Progressives are progressing toward what, exactly?

By John Lloyd
July 9, 2012

Liberals and leftists all over the democratic world have often called themselves progressives, because it seems, in a word, to put you on the tide of a better future. (Also because in some countries, the United States most of all, to call yourself any kind of socialist was a route to permanent marginalization.) Progress doesn’t just mean going forward: It means going forward to a better place.

But a better place isn’t currently available, not for the right, and not for the left.

In the past two decades, progressives hitched their wagons to several charismatic individuals who were generally successful, both in gaining and retaining power. Luiz da Silva (Lula) in Brazil; Gerhard Schroeder in Germany; Tony Blair in the UK; and Bill Clinton in the U.S. They improved the lot of the poor somewhat, and, social liberals all, worked to bring in women, gays and ethnic minorities from the cold of discrimination and inequality.

Their personal popularity buoyed them, but success came at a cost. All of them betrayed progressivism in some way, adopting or adapting ideas and programs of their competitors on the right.

Tony Blair’s alliance with George W. Bush in the invasion of Iraq saw him branded as a warmonger by much of his own party – though he won his third victory after it. Lula’s adoption of a moderate economic policy caused the left wing of his Workers’ Party to split in several directions (but it still won after him, and still rules Brazil). Gerhard Schroeder, who developed a program of radical modernization called Agenda 2010, was excoriated by his party for adopting what many of the social democrats thought were right-wing, neo-liberal policies – such as making it easier for employers to fire workers. He called a snap election to show who was boss – and lost, to the center-right coalition led by current German Chancellor Angela Merkel (who must now sometimes wish Schroeder had won).

At gloomy meetings of UK and U.S. progressives in Oxford and London earlier this month, the former Blair adviser Roger Liddle admitted that British Labourites hadn’t anticipated the huge growth of inequality and the rising popular anger that now attends it. The left could not now promise a growth in living standards. Instead, the strategy should be to propose a “social investment” model, one in which consumption was foregone in favor of state investment in infrastructure, both physical and human.

The Harvard economist Jeff Frieden (co-author of a 2011 book, with Menzie Chinn, called Lost Decades) said that the first decade of the new millennium was already “lost,” and the second was in danger of following. The vast imbalances between the indebted countries – with the U.S. in the lead and the UK and the southern European states close behind – and their creditor countries has to be addressed now, or disaster awaits. His cure: inflation of some 5 percent a year, to inflate away the debt. That is tough on savers and pensioners, but someone has to suffer. Government’s main task, he said, was to choose who suffered most, and attempt to equalize it, making the rich pay a proportionate share.

But how is that going to happen? In Europe there is a growing disenchantment with the market and a greater faith in the state to address problems, but there is no centralized European body of sufficient power to tackle an issue with ramifications for all of Europe, and maybe the world. In the U.S. there are competent, centralized, federal institutions, but a large part of the electorate (we will see how large come Nov. 6) think, like Ronald Reagan, that the state is not the solution, but the problem. Even if the right doesn’t win in November, its lock on the House and Senate stymies initiatives that involve state spending and threatens others like wider health coverage – even after the Obama health insurance plan narrowly won a judgment that it was constitutional from the Supreme Court last month.

It’s not all terrible for progressives, on either side of the Atlantic. Obama is ahead in the swing states, if narrowly; and in the European Union, President Hollande has formed a new axis with (technocratic) Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy and (center-right) Mariano Rajoy of Spain to produce some softening from the Iron Chancellor Merkel earlier this month, at least in the matter of financing troubled banks and spending a bit more on growth. David Cameron trails the Labour opposition in the British polls, and the German social democrats are on a roll, with Hannelore Kraft taking her Social Democrats to a clear victory in the biggest state, North Rhine-Westphalia, in May.

But the question hangs heavy over the Western center-left. When and if power is won, in what way can it make progress? And if, as the growing consensus suggests, progress won’t be made in living standards, how is some equality to be obtained in retreat?

Democratic politics in the second decade of the millennium will mean – if it is not to be wasted – shaping up a citizenry used to growth and relative ease to accept stagnant, if not falling, incomes, longer and more productive work, and higher taxes. To shape a narrative of progress round these policies will task a center-left whose demand has always been, boiled down to a word: more. How do you fire up the sinews of a movement by calling for less? Tough, but that’s the current job description for progressives.

PHOTO: French President François Hollande (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel smile after kissing each other during the 50th anniversary ceremony of the reconciliation meeting between former French President Charles de Gaulle and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer after World War Two, in Reims, July 8, 2012. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

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Comments
18 comments so far

Still amazed that the Apathitic British voter saw fit to vote Tony Blair a third term..perhaps it was the lack of opposition ..However by May 2005 ( as he was voted in ) not so many of the facts on Iraq had come out ..There was no Chilcot Inquiry for one
All the millions as payoff deals he was to do from the likes of JP Morgan , The Kuwait Royal Family ..UI Energy the Koreon oil giant ‘ and so on had not come out .Many of the lives were still to be lost during the civil war between 2006-2008.. Knowing that we clearly went to Iraq for business and not the Neo Conservative lies of the WMD the British public are now at least 75% in a majority wanting him prosecuted .We have a moral duty and a responsibility to our children to take Tony Blair and therefore by default George Bush to The Hague ..Thanks David Lawley Wakelin

Posted by politeintruder | Report as abusive

Progressives are progressing to what exactly in this age of austerity? Well I think they need look no further than the publication produced by the now defunct Sustainability Commission, “Prosperity without Growth” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_ Without_Growth

As Jeremy Leggett, an environmental writer put it in a review of the publication “this involves a type of prosperity outside the conventional trappings of affluence within relationships, family, community and the meaning of our lives and vocations in a functional society that places value on the future”.

Prosperity of this kind will not only help us to overcome the threats to our planet but will also create a sense of wellbeing at the personal and social level. The first national poll on wellbeing to be published this month will show that. “People of all ages highlighted the importance of family, friends, health, financial security, equality and fairness in
determining well-being,”

So if progressives want a vision of a better place that we should be heading for, one that will resonate with the public in an age of austerity, I suggest that they get hold of a copy of “Prosperity without Growth” and build their policies around the wellbeing agenda advocated in this truly ground-breaking publication.

Posted by stanrosenthal | Report as abusive

Liberals and leftists all over the democratic world have often called themselves progressives, this is pure propaganda.

Yes, the world needs to make progress to an better world, but it will never come from the liberals and leftists. The liberals and leftists only care about pushing their ideology, and it is ideology that does not improve anything.

The other trouble is that all politicians are the same.

The facts no one wants to read.

Posted by ALLSOLUTIONS | Report as abusive

The liberals (who have adopted the term “progressives”, because liberalism got a bad name due to it not working) are the ones who are bankrupt; not in funds, but in ideology. They have been attempting to change the world to fit their world view, rather than accepting the world as it truly is. The world is a place where hard facts rule. I think that many people in the western democracies have forgotten that; and it appears that liberals don’t accept it.

It is equality of opportunity, not outcomes, that enables a free society to grow. People have the same rights under the law, but are by no means equal in capability. The effects of attempting to make all outcomes equal is shown in the failure of our schools and in all aspects of our society. The Euro itself is a classic example: make all the nations have the same currency (equality of outcome) regardless of the underlying nature of the economies (actual capabilities). This is why the Euro Zone is failing; it does not match reality.

I see this article as basically saying that since the liberal belief system failed to perform in the real world, all people have to live poorer lives. I reject that completely; with a proper and realistic belief system, people can indeed live better and more prosperous lives – they just have to work at it and not be deceived by idle lies, sincerely dispensed by liberal elitists.

Any ideology can work for a while, but the bill is eventually going to come due – and after about 40 years, reality has caught up with a failed belief system. Now we are basically entering an era when we have to return to the real world. Out current path is going to be hard. As Mr. Churchill said: “I have nothing to offer you but blood, toil, sweat, and tears.”

Posted by stevedebi | Report as abusive

Nobody I know, of any political persuasion, believes we should enforce equality of outcome, even if that were possible. Yes, most people I know are unhappy about inequality — not because some people are rich, but because some rich people think their wealth entitles them to have enormous input into what the rules are and how they are enforced.

Dear rich guys: Fraud is not the same as productive work. Crony capitalism is not the same as free enterprise. Please, buy all the houses, cars and airplanes you want, but stop wrecking everybody else’s faith in the system and cutting off other peoples’ access to upward mobility. You know perfectly well that is what you are doing. Just quit it. Our country, formerly more or less functional, now isn’t. That is the issue.

Posted by JBookly | Report as abusive

@stanrosenthal

Yes. Although I’ve not read “Prosperity without Growth”, I’ve participated to some degree or another most of my (now senior) life with the ethics/benefits of the concept as caught by the title.

We’ve got to detach from high-consumption lifestyles, and particularly have got to delink our belief/definition of “success” as “proven by amassing wealth/power/goodies”.

Research is increasingly available to point out to us that we are inherently cooperative in nature. We are reminded that whereas “competition” may be among our impulses, it is not an ultimate driver – we are not enslaved by it. We are also reminded that “social Darwinism” is a ‘belief’ we constructed (led by Herbert Spenser) because it fit so well with what we wanted to do anyway.

There is such a thing as “intrinsic reward” – happiness and satisfaction at having achieved an individual or group benefit or contribution.

Posted by MaggieMP | Report as abusive

I believe stevedebi is correct in what he says, but he is not specific enough as to “the solution”.

Our world’s population is beyond SEVEN BILLION and still exploding. New empty mouths emerge disproportionately from families or individuals without land, financial assets, skills, education or hope of any of these incubators of present or future “success”. What sort of lives await these people?

This reality is irresponsible and unsustainable. If mankind does not remedy the problem of his own fertility, it will ultimately be remedied by the historical methods of war, disease and /or starvation.

The nations of this planet need a new economic “model” that can bring about a “better” quality of life for an increasing number of human beings even as the number of humans reduces over time to something the physical planet can sustain. Re-dividing an “economic pie” of fixed or shrinking size different ways (Fascism, Socialism, Communism) merely yields less and less for each human being.

Mankind can and should choose cultural “shared values” of increasing capability and productivity (i.e. Capitalism) together with greater appreciation of life’s intangibles (music, theatre, reading, movies, games) passtimes such as gardening, art, etc. and diversify our cultural lives away from the concentrations of cities.

The internet offers many the opportunity to do work of value at home (or otherwise locally) without the necessity of millions of us commuting long distances each and every day. The present “commuting society” wears out our highways, our cars and our patience, imposes unnecessary energy dependence on many who hate America, and unnecessarily burdens our environment by related emissions.

While the ultimate destination of such a society as is today possible may not yet be obvious, we need to give more thought and resources to a sustainable future. So long as we do not move out from Earth and into the “final frontier” with all of man’s “eggs” in this one place, the clock is ticking down toward an ignoble end to all humanity.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

Uhh, trying to keep the country from sinking into a Mussolini style fascist/corporatist state?

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

I usually fall in with the “progressive” approach to societal development but I think my definition of “progress” is different. And that brings me to a question I’d like to ask.

Maybe someone reading/commenting here can help me understand something. I can not, for the life of me, figure out how it is that even progressive economic analysts continue to visualize economic health as driven by demand/spending/consumption.

Just minutes ago I heard a podcast from an analyst reviewing explanations for why “we’re not spending enough to get the economy running again.” Not a hint of interest in the condition of the earth that sustains all life. I find lack of interest in “whole picture” common to economic analyst statements.

I *do* understand how we managed to convince ourselves for decades if not centuries that the system we’ve had would work. But that was then, and now is now.

We’re presently dealing with a nearly ruined earth that cannot repair/restore itself at the rate we tear it apart and/or deliver toxins and trash. We’re looking at extreme climate conditions which impact food production, with strong confirmation the cause is high consumption lifestyle. We are further wrecking earth in a scramble to extract more energy to support “energy-intensive everything”. And we’re watching Fukushima unfold as a spectacular toxic disaster while beginning to confront the realities of the spent fuel dilemma, as well as realities of irreparable harm to life from nuclear radiation – harm even from “small” leaks routinely occurring from plants and military use. There’s more: species losses on land and water – flora/fauna – disappearing at a rate hard so extreme it’s hard to repeat (200/day??); water diverted from needs of human and other life – very often for “energy extraction/production” activities; and ocean’s becoming acidic (the north Pacific now also nicely radiated.)

I think the list of “civilization/earth at risk” conditions would be considered “externalized costs”. But these are not just any externalized costs – they are directly linked the end of earth history as we’ve come to understand it.

I’m old enough, and have thought about this enough, to no longer be alarmed or frightened. In fact, I believe humanity has within ourselves capacities we can use to change course. I will go further – I believe *if* we attend to “who we are” (including our capacity to empathize and cooperate) we can dream up something very fitting for the 21stC and generations to come.

I draw inspiration from a range of studies and sources, one of them Buckminster Fuller. To any not familiar, I recommend studying his concept(s) of earth, humanity, and resource allocation/use. I think “who we are” is the new frontier – with one problem,(disturbing to many?) – it’s not an exploration that supports wealth accumulation and buying stuff.

I understand aspects of our psychology that may prevent us from changing course. But I remain astonished that I do not hear economic analysts, (obviously very clever thinkers), and especially “progressive” analysts, bring externalized costs into their calculations and musings. I think I understand why they don’t publicly say: “Look, folks, this system isn’t going to carry us any further” – but if they’re thinking it, maybe they can find a way to nudge the population and it’s decision makers into present day reality with an eye to the future.

I think it would help if they did. When they continue a recovery conversation based on long-held, entrenched, patterns of resource allocations and use, it slows down the necessary “awakening” at all levels of society for us to take charge of ourselves. (Or so it seems to me.)

Can anyone explain why these analysts don’t bring in all factors for analysis? …Thanks!

Posted by MaggieMP | Report as abusive

@OneOfTheSheep
I was composing while your comment was posted but it seems we both want the conversation on economic recovery to “get real”. I thought about the population issue but my post was long enough as it was.

Also, researcher/activists like Francis Moore Lappe continue to press the point that earth resources, including food/water and more, are actually quite sufficient – allocation and restricted access is involved in impoverishment and famine deaths, (nearly every famine story has a component of “foods shipped to export markets” from affected regions.) I also continue to hear statements of how much land is actually “theoretically” available for populations greater than 7B (again with emphasis on distribution, access). Thirdly I recently heard something along the lines that earth’s carrying capacity might be “OK” to as high as 9B – with a related observation that there’s a trend to birth rates dropping even in typically high births/family cultures.

For those reasons I didn’t include population – but it’s by no means a trivial consideration. (Current wisdom says the evidence points to lower birth rates when women are given education and opportunity to develop more skills of interest.)

Another ‘concept’ frequently on my mind is related to energy use in construction – especially of homes and commercial buildings. Presently we use huge amounts of energy to operate huge machines to tear up the earth (destroy habitat which means we destroy “earth dynamics”) to access raw materials. These materials are hauled for processing, then for delivery, then to construction sites. These construction sites are themselves located on “former non-human habitat portions of land” – or – the construction sites *did* have existing buildings which have been removed by use (again) of huge machines using lots of energy to rip them apart and haul them off as “trash”. Large-scale energy use from start to finish!

The energy consumption of these construction activities may not be necessary. What if – in many cases – the building could either be retrofitted (not always as convenient as the work has to accommodate buildings out of square, etc. but so what.) OR people could be hired to take the existing older building apart piece by piece, with maximum salvage for re-use?

It seems that if older buildings are torn down and hauled away, the earth has to “pay the cost twice”. Every building represents lost habitat, and represents lots of energy already expended to create it. What if we “get over” our “need” for “maximum convenience and speed” and approach construction with a view to maximum conservation and minimal earth destruction? Presently we say “it’s too expensive – cheaper to tear the building down and re-build” – but isn’t that only because we don’t place value on externalized costs related to energy consumption?

It appeals that we’d avoid full construction costs, including externalized costs, if we used human energy. We’d pay “demolition/salvage” crews very well, (and we’d practice this paradigm shift with other labor intensive work whenever possible). The work “should” (in my vision) be not only well paid, but would have reduced hours. The person who spends 5-6 hr days tearing a building apart should have evenings and weekends off without being exhausted or poor. This would allow the person to study other interests also, perhaps eventually leading to other work but maybe not. There’s no reason a demolition worker can’t also be an inventor or scholar or take an active part in civic affairs, (IMO). I think society would benefit!

Posted by MaggieMP | Report as abusive

Hi MaggieMP,

One thing Europe does better than the U.S. is construct their dwellings and larger buildings to be useful for centuries, and your speculation is more reasonable there. It may be that the WW II razing of much of their older infrastructure has resulted in a “fresh start” there.

In the U.S., “we, the people” accept that our cars and air conditioners need the “economies of scale” possible with standardization (to some degree, at least). Unfortunately, we continue to build our buildings and dwellings stick by stick and pour by pour, every one “custom”. That’s wasteful and stupid.

Our “manufactured housing” is mostly trailer houses of substandard design, materials and longevity. They (and many of our “stick-built” houses are UNSAFE in weather common to many parts of the U.S. where built.

It is frequently impractical to deal with the lack of insulation, poor (or no) flashing materials and workmanship, old single-pane energy-wasting windows, poor roofs (materials and workmanship) that leak. There is also the problem of asbestos and lead paint (now largely outlawed).

Being a die-hard capitalist, “human labor” is, in a free market, “supply and demand. No job that can be segmented such that a worker can be taught everything they NEED to know to do it is going to pay more than minimum wage (nor should it).

Minimum wage for a single-parent household is NOT a “living wage” (following a “full time” 40-hour work week), nor should it be. To expect otherwise is to facilitate expectations in civil society we should not that are socially undesirable and fiscally unsustainable.

The following article explains why far better than I can:

http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles/ 12/TheUnderclass.htm

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

Correction: “No job that can be segmented such that a worker can be taught everything they NEED to know to do it in two weeks “on the job” is going to pay more than minimum wage (nor should it).

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

@MaggieMP

Why do analysts not bring the externalities covered in our comments into their analysis? Because they are paid to do their their analysis on the basis of business-as-usual not on the basis of business-as-it-might-be if we don’t pull our fingers out.

They are like generals who fight their wars according to what was done in the last war.

Posted by stanrosenthal | Report as abusive

@OneOfTheSheep

Thanks for the econfaculty.gmu link. Intensely descriptive of deep malady with figures to support. It’s very good info for me as I’m not exposed to those realities in daily life and tend to simplify them. I’ve familiarity with impoverished cultures in small community context. I’ve only brief exposure to what is described, and distinguished it as “deep urban” – differences in style even when population sizes may not be that different.

I’ve had training in poverty work (based on research done in US) and learned some very interesting things about “the culture of deep poverty”, especially “trans-generational”. Too big a theme to tackle here. I was a teacher for 20 years, mostly in a “high-needs” school (elementary). I’ve seen what can be done to help families toward healthier, more prosperous, lives. (A small town. We ran development programs with parents while also serving whole child needs – academic, esteem, etc. Parents were involved in running the programs once they were underway. It was a profoundly gratifying time. I learned a lot, and I treasure the experience.)

I’ve tracked American urban community-building a bit. If I had to say what approaches seem most promising – I’d say those that “emerge from within.” A few “natural leaders” may begin, attract others, and are followed by outside support, (churches, community programs which may be govt based or not, etc.). Consensus solution-finding as a process has astonishing community development potential, and is becoming more common, I think(hope). All of us are more likely to “take ownership” of a community situation when we experience participation that also has some authority. I imagine something like this for the people in the article.

Obviously I’m not inclined to blame schools – sufficient funding is critical, especially for those serving high-needs communities. They need lowest possible adult-student ratio (as funding allows), teachers and other staff trained for developmental as well as academic learning, decent libraries, science and computer labs, etc. Two-parent families are not one of my first concerns, but clearly the kids benefit if there are 2 parents, both good and reasonable people!

Once a community has effectively lost its moorings – as described in the article, (I’ve heard similar re some communities within US and Canadian cities), then a process of “re-awakening” to healthier lives might take some time. (By healthier I mean in outlook, choices, enjoyment, etc.) It’s a multi-year project, but once underway I’d expect some very noticeable positive outcomes within 2 years.

I’ve thought of something else however – what is described in the report could be considered a “low-income version” of what we also see in other sections of society: complete separation from any larger or more profound sense of “human community”. “Why should I care?” and “I don’t want to do that, I want to do this” seem much the standard from top to bottom. I’ve not thought this through so maybe it wouldn’t hold, but it surely does seem that, generally speaking, deep disregard for larger community is afoot in many aspects of human activity, and at every “level”.

I think we – and our earth – are in considerable trouble. Many “pockets” (subcultures) are thinking and working on behalf of improvement – some specialized, some attempting a more comprehensive scope. I think a comprehensive approach, (at least awareness), with good communication and effective planning between groups is necessary. Because these groups operate outside governments, are often staffed in large part by volunteers, are donation financed, and do not attract interest of large media – they are a fairly significant progressive element that doesn’t show “on the radar”.

Thinking of “comprehensive scope” brings me back to economists not bringing externalities into their analysis. Thank you for adding a note on that! Especially because of extreme earth degradation, I think it’s essential that economists include externalities. I can only imagine that many of them realize this, and have “compartmentalized” their thinking in order to not be constantly ill-at-ease. (Margaret Heffernan – “Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious…” should offer something on this; others have spoken of this human psychological “strategy” also.)

IMO, factors that have brought us (humanity) to where we are in 2012 – regardless of location on this globe – are multiple and historically rooted. They can also be psychologically explained, and on that count, psychologically based influences, without our full awareness, have been with us all along, they always are. Most of us only partial realize how we came to believe whatever we believe, and have only partial awareness of impact of our choices on the larger community. A few have tremendous impact on the whole; others play quite minor roles – but “we’re in this together” and have been all along, (IMO).

Buckminster Fuller observed of humanity: “Humanity’s situation is touch and go; without integrity we won’t make it.” (paraphrased). I’d hate to hear what he’d say now! (He was an optimist to his core, so perhaps he would reassure).

I should wrap up – perhaps with a thought on where progressives are headed. It’s understandable that it’s hard to summarize where this might be. There’s a lot to address! I think that within governments and legislatures progressives are very much a minority voice. I consider the groups described a few paragraphs up to be a critical and sizeable progressive force.

Long post! I do want to thank you for taking time to engage in discussion, and thank you again for the linked report. I’ve read it 1x, will read it again and do some followup. The situation described sounds close to “impossible”, the patterns too ‘set’. And I’m sure can’t change much without “stirring from within” as per paragraph above with thoughts on community development.

Posted by MaggieMP | Report as abusive

The article takes it as a canon of faith that the left is correct in their assumption. And it assumes that the problems have been caused by markets.

But it is sorely mistaken. The problems have been caused by government interference in the markets and the lunatic spending of the left on one or other social problem to right a perceived wrong.

Rule after rule is applied. For crying out loud in Greece it takes almost two years of fighting government red tape to open a simple store. Rules and regulation are everywhere and leftists (not progressives – for they are only for their form of progress) continue to tie up economies with more and more red tape.

Posted by eleno | Report as abusive

Three among countless highly successful demonstrations of “progressive” human activity. All three are rooted in strong commitment to create real products to serve real human needs.

Non-profit cooperative internet service provider emerges from group interest/effort:
http://portal.pris.ca/index.php?option=c om_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=27
“Social enterprise” company is rooted in inspiration and commitment to serve – brings electricity to rural communities; (includes “angel financing”):
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes .com/2012-07-06/news/32566187_1_renewabl e-energy-innovation-pilferage
Single individual’s inventiveness and dogged determination results in fantastic achievement despite tremendous odds against success, (brings electricity):
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2 012/01/26/the-boy-who-harnessed-the-wind -zinon/

None of these emerge from government or “big money” leadership. All “provide means and access” that uplift lives and opportunity for the people served.
All are dependent on access to education.

These and other grass-roots initiatives inspire and model what the 21stC needs. They will succeed to the extent they reject pressure and temptation to shift to “accumulating power, prestige, and wealth”.

Progressives within “the system”, especially those active in the realm of “power, prestige and wealth”, can assist by assuring that legislation supports, rather than hinders, goals and opportunity for individuals and groups such as those I’ve linked.

Posted by MaggieMP | Report as abusive

With the above listed demonstrations of “progressive” human activity, I meant to also include one example of a “for profit” company that offers top quality service at affordable price. So far as I know – this company has avoided side-tracking onto a chase for “power, wealth, and prestige”. These smaller for-profit companies can also model what the 21stC needs – a “people over profit” ethic.

http://www.copper.net/AboutUs.aspx

Also meant to say of the 3 listed in previous comment – all include “earth stewardship” in their ethic. (No awareness of this re the for-profit company, but entirely possible they also share an earth-care ethic.)

Posted by MaggieMP | Report as abusive

@ eleno

In the US, “big government” restrictions to citizen initiatives are often designed in support of “big money” interests. Our lobby industry (it *is* an industry) pours money into Washington. Our present election is totally driven by big money – vast fortunes are being spent by a relative few so immensely wealthy that they scarcely notice the dent in their cash-stash. They do so as an “investment” – they hope for election outcomes (payoff on investment) that will give them access to publicly operated and held resources. Most of these ultra-wealthy pay no or minimal taxes which might support quality life opportunity for the population, (water, health care, education, etc.).

I don’t know enough about Greece’s politics to know how similar this may be.

Posted by MaggieMP | Report as abusive
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