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.
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.