Globalization and terror: the market fairground
Globalization and terror: the market fairground
by Toni Solo
"Unclean!..." Who could they be? Those bedlam-creature politicians hooked together by chains of debt filing across the television screens? A spike in the markets. Jerk. Their faces flush, feverish eyes light up. A plunge in the currency. Flop. The pallor returns, the faces drop. This week's coordinated rate cuts and accumulating announcements of bail-out capital injection plans may do something for the principal actors' demeanour, if little else.
Did we really not know default would undo so many? Down goes another finance outfit. "Unclean!...." The statesmen parade from one TV news spot to the next. Unbelievable contagious marketing mumbo jumbo drops via lie-ulcerated lips from unrepentant forked tongues. Too late, George W. Bush. Too late, Gordon Blair. Too late Nicholas Sarkozy-son-of-Chirac. Too late.
Watch out! Here's comes Ben with his giant dollar slurry spreader...whooosh!.....sloooosh!.....wheeeh! The kids are loving it!.... like snow the green dollar slurry melts all too quickly away. As the beautiful armouress would have said had she made it this far "But where are the dollars of yesteryear?"... Whoops! Crash!.... Hank's stuck beneath one of those dollar spewing gizmos he and Ben have so much fun with over there at Greenback Acres. The rest of the country the respective Clinton and Bush cliques betrayed might have helped him out once. But they're trapped right there with him too.
For years respected economists argued the need to curb excessive credit. They patiently explained how the grotesquely distorted asset price boom in the US and Europe was malignantly different from productive growth. In the US, the budget and trade deficits could readily have been turned around by controlling military spending, moderating consumption, applying environmentally sensible energy policies. But what is consumer capitalism if not a carnival of excess and profit-gouging while the impoverished majority plunge deeper into poverty?
And what is that but an engine for imperialist aggression? To people in Africa, Asia and Latin America the current fairgound financial circus performance - look how high they are! look how far they dropped! - may as well be in another galaxy. What do Lebanese bombing victims still recovering from US and European backed Israeli aggression care? Or the hundreds of thousands of Somali victims of European and US backed Ethiopian aggression? What do the millions of victims of US and European engineered devastation in the Congo care? Or the Palestinian victims of US and European backed Israeli genocide?
Here comes a tumbril piled high with pinstriped banks and finance houses. "Bring out your dead!" It creaks and rumbles down virtual electronic highways, respecting no frontier. Look at the illustrious corpses...Northern Rock, Bear Stearns, Countrywide, Indymac, Washington Mutual, Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Reserve Primary Fund, American International Group, Wachovia, Hypo Real Estate, Fortis, Bradford and Bingley, Dexia, Allied Irish. They seem to be having trouble loading Iceland onto the already overladen cart.....
For people who live on next to nothing and have no stake in the profligacy and waste of Western Bloc consumer capitalism, the current global debacle resembles a woebegone, mediaeval, made-for-TV fall-of-kings. The spectacle of million-millions of cash appearing from nowhere to bail out wealthy speculators must surely leave a long bitter taste in the mouths of people in impoverished countries told for decades they had to starve by greed-bloated Western Bloc "free market" ideologues.
Supposedly democratic Western Bloc electorates voted into power warmongering frauds like Bill Clinton, George Bush, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown along with continental European cronies like Jacques Chirac, Silvio Berlusconi, Jose Maria Aznar and others. The link between criminal imperialist aggression, corporate media mass-propaganda and systemic financial fraud suggests political morality may be worth more urgent study than political economy.
Current UN General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto was surely on to something when he noted recently that we need to "save the planet from the swamp of insane egoism we are in, so as to return again to the path of building a better world." Western Bloc politicians and mainstream corporate media regard voices like that of D'Escoto as fatuous and irrelevant. Gandhi and Martin Luther King get celebrated once a year before being stuffed unceremoniously back into the archives.
Latter day preening narcissist political frauds trashed the accumulated wisdom of hundreds of years that had crystallised after World War 2 into a United Nations blueprint for an equitable global modus vivendi. The media who blagged for these supreme war crime aggressors - George Bush, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Jose Maria Aznar and Silvio Berlusconi and the rest - were accomplices in facilitating those politicians' campaigns of mass-murder and global people-trafficking torture networks.
Every now and then those media might publish a piece decrying torture or lamenting the effects of one or other of their countries' wars, while praising "our boys" or urging "support the troops". The predominant bulk of their reporting and coverage bolstered the underlying ideological vision - Western Bloc good, Others bad. That was the pretext for the crimes of their countries' failed leadership, predating the orgy of self-pity over the attacks of September 2001. Now, amid the economic distress and financial ruin of their vanity and hubris, those politicians and their media propaganda machine squabble about policy-tweaks, or will the Euro-zone break up or should the G-7 be expanded.
Most people outside the minority world Western Bloc countries could hardly care less. The profound political and economic failure of the United States and the European Union mirrors the longstanding Western Bloc moral failure to show a decent respect for the opinions of the majority world. Boring sideshows like the "your economy is worse than mine" freak-show scrap between sick-old-man Europe and undead Uncle Sam attract tiny audiences in continents like Latin America or Asia. Those regions have their own political and economic projects rendering Western Bloc country arrangements merely one, not especially attractive, model among many.
For example, the crash in the US will have self-evident consequences for Latin America generally, more especially for Central America and most emphatically for Mexico. Stock markets have fallen dramatically in Brazil and Argentina, with sharp falls also in Mexico, Colombia and Chile. Less employment for migrant labour, unwelcome falls in family remittances to home countries and a damaging drop in foreign currency earnings from exports to the huge US market, all will worsen in months to come. This has been clear for many months. The only industry likely to grow in the current environment is narcotics.
So the crisis renders of the utmost relevance regional integration initiatives. It will spur competition between the ALBA regional solidarity based trade and cooperation initiative, led by Venezuela and Cuba, and constipated structures like Mercosur or moribund talking shops like the Community of Andean Nations. The urgent need for a new financial architecture in Latin America has already prompted Argentina and Brazil to trade directly in their own currencies rather than via the dollar. Currently stymied negotiations towards activating Bancosur, the Bank of the South, will most likely burst into life once the full regional impact of the Western Bloc financial and economic crisis begins to be felt.
The main reason US decline seems to matter is that once people around the world have bought enough dollars to pay their dollar-denominated debt obligations the dollar will most likely tank again, just like it did after the August 2007 rally. So unless commodity prices are rescued from drowning in the dollar slurry-ocean, within months the cost of oil and food may well zoom up again as they did earlier this year. For the moment and probably well into into 2009, the tug of war between deflation and inflation will go in deflation's favour.
Eventually the tug of war will reverse favouring inflationary trends once more. Western Bloc central bankers and governments will get the meaning and timing wrong yet again. The political corollary of their economic failure may well be renewed Western Bloc aggression in a vain, vicious attempt to cling on to global dominance. Under whatever management, imperialist globalization in retreat will deploy terror as readily and heedlessly as it did while it advanced.
Toni writes for tortilla con sal.