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Friday, October 01, 2010

"America’s Deepening Moral Crisis"

Jeff Sachs is unhappy with "almost everybody":

America’s Deepening Moral Crisis, by Jeffrey D. Sachs, Commentary, Project Syndicate: America’s political and economic crisis is set to worsen following the upcoming November elections. President Barack Obama will lose any hope for passing progressive legislation aimed at helping the poor or the environment. ...
Much of America is in a nasty mood, and the language of compassion has more or less been abandoned. Both political parties serve their rich campaign contributors, while proclaiming that they defend the middle class. Neither party even mentions the poor...
America today presents the paradox of a rich country falling apart because of the collapse of its core values ..., the country is in the throes of an ugly moral crisis. Income inequality is at historic highs, but the rich claim that they have no responsibility to the rest of society. They refuse to come to the aid of the destitute, and defend tax cuts at every opportunity. Almost everybody complains, almost everybody aggressively defends their own narrow and short-term interests, and almost everybody abandons any pretense of looking ahead or addressing the needs of others. ...
The big campaign contributors to both parties pay to ensure that their vested interests dominate political debates. That means that both parties increasingly defend the interests of the rich, though Republicans do so slightly more than Democrats. ...
The result of all of this is likely to be a long-term decline of US power and prosperity, because Americans no longer invest collectively in their common future. America will remain a rich society for a long time to come, but one that is increasingly divided and unstable. Fear and propaganda may lead to more US-led international wars, as in the past decade. ...
 America is vulnerable to social breakdown because it is a highly diverse society. Racism and anti-immigrant sentiments are an important part of the ... reason why so many are willing to heed the propaganda against helping the poor. ...
The lesson from America is that economic growth is no guarantee of wellbeing or political stability. American society has become increasingly harsh, where the richest Americans buy their way to political power, and the poor are abandoned to their fate. In their private lives, Americans have become addicted to consumerism, which drains their time, savings, attention, and inclination to engage in acts of collective compassion.
The world should beware. Unless we break the ugly trends of big money in politics and rampant consumerism, we risk winning economic productivity at the price of our humanity.

    Posted by on Friday, October 1, 2010 at 12:51 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (150)


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