HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » Most Political Unrest Has...

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 02:52 AM

Most Political Unrest Has One Big Root Cause: Soaring Inequality; Effects of 2008 Crash Still Here

'Most Political Unrest Has One Big Root Cause: Soaring Inequality,' The 2008 crash stripped the sheen off global capitalism. We’re still living with the effects. Michael Massing, The Guardian, Jan. 24, 2020.

The popular protests that erupted in 2019 and have continued to rumble – from France and Spain in Europe to Hong Kong and India in Asia; from Chile, Colombia and Bolivia in Latin America to Lebanon, Iran and Iraq in the Middle East – have perplexed analysts. Because they have been so far-flung and have lacked an iconic moment like the fall of the Berlin Wall, the common thread hasn’t been obvious. But there is one: rage at being left behind. In each instance, the match may differ, but the kindling has (in most cases) been furnished by the gross inequality produced by global capitalism.
Consider Lebanon. The demonstrations that erupted there in October were triggered by the government’s plan to tax calls made through WhatsApp and other internet services, but they quickly mushroomed into a broader protest against high unemployment, sectarian rule, corruption, and the government’s failure to provide basic services like electricity and sanitation.

According to the World Inequality Database, the top 1% of Lebanon’s population receives about 25% of the nation’s income. Six Lebanese billionaires have a combined personal wealth of about $11bn, according to Forbes. Three of those billionaires are the sons of Rafik Hariri, who made a fortune in construction and twice served as Lebanon’s prime minister before being assassinated in 2005. (A fourth son, Saad Hariri, was prime minister until his recent resignation amid reports that he had given more than $16m to a bikini model he had met while vacationing in the Seychelles.) Protesters maintained that the pampered elite, rather than strapped working people, should foot the bill for the country’s economic problems.

- The match may differ, but the kindling has (in most cases) been furnished by the gross inequality produced by global capitalism -

In Chile, an increase in subway fares catalyzed protest. The popular discontent caught many observers by surprise, since Chile has experienced years of steady growth and has a reputation for good governance. In fact Chile, with a per capita income of $15,800, is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for prosperous nations. Of the OECD’s 36 members, however, Chile has one of the highest levels of inequality. Its economy is dominated by a group of powerful oligarchs, among them its current president, Sebastián Piñera, who is worth an estimated $2.8bn (amassed largely in the credit card business). Despite their country’s wealth, working Chileans have had to grapple with rising utility costs, stagnant wages and paltry pensions. The protests have registered their fury.

In Hong Kong, months of demonstrations have had one overriding goal: resisting China’s encroachments on the city’s autonomy and democratic institutions. That the protests have become so virulent and lasted so long, however, reflects deep exasperation with the region’s sky-high cost of living. By some accounts, Hong Kong is the world’s most unaffordable city, with rents higher than London and New York for apartments half the size. It may also be the world’s most unequal city: its 93 or so billionaires have a combined worth of more than $300bn while nearly one in five residents lives in poverty.
Worldwide, the numbers are stark. As calculated by Oxfam, 26 people have the same amount of wealth as the 3.8 billion people in the world’s bottom half. In the United States, the three richest people have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 160 million...

More, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/24/most-political-unrest-has-one-big-root-cause-soaring-inequality

- 2019 Wasn't Just About Trump, It Will Be Remembered For Global Resistance, Truthout
https://truthout.org/articles/2019-wasnt-just-about-trump-it-will-be-remembered-for-global-resistance/



- Protesters, medical professionals and political opponents demand the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on October 30, 2019.

5 replies, 1131 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 5 replies Author Time Post
Reply Most Political Unrest Has One Big Root Cause: Soaring Inequality; Effects of 2008 Crash Still Here (Original post)
appalachiablue Jan 25 OP
KPN Jan 25 #1
appalachiablue Jan 26 #2
BlueWI Jan 26 #3
appalachiablue Jan 26 #4
ck4829 Jan 31 #5

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 12:29 PM

1. The root cause of inequality is corrupted governance

The root cause of corrupted governance is greed and/or lust for power. The root cause of greed and/or lust for power is ...
(fill in the blank because frankly I don’t know — I just can’t figure that one out).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KPN (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 12:51 AM

2. Selfishness & fear, some born to it. Others are generous, happy

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 02:07 AM

3. Timely!

This issue still has too low of a profile, given the historic levels of income division.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 02:33 PM

4. *Neoliberalism described by George Monbiot at The Guardian:

'Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems.' Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative? Excerpt:

- Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

> Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning."
Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve...
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2020, 07:38 AM

5. K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread