Sunday, March 28, 2010

Can the betterment of a society be based upon charity?

Perhaps, our analysis could be integrated if we acknowledge the interplay between structure and agencies (Giddens), or between base and superstructure (Marx), field and habitus (Bordieu), systems and lifeworld (Habermas), culture and agencies (Aarcher). Yes corrupt attitudes behavior of our civil servants are indeed an integrated part of the problem. But could we guarantee that if all of our civil servants are people of good will, the problem would disappear? This is paralleling the fact that there are always people who say ". . . I did my own charity". But, again, could the betterment of a society be based upon charity? or voluntary individual's good will? Trust nothing for me, and never trust anyone's good will. This is my personal opinion that what we need is a political will to set up a system, a structure (it may specifically relates to rules and resources allocation), which could "force" individuals to help less fortunate or poor people, by serving as civil servant or by giving part of their fortune. It may lead to a less free market, but certainly it's a more fair economic system. Such a system off course would not work if there are no political good will of those individuals who have to reproduse and to maintain the system, or to protect it from, let's say, American neoliberalism viruses or diseases. That's what we mean by the interplay between structure and agencies, or between base ad superstructure.
The interplay off course is a process of becoming, a never ending process . . .

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Reposting from Thursday, January 24, 2008

Neoliberalism and Apartheid Economy

They are the negros of our "world class economy" . . . the pariahs in our market fundamentalism dreams.

While we are chasing our own version of American Dream, joining the bandwagon of globalization, and pursuing our place in a world-class community, here are pictures of the other side of us all, to whom we -- the market winners and worshipers -- always makes claims that we are hearing them (but never listening), looking at them (without ever seeing), talking to them (yet, without speaking) .
Because we are too far high, in our five-star neoliberalism dreamland . . . we are moving toward (what Richard Freeman puts it) an "apartheid economy" . More and more portion of Indonesian population has been progressively excluded from the economy, by the instrumental rationality of neoliberalism and market forces, marginalized from the never-ending circuit of money-commodity-more money, doomed to become the pariah or decaying sub-population of our fast modernizing Indonesian economy. They've been treated as subhuman, the "negros" in our "world-class economy". Their kids have been separated from the kids of our "world-class schools and universities", they've been denied from the rights for descent and civilized public health services.
The invicible hand of the sacred market made the "unmarketable poor" invicible . . .
They've been evicted from their houses and sidewalks miniscale mall, for the rich need more space for luxurious housing, convenience traffic, and picturesque American-style urban sceneries -- they are forbiden from wandering into our "world-class" malls or shopping arcades that once were public spaces. Their demands, for better wages and treatments, tend to be supressed, and silenced by labeling them as the ghost of long-gone communists movement -- all for the sake of creating a better investment climate.

Indeed, the invisible hand of our market treats them without human face. On the contrary, the invisible hand made the "unmarketable have-nots" invisible. They are the negros of the Indonesian neoliberal seconomy, and are the pariahs in our market fundamentalism grandnarrative.

Despite the rhetoric of the market fundamentalists, facts suggest the persistence of high levels of poverty even though there is more than enough resources to prevent it.
Poverty is a social construction, not an objective reality. This can be taken to means that poverty is socially created and reproduced, it involves interplays among social and political groups on an unlevel power-playing fields. The ways in which control, use and access to the economic resources are instrinsically part of the reasons why so many people down and out on our big cities streets -- and could not (re)gain further access to economic resources.