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Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Class struggle vs. class envy

I haven't written much about the AIG et al. bonus scandals, or the Bernie Madoff scandal, etc. etc. The outrage and faux outrage coming from the politicians and the pundits would have drowned out anything I had to say anyway. Gary Younge writing in The Nation (subscription only) writes what I would have written, only much better:
The problem isn't just that the sums involved in the AIG bonus crisis are less than one-thousandth of the amount of bailout money being paid out. It is that by concentrating on them so completely the focus shifted from the institutional to the individual, power to people, and in the process, from class struggle to class envy. The former targets the system that makes some people rich by making others poor; the latter is rooted in the popular resentment of the rich for their wealth.
What Younge doesn't say, although I have little doubt he would agree, is that the brouhaha in the media and from the politicians was precisely because of what Younge writes. The ruling class and its flunkies in the media know quite well how to keep Americans distracted from the underlying problems by waving around a shiny disk to attract (or would that be distract?) their attention.

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