Focusing on the Top

By Howard M. Switzer.

We all feel the urgency of change but the constant stress and distractions keep us scattered. How can we pull ourselves together into an extraordinary collaboration to confront the crises rolling over us and our world now? In contemplating this, please consider these three things.

First, in a recent article by George Laky it is pointed out that historically polarization is driven by economic inequality that is generated by the policies of the economic elite, i.e. the 1 percent who dominate, not just our country but the entire world [1]. And, it is the stress of economic inequality that causes right-wing neo-fascist movements to emerge as they are now. More importantly he notes that when violent right-wing movements are met with violent left wing opposition, right-wing movements get stronger, often strong enough to install a brutal dictator as happened in Germany and Italy during the Great Depression. However, when the left instead pursued multi-dimensional non-violent strategies maintaining their focus on the real culprits of injustice and inequality, the top capital holders and their banks, they were successful in pushing the economic elite off their pedestals despite the violence the elite used to protect their privilege. This is how the social democracies happened in the Nordic countries at the same time in the 30s. History provides us a valuable lesson here.

The elite controlling the issuance of money world around are seldom mentioned or identified and yet they control our economy and our national politics by funding the political campaigns of both sides deciding who gets to run and who gets to win. All coordinated through their media corporations. This was depicted in a recent cartoon in a PR newsletter which reminded me of this one from Alfred Crozier’s 1912 book, US Money vs Corporation Currency showing how the investment bankers on Wall Street and the commercial banks wield the power. Left and Right seems pretty meaningless in this context, the problem is at the top.

Second, I recently watched a YouTube video of Jordan Chariton interviewing Marxist economist Richard Wolff on his Status Coup program [2]. They spoke of Capitalism, the political economy, and went on for 40 minutes about the injustice of the wealthy and powerful few dominating our world, an enumeration of bad deeds by the economic elite at the very top. However, when asked what the solution was, Wolff went all the way to the very bottom of the system with, “the workers should democratize their workplace.” This is an example of a micro-economic solution being suggested to address the worsening macro-economic problem we all face. The truth is that they, along with local currencies, public banks and permaculture farms etc. are all micro-economic strategies for surviving within the current system and cannot effect any ‘system’s change’ solution to the macroeconomic problem we face, the problem at the top. The Bank of North Dakota too was a local defensive strategy against the dominant financial system. It’s time to focus on the top.

Wolff had earlier provided another example when he said that “Aristotle and Plato had recognized that markets were socially destructive. And why?” he said, “Because they favor the people with the money.” Again, it should have been clear that it was the money system that concentrated wealth at the top of the economic pyramid that was the problem here, not the markets, which again are at the bottom of the system. Markets, especially in Aristotle’s time, were a place of lively daily social interaction, trade, learning and entertainment, hardly socially destructive, they enriched society. Democratizing the workplace is a microeconomic strategy trying to affect a macro economic problem. The Fractional Reserve Banking that was being practiced was not well understood by many in his time. As the banker’s saying went: ”Silence is Golden”. Again, it’s time to focus on the top of the system that gives the few the money power to control markets.

Third, there is a world around movement, 30 nations and growing, that is focusing on the top, advocating for their governments to take back its sovereign responsibility to issue the money based on each nation’s needs and resources, not the profits of the elites who own the international finance corporations who dominate the world economy. Our leaders need to take their sovereign responsibility to the people and their place seriously, and understand that anything physically possible, legally allowable and socially desirable is financially feasible. There will be no debt or inflation threat with a public money system spending into the productive economy. The real inflation threat has always been from the banking system, not governments.

I think understanding these three things will help us win a successful peaceful revolution for fair and just societies world around. All people should set aside their sectarian squabbling and come together to focus our light on the very top of the system where the power to control the creation of money provides enormous power over the world economy and polity. Such awesome power should be in public hands because no private hands can resist abusing such power. We need to demand that the money power be relinquished to democratic governance in the name of justice, economic equity and the very survival of the human species. The legislation to change the system is already written for the US (The NEED Act HR2990) and can be similarly adapted to other nations [3].

The rise of fascism, the rise in ocean temperatures and the exponential rise in debt world around along with ecological collapse are converging to make this an apocalyptic moment in the human epoch. Left/right politics seem childishly foolish and meaningless in the face of such broad catastrophic failure. It is time to topple the top and take the first big step towards democracy, going from privately controlled governance to publicly controlled governance.

[1]. Lakey, George. 2019. “How to Take on Fascism without Getting Played“. Resilience, 18 Jan 2019. 

[2]. Chariton, Jordan. 2018. “Richard Wolff Interview: Capitalism Con Job, MMT, ‘Booming’ Economy“. Status Coup / YouTube, 31 Dec 2018.

[3]. H.R.2990 National Emergency Employment Defense Act of 2011 (NEED Act). 112th US Congress (2011-2012). 

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