Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Separation of Economic Powers

The U.S. Constitution's separation of powers schema has been the topic of a considerable degree of discussion in hygiecratic circles. Not only does its tri-partite design perfectly mirror the structure of the Greek Fates (the three daughters of Necessity who, as one unified entity, represent force and power - contra Hygieia), even if it did manage to separate power - rather than merely stabilizing and preserving it - historical developments would have soon rendered such a separation impotent. For while the three branches of government ostensibly separate political power, they do nothing whatsoever to separate economic power; and while there has been a virtual plutocracy from the beginning of the U.S. republic, as the U.S. economy industrialized the economic powers of its wealthy classes grew by unprecedented bounds. Indeed, the United States' system of representational democracy, historically exclusive, in many respects represents the interests of the wealthy today to a degree that surpasses the concentration of power that the founders fought against in the 18th century.

In addition to the fact that a mere handful of conglomerates control virtually all of the newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, radio stations, television stations, movie studios, internet providers, and other mass media outlets on the planet - thereby possessing the power to determine the form and content of public opinion to an unprecedented degree - concentrated economic powers maintain their hegemonic position by tyrannical extensions of concentrated and diffused violence.

Beyond the concentrated violence of wars which are being fought for economic gain throughout the world, and the forces that are being extended domestically through the increasing militarization of police and their continuing abuses, the proliferation of prisons and historic levels of incarceration, this tyranny is responsible for an economic system that, among other things, is committing systematic ecocide. In addition to the general environmental destruction caused by endless production (unnecessary for human needs, but altogether vital for capitalism to function) and its attendant toxins, of those people "lucky" enough to have jobs at all, most ultimately succumb to altogether preventable occupational and stress-related diseases. Moreover, most of the money people manage to earn from these jobs is nearly instantly returned to the wealthy to service rents and other debts. To be sure, it is presently a widely known economic fact that in the United States the Top 400 people possess more wealth than the bottom 150,000,000 people combined, reflecting a disproportion of economic power that is hardly less than tyrannical.

Separating this concentration of economic powers is a matter of the most basic economic, social, and political justice. Not simply an issue of distributive justice, it is a matter of restorative justice as well since the resources gathered into such extreme concentrations of wealth were largely done so by way of systematic conquest, plunder, exploitation and wrongs requiring correction.

Because concentrations of economic power are inseparable from unjust conditions of poverty and disease, the health of the people of the world - which according to the maxim is the supreme law - requires a separation of economic powers no less than it requires a separation of political powers. To the degree that political arrangements reproduce conditions of political and economic inequality, they actively undermine conditions of health, harm the health of the people of the world, and demonstrate their own lack of legitimacy. As such, concentrations of power must be diffused so as to allow, among other things, all to possess conditions of health.

(conditions of health include, but are not limited to, collectively owned/free health care, housing, nutrition, education, communications, transportation, and unobstructed access to all other conditions necessary for health.)

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