The Destruction and Financialization of American Democracy

A bleak realization of the marginalization against Americans created by our own government.

Posted by Charles Fregozo on May 3, 2021

With economic inequality only increasing every year, the American Dream, once promising success through hard work and persistence, has disappeared within society today. The destruction of the American Dream can largely be attributed to the unprecedented wealth and power that comes from such a tiny section of the population—the top one-tenth of a percent. Harnessing such an immense amount of affluence, this minority has caused highly negative consequences to the majority of society through the corruptive, detrimental effects they impose on American democracy. Using Noam Chomsky’s Requiem for the American Dream, I attempt to outline two of the many aspects these elites employ to maintain their status in American society: the Reduction of American Democracy and the Financialization of the American Economy.

Reduction of Democracy

Since the creation of America, the United States political system was created to favor and keep the opulent in power. As seen with his support of the senate, who were not elected but selected from the wealthy in those days—James Madison felt the United States system should be designed to keep the power in the hands of the wealthy because, in his eyes, those were the people who would be the most responsible to run the country. This sentiment of only the wealthy holding power has long persisted beyond the creation of this nation. In fact, the entirety of the United States history has been a constant struggle between this ultra upper-class bidding to hold onto their power by suppressing the public and grossly contorting American democracy to fit the needs of America’s corporations and top few. Whether this is through defunding government programs that serve the public or crushing any legislation that would allow for the protection of unions, the government is purposely designed to limit the amount of democracy the average American citizen can actually be involved in. However, the 1960s exemplify a time where the average American was able to organize together to change sentiments regarding women’s rights, environmental problems, minority rights, and democracy. Witnessing how much power the American public truly has once organized and active together, politicians then launched a coordinated corporate offensive starting in the 1970s to try and push back the egalitarian efforts made throughout the past era.

Financialization of the American Economy

Beginning in the 1970s as a reaction to the social uprising in the past era, there was a deliberate shift in the economy by shifting financial institutions like banks, investment firms, and insurance companies to have an increased role in the economy. Originally a country based on production and manufacturing, America was drastically changed during this period of deregulation with the finical district now being incentivized by the new legislation to take on risky investments, money manipulations, etc. all in the hopes of gaining more capital. Showcasing this change, General Electric, a once manufacturing giant, now makes the majority of their money just by moving money around through complicated methods that appear to have little to no value to the American economy. However because of the deregulation of this kind of practice, General Electric makes far greater profits moving its money around than it ever would being a manufacturing company in the United States. This economic shift to financialize the economy can be seen with many managerial positions that once belonged to engineers are now led solely by people with a business background. Because of this financialization that encourages risky investments, economic crashes and bubbles are more prevalent now than at any other time in American history. Yet, because the government refuses to punish the ones perpetuating this problem and rather chooses to bail out these wealthy elites, the same vicious cycle repeats itself continuously with the working-class American being forced to bail out these elites that caused the problem in the first place.

In Conclusion

Until situations like the ones that have been described are reversed, society will continue to be unequal and dominated by the desire to maximize personal gain. American society will only continue to live under the situations described above until we come together as a society to agree that this gross marginalization will only lead to the destruction of our society.