June 03, 2002

The Open Content List has a bunch of links that I should read.

Tom Tommorrow's Guide to debating the Enron scandal.

Andrew Sullivan: The Overclass. Sullivan starts out making sense, but then degenerates into vague assertions that the uber-rich are an inevitability, culminating in this bit of incoherence:

Class warfare is tired and old and ineffective. Politically speaking, it's all but dead. Every single politician in America who has tried to rally working class resentment of the very rich in order to make it to the White House has failed. Tony Blair is very smart not to resort to it. For as the ranks of the very rich grow, the more it seems possible that the rest of us might eventually join them.
Concentration of wealth among a tiny minority may be an "irresistible tide", but if it is, it's not for the reasons that Sullivan (sort of) gives. Explaining that would require analyzing the power, influence, and ideology that shapes the media, politics, etc.. A great example is Paul Hawken's story of the republican congressman who actually read a trade agreement and then decided for himself to vote against it. The fact that the media constantly spew forth wisdom about "irresistible tides" instead of actually thinking about what gives such an economic force so much momentum has as much to do with the problem as anything else.

Come to think of it, it is necessary not to explain why something is "irresistible". In explaining why, say, corporate globalization is irresistible through a rational account, one has already denied it's inevitability. If one explains that it is irresistable because of the enourmous power of the corporations, then the answer -- however unlikely its eventuality -- becomes "sieze the power from the corporations and replace their function with something more benevolent". At this point, it remains tremendously likely that globalization will continue to spread, but its "irresistibility" is denied by the very ability to imagine an alternative. The annoying irony is, of course, that the people who state it as an inevitability are themselves perpetuating and ideologically entrenching it as an inevitability, whatever "it" may be.

posted by dru in politicsoftech