Much like the stages of coping with grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance — coping with austerity comes with its own stages, including desperation, despair, detachment, and indifference. In fact, today austerity often acts as a catalyst for the kind of life-changing events —sickness, death, divorce, and unemployment — that usually kickstart the cycle of grief.
What if Europe and the United States converged on a set of economic policies that brought out the worst in both – European fiscal austerity combined with a declining share of total income going to workers? Given political realities on both sides of the Atlantic, it is entirely possible.
A perfectly respectable business panel is urging corporate boards to ditch the ridiculous rationalizations for CEO pay excess and narrow the gargantuan corporate pay gap. Step one: end CEO stock options.
We now know austerity economics is bad for weak economies facing large budget deficits. Much of Europe is in recession because of budget cuts demanded by Germany. And as Europe’s economies shrink, their debts become proportionally larger, making a bad situation worse.
It’s not about capitalism vs. “socialism.” It’s about choosing what kind of capitalism we want. It’s about the future, and deciding what kind of economy we want. It’s about deciding who and what our economy is for. It’s about something most Americans can understand a lot more readily than the financial engineering that drives private equity. It’a about greed or fairness.
As our political system sputters, a wave of innovative thinking and bold experimentation is quietly sweeping away outmoded economic models. In New Economic Visions, a special five-part AlterNet series edited by economics editor Lynn Parramore in partnership with political economist Gar Alperovitz of the Democracy Collaborative, creative thinkers come together to explore the exciting ideas and projects that are shaping the philosophical and political vision of the movement that could take our economy back.