If the frenzied concentration of wealth is not eliminated, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to solve the most serious contemporary problems. “What to do” is a huge challenge to address.
The world has been sliding towards a frenzied process of concentration of wealth and income (1% of the world population already controls between 50 and 60% of the global wealth) with extremely serious planetary consequences. The increasing inequality impedes an organic growth of the economic systems generating recurrent crises and systemic instability with violent social and geopolitical antagonisms and an unsustainable tendency towards destruction of the environment, emptying democracies, a monopolization of knowledge, growth of organized crime and concentration of military power.
It is a long-term accumulation process that has greatly accelerated since financial capitals were able to eliminate the barriers that restrained them. This got worse with the deregulation of the US financial system and the control of the Department of Treasury (the equivalent of the Ministry of Economy) by top executives from financial entities, process denominated “revolving doors” (they take over managing the economy and modify regulations on their favor and, then, they go back to the financial sector). The rest of the world accompanied those changes or was forced to live with the financial licentiousness that characterizes the imposed globalization.
The aggressive dynamic of the concentrating process is the motor and helmsperson of the systemic functioning; it drags the world towards extremely dangerous environmental, social, and geopolitical limits. A demolishing economic logic prevails: if one of the privileged stops or reduces its pace he is immediately replaced by others of the same or even higher unrestrained ambition. This dynamic negatively affects the world’s future imposing values of endless greed, irresponsible selfishness, insensitivity and indifference for the suffering it causes on others. It is a process charged with destruction, existential alienation, manipulation of consciences, where the power to impose goes through different dimensions of the economic functioning.
In this global course, countries and regions can only preserve some singularities in their trajectories, certain cultural and institutional differences but without been able to evade themselves from the hegemonic dynamic imposed to the world.
When countries or regions decide to face concentrated groups attempting to reduce the most tenebrous impacts of the global course, they end cornered and forced to return to the fold. Sometimes for that purpose military interventions, or the threats of interventions, are promoted, or with democratically elected people based governments destabilizing operations that force the country to adjust to the hegemonic interests are encouraged
The concentrating process imposes rules of functioning that ensure its reproduction, such as: (i) free circulation of financial capitals so that they can enter or exit markets as it is suitable to maximize their extraordinary gains and (ii) international free circulation of goods and services so that concentrated corporate groups can displace local producers and appropriate larger market quotas without facing restrictions of national borders. For that, they count on the international financial and commercial architecture structured on its favor.
What to do?
If the frenzied concentration of wealth is not eliminated, it will be very hard, if not impossible, to solve the greatest contemporary problems. “What to do?” is a huge challenge to address.
The solutions start to show as we move forward towards a full understanding of what is happening; something that those that feel threatened by a deeper clarification try to avoid by controlling the media that des-informs and manipulates public opinion, as well as by financing “prestigious” business schools and strategic think-tanks to get ideological and values coverage.
A better comprehension of what is going on demands not just the appreciation of what is evident in the prevailing global course but also deepening the look to disentangle the subtle and not so subtle mechanisms that are used by the concentrating capital to appropriate a good part of the socially generated value. This includes price mechanisms, commercial conditionality, impositions and abuses of market power, as well as cultural, social, and political mechanisms used to support and justify the concentrating dynamic and its consequences. This is a strategic work of great importance; it is a permanent effort, always perfectible, that cannot and must not be discontinued; it makes for a greater social and personal understanding.
It is needed to start from the own afflicted societies, with the people, groups, and social and political organizations that long for living in peace in a more equitable and sustainable world. Despite having their interests repressed, their voices silenced, the divisions encouraged reducing the energy of the transforming forces, there it nests the genesis of a systemic transformation. Only with an active majority of countries aligned with a change of course and global governability the transformations can take place. All this is also known by those who profit from privileged positions who will certainly not surrender them graciously.
There is plenty to analyze and act; is a collective work that can lead to a synthesis increasingly effective to support the mobilization and transforming action in several dimensions. It is about understanding, adding up, including, respecting, caring for each other and the planet. It gets materialized through re-orientating initiatives and resources towards securing peace based on justice, universal health, solidarity and comprehensive education, strengthening social cohesion and respect among people and Nations.
From a country for all we may be able to move towards a world for all, with another planetary course, another more sustainable and fairer functioning, a new global governability. This does not come as a gift; it should be conquered, including the selection of helmspersons that know how to lead with wisdom, equity, and honesty.
It will be necessary to adopt new macro, meso, and micro economic orientations, starting from the local and moving globally. A central focus will be to firmly tax the existing concentrated wealth and download the pressure for the rest of our societies. Together with that, both financial movements to eliminate speculation and the financing of activities that do not lead to the general wellbeing should be controlled.
From the bottom of our societies, spine of an inclusive development, popular initiatives and responsibilities need to be supported. It is from that level that a stronger and revalorized solidarity with the others can emerge; social cohesion will allow for surpassing pettiness and bowing down; word trust will recuperate its value and cowardice will shrink. Today’s challenge is to build a humanized economy that serves the general wellbeing, different in purposes and way of functioning; with less competition and more emulation; moving from the greedy viciousness that crashes and destroys, towards finding paths that lead to collaboration to foster a development for all.
We need to bring up another type of entrepreneurship supporting small producers, today dispersed and seriously left behind, so that they can organize in inclusive, medium size productive ventures, ready to take on their responsibility with the communities they belong. It is not about reproducing savagery and extending it to every layer in society but rather to promote the emergence of new types of productive ventures, effective in what they do and in what they contribute to other emergent actors with their example and collaboration.
In today’s globalized world, enterprises do not act in isolation rather in value chains with participants of different power and motivation. Therefore, it will also be needed to act at that level to enable the desired transformations. In other texts (Transforming value chains: competitiveness, inclusion, and environmental protection – Widening productive chains while integrating popular sectors – Transformation of the productive matrix: sectorial, social, and political aspects), we have mentioned some considerations regarding what to promote in this field and how to achieve new types of results.
These are some of the main traits that characterize a systemic transformation, which of course involves different areas and is materialized in a new generation of public policies, of social, environmental, and cultural values, attitudes, responsibilities, and commitments.
Transforming to improve processes and situations is not an easy task that starts and ends with us; on the contrary, it is a complex challenge that each generation faces in its eagerness to build a sustainable world that takes care and includes everybody. There is no linearity or voluntarisms capable of transforming the processes that overwhelm the world and, though good referential utopias help fixing the course, new options keep emerging with the advances and achievements. The search for justice, wellbeing, and meaning is always an open pursuit.