Distilling William Greider’s dense, 573-page book, One World, Ready or Not, down into a few words: we live in an economy that requires that we chase money, one way or the other. Those most successful in this chase get to make the rules, or at least they use their considerable influence to arrange things so that they and theirs remain on top of this game.
The compulsory climb seems to be entirely captivating but it unfortunately occurs to very few of those achieving the peaks that a rule change toward sharing and equality could end massive suffering. Those who lack elementary needs – food, clean water, shelter – are compelled to join the chase or perish, and those whose every physical need is not only met but delivered by hordes of obsequious servants, act as though their lives too are at risk should they abandon the quest or call for change. In nations where endless competitive striving has been softened by a safety net of hard-won worker and citizen rights, The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism (Greider’s sub-title) relentlessly forces roll-back.
Greider provides depressing examples of the bloody hand of the Free Market repressing workers and despoiling environment across the globe where even reluctant CEOs of major corporations are caught in a desperate race to the bottom in terms of wages (not theirs of course though their company’s survival is in the balance) and environmental protection. Corporations pursue the lowest paid, most subservient workers and compliant governments in a competitive, mobile frenzy that will clearly end in a glut of products with no one left to buy them in a despoiled environment in which no one could, or would want to, live. Democracy and national sovereignty are devoured in this rapacious gluttony, despite flowery rhetoric aligning capitalism with “freedom”, delivered by deluded zealots and their media minions. Yet Democracy is the only avenue of escape from this escalating mania for we are perfectly capable of changing the rules. The means to that shift lies in an old slogan (understanding that we are all workers), “Workers of the world, Unite!”