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Fiscal Policy – the Universal Language. Respect – the Universal Solution?

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

 By William Clements
October 29, 2018             

Mathematics is said to be the universal language and if that is true, it must be true that financial institutions and fiscal policy are the most efficient modes of meeting today’s global challenges. Many scholars, bankers and business leaders have noticed a trend that has been overlooked by many elsewhere. There is a powerful and extremely destructive global storm being fueled by the division of the world into two blocks: The Plutonomy and the rest. Supporting evidence can be found in the two Citigroup bombshell reports released in 2005 and 2006 which highlighted the growing influence of the rich at the expense of the less fortunate because of the low return on investment (ROI) and the hard-pressed’s inability to fight back Citi group report. Occurrences such as the collapsing of governments, political unrest and the modern day distress of democracy should be perceived as the thundering roar warning us of the impending storm which is on the horizon.

The United States and European countries are worth close observation due to their sociopolitical and economic influences. What makes the United States and fellow European countries so important in a global context is that both are experiencing a drop in popular (non-rich) confidence in political institutions; this is especially true for the poor and the less well-off Democratic Distress in the U.S. and Europe. Of concern regarding this work is the skyrocketing levels of socioeconomic inequality present. It was apparent that the 2016 election was one of the most divisive and partisan in recent American memory. This election was about more than politics, but rather inaccurate social constructs regarding specific groups within pockets of the “deplorable,” uneducated Trump supporters, the “pothead” Bernie supporters and, finally, the “ultra-feminist” Hillary supporters. It is the author’s position that all these grossly erroneous constructs occurred because of the existence of the Plutonomy, mentioned by one of the world’s then largest banks, Citi group. The “talking point” issues included “illegal immigrants taking jobs” which mainly centered around financial unrest, “African American unemployment” which also spawns from financial discontent, and adherence to “global trade deals,” costing coal and mining jobs, which, too, is financial. Have we entered an era where the difference isn’t between liberal and conservative, but between the “rich” and “non-rich?”

As posited previously, in a one-sided world plutonomy, the less fortunate are left to their own devices, even if those devices include cannibalism or the devouring of its government and/or fellow citizen as seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Morocco, Jordan, Greece and the United States Arab Spring. The hardships of the 2008 financial collapse provided not only developed nations, but also developing nations with important insights regarding the impact of the global plutonomy. The impact of the plutonomy on the functionality of the worldwide economy was demonstrated and the helplessness of the non-rich highlighted. A concern to many public administrators should be whether the true nature of global issues is anything other than a deficit in respect instead of exchange rates and GDP. Have we begun to follow the law of arithmetic regarding the value of an individual? Has the value of citizens and the non-wealthy become based on the sum of their economic values? Is respect for sale, not only in America and Europe, but around the world? Is it possible we have misdiagnosed the position of equality? Rather than speaking of equality based on finances and tangible items, is it more efficient to distribute respect? Can this reliance on the numbers (economics) instead of the intangible resource (respect) be at the root of global turbulence?

It would be of great significance to public administrators around the world to conduct an analysis on this occurrence. We have all heard the infamous phrase, “we must learn to do more with less.” This may be applicable to financial budgets, but what of mutual respect? It is vital to public administrators to not fall into the ideology of the plutocrats. We cannot afford to look at the less fortunate as the sum of the numerical values or to view our citizens and constituencies as positive or negative values. We must remember that the plutocracy is concerned with wealth and numerical values, but we have seen throughout history the ineffectiveness of this mentality. We, as public administrators, must serve as the counterbalance to the plutocrats. We must undertake the crucial task of not only balancing finances, but engaging in the more noble and glorious goal of balancing the books of the intangible and to ensure the allocation of mutual respect.

Author: Mr. William Clements is a Professor of Criminal Justice and an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at higher education institutions. He possesses a Bachelor of Science Degree in Justice Studies, a Master of Science Degree in Forensic Psychology, and he is currently an A.B.D. in Public Policy and Administration, completing the last two chapters of his dissertation. He has served in the field of public service for a total of 11 plus years and is a well-read enthusiast for topics of economics, politics, and most of all, public policy.

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