Faced with the destructive dynamic imposed by the process of concentration of wealth and decisional power, it is critical to understand what happens and, in particular, why the processes develop the way they do. Engines that boost concentration are at the hard core of contemporary reality that is necessary to transform.
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.
Dismantling the engines of concentration involves not only economic actions but also environmental, geopolitical, cultural, educational, technological, health-related actions, among others. Transforming actions must carry the specificity required by every intervention front but placing it within a comprehensive perspective.
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 helmspersons subjected to public scrutiny, with a firm and clarified popular support. It is useless to replace one domination for another, one submission for another.
Transnational concentrated groups, with local complicities, have captured one by one our imperfect democracies. They impose false macroeconomic equilibriums that do not consider social inequalities and injustices or the environmental destruction they produce; they subordinate the interests of entire nations to an unbridle pursuit of profit. To achieve that, they use diverse combinations of social control; they mold subjectivities, muzzle freewill or they rely on repression to contain and divide reactions. They need to keep our societies fragmented.
Strategies for dismantling some of the main concentration engines
- Dismantling 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 popular-base economic organizations. (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, by eliminating oligopolistic structures that suction value away from other actors and affect their capital formation. (v) Establishment of interest articulation instances 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 not internally produced and that 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 endure over time and help preserving the economic, media, and judicial dynamic that protects and sustains their privileges. Legal framework presents ambiguities that some justice sectors biasedly interpret to favor the concentrated groups of which they are accomplices. Judicial Power is 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 establishment of a variety of strategic think tanks so that different perspectives and projections can 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. Thus, 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, neither have they intervened with what monopolies providers of utilities such as electricity, gas, water, or communications possess. This type of arguments disorient the 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 it 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, 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 acquiring 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
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, risky reductions of environmental regulation, political bias in appointing public officers and employees, as well as, something much more serious, the imposition of public policies favoring concentrated minorities opposed to popular interests.
Neither are 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 they 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 with offered commitments do not get sanctions.
To eliminate these post-electoral mechanisms, would demand uncovering the influences and eventual gifts that legislators, public officials, members of the judicial power and media receive. Such is the primary responsibility of entities that audit public matters, together with independent social organizations that pursue every type of corruption
Until in-depth solutions cannot be applied, we could confront the candidates with questions regarding fundamental issues for society and punishments they deserve if they betray their commitments.
Power and politics
We are aware that the issue of power, who exercises such power and how, 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 growing 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. The course of action of societies that protect the planet and all its inhabitants without exclusions or inequities needs to be up-hold, renovated, and strengthen over time.
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 the diversity that nests in humanity, source of other truths, knowledge, and perspectives that deserve being 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.
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