In response to an FT article by Martin Wolf on 6th September 2016, entitled ‘The tide of globalization is turning’
‘The tide of globalization is turning’
No. – The tide against corporatism has already turned. At its core this is not about xenophobia, small town mentality, or any other ‘convenient’ diversion from the fundamental source of the problem – it is a backlash against a corrupt system, which finally has governments so worried they have started to talk about it publically, a process accelerated by approaching elections. It’s ‘wakey wake up’ time for governments across the globe, albeit they slept through the alarm, which has been on repeat since 2008.
The rise of ‘populism’ has occurred during an ailing economy, as it always does, but at its core it is a backlash against ‘power’ and ‘leadership’ – a corrupt relationship between governments and corporations at the expense of their populations. In the colloquial – folks are sick to the back teeth with, amongst other things: the cronyism, the hypocrisy, the phony promises, the bailouts, and the increasing failure of ‘welfare’ programmes that:
a) Don’t bring ‘welfare’
b) Are unaffordable except in the minds of ‘economists’ who think wealth is printable
Nothing about this phenomena is new, except the scale of it – it went global on the back of technological advances – the same technological advances that are hastening it’s denouement – the communication networks that allow ‘pissed off’ people in Seattle to notice that there are ‘pissed off’ people in Paris too, and they are ‘pissed off’ about much the same things.
This has happened throughout history, and we have been warned about it by a diverse group of ‘seers’ over the past 200 years. Here are three ‘modern’ individuals talking about this, in chronological order:
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country...corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” - Abraham Lincoln
“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in essence, is fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt
"You may know society is doomed when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you; [and] when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice." - Ayn Rand
This has nothing to with ‘free trade’ – there is nothing ‘free’ about it. It is not even about ‘capitalism’ – deals like TTIP and TPP seek to eliminate competition and restrict the process of creative destruction with the redistribution of resources that follows. It is good old-fashioned ‘corporatism’ gone global – socialism for the rich – Mussolini called it ‘Fascism’, but these days it wears brighter colours.
One final thing – the corporatist backers of Hillary Clinton are not worried by her new found opposition to TPP anymore than Wall Street are concerned about her promise to clean up the banks. Both of these ‘promises’ were a sop to defend herself from the left during the primaries, from the right during the general. If elected, she will change a few commas and declare that she has protected the people from a bad deal. It is politicians like her, and there are many, who will do precisely nothing to address this problem – turkeys do not vote for Christmas or Thanksgiving.
A fellow reader responded:
"That's a really thought provoking comment MarkGB, I guess you are American as that's where your quotes are from. Is there nothing similarly insightful that you can find in the rest of the world? You would have thought someone in Europe could have written along the same lines in the last 100 years. Is it possible that our capitalism, which is considerably older than that of the USA, has gone beyond admitting the "inadmissible"?"
Thanks Richard. I'm a Brit, but you're right – the awareness of this is global too:
Here's an Italian:
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” ― Benito Mussolini
An Australian global wanderer:
“The major western democracies are moving towards corporatism. Democracy has become a business plan, with a bottom line for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope. The main parliamentary parties are now devoted to the same economic policies — socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor — and the same foreign policy of servility to endless war. This is not democracy. It is to politics what McDonalds is to food.” - John Pilger
And a couple of Brits:
“Very few of the common people realize that the political and legal systems have been corrupted by decades of corporate lobbying.” - Steven Magee
“All corporatism – even when practiced in socities where hard work, enterprise and cooperation are as highly valued as in Korea – encourages inflexibility, discourages individual accountability, and risks magnifying errors by concealing them” - Margaret Thatcher