Blackspot

Let Them Fail

Saving the banks is not the only option.

The U.S. government has spent $4,600,000,000,000 on the corporate bailout thus far. According to ABC News, this is more money than the "total combined costs in today's dollars of the Marshall Plan, the Louisiana Purchase, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the entire historical budget of NASA, including the moon landing".

How could such an inconceivable expenditure go through without even a glimmer of dissent? In a recent Le Monde editorial, celebrated French philosopher Alain Badiou explains that the only ideology left today is: "Save the banks!". World leaders, journalists and respected intellectuals all seem to claim the same thing: only by saving the banks can we save the world.

But for Badiou, the economic crisis is a spectacle that diverts attention from the reality of daily existence. He encourages us to step back and, turning away from the screen, to gaze not at the crisis unfolding in the news but the crisis unfolding on the street.

Badiou writes, "So what do we see, if we turn things around in this way? We see [...] simple things that we've known for a long time: capitalism is nothing but robbery, irrational in its essence and devastating in its development. Its few short decades of savagely unequal prosperity have always been at the cost of crises in which astronomical quantities of value disappear, bloody punitive expeditions into every zone that capitalism judges either strategically important or threatening, and world wars that brought it back to health."

Badiou's passionate editorial is a call to question the basic assumption underlying the trillion dollar "bail out" whose function is merely to delay the sinking of our overspent, debt-ridden consumer society. If it is not the banks that need saving, is it "the people"? Or is it the environment... or is it something else? What are the real priorities and who should we really be trying to bail out?

(Badiou's full editorial is online here.)

Micah M. White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters Magazine and an independent activist. Micah is currently writing a book of philosophical meanderings into the future of activism. He lives in Binghamton, NY with his wife and two cats. www.micahmwhite.com

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Comments on the article “Let Them Fail”

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An Earthling

"Many argue that the "free market system" is good... but it is corrupt in the modern day due to bad policies, favoritism, bailouts, etc. They assume that if a "pure" free market was allowed to flourish then it would be okay. This is false, for what you are seeing today IS the Free market at work, with all its differential advantage and corruption. No laws will ever stop the insider trading, collusion, monopoly, labor abuse, pollution, planned obsolescence or the like... this is what the competition based system produces without fail, for it is based on the premise of taking advantage of others for profit. Period." from http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/home.html Federal reserves issues "money" to large banks out of thin air at an interest and it triccles down to the average tax payer in the form of loan ( read DEPT) People got indepted to the point where they couldn't pay out anymore. Banks wanted more from people than they could accumulate through daily labour. The Banks "collapse" and get the federal reserve (established by bankers to skim the cream after the Great depression)to give them staggaring ammounts on top of what they have already taken at the expence of future generations of tax-payers who create the real value behind astronomical digits of those few in power circles. Eat more prozac docile USAnians and if you ever try to revolt you will be branded as home terrorists and dealt accordingly! Steer clear of thinking. Here is an election circus for your entertainment. And have a look at the top contributing agents for a recent Demopublican election show - investment banks!

An Earthling

"Many argue that the "free market system" is good... but it is corrupt in the modern day due to bad policies, favoritism, bailouts, etc. They assume that if a "pure" free market was allowed to flourish then it would be okay. This is false, for what you are seeing today IS the Free market at work, with all its differential advantage and corruption. No laws will ever stop the insider trading, collusion, monopoly, labor abuse, pollution, planned obsolescence or the like... this is what the competition based system produces without fail, for it is based on the premise of taking advantage of others for profit. Period." from http://thezeitgeistmovement.com/home.html Federal reserves issues "money" to large banks out of thin air at an interest and it triccles down to the average tax payer in the form of loan ( read DEPT) People got indepted to the point where they couldn't pay out anymore. Banks wanted more from people than they could accumulate through daily labour. The Banks "collapse" and get the federal reserve (established by bankers to skim the cream after the Great depression)to give them staggaring ammounts on top of what they have already taken at the expence of future generations of tax-payers who create the real value behind astronomical digits of those few in power circles. Eat more prozac docile USAnians and if you ever try to revolt you will be branded as home terrorists and dealt accordingly! Steer clear of thinking. Here is an election circus for your entertainment. And have a look at the top contributing agents for a recent Demopublican election show - investment banks!

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