Sharp Contrast Going Unnoticed
It is rather striking to observe that the policies that the rich and powerful adopt for themselves are the precise opposite of those they dictate to the weak and poor. Thus, when Indonesia has a deep financial crisis, the instructions from the US Treasury Department (via the IMF) are to pay off the debt (to the West), to raise interest rates and thus slow the economy, to privatize (so that Western corporations can buy up their assets), and the rest of the neoliberal dogma. For ourselves, the policies are to forget about debt, to reduce interest rates to zero, to nationalize (but not to use the word) and to pour public funds into the pockets of the financial institutions, and so on. It is also striking that the dramatic contrast passes unnoticed, along with the fact that this conforms to the record of the economic history of the past several centuries, a primary reason for the separation of the first and third worlds.
Removal of Rational Choice
It is well-established that electoral campaigns are designed so as to marginalize issues and focus on personalities, rhetorical style, body language, etc. And there are good reasons. Party managers read polls, and are well aware that on a host of major issues, both parties are well to the right of the population — not surprisingly; they are, after all, business parties. Polls show that a large majority of voters object, but those are the only choices offered to them in the business-managed electoral system, in which the most heavily funded candidate almost always wins.
Similarly, consumers might prefer decent mass transportation to a choice between two automobiles, but that option is not provided by advertisers — indeed, by markets. Ads on TV do not provide information about products; rather, they provide illusion and imagery. The same Public Relations firms that seek to undermine markets by ensuring that uninformed consumers will make irrational choices (contrary to abstract economic theories) seek to undermine democracy in the same way.