The band I'm in posted a song for the Occupy movment a few weeks ago about the 1%, called "They're Playing You Like a Fiddle," and a lot of people have Liked it on Facebook. I wrote the words and tune for it, and thought it got across my frustrations about how a lot of things in our lives are being controlled and affected by very rich people who will never be satisfied that they have enough money.
Like I said in the song, the super rich are like heroin junkies who always need more, and the Wall Street mentality feeds that, because no matter how much money a company makes this year, if they don't make a lot more next year, they're seen as a failure and their stock goes down. So they squeeze out quality for profit and they damage the environment for profit, and they screw their workers for profit, and so on. Anyway I said all that in the song, so what's next?
Well last week as I was driving home from us playing a show, I heard an author being interviewed on public radio about his book "Agenda for a New Economy." His name is David C. Korten, and it's obvious he knows a lot about the system and has been thinking for a long time about how Wall St. creates what he calls "phantom wealth," and how that and the fact that we need to keep bailing out the banks and other large corporations is hosing us, our future, the environment, etc.
So I read the book and want to recommend it and share a couple of thoughts, especially for the people who Liked our song, because if we don't turn our frustrations into action to change the system, well then shame on us. The future is in our hands and now we need to jump on the opportunity of the incredible momentum of the Occupy movement and shape it into a new system that works for our future, instead of just keep helping the rich get richer.
In a nutshell Korten lays out a 12-point plan that aims to get our companies and economy focused on creating what he calls "real wealth," which makes our lives and communities stronger over the long term rather than deliver short-term profits. The plan involves changing our economic rules so they don't favor corporations over smaller, more locally focused businesses, and focusing on measurements of our local and national health, instead of always looking to boost economic growth for the sake of growth itself.
I'm not going to lay out all of Korten's plan here but I recommend you buy the book or look it up at your local library. If you don't have a whole lot of time, chapters 10-12 lay out the meat of his plan, chapter 13 presents his dream of what life could be like if the plan is carried out, and chapter 15 talks about some steps we can take now to get the ball rolling. The book was written two years ago, before the Occupy movement kicked, off but it reads like it was written this week.
I don't agree with everything in Korten's book but I'd sure rather live in the world he lays out than be in the mess we're in today. I guess the thing I'm most leery about in his plan is that despite all the problems that Wall Street has created, it's also helped create the massive technology and communications infrastructure that's helped the Occupy movement itself take off, and is responsible for this very blog for instance.
What do you think? If you've got thoughts on how to make a better system for our future, or pointers to others who do, or comments on anything above, fire off a comment below. We need to talk.
[Boilerplate: This blog is written by Steve Clarke, songwriter and singer for Mister Spring. Hear their tunes, check out T-shirts and more at http://www.reverbnation.com/misterspring.]