Recently, I showed a documentary called “Food, Inc” to one of my college classes. It outlines the current situation with the food industry in the United States. Turns out that a handful of companies currently control almost everything, including government agencies which are supposed to be protecting the public.
Another recent documentary, “Inside Job,” tells a similar story with the investment banks and Wall Street. There are a few companies that have built up monopolies of power. Their actions not only led to the 2008 financial melt-down in the United States, but they were also able to get U.S. taxpayers to bail their banks out afterward.
Right now, in the field of education, teachers and parents are battling a corporate led takeover of our schools. Once again, we have people with money who are attempting to dominate our lives, “selling” an agenda that is doing more harm than good.
Why is this happening now?
What it comes down to, I think, is a lie manufactured during the Reagan years, which has been sold by both political parties ever since. It’s the idea that laws and regulations hinder innovation and economic growth, that for a nation to thrive we need to “deregulate” and “privatize” all sectors of our society. That the rise of the stock market is a good indicator of a country’s health and that less rules and regulations for corporations translates into greater freedom for all Americans.
What is clear now is that this was a very well-crafted deception. A continuously rising stock market may be more like rising blood pressure or high cholesterol than an indicator of a nation’s economic health. Thirty years of massive debt, lost jobs, rising poverty, the shrinking of the middle class, and continuous economic instability tell the story, clearly. One needs to look at the big picture to see that, not just the stock market’s numbers.
Deregulation was a scam. Like the body’s immune system allowing a virus to inhabit it’s cells, this was a corporate takeover tactic. Wall Street stocks rose along with personal debts. New prisons were built, as public schools were closed. Pharmaceutical and insurance company profits soared. New homes were constructed, and then foreclosed. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer.
In the human body the immune system has to stay alert and strong, to resist invaders, to protect the organ systems and keep us healthy. A similar response is needed now. Our entire society is sick, so it is up to all of us to stand up and fight back, insist upon new laws that protect our health, protect our children, protect our jobs, our pensions, our schools and local communities.
Until Americans stand up in that way, nothing will change.