The British economic historian Avner Offer believes that the gap between our economic model and our economic reality is now similar to the gap between Karl Marx's Communism and Leonid Breshnev's Communism. Chris Hedges reports:
Our current economic model, he said, will be of little use to us in an age of ecological deterioration and growing scarcities. Energy shortages, global warming, population increases and increasing scarcity of water and food create an urgent need for new models of distribution.
“The state of current political economy in the West is similar to the state of communism in the Soviet Union around 1970,” he went on. “It is studied widely in the university. Everyone knows the formula. Everyone mouths it in discourse. But no one believes it.” The gap between the model and reality is now vast. Those in power seek “to bring reality into alignment with the model, and that usually involves coercion.”
“The amount of violence that is inflicted is an indicator of how well the model is aligned with reality,” he said.
Offer points to the United States, the beacon of free market economics:
It is perhaps symptomatic that the USA, a society that elevates freedom to the highest position among its values, is also the one that has one of the very largest penal systems in the world relative to its population. It also inflicts violence all over the world. It tolerates a great deal of gun violence, and a health service that excludes large numbers of people.”
That model -- all of it -- has been imported into Canada by the Harper government. We should not be surprised that voting is suppressed, that our scientists are muzzled, and that criminals are punished rather than rehabilitated.
It's all part of the Economics of Coercion.