by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, October 20, 2008
"Hard and troubled. Racked by fear and uncertainty. For many trauma. Experts predict, speculate and conjecture, but no one knows for sure what's ahead. Key questions are whether we're in a protracted and severe recession. Or at the onset of another Great Depression. So much is unresolved. The problems have built for years and are immense. Maybe nothing at this stage will work and the best hope is for light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.
Again no one knows. The worst may or may not be too late to avoid. At best, stabilization and recovery will take time. Likely years. The degree of pain along the way will depend on future policy responses. Ones so far taken aren't encouraging. Their details aren't entirely clear.....
Meanwhile, prepare for what economist Michael Hudson calls "the age of oligarchy." With the "wealthiest 1 per cent of the population com(ing) into possession of even more returns to wealth than the 57 per cent" they now get. "Robin Hood in Reverse." From the public to the rich. Hollowing out America. Making it look like Mexico. Locking in "our age of deception...even more tightly." It's a "self-defeating free-market strategy. Short-termism" that will prove to be the financial sector's undoing. Perhaps industrial capitalism and the republic with it. If not soon, eventually.
Replaced by what is most worrisome. Egalitarian reforms come rarely but are possible. Past protest movements achieved them. Ones based on what Frances Fox Piven calls a "distinctive kind of power. Disruptive power." Past conditions were right and it happened. Piven wonders if another "popular upheaval" is possible. It's "the big question of our time" and even bigger with reckless militarism. A permanent war economy. The erosion of democratic freedoms, and potentially the nation's worst ever financial crisis. Nothing is certain or easy, but historically "hardship propels people to collective defiance," especially at times of extreme inequalities of wealth. Given the current state, what more urgent time than now."