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how to rule the world

May 20, 2008

mark engler, a social activist turned writer out of new york, recently published his how to rule the world. i saw him speak. he concisely communicated how the laissez faire economic development strategies of the us have destroyed countries economies pitting them, fortunately for the us, in permanent debt to us-based economic development organizations.

  • the 1990s brings the domination of united states foreign policy by multi-lateral financial institutions (the world trade organization, the international monetary fund and the world bank)
    • neoliberalism – the belief that laissez-faire economics will bring the trickle down effect (eventual universal benefit and prosperity)
      • the institution of open markets for (foreign, usually united states) transnational corporations
      • “flexible labor market” – no job security or labor unions
      • “fiscal austerity” – cutting state budgets by decreasing the amount of social services
      • pope john paul ii exemplifies the universality of the critique of neoliberalism, “in neoliberalism, the rich get richer and the poor only get poorer.”
  • the failure of financial institutions (imf, wb, wto)
    • neoliberalism’s own economic failure, inefficiency
      • us supports the coup of chilean dictatorship, pinochet, and experiment with neoliberal policies
        • us enables a few short periods of economic growth that occur to justify the enforcement of (sap’s): privatization of previously free commodities-usually utilities, charging for social services-poor can’t afford school, etc.
    • the propensity to cause crises (argentine economic crisis) and socioeconomic polarization (latin america)
    • wave of social movement pressure
      • wto riot: failure of the seattle talks forced the wto talks out in the open as opposed to the usual privacy of closed doors (why are closed doors allowed on policies that drive globalization more than the government?)
    • imperial globalization
    • unilateralism
    • direct bilateral aid
    • republican partisanship
    • emphasis on certain (army, oil) sectors of the economy
    • corporate globalization and imperial globalization are two movements promoting the same end
      • clinton and obama are both surrounded by misdirected, pro-corporate groups, mark penn took money to promote columbian trade development
  • alternatives for the future
    • oppose neoliberalism
    • support the world social forum at porto allegre

once again, we arrive at a prototypical “everybody thinks they are right” moment. money is in the hands of the backward rulers of industry. a large movement to rectify the amorality of these leaders exists, but capital lies only in new euphemistic shades of exploitation, therefore the general public often lies in naivite. existing powers take ages to topple.

  • fun facts: 
    • joseph stiglitz, former world bank president, received the nobel prize for rejecting this movement, the washington consensus
    • wall street capitalism runs this country (profits are centralized, risks socialized)
    • we are running up the timeline of the environmental limits of global capitalism (where environmental degradation is considered an externality-inconsequential to capitalist processes) 
      • an international process of internalization must be adopted before we sink
    • burlington vermont’s community currency (used only within the city) is thriving along with the increasing popularity of the living local movement
    • pope john paul: in neoliberalism, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer
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