January 22, 2005

Cake for everyone

An article on Alternet takes a deeper look into GW Bush's idea of the Ownership Society (via Disinfo)
    I love the idea of people being able to own something ... People from all walks of life, all income levels are willing to take risks to start their own company. ... And I like the idea of people being able to say, I'm in charge of my own health care ... I particularly like the idea of a Social Security system that recognizes the importance and value of ownership.
    – George Bush, on his "Ownership Society" agenda, Dec. 16, 2004

The article pinpoints correctly that this rhetoric is addressed to the core of an "economic man" within each and everyone of us. "— it's a visceral appeal to our naked self-interest."... On the surface there's nothing wrong with the desire to own a home, work towards increasing one's own wealth and being responsible for one's own healthcare and retirement, if anything this kind of initiative and will to bear personal responsibility is admirable. However, further expanding the capitalist operational framework from the offices of Corporations into the backyards of families and into neighborhoods and making trade, financial exchange and competition the pervading mentality of our society is an excess. This Darwinian model of economics, encourages primitive patterns of self interest served first, that of next of kin second and that of vast society at large a distant sequent. Under the banner of the seemingly noble idea of self reliance, GW Bush wants to abolish Social Security and thus narrow to a a pinhead, the circle of collective responsibility. More so, he preys on the metacognicion deficiencies of the 51% of the population who voted for him. The overly confident investor syndrome is a common occurrence at the financial markets. It is understandable why the one single percent of the richest would not have any problem lining up behind GW Bush's social and economical reform - they already live it, able to retire early and choose healthcare providers at whim. But why is it that the middle class, of which America is largely constituted would think that they can at all benefit from Bush's malformed, elitist vision (stemming undoubtedly from his own privileged background and a narrow view of economic reality of the nation's masses)? As the Alternet article points out the majority of Americans are too indebted, or too poor to save and invest. Yet everyone wants to believe they can. Not incidentally according to a psychological study, People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. It is also the lowest quarter of the underachievers who tend to be the most misguided about their potential and overall performance. The current administration may be malevolent and nepotistic, but we do not lack a large population of gullible, self interested masses who support it.