Permitting the continuation of multinational corporations’ hegemony over our politics and economy can only lead to the further exacerbation and estrangement of those in our society who are separated by the ever-widening chasms of financial capacity, i.e. the plutocrats and those citizens who comprise the entire balance of every subordinate social class in this nation, whose financial reality is unceasingly deteriorating by every measure of qualitative and quantitative assessment.
To seek a redress from the federal government for these afflictions is to engage in a delusional aspiration, given its captivity to the macro-political influences in this culture, whose principal if not exclusive concern is the unrelenting accumulation of wealth and the unbridled opportunity for further global commercial inroads and the profits that these incursions generate.
Though there exist an expanding number of initiatives at both the state and municipal levels that are auspicious alternatives to the status quo e.g. public-private partnerships, technical and financial “incubators”, and experiments in social entrepreneurship that are formally concerned with communal measures of analysis/impact beyond the profitability of these enterprises, as well as other organizational forms of innovation and implementation, the cumulative influence of these activities do not comprise a requisite “critical mass” that currently contains the potential to substantively transform the U.S. into an authentic social organism in which democracy is extensively extant and where the economics of an infinitely greater egalitarianism may be glimpsed.
As a result it is my considered judgment that in order to significantly augment these efforts, numerous “Citizens Councils for a Democratic Economy” should be created throughout this country, with a particular emphasis in those urban and rural areas where unemployment and poverty are most pronounced. The entities should be comprised of the broadest possible coalition of individuals who represent any statistically meaningful constituency of an ethnic, commercial, personal values, religious, or artistic and cultural character, within the geographic area under consideration. Beyond these groups, university expertise, and professional organizations should engage in this dialogue as well. Sources of financial capability and municipal/rural planning should also be involved in these deliberations. However, beyond the breadth and depth of these socioeconomic variables, what is most important is the ethos under which these conversations shall transpire.
What must reside at the epicenter of the normative system that animates these exertions is the explicit commitment to the following ethical and value propositions: That those entities created to serve any purpose be it commercial enterprise, artistic or cultural, educational, or environmental, housing construction, and infrastructural projects either new or rehabilitative in character shall be undertaken and administered in a maximally democratic manner which permits all citizens to be equal voices in the formulation of these activities and services which are deployed, the compensation which those involved in its operations shall be provided, the ability of all employees to be heard regarding the those decisions that affect, any and all aspects of its governance and agendas, be they internal to the enterprise or external regarding its community impact.
Moreover, such considerations as an economy that is sustainable in its intrinsic nature must be observed, ratios between median wages and the compensation of senior executives must be adhered to, and perhaps most importantly, what must invigorate this process at its center is the objective of creating those projects and activities that in a central and explicit manner will mitigate those factors of social pathology in which these communities/areas are ensnared. Thus, if unemployment is the ascendant variable, those enterprises/services to provide both the skills and capacities required to be wage earners must be offered, and the enterprises that are created must serve such critically required necessities as enlarging the numbers of affordable housing units, retrofitting structures to provide a reduction in energy use, restoring and expanding the regions infrastructure, enlarging high speed internet capacities for all citizens, and elevating the quality of life within the spheres of the creative artistic and cultural initiatives to which those who reside in this vicinity shall have access.
The sole prohibition of involvement shall pertain to corporate behemoths lest they attempt to capture or unduly influence the democratic processes and economic predispositions toward the implementation of a maximal egalitarian/administrative efficacy distribution of those employed in these entities and or to subvert the additional priorities enumerated in the previous sections.
That this essay is incomplete in a host of regards is without question correct. However, it is an attempt to begin the process of delineating how we might proceed in this society in hundreds of communities toward the objective of both mitigating the inequality, poverty, and powerlessness which so many of us are enslaved within at this crucial point in our national history. In subsequent posts I shall provide must greater detail and specificity regarding both the processes and structures that will be deployed to achieve these goals and the chronology and sources of the expertise and financial capacity to translate the work of these councils into material reality.