Is The American Empire Over? Chris Hedges on the Corporate Destruction of America

C-Span/Video screen capture

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Chris Hedges doesn't hold back. He argues that the American empire is in terminal decline. Much of his recent interview/discussion on C-SPAN2's Book TV is more focused on big picture politics and the age-old battles between left and right than it is on environmental issues. Yet it is an important piece for environmentalists to watch. Because tackling corporate abuse of power and reinstating true democracy have to be central to any movement to pursue true sustainability.

From David Korten's arguments that Wall Street kills both jobs and the planet, to Brian's treatise against the Tea Party's pro-corporations/anti-regulation agenda, the case has been made many times over that the green movement will never succeed unless it successfully challenges the role that big money and corporate interests play in manipulating the political process and manufacturing consent.

Most crucially, Hedges makes a connection between the breaking of liberal institutions and progressive movements in the first part of the 20th Century, with a transition to an unsustainable model of consumption and economic growth at all costs:

In the name of anti-communism, we hollowed these liberal institutions out from the inside. So by the 1970s, there was no longer any bulwark to protect us from the corporate state. And we were transferred [...] from an empire of production to an empire of consumption. We began to borrow to maintain a lifestyle and a level of consumptionm as well as an empire, we could no longer afford.

And for folks who are worried this is going to be an anti-right wing rant, do not be too concerned. Hedges saves his most viscious criticisms for the failures of the left and the ineffectiveness of the liberal class.

Very powerful stuff.

Tags: Activism | Corporate Responsibility | Economics