Democracy and the Social State by Franz Segbers

Finance capitalism and Citizens United have turned life, language, and democracy upside down as the $150 million given by Wall Street to Hillary Clinton falls under the rubric “social engagement.” With these theses, Franz Segbers emphasizes the social state as the foundation of democracy, the great facilitator, the fate corrector and the key to the regulation of capitalism.

We need a renewal of social state discourse. The strength of a people is measured by the well-being of the weak. A new start beyond finance capitalism seems the proper answer to the crisis, not the mere repair of the crisis.

The center cannot hold (W. B. Yeats) when all life is subordinated to economization and profit maximization. Universities become profit centers. Corporate media stresses fear-mongering and sloganeering. Political and economic elites profit from trillions in state bailouts to “too big to fail” banks. Speculation and narcissism become ladders to success. Labor and environmental protections are decried as costs and threats to corporate profits. Countervailing measures to 30 years of neoliberal rollback are hardly concrete. Self-healing markets and invisible hands making vices into virtues dominate in the universities as if the party weren’t over. The sickness is the cure when more privatization, deregulation, and liberalized markets are urged to counter exploding inequality and mistrust.

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