Friday, November 18, 2011

Hierarchy No More

                When We the People speak out against the overwhelming power of corporations, it is for good reason.  In the hands of corporations we have developed many dysfunctional systems.  Transportation systems, healthcare systems, education systems, food production systems, information technology systems...this list may be good enough to start with. The reason that these systems have failed us is because they are part and parcel of a gimmick, a sales pitch, and the promotion of an oversimplified product, that is, the consumptive lifestyle.  It has been imposed on us and is now the dominant way of life.  We may try to navigate our way through it and to transform it to make it more dignified, but the sum total will always diminish the intrinsic value of what we do because we cannot help but be co-opted in the dysfunction.  Corporatism relies on hierarchy and lack of access to the decision making process, it relies on dysfunctional human relationships and the disrespect that is transmitted as we deal with our factually inferior status in the scheme of hierarchy. The question remains, can we treat each other with respect and dignity enough to work with each other instead of an anonymous entity? I think so and the Nobel Prize winning work of Elinor Ostrum describes this reality in her work Governing the Commons, The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. She explaind that there is not evidence how neither governments nor corporations have exhibited their superior efficacy to govern and provide for people better than people can.  Out current government may bare some resemblance to the Democratic ideal, we do have elections, but they are neither free nor fair.  Our government is NOT of the people, by the people and for the people.  It functions as a strange negotiator between corporatism and Democracy and the latter is been sacrificed. Our current government serves as a top down dictator of policy and the corporate interests serve as a top down dictator of habit. Therefore, the dialogue has been minimized and our imaginations a long with it. We need to start asking questions about the way we interact, which is largely and oppressively governed by our economic relationships. Standing up to power is no small feat, and cooperation is absolutely necessary, not for the purpose of another top down ideologically based form of government, but for the purpose of creating a viable and valuable way of life.  We are expected to have faith in hierarchy and to trust it.  While President Barack Obama's achievements are lauded as exceptional, it must be understood that this simple judgement is apart of the elitist hierarchical ideology.  The desire to climb through the ranks of hierarchy and to "be somebody," so that we can bask in the glory of the praise and power we have, or so we can garner the authority we believe we need to influence others, or both, must be questioned.  Imagine a world where a persons rise and fall has nothing to do with you, but in which you and they can contribute to easing the burden of life and offering what so many humans enjoy most: community.  This is why people watch television, as it affords a level of community, even though it is hardly a community. It is a means for selling the brands of hierarchy.  It is prime time that we question the value of money and how it is made and the value of what money produces must also be questioned. This is anathema in the production consumption society because it is understood that we work for money and our money affords us the things we need and want.  Allegedly the super wealthy provide these...not so much. Steve Jobs, was he wealthy before creating Apple? No, but his parents had access to jobs that allowed them to teach their children, as well as provide for their needs. Today, we do not create circumstances economically that provide for a persons' creativity. We see first hand the kind of "talent" that Plutocracy offers us: Paris Hilton and The Kardashians.  This is the ultimate perversion of the production-consumption model, how the end game is to produce nothing and consume everything that is precious, thereby destroying it.  At this juncture, re-instating the Banking Act of 1933, also known as Glass-Steagall, will not be enough to re establish the integrity in our economy that we are yearning for (and by we I mean the 99%). The elite machinations of the post-industrial economy thrive on the froth of finance to maintain their legitimacy.  It is because our legislators are apart of this fraud that they do not regulate it. This administration, like others before it, does not know how to deal with unemployment, how to deal with pretty much any crisis of the human experience or condition, in case they have not made their perpetual plunders obvious. Hierarchies do not work if our goal is to have and promote a Democratic society, one that abides by the rule of law, that is humble to the mandate for transparency and whose public servants (and public masters) abide by the principles of their own dignity, integrity and autonomy and that of the people they represent. 

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