43

Globalization North and South: The Road to Nowhere.


Frank Lee

‘We must sell more to strangers yearly than we consume of theirs in value’
Thomas Mun, 1571-1641, Director of the East India Company.
Author of English Treasure by Foreign Trade.

It was the same Thomas Mun who became the architect of what we might now call strategic trade policy. This was a development strategy based upon a number of economic policy inputs aimed at a systematic upgrading and development of the national economy to give it a system of competitive advantages in its trade with other nations. He postulated the following policies.

  • Imported goods that can be produced domestically should be banned.
  • Reduce luxurious imported goods by making Englishmen have a taste for English goods.
  • Reduce export duties on goods produced domestically for foreign markets.
  • If no alternatives are available to its neighbours, England should charge more money for its exports.
  • Cultivate wasteland for higher production and to reduce the amount of imports needed from abroad.
  • Shipping should be completed solely on English vessels.

Policies such as these, though never openly admitted, came to serve as the generally accepted development strategy for aspiring nations in both the 19th and 20th centuries, enabling these states to move from low value-added agricultural and mineral production to higher value-added manufactured goods and service industry. Britain was first in the game[1] but was followed in short order by Germany, the USA and a number of other nations in Western Europe and North America. This clutch of dominant or developed states were able to open up a productivity and technology gap with the rest of the world which is still in evidence. Although other non-European nations – mainly in East Asia and led initially by Japan – used essentially the same policies and are beginning to close the gap and in some instances have already closed it.

However, in the contemporary world and international trade terms what is called ‘free-trade’ is at the heart of the system – a system which was to become known as ‘globalization’ packaged and sold as an irresistible force of nature. Globalization is more-or-less neo-liberalism writ large. It has become an article of faith that free-trade was always and everywhere the best policy in spite of the fact that it was the mercantilist policies of a prior era which formed the basis of current liberal trade policy (see below). Globalization was codified in what became known as the ‘Washington Consensus.’ The new conventional wisdom was conceived of and given a legitimating cachet by political, business, media and academic elites around the world.

However, many of the elements – if not all – of the Washington Consensus were hardly new, many dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries and perhaps beyond. It could be said that the newly emergent mainstream orthodoxy represented a caricature of an outdated and somewhat dubious political economy of yesteryear.

The theory that free-trade between nations would maximise output and welfare was first mooted by Adam Smith, but its final elaboration was constructed by David Ricardo in his famous work The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation first published in 1817. Briefly, he argued that nations should specialise in what they do best and in this way world output would be maximised. The hypothetical example he used was England and Portugal and the production of wine and cloth, where he calculated that although Portugal had an absolute advantage in both cloth and wine production, England had a comparative advantage in cloth and should produce cloth, whereas Portugal should simply produce wine. It was asserted – though, since it was simply a model, no evidence was ever presented – that all would gain from this international division of labour.

This was yet another instance where economists were fixated with the model, but even a cursory glance at economic history, and particularly the transition from agrarian to industrial societies, demonstrates the weaknesses, and indeed, serves to falsify the whole Ricardian paradigm. The brute historical fact is that every nation which has successfully embarked on the transition from developing to developed economy has done so adopting policies which were the exact opposite of those advocated by the Ricardian free-trade school, and which, moreover, had a great deal in common with Mun’s prescriptions.

In the world of actually existing capitalism, free-trade is the exception rather than the rule. Contemporary world trade is mainly a matter of intra-firm trading, that is, global companies trading with their own affiliates and subsidiaries in different countries mainly for tax avoidance purposes – e.g., transfer pricing. Next there are regional trading blocs like the EU or Mercosur, which erect tariff barriers to non-members. Finally, with the virtual elimination of tariffs there has been created a whole array of Non-Tariff-Barriers (NTBs).

These include manipulation of exchange rates, subsidies to export industries, tax exemption and subsidies to R&D, publicly funded research which inter alia enabled the Internet to come into existence, procurement policies whereby public expenditure and goods were purchased in the home market by government departments, quotas, embargoes, sanctions, export licences, the list is extensive.

Thus, modernisation and industrialisation, wherever it took place, consisted of a smorgasboard of interventionist procedures involving a joint business/state system of economic planning which was directed from above by institutions such as the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). Both Japan and South Korea made extensive use of import controls to protect specific industries. Additionally, both countries discouraged rather than promoted inward FDI.

A century earlier during its period of industrialisation the United States erected tariff walls to keep out foreign (mainly British) goods with the intention of nurturing nascent US industries. US tariffs (in percentages of value) ranged from 35 to almost 50% during the period 1820-1931, and the US itself only became in any sense a free-trading nation after World War II, that is once its financial and industrial hegemony had been established. In Europe laissez-faire was also eschewed. In Germany in particular tariffs were lower in the US, but the involvement of the German state in the development of the economy was decidedly hands on. Again, there was the by now the standard policy of infant industry protection, and this was supplemented by and range of grants from the central government including scholarships to promising innovators, subsidies to competent entrepreneurs, and the organisation of exhibitions of new machinery and industrial processes. Moreover, during this period Germany pioneered modern social policy, which was important in maintaining social peace – and thus promoting investment – in a newly unified country …”[2]

It has been the same everywhere, yet the Ricardian legacy still prevails. But this legacy takes on the form of a free-floating ideology with little connexion to either practical policy prescriptions or the real world. It has been said in this respect that “…practical results have little to do with the persuasiveness of ideology.” [3] This much is true, but it rather misses the point: the function of ideology is not to supply answers to problems in the real world, but simply give a Panglossian justification to the prevalent order of things.

Turning to the real world it will be seen that “…history shows that symmetric free-trade, between nations of approximately the same level of development, benefits both parties.” However, “Asymmetric trade will lead to the poor nation specialising in being poor, while the rich nation will specialise in being rich. To benefit from free trade, the poor nation must rid itself of its international specialisation of being poor. For 500 years this has not happened anywhere without any market intervention.”[4]

This asymmetry in the global system is both cause and consequence of globalization. It should be borne in mind that the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are suppliers of cheap raw material inputs to the industrialised countries of North America, Western Europe and East Asia. In technological terms the LDCs find themselves locked into low value-added, dead-end production where no discernible development or technology transfer takes place. Thus, under-development is a structural characteristic of globalization, not some unfortunate accident. Put another way:

…if rich nations (the North) as the result of historical forces, are relatively well endowed with the vital resources of capital, entrepreneurial ability, and skilled labour, their continued specialisation in products and processes that use the resources intensively can create the necessary conditions for their further growth. By contrast LDCs (the South) endowed with abundant supplies of cheap, unskilled labour, by intentionally specialising in products that use cheap, unskilled labour … often find themselves locked into a stagnant situation that perpetuates their comparative advantage in unskilled, unproductive activities. This in turn inhibits the domestic growth of needed capital, entrepreneurship and technical skills. Static efficiency becomes dynamic inefficiency, and a cumulative process is set in motion in which trade exacerbates already unequal trading relationships, distributes benefits largely to the people who are already well-off, and perpetuates the physical and human resource under-development that characterises most poor nations.”[5]

Case Study 1. The cocoa-chocolate industry (hereafter CCI) of the West African nations, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria are a case in point. These countries produce the majority of the world’s raw cocoa beans. But of course, the industry as a whole is controlled by western multinationals such as Hershey, Nestlé and Cadbury-Schweppes (now Kraft). The structure of this industry – vertically integrated – is very typical of the relationship between the LDCs and the developed world. The low value-added part of the industry – growing and harvesting the beans – is left to individual farmers in West Africa. Buying agencies, either very close to, or in fact subsidiaries of multinational companies (MNCs), then buy the raw material at prices usually dictated by the MNCs. This asymmetrical relationship between supplier and sole buyer is termed ‘monopsony’ in the economics jargon. It should be understood that large companies not only over-price their products to the final consumer, but also under-price their purchases from their captive suppliers. From then on, the various stages of the processing supply chain are in the hands of the parent company. From raw beans, to roasting, milling, refining, manufacturing of chocolate or cocoa, shipping and packaging, branding and advertising – all of these stages add value to the product, value which is garnered by the MNC. The exporting African nations are left with the low or no value-added end of the operation, a technological cul-de-sac.

Case Study 2. The double-standard inherent in the trade liberalisation policies pushed by the west through its agencies the IMF and WTO. ‘Although “we” in this instance the United States ‘insisted the Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) reduce barriers to our products and eliminate the subsidies for those products which competed against ‘our,’ (the US) kept barriers for the goods produced by the developing countries – and the US continued massive subsidies for its own producers. Agricultural subsidies encouraged American farmers to produce more, forcing down global prices for the crops that poor developing countries produce and depend upon. For example, subsidies for one crop alone, cotton, went to 25000 mostly very well-off US farmers, exceeding in value the cotton that was produced, lowering the global price of cotton enormously. American farmers who account for a third of total global output, despite the fact that US production costs are twice the international price of 42 cents per pound, gained at the expense of 10 million African farmers who depended on cotton for their meagre livings. Several African countries lost between 1 and 2 percent of their entire income, an amount greater than what these particular countries received in foreign aid from the US. The west African State of Mali, for example, received $37 million in aid but lost $43 million from depressed prices. (Joseph Stiglitz – The Roaring Nineties – p.207)

This is what happens when LDCs having been sternly lectured by the IMF-WTO try to play by the ‘Free-Trade’ rules.

Nor does it end there. MNCs can avoid much local taxation by shifting profits to subsidiaries in low-tax venues by artificially inflating the price which it pays for intermediate products purchased from these same subsidiaries so as to lower its stated profits. This means that the tax-take of the host countries is lower than it should be since MNC profits have been artificially manipulated downward. This phenomenon is known as transfer pricing and is a common practice of MNCs – one over which host governments can exert little control as long as corporate tax rates differ from one country to the next.

Bear in mind also that although the IMF and World Bank enjoin LDCs to adopt market liberalisation policies, they apparently see – or conveniently ignore – the past and current mercantilist practices of developed nations. Agriculture for example is massively subsidised in both NAFTA and the EU. But it really is a question of don’t do what I do – do as I say. This hypocrisy at the heart of the problem represents the elephant in the room. We know that countries which attempt to open their markets when they are not ready to do so usually pay a heavy price. The countries which protect their growing industries until they are ready to trade on world markets have been the successes – even in capitalist terms. The wave of development in the 19th century and the development of East Asian economies during the 20th bears witness to this.

But the object of the free-trade rhetoric and finger wagging posture of the developed world is precisely to maintain the status quo. We should be aware that:

…multinational corporations are not in the development business; their objective is to maximise their return on capital. MNCs seek out the best profit opportunities and are largely unconcerned with issues such as poverty, inequality, employment conditions, and environmental problems.”[6]

Given the regulatory capture of the political structures in the developed world by powerful business interests, it seems that this situation is likely to endure for the foreseeable future. Development will only come about when the LDCs take their fate into their own hands and emulate the nation-building strategies of East Asia.

…markets have a strong tendency to reinforce the status quo. The free market dictates that countries stick to what they are good at. Stated bluntly, this means that poor countries are supposed to continue with their current engagement in low productivity activities. But engagement in those activities is exactly what makes them poor. If they want to leave poverty behind, they have to defy the market and do the more difficult things that bring them higher incomes – there are no two ways about it.[7]

True enough, but if they defy western imposed trade austerity, they will inevitably face united and vicious opposition of the footloose MNCs and their respective states and global institutional backers. The crucial institutional command centres underpinning of the global system are provided by the troika of IMF, World Bank and WTO.

The Troika of Usury

The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction Development/IDA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT-Later to become the World Trade Organization 1995) were created in 1944, shortly before the end of World War II, during the conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Both the IMF and World Bank are now based in Washington, DC. The IMF was designed to promote international economic cooperation and provide its member countries with short term loans in order to trade with other countries (achieve balance of payments). Such was their original remit.

However, like most bureaucracies they needed to expand and justify their existence. Their responsibilities were to undergo deep changes which were both cause and effect in this change of policy. Thus, during the 1980’s, the IMF took on an expanded role of lending money to “bailout” countries during financial crisis.

This gave the IMF leverage to begin designing economic policies – neoliberalism – for over 60 countries changes which were never part of the IMF’s original area of competence. (One particularly glaring example of just how far away the IMF’s responsibilities had moved from their original brief took place when it allowed Ukraine to avoid paying back a sovereign debt of $3 billion loan from Russia. This was a quite unprecedented violation of the IMF’s charter.) Countries in difficulties have to follow IMF policies to obtain the IMF’s “seal of approval” to obtain loans, international assistance, and even debt relief. Thus, the IMF has arrogated powers not only in structuring the global economy, but also on real-life issues such as poverty, environmental sustainability and development, which is part of the World Bank’s turf. The IMF is one of the most powerful institutions on Earth–yet few know what it is. The IMF has created a system of modern-day colonialism that Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs) the poor to fatten the rich.

Many SAPs require changes in labour laws, such as eliminating collective bargaining laws and lowering wages in order to provide conditions favourable to attracting foreign investors. The IMF’s mantra of “labour flexibility” permits corporations to fire at whim and move where wages are cheapest. According to the 1995 UN Trade and Development Report, employers are using this extra “flexibility” in labour laws to shed workers, rather than create jobs. It goes without saying the machinations of the IMF and the US Treasury Department are carried out wholly in secret.

In the same vein much could also be said of the World Bank (WB) The World Bank was established at the same time as the IMF, during the Bretton Woods Conference in 1945. It was subdivided into the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development IBRD and the International Development Association IDA. Although conceived of as separate institutions the WB they began to merge and overlap, although the neoliberal consensus ensured an ideological conformity in both institutions. Its mission was supposedly to help developing countries to restructure and improve their economies with convenient loans. It also had the objective of helping the post-war recovery of Europe and Japan.

The world is very different today. The World Bank is said to aid developing countries to grow even more and faster than they otherwise would. Most experts, however, think that the Bank does this in an ineffective and unproductive manner because it is a bureaucratic institution itself and is also under the ideological tutelage of the Washington Consensus, a burden of ideological baggage which in fact acts as a barrier to growth and development. In many developing countries the World Bank and IMF impose very strict conditions concerning the issue and availability of loans, which as a policy, is not only counter-productive, but is harmful to the development needs of recipient states. The Bank pretty much openly cooperates very much with the interests of capital and seems unaware of its assigned remit, i.e., the needs of developing countries.

The Bank closely monitors indebted states along with the IMF and it is undeniably the case that the World Bank and many other international organizations are more concerned with promoting the interests of the few at the expense of the many. Like its partner in crime the IMF, the WB is very secretive in its activities involving hidden relationships and agreements with state and non-state actors. There are no disinterested mediators present, and the management of this institution has no obligation to inform any parliament or other democratic institution in the world about its closed meetings.

Finally, there is the World Trade Organization (formerly the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade – GATT). The change of name was a function of an extended global remit of this third member of the triad. Established in 1995 The World Trade Organization (WTO) includes 153 countries and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WTO was intended to replace GATT granting it a broader purview. It has been used to push an expansive array of policies on trade, investment and deregulation that has exacerbated the inequality between the North and the South, and among the rich and poor within countries. The WTO enforces some twenty different trade agreements, including GATTS, the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Consistent with the other members of the club – IMF, WB – the WTO is inherently undemocratic.

Its trade tribunals, working behind closed doors, have ruled against a stunning assemblage of national health and safety, labour, human rights and environmental laws, which have been directly challenged as trade barriers by governments acting on behalf of their corporate clients. National policies and laws found to violate WTO rules must be eliminated or changed or else the violating country faces perpetual trade sanctions that can be in the millions of dollars. Since the WTO’s inception in 1995, the vast majority of rulings in trade disputes between member nations have favoured powerful industrialized countries. Consequently, many countries, particularly developing countries, feel enormous pressure to weaken their public interest policies whenever a WTO challenge is threatened in order to avoid costly sanctions.

If it is broke, don’t fix it

It becomes increasingly clear that in the new epoch of neo-colonialism the position of many of the world’s poorest countries is highly marginal in terms of the global economy. The usual prescriptions of the IMF/World Bank ‘experts’ is that these countries should open up their economies more and by increasing their exports and liberalizing their regulatory structures. This is rather like applying leaches to the unfortunate persons suffering from haemophilia.

If I might digress for a moment. It rather reminds me of a passage in 1984 where Orwell’s hero, Winston Smith, is in conversation with a rather heterodox party intellectual, Syme. Unfortunately, both were in hearing range of another party member, a complete, droning party hack who was engaged in emitting a steam of verbiage, the usual shtick of the party line.

Orwell goes on: ‘Just once Winston caught a phrase – ‘complete and final elimination of Goldsteinism’ – jerked out rapidly as if it were all in one piece like a type cast solid. For the rest it was just a noise a quack-quack-quacking …’ Syme turns to Winston: ‘There is a word in Newspeak’ said Syme. ‘I don’t know if you know it – duckspeak – to quack like a duck.’

‘Duckspeak’ is basically the lingua franca of these institutions as it is of the MSM, politicians and other defenders of the faith. Its primary object is to obfuscate, not to clarify. We should expect nothing more. For these policy makers ensconced in their air-conditioned marble halls duckspeak comes naturally. However, even a cursory examination of both the theory and practise of their prescriptions confirms their duckspeak policies.

For policy-makers around the world the appeal to an opening up to global markets is based upon and simple but powerful promise. International economic integration will improve economic performance … The trouble with this is that there is no convincing evidence that openness, in the sense of low barriers to trade and capital flows, systematically produces these consequences. In practice, the links between openness and economic growth tend to be weak and contingent on the presence of complementary policies and institutions.”[8]

Open markets before a national economy is ready for it is in fact a disastrous policy a policy failure which was brutally confirmed in Russia during the 1990s. Openness might (and I emphasise might) work if the playing field is relatively level, which clearly it is not. Tariffs imposed by developed countries on imports from many developing countries remain very high. At the same time agricultural subsidies to domestic farmers make imports from developing countries uncompetitive. In short, the odds are stacked against the developing world.

Of course, the charade of liberal world trade and global dominance will carry on regardless; like the EU it can do no other. The fact that it is a system of neo-colonialism sustained by a bogus narrative and naked power may or may not have dawned on it, but now the neo-liberal virus has begun to enter the imperial heartlands. The Rules of the Game are changing. The effect of neo-liberal policies are beginning to spill over from the developing world to the developed countries in Europe and North America. How else are political phenomena like Trump, Brexit, Catalan and Scottish Independence, the Yellow Vests and euro-populism explicable? Domestic colonialism is now an increasing feature of the developed world and the reaction to it has been all too predictable.

The Greek historian Thucydides astutely noted that empires and democracy simply don’t mix; when democracies become empires and those empires begin to get out of control, the methods of supressing resistance in those empires will also be used back home at National HQ in the imperial state. As is already apparent this involves thought-control and moves on to other and cruder forms of suppression including incarceration and outright physical violence.

So, this is where we have arrived. All the promises of a Brave New World after the fall of the Berlin Wall did not come to pass, and the world seems to be drifting towards a divided, turbulent and ugly future.

NOTES:-

  • [1] ‘Under George the First, English Statesmen had long ago clearly perceived the grounds on which the greatness of the nation depended. At the opening of Parliament in 1721, the King is made to say by the Ministry, ‘that (echoing Mun) it is evident that nothing so much contributes to promote the public well-being as the exportation of manufactured goods and the importation of foreign raw materials.’ Quoted in Friedrich List – The National System of Political Economy (p 52)
  • [2] Ha-Joon Chang – Kicking Away the Ladder
  • [3] Charles Morris – The Trillion Dollar Meltdown
  • [4] Erik Reinert – How Rich Countries Got Rich and Why Poor Countries Stay poor
  • [5] Development Economics – Todaro and Smith
  • [6] Todaro and Smith – Ibid.
  • [7] Ha-Joon Chang – Bad Samaritans
  • [8] Dani Rodrik – The Globalization Paradox (pp136-137)

Frank Lee left school at age 15 without any qualifications, but gained degrees from both New College Oxford and the London School of Economics (it's a long story). He spent many years as a lecturer in politics and economics, and in the Civil Service, before retirement. He lives in Sutton with his wife and little dog.

Filed under: Economics, historical perspectives, latest

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Frank Lee left school at age 15 without any qualifications, but gained degrees from both New College Oxford and the London School of Economics (it's a long story). He spent many years as a lecturer in politics and economics, and in the Civil Service, before retirement. He lives in Sutton with his wife and little dog.

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BigB
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BigB

Excellent work, Frank. Globalism really is a road to nowhere …but talking of globalist roads to nowhere – isn’t there an entropic White Elephant in the room? Especially in the week of the 2019 Beijing BRI Forum? That is the BRI brought to us in conjunction with the IMF; endorsed by the UNSC (2015); and backed by the World Bank (co-funder of the AIIB). A Russian grand strategy that is integrating the supercontinent with the Chinese grand strategy. In an Eastern alliance of BRI and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU): as announced the other day by VVP. Allied with the… Read more »

Jen
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Jen

Interesting that Thomas Mun was the director of the East India Company (later to become the British East India Company) because it was the very mercantilist policies he recommended which Frank Lee reproduces in his article that helped to destroy India’s textile industry over the 18th and 19th centuries and which drove huge numbers of unemployed and desperate textile workers into poverty and agriculture, turning India into the poster-child for Third World squalor and destitution. Mun’s policies are best described as mercantilism, not as part of the original free trade economic philosophy as espoused by Adam Smith who actually opposed… Read more »

bevin
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bevin

“…India’s textile industry over the 18th and 19th centuries and which drove huge numbers of unemployed and desperate textile workers into poverty and agriculture, turning India into the poster-child for Third World squalor and destitution.” India’s textile industry was intimately related with its agriculture, in much the way that it had been in Europe including the UK. In fact the ruination of the textile industry in India drove many families out of agriculture and were part of a process which turned subsistence economies into commodity producing ‘plantations’. This was not unlike the process which the handloom weavers experienced, as the… Read more »

BigB
Reader
BigB

All of which can be seen as a cyclical pattern of capital accumulation and surplus capital displacement of the local economy. You have perfectly summed up the historic part of the cycle: where surplus UK imperial Empirist capital broke up the village scale ‘mini-rebublican’ indigenous way of life – subsuming it with larger scale agro-production for export and re-import …’round-tripping’ violently imposed value chains for the sole benefit of Bradford millionaires. Fast forward – referring to the excellent work of Colin Todhunter – and a new wave of surplus neoliberal fictitious capital is re-invading the same fractured village space –… Read more »

binra
Reader

Technologism is the part of science that was harnessed and used as ‘progress’ for a private agenda masked in public goods. There are technological boons, It was sanitation and better conditions and diet that virtually eradicated most infectious disease BEFORE vaccinations were introduced. But Malthus saw the betterment of the poor as a threat to be retarded and reversed. The WHY? or WHAT FOR? to a corporately captured scientific technologism – is being removed or eradicated from human thinking. Possession and control DEPENDS upon dispossession and subjugation – at least when applied to objects and things. The original of possession… Read more »

Narrative
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Narrative

Very important article. Thanks Frank Lee. Indeed, we are seeing a world governed by the ‘Washington Consensus’!

The essay triumphantly debunks the perpetuated myth of “The-US-doesn’t-do-colonisation”.

The US has always put into practice economic colonisation which includes colonisation by controlling trade and now practicing Colonisation by Resources Control.

Next myth to be debunked: The US doesn’t use espionage (backdoors in CISCO routers) for Political and Economic leveraging. They only use mass surveillance to keep us safe from Bin Laden, don’t they?.

binra
Reader

I qualify that by saying the nature of corrupted and corrupting power is a parasitic corruption to any who align in its worth-ship.
That the USA was fed self-determinism and exceptionalism (self-specialness) is part of the baiting. The pattern of exporting destruction by psyop is within the idea of gaining or preserving life or life-investments upon the subjugation and destruction of ‘others’. But operates more insidiously as the trojan of suggestions by which to set a mind against itself or give willingness its own destruction under pretext of gaining favour, power or protection.

binra
Reader

@ narrative Is the ‘US’ an asset or proxy – rather than a self-determination?
The nature of ‘power’ is parasitic – especially to its host.

Stephen Morrell
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Stephen Morrell

Nice essay. Thank you. It’s always edifying to have the mirror of economic history held up to bourgeois economic ideology and ‘theory’. ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ also comes to mind.

BigB
Reader
BigB

When it is zero not zero? When it is net zero. Talking of globalisers on the road to nowhere: so the globalists behind the Extinction Rebellion and cynically abused child marionette – Greta Thunberg – had a think about who to lead the capitalist entropic death march to extinction? We need someone trusted, a principled man, with a kind avuncular demeanour. So they’ve only gone and chosen Jeremy Corbyn to lead us to extinction. And he agreed. Which will surprise absolutely no one who has any idea what I am talking about. Who would have been following recent events. First… Read more »

mark
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mark

What we have been seeing recently with the Extinction Rebellion and its Thunberg PR construct is Green Fascism in action. The weaponization of language (and children) coupled with self righteous and sanctimonious synthetic moral outrage. “You have ruined my life”, “I have no future because of you”, and the ludicrous “we only have 12 years (or is it 11 now?) left to live.” We are entitled to do whatever we like, cause disruption, demand deferential attention from media and politicians, because “we are saving the planet”, and anyone who disagrees with us and does not sign up to our agenda… Read more »

binra
Reader

@mark: You articulate many current socio-political issues well – but the Malthusian Message is a core predicate for an anti-life elitism who hold their lives sacred by sacrificing others. The issues of quantity disregard quality – as if life can be and is a closed system. This is the core blindness to any who seek to possess and control (life). Discernment of quality (as life) is denied by the induction to fear and division. There are relationships where a quantitative shift has a qualitative effect – but the attempt to force this brings a hollowness of being into which fear-thinking… Read more »

BigB
Reader
BigB

Overpopulation is a big globalist myth to justify their corporate capture of the worlds wealth. We may well be overpopulated, but it’s more that 70-80% of us globally don’t consume anything – relatively. It is overconsumption by the over-developed 20-30% that does all the damage. And weaponising the imaginary lifestyles of the developed countries – to maintain their profligate standards of living – will not address the deep Human Impact crisis …which is the current psychotic episode from the capitalist imaginal. One that risks all life on earth. Modernity, and its debt-deflationary, living beyond its biophysical impact means – is… Read more »

binra
Reader

@BigB: I know you aligned in the fear or demonisation of CO2 as a world destroying influence – but if we were put computer modelled predictions aside to see what else operates current and active degradation and biocide of us and our Environment – would these be energy usage as such? I have every reason to believe genuine energy solutions are blocked – excepting black ops – and yet even with the ‘fossil’ fuel framework – there are measures that can seriously reduce actually toxic emissions. But there is NO room or will in our legally defined corporate sector to… Read more »

BigB
Reader
BigB

Binra I hope you can see that my analysis is not just hung on CO2 demonisation? Indeed, I warned of the dangers of such a narrow focus months back. My analysis is a broad multi-spectrum of all of the facets of the current human impact crisis. It is exactly the narrow focus that the XR psyop is trying to leverage to socially engineer society – we take the social impact whilst the manipulators maintain and increase their level of bad faith blood money wealth. Not on my shift, even if all I can do is shout very loudly … I… Read more »

binra
Reader

Yes, I recognize a ‘way of death’ runs AS IF a way of life and I accept this recognition in myself as a Calling or waking to a personal and relational responsibility, that is not possible to grow from or upon a fearful and addictive identification in a conflicting identity. ‘Bottoming out’ is the failure to maintain ‘narrative control’ as a believable basis for allegiance. But as a result of every kind of evasion and denial with all the ingenuity of which mind is capable BECAUSE what we most desire aligns our thought and behaviour. My reading or our times… Read more »

BigB
Reader
BigB

I appreciate your response, but you are so wrong about CO2 …it will kill us quicker than CO from a defective boiler. Forget the atmospheric gas CO2. Think of the symbolic totem CO2. It is not a thing, it is a sign …a sign that is being rapidly weaponised in a call for climate action. That course of action will kill us. And, disguised as humanist concern – for the children – this is the very worst cynicism. Mobilisation is to steal the future from ‘locked’ corporate capital – to the tune of $100tn …mostly pension funds and workers benefits.… Read more »

binra
Reader

You are confusing carbon monoxide – which is deadly. CO2 is carbon dioxide – without it your blood cannot deliver its oxygen – watch out for over breathing as a result of normalised anxiety. Try breathing in a paper bag for a while it wont kill you and will stop a panic attack in process. However for the purposes of the NWO it CO2 the justifiction for a pandora’s box or global control that traditional geopolitics can only provide a distracting sideshow from. I do want checks on financial and corporate behaviours – changing the laws that effectively protect them… Read more »

crank
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crank

The whole idea of carbon capture storage & carbon credits is one massive ploy not to transition to wind & solar & not plant more forests. It’s turning nature into double-entry bookkeeping & pretending nature works like money: it doesn’t.

Robin Monotti Graziadei

BigB
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BigB

Which is why I try, not always successfully, to look at things from a tangible standard of living socio-economic. It is the dream that we can tweak a few economic levers, use electric vans, use less single use plastic, recycle plastic plant pots (even Monty Don is a propagandist now (he’s a TV gardening personality)) …and prosperity and progress will carry on unimpeded, all the little turtles will survive, whales will ingest less plastic, and the virgin forests will regenerate so all the orphan baby orang-outangs will survive …providing we have paperless statements, leaflets and forms. Not a lot of… Read more »

crank
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crank

The damage will already have been done by the way the left has turned its back on a deep critique of capitalism with a powerful vision of an alternative society. This, in fact, is what happened a hundred years ago, when much of the left, particularly in German-speaking Europe, had abandoned a nature-based, holistic anti-capitalism in favour of an industrially-orientated Marxism. (81) Juan J. Linz, in ‘Some Notes Toward a Comparative Study of Fascism in Sociological Historical Perspective’ explains that “the lack of understanding of traditional Marxist theory and especially Central European social democracy for the plight of the peasant… Read more »

BigB
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BigB

Sorry Crank, I’m inclined to agree with Bevin on the historical point. Marx, like all thinkers – even progressive thought-leaders as he undoubtedly was – are products of their time. And, like his near conremporary Darwin, that vision would have been set in a reductive and mechanistic (Newtonian) materialism – one that was very much timebound – following strict scientific principles. It has been argued that the scientific bent was an Engelian interpretation – not strictly Marxist at all. His followers – including, but not limited to Red Rosa – did see what was coming (the rise of fascism), and… Read more »

crank
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crank

BigB, Not sure where you are coming from on this. Sure, Marx was a thinker of his time. So were the Luddites activists of their time. What does this tell us? Does it tell us that the historical drive for industrialisation lay beyond the competing schools of political economy of the 18th/ 19th centuries? The Marxists were the front line against fascism. No argument here. Even the Sutton case does not really detract from the fact that the Nazis hoovered up the peasantry’s sentiments for a ‘rooted culture of the soil’ and twisted them into something hideously deformed, whereas the… Read more »

BigB
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BigB

Crank I’m not sure where I am coming from today (suffering from a recurrence of bronchitis from going back to work to soon). So forgive me if I stopped making sense. I think what I was deliriously trying to say is that we should be careful of making organic historical dialectical ‘grand narratives’. It is not possible to know what Marx foresaw, or that he should be held responsible for what came next. What came next was the age of oil and maximal leveraging of human labour – unforeseeable by Marx as just to what a rapid transformation of humanity… Read more »

crank
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crank

Get well soon BigB.

binra
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quote: “mankind overcoming the limits of nature (including our nature)”. This is of course not within the realms of possibility. But our notions of what nature is – and of what we are – can overcome us to a sort of trance state in which an impossible and unnatural condition is suffered and normalised. Overcoming limits in psychic terms, is moving through them or past them such as not to be defined BY them. But in technological terms, overcoming limits may represent the redistribution of psychic energies – and corresponding definitions of limitation – to shape-shifting that merely hides them… Read more »

bevin
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bevin

“In failing to take up the Romantic struggle against industrial capitalism, building on the rich organic and holistic philosophy which was being developed in German-speaking lands, the Marxists allowed this powerful anti-capitalist current to flow into the stagnant waters of fascism…” There was nothing unique about the reaction to capitalism in the German speaking lands. What you call ‘the Romantic struggle against industrial capitalism’ began in the United Kingdom. Marx in fact noted the importance of William Cobbett’s vast and enormously influential works in leading the way. So did William Morris, as typical a representative of the reaction against liberalism… Read more »

crank
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crank

Bevin, There was nothing unique about the [‘Romantic’?] reaction to capitalism in the German speaking lands. Neither I nor the article says it was uniquely German. What you call ‘the Romantic struggle against industrial capitalism’ began in the United Kingdom. Marx in fact noted the importance of William Cobbett’s vast and enormously influential works in leading the way. ‘Noting the importance’ is not very clear. The article looks into the differences between, say, Cobbett’s ‘organic’ socialism and Marx’s route to socialism through the organising of industrial workers. So did William Morris, as typical a representative of the reaction against liberalism… Read more »

crank
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crank

What is galling to someone like me, is that Extinction Rebellion are branded as the rebellion. The real rebellion happened twenty years ago, in Prague, at the J18 protests, in Seattle, at the protest in Genoa. People back then were actually identifying the profiteers and taking it to them – those who were hell bent on maintaining and expanding the system of Neoliberalism in spite of the abundant evidence (even back then) of the fact that it is killing us. 9/11 kiboshed it all by criminalising protesters and activists as ‘terrorists’. 9/11 deniers like Medialens side with 9/11 deniers like… Read more »

Ramdan
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Ramdan

Someone said “the new can not grow from the old”…. if everything in the universe is actually balanced then it might well be that humanity, as it is today,–predatory, blind, destructive, short sighted, ego-driven–has become a burden for the universe and it will swiftly get rid of it….
We are becoming (if we are not already) the new dinosaurs, guided by a bunch of Rex(s)…

mark
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mark

The poor dinosaurs get a bad rap. They weren’t doing anything wrong – show me a dinosaur that was jet setting round the planet. The dinosaurs were doing just fine minding their own business till they were all whacked round the head by a giant meteor 65 million years ago. Otherwise they’d still be here.

binra
Reader

Well they are still here. You just have to look. The Cosmic environment has changed – and the expression of life has changed. Biologically you can see the bird family as a continuation of the theme. Psychically look at the human mind. The fight flight response, amygdala capture or indeed the primitive or reptilian mind is simply marketised and weaponised in the human frame of narrative justifiction. Note: organic tissues are sometimes retrieved from dinosaur remains. History is an interpretive construct over a present communication or situation. That doesn’t make it JUST a construct. Millions or billions of years operates… Read more »

binra
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The idea – ‘burden on the Universe’ is simply absurd. Like ‘crime against history’. Watch how the mind deceives – even without an evil ‘them’! God is not mocked – by self-illusion. But the one who believes they have defiled and betrayed or brought pain and death into the heart of God – will surely react under such convictions as their defence against Reality. Self destructive or Self-denying thought operates its own limitations even to the point of death – and collectively as individually. The reptilian or primitive fight or flight response has been developed as the framing OF consciousness.… Read more »

Ramdan
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Ramdan

That sounds beautiful….Probably you should tell the people running goverments around the world and then everything will be also beautiful (doesn’t it sounds nice 😁) As of 1 min ago very few listen to anything similar to what you say and certainly, none in power position! Everyone who tried to teach anything along those lines did it knowing that nothing was gonna change cause it needs a very large number of people to get it for a change to happen… That being said, doesn’t mean that that type of change, underestanding, realization or whatever you call it, is not possible… Read more »

binra
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That is how the fake mind maintains its narrative. “You mean nothing and are insignificant – unless you sacrifice your being to my agenda”. I am always talking into the mind – as is every living one – but if the mind is tuned to the blocking signal, then it ‘gives’ or projects denial. Beauty of a current appreciation elicits joy in being. Joy is radiance that goes out or shines indiscriminately to all other minds because in truth there are no other minds. Only within the blocking signal is ‘separate minds’ meaningful. When you are in great need and… Read more »

harry stotle
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harry stotle

To all of this must be added 2 essential economic tools; [1] the routine use of violence either in the form of sanctions which inflict serious harms (see Gaza, Venezuela, Iran, N Korea, etc) or military force (see Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc) so as to achieve certain economic ends, such as resource aquisition, or business deals that favour the aggressor rather than the indiginous population. [2] a corporate media which lies endlessly about how and why certain events unfold – if real journalists do highlight investigative failings the corporate media will be at the forefront of smearing dissenting opinions (see… Read more »

binra
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Yes – control of the Media is the first thing a Coup seeks to capture.

Mind control is de facto in place.

But where you look for truth is up to you.

binra
Reader

This article is well considered and seeks to identify patterns and purposes in our political social world. Do all such end up with moral reprobations that those who are active in denying others care not a jot for – unless enough influence grew to oblige them to change their camouflage so as to work through a front of moral imperatives. The judgement ‘more’ and ‘less’ splits things off from their Source. Rejection is the cause of all pain. When we fear that we are less than we are – what we now think you are drives us to seek to… Read more »

Fair dinkum
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Fair dinkum

It’s all about the zeros.
They can never get enough.
The tragic irony of course is that we’re approaching the ultimate zero.
A world WITHOUT us.

MichaelK
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MichaelK

I spent years studying economics, trying desparately to hide my smirk. So much time spent on a set of theories and dogmas that seemed so divorced from observable reality that it actually hurt; and that was before we looked at how they even defied their own arguments and logic. It felt so isolated being a heretic surrounde by Jesuit zealots.

Joe
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Joe

Frank Lee is unknown to me, but I will search for more of his work.

George Ebers
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George Ebers

The deeply rooted “screw thy neighbour” good and hard theory of life. And erm – “greatness”.