Faced with crises that dominant sectors generated, or at least, seriously enlarged, their political representatives with hypocrisy and ignominy call on society to share the recovery and development effort. While they ask the people to accept sacrifices to generate a virtuous future together, they keep on with the capital flight towards tax havens and impose rescue plans and economic and cultural policies to protect their privileges and businesses.
The inequality that prevails in contemporary world is tremendous and there is no lack of explanations regarding its genesis and accelerated reproduction. Even though it appears as an economic phenomenon, its support is the fight between human groups with large differences in terms of power and influence. At the base of inequality, an unbridled and merciless process of concentration of wealth and decisional power is boiling, which is built on a changing diversity of concentration engines.
The fight between groups and people takes place in almost every latitude with diverse degrees of virulence. In every case, there are minority groups that impose their interests above those of cultural, political, and economically subdued majorities. The hard core of disputes is for the appropriation of larger quotas of the socially generated value. Those who manage to appropriate a larger quota than the value they directly generate enjoy privileges and perks at the expense of the efforts the rest of society makes. It is clear that nobody can accumulate the largest fortunes that exist in the world today with just the sweat on their brows. Obviousness that needs to be made explicit one and a thousand times because, though being indefensible in the open, it is concealed or camouflaged with arguments that try to legitimate an alleged though inexistent merit of the powerful.
As if such greedy appropriation of value were not enough, concentrated capital and its accomplices in politics, the media, and the judiciary, impose regressive tax systems. That is, low and middle-income sectors pay proportionally more taxes than the rich do: in many countries, there are no taxes on wealth, speculative transactions, and heritage while there are on the consumption of goods and services that cover basic needs of large majorities.
Adducing the need to secure high rates of return for investors and speculators, tax exceptions and perks are granted to those who have the most; the rest must fully comply with their tributary “responsibility.” With an additional aggravating factor: a large proportion of those who for their income should be the largest tax contributors are the ones who permanently evade payment of their taxes and flight abroad such loot (what implies sterilizing that part of domestic savings). For that end, there exist heavens, or better-called fiscal havens, and professional teams that design ways to materialize such evasion and later laundering of undeclared resources. Selfishness and endless greed support very serious crimes, regarding which the powerful of the world are not ashamed. Rather, they consider themselves “cunning” because they know how to take advantage of the circumstances that they mold in their favor to ruthlessly profit without caring for the consequences with which they punish entire societies and the environment.
New globalized social class and its consequences
The described situation is found in almost every country of the world and its more powerful actors operate surpassing national frontiers; they impose a planetary course that allows them to reproduce growing privileges and power. They achieve that by using a system of networks together with local groups, which are those who with their actions facilitate them such an opprobrious appropriation.
Thus, in each country the interests and profit motive of global creditors, large multinational corporations and local accomplices prevail, instead of dedicating the existent creative and working potential to solve the needs and aspirations of their own population. Interests that should guide domestic actions are subverted giving rise to a loss in sovereignty in decision-making and the discredit and illegitimacy of rulers and wide sectors of the media, politics, and the judiciary.
´The results are out in the open: systemic instability and recurrent crises, social submission, environmental destruction and captured democracies. Nothing happens by chance; it is just pure and disastrous cause.
Hypocrisy and ignominy
When the great 2008 crisis first erupted in United States, then in Europe, and finally projecting its impact to almost the whole world, who suffered the worst consequences? Perhaps the responsible who unbridled speculated to obtain enormous rates of return. Were they? No; they were not the ones who bore the cost of the disarray they generated, rather it was the peoples of the entire world; only that the peoples of the most impoverished and vulnerable countries that have fragile social protection networks saw their indigence levels rise enormously. The concentrating process also beats peoples from developed countries but they still preserve some retention dikes to delay the most abject poverty.
As always when a major crisis erupts, voices appear that call on “the whole” society to close ranks and tackle together the unleashed hurricanes. One might naively think that such is the right thing to do and that by uniting everybody’s forces, societies will have better chances of overcoming such burdensome challenge. However, oh surprise! The “entire” society does not truly include all the actors and even less the most affluent ones who, further from closing ranks with the rest, profit in troubled waters. A few can see that at the exit of a major crisis, the powerful emerge more powerful and the rest even more lagged behind. Concentrated groups, main responsible for generating debacles, discharge their responsibility on the victims and redouble the concentrating march by imposing “bailout” public policies in their favor.
Of course, this is not announced aloud. Economic power operates concealing what happens and the reasons and factors that explain what happens. There is no way to trick majorities without lies and misinformation, colonizing minds and, if necessary, repressing sectors that present major resistance.
Dominators capture democracies empting them of contents of equity, justice, free expression of ideas and disagreements. An electoral pantomime is imposed that allows for the extension of the concentrating process in time. They achieve the fragmentation of society, break social cohesion, pave the way for groups of individualities that disown solidarity and the notion and search for collective destinies. Each man for himself, “the other” does not matter.
Frustration grows as well as alienated flights towards nihilism, addictions, passivity grogginess, life spectacle frivolity. Hopes succumb to despair.
In this context, calls on shared effort are pure hypocrisy and a public affront; that is what ignominy is about. No constructive exits come along nor solidarity, equity, and justice conditions to call on the entire social group. Do not foul ourselves; fiscal deficit is not eliminated with workers’ blood but with the resources flight by affluent evaders. If we ask that a small merchant honor his/her tax responsibility, so that everybody respects the rules and regulations, the latter should be fair by securing that there will be no scoundrels to appropriate collective effort and impiously make profit. We should not allow for the dishonesty of our leadership, who while they are fond of making grandiloquent patriotic proclaims, bleed the life out of the nation by flying away their resources towards fiscal havens from where they secure and keep accumulating what is “theirs,” what has been extracted from domestic flow of genuine savings, investment, and organic growth. They have compromised the generation of jobs, expansion of rights, and social cohesion. In this way, it is not possible to exist peacefully helping one another.
Demagogic and simplistic solution
It is not easy to address the challenges that arise when making the transition from a world of crude selfishness and insensibility for those who are suffering towards another world of solidary collective construction. There are no paths without fights, without pettiness, without unbridled voluntarisms. Nevertheless, it is clear that with the economic course and values of endless greed that has been imposed on us we are going towards greater pains, frustrations, baleful expressions, desperate fundamentalisms. If instead we were to align efforts, talents, and full economic, cultural, and spiritual potency converging over the purpose of social and environmental caring, much different will be the results and more peaceful our being.
We need to organize a change in the economic and cultural course as well as with the attitudes towards the others and the environment. No one is asking to numb wills, wrinkle the determination, or sterilize efforts. Summoning everybody to work must be done with the assurance that it is a call for the whole group of actors to work shoulder to shoulder, that those who made unbridle profit assume larger costs and that the results of the effort, creativity, talent, and citizen affection be shared with equity and justice.
Interior changes and new steerspersons
Would it be possible that the same actors that guide today might be able to lead the change in course, the end of perks and privileges that asphyxiate the entire society? Should a deep introspection prevail that can make us leave behind, overcome, what sterilizes our energies, clarification, and compassion for the fallen, the ones that suffer the most, those cornered up by misery and abandonment?
Plenty remains to be interiorly transformed to raise the anchors of despair and passive complicity, abandon arrogance and selfishness, serve rather than despoil. It is true, it is not an easy task to handle, but to get out of the mud into which we have been plunged, it is of no use to replace one dominator by another one; and even less, if the following dominator comes out of the own popular field.
We will need to create or reinforce social and political organizations, generate new ways of operating the economy dismissing the myth that says that society must submit itself to the economic intents. We know this myth is a cruel deception and its raison d’être is to defend rough interests. Economy is part of a group of norms, regulations, instruments and procedures that must be at the service of environmental care and wellbeing. Nothing can be made just by pure will or because some illuminated person proposes it; nothing like that. However, it is clear that it is a clumsy and brutal lie to say that there is only one course of action and only one way of functioning as society. That is what swindlers say while herding their privileges and greed. Of course, we need new steerspersons, not just more of the same. Steerspersons that exercise their leadership in favor of the peoples and protection of the environment. In the name of justice, equity, and sustainability of development, the wealth of the powerful economic groups should finance the exit from the demolishing concentrating order.
It is impressive what a clarified society is capable of achieving when it can stand up with other values, approaches, and non-rusty compasses: nothing less than building societies that know how to take care for everybody and the Planet that shelters us.
 N.T. Word game in Spanish in the original between casualidad (by chance) and causalidad (cause).
If you like this text, by filling up the form that appears in this page you can subscribe to receive once a month a brief summary of Opinion Sur English edition.