Monday, February 24, 2014

Volatility — Corporatism and Globalization: The Context of the TTIP and TPP

Perhaps the best way to prove the tyrannical intentions of the globalizers is to start with their own words. If we look at the manifestoes and comments issued by the various business consortiums, industry groups, and individual corporations, we find the unvarying demand that all government action be subordinated to the corporate profit prerogative, and that no other value be allowed to interfere with this.

This is why I call corporations and their intent totalitarian. My definition of this term: A powerful person or entity is relentless in pursuit of an imperative, at every moment wants to enforce the domination of that imperative to the fullest extent possible, and refuses to recognize the right of any other value to exist at all. A totalitarian may or may not be willing to “tolerate” the existence of something purely extraneous. But where there’s any conflict between the corporate domination imperative and any other value, it’s taken for granted there can be no compromise. The non-corporate value must submit, if necessary to the point of its own extinction. As the historical record makes clear, this is true of all human values – health, happiness, prosperity, culture, tradition, religion, morality, simple human decency and fairness. None of these can coexist with corporations. In the long run these must all go extinct, if corporatism continues to exist.
Volatility
Corporatism and Globalization: The Context of the TTIP and TPP
Russ

Here is a comment I left elsewhere on a related matter that fits here:

The underlying problem is not economic per se but actually political, resulting from capture on a vast scale by an elite determined to carve the pie in its favor. This involves institutional capture, intellectual capture, regulatory capture, and even state capture.

Unemployment, boom-bust cycles, imperfect competition, and the rest of the pimples on the face of neoclassical economic theory in its application, including contemporary mainstream so-called Keynesianism, result from not only flawed theory but also neoliberal policies that are rationalized by academia in the pay of the elite to dupe the rubes and deliver the goods to the top.

The essences of neoliberal "capitalism" is crony capitalism, and its political counterpart is the corporate state masquerading as the market state. Just as the excess of socialism is totalitarian communism; so too, the excess of capitalism is totalitarian fascism.

12 comments:

Dan Kervick said...

I don't find this line of argument very persuasive. Obviously business-people are going to make their pitch in the language of profit and loss. But faced with any potential trade deal, what I most want to know is who will benefit, and by how much, and who will be hurt, and by how much. To the extent that the discussion of these deals just degenerates into a kneejerk anti-globalization diatribe it does nothing for me.

Tom Hickey said...

Dan, the whole point of economic liberalism since William Petty enunciated vadere sicut vult (ket government leave things free "to go as they wilt"). The idea is that free of government intervention, natural forces will guide the country to the optimal outcome.

This developed into classical economics, which was chiefly concerned politically with wresting control from monarchs, aristocracy and landed gentry, which eventually transpired. Then neoclassical economics set about justifying control by a transnational power elite based on "capital," whence "capitalism."

The question is optimal outcome for whom?

First, the assumption of that similar laws of nature govern the social sphere as they do the natural sphere is erroneous, so the theory was flawed out of the gate.

Secondly, the theory ignores power, hence, its assumptions about a so-called free market are never in fact manifested since capture tilts the playing field toward the power elite.

In this way, neoclassical economic theory became the rationale for the political theory of neoliberalism, first, as the market state controlled by a power elite, and now globalization under a transnational power elite.

Economic liberalism runs in the direction of a power elite not only owning everything but also controlling everything unless a leash is put on power and the accumulation of wealth that leads to power through capture that is characteristic of crony capitalism.

Without addressing power, economics is just handwaving.

Dan Kervick said...

The question is optimal outcome for whom?

Right, Tom. That's the question. And where trade is concerned, it's always a complex, practical empirical question that can't be answered from philosophical first principles.

I've been trying to find something concrete to sink my teeth into in the debate about TPP and other trade deals, but so far I find most of the debate to be poor in factual detail, and rich in vague ideological generalities.

Tom Hickey said...

The reason that there are not details on TPP and TTIP is that the deal is so secret that ordinary members of Congress are not in on it and those that are, are not allowed to talk about it.

The good thing is that enough got out that there was a popular uprising in the Democratic Party that seems to have scuttled fast track for the time being anyway.

Tom Hickey said...

BTW, two of the contemporary academics best known for writing about power and capture are members of "the UMKC school of economics," Bill Black and Michael Hudson.

Tom Hickey said...

"Globalization" has two meanings that are often confused. Most people think of globalization as the development of an interconnected world and a world economy. That's the popular view.

The technical meaning in economics is the development of a global economy under transnational extra-goevernmental organizations and transnational firms based on the principles of neoliberalism ostensibly as "free markets, free trade and free capital flows" but in reality control by an unelected and unaccountable cabal.

This is not new. It was put forward decades ago as reported by Carroll Quigley in Tragedy and Hope:

The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank... sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.

Carroll Quigley (1910-1977) | Professor of History at Georgetown University, member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), mentor to Bill Clinton, in Tragedy and Hope, 1966., ch. 20

Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (PDF)
Volumes 1-8
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1966

http://ia700200.us.archive.org/17/items/TragedyAndHope_501/CarrollQuigley-TragedyAndHope.pdf

Dan Kervick said...

Yes, I oppose fast track on principle. If a trade deal is supposed to be good for the country, let it be subjected to wide open public and legislative debate. I'm glad fast track for TPP is dead.

But arguments that carry no weight with me are those that just seem to rely on a kneejerk protectionist opposition to international trade of all kinds, that cling to ostrich-like isolationist hatred of globalization or internationalism, or that repudiate - in the name of "sovereignty" all foreign treaties and all multilateral mechanisms for resolving trade policy disputes.

Tom Hickey said...

Philip Mirowski:

...my collaborator Rob van Horn and I began looking into the post-World War II Chicago School, and were rapidly led to uncover a different story than the usual tale of pre-war continuity from Frank Knight to postwar Milton Friedman and George Stigler. To put it bluntly, in 1945 there was no ‘Chi- cago School’ that any modern would recognize, and yet by 1947, some external interventions had put the solid foundations in place.

The full story can be found in The Road from Mont Pèlerin, so I will just make some bald statements here. The Mont Pèlerin Society was founded by Friedrich Hayek and others in 1947, funded by a number of corpo- rations, banks and foundations, in order to revive the style of political thought which even they called “neoliberalism” back then. It was intended to be a transnational and transdisciplinary debating society, at least at the inception. At the same time, Hayek was consulted by Henry Simons and others at Chicago to help start up a subsidiary to Mont Pèlerin called the “Free Market Project” at Chicago, which eventually involved payment of even the salaries of figures like Aaron Director and Hayek himself. The density of connections between early Mont Pèlerin and postwar Chicago are nothing less than stunning, at both the staffing and conceptual levels: this is why I say that the birth of the Chicago School should be understood as the opening of a franchise of Mont Pèlerin on the shores of Lake Michi- gan, rather than vice versa. All the major Chicago economists of that gen- eration were Mont Pèlerin members: Friedman, Stigler, Aaron Director, Allen Wallis, Gary Becker, and Richard Posner. Of course, neoliberalism should be understood as an intellectual movement initially separate and distinct from neoclassical economics -the presence of a number of key Austrian economists in Mont Pèlerin would signal that - but the marriage of neoliberal political doctrines and neoclassical economics now com- monly associated with the Chicago school was buttressed and facilitated by the organizational support of Mont Pèlerin.

My collaborators and I have argued that, from the late 1940s to possibly the 1990s, Mont Pèlerin stood poised at the core of an elaborate thought collective that encompassed think tanks, foundations, university affiliates and vested corporate interests, all dedicated to the elaboration, promo- tion and spread of neoliberal doctrine throughout the world. Anyone seeking to understand the triumph of neoliberal notions and politics from the 1980s onwards would be sorely mistaken to ignore the import of the Mont Pèlerin Society. And to address what has become a rather trite ob- jection: this is not about conspiracy theories. Every successful economic doctrine has some sort of institutional thought collective to thank for its success. You just have to know where to look.

Tom Hickey said...

But arguments that carry no weight with me are those that just seem to rely on a kneejerk protectionist opposition to international trade of all kinds, that cling to ostrich-like isolationist hatred of globalization or internationalism, or that repudiate - in the name of "sovereignty" all foreign treaties and all multilateral mechanisms for resolving trade policy disputes.

The post is not just on trade deals, but similar issues, like GMO and control of the world's food supply through intellectual property rights (patents). And these are just a couple of the issues.

Ryan Harris said...
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Ryan Harris said...
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Ryan Harris said...
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