Last week on Catalan TV, there was an excellent interview with Ignacio Ramonet called "Els marcats, un poder sense societat" (The markets, a power without society). The interview is almost an hour long and packed full of chilling and insightful analysis of what is going wrong, some suggestions of how to fix it, and some disturbing predictions about how it will go it the people don't rise to the challenge. I highly recommend it to anyone who can understand Spanish. It can be watched at the website of TV3 Catalunya:
Don't worry about the Catalan introduction, the interview settles down in Spanish after a few minutes.
The central message of his interview is that democratic governments are being made irrelevant because of their lack of will to confront the power of the financial sector. Largely this is due to an overwhelming belief that austerity is the way to "fix" things, but he paints a darker picture. He talks of how Mario Draghi, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, speaking with a cool and detached frankness as a representative of neo-liberal ideology, expressly said there are two objectives of the international financial system:
1. The welfare state is dead and must be dismantled, transferring all services provided thereby into the private sector. Any government which does not implement the phasing-out of all social programs will be immediately and repeatedly attacked by the markets until it is beaten into submission.
2. The power of the sovereign state is to be diluted to a point of irrelevance. This will be accomplished by the following mechanism: if any government fails to adhere to the 3% budget deficit limit, a committee of financial managers will be sent in to take the reigns of government and see to it that what needs to be done gets done. This is precisely what has been done in Greece and Italy, and what Rajoy is threatening to do with the semi-autonomous regions of Spain.
His then posits the question: What is a government which is incapable of controlling its own finances? His answer: a simple protection force of the financial masters. The interviewer then asks, what do they want? Do they want to reduce us all to a state of near slave labor, like in China? Ramonet's answer: they simply suffer from a political/social myopia because societies put up with it and put up with it and put up with it as they squeeze more and more blood from the turnip...
Until the moment comes when the people simply won't take it anymore, and that moment is here... now.
Note that the interview was made before the elections of this weekend.