In Bill Moyers & Co. Chris Hedges comments on the slow but steady destruction of our freedoms through corporate capitalism.
In "We are all Greeks now" Hedges explains how, like Greece, we have become tragic figures who embrace a mythical market system that promises a greater good for all. The tragedy comes from living in a system that ends up producing greater inequalities and distorted incentives, both of which undermine the human condition.
Human life is of no concern to corporate capitalists. The suffering of the Greeks, like the suffering of ordinary Americans, is very good for the profit margins of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs. It was, after all, Goldman Sachs—which shoved subprime mortgages down the throats of families it knew could never pay the loans back, sold the subprime mortgages as investments to pension funds and then bet against them—that orchestrated complex financial agreements with Greece, many of them secret. These agreements doubled the debt Greece owes under derivative deals and allowed the old Greek government to mask its real debt to keep borrowing. And when Greece imploded, Goldman Sachs headed out the door with suitcases full of cash.
The system of unfettered capitalism is designed to callously extract money from the most vulnerable and funnel it upward to the elites. This is seen in the mounting fines and fees used to cover shortfalls in city and state budgets. Corporate capitalism seeks to privatize all aspects of government service, from education to intelligence gathering. The US Postal Service appears to be next. Parents already must pay hundreds of dollars for their public-school children to take school buses, go to music or art classes and participate in sports or other activities. Fire departments, ambulance services, the national parks system are all slated to become fodder for corporate profit. It is the death of the civil society.
The fact that no one seems concerned over the gaps that exist between our free market promises and the market reality we live is a problem.
It's especially troubling because it moves us beyond sharing a common embrace of free market myths with the people of Greece.