Wednesday, January 14, 2004

So what is the threat?

My take is this. There are two trends that have exposed us to ruin. One is "financialisation" which is the conversion of all issues into monetary quantities and the consequent neglect of anything that is not readily conceived of in those terms (very roughly, everything that is important). The second trend is formalisation, where everything must be defined and made consistent before it can be dealt with in a centralised fashion. These two trends have led regulation to be conceived of as necessarily finamcial and composed of centrally imposed rules. This regulation does not even manage to define most activity that is damaging to the public interest as illegal, let alone mount effective investigation and prosecution.

It is though the threat, that limitless destruction is visited upon the powerless and the environment, cannot exist because we have said that it cannot. I think that Bill's point is that we must all understand the real threat of abuse of power in the corporate world. Just because in political circles business is defined as being in the public interest does not mean that its operation is either in the public interest or what it claims to be. We must find out for oursleves as citizens what the real purposes of corporate action are in the sense of POSIWID - the Purpose Of a System Is What It Does.