For a Kinder, Gentler Society
From Conflict to Crisis
The Danger of U.S. Actions
  • Jeanne M. Haskin
Reviews Table of Contents Introduction «Back
From Conflict to Crisis. The Danger of U.S. Actions
Sound Bite

The rich understand that capitalism is a game of musical chairs. It's systemic class warfare conducted on a grand scale to discourage solidarity across lines that might otherwise threaten the system, and with each market re-set arranged by the Federal Reserve, more of the country’s resources fall into wealthy hands.

Examining what happens when a society favors old money over new and breaks all the rules to make the world safe for finance, author Jeanne Haskin predicts increasing volatility and violence in the United States if we do not significantly change course.

For a preview of what lies ahead for the U.S., the author takes us for a quick exemplary trip through Central America.


About the Author

Jeanne M. Haskin studied international relations at Central Connecticut State University of New Britain and political science and international diplomacy at Yale University, with a focus on conflict and crisis management in warring situations. She has published three books with Algora.

About the Book

A society that is reared on competition will face unsettling challenges to authority if it doesn’t set certain functions outside the arena of battle, via systematic enrichment of the affluent minority that has always had the power to topple and...

A society that is reared on competition will face unsettling challenges to authority if it doesn’t set certain functions outside the arena of battle, via systematic enrichment of the affluent minority that has always had the power to topple and ruin the system.

Today’s preoccupation with America’s revolutionary history is not just a piece of theater. At the heart of America’s outrage is an inability to lash out and demand redemption from the source of its distress because the pain is inflicted, not by hatred, but by the fundamental lack of stability built into our way of life.

Now that a fifth of the population is suffering job loss, foreclosures, or exclusion from employment due to prejudice, poor credit, a lack of skills or education, a glut of competition and insufficient opportunity, the failure to provide for the helpless majority means the system is at an impasse. Because the system can’t—or won’—perform, the Tea Party’s rise was preemptivec—with all its implied violence and “real” American theater—as the means to channel our anger into voting out Obama so reform can proceed unimpeded…with all its inherent dangers.

Turning from foreign examples that erupted in the environments of colonialism and post-colonialism, neoliberalism, militarism and oligarchies, to a review of the head-spinning social and political noise that stands in for responsible debate in America today, Ms. Haskin’s richly documented essay sees a bonfire prepared as social tensions are increased and inter-group pressures are encouraged to mount. So much for “One nation…”


Introduction

A conduit to crisis is a medium that facilitates, conducts or makes possible a path to anything controversial, including but not limited to legislation, research, lobbying, fundraising, diplomacy, disarmament, militarization and strategy, as well as unfair advantages in armaments and allies. Under inhibiting parameters that make negotiation...

A conduit to crisis is a medium that facilitates, conducts or makes possible a path to anything controversial, including but not limited to legislation, research, lobbying, fundraising, diplomacy, disarmament, militarization and strategy, as well as unfair advantages in armaments and allies. Under inhibiting parameters that make negotiation difficult and compromise unlikely, a transition from conflict to crisis involves premeditated pressures designed to elicit pain and develop conduits toward preferred paths or ends.

A transition from conflict to crises can be successfully avoided if the conflict in question is consistently non-harmful. When the issue was freeing gays in the military to express their sexual orientation without fear of discharge, the paths toward that end involved community action, group solidarity, support from high-profile figures, political contributions, lobbying, and inclusion in the decision-making process through government participation. This engendered protest from some religious groups, homophobic communities, and political representatives, but, for the most part, measured responses, delays in implementation, the largely positive reception from the latest generation of service men and women, and President Obama’s insistence that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should be repealed through Congress rather than by Executive Order, showed that this particular conflict, negotiated on a continuum, generated acceptance without escalating to violence.

On the other hand, the Internet is filled with pages of religious condemnation, expressing that acceptance of the LGBT community is consistent with Biblical Revelation as a sign of evil in the End Times, or the end of civilization. There is also a whole survivalist movement prepared to respond with violence against what it perceives as a New World Order and in defense of the Constitution. In this case, fear-mongering even promotes the idea of a new constitution to protect what is perceived as “real” American values, dating back to the settlement of the New World and the American Revolution.

Lest we be tempted to think this is harmless, all resistance movements unearth the bones of their founders to defend a past that was either repressive or idealized as sacred. It is a ritual of purification against encroachment by other cultures, hostility toward their lifestyles, a perception of unfair advancement, and, first and foremost, anger toward their consumption of coveted resources.

 

Economic Scapegoating

 

Although the LGBT community may be the latest group to demand respect, acceptance, and benefits, the dying American dream spawns a backward-looking catalogue of economic usurpers, from all manner of immigrants, to blacks and nonconformists, until the term “liberal” becomes an all-encompassing label for what’s universally hated and patently wrong with America.

Those who were once made welcome to fuel the growth of the nation quickly became disposable under altered expectations and, the greater the economic contraction, the “purer” must be the nation.

 

Learning from Yugoslavia

 

Looking at pre-war Yugoslavia, where cultural assimilation, ethnic heterogeneity, participatory government, and economic wellbeing made it resemble the United States and its beloved American dream, its conduits to crisis began with the collapse of the social contract under economic reform, new constitutions that disempowered ethnic minorities, and rushed democratic reforms under threat of U.S. penalization that depended almost entirely on ethnic solidarity. From there it was only a short step to republican and ethnic secessionism, Serbian militarism, and voluntary Bosnian disarmament, the outcome of which was genocide, wars over territory, and such bitter, enduring hatreds that the first thing school children learned in the warÂ’s aftermath was their status of victimhood.

Much of this is mirrored here in the United States. Just as the West denied further funding to former Yugoslavia and insisted on economic austerity, conservatives in Congress have fought the President’s stimulus spending as well as every one of his budgets and proposed revenue sources. Vermont has tried to secede from the union and Californian Christian communities have sought secession within their state. Arizona made constitutional changes regarding immigration and the most nativist, bigoted document ever to hit The Washington Post was entitled “The Conservative Constitution of Real America,” which appeared in 2011. The “Conservative Constitution” mandates forced Christian conversions as a condition of survival (like the Serbs in former Yugoslavia) . But worse and even creepier, the results of the latest U.S. Census are available in detail, with information on race, profession and income for every identified household. In the same way that Bosnian Muslim professionals were assassinated from hit-lists, all any “real American” needs to conduct assassinations is an Internet connection. The closure of U.S. military bases has left the Northeast coast largely on dependent on Maine and, in the wake of 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security mandated contingency plans for vital operations to be moved to secret locations, presumably not in the North....


Table of Contents
Introduction Chapter One: Unearthing the Bones Chapter Two: Instilling the Illusion of Choice Chapter Three: Political Strategizing Chapter Four: Behavioral Econom

Introduction

Chapter One: Unearthing the Bones

Chapter Two: Instilling the Illusion of Choice

Chapter Three: Political Strategizing

Chapter Four: Behavioral Economics

Chapter Five: Favoring Old Money Over New

Chapter Six: Making the World Safe for Finance

Chapter Seven: The Colonial History of Belize

Chapter Eight: Belize – Party Politics and Debt

Chapter Nine: Belize – Recommendations of the IMF

Chapter Ten: Nicaragua 1522-1939

Chapter Eleven: Nicaragua – The Somoza Dynasty

Chapter Twelve: Nicaragua – Opposition to the Sandinistas

Chapter Thirteen: Nicaragua – Implementing Neoliberalism

Chapter Fourteen: El Salvador – The Military and the Oligarchy

Chapter Fifteen: El Salvador – The War and its Aftermath

Chapter Sixteen: Honduras – The Land of Instability

Chapter Seventeen: Honduras – The Impact of the Contras

Chapter Eighteen: Fast-forward to a Volatile USA

Bibliography

Index


More . . .
From the Author --
By the logic of the market, unsustainable expenses ensure that losses and lowering wages keep pace on the slippery downslope of constant economization. The system does not become endangered until the majority of the populace is priced out of the market, even with devaluation. This is where we are today and why politics is so contentious.

When a fifth of the population has suffered job loss, foreclosures, and is ineligible for employment due to...
From the Author --
By the logic of the market, unsustainable expenses ensure that losses and lowering wages keep pace on the slippery downslope of constant economization. The system does not become endangered until the majority of the populace is priced out of the market, even with devaluation. This is where we are today and why politics is so contentious.

When a fifth of the population has suffered job loss, foreclosures, and is ineligible for employment due to prejudice, poor credit, a lack of skills or education, a glut of competition and insufficient opportunity, the failure of the system to provide for a helpless majority means the system is at an impasse. Because it can’t—or won’t—perform, the war over rights and taxation will become more heated than ever. As conduits to crisis, they may even lead to insurrection.

We in the U.S. live by a constitution that enshrines our right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but our right to own property is subject to competition. A person who owns stock in a failing company may suffer the same misfortune as a person who loses his home through increased interest rates on an adjustable-rate mortgage. In either case, the blame is borne by the owner for making an investment that couldn’t survive competition. However, ritualized dispossession is inherent to the boom-bust cycles of capitalist economies subject to manipulation by central banking systems.

 



Pages 268
Year: 2012
BISAC: HIS036070 HISTORY / United States / 21st Century
BISAC: HIS007000 HISTORY / Latin America / Central America
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-960-5
Price: USD 22.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-961-2
Price: USD 32.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-0-87586-962-9
Price: USD 22.95
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