Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Murdoch Turkey Shoot

David Seaton's News Links
(Britain's politicians) had been pushed into taking a stand by the overwhelming public revulsion that greeted the discovery that the mobile telephone of Milly Dowler, the murdered Surrey schoolgirl, had been hacked. Even so, it was a dramatic show of political will. “The world has changed,” said Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, whose personal reputation has been enhanced through his crusade against the Murdoch empire. Financial Times
Repulsive as Murdoch is, the story of the Murdoch turkey shoot is not really about him. Much more importantly it is about public power finally standing up to immense and aggressive private power.
I cannot remember such a revolt against the corporate masters of the universe by the public's so called servants as we are watching these days in the the UK. Certainly I remember nothing like this at any time since well before the days when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher first affirmed that government was the "problem" and not the solution to the world's affairs.
Now even such timid souls in the face of economic power as US senators are asking questions about Murdoch and all his works... where will it all end?
Has the worm finally begun to turn?
If so, about bloody time.
Let's see if, all pumped up on testosterone, the elected representatives of the people are manned up enough to take on the financial industry... beginning maybe with saving the Dodd-Frank bill from being neutered by the lobbies.
The crisis we are in is political-economic and economic-political. It begins as the income of the middle class began to stagnate in the '70  (economic) making it difficult for them or for those aspiring to enter the middle class to consume enough to float a consumer society or make a down payment on a home. This caused the politicians to water down moral hazard (political) and free up credit to encourage the people to spend money they didn't have. This in turn gave incentives to the financial sector to take huge risks (economic) in the knowledge that the tax payers would finally foot the bill and leave their bonuses untouched (political). Bubble followed bubble, with employment taking longer to recover from each bubble's burst... now we are looking at the bubble of bubbles: we are facing the specter of a chain of sovereign defaults, which would probably begin in Greece (where our civilization began) and end up... perhaps in Washington.
Who knows, perhaps we are watching the first faltering, toddler steps of the great capitalist Armageddon, the one that Marxists have been predicting for generations, where the contradictions of the system bring it tumbling down. Certainly I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to happen. But one thing is certain: this political-economic-economic-political merry-go-round, will only be brought under control (if it can be brought under control) by politicians taking charge of the situation... simply because the corporate interests are only able to measure profit and loss, that is their job, their role and it would be foolish to expect blood to flow from a stone: whereas politicians are required by the nature of their art, to measure intangibles, such as happiness and rage and to consider the pain and suffering of those they represent.
Will they be up to the job?
Probably not, but what is happening in London these days gives a tiny ray of hope that they might. DS

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