The life-serving market system we want and the life-destructive capitalist system we have feature very different structures and operate by very different rules. A healthy market system is designed to facilitate the beneficial self-organizing exchange of goods and services in response to people’s self-defined needs. The capitalist system, by contrast, is designed to concentrate economic power to support the expropriation of wealth for the exclusive private benefit of the system’s most powerful players.
The rules formulated and enforced by government ultimately favor one or the other of these competing systems. The tension between them defines the political struggle of our time. Government makes the rules that determine the economy’s structure and priorities. Its choices commonly favor Wall Street capitalism over Main Street markets, because Wall Street controls the money and the media that drive Washington politics. The public rarely hears about options supportive of a healthy Main Street market system, and such options do not find their way into the platforms of the major political parties.
To shift the political balance, we the people must articulate a compelling and holistic New Economy policy agenda for a planetary system of market-based Main Street living economies, bring it to the forefront of public attention, and compel the major political parties to make it a centerpiece of their legislative agendas. The three chapters of part IV provide an initial framework and identify focal points for strategic intervention.
Note that the focus here is on the substance of the legislative and administrative action needed from government. Mobilization strategies are addressed in part V.
Chapter 13, “Seven Points of Intervention,” presents a seven- point policy agenda for liberating Main Street and banishing the Wall Street phantom-wealth casino to the dustbin of history.
Chapter 14, “What About My . . . ?” reveals how the financial “services” promoted by Wall Street are organized and managed to con the buyer. It then outlines public agendas for addressing the need for consumer credit, mortgage, insurance, retirement, and equity financing in ways that are at once more effective and more fair.
Chapter 15, “A Presidential Declaration of Independence from Wall Street I Hope I May One Day Hear,” provides a synthesis of the New Economy policy agenda in the form and style of a presidential economic policy address. It also sets a political marker for civil society. We will know we are at a breakthrough point on a path to success when we have created a political context that compels a sitting U.S. president and other heads of state to deliver the equivalent of this address.