‘Lawmakers are notably MIA in the middle of a pandemic – and by all accounts Cuomo likes it that way.’ Photograph: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/REX/Shutterstock
The New York governor is replacing elected representatives with private, unaccountable monopolists, and lawmakers across the US are doing the same thing
Last week, New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced that Bill Gates would be responsible for “reimagining” New York’s education system. Cuomo also asked former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt to lead a panel planning New York’s post-Covid tech infrastructure.
As Naomi Klein writes, the appointments of Schmidt and Gates represent a “Pandemic Shock Doctrine … that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up [and] treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent – and highly profitable – no-touch future”.
As she points out, the two billionaires have disastrous records in the precise areas of public policy they are charged with leading. The Gates Foundation was the driving force behind high-stakes testing regimes and the Common Core fiasco. And Schmidt’s vision of the future is Black Mirror with a bow on it: mass surveillance plus public investment in companies in which he has a stake.
Even if Schmidt and Gates had good policies, Cuomo’s knighting of them is offensive to American self-government. Nobody voted for them and they are accountable to no one. Cuomo, often accused of being too close to big campaign donors, is tripling down: he is simply allowing billionaires to plan our future directly, taking out the middlemen.
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- Naomi Klein on Twitter: “Just is in case there is any doubt that Eric Schmidt only has the public’s best interest at heart, and definitely not his $5-billion in Google shares, see the pair of golden angel wings to his left.” / Twitter