Monday, January 13, 2014

The Capitalism Papers, chapter 2

(Continuing from this post.) Chapter 2 focuses on globalization via a centralized economic vision of the free market connecting the entire world. It was created by non-communist countries in 1944 in Breton Woods, NH in the US. In its wake the World Bank and International Monetary Fund were created, basically designed to take over the economy of poor countries and exploit them for the gain of rich countries. The global banks and corporations took advantage of this and exploited the natural resources of the poor countries for their enrichment while leaving the waste products behind to decimate the environment and the populace. Meanwhile in the US recovery from WWII involved a huge ramp up in consumerism to fuel the economy, with ad agencies leading the way selling a lifestyle that required the latest toys to make us happy. This spin included increased military spending to ramp up the economy, paying huge sums to contractors for the latest and greatest weapons of mass destruction.

He then goes into his own training as a global economist at Wharton and then Columbia business school. It was all the rage in the 50s and he was taught to convince leaders of 3rd-world countries to forget about local and regional farming and economies and join the centralized global corporate market. The latter included the spin-induced terms free trade, which meant the end of national tariffs aimed at protecting local communities and environments.The agenda also demanded corporation deregulation, again designed to protect the public, as well as privatization of the public commons. International laws were instituted to override a country's own laws which heretofore had insulated them from global abuses. Such free trade agreements overrode not only poor country's laws but US environmental and labor protections as well. (Same story today with the secret TPP negotiations.) And the entire agenda of a "rising tide" was supposed to "raise all boats" through trickle-down, the spin of that generation.

Since some countries were hesitant about joined global markets Robert McNamara as head of the World Bank threatened them to comply of get boycotted and excluded from world trade. Global markets required huge transportation and energy networks that enriched those corporations, but destroyed the local environments in which they were built. All of which profits elevated the GDP but that measurement didn't account for the externalized impacts to environments or local populaces. Hence globalization advocates would point to GDP as an index of "rising all boats" but GDP only included the boats (or rather yachts) at the top. The only thing that trickled down was the piss off the side of said yachts. Hence the greatest income inequality since the Great Depression, not only in poor countries but right here in the US!

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