By John Perkins
Returning from Istanbul where I spoke at a summit of 4,000 communications leaders and was interviewed on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg and by major newspapers about the importance of all the protest movements in the Middle East and Europe, I’m incredibly encouraged by events in my country. The sit-ins and demonstrations to protest the modern-day robber barons and what they’ve done to us are inspirational. We know those with money and power go to great lengths to cheat the rest of us.
In terms of U.S. wealth distribution: The 10 percent at the top of the economic ladder own nearly 90% of stocks, bonds, trust funds and business equity and over 75% of non-home real estate. We know these very few exercise undue influence over the rest of us, our Congress and our current President.
During this build-up to the campaign season it’s important to understand that our elected officials – including the President – no longer write the laws; the corporate lobbyists write and pass them through our elected officials, whose campaigns they finance. More important than whom we elect is how we, as citizens, act. Now is the time to rise up and deal a deathblow to the corporatocracy that continuously evades any real consequences to their actions.
We must embrace a cause like that of our forefathers when they fought the British aristocracy. We must demand economic freedom from these modern-day robber barons. Now is the time for all of us to take to the streets or at least support those who do and use our power as consumers to stop this cycle of greed and insane materialism.
Some call for dismantling capitalism, but historically capitalism has proven to be a powerful tool for channeling creative minds into productive uses. However, in its current manifestation (the mutant form known as Predatory Capitalism) it has become extremely dangerous, a disaster—for everyone except those few who cling to the top of the economic pyramid. We must change this system and create a better world for the future.
Instead of the current corporate goal of "maximizing profits regardless of the environmental and social costs," it is essential to insist upon a new goal for business: "Make a reasonable return on investment, but only within the context of creating a sustainable, just and peaceful world."
Needed are a whole new set of rules and regulations to govern and keep in check the corporatocracy responsible for this failed system. We can no longer be lulled into complacency. Or allow indicators of "good news" like temporary increases in the stock market, lower oil prices and payoffs of loans by bailed-out banks to soothe us into believing things have returned to normal. We must reject NORMAL. Normal led us into this disaster, and it continues to propel us deeper into a much worse one.
I call for all of us to take a "SIT" alongside those souls in D.C., New York, Massachusetts, California, my home state of New Hampshire and across the country and the world and demand a true replacement for this mutant form of capitalism. Let us, the voters, the consumers, the ones whose children have to live with the policies implemented right now, insist that our business and government leaders show the courage to truly LEAD!
About John Perkins
John Perkins is the author of bestsellers Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, The Secret History of the American Empire, and the new book, Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded – and What We Need to Do to Remake Them, among others.
Perkins is a founder and board member of Dream Change and the Pachamama Alliance, nonprofit organizations devoted to creating a stable, sustainable and peaceful world. He has lectured and taught at universities on four continents.
Perkins’ website is JohnPerkins.org and he tweets as @economic_hitman.
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