About a third of the way into this talk from last year’s TED global the speaker says:
Have you wondered why politicians are not what they used to be? It’s not because their DNA has degenerated. It is rather because one can be in government today and not in power, because power has migrated from the political to the economic sphere.
The audience laughs at the DNA joke, but then falls silent. The speaker, Yanis Varoufakis, who was Greece’s finance minister during last year’s Greek financial crisis, has a very serious point.
Over the last three months, in the United States, in Britain and in the Eurozone, we have invested, collectively, 3.4 trillion dollars on all the wealth-producing goods — things like industrial plants, machinery, office blocks, schools, roads, railways, machinery, and so on and so forth. $3.4 trillion sounds like a lot of money until you compare it to the $5.1 trillion that has been slushing around in the same countries, in our financial institutions, doing absolutely nothing during the same period except inflating stock exchanges and bidding up house prices.
So a mountain of debt and a mountain of idle cash form twin peaks, failing to cancel each other out through the normal operation of the markets. The result is stagnant wages, more than a quarter of 25- to 54-year-olds in America, in Japan and in Europe out of work. And consequently, low aggregate demand, which in a never-ending cycle, reinforces the pessimism of the investors, who, fearing low demand, reproduce it by not investing.
the economic sphere has been colonizing and cannibalizing the political sphere to such an extent that it is undermining itself, causing economic crisis. Corporate power is increasing, political goods are devaluing, inequality is rising, aggregate demand is falling and CEOs of corporations are too scared to invest the cash of their corporations.
So the more capitalism succeeds in taking the demos out of democracy, the taller the twin peaks and the greater the waste of human resources and humanity’s wealth.
I’ve been a fan of TED for years now because it tends to highlight a combination of truth, concern, science, arts, and of course it’s namesake acronym, Technology, Education, and Design (TED). I like talks that shake me up a big and make me think. This one does that.
The source of this is at the following link: Yanis Varoufakis: Capitalism will eat democracy — unless we speak up.