tv [untitled] October 17, 2011 3:31pm-4:01pm EDT
tempus of the wall street protest is next. hello and welcome to cross talk i'm peter lavelle the era of great discontent all across the globe people are protesting against the political economic and financial status quo is this because of globalization and the relative ease of social networking or is there something else in play like the arrival of a new paradigm shift in every sense. crosstalk there's a global fever i'm joined by richard sennett in new york he's a professor of sociology at the london school of economics in washington we have our own basket or terry miller he is the director of the center for international trade and economics the heritage foundation and in some power we go to pepe escobar
he is a journalist and author all right gentlemen this is cross talk that means you can jump in anytime you want i very much encourage it but first tell us about this global rumble let's go back to the beginning for a few moments there it began with a little man's cry of despair over social injustice mohamed bouazizi self-immolating in front of a government building in tunisia on the seventeenth of december two thousand and ten within days hundreds and thousands of tunisians caught the fire of protest against the ruling regime then along came egypt libya syria bahrain yemen and soon practically the entire arab world wasn't govt in a political confrontation we have witnessed an extraordinary change taking place in the middle east and north africa swear by square town by town. country by country but by that time the wind of discontent had long since reached europe where for their own reasons people were challenging the status quo general strikes and demonstrations sparked by austerity measures in response to its debt
crisis began to sweep through greece in two thousand and ten the same will soon happening in portugal by two thousand and eleven it was space and pretty soon pockets of similar resistance were percolating all throughout europe in the note obama who want people to wake up otherwise we'll just become slaves to the system finally in september as new york city mayor michael bloomberg was warning of riots almost more jobs are created in america the occupy wall street movement was already in the making it only two days before it was acknowledged as a powerful resistance movement with a purported goal over store and democracy in the us you can follow me believe our brothers and sisters all over the world arab spring and greece and spain and we can see that it did send a powerful message and this message a call for a radical change in the governing system in place has traveled across the ocean traversing economic and political boundaries and wearing together
a global narrative of dissent but will there be more countries partaking in this narrative or has it reached its peak just to begin tapering off what do you think peter going to some of these questions of our guest my should thank you very much but if i go to you first we have a lot of discontent in the arab world that we have in wall street we have it in europe we had london riots and in china there are some rumblings here what connects them all together or is it just serendipity and they're all separate. that's broadly what connects them all what connects them all together if i may be as broad as your question is the us earth of neil liberalism this david harvey has been speaking about this for at least for the past fifteen years in manuel wallerstein as well from the point of view of this stablish meant more or less a new real rubini has being seen in directly if you see what's going on in the us nowadays the cries of the economic crisis in the us the atlanticist economic crisis
which involves europe as well and the fact that capitalism is basically being saved by china at the moment it's the failure of a model casino capitalism capitalism this implies the famous one percent against ninety nine percent and that's why occupy wall street is such an important movement because they challenge they want the absolutely nailed it in terms of what's the key conceptual question it's the fact that we have a vagal style system where one percent basically controls the destiny of the other ninety nine and this implies what. this step belies in the concept of liquid more dirty by zygmunt bauman i'm not very big fan of boma myself but last week in italy i was discussing this with with some of my italian colleagues and we came to the conclusion that liquid more than eighty applies to maybe one percent or two percent of the global population if you are an investment banker if you are a journalist traveling around the world if you are. high valued professional in the
formation technology industry but it does not apply to most of the world's population and the elites are still solid they are not exactly liquid they deal in old categories of cause and effect. that we carry them from being a like mint and they still control the actual wealth that circulates around the world ok ip and so we have the real muscle right now i just use my logic to bench a lot richard what do you think about that and if i can sum up what type you just said it's the failure of the system that we've inherited at least since the second world war and most probably since the end of the cold war failure of the system and it's affecting everyone in the world simultaneously now. it depends what you mean by the system i'd like to say about the wall street vents where i've been pretty regularly where i've spoken. that it would do them a disservice and i think the young people there are doing themselves
a disservice to compare this to the conditions. along the north african river but one thing that stands out to me about kids who are wall street and some of the middle aged people as well is. that they were brought up with the expectation that they would have work and they don't have it. i said you know that these are rather delayed protests in the u.s. because a lot of these young people that i've talked to had a real faith that obama would deliver a change in the system. and that that would concretely mean they would be able to do what they expected to do which was go to work have good jobs and so on. they've waited for three years i think without knowing they were.
well i mean something i did then richard didn't get very the same reason i but that's a very interesting decision fail the left is basically says system failed them. yes but it's a different system the system that failed people in libya. terry what you think and system the system. failed people in. in in greece so you know i think it's. you can make a cartoon of saying this kind of global uprising against capitalism it is there are there are lots of rumblings against capitalism and the should be ok but they're not saying ok terrifying go to you i mean and i think we should keep in mind the same logical as the n.s.a. already terrifying go to you i mean all the. liberal model fail is it failing at least in the west and we can talk about democracy and capitalism as it applies to the north africa. no i have a little different perspective on this peter i think what we're seeing in north
africa and elsewhere in the world is a continuation of a revolution against excessive government we saw it twenty years ago in the collapse of the soviet union we're seeing it now in north africa we've seen it throughout africa itself as the quest for individual liberty and freedom and opportunity for individuals continues i think the united states is an important example or of this we perhaps even started it with our own revolution two hundred thirty years ago and what we're saying is that people want to be free i don't think you have a failure of the system here you definitely have a failure of governments around the world governments that have collected too much power that have monopolized power and have worked with cronies and elites and society to monopolize power our goal would be to split that power apart to diffuse
the power throughout society to give quite literally power to the people which was the great rallying cry of the revolutions in the sixty's ok pepe what do you think about that as you said this is jim isn't working for the people it's a system itself is fine it's just it's application of it does this is what we've just heard. there's a series of great they all views lee you cannot compare tahrir square with. peter alyssum in libya but you can compare it to reduce square with zuccotti park in new york it's a more a less the same thing and they're fighting for the same freedoms as well this people got to be free which reminds me of those old sixty's song the all of the young rascals that people has got to be free it's much more complicated than that because this blaming the government for all ills on the planet this is so so so old i'll give you two examples brazil now are in. because of what lula did in these
past eight years is starting to become more or less over last inequal country because of government policies as well and no wonder that lula got eighty seven percent of approval by brazilians because they knew that these policies as imperfect as they were at least listed thirty million if not more brazilians out of extreme poverty in their now lower middle class and in china they come back to be doing the leadership in beijing and one point three billion chinese is very clear as the ok i'm not defending them say what the compact is all about if you don't involve yourselves in political participation or political dissent you're free to get rich to kingdom come this is what they show being said in one thousand nine hundred fifty six it's being applied by the chinese leadership it works of course we're going to have a lot of distortions but basically beijing is lifting out of poverty four hundred
to five hundred million people but i have plying their mail capitalism mail liberalism policies as well so there are gradations about that in that in the revolutions in the so-called evolutions in north africa and the aborted arab spring by the house of solid in the persian gulf people want to get rid of dictatorships it's a completely different scenario what's happening for instance in the arab spring that i was just going to sort of really crucial central right before we go to the break and you really want to jump in there go ahead gerry in my head. well i think there's a lot of similarity and what we're saying i mean no the problem is that you can be lucky if you live in a good country a well governed country you can be lucky in your leadership and have extraordinary leadership but we enjoyed that in the person of george washington during our own revolution but more often history shows that we're not lucky in our leadership and
the leaders around the world to whom we give extraordinary power quite frequently abuse that power sharing and then just when you're right we can go sure bring it when we can we turn the radio when we're going to rituals to break we'll continue our discussion on global protests state are keen. to continue to see. me and they'll. just say the. least. feel. it was. just so.
and. welcome back to crosstalk i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing if the world is slipping into a global revolution. and you can. see. ok i'd like to go to richard in new york here and we were in palo been talking about the system and maybe i agree with you it's a bit amorphous saying that word but how is capitalism changing and how is democracy changing and i think we can look at these global trends because a lot of americans feel that democracy is not sort of their their interests and certainly in north africa people want some of the freedoms that americans claim
that they should have so i mean how should the the mix of capitalism and and democracy a change to accommodate people as we see concentrations of wealth we see cronyism we and i think there's those are commonalities all over the world right now. right i agree i mean i think focusing on government is is the wrong is is is wrong. problem in in western capitalism is a concentration of power in the financial system. we had a very weak government dealing with the crisis of began in two thousand and eight and the reason for that is that the real power lies outside of government. so when you talk about democracy what you want to talk about is economic democracy not just government and there i would say there is a huge democratic deficit. in. the western
capitalist system how do we fix that more government less government i think that again is the wrong way to look we need to change for instance the way we structure organizations work so that people have more say in what they do and more security that's economic change that's that's not getting lost in the issue about whether government is. oppressing people what's oppressing them the real power that's oppressed signum is economic it's corporations it's the financial system ok terry what do you terry what do you think about this book going to washington do you think about that yeah you know i'm always puzzled by people who complain about the concentration of power and then for their solution they propose to increase the power of the most powerful entity in society which in fact is government i certainly agree that there is too much power concentrated in the financial system
right now but the reason that power is concentrated is because we have had very bad regulations on the part of governments that have allowed that concentration then and what happened when the market when the capitalist system wanted to would have disciplined these banks and financial institutions by making them fail the government in fact stepped in to bail them out so what you got of these two great powerful institutions the government and the financial system working together so you have an even greater concentration of power the answer for people and for the system and the way the market system works and the way the capitalists. them is designed to work is to disperse that power keep government and corporations separate let them be competing in power bases and society can't happen but there's no in this there's no incentive on the part of these elites to give up any of their
power they have bounced back so well after this financial crisis when millions of people are and we were facing a double dip no matter how you i mean if you're if you're neighbors unemployed that's a recession if you're unemployed it's a depression and this is how a lot of people are looking at there is no hope out there for so many people and we see so much indecision in the eurozone and the united states well in this election cycle no one is good no one's going to help obama even if he could do something. of course look at the world the problem in the us is the revolving door between washington and wall street so washington has been essentially ruled by wall street the congress and us doesn't rule look at the approval rating of congress and the american population you know they are eighty seven percent popular because they are not representing the interests of the american people they're representing the interests of the corporations who put them there in the first place and look at europe. basically works for norse in europe for the club med council as i was i just came back from italy it doesn't work for the club med countries
because they cannot even export themselves out of debt that's the case of greece for instance and you see it's allan's greek spaniards and frenchmen nowadays we should go back to our old carys is at least we have control of our monetary policy and it's not done in a friend for you know so these are big for us but look at the places where a goal we place this and where this revolving door between politics and economics at least it's you know the outcome is better standard of living for most of the population and i'll go once again brazil as an example turkey is an example however imperfect the system is with the soft brand. china for large swathes of the population at least a half of one point three billion people and even for some russians as offer some bricks and india don't forget india as well the same process of lifting millions of
poverty but the key problem nowadays is how do you try to change the system from the inside and not even our best c.e.o.'s titian's not even our nobel prize economists know how to change capitalism from the inside in fact a lot of other study has been saying for the past twenty five years or so is that capitalism as we know is. going to implode but nobody knows what's going to be next so we go back to what i'm sure you know the old order is floundering but the new war there's nothing born yet ok richard if i go to you that's a very interesting comment there you want to go you want to jump in on that one. it is an interesting comment. i certainly think that what's i think that's right in one way i don't think it's going to explode it's going to implode which is quite a different thing which is that western european economies and north american
economies are gradually going to become satellites to a much more complicated economic and labor picture in the world let me give an example of that we're beginning to see a kind of permanent constriction of employment opportunities in the united states and the question of restoring jobs because there aren't jobs to be restored but there are lots of jobs available brazil turkey these are places that are growing the labor force. it's a kind of i wouldn't use the word explode. i think it's the you know the old cliche applies that when you have a decline one place you have growth somewhere else will the system be different and yes it will be much more government controlled government control has help nurture . turkey brazil and china. but
it's it's not going to we're not going to have a revolutionary situation i don't think that's really an interesting way to think about to find out a chair here shift if we see if we see this major shift in capitalism in capitalism producing what people think it should produce like wealth and jobs and things like that what happens to democracy then because we always tie the two together in this post cold war environment but now there seems to be pulling apart going in different areas because if the economics isn't working for people people rely upon the democratic system to change things but if they can't get change because of things that we've already talked about in this program then it's capital i'm sorry democracy will start being question because it doesn't produce the goods. yes peter but let's be clear the system is working for people around the world we're in a temporary downturn right now but over the last two decades this system has this capitalist system has lifted millions of people tens of millions of people hundreds of millions of people out of poverty around the world and it's the capitalist system and globalization has taken hold and spread economic power and economic
opportunity to people around the world we see poverty reductions in africa and asia in the united states in europe everywhere around the world in latin america and that is because of this capitalist system now you can throw out the baby with the bathwater if you want to but the idea i would say would be to improve the functioning of the system not to throw it away because what are the alternatives the socialist system we've seen that leads to stagnation the communist system that led to a complete economic collapse and for those who are why am i the person bringing up marx karl marx here but an essential part of his philosophy was the withering away of the state and yet the other two guests seem to see an increase in the power of the state the somehow the salvation of humankind i don't think that's right i think
the problem is i don't say they are also predict is a government that's too powerful to jump in and go ahead. and out of this is this is this is rubbish i'm sorry look the slav wishes they went to a wall street last sunday and he delivered a condensed version of what has been same in his best ten books or so basically he said that the matter it's between capitalism and democracy is over. what does that mean this means that china which is saving capital world global capitalism at the moment that. completely different system of gold away comic freedom like male liberalism on steroids with political repression can the rest of the world by the system of course not it's untenable and it's going to be untenable even inside china but in fact this is a third the way they are proposing a an alternative system lots of developing countries including many developing
countries in africa are actually looking at this system as a kind of salvation for them and even some countries in the middle east and north africa are also looking at the chinese model as why not you know but of course this is not the answer the answer would be reform from the inside in terms of what color marks would say is we need more social justice so this is not going back to the realist real politic socialism as we had during the u.s.s.r. in the iron curtain because this was. a perversion of the original humanist marx ideas we're not talking about that we're still talking about a force weight and he hasn't been conceptualized anywhere in the u.s. in europe in south america or in asia all right fascinating discussion gentlemen we've run out of time many thanks to my guest today in new york washington and in some paolo and thanks to our viewers for watching us here darkie see you next time and remember rastafarians. if.
on our team police move end to move by a protest is on actions taken against the tent camps in seattle amid criticism america's media is failing to explain what's really driving people onto the streets . nato forces in northern kosovo extend the deadline for ethnic serbs to remove the barricades near border checkpoints or they say they will do it themselves. anyway vying to erupt in syria against an arab league decision not to suspend the country from the organization. put there are people who as you mentioned to criticize me and to be remediated they say that if your humble servant takes part in the election that would mean that there would be no election at all perhaps that would be the case for them but an ordinary citizen always has a choice to.