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Disowning the Ownership Society Naomi Klein / The Nation Remember the "ownership society, cymbalta free delivery" fixture of major George W. Cymbalta free delivery Bush addresses for the first four years of his presidency? "We're creating...an ownership society in this country, cymbalta free delivery where more Americans than ever will be able to open up their door where they live and say, cymbalta free delivery welcome to my house, cymbalta free delivery welcome to my piece of property, cymbalta free delivery" Bush said in October 2004. Cymbalta free delivery Washington think-tanker Grover Norquist predicted that the ownership society would be Bush's greatest legacy, cymbalta free delivery remembered "long after people can no longer pronounce or spell Fallujah." Yet in Bush's final State of the Union address, cymbalta free delivery the once-ubiquitous phrase was conspicuously absent. Cymbalta free delivery And little wonder: rather than its proud father, cymbalta free delivery Bush has turned out to be the ownership society's undertaker. Well before the ownership society had a neat label, cymbalta free delivery its creation was central to the success of the right-wing economic revolution around the world. Cymbalta free delivery The idea was simple: if working-class people owned a small piece of the market--a home mortgage, cymbalta free delivery a stock portfolio, cymbalta free delivery a private pension--they would cease to identify as workers and start to see themselves as owners, cymbalta free delivery with the same interests as their bosses. Cymbalta free delivery That meant they could vote for politicians promising to improve stock performance rather than job conditions. Cymbalta free delivery Class consciousness would be a relic. It was always tempting to dismiss the ownership society as an empty slogan--"hokum" as former Labor Secretary Robert Reich put it. Cymbalta free delivery But the ownership society was quite real. Cymbalta free delivery It was the answer to a roadblock long faced by politicians favoring policies to benefit the wealthy. Cymbalta free delivery The problem boiled down to this: people tend to vote their economic interests. Cymbalta free delivery Even in the wealthy United States, cymbalta free delivery most people earn less than the average income. Cymbalta free delivery That means it is in the interest of the majority to vote for politicians promising to redistribute wealth from the top down. Cymbalta free delivery So what to do? It was Margaret Thatcher who pioneered a solution. Cymbalta free delivery The effort centered on Britain's public housing, cymbalta free delivery or council estates, cymbalta free delivery which were filled with die-hard Labour Party supporters. Cymbalta free delivery In a bold move, cymbalta free delivery Thatcher offered strong incentives to residents to buy their council estate flats at reduced rates (much as Bush did decades later by promoting subprime mortgages). Cymbalta free delivery Those who could afford it became homeowners while those who couldn't faced rents almost twice as high as before, cymbalta free delivery leading to an explosion of homelessness.
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (September 2007); an earlier international best-seller, cymbalta free delivery No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies; and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002). Cymbalta free deliveryhttp://www.thenation.com/doc/20080218/klein