We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, August 1, 2015

We Are All Greece

Click here to access article by Helena Norberg-Hodge from Common Dreams

The World Wide Web is always full of limited views of this neoliberal stage of capitalism. These critics are usually of middle and upper-middle class origins who see their lifestyle, and those of their friends and neighbors, threatened by disappearing jobs many of which have been sent to cheap labor countries, automated, or roboticized. They all want to return to a state of bliss that they experienced in the previous nation-based type of capitalism when their capitalists masters employed them at quite generous salaries. 

This author is no exception, except that she, like some others, offers some very interesting insights about neoliberalism. In this piece she contrasts neoliberal propaganda with its actual results.
The European Union is an extension of the Bretton Woods institutions – The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) – founded at the end of World War II. Their stated purpose was global economic integration in order to avoid another depression and to avert war. But the result was a form of economic development – based on debt, global trade and consumerism – that systematically favored corporate interests while hollowing out local economies worldwide. Sadly, many people still idealistically embrace the Bretton Woods institutions, as well as the European Union.

Neither the media nor academia has focused on the role of transnational banks and corporations in promoting this economic path. Instead they continue to reinforce the notion that European “economic integration” is about peaceful coexistence among countries that would otherwise be at war with each other.
John Perkins, who was employed as a kind of economic hit man for his capitalist masters, was one of the earliest critics by providing an inside report on these neoliberal machinations in his Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. However, he regarded this neoliberal phase only as a "mutant" form of capitalism instead of an advanced stage of capitalism.

 

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