David Brooks at the New York Times has a strong broadside against the United States as The Broken Society, citing to the ideas of British writer Phillip Blond who claims that the revolutions of the left and right in the past generation have led to a situation in which "The welfare state and the market state are now two defunct and mutually supporting failures." You can't easily quarrel with that.
Brooks writes about Blond's ideas:
"[O]ver the past generation we have witnessed two revolutions...
First, there was a revolution from the left: a cultural revolution that displaced traditional manners and mores; a legal revolution that emphasized individual rights instead of responsibilities; a welfare revolution in which social workers displaced mutual aid societies and self-organized associations.
Then there was the market revolution from the right. In the age of deregulation, giant chains like Wal-Mart decimated local shop owners. Global financial markets took over small banks, so that the local knowledge of a town banker was replaced by a manic herd of traders thousands of miles away. Unions withered.
The two revolutions talked the language of individual freedom, but they perversely ended up creating greater centralization. They created an atomized, segmented society and then the state had to come in and attempt to repair the damage." [emphasis added]One aspect of the solution, according to Blond, is to:
"... remoralize the market, relocalize the economy and recapitalize the poor."Does that make sense?
Is the secret of Obama's election as U.S. President his reactivation of local grass roots and community organization in "Organizing for America"? Hmm.
Blond's ideas are definitely worth some thought.