As a society, how do we define what a "moral economy" is?
Here at SoberMoney, we define a moral economy as one that allows most of the citizens to at least have a fair chance to work, provide for their loved ones, and to attain some degree of long-term life independence and retirement security. Clearly there is no perfect economy, whether it be capitalist, socialist, or one of the social democracies we see in the Nordic countries.
In reality, achieving a true "moral economy" is a constant work in progress. We now have enough human history to know what is NOT a moral economy. Elitist oligarchies like we see in Russia and India are not moral economies. Repressive neo-socialist states like in North Korea or Venezuela are not moral economies. Oil theocracies like we see in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East are not moral economies.
Here in the United States, we are starting to look more and more like the oligarchical corporate model of India. Except instead of having one company dominate each sector of the domestic economy, our duopoly party system is working toward the "regulation" of a two company oligarchy for each economic sector. Current examples of US sector duopolies are 1) Verizon and AT&T, 2) Apple and Samsung, 3) Amazon and Wal-Mart, 4) Monsanto and Con-Agra, and 5) if the merger with Time Warner Cable is approved by the FCC, Comcast and Comcast (no, not a mistake).
The Big Lie
Contrary to US Reagonomics revisionist neoonservative economic theory - which obviously began when Ronald Reagan became US president, the United States has since become a corporate welfare state. It was under the Reagan presidency when the US corporate sector began to achieve more powerful advisorial influence in the federal political system. More importantly, the federal regulatory agencies became profit-inhibiting pariahs, were gutted, and thus began the massive income inequality seen now, as well as the trashing of public health and public safety laws.
As a direct by-product of Reaganomics, the beneficial achievements of labor unions - fair wages & benefits, occupational safety, and worker bargaining rights - began to see its demise under the bogus belief that "trickle down" economics was the answer to global competitiveness and the waning stock market at the time. Ironically, the union corruption that existed at the time made it easy for the Republicans to start dismantling unions and sell pro-corporate Reaganomics.
Since the 1980s, the United States economy has seen a consistent favoritism toward corporate rights over consumer, worker, and citizen rights. The fall of Russian communism in the late 1980s accelerated the almost religious belief system of a pro-corporate mindset . And since the beginning of the 21st century, while still reeling from the 9/11 attacks, we are closer to becoming a quasi-corporate police state - where anyone who questions the rights of the free markets over social justice and a moral economic order is considered a troublemaker, or at worst, a terrorist.
The Contradiction Between "Free Markets" and Global Corporate Absolutism
Most Americans are now plagued by a macro-economic form of faulty thinking. And that faulty thinking goes like this: Freedom = the Free Markets = the Global Corporate System. It is a pervasive yet bogus fixed mindset that presents itself as the final solution of how people everywhere must now live.
On the surface, this unquestioned preference for "the global free market" is dinned into the heads of US and global citizens by slogans saturating the corporate media around the clock - or conversely, by police and security beatings, clubbings, tear gas and rubber bullets - if the slogans don't imprint, as in Seattle during the IMF/World Bank meetings or in NYC as a result of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Yet underlying the instituted corporatist propaganda and potential for violence is this value equation always at work: brainwashing the public mind for global corporate acquiescience. Hence, freedom has become equated with the free markets, and in turn, globalization is equated with transnational corporate "ownership" to ALL of the world's natural resources.
The challengers of this assumed multinational corporate privilege are those who are in direct ethical and emotional conflict with this mindset: the poor, artists and musicians, many educators, some government workers, progressive liberals, progressive libertarians, and a few old guard conservatives who still believe in the classic definition of no corporate bailouts "free markets." They see, in fact, that the new Wall Street version of the American capitalist system is one of banking oligarchs and the privileged political elites.
Sadly, the Democratic Party is now mostly part of the latter, primarily paying political lip service to consumer rights, public health, public safety, and citizen freedoms.
The US profit and growth addiction
South African Steven Biko said: "The most effective tool of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
As Americans, we clearly see our addiction to profit and money every day. We see and hear it from the patronizing cable business channels like CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox Business. In fact, these plutocrat-owned media outlets are for the most part corporate apologists for the institutionalized monopolizing behavior of the Wall Street elite. in fact, the US elite greed addiction has recently been called "affluenza" by a judge who gave a rich 16 year old Texas kid ten years probation for killing four children while driving drunk.
Currrently, our nation's "collective self-worth" depends largely on the disingenouis American Dream fantasy of how much money we can make, how little taxes we can pay, how quickly we snap up new technology to show off our adult toys, how "cool" our numerous vehicles are, how over-acheiving our children are, how little we have come to care about worker rights and our public health, and how cavalier we have become regarding having active compassion for the poor and the less unfortunate.
Much of America has become a nation of self-centered, elitist-adoring greed addicts.
The Narcissism of Profit
Sadly, our profit addiction comes at a huge cost. At this stage in our world's human and social development, we are in the process of creating the largest wealth disparity we have ever seen.
Simply put, a narrowing group of rich elitists are getting richer, the middle class is getting poorer, the poor and less fortunate are continually neglected, our prisons are overcrowded with young black males - with no programs for rehabilitation, and our children are being increasingly massacred in their public schools and in public enertainment centers by a national gun culture that ignorantly thinks owning guns is the answer to their "impotence" in the growing corporate-controlled government police state they now live in.
Many Americans naively believe the lie that owning guns and exotic military weaponry will get them back to their almost total lack of individual economic (worker) power. Not surprising in the current economic environment, they simultaneously blame foreign workers for a declining middle class, fostered by the same politicians they vote into public office.
SoberMoney believes our national gun fetish is an example of a subconscious Aryan male powerlessness. We see states run by vote-pandering white male dominated Republican poltiticians who pass laws that force women to undergo mandatory sonograms (like government broodmares).
These mysogynist right wing evangelical legislative efforts helps create the illusion they still have some control over their social beliefs - which are all they really have left after the global corporate elites havetotally compromised their labor rights.
The "Free Markets" Addiction
Our Nation's unquestioned worship of "free markets" and wealth is very much like an alcoholic or drug addict who will harm or hurt anyone or anything that gets in his or her way of achieving unfettered profits. Money and profit has become our national pain killer - an insidious "drug" that numbs the fear and anger caused by four decades of middle and worker class economic neglect and abuse.
In the United States, we no longer live in a free markets economy. We live in a globally coordinated, increasingly corporate totalitarian state - which controls governments with massive sums of lobby money and legal political bribes. If citizens balk, it uses its vast oligarchical police and security powers to coerce and convince gullible and fearful citizens (through their media news comglomerates) into believing that the global corporate system is the only sane way to live.
Functional Economic Thinking
If you read some or most of this website, we will provide information on how "mass economic activism' - both consumer and investor activism - is the most effective way to break our personal addictions and dissolve our economic delusions so we can dismantle economic elitist tyranny and the growing wealth and income disparity we see everyday.
In fact, our biggest political and economic problem in the US is our dysfunctional cognitive thinking. We must change both the way we think and act. We must give up the political lies that keep us feeling crazy and angry. In some cases we must change our thinking through our economic actions, and in other cases we must change our economic actions through self-respecting financial and poltiical analysis.
Bottom Line Reality-Based Economic and Political Thinking for open-minded US citizens:
Politicians work for their corporate lobby money masters - not you, the gullible voter-citizen
Big corporations control and manipulate our federal and state governnments - not the reverse
"Free markets" do not apply to large corporations - whose chartered objective is to control and own everything
What benefits Wall Street most often hurts Main Street
True "Economic Freedom" would actually prevent global corporations from having unlimited access to the world's natural resources
Corporations reap billions of dollars in profit from individual addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, and gambling, debt, and celebrity fanaticism.
The evangelical "family values" politicians receive millions of dollars in lobby money and campaign contributions from media conglomerates and hotel chains who sell and distribute pornography and casinos.
Republican politicians say they love small government - but constantly create big government legislation to restrict 1) women's reproductive health choices, 2) voter rights, and 3) the rights of the LGBT and Muslim citizen community.
Democratic politicians tell workers they look out for their interests, but behind the scenes get most of their campaign and lobby money from big corporations who keep workers in debt and disenfranchised.
Democrats talk about caring for the environment - but in reality have become part of the elite - working as high paid lobbyists for big dirty, coal, and mining companies after their political career ends.
Get real - or get left behind.