MASTERING GLOBALIZATION BY MASTERING NATURE & PLUTOCRACY.
Abstract: Misled by self serving economic ignoramuses, president Barack Obama, following Bush, Clinton and the domineering stupidity of the Reagan herd, engaged, twice, in an “economic stimulus” that let the hyper wealthy get more powerful. Even though the exorbitant power of the hyper wealthy was, and is, obviously, the proximal cause of the crisis that is undermining the West.
(That plutocracy keeps on splurging is examplified thus. Let’s look at Ireland. If Ireland is not doing so well, it’s not because Ireland uses the euro, or the grass is green. It is because Irish taxpayers have been forced to give money to hyper rich lenders who lent to rich private banks… whose relationship to taxpayers is that of the highway bandits to those they steal.
There would be no crisis if the Irish taxpayers told the hyper rich lenders to go drown themselves in a sea of their tears somewhere. But the EU and the USA have instituted welfare-for-plutocrats insuring that, come what may, plutocrats can stay plutocrats, the way they were before, even after they lost all their money, because taxpayers will give them back all the money they lost, otherwise the Earth would fall off its orbit, or something even worse.)
Next to American style “deregulation” (= no more rules), the main weapon of the plutocrats has been globalization. Deregulation removes laws. Globalization allows to escape local laws, even if they are still there, and to gut the core of democracy. This was in full evidence in the late Roman republic, and was denounced at the time eloquently. But of course, now the youth study Farcebook, instead of the classics. (I wonder what else they know. “Sit and stay!” is obviously high on the list…)
It is high time for the partisan of republican democracy to get the plutocracy back in that cage it should not have left, and master globalization the right way. It will be this, or it will be war. The first thing to do is to adopt the right philosophy.
The philosophical realm is where Rome failed first: the plutocrats embraced lupine behavior, such is their nature, but too much of those who opposed the torturers of man embraced stoicism rather than activism (and the same tendency is rising its ugly head today). One cannot be bipartisan, half plutocrat, half democrat, cooling in the dark. Democracy cannot be traded: it has to be won, and won again, red hot with passion (Nietzsche made related remarks about the greatness of the Greeks).
That is why the hyper aggressive Franks were better able to converge towards republic and democracy again, than any other sort of philosophical and political regime. Their very aggressivity built great foundations, as they burrowed deep in the human psyche, piercing through many bad habits of the Greco-Romans.
For example the Franks allowed Christianity to continue, as long as all and any Christian outfit rebuilt the world of learning and knowledge. It would take a month to copy a book, and a dozen specialized workers.
Meanwhile the top Franks lived richly, but not extravagantly. They believed more in the ardor of battle than the decadence of the spoils. Plutocracy was definitively out. Many of the richest gave all they had to the Church, that means to knowledge, and the new ethics. That allowed Charles Martel to treat Christianity as a piggy bank, and nationalize the entire religion, when he needed money to rise the biggest army since the heydays of Rome, to smash Islam, again and again.
So what to tell the plutocrats? Well, you will not win. Even if you call the Dark Ages a victory, as you did last time. This time, we know about the metastasis you represent, and this time, differently from last time, Greece-Europe has not been completely overrun by plutocrats yet (Macedonians, Hellenistic kingdoms and the Roman Senate crushed Greece so it could not be as strong as Rome last time; this time Europe is more powerful than Rome).
When the Roman republic failed, it was alone in a sea of plutocracies. This time, most regimes are republics, and most of the planet is under democratic control. It is rather plutocracy which is alone, in a democratic sea. Globalization has been its strength. It is to the People united in globalized outrage, to make a new form of globalization, that of awareness, its undoing.
INFLUENTIAL AMERICANS THINK WRONG DELIBERATELY:
Influential Americans keep on obsessing about other countries’ currencies. Thus the fox hides its tracks with its own tail. So when they talk of China, influential Americans talk about its undervalued currency. They don’t talk about China’s efficient banks. When they talk of Europe, they deplore the existence of its currency, something, they claim, parroting Milton Friedman, a defunct, diminutive plutocratic servant, which can’t work (because Europe is all about fighting Europe, say American ignoramuses).
In a way, by obsessing with other people’s currencies, American leaders show the correctness of what Valery Giscard d’Estaing, the French president called the “exorbitant privilege” of having imposed the dollar as world currency (that outrage allows Americans to borrow at much lower interest rates than the economic performance of the USA would otherwise allow, and to borrow in their own currency, thus avoiding the Argentinean syndrome).
American leaders don’t talk about European productivity, its better employment picture (when the quality of employment is considered), and the refusal, by the European core, to de-industrialize (Britain has recognized that France and Germany were right all along on this subject). American economists and ignorant American politicians call Europe a welfare state (when they know that Europe exists: many don’t know Britain is in Europe!). If they were more honest, they would focus on the fact that one American out of seven survives on scraps of food from the government of the USA. From trickle down economics, to crumbs for the doggies economics. May be the fare is better in prison, where the world’s largest archipelago of the gullible enjoys three solid meals a day?
Main Stream American economists throw lots of red herrings in the air, confusing everybody, justifying no serious reform. They know their paymasters will be pleased, and reward them well.
There are two reasons for this decadence of honesty: 1) the influence of wealth on American politics has increased considerably in the last decade or so, as the effective tax on the rich went from 71% in the beginning of Reagans’ s reign to 17% now. 2) There are more billionaires in the USA:
And this is not because the USA is richer than the EU. Actually there are more top 50 European companies than USA companies. Simply, for all their preferred talk of “philanthropy” the American wealthy keep more for themselves. More than twice more the chart above shows.
European opinion makers do not have the luxury of spiting the poor: their paymasters are less mighty, less numerous, and more worried by insurrection. The revolutionary spirit of July 14, 1789 is alive and well, all over Europe now. European leaders know they may have to drink with the enraged People, a tradition started by Louis XVI and his queen, when they had to toast with 20,000 enraged Parisians who had invited themselves at the Tuileries. So the European leaders have been more serious at reforming: some bankrupted banks were nationalized (Britain), the bonuses of financial manipulators have been considerably abated (all of EU), etc. However, this does not go one iota towards resolving the major problem.
In truth, there is, economically speaking, one crisis which towers above all other: GLOBALIZATION. Really serious economists should worry about that, and suggest solutions, as I do here.
USA PLUTOCRATIC PROPAGANDA VERSUS EUROPEAN REALITY:
When battle is joined, lures are deployed. At Cannae, Hannibal installed himself at the head of his Gallic allies, to steady them, and attract the main Roman shock, while his Carthaginian troops were streaming to the sides. Obnubilated by Hannibal’s striking robes perched on a big horse, Rome’s elite rushed in, and soon 50,000 were dead, as Carthaginians slammed them from the sides and back.
For centuries skirmishers, ahead of the main troops, have set smoke screens to hide the reality of what was really going on. This reached new heights in the last century of naval or aerial battles. Well, the same happens in sociology, politics, and economics. Hitler claimed to be a nationalist and a socialist, but he was neither. Similarly right now in the USA, many howl deliberately at the foot of the wrong trees, pointing alarmingly to small little problems, thus ignoring the big ones.
Why do American economists worry so much about Ireland, a country of 4 million with a GDP per head higher than the USA, and an overall growth rate in the last two decades only second to China? Because worrying about Ireland is a red herring, that’s why. And they don’t even worry about the right thing, an extravagant welfare for plutocrats and the established order, which is what is really impacting Irish (and American!) taxpayers. Instead American economists worry, abstractly, about Europe. They know their pay masters like Europe only as a place for yachts and palaces. They know their pay masters fear Europe as a place of revolutions, rebellions, justifications, reflections, and especially explanations. American economists have conveniently forgotten that, fundamentally, the USA is an emanation of European civilization, not the other way around.
Revealingly, the reigning economic theory of the USA is called “Austrian”, because it was actually invented by Austrian economists who emigrated to the USA, to preach economic fascism. In other words, American economic theory is not even indigenous, and even the two president Roosevelts are made to sound as if they were communist on a rampage. The rich socio-economic history of the USA is less forgotten in Europe than where it happened (an excellent example being May First: few Americans know what it is about, or that richly paid manipulators put Labor Day as far from it as they could, deliberately; worse: if you explained all that to common Americans, they would not care).
While Americans were worrying about Ireland, by July 2010, the number of citizens of the USA on food stamps reached 42 millions, ten times the total population of Ireland. Ah, yes, there are no food stamps in Ireland, Mr. Krugman. At some point, Krugman claimed that Nevada was Ireland, but there was more welfare in Nevada, so Nevada was OK, not Ireland.
American economists accuse the euro, of having caused the Irish problem. However the Irish government decided to make its tax payers pay all the private lenders to all private banks investing in Ireland. The correct solution was instead to make those who lent erroneously pay the price, and when there was corruption in it, make them go to jail, and seize their assets (as ought to have been done, planet-wide). Neither the tax payers, nor the euro, have anything to do with governments doing what plutocrats order them to do.
Another red herring has been unemployment in Europe. Here I am going to quote directly from Krugman, because he is suddenly seeing the light, and well. Krugman points out that the job picture has changed in Europe, and he focuses on what American leaders ought to focus on, namely France. The EU is just a big France; it’s not a big Britain, nor a big Germany; and this comes from historical reasons going at least 25 centuries: see Hannibal and his Gallic allies, above; actually the greatest Roman defeat was in France, in 105 BCE, at Arausio (Orange, Vaucluse), when 120,000 Roman soldiers died. This strange importance of France is in great part due to the fact that this country is exactly at the crossroads of Europe, and most hospitable (second agricultural food exporter, after millennia). Thus cultural selection is more refined there: most of the serious upheavals in the Roman empire came from Gaul. Here is Krugman:
One simple indicator is the fraction of prime-working-age adults — that is, 25-54 — that are, in fact, employed. Why focus on that age group? Because employment rates for the young are strongly affected by things like student aid policy, while those for the over-55 set are strongly affected by retirement policy; so if you want to know how many of the people who really should be working are managing to find jobs, the 25-54 sample is useful. Here’s America versus the cheese-eaters over the years:
In the 90s, with US employment surging while France (and much of Europe) was having trouble creating jobs, there was a lot of talk about the European employment problem. By the eve of the current crisis, however, the European job picture had changed a lot for the better, while even a business-cycle recovery didn’t seem to do much for US jobs.
Many Americans, even those who imagine themselves well-informed, don’t realize that there has been a big change here; my sense is that the US elite picture of Europe is stuck in a sort of time warp, in which it’s always 1997, and we have the Internet and they don’t. But things have moved on a lot since then.
(The French had an ancestor of the Internet, the Minitel, long before the 1990s; nowadays France is scoring number one in telecommunication, with technologies I will not describe, because they are still unknown in the USA.)
WANT TO HAVE A GOOD ECONOMY? GET A GOOD DEMOCRACY FIRST.
France has a better employment picture without indigenous coal, oil, and gas. An important point for better employment is job quality: the French rarely flip hamburgers… If they flip meat for a living, it tends to be because they are restaurant owners. And they flip steaks… There are many owners in little French restaurants all over, because food chains are severely restricted. This sort of interventionism of the society is important, and key to the debate on globalization.
The French (and now most of Europe) want a higher quality of life. So they don’t go stupid and feed Germans dioxin. Let me explain: food is cheaper in Germany than in France, or anywhere in Europe. Why? Because it’s highly industrialized. So German chicken were fed oil unsafe for animal consumption, to save money.
French society is clinging to its small family restaurants, no plutocratic organization attached. That is how they decided to manage their house. Typical hellish economist a la Milton Friedman would howl that this interferes with the free market. But Friedman obviously did not know the definition of the concept “economy” (house-manage). That is why Friedman was given a Nobel Prize, so that he could teach his absurdities with more poise. Nor could Friedman conceive the true definition of a really free market: I have a Tenochtitlan remedy for that sort of ignorance (namely, if our market was really completely free we could have done to some “economists” what the Aztecs did to some conquistadores, and cut them into pieces while alive, and then sell the bits! One has to be that explicit because free markets adulators are strong, and much more gross.)
So there are not so many Mc Donald employees around France. (And French McDonalds, because of the competition from family restaurants, are much higher quality than the American McDonalds, I have been told… as I would obviously not stoop to refuel at either.)
Slaves were employed too. employment is no panacea. The raw numbers on employment do not look at is the higher value added, higher quality job created in France. If one wants to make it in France, nothing beats engineering. The “Grandes Ecoles”, which are mostly engineering schools with extremely difficult admissions on double blind competitive examinations are the ticket to the best careers (having the dad at Harvard, as Barack did, or the brother playing ball in the ivy League, as Michelle did, will not help; no legacy admissions in France!) No wonder that the Boeing 787 has so many state of the art equipments made in Europe (including its difficult plastic tail cone, made by EADS, i.e., Airbus, which is more than ironical…)
The basic drive of the French is this: they want to live as well as possible. That is their number one priority. So they want good, nice, fulfilling jobs. But they were not born yesterday. As I said the culture is a complex mix, more than 3,000 year old (Marseilles was funded by immigration from the Middle East, even before the Greeks showed up).
So the French are suspicious. History shows them that conspiracies and invasions are the most adverse factors to a good life. If the French don’t keep or get good jobs, they suspect conspiracy, exploitation, or invasion. So they search for such, and when they find enough indications to suspect a gathering conspiracy of exploiters, they go berserk. Rightly so. This has proven most profitable, so the French spend a lot of time suspiciously looking for conspiracies. Any abusive company management in France know that they are at the mercy of physical violence, even sequestration. And that French police and justice will try to just calm everybody down (instead of following the letter of the law).
This rebellious spirit now pervades Europe. and beyond. On present trends, the French have to worry about being out-French by the Greeks, the rampaging citizens of Iceland, and even now the Tunisians. In a way, it is more than normal: centuries before Tunisia got invaded by, and fell into the grip of fascist Islam, it was the land of Augustine, and, for a millennium, the amazing Carthage.
Look at Islam as a trick plutocrats have found to reign for 13 centuries. In Tunisia, the police is now demonstrating, saying they were abused by the plutocrats (Ben Ali). In old countries such as France, police and justice are well aware, intuitively, of the plutocratic problem. Orders are valid, if, and only if, they sound like just orders. Otherwise police and justice have a tradition to not follow orders. Same for the army. and that is how the Ben Ali plutocracy is falling in Tunisia: the army disobeyed orders, and, instead, went out to submit, and kill, the armed valets of the dictatorship.
GLOBALIZED PLUTOCRACY VERSUS LOCALIZED LAW:
To get away from the nefarious obsessions of American economists, it may be a good idea to try to write a classification of the various problematic economic and social policies, worldwide. From the worst of the worse, to not so bad… A terrible problem is no doubt the very principle of the public-private fractional reserve system which allows too big to be fallible bankers to create most of the money in the world, through a conspiracy of hidden plutocrats with the public faces of democratic governments.
A related anti-democratic horror is the derivatives’ problem, which allows the bankers to claim inexistent profits by trading inexistent products. They do not have those in Chinese style banking, which is just like the old style banking Marx knew, and which built the West. Conclusion: many western firms, including state of the art tech companies, move to China, so that the Chinese bankers can finance them! It is really the world upside down.
It is not too hard to solve these two, financial, problems, in first approximation with an arsenal of regulations. For banks, president FDR showed the way: separate financial speculation from banking: otherwise it can do like a typical destructive feedback. And most derivatives should go to hell, where they belong (they should be authorized if and only if they can be demonstrated to dampen oscillations in all the systems they impact). The only reason they were not thoroughly fixed is that plutocracy and democracy are presently entangled. The EU limited bank bonuses, the USA claims derivatives will be traded in exchanges for all to see. Small reforms, so that the same suspects can keep on feeding at the trough…
GLOBALIZATION AS REVERSE COLONIALISM:
But then there is the globalization problem. Globalization itself is up high on the list of serious problems, and it is entangled with the rising seas. Globalization has no easy fix. In a way, what we see is the effective rise of a world government. But it is, mostly, a plutocratic world government. (Although there are international institutions not too adverse to democracy, sort of, like the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, and, of course first of all, the United Nations
Globalization first means world free trade of goods, services…and employment. It means that Chinese mountain peasants will have the same opportunity for employment as Wisconsin denizens. However, the Chinese can be paid a twentieth of an American citizen, and still feel rich. So, of course companies will flock to China to employ the Chinese.
Currency manipulation makes this flight of employment worse. But so does the subventions to transportation, which are part of a more general problem, namely neglecting all the indirect costs of producing massively in China (ship fuel is very polluting, Chinese fuel and factories are very polluting, and the violations of human rights in China are themselves very polluting to human rights in general, as the Chinese president Hu just basically admitted).
Anybody in the world can understand that the salary differences are of the order of ten, or twenty times cannot be reconciled. Changing a currency by 100% will not change the enormity of that gap.
It is good that people, worldwide, can find meaningful employment. This was already happening as colonialism waned. The abrupt yanking of the colonialist system replaced it by a plutocratic system, which is even more abusive. Thus the powerful anti-colonialist feeling was manipulated into more, and worse. another description for globalization is colonialism in reverse. The exploited natives are now in the West, too. Not just in the South.
So, how do we handle globalization before gutting the West completely?
Let me explain. Let me explain what history says. The West is not going to sit there, and let itself be gutted quietly. The West is not going to wait until all Western jobs have gone to India and China. This why all the major western powers are led by conservatives (sorry Barack, for telling the truth). This is why the extreme right is pushing up in Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the USA. People are getting exasperated, and the left has nothing deep and coherent to say.
Fundamentally, the left wants to help the small, and weak, but where is the small and weak? In Detroit or Liverpool, or in Dacca and Lagos? We need a global solution, but all we have is a global plutocracy which calls itself philanthropic.
Losing all Western jobs to emerging economies would be colonialism in reverse, and would not be any more acceptable than the original. Verily, it would be worse, because civilization (whatever that means) would flow the wrong way. Whatever one says, the original colonialism was civilization flowing in, now what we have is civilization flowing out.
The same problem has led to the same solution. It all dates back to around 140 BCE, when the roman plutocracy went for its successful world grab (it was successful in the sense that the plutocrats brought down the republic and transmogrified it in the feudal system; the counter measures taken by the Franks led to a re-establishment of the universal right republic around 1789 CE, both in the America and Europe; so what we are contemplating here is nearly 2,ooo years of devolution).
Roman plutocratic politicians, having just crushed democracy in Africa (!), Greece (!) and Spain (!), devised a plan in 140 BCE to crush it at home too. To win the votes of the poor they got the poor to obsess about cheap food and entertainment, “bread and circuses”, would be the most effective way to rise to power. They did not have FARCEBOOK yet.
As the famous Roman thinker Juvenal said in satire X, “panem et circenses” (“Bread and games”, bread and circuses) were indeed key:
… “Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.”
If that sounds as the description of the USA, complete with the restraining, it is not my fault: same problem for the plutocrats, same solution.
What Juvenal does not say, because he did not have the notion, is that the first globalization happened at the time: Roman plutocrats quickly gutted Roman employment, so that there would be no revolution. Another way to drown the fish is through massive immigration, especially in the army. And this is happening on the USA too. The number of first- generation immigrants living in the United States has quadrupled, from 9.6 million in 1970 to about 38 million in 2007… just as the plutocrats took power with their puppet, Reagan. In other words, just as Rome stopped being Rome, as plutocracy took power, same for the USA. (By comparison the population of the USA in 1941 was 133 million: a different country, with a different culture!)
GLOBALIZE MILITARY PRODUCTION IN THE WEST:
The plutocrats have organized the world economy to service them. An example is the military industrial complex. There is one in the USA, and one in Europe. I am not against the military industrial complex, per se. Democracy needs to be defended. If not defended, it will be destroyed.
But democracy cannot afford to be exploited by its own military. That is exactly what happened in the Roman empire, as the military and the plutocracy fought like dogs to gulp as much of the flesh of the people as they could. It is also what happened in the late middle Ages, as the military ran rampant and tore the flesh of the Imperium Francorum (wars between, and within various aristocratic families in England, France and Germany… which went on until 1918, since the Kaiser was the grandson of queen Victoria).
Now the USA based American military-industrial complex has been very good at exploiting American nationalism to further its profits. For example the Europeans have some superlative military systems without American equivalents. But the Americans want to develop their own (although they don’t have the money).
Do we need about 9 front lines types of different fighter jets between Europe, the USA, France… and Sweden? Let me give the names: F16 (USA), F 15 (USA), F18 Super Hornet (USA), F22 Raptor (USA), F35 Lightning (USA + Europe a bit), Eurofighter Typhoon (Europe), Mirage (France), Rafale (France), Grippen (Sweden). In truth one ought to focus on the best. France in 1940 had several types of superiority fighters, and that caused fatal problems with parts and equipment. The Nazis had just one type, the Me 109. Conclusion; hundreds of superior French fighters, missing armory, were not engaged in combat 9if they had been, France would have recovered air supremacy in mid June 1940).
Mock combat was organized in the Middle East, and the Rafale proved superior even to the F22 (only one Rafale got shot down, and that was a dismal performance for the F22. All the more since the Rafales are not endowed yet with their full equipment, including the long range Mach 5 Meteor missiles, and Rafales can bomb, as they have demonstrated in Afghanistan; the F22 cannot bomb, nor carry anything much.
Airbus, at enormous cost, is developing the A400M, a transport plane. So what does the American military-industrial want to do? Just the same. They want their own, and will get the money to make it out of teachers and schools.
Same with air refueling: Airbus has its own state of the art plane, so the Americans want their own (but don’t have it). British and French air forces refueled with American air tankers for 50 years, and did not die. When a French paratroop division dropped over Rwanda to stop the civil war there, the French did not die because they got considerable American help to transport their army.
On the other hand, if we kill the economy, everybody will die.
Enormous money would be saved by global military cooperation throughout the West. It is just an example.
WANT A GOOD DEMOCRACY? GET A GOOD ECONOMY:
So how do we avoid the fate of the Roman republic? How do we keep plutocrats at bay? Out of their main base in the USA, the plutocrats have organized a worldwide network to circumvent local laws, and buy local potentates. The esteemed dictator of Tunisia, Ben Ali, is just one example out of many. All of Africa and the Middle East is covered with dictators in the pockets of world plutocracy.
So a first countermeasure is to establish a maximum of international laws restraining their operations, just as international laws put an end to piracy in the Caribbean in the 18C. This is not a new problem: piracy was nearly paralyzing the Mediterranean, for decades, until the Roman senate decided to do something about it. Then it took three months to get rid of it.
Plutocracies love wars. Macedonia loved war and empire more than the Greek city-states. So Macedonia grew according to the imperialist-plutocratic principle; submit and exploit. In the 20C, plutocracy unchained caused both the first and second world wars. The Second World War was an outlandish unsavory international plutocratic conspiracy (now mislabeled as “appeasement”).
If the progressives, socialists, leftists, democrats, etc. do not fix the globalization trick of international plutocracy, the solution history will present is simple: fascism, and war. The rise of the right, in the USA or the EU is nothing else but a legitimate defense mechanism against abuse (and it’s independent of the parties; it’s a rise of the ideas of the right).
Japan, China and now India and Brazil have leaped forward economically, and that is excellent. They did so by adopting the best ways of the West. Those ways originated from the decision of the leadership of the Franks (and sympathetic Roman generals history has not kept the names of) over a duration of more than 11 centuries (300 CE-1400 CE). The leaders of the Franks decided to deliberately advantage the best in the human spirit. Thus they tried several coups and civil wars in the name of secularism against Christianity. Finally they won over the bishops directly.
KNOWLEDGE AND THE LEVERAGE IT GIVES ON NATURE IS THE CORE DRIVE OF HUMANITY.
The Franks adapted this by making knowledge and the leverage it gives on nature is the core drive of civilization, and making Christianity its servant.
That was in radical opposition to the abominable theocratic Roman plutocracy that is also known as the Dark Ages. Plutocracy has gone all the way into madness, destroying civilization, since their mad mythological hero, Christ, had promised to come back after the apocalypse. That was as good a pretext as the plutocrats to destroy their ultimate enemy, common sense. after all, common sense is common, and the principle of plutocracy is to abuse the commons, to forget their own inferiority.
Once again, the late Roman theocracy and its holocaust of people, books, scholars and philosophers (only a few Jews were left, to represent diversity) was the fruit of a process engaged generations before the end of the Roman republic, as plutocracy wrestled control. We are at a similar stage. We can see those creeps who stole trillions of dollars pose at the white House as if they were Hollywood stars, basking in the glory of their triumphant horror. Even the Chinese president was reflective and apologetic about human rights in China, but the banksters cannot even stoop at reflecting to their massive violation of human rights. Individuals who steal most of the money, and reduce others to misery, are human rights violators.
MAKING GLOBALIZATION DEMOCRATIC:
Democracy and economics rise and fall together. Gutting the economy of the core allows those who get their kicks from the Dark Side to rule. That is why plutocrats and the corporations they lead will tend to gut the core, if they are not taking their orders from the People. Right now, they obviously are not: China is used for leverage just as Nazi Germany was used for leverage.
How to solve the globalization challenge? Well, we have to prevent plutocracy from gutting the core of democracy, as it did in Rome, all the way, and it has started to do presently. Law has to be globalized. The West, if it wants to stay at the top of the world pyramid, has to have employment that nobody else has, and that means, because nobody knows as much (this is what Germany has done deliberately in recent decade, as it used the slumps to educate its workers further, so they could use the latest technologies).
Some of the Buddhist, or some of the Stoic persuasion, will whine that the West could decide to just fade away, and submit to fate. In practice that would mean submitting to plutocrats.
To answer this reality has several slaps at the ready:
1) go tell that to Tunisians.
2) you will not persuade most Europeans (who would rather go in the streets and burn a few banks… even if there are people inside.)
3) this has been tried already. Well before the abominable fascist anti-intellectual Christian theocracy took over the Greco-Roman empire, and set it on fire, as a cover for feudal plutocracy, a first error had been committed by the thinking elite. That first error was the reign of cool, of bipartisanship: half democratic, half plutocratic. How did it come to be?
Well, the Roman could be rather stoic. On top of that the imposition on the entire Greek world of the Hellenistic kingdoms’ fascism also made the Greeks, who used to be full of passion for life and principle, rather stoic. Thus stoic philosophy came to reign, and reigned for five centuries among the elites. Stoicism is Buddhism without the mango tree. A slave religion, by any other name. To block infamy, one needs passion. For one Martin Luther dreaming away in public, one needed at least 110,000 Union soldiers killed in action.
DOG EAT DOG IS THE WRONG DIRECTION FOR CIVILIZATION:
Some have suggested to increase competitiveness. According to Krugman, Obama will talk about competitiveness in his State Of The Union (of the States of America). But, as Krugman basically points out, competitiveness is a zero sum game. All countries can increase competitiveness. Increasing competitiveness among countries is social Darwinism on a planetary scale. Making the increase of competitiveness into a virtue is making into a virtue what precisely has been the undoing of the American economy since Reagan.
Goliath was strong, and competitive. And he is remembered. But was he civilized? Is he remembered for his smarts? Did Goliath bring us something good? Besides a bad and dumb example that smarts win over bullies?
Did the Cretans and the Greeks build a better civilization because they were competitive, and beat up the other guy? No. They reached beyond yesterday’s brutishness, and went where no mind had gone before. That is what they brought, who made them better.
To confuse civilization and competition is just an abomination.
Civilization is an effort to harmonize the ethology of man, with the multitude of cities. It has to increase as technology and population increase, and as the ecology changes. Recently the number of people was decupled, and their needs, per person, multiplied by a hundred, or more. We need a new civilization to harmonize these enormous needs (a planet and a half, and increasing fast) with our planet. The West in particular, and the planet in general, need us to reinvent civilization. Competiveness is not the way. And work does not make free, either. What will make us as free as we need to survive, is a higher civilization.
Thus, what I suggest here is not an increase in competitiveness per se, but an increase in effective wisdom.
SIMULATE NOT, STIMULATE, INSTEAD:
An economy is a particular management of a house. One can draw all the fancy diagrams one wants, they are as many swastikas on reality: neither here nor there (the Swastika is an Indian reference).
The fundamental questions in economics are not answered by diagrams, indeed. The fundamental question are: what is the house? Who is inside the house? How do we want to manage the house?
Which brings up to the reality of what Obama has been trying to do economically, so far. As far as I am concerned Obama, so far, was indoctrinated into believing that to save the world, he had to save the hyper rich. So now the plutocrats pose at the White House as if they were Hollywood stars. They are the saviors.
Well, I am still waiting for Obama to follow my advice and push for a real stimulus, a la Henri IV, or Colbert (the French super minister of the 17C). A stimulus just like what China means by stimulus. China is literally covering Asia (not just China) with high speed train lines (all the way down to Thailand). American companies move to China, because China has real banks… investing in the real economy, even if that real economy ic created by an American company with American management and engineers. American banks are interested mostly at leveraging their leverage some more with derivatives, and are mostly interested in viewing themselves as masters of the universe.
Thus most American economists, well aware of whom give them their power, have been advising the president and other politicians, to make the hyper wealthy thrive ever more. Cutting useful spending by cutting taxes on the hyper rich is the modern equivalent of using bloodletting to treat anemia. This Reagan style bloodletting draining the nation of its vital strength by allowing the hyper rich and plutocrats to pay ever less taxes is not just voodoo, it is anti-sense.
Build stuff, Mr. Obama! Leave at least one bridge behind! But it will take more than that.
Finance, a mean, has been made into an end, thus an abomination into a domination. The meritocracy has to be reoriented towards doing real things in the real world. To solve the globalization challenge, the West has to engage in a massive technological leap forward, fueled by massive re-industrialization, massive investment in knowledge, science and education, helped by drastic cooperation of the Western powers and ferocious enforcement of intellectual property laws. Once again, it’s this, or fascism, and a fight to death for dwindling resources.