I’ve been reading Dennis Loo’s Globalization and the Demolition of Society. It’s a highly worthwhile book, recapping much of the criminality of the Bush and Obama administrations, but explaining why much more than a change of personnel is needed: it is a dysfunctional political and economic system that is at fault and the personnel who are taking advantage.
It’s a hard read for me. Not because of Loo’s writing. On the contrary, Loo carefully and thoroughly explains for the lay reader not only what has happened but why, from a theoretical standpoint, it has happened. The theory is important: if the idea of a system is broken, then its practice will, at best, be seeking to compensate for theoretical failings.
No, this read is difficult for me because I have been immersing myself in these matters for several years now. If you look back at the old entries on this blog, you’ll see a great deal of anger, an anger borne of a conceit that I had, on numerous occasions, grasped the extent of corruption in our political and economic order, only to find yet again that I had underestimated the depth and the breadth of this monstrous pit—perhaps I should say black hole—of criminality. Reading this book is, for me, in large part a mourning. I’m making yet another attempt at a searchable private archive of news articles at DisUnitedStates.com (the full text of these articles is not publicly accessible, but links to original articles are), and so I’ve chased down a few of Loo’s references, re-reading the articles as I make my own copies. Many of these are articles I have read before, but the anger I felt then now gives way to depression as I witness again the damage done to and the taking of so many lives.
I’ve read all but the last chapter now, enough that I could post a review on Amazon.com (it should appear within 48 hours) highly praising the book, fulfilling a promise I made when Loo sent me a review copy. But I needed a beer.
So I drove to the nearest supermarket—it’s after hours, so I had to go to a national chain—and bought a 12-pack of my favorite kind. It was late, so the cashier was not waiting for me; rather, I had to wait for her. And as I did, a man got in line behind me, with a single can of cat food.
I almost spoke up, meaning to be friendly, expressing a comradeship between cats’ humans, saying, “Gotta feed the cat!” But in the nick of time, I had a hunch that led me to keep my mouth shut. No one buys a single can of cat food. And I was remembering a meme from my childhood, of senior citizens reduced to eating pet food, that was used to argue for an expanded social safety net.
The cashier understood and said something to him as I was putting my change away. He laughed, “My 2012 diet.”
This man was not that old, perhaps my age, perhaps a little older. And as I put my beer in the back of my pickup truck, I saw him walk past the few cars in the parking lot, possibly headed to the back side of the shopping center.
One of the points Proudhon makes in What is Property? is that we all come into this world with what should be a fair claim to its resources. Property, he argues, steals from the unborn, from those who come late, to enrich those who are already here. And so it is, with the bulk of wealth and income distributed to a very few.
It isn’t forecast to get as cold tonight as it did last night. The forecast I’m looking at says 30 degrees (Fahrenheit). Last night, apparently, it dropped to 27 degrees. I don’t know how that man will stay warm.
- Dennis Loo, Globalization and the Demolition of Society (Glendale, CA: Larkmead, 2011).↩
- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What is Property?, eds. Donald R. Kelley and Bonnie G. Smith (Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University, 2007).↩
- G. William Domhoff, “Wealth, Income, and Power,” University of California at Santa Cruz, http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html↩