Political "best practices"

"A combination of the best features of capitalism and socialism has seemed to work well for the United States." -- online comment

That was true through the early 1970s; at least, up until then, we were headed in the right direction. But Richard Nixon was the last president to accept the goals and parameters of the New Deal.

Since then, the country has been in decline, with political power ceded to the corporate sector; infrastructure in decay; social services atrophying, including, appallingly, those provided by public institutions like libraries and schools; income stagnation for poor and working people and an ever smaller middle class; the creation of a prison-industrial matrix and the militarization of law enforcement; a kleptocratic transfer of public wealth into private hands (socialism -- but for the rich); a directionless militarization of foreign policy; the emplacement of a rigid, secret security state.

If there are models for societies that combine the best features of capitalism and socialism they reside in the social democratic areas of Western Europe and Scandinavia, not here.

Further reading:
Wealth and Power: The Bias of the System -- summary by Russ Long (Del Mar College) -- "Problems of U.S. Society result from the distribution of power and the form of the economy."
The Class-Domination Theory of Power by G. William Domhoff, extracted by the author from his book, first published in 1967 and now available in its 7th edition, is presented as a summary of some of the main ideas in that book (WhoRulesAmerica.net).
What is the Prison Industrial Complex? by Rachel Herzing. "'Prison Industrial Complex' is a term we use to describe the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to what are, in actuality, economic, social, and political 'problems.'" (Political Research Associates).

Extra credit: Double Standard: Social Policy in Europe and the United States by James W. Russell analyzes how and why social policy and welfare states evolved differently in Western Europe and the United States. Exploring common social problems -- from poverty to family support to ethnic and racial conflict -- the book shows the disparate consequences of these different approaches. Frances Fox Piven calls it "a sober, well-informed, and temperate overview of the divergent development of social welfare programs" in the two regions.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails