-home lesson from Sen. I doubt either would have trouble with the other's "take-home lesson" (I'm personally better acquainted with Stiglitz), as the two collaborated closely on a commission organized by the French government to rethink the concept of GDP and other measures of economic well-being. But it's Stiglitz who's strongly made the point, in such books as "Making Globalization Work" and "The Price of Inequality," that globalization (especially in its heavily financialized form) is almost sure to be a race to the bottom under global wage pressure and an environmental catastrophe UNLESS managed by truly democratic government. And Sen, backed by considerable empirical data, makes the complementary, reinforcing point that--contrary to the now-refuted dogmas of Milton Friedman and his school--free markets alone do NOT make for free people; while relatively free markets are, per Sen, a necessary condition of human well-being, they are by no means a sufficient one, and strong democratic governance (uncorrupted by Big Money) must be SEPARATELY provided for if markets are to work their reputed magic.

So the Big Story, pushed from its proper, screaming page-one headline, by the ignorant, power-elite-serving demented ravings of the idiot wars, is that globalization is being left in the hands of economic wolves who WILL devour us and the planet. And this news, not from some raving long-haired radical, but from the careful empirical studies of two of the world's most respected Nobel laureate economists. But notice just how much the need to manage globalization was brought up in those more formal, politer "idiot wars" known as the Obama-Romney debates.

We very clearly need a populist revolt against our ruling idiots. And it should be equally clear that populists need not--and must not--be idiots, but instead must be informed by the best expert thought of the day. The True Blue Democrats grassroots progressive revolt aims to combine true populism with real intellectual integrity. For it's the propagandist enemies of the people who, in the striking image of W.H. Auden, now have "drivel gushing from their lips." Check out True Blue Democrats at .

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Patrick Walker is co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and the Bernie or Bust movement it spawned. Before that, he cut his activist teeth with the anti-fracking and Occupy Scranton PA movements. No longer with RAP, he wields his pen (more...)

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