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Disowning the Ownership Society Naomi Klein / The Nation Remember the "ownership society, order discount brafix online" fixture of major George W. Order discount brafix online Bush addresses for the first four years of his presidency? "We're creating...an ownership society in this country, order discount brafix online where more Americans than ever will be able to open up their door where they live and say, order discount brafix online welcome to my house, order discount brafix online welcome to my piece of property, order discount brafix online" Bush said in October 2004. Order discount brafix online Washington think-tanker Grover Norquist predicted that the ownership society would be Bush's greatest legacy, order discount brafix online remembered "long after people can no longer pronounce or spell Fallujah." Yet in Bush's final State of the Union address, order discount brafix online the once-ubiquitous phrase was conspicuously absent. Order discount brafix online And little wonder: rather than its proud father, order discount brafix online Bush has turned out to be the ownership society's undertaker. Well before the ownership society had a neat label, order discount brafix online its creation was central to the success of the right-wing economic revolution around the world. Order discount brafix online The idea was simple: if working-class people owned a small piece of the market--a home mortgage, order discount brafix online a stock portfolio, order discount brafix online a private pension--they would cease to identify as workers and start to see themselves as owners, order discount brafix online with the same interests as their bosses. Order discount brafix online That meant they could vote for politicians promising to improve stock performance rather than job conditions. Order discount brafix online 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. Order discount brafix online But the ownership society was quite real. Order discount brafix online It was the answer to a roadblock long faced by politicians favoring policies to benefit the wealthy. Order discount brafix online The problem boiled down to this: people tend to vote their economic interests. Order discount brafix online Even in the wealthy United States, order discount brafix online most people earn less than the average income. Order discount brafix online That means it is in the interest of the majority to vote for politicians promising to redistribute wealth from the top down. Order discount brafix online So what to do? It was Margaret Thatcher who pioneered a solution. Order discount brafix online The effort centered on Britain's public housing, order discount brafix online or council estates, order discount brafix online which were filled with die-hard Labour Party supporters. Order discount brafix online In a bold move, order discount brafix online 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). Order discount brafix online Those who could afford it became homeowners while those who couldn't faced rents almost twice as high as before, order discount brafix online 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, order discount brafix online No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies; and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002). Order discount brafix online

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080218/klein