As we restructure our human economies to support these conditions, they will increasingly mimic and integrate with the biosphereâ€™s natural structures and processes.
Like the biosphere, the living economies we seek will self-organize within a framework of market rules. Rooted locally everywhere and dependent primarily on their own resource base, they will have built in incentives to optimize creative adaptation to local microenvironments. With the decision-making powers of ownership distributed among the communityâ€™s members in their multiple roles as producers, consumers, and citizens there will be a natural incentive to internalize costs and manage resources responsibly.
The culture of a living economy recognizes the mutual responsibility of individuals to meet their own needs in ways that contribute to the well-being of the whole and thereby optimize their own well-being. Business enterprises are expected to do the same. Making a profit is recognized as essential to the health of the enterprise, but is not its sole or primary purpose.
These outcomes are wholly beyond the reach of an economic system in which the locus of power resides in global financial institutions that recognize only financial values and seek only individual financial gain.
They depend on complex processes of self-organizing adaptation that are possible only within place-based caring communities built around institutions that nurture and reward adult responsibility and link decisions to consequences. It is fundamentally a question of life-values and shared power, both of which are long standing human ideals that we now have both the imperative and means to put into practice.
David Korten | YES! Magazine
The killing of Osama bin Laden illustrates yet again the utter folly of responding to acts of terrorism by waging â€œpre-emptiveâ€ war against nation-states — the heart of the so-called â€œBush Doctrine,â€ which has continued in many (but not all) respects under the Obama administration. It is no small irony that it is being hailed as a great victory in the â€œWar on Terror.â€
The methods that reportedly led to his capture were the antithesis of that doctrine â€“ intelligence was unearthed, old-fashioned police-work developed the lead further and a special forces team executed the operation. Bin Laden was living in the lap of luxury among our allies, not in either of the countries we’ve invaded and occupied since 9/11. Not only was he nowhere near a battlefield, he was in a military cantonment, less than a half-mile away from the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul.
Joshua Holland | AlterNet
The cheapness of todayâ€™s industrial food is an illusion, and the real cost is too high to pay. While the Farm Bureau Federation clings to an outdated mind-set, companies such as Wal-Mart, Danone, Kelloggâ€™s, General Mills and Compass have invested in organic, sustainable production. Insurance companies such as Kaiser Permanente are opening farmers markets in low-income communities. Whole Foods is demanding fair labor practices, while Chipotle promotes the humane treatment of farm animals. Urban farms are being planted by visionaries such as Milwaukeeâ€™s Will Allen; the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is defending the rights of poor migrants; Restaurant Opportunities Centers United is fighting to improve the lives of food-service workers; and Alice Waters, Jamie Oliver and first lady Michelle Obama are pushing for healthier food in schools.
Calling these efforts elitist renders the word meaningless. The wealthy will always eat well. It is the poor and working people who need a new, sustainable food system more than anyone else. They live in the most polluted neighborhoods. They are exposed to the worst toxic chemicals on the job. They are sold the unhealthiest foods and can least afford the medical problems that result.
A food system based on poverty and exploitation will never be sustainable.
Eric Schlosser | The Washington Post
Ultimately, the election of Barack Obama has provided a series of object lessons in the durability of the colorline in American life. Most pointedly, Obama’s tenure has provided an opportunity for the worst aspects of White privilege to rear their ugly head. In doing so, the continuing significance of Whiteness is made ever more clear in a moment when the old bugaboo of White racism was thought to have been slain on November 4, 2008.
To point: Imagine if Sarah Palin, a person who wallows in mediocrity and wears failure as a virtue, were any race other than White. Would a black (or Latino or Asian or Hispanic) woman with Palin’s credentials have gotten a tenth as far? Let’s entertain another counter-factual: If the Tea Party and their supporters were a group of black or brown folk, who showed up with guns at events attended by the President, threatening nullification and secession, and engaging in treasonous talk, how many seconds would pass before they were locked up and taken out by the F.B.I. as threats to the security of the State? If the Tea Party were black they would have been disappeared to Gitmo or some other secret site faster than you can say Fox News.
Chauncey DeVega | AlterNet
Contrary to what insurance company bigwigs try to make us believe, it is not snow, sleet and freezing rain or mild flu seasons that enables these companies to blow Wall Street’s estimates out of the water. What they will not admit is that their companies are making record profits by pushing more and more of us into benefit plans that require us to pay a whole lot more out of our own pockets before they will pay anything for our medical care.
And I’m betting that if the insurers had to disclose their rates of claim denials and the number of procedures their medical directors are refusing to pay for, we would see that those numbers are increasing, and maybe substantially. Medical directors know they play a key role in meeting Wall Street’s expectations, and they’re rewarded with raises, bonuses and, yes, stock options, if management is pleased with their job performance. The less money these companies pay out for care, the more is left over to reward shareholders and a bunch of corporate executives.
Wendell Potter | PR Watch
Privatization of health care is a failed experiment in the United States.
The United States differs from other nations in allowing investor-owned corporations to profit at the expense of human suffering and lives. After decades of experience with this unique privatized model of financing health care, the results are clear and startling.
The United States has the highest per capita health care costs, the highest prices for medical goods and services (and lower overall usage rates) and no control over health care spending. Despite attempts to patch the current health care situation, the number of uninsured and those with skimpy health insurance that leaves them unable to afford health care or at risk of medical bankruptcy continues to grow. Suffering and preventable deaths are higher in the U.S. than in other industrialized nations.
In addition, there have been no significant gains in important measures of health such as life expectancy and infant and maternal mortality rates. Our health disparities continue to grow, especially for those who have chronic conditions. And our health care workforce continues to be inadequate as health professionals quickly burn out from trying to practice in our complex and irrational health care environment.
It is time to recognize the failure of the market model of paying for health care and embrace comprehensive and effective health reform. The model for our â€˜uniquely Americanâ€™ solution lies in traditional Medicare, a single payer health system for those who are 65 years of age and over. Since its inception 45 years ago, Medicare has lifted seniors out of poverty and improved their health status.
Dr. Margaret Flowers | CommonDreams.org
We could put all the crooks in jail (and we should), but Goldman Sachs would still be there. We could tighten regulations more and more, but the big banks would still be armed with enormous wealth and power to subvert them. Regulations and jail are not good enough unless we want to construct massive regulatory and enforcement agencies that rival the banks in size and scope.
Rather, the report proves why the entire financial edifice must come down. Our nation cannot survive economically unless we do away with the large Wall Street banks and investment houses. Itâ€™s not just that they are too big to fail. They are too big â€“ period!
AlterNet | Les Leopold
Systemic risk in the financial system can be remedied by the taxpayer, but no one will come to the rescue if the environment is destroyed. That it must be destroyed is close to an institutional imperative. Business leaders who are conducting propaganda campaigns to convince the population that anthropogenic global warming is a liberal hoax understand full well how grave is the threat, but they must maximize short-term profit and market share. If they don’t, someone else will.
This vicious cycle could well turn out to be lethal. To see how grave the danger is, simply have a look at the new Congress in the U.S., propelled into power by business funding and propaganda. Almost all are climate deniers. They have already begun to cut funding for measures that might mitigate environmental catastrophe. Worse, some are true believers; for example, the new head of a subcommittee on the environment who explained that global warming cannot be a problem because God promised Noah that there will not be another flood.
Noam Chomsky |Â Tomdispatch.com
When did our democracy die? When did it irrevocably transform itself into a lifeless farce and absurd political theater? When did the press, labor, universities and the Democratic Partyâ€”which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possibleâ€”wither and atrophy? When did reform through electoral politics become a form of magical thinking? When did the dead hand of the corporate state become unassailable?
Chris Hedges | TruthDig.com
So explain something to me: Why does the military of a country convinced it’s becoming ungovernable think itself so capable of making another ungovernable country governable? Whatâ€™s the militaryâ€™s skill set here? What lore, what body of political knowledge, are they drawing on? Who do they think they represent, the Philadelphia of 1776 or the Washington of 2010, and if the latter, why should Americans be considered the globeâ€™s leading experts in good government anymore?
And while weâ€™re at it, fill me in on one other thing: Just what has convinced American officials in Afghanistan and the nationâ€™s capital that they have the special ability to teach, prod, wheedle, bribe, or force Afghans to embark on good governance in their country if we canâ€™t do it in Washington or Sacramento?
Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch.com