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Chris Hedges: The Post-Constitutional Era | Truthdig

The government, by ignoring the rights and needs of ordinary citizens, is jeopardizing its legitimacy. This is dangerous. When a citizenry no longer feels that it can find justice within the organs of power, when it feels that the organs of power are the enemies of freedom and economic advancement, it makes war on those organs. Those of us who are condemned as radicals, idealists and dreamers call for basic reforms that, if enacted, will make peaceful reform possible. But corporate capitalists, now unchecked by state power and dismissive of the popular will, do not see the fires they are igniting. The Supreme Court ruling on our challenge is one more signpost on the road to dystopia. 

It is capitalism, not government, that is the problem. The fusion of corporate and state power means that government is broken. It is little more than a protection racket for Wall Street. And it is our job to wrest government back. This will come only through the building of mass movements.

upworthy:

Don’t Look Now, But Our Country Is In A Place It Hasn’t Been For Well Over 100 Years

A few definitions to tee this up:

Oligarchy: A society where power is in the hands of very few people, usually determined by wealth, corporate and family ties, and the military.

The Gilded Age: From the 1870s to the early 1900s, our country was run by very few people (think John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Andrew W. Mellon, Andrew Carnegie) but also marked by extreme poverty. The term was coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner to mean “an era of serious social problems disguised by thin gold gilding.”

So … are we there yet?!

Poverty isn’t a money problem for poor people; poverty (in the richest country in the world) is a problem with our distribution of resources. Poverty is the problem of inequality. Poverty is a problem because the rich hoard their resources. Poverty is a problem because corporations hoard cash while Americans remain unemployed. Poverty is a problem because of corporate welfare. Poverty is a problem because of unethical job creators. The problem isn’t because poor people are poor; the problem is because the rich never think they are rich enough.
Poverty isn’t a Money Problem (via sociolab)
As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all. The post-recession reality is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking as the top tier pulls even further away. If there is any doubt, the speed at which companies are adapting to the new consumer landscape serves as very convincing evidence. Within top consulting firms and among Wall Street analysts, the shift is being described with a frankness more often associated with left-wing academics than business experts. “Those consumers who have capital like real estate and stocks and are in the top 20 percent are feeling pretty good,” said John G. Maxwell, head of the global retail and consumer practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. In response to the upward shift in spending, PricewaterhouseCoopers clients like big stores and restaurants are chasing richer customers with a wider offering of high-end goods and services, or focusing on rock-bottom prices to attract the expanding ranks of penny-pinching consumers. “As a retailer or restaurant chain, if you’re not at the really high level or the low level, that’s a tough place to be,” Mr. Maxwell said. “You don’t want to be stuck in the middle.”
The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. - NYTimes.com (via dendroica)
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