This is a very difficult question to answer. If they can get what they want, then why can’t we? If they can’t, then can we? Our answer to this question might reveal not only our understanding of the situation in Egypt, but also our understanding of our own circumstances.
At a recent session on Socio-Economics in Berkeley, I argued that a civic economy would be superior to our current property-based economy because it would include everyone. A participant asked if I thought that civic membership should be voluntary or forced. Given the two choices, I said forced. On further reflection, I think the question was a set-up. A better question is whether everyone belongs to the civic or not.
If we see the economy is a social system, then like other social systems, the economy does not have its own self-organizing principle—like some invisible hand—but is influenced by both positive and negative feedback loops that reinforce and resist specific trends. Once we understand the trends of our economic-social system, then it is possible to identify the persons, groups, and institutions located at different places in this system. If you are located in a bank in Basel, Switzerland, for example, you will have a larger possibility of controlling the economy than someone on the street in Oakland, California, even though both locations belong to the same global economy.