Reverting the concentration of wealth and decisional power

When we arrive at a social and environmentally unsustainable crossroads, we need to review substantial options and chose new courses and ways of functioning. A major challenge is reverting firmly the concentration of wealth and decisional power.

No person, no economic group, no country could have accumulated so much wealth on its own (and the consequent decisional power) as the one that a minority of people, groups, and countries have today. Illegitimate or illegally, this accumulation was not achieved just by his or her own effort. Could it be that 2,000 individuals have more wealth than 4,600 million do? This has been documented in a large number of investigations.

Throughout history, those who were dominators have imposed a judicial-economic-political-cultural system that enabled them to accumulate wealth and decisional power at the expense of the rest of their own societies and other subdued societies. Once persons, groups, or countries registered what was appropriated as theirs, these resources were declared untouchable. To secure them, an unrestricted property right was set in place that conceals how they obtained “their” resources and what pile of victims they caused. This is not new; it has existed for a long time and persists. The appropriators have always rejected to provide information that would allow knowing the maneuvers and mechanisms used. They shelter themselves by intimidating people who have obtained their possessions with a lot of effort by telling them that their patrimony could be taken away, another of many tricks that dominators use to cover what they have appropriated in the eyes of those who they have submitted.

The distinction between “legal” and illegal appropriations becomes blurred when the own appropriators through their accomplices in politics, the judiciary, and media are the ones who decide what is legal and what is not, essential part of the institutionality that frames social functioning. Every society requires establishing basic norms of functioning, that is not what is on trial. What is in dispute is if norms and institutions serve the general wellbeing and care for the territory or, instead, they facilitate that a minority concentrates wealth and decisional power. That is, if it enables that a few appropriators live in abundance and superfluous pleasure, while the majority is gripped in a wretched inequality, poverty, or indigence and the environment is permanently under attack.

Therefore, in structurally unfair societies with little or no care policies for their population and territory, we need to work on various dimensions simultaneously. On the one hand, to prevent that even the imperfect existent laws are violated, as among many other is the case of the large tax evasion that large corporations make with the consequent flight of ill-gotten capitals. Simultaneously, it is needed to advance in the transformation of the prevailing framework of laws, policies, and institutions, to make the legitimate, and not the illegitimate, legal, without leaving loopholes in the laws that might be taken advantage by the powerful with their multiple advisors. Such will always be a working space that societies must address according to the correlation of prevailing social forces.

Options for overcoming the opprobrious concentration

Dominators and dominated always confront. An antagonism that could be solved if there were to prevail something that has been scarce in humanity’s history, that dominators cede power considering that if they do not they might face revolutionary events. In democracy, strong social coalitions can take the initiative and firmly establish new country projects orientated towards social and environmental care.

Hegemonic systems that believed themselves to be immutable collapse when processes that involved important social segments developed, being those at small or long steps. The singularity of each moment and situation is undeniable and it is worth to acknowledge, even when a strategic common denominator has been to promote social organization and clarification. As long as there is an advance in those fields, the role of politics as a catalyzer of pacific transformations is strengthened.

Citizenry clarification demands clearing up the ideological and cultural fog imposed by those who try to manipulate public opinion to protect interests by deviating its attention. Largest challenges of this time are still social injustice and environmental destruction, with spillover effects in health, education, popular habitat, judiciary, media, government administration, public policies that are imposed. The effort of unveiling what is concealed is great, must be done daily, and is deployed at local, national, and global levels. It refers to a humanity that is enlightened and mobilizes to take care of itself and protect the planet, referential utopia unthinkable until now.

This open and collective construction integrates and not punishes the diversity of perspectives, interests, needs and emotions that coexist in the world. Well-articulated, this diversity is not an obstacle to eliminate but rather a main humanitarian asset to preserve and develop. We need to differentiate what is essential from the accessory, the principal that protects and serves all from the secondary that includes both the legitimate to be preserved as well as pettiness to be abandoned.

We should not fall into reductionisms or ingenuities because it is true that there is solidarity, compassion as well as corruption and violation of rights in every field and level. We would need to open spaces to upraise human beings and societies and close spaces to selfishness, abuses, and unbridle greed. It is essential to focus on what needs to be transformed without ignoring that dominators actions impact infinitely more than the multiple pettiness that unfortunately nest in many spheres of society. Reporting crimes committed in middle and popular sectors cannot serve to cover up the large ratbags and the appropriations dominators keep on doing.

Current unbridle concentration requires a firm action to transform courses and functioning dynamics; there is no place for cosmetic changes that change nothing. The depth, speed, and intensity of changes must rescue what has already been achieved. It is worth aspiring to the new without casting aside scientific, technological, sanitary, educational, and other achievements that, if well reoriented are the base of support for social action.

Changes in the economy

One of the main transformations is replacing the ordering criterion of contemporary economy, which is maximizing profit, by the criterion of subordinating the economy to the care of general wellbeing and the environment.

There is no lack of concrete measures for reverting concentration, or leaderships capable of guiding the transition towards new courses and ways of functioning. We would need to act in a diversity of spaces, such as those that follow.

First, assume and exercise decisional sovereignty in terms of national development and relation with the world. Then, address critical aspects such as follow.

  • Eliminate tax evasion of those who should be the largest contributors.
  • Cut the flight of ill-gotten capitals, retaining the surpluses to apply them to finance local investment and basic social services (drinkable water, sewers, dignified housing, digital communication, environmental sanitation, education, health, among others).
  • Eliminate monopolies from the management of basic exports of each country, democratizing and regulating diverse commercialization channels
  • Transform tax structure to make it progressive, that contribute more those who have the most.
  • Establish taxes to accumulated wealth (personal assets tax, especial contributions, and others)
  • Transform the composition of public expenditure to prioritize social debt and promotion of strategic projects of local development.
  • Collect contributions to improvements from those who have the resources and benefit from the public works.
  • Eliminate subsidies and tax exemptions for large corporations
  • Adjust productive matrix to avoid recurrent bottlenecks of the external sector and procurement of strategic supplies.
  • Break up monopolies that affect domestic market making that only leader companies of value chains benefit at the expense of suppliers and consumers.
  • Approve specific legislation to avoid market power abuses with the corresponding mechanisms for control and follow up.
  • Establish trusts specialized in supporting the transformation of popular economy by financing and advising family ventures and associative enterprises of popular base
  • Apply diverse modalities to influence decisions adopted by large corporations, including the establishment of trusts to purchase shares with vote power with the participation of the State, workers, social movements, universities and development organizations.
  • Secure land, advisory services, and funding for family agriculture.
  • Urbanize precarious settlements non-established in floodable or other risky areas and, simultaneously, establish new well-provided popular settlements in small, intermediate, and large cities.

It should neither surprise nor frighten the diversity of changes needed to materialize new courses and ways of functioning. Certainly, there are not a few and need information and knowledge to address them. However, it does not imply that only “experts” can influence the nature and direction of what needs and wants to be changed. Many types of experts exist, including those who conceal spurious interests, generally anti-popular, with their alleged wisdom.

In fact, there is a technical level in changes and other previous levels that make for the definition of what needs to be transformed. It is there where popular wisdom associates with political perspective to sustain the reason for changes, priorities, times and unavoidable sequences. It is fundamental not to devalue what comes from social bases, but rather appreciate it, and if needed reshape it and provide it with ways for realization. Transformation is neither patrimony nor responsibility of no elite but rather of the entire society through the best representative and organizational ways is able to establish.

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