We're enjoying the holidays with my husband's family and our beautiful baby niece. This is typically a very laid-back time of year for us; a lot of reading and game-playing happens. I've managed to finish scott crow's memoir (Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy, and the Common Ground Collective) as well as Jeffery Eugenides' new novel (The Marriage Plot) so far, and have plans to complete and review three or four more of the books that have occupied my to-read shelf before the break is over.
I played some card games with family last night, including a variation on poker. That game such a microcosm of capitalism: you learn how to play the game and try to accumulate everyone else's chips, either by getting a lucky draw or by bluffing. I've always been terrible at poker--I can't keep the cards straight, nor do I focus enough to learn how; my priority has always been to keep the game going as long as possible, keep everyone playing and having fun until the wee hours. Maybe my dislike of capitalist systems stems from my deep awfulness at manipulating them, and the truly virtuous are those adept in the means of capital accumulation who choose not to do so.
One of the Kindle books that I'm eternally half-way through is Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, where John Perkins goes through and details the harm he did by creating and manipulating economic projections for countries in the developing world, helping ensnare them in debt that is now visited on their children and grandchildren. His information is good, solid--the kind of perspective that only a converted insider can give. But part of me is always wondering, when someone like Perkins, who does know how to play the games of wealth acquisition, "turns," is he really trying to bring down the system, or is he just reinventing his career, finding a new way to accumulate capital, this time off of idiots like me? (I have no reason to suspect that Perkins is trying to do anything other than expose the evils of the organizations he has worked with--I have no malice whatsoever towards the man--I just struggle to trust his positioning in the world.)
Anyway, during our discussion with old friends today, I was defending direct democracy. Later in conversation, someone asked, what do you want, for seven to nine every night to be a widely aired public debate where people can enter their opinions via Twitter or something similar, and then vote on it at the end? And I thought about it, and the speaker thought about it, and yes. that would be ideal. All I want for Christmas is public forums every weeknight where people can air their views and then actually act on the democratically determined opinion. Heck. I guess I still want OWS to take over the world.