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Social Contract and the Emergency Hour

by Marc Batko Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008 at 6:50 PM

The financial crisis is also an opportunity to reflect on our priorities and perspectives. Elite consciousness is a frozen consciousness where there are not alternatives and bankruptcy are only normal business practices.


Here are several important thoughts for your comments.

1. We are bound to one another like the waves of the sea (Norbert Elias). This social nature has been massively repressed by consumerism and market fundamentalism where our true nature as transformational agents and storytellers fell by the wayside. Trickle-down mythology has led to generalized insecurity, destruction of nature and instrumentalization of the state (cf. Jurgen Habermas). The state has a social nature and cannot be only a power and security state.

2. The right of participation means everyone is included in economic decision-making. Businessmen are not the only ones who understand growth and development. The state is not a treasure-chest for special interests and transnational corporations. As Jean Ziegler said in “Tribunal for Speculators,” Bankers are jungle highwaymen. Investments only pay when they realize human rights.”

3. Without the social contract (Jean Rousseau), we become wolves to one another (Hobbes). The rightwing and market radicals stylized the welfare state as Bolshevism whereas the welfare state is really a human future.

4. Rights are balanced and exist in a hierarchy, ecology and economy and work and privacy. Work-time reduction may be necessary to assure the right to work. Winner-takes-all, hire-and-fire and the right of the stronger characterize American false labor market policy. The social market economy is a counter-model to market radicalism. In the US politics was corrupted by the economy and lost control to the economy. (Daniela Dahn)

5. Minority protection must be balanced with majority rule for the state to be legitimate (Loni Grenier).

6. The UN and the UN Charter are based on the abolition of war. Self-determination and reparations are foundations of international law. The Bush doctrine, the jungle right of the stronger, preemptive lawlessness, contempt for international law reduced or eviscerated the US reputation. The Washington Consensus-deregulation, flexibility, privatization and market opening-is rejected by the global South and the world. Here’s a link to Mark Engler’s BBC comments on the economic battle for Obama’s soul:

7. The US must become part of the world and not only occupy the world.

8. Kairos time, the time of decision, supersedes everyday time. The economy should serve humankind, not vice versa. The Sabbath should serve humankind. The church, unions, media and universities are critical greatnesses that often lose their independence and critical nature. The Sabbath economy is the counterpart to trickle-down economics and exploding inequality

9. Language distortion occurs when CEOs are called job-creators and workers dismissed as “cost-factors.” Agorophobia, the parapsychology of the rightwing extremism, trusts a black-white monochrome against the daunting moral diversity. As fear mongering and faultfinding can distort faith, analysis can be shut down and caught in blind spots, half-truths and fish stories.

10. Here are my modest suggestions for the Obama cabinet so love of life and the future are not lost or instrumentalized to the false god of profit or competition. Sec of State: Chalmers Johnson

Attorney General: Loni Grenier

Sec of Treasury: Dean Baker

Health and Education: John Kitzhaber

Hoping for peace with justice,

Marc Batko

Portland, Oregon

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