What a week we have all had. I guess for those of us who
make it to the weekend without a single scratch, it will be important to sit
quietly in a corner making plans for the future. Obviously the time for tunnel
vision and full faith in �somebody� at the top having some mercy on us, must be
quickly diffusing into an alternate form of thought. At least that is what I would
hope for, because although the social inclination so far seems to be the
blaming of a few rotten apples, based on my observations, I have no choice but
to accept that the whole apple basket seems to be fairly rotten.
All I have heard on the streets over the last few days are
words about the financial crisis. Everyone all of a sudden is concerned about
their mortgage, their savings, their retirement, their stocks or more
importantly, their jobs. Dismal economic data keeps propping up on every major newspaper
and news channel and talk shows are packed with voices talking about the dire
straits of this economic Armageddon. Yet, I can�t help ask myself if we are all
simply asleep or we are too scared to face the truth.
Almost everyone who over the last decade of economic
arrogance and pedantic borrowing preached about the power of the western world
and its economic might, has all of a sudden turned around and become a spokesperson
for panic itself. Yet for the layperson it doesn�t seem to matter. If it did,
grassroots movements would be picking up traction and the global elites would
be held accountable for their crimes. Too early for that, society is still not
ready to come to terms with the fact that leaders are a reflection of the
people they lead. I am inclined to believe that it will take a lot more pain,
many more lies, and much larger panic before citizens stand up and react to
this catastrophic social tsunami.
Yes, it is true that those at the top are enjoying the ride,
or we could say were enjoying the
ride -- it now seems to be a little more bumpy. Yet the very fact that they
haven�t been held accountable by the rest of us is a reflection of collective
guilt, and all who cry today are doing so because of our past general
indifference. So what can one do?
Perhaps the first thing we must all do is acknowledge that
the financial panic we are facing is a lot deeper than what is presented
through the media, and understand that the problem is systemic. The sooner we
come to terms with this, the sooner we will be able to find real solutions.
Developed countries are living way over their means and no matter how we try to
prop it up, sooner or later, the deck of cards is going to collapse. From my
humble opinion, the sooner that happens the better, because with every day that
passes, the eventual landing gets much more painful.
The second point we are going to have to grapple with is the
fact that the great majority of society has been too laissez-faire to predict what was heading our way and is today an
apparent reality; the fact that our casino culture of gambling the world away
was always a finite proposition which politicians and economists perpetuated to
eternal existence, while the thirsty masses accepted it without question.
Thirdly, it will be incredibly important for those members
of society who see themselves as belonging to the middle class and who have
acquired that perceived status through debt, to accept their rank in the
working class and unite again with their peers. This point is of particular
importance because it has been the sole illusion of an imaginary middle class
which has kept the bubble rising and when it bursts, millions of hypnotized
believers will fall hard and will need to be picked up by the very group they
left behind when they abandoned the class struggle.
Fourthly, we are all going to have to get used to the
situation we have collectively generated, we are hostages to our own creation.
The governments are there because we elected them and the banks are there
because we trusted them without asking questions.
Despite all this, it remains crucial that we have a
collective wakeup and begin to understand that as we strategize about our own
personal situation, those who laid the foundations for this ugly mess we are
faced with are still the global elite and they still hold the reins of power.
So, as we do our own accounting and plan for our own personal security, it will
do us no harm and possibly a lot of good, to start looking at the world from a
political economy perspective. We must understand that politics, economy and
war are all intertwined variables of our current state of affairs. We must
understand that geopolitical events are all in some way linked to these three
variables. I say this, because although we are no longer able to stop the
deterioration of our financial systems and economies, we might be able, through
joint and organized collective action, to avoid worse events from unraveling.
The warning signs of economic deterioration began a longtime
ago. The majority chose to ignore them, and because of that we are all here
today. Now the alarm bells of increased military confrontation are sounding
loud and clear, I only hope we are all able to hear them and that our words
speak louder than guns. One thing is certain, as President Dmitri Medvedev of
Russia said recently, the U.S. crisis shows that �the times when one economy
and one country dominated are gone for good.� As he concluded, the world no
longer needs a �megaregulator.� Although I believe this statement to be true, I
fear that the U.S. elites, together with the elites of allied countries, will
not let go of their perceived upper hand, and might be warming up to more war.
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British ambassador in Kabul,
already believes the war in Afghanistan is as good as lost, and the war in Iraq
seems to be on the same destructive path. Yet, as Russia prepares to fly its
supersonic Tu-160 nuclear bombers as part of its largest air force exercises
since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the whole concept of war that Westerners
are used to could be escalating towards a more vivid reality. I hope the
citizens of the West can understand this, and, for once before it is too late,
we can unplug our brains from the corporate propaganda system, which our elites
have so carefully instituted, and we can do something about it. As for the
Russians, Afghans, Iraqis, North Koreans, Chinese and others, let them stand up
to their own governments, and once we are all doing that, let us neutralize
their actions by holding hands and shouting stop!
Pablo Ouziel is a sociologist and freelance
writer residing in Spain.