The Organizing Principle of Current Public Policy

Written by Rabbi Lerner

The organizing principle of public policy today is the notion that economic growth is the central demand of a democratic society.  Whatever provides for that growth is to be valued.  This growth is not measured in terms of the overall well-being of those who are supposedly its beneficiaries, but rather in terms of the aggregate wealth or productive capacities of that society.  Thus, we get this startling picture of contemporary America:  "the economy" is doing fine, occasional recessions aside, while many, many people feel that their lives are becoming worse and are deeply troubled.  The problem here is that "growth" is defined in ways that have helped elites of wealth and power convince everyone else that our society is doing fine, and that if others do not experience it this way, it is because of personal problems that ought not be brought up in public.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, The Polirics of Meaning, pp.225-6.

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