Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bright Young Things Are so Often Wrong

Matthew Yglesias and Dana Goldstein are two of the bright young things of our new media. Each in their own way fail to understand what the 99% versus the 1% means. It isn't about income as such. 

Yglesias' claim that NBA players are rich and therefore members of the 1% misses the point that your average NBA player isn't trying to create an oligarchical system. The Kochs, Bloomburg, and the Republican party's war on voting are. These folks are less interested in money then  they are in power. For them money is a means to an end and that end is creating a world in which the few dominate the many.  The 99% movement isn't some attempt to simply redistribute wealth but rather to end the creation of a market state in which the wealthy oppress the poor through a combination of the laws of supply and demand, which insists that markets follow the money, and the manipulation of the political system through the creation of a system in which the state functions solely as enforcers.

Goldstein makes a similar mistake in pooh poohing the linkage between the 1% and neoliberal educational reform when she concludes that
[t]The trouble with this narrative comes in comparing education reformers with greedy bankers. The dominant ethos of the school choice/Bloomberg/Obama reform movement is one borrowed not from Wall Street, with its desperate lust for profit, but from Silicon Valley, with its commitment to meritocratic innovation that—yes, of course—earns money, but also serves the public.
One suspects that she knows this as in a later post, she links to an article on the danger of the 1%ers drive to privatize and virtualize k-12. Privatizing education, much like the privatization of prisons, takes one of societies most important functions out its hands and gives it to corporations, whose ability to do anything right is of limited. The creation of public, as opposed to religious, education is one of the hallmarks of modernity; granting corporations and rich folks the right to "reform" and run our educational systems spell the end of critical thought and beginning of education as vocational training or, even worse, no education and no vocational training for the mass of humanity.

When people talk about a market state what they really mean is democracy's demise at the hands of technocrats.

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