Faced with the destructive dynamic imposed by the concentration process of wealth and decisional power, it is critical to understand what happens and, in particular, why the processes develop the way they do. Social clarification should not fall behind the changing circumstances and the ability of oppressors to generate new and diverse mechanisms of submission. The engines that boost concentration are at the hard core of contemporary reality that is necessary to transform.
The huge world concentration of wealth is attained by small minorities at the expense of large majorities. Punished majorities, left behind, forgotten, belittled by those who seized the steering wheel of the course of the planet: powerful transnational capitals that operate globally.
We need to elucidate what to do in front of decisional power and economic concentration. In principle, all the efforts are needed because, one way or the other, they try to set limits to the merciless trajectory imposed on humanity and the planet. Therefore, it is not advisable to discourage the diversity of developed efforts, including those that, far from transforming the factors that sustain and reproduce concentration, try to address its worst effects. The critical situation of people left in hunger, sickness, and insecurity does not admit delays. However, it is of strategic importance to distinguish between those efforts orientated towards tackling the serious social emergency from those that try to dismantle the engines that generate and reproduce the decisional and economic concentration. If we did not focus on dismantling those engines and just tried to compensate its worst results, we would still be trapped in the almost futile process of running after the consequences of concentration without eliminating or reducing it to its minimal expression.
It is clear that dismantling the engines of concentration involves not only economic actions but also environmental, geopolitical, cultural, educational, technological, health-related actions, among others. Hence, transforming actions must carry the specificity required by every intervention front but placing it within a comprehensive perspective.
A burdensome fetishism: the supremacy of money
The planet and humanity are not machines to make money. That is a fetishism that caused serious ill and, in large part, explains that we cannot live in a peaceful, non-repressive world of generalized wellbeing and responsible protection of the environment. The engines that reproduce the concentration are part of such extended alienation with which some tried to convince us that it is okay for the economy to rule, guide, and organize humanity. On the contrary, economy should be an instrument, among many that exist, at the service of general welfare and environmental protection, purposes very much different from those of greedy profits.
The dogma that said to leave financial wolves to steamroller the world because it will produce a spill-over effect that would enhance everybody’s situation remains unfulfilled; it was useful just to sustain and reproduce the privileges of a few. Financial savagery has been neither the source of wellbeing for the world’s majorities nor has it stopped but rather aggravated environmental deterioration. Even populations from central countries, who in times of colonization of other peoples benefitted from the value extraction that their countries imposed onto their colonies, today are also asphyxiated by a concentration process that knows no frontiers; large segments of their societies are falling apart one after the other as spoils, something that before was only applied to submitted nations.
Indeed this unbridled and inhumane process of concentration is neither unavoidable nor is there to last indefinitely. Those who accumulate privileges assert that the world is just like that and that there are no better options; something similar to what happened at other times when slavery, the slaves, was considered a natural fact that would last forever. Or when all sorts of authoritarianisms tried to install the belief that they would be eternal; however, and despite the powerful instruments they deployed to impose themselves, they have been disappearing.
Other courses and ways of functioning
Today, the challenge is establishing another global and local course and other non-alienated ways of functioning to protect the planet and favor the entire humanity. Of course, this will be achieved with other helmsmen subjected to public scrutiny, with a firm and clarified popular support. It is useless to replace one domination for another, one submission for another.
However, the world has rapidly changed and gave way to now global new hegemonies. The concentration of economic power gave way to a transnational capitalist class, which, with shameful local complicities, is capturing one by one our imperfect democracies. Through false macroeconomic equilibriums that do not consider social inequalities and injustices or the environmental destruction they produce, completely subordinate interests of entire nations to an unbridled, endless and with no limits pursuit of profit. To achieve that, they use diverse combinations of social control; they mold subjectivities, muzzle freewill or directly repress to contain and divide reactions. Those that dominate need to keep our societies fragmented.
Strategies to dismantle some of the main engines of concentration
- Dismantle of mechanisms for accumulating economic power
This includes (i) abating financial speculation activities by firmly taxing financial income and controlling destabilizing movements of swallow capitals; (ii) strengthening community and public financial entities to retain domestic savings and securing a support channel for the real economy, in particular small and medium producers associated in economic organizations with good socioeconomic performance; (iii) elimination of the huge tax evasion and capital flight that under-finance State’s action and harms those who abide by the law; for that it is necessary to reinforce the action of collecting entities and apply an effective penal tax legislation focused on large evaders; (iv) transformation of the national productive matrix to advance towards an inclusive and organic growth of the economic system; that is, prevent recurrent bottlenecks from happening as those of the external sector while the full mobilization of the national productive capacity is promoted, eliminating oligopolistic structures that suction value from other actors and affect their capital formation; (v) establishment of instances of interests articulation within value chains so that leaders are not the only favored ones at the expense of all small and medium productive ventures that are the critical component of domestic market; (vi) prevention of sovereign over-indebtedness by limiting external debt to financing inputs and capital goods that are not internally produced and are needed for expanding social and productive infrastructure of the country.
- Dismantle of media and judicial trenches resistant to transformations
Economic power imposes institutions that then continue over time and help to preserve the economic, media, and judicial dynamic that protects and sustains their privileges. Legal framework presents ambiguities that some justice sectors biased interpret to favor the concentrated groups of which they are accomplices. Judicial Power tends to be the less democratic of the State’s powers with cohorts of judges and prosecutors elected by their peers and who are akin to economic power; they form a system that does not renew or adjust to transformations that appear in every society. Likewise, the control that economic power exercises over the media lets it manipulate public opinion by imposing agendas and perspectives; they subdue popular will by colonizing minds and demonizing opponents. This decisional control is completed with the influence that concentrated groups exercise over forecasters and risk-rating agencies.
Thus, it will be necessary to (i) establish procedures for making the actions and composition of the judicial power more transparent; (ii) adopt legislation that prevents media concentration by enabling the expression and sustainability of a diversity of voices, interests, and perspectives; (iii) adopt another type of risk-rating agencies who are not subdued to the interest of those who hire them but rather to that of the entire society in which their investments and projects operate; (iv) promote the functioning of a variety of strategic think-tanks so that different perspectives and projections could be contrasted.
- Dismantle of cultural subduing mechanisms
Concentrated power tries to set up the notion that the defense of basic rights infringes upon national development. For this reason they oppose to, for example, increasing, or at least preserving, the purchasing power of wages or securing transfers to cover up social emergency. They invoke lack of resources and problems with fiscal deficit while they do not cease to capture enormous financial amounts through the reduction of tax burdens and every type of deregulations that let them increase their rate of return. They do not touch financial or mining rates of return, or the large benefits of exporters who are subsidiaries of multinationals, or what monopolies providers of utilities such as electricity, gas, water, or communications possess. This type of arguments disorient misinformed people, they target own guilt and paralyze wills.
Cultural and political challenge orientated towards clarifying population majorities make for a permanent, thus, not occasional effort for (i) understanding what happens by enabling social organizations, university centers, and population at large to access relevant information and different explaining perspectives in equal terms; (ii) preventing that the substantial resources controlled by economic power determine elections; it is inadmissible that they can choose those who lead public matters undermining norms that regulate politics financing; (iii) therefore, there must be more control beyond what is apparent and formal over the financial contributions to political parties, as happens with the widespread modality of crossed favors (such as with public works granted to enterprises that had financed an specific campaign); (iv) each media can have its own editorial line but, given the huge concentration of media that prevails in the world today, it is not advisable that they give larger spaces to their favorite politicians pretending to have equanimity in their coverage; this must be regulated and firmly supervised; (v) given the asymmetry of resources that exist between those who finance political sectors akin with the concentrating order and those who support transformation projects, it is indispensable to level out with public resources such dissimilar sources of funding.
- Electoral mechanisms that allow for manipulating popular will
In electoral processes, political debate is a critical instance to get to know positions, proposals, personalities and trajectories of candidates. However, the debate that is imposed on us makes the electoral process a marketing operation. Instead of contrasting visions, programs, projects the electoral preference is based on fake empathies, theatricality, slogans, fantasy scenarios where musical curtains, prefabricated gestures and feelings mock situations of happiness and joy presented as informal and spontaneous. A team of sellers of images and illusions empties politics of meaning and replaces it by publicity spots that conceal indefensible interests. Only political parties akin to economic power are favored by the media and financed by concentrated groups.
What is extremely serious is that the current structure of social media makes it possible for stealing and acquisition of millions of users’ profiles to trap voters with lies and tricks. With these advantages, concentrated power uses personalized direct marketing models (micro targeting), based on algorithms to segment large masses of information complemented by cognitive psychology and thus selectively act on those specific personalities. An individualized communication is practiced, knowing beforehand which message each of the receptors wants to listen.
These modern instruments exponentially increase electoral manipulation; not just of the unwary ones but also of entire population segments whose subjectivities are cunningly molded by those who control the media, TV, social media and other value and opinion leaders. When the electoral process is thus disrupted by most powerful groups, it becomes an instrument for protecting the interests and reproduction of such power.
- Post-electoral subduing mechanisms
Once established, elected governments are subject to permanent lobby by powerful pressure groups that try to extract from them public policies and favorable contracts. These pressures open up large and uncovered spaces that infringe upon the interest of the whole society and the protection of the environment. These include many types of corruption, such as, illegal payments to win bids, cronyism and nepotism to establish environmental regulations and appoint public officers and employees, as well as, something much more serious, the imposition of public policies favoring concentrated groups that attack fair and sustainable development with no possible defense.
Neither is there monitoring systems for the promises, lies, or tricks that tend to pullulate in electoral campaigns. Impunity to deceive voters is almost total to the point of some politicians having won elections based on lies that have admitted that if they had leveled with policies and measures that they had planned to apply they would have not won. Machinations and no compliance do not get sanctions.
To eliminate these post-electoral mechanisms, we should uncover the influences and eventual gifts that legislators and executive, judicial, and media officers receive. That is the primary responsibility of auditing entities on public matters, together with independent social organizations that pursue every type of corruption.
On their part, social organizations, university centers, and associations for the defense of rights try to reinforce the follow-ups they carry out to confront the actions of governments, and opposition leaders, with their electoral promises and commitments. This information would enrich political debate and feed the clarifying process of the entire society. Until we find better-thought solutions, at least we could, for example, confront candidates with no less than 10 pressing issues for society and record their answers; and at the end of such survey ask them: (i) which punishment will they deserve if they betray one answer and (ii) which punishment will they deserve if they betray five or more answers.
Power and politics
Freeing captured democracies from concentrated groups requires forming a citizen counter power capable of leading these new contemporary processes of liberation. It is not being ignored that the issue of power, who and how exercises such power, what sustains it and, of course the most important, how it can be transformed, is a determinant question for the destiny of the planet and the entire humanity.
Societies with ever more level of clarification and organization become the main support for truly full democracies, different from the rigged democracies that prevail in the world. Freeing captured democracies in a context of growing clarification is not an occasional or sporadic effort but rather a permanent one. It is very dangerous to believe in neutral mechanisms that might fix on their own the problems that afflict us. Trusting in some magic “remote control” or diving into prolonged naps is attitudes that prelude serious wrecks. The course of action of societies that protect Mother Earth and all its inhabitants without exclusions or inequities need to be up-hold, renovated, and strengthen over time.
We need to explore new or reinforce existent modalities of social organization, widen popular participation (no one silenced or devalued with prejudice), respect listening and, even if it is not easy, absorb all that social diversity has to offer.
We close these lines reflecting on the arrogance (always stalking) of believing that we are carriers of the only transcendental truth. Already too many fundamentalisms have been threatening how much and diverse that is nested in humanity. It is worth insisting on the issue that diversity is the source of other truths, knowledge, and perspectives that deserve been considered, especially silenced voices and languages that do not have at their disposal platforms to offer their contributions and even less loudspeakers to reach other latitudes.
My regards to the reader,
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