When greedy finance tramples on human rights

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Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy

How Financial Sector Greed Tramples on Human Rights


"The cause rests mainly in Western culture, which has been degraded by the principles of greed that overwhelm the connective tissue of a civil society. The culture of capitalism has killed human rights. … Solving these problems does not depend on increasingly distorted economic recipes, wherever they may come from, but rather on a new common law - the right of the people."


By Guido Rossi



Translated By Katharine Townsend


September 25, 2011


Italy - Il Sole 24 Ore - Original Article (Italian)

The shoes of a protester taking part in the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations: Just as during the 1960s, the young - but not only the young - are marching again for fundamental fairness. But this time the focus is more on economic rather than social justice.


RUSSIA TODAY VIDEO: Protesters on Wall St. shout down Geraldo Rivera with cries of 'FOX News lies', Oct. 10, 00:02:08RealVideo

Nearly unnoticed, a shocking piece of news recently passed newspaper front pages. It concerns the recent imposition of the death penalty against Troy Davis, a Black man accused of having killed a White policeman more than 20 years ago in the state of Georgia, where racism is a very rooted phenomenon.


There is no material evidence of his guilt, while there are numerous reports that his confession to murder was coerced and most of the witnesses have recanted. As Alexander Stille appropriately reminded us yesterday in La Repubblica, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the case, and without a word from Justice Clarence Thomas, himself a man of color, who was not by chance nominated by George H.W. Bush.


At this point, one might ask why, in my opinion, a death sentence in the state of Georgia bears such serious reflection during this devastating economic crisis. The connection is obvious, for the incapacity to resolve the crisis is on every side attributable to the weakness of governments and political institutions. The crisis is therefore more institutional than structural. 


In Europe one can sense the weight of the political deficit. But in the U.S., in regard to the disaster that financial capitalism has brought American democracy, one doesn't see it as clearly, stunned as Americans are by the ideology of a consumer society and a public opinion that increasingly fuels inequality, substituting the democratic myth of equality with one of selfish egoism.


The newest Republican candidate for president, the current governor of Texas, despite having sent 234 people to their deaths, declared - amid wide acclaim - that he "rests easy" after each execution. It also seems paradoxical that such an ideology is also the prerogative of the Catholic Church, which publicly feigns reproach of such principles but maintains the legitimacy of the death penalty in the dictates of its own catechism, in Article 2267, where it says: “Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty.”


Following previous decisions regarding the unconstitutionality of capital punishment, the U.S. Supreme Court fell into this trap. The Court, after the death of William Rehnquist and the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor, and with the new appointments during the Bush presidency, clearly underwent a regression in the defense of human rights, such as that concerning the death sentence.      



A striking example of how far down the U.S. Supreme Court has fallen is last year’s decision on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Relying on the very first amendment to the U.S. Constitution - the human right to free of expression - it chose to protect the freedom of large financial companies to spend unlimited corporate funds to help elect political candidates. This encourages a dangerous overlap between business and politics and opens the door to the phenomenon of bribery. Now he's much more tepid, but back then, President Obama denounced the decision as a catastrophe for American democracy. And Obama's denunciation followed a much more violent attack from a leading American philosopher, Ronald Dworkin, along with many others. 


Honk Bande-annonce by toutlecine



Die Welt, Germany: Wall Street Occupied by Tea Party of 'Generation-Twitter'

Le Nouvel Observateur, France: Americans and Execution: United By Vengeance

Le Nouvel Observateur, France: Davis Execution 'Stains' Obama, Nobel Prize

El Tiempo, Colombia: U.S. Should 'Murder' Death Penalty, Join Civilized World

Le Monde, France: The Odyssey of a Condemned Texas Man's French Wife

French Info, France: French Rally to Side of Texas Man Facing Execution

Sotal Iraq, Iraq Muslim Clerics Must 'Render Unto Caesar What is Caesar's'

FAZ, Germany: Ahmadinejad's Chief-of-Staff Calls WikiLeaks Cables 'Lies'

Liberation, France Execution in Texas a 'Perversion of Politics'

El Mundo, Spain: Number 401: The Texas Killing Machine Rolls Mercilessly On …


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It is the cultural dominance of the financial economy that has removed the fundamental rights of the citizen and weakened protections for workers and the lower classes, transferring such guarantees to consumers and the interests of speculators. But even as economists dare to continue declaring that America is certainly in a better situation than Europe, going to far as to cite their Nobel prize winner Gary Becker, who said that the state has a “moral obligation” to use the death penalty, they may soon come to realize that the true crisis that led to the dominance of the financial sector over the real economy and the impact of financial capitalism on democratic institutions is what has rendered us powerless to resolve our problems. Fear, insecurity, hard to assert rights, an unbearable gap between rich and poor and unstoppable economic decline are not only due to a lack of European leadership, which European Commission Chairman Jacques Delors lashed out against. Nor are these problems due to the political incapacity of Obama, who is often oblivious to international law and human rights. Nor can they be simply attributed to the dictatorship of a shameless parliamentary majority in Italy.    


The cause rests mainly in Western culture, which has been degraded by the principles of greed that overwhelm the connective tissue of a civil society. The culture of capitalism has killed human rights.


Solving these problems does not depend on increasingly distorted economic recipes, wherever they may come from, but rather on a new ius gentium [common law], the right of the people, the existence of which has already been asserted by the great Gianbattista Vico. It is this that granted European culture the power to reemerge and reclaim the fundamental rights of its civilization; it is this that has already been characterized time and again by the United Nations and it is this that harkens American democracy to honor the memory of founding fathers Madison and Hamilton in order to guarantee the independence of democratic institutions and the fundamental rights of man.   



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, Oct. 10, 8:54pm]


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