The following was written by Paul | @pwmcb
The message is clear, the motive is clear the outcome remains shrouded. This is a short comment on a theme and from the multitude of examples I have scratched the surface of just a few.
Corporate consolidation shrinks rather than diversifies choice
Corporate consolidation of markets under the guise of governments promoting competition is a misnomer, consolidation shrinks rather than diversifies choice, it’s not rocket science it’s simple arithmetic. The thematic ideology of embedding corporate legislature in civic life has been well defined (but by no means isolated) by opposition to TTIP, TTP, TISA and ISDS. The notion of legislation that enshrines the complicity of democratically elected governments to promote and protect corporate profiteering from national resources and services in effect replaces the democratic right of citizenship offering in its place compulsory patronage of organisations where the bottom line is always shareholder profit. Legal frameworks governing these types of agreement are not written by elected representatives but by corporate lawyers paid extravagant fees and acting primarily to safeguard their paymasters’ business interests.
In the UK the current incarnation of the Conservative party have made clear by their actions, if not by a rhetoric cloaked in doublespeak and hollow soundbites of economic efficiency, an insatiable appetite to neatly package public sector assets into bite sized chunks for resale to private enterprise and the mercy of the markets. Voters are facing some stark choices in the political short term whether to back the stewardship and accountability of elected bodies or transfer more power to plutocratic dynastic systems where unaccountable multi-nationals in effect replace the state.
Shameless Privatisation of War
Let’s not pretend the issue of corporatisation only threatens services it also threatens our security. By 2008 the US government employed 155,826 private military contractors in Iraq and 152,275 regular troops, by 2010 in Afghanistan the US government employed 94,413 private military contractors and 91,600 regular troops. The scale of this outsourcing is not for the purpose of seconding external personnel with crucial professional skills in times of desperate need but the shameless privatisation of war. Make no mistake this growth industry which is now incredibly versatile is beginning to explore and adapt to new challenges so as to safeguard profits/expansion and with direct access to the highest political office has unprecedented lobbying powers to influence legislation for entry into new markets. It is by no way clear whether snipers on rooftops “observing” the boundaries of future party conferences will be wearing the familiar uniform of the police force. Corporate interests protect corporate interests and as the stake of those interests mushroom, with a growing number of private companies run on turnovers that exceed the GDP of many successful national economies their perceived need for appropriate protection and political recognition grows.
At the heart of market consolidation global bankers facilitate, fund and manipulate, their tentacles far reaching their political influence profound and the extent of their control of central banks including the Fed, BoE, IMF, ECB and the BIS is at best ambiguous. Following the breakdown of the financial system in 2007 – 08 governments had an open goal to significantly rein in the extent of their influence but chose not to. Politicians instead screened the excesses of their violation of trust from customers. Global banking is inextricably linked to the promotion of global neoliberal orthodoxy and is the gatekeeper of the impenetrable paper trails that buffer the few companies and individuals wealthy enough to hold real power in the system.
The Petrodollar Arrangement
The core funding for this ideologically imperialistic assault on world order has been oil. The petrodollar arrangement rolled out by Nixon and Kissinger in 1973 has been a built-in guarantee for the dollar and the US economy for over 40 years. The necessity for the rest of the world to hold and trade oil in dollars has ring-fenced the US economy and reciprocally ring-fenced the growth and promotion of the oil and gas industry over all other means of potential energy production. The privilege of securing the de facto currency for all oil transactions naturally leaves all oil producers with their profits in dollars which inevitably through the financial markets and the Fed migrate back to dollar based assets. As a consequence the US economy has an inbuilt capital surplus. The determination of US to protect this parasitical relationship with the rest of the world is put into sharp focus when you consider the ramifications felt by Iraq when with UN backing in late 2000 Saddam Hussein adopted the euro for oil transactions, by May 2003 Iraq was at war by June the petrodollar reintroduced. The door opener for the petrodollar arrangement was Saudi Arabia, whose continued absolution not only politically but also from a sympathetic press for their brutal abuse of human rights reflects the complicity of a deal struck forty plus years ago.
Voters in modern democracies seem happy to endorse this model of corporate collusion in political decision making. The centre ground of politics has moved successively further right over the four decades since Friedman heralded the “Miracle of Chile”. Neoliberal orthodoxy is now welcomed with open arms at polling stations throughout the world and the indulgence of profit over responsible democratic governance de rigueur.
You can’t have a debate with a monologue
From the pulpit in all our living rooms, preaching to voters of the endless benefits and opportunities that devout right wing ideology espouse are the mainstream media and advertisers. This consolidated industry has all but created a monologue of endorsement. You can’t have a debate with a monologue and as the monologue dominates and evolves across all media outlets it suffocates broad ideological debate. When the monologue is challenged it simply turns up the volume and spawns new soundbites, speedily changes the agenda, introduces new stories or new technologies before any challenge is resolved, or as in most cases takes a vow of silence and allows any challenge to drift off under or unreported until the challenge is so diluted that only those on the margins of the media will care. This protocol makes it straight forward for the mainstream to either portray the margins as extreme conspiracy peddlers or as previously mentioned ignore them completely and allow their message to dilute into obscurity.
There are chinks in the armour of the fundamentalist neoliberal plutocrats but if a genuine challenge to their system was a reality how long would the veil of democracy last? If the traditional western empire of neoliberalism fails would the east step in willingly to fill the void and sponsor the nourishment of global neoliberal ambitions? Does it matter who “apparently” holds the reins providing corporate profit is achieved? Is the power of western democracies already on its knees and negotiating handovers? No matter what, it is in our interests to explore and promote fundamentally different ways of managing our world, the world of everyman. It is time for a reboot outside the monologue time for grown up, transparent and inclusive discourse across a massive spectrum of participants.
It’s time to start laying down proper adult plans for a shared future.
By Paul | @pwmcb
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