"The wealthy, not only by private fraud but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the people some part of their daily living. Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind these commonwealths which nowadays do flourish, I perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men in procuring their own commodities under the name and authority of the commonwealth.
They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely without fear of losing that which they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labor of the people for as little money and effort as possible."
Thomas More, Utopia
Monday, June 06, 2011
It's all for the best
You can rest assured that no one would cheer on such a development here in my home state of Illinois more than the jackass who ran the city of Chicago for more than two decades. Recently, former Chicago mayor-for-life Richard M. Daley cashed in his chips so to speak after 22 years on the throne by accepting a paid advisory position with the law firm of Katten Muchin Rosenman which served an instrumental role in the sell-off of city assets such as the Chicago Skyway (short-cut to northern Indiana, formerly a public highway), the city parking garages, and parking meters. This firm also negotiated the attempted sale of Chicago's Midway Airport (third-world style) that fortunately fell through with the 2008 financial crisis.
For his tireless work in transforming the city into a reliable source of economic rent-extraction for Big Business and major investors Rich Daley can expect to be richly rewarded. This of course is the expected trajectory of those who faithfully serve Capital at the expense of the public (think Bill Clinton). King Richard certainly isn't unique in this regard but his legendary lack of sophistication (no brief stopover in academia for the sake of appearances) brings the practice into unseemly bold relief given the realities of Chicago's cratered economy.
No city embraced the neoliberal model with more fervor than Chi-town and Daley relished his role as the Pied Piper. To pick just one example, under Daley's tutelage Chicago helped pioneer the privatization of public schooling with the charter school scam now being pimped across the country by the Obama administration, tellingly with the same hack as the spearhead: Arnie Duncan. The overall purpose of such schemes being to transform that which the public holds in common, be it railroads, airports, toll roads, forests, or... school systems into privately held entities from which tribute in the form of access fees may be charged to the very public for which these resources were developed at taxpayer expense generations ago. We can expect Daley's successor Rahm Emanuel to accelerate this process as opportunities present themselves. Only committed and organized popular resistance can prevail against the coming onslaught.