Revista Mensual y Gratuita
Nº98, October 2011
Inequality, direct result of the accelerated process of economic concentration, lies in the basis of the crisis that currently strikes affluent countries. Its impact transcends the ethic, the unfair and projects itself to be a major factor of systemic instability. It is true, inequality and concentration are gripping our future, although they are not the only aspects that are necessary to transform.
Inequality, direct result of the accelerated process of economic concentration, lies in the basis of the crisis that currently strikes affluent countries. Its impact transcends the ethic, the unfair and projects itself to be a major factor of systemic instability. In fact, inequality has always existed, only that it is no longer tolerated with resignation, as it was when privilege bearing on agendas, media, and minds persuaded with biased arguments or dissuaded through repression. We have moved forward towards globalization and in that process, cracks, questionings and options have swirled.
Nowadays, it is possible to jump some fences. Even with concentrated media, alternative, direct, diverse communication sweeps and connects the world’s shores. Egypt, Chile, Libya, Somalia, Greece, London, Syria, New York and so many other once distant places are now right in our neighborhoods. Their stories and chronicles bring similarities and singularities. Processes have been accelerated and that which once took time to mature, today explodes at the speed of sound or imagery. Circumstances require rapid decisions, even if partial, incomplete or often distorted information is available at the time of making them. Changes that have been repressed for a long time are not held back and overflow tracing new courses; they are unlikely to carry wisdom, caution and compassion.
Inequality weighs down
Inequality ignites and leads to instability. Undermines social cohesion and affects democratic governability. It is quite difficult to tolerate the irritating overabundance of some and the falling behind of others; painful to accept shallow consumption’s squander while poverty suffocates half the planet and causes more casualties than any known disease.
Inequality derails economic functioning: it generates bottlenecks through gaps between a production that never ceases to seek expansion and a demand crippled by the concentration of wealth. Instead of facing privilege and fixing injustice, we turn to alternative solutions to avoid the economic system’s collapse: demand’s backlog is sustained with financing but not improving genuine income. Traumatic financial bubbles arise and grow until they become unsustainable. Have we wondered why pyramid schemes are punished when an individual applies them but not when they are installed on economic policy?
Recurrent crisis arise and with them, social explosions. As it usually happens, privilege manages to accommodate to new concentration circumstances; majorities go back to suffering and to bear the price imposed by tricksters; inequality grows, insensitive and greedy as ever.
During crises, disaster and ignominy’s helmsmen remain in command. They are addressed by voices of transformation but the organization of such diverse interests becomes very difficult to accomplish. We are like nomad tribes facing empires; the only difference is nowadays nomads inhabit imperial suburbs as well.
We have to say antagonisms sterilize efforts and polarize; that peace and flawed democracies are seeds yet to be improved. That white collar brutality is not defeated by street brutality. That demanding is legitimate but not sufficient. That better options must be built in order not to stay in screams of anguish and to go from grieving to taking action. Fair society’s foundations rise from minds and are nurtured by knowledge and our willpowers. It is from there that we must search for more promising referential utopias, identify our north and use working compasses. The challenge is to organize ourselves to work, all and for all; with values that integrate compassion, effectiveness and responsibility.
But it is not just about inequality
No, despite we know that inequality weighs down and grips, it is not the end of it. An egalitarian world that continues to rip the environment apart is useless. Spreading irresponsible consumerism even further would lead us right back to the abyss. General welfare and planet preservation oriented science and technology should break away from greed and unbridled profit; same as education, health, social security.
Taking down inequality is a necessary condition, almost indispensable, to adjust the course and substantially improving the way we work, nevertheless it is not enough. Transforming the current concentration process is something we cannot put off anymore, however it must be replaced by not only effective and efficient dynamics but by dynamics that are also carriers of other values and deeper felt meaning; fully mobilizing communities’ potential without leaving a trail of excluded people behind.
We are not short of options, talent, energy, resources and determination. There are other ways of living and working although they must be perfected when installed; in every transformation there is much to be learned. It is pointless to replace one fundamentalism with another. There are no bad guys in one corner and good ones in the other; we all carry human imperfections and we carry them with us wherever we go. Only that in some rodeos cutlers bully and in others, the desire of creating, helping, enabling, not multiplying pain and loneliness is widespread.
Everyone knows there is no auto-pilot in a road, although there is high above the ground for moments of calm and good weather. There is no resigning driving, or supervision, or planning, nor daily maintenance. It is a risky illusion to believe that after transforming one can then neglect the march, deactivate the alarms. Same way crossing the street demands paying attention (always and not just from time to time), the social march demands guarding the course, adapting the trajectory and its way of working to the changing circumstances of a world in motion.
It is possible to help build the new and to bring it closer to our longings. It is in each one of us to make an effort and clear the mind. A balanced lifestyle does not leave out any dimension and when it comes to the pursuit of happiness it preserves a central place to think ourselves over, to contribute to society as a whole. There is, however, a thousand ways of alienation, deepening the void by giving in. Disoriented moving around, hope stagnant in fetishisms and idolatries, transforms individual course into a labyrinth of artificial emotions, an endless getaway for fears and anxieties. From within those shadows we must start, adjust the course, undertake the march, strengthen bonds, join in diversity, fully deploy a new creativity, preserving the environment that gives us shelter, generate inclusive ventures, eradicate poverty, defeat inequality, banish privileges and perks, move towards equity and justice, manage development without ever losing compassion; building is a serious issue.
It is true, inequality and concentration are gripping our future, but they are not the only aspects that are necessary to transform.
Opinion Sur Collection
Introducing three new additions to our collection
Getting out of the Crisis towards a sustainable development
STORM: The ways of the crisis and the ways out of it
International Crisis: Adjusting the Course and Improving the Systemic Functioning