John G. Fike
As the dentist removed my painfully infected tooth the other day, he told me about his latest experience in skiing downhill through the financiers’ maze. “I used to believe this idea that ‘If we’re not growing, then we’re dying,’’ he said.
The only way cowboy capitalists win is by breaking the rules. On an even playing field, abiding by the rules and regulations laid down by government, they can’t survive. Cowboy capitalists are the corporate globalization wizards, pushing “free-market” fundamentalism, privatization of the public sphere, de-regulation, and freedom from taxation.
When I first joined the workforce in the late sixties, a popular expression was “don’t work so hard -- take time to smell the roses.” The implication was that we’re in this life to enjoy ourselves and the world around us, not just to work and “get ahead.” Balance was a watchword. Those among us with “Type A” personalities--the strivers and over-achievers--were admonished to slow down, take the time to relieve our stress by valuing enjoyment of nature or time to reflect and evaluate who we were and what we were doing. Sadly, those days are over.
Americans like to punish people. Despite research in fields like sociology and psychology advising that its effects are mostly harmful, retribution, for real or imagined sins, is a tradition we embrace fondly. Since colonial times, we’ve meted out punishment for whatever powerful people thought was “bad” behavior.
Human beings aren't cut out for democracy, even though we’ve yearned for self-rule since the days of Plato and Aristotle.
Do you ever wonder why it seems no one’s trying to fix what’s wrong in our world? Count ‘em off: economic inequality, the disaster of economic globalization, the threat of individualism, the corporate takeover of governments, and our inability to control money in politics.
In my last column I described the key elements that brought Detroit to the point of bankruptcy. In this article I will suggest what I think the future holds for the city and its people.Will Detroit be transformed by the bankruptcy proceedings?
A hotly debated topic these days is whether we can change human behavior in time to avert climate catastrophe. But let’s look first at why we say “catastrophe.” Isn’t that a little strong?
Ronald Reagan got a lot of things wrong. But one of his more outstanding errors was to suggest that “government is the problem.” As with many utterances from Republicans these days, he got it backwards: politicians in bed with corporate managers and wealthy billionaires make business the problem. This is not a new problem.
In my last column, I discussed how some corporations are managed solely to be attractive to shareholders. They don’t take into consideration the interests of a much broader range of stakeholders.