Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Globalization: Part III, Philosophical Foundations

In the Scientific Method of Inquiry, there is a very significant difference between a hypothesis and a theory. The hypothesis is an educated guess, a proposed solution to a problem, and is generated after gathering information and making observations relevant to the problem. Prior to that, the first step is to identify the problem. The theory is a tested hypothesis with positive, repeatable results. A theory must stand the test of time before it is accepted as "fact". The Media often misuse the word "theory", as in their use of "conspiracy theory". My best guess is that 99% of all so-called "conspiracy theories" are, in fact, conspiracy hypotheses. A hypothesis is not "proven", even though it may contain some suggestive or even substantiating evidence. Any hypothesis can be based upon very little actual evidence; a theory is an entirely different matter.

I mention all of the above because what follows below is my hypothesis regarding Globalization. The problem I'm attempting to solve is: what caused Globalization, what brought about the ongoing process, what motivates the people involved? There's more to it than simply more profit, more power, and/or a more streamlined business atmosphere. By the way, I do NOT believe that it's a conspiracy. It's more along the lines of individuals and groups with similar interests and mutual goals working sometimes independently, sometimes cooperatively, to attain their objectives.

The first condition responsible for Globalization is the ongoing Neo-Imperialism of both the USA and the UK. We Americans like to think that our nation is not imperialistic. Scholars are divided on the question. Our history is suggestive of a definite imperialistic tendency, and we love the phrase, "Manifest Destiny". Consider these acquisitions of territory: Louisiana Purchase (1803, from France); Florida (1819, from Spain); California and the Southwest (1848, from Mexico); Alaska (1867, from Russia); Hawaii (1898, from natives); Cuba (temporarily), Guam, the Philippines (1898, from Spain); and, if you agree with Chalmers Johnson (former CIA analyst), our 800 military bases currently around the world may be considered neo-imperialistic "colonies" of a sort. All this is not even considering the conquering of American Indians. [According to Russell Means (formerly of AIM, the American Indian Movement) and John Echohawk (of NARF, the Native American Rights Fund) there is nothing whatsoever wrong with the term, "American Indian".] Some of the above territories were acquired peacefully, others by war. Finally, in 1898 Mark Twain founded the Anti-Imperialist League, mostly because of our involvement in the Spanish-American War. That seems to suggest that at least some people considered the USA to be imperialistic.

Along with our Neo-Imperialism, there is the concept of American Exceptionalism---the belief that we are more special, of greater good, than other nations. So, the argument goes, if we are in any way imperialistic, it is a benign Imperialism and for the good of the world. That concept is so indoctrinated/ingrained into our consciousness that few Americans ever question it. It is probably found in most of us, especially those who are the public and private Powers-That-Be. Included lately is the belief that we have some sort of Divine Right and Duty to "spread Democracy" around the world...even if people do not want our help. [The majority of Afghan people now want us to leave their country; that same majority does not support the corrupt Karzai government.] This mindset partly is what gives rise to the "American Empire", a controversial term representing our 800 global military bases and our securing of access to foreign resources.

The next piece of the puzzle is Neoliberalism; unfortunately, scholars can't seem to agree on the definition of it. The history either, for that matter. My best estimation is that Neoliberalism is an economic (and, some would say, social policy) theory driven by privatization, deregulation, and trade liberalization on a global scale. Most of the world has been familiar with the term for at least twenty years, except for Americans. Supposedly, the first test of it as a hypothesis was in Pinochet's Chile in 1973, after the CIA overthrow of Allende; also supposedly, it was a resounding success...depending on how one defines success. It also is the basis for the Washington Consensus, which was brought about largely by Reagan and Thatcher. One might think Neoliberalism merely is some sort of re-packaging of Conservatism, but because it involves mega corporations working closely with national governments and international agencies, it is more akin to Fascism than anything else. Organizations (such as the WTO, IMF, etc.) made up of corporatists and international bankers are telling countries how to operate, rather than the reverse.

That brings us to Supranational Corporatism, involving the Crony Capitalists of transnational mega corporations and their government cohorts. Crony Capitalism is not genuine Capitalism. Instead, it is a collusion of CEOs and their cronies in the government to bring about less and less competition in the global business arena. Together they create a Fascist framework to support activities that virtually erase national borders, eliminate smaller competitors, and marginalize national governments. Because of the supranational corporatists, we are moving gradually toward a feudal-like society with only two classes---the super rich and the poor. International bankers aid and abet the culprits by manipulating money and economies via central banks, creating economic bubbles and crashes that facilitate the looting of commoners. During the last crisis in America, the "Too-Big-To-Fail" companies became even larger, as in the cases of the recent bank mergers and buy-outs.

The corporatists have been influenced in a most significant way by the philosophies of Neo-Imperialism, American Exceptionalism, and Neoliberalism. Globalization is a logical extension of "Manifest Destiny" to the mind of a corporatist, and who better to run the world than American elites, they ask themselves. It's also reassuring (probably on a subconscious/unconscious level) that whatever Americans do must be good for the world.

In the process, the corporatists have become haughty, deceitful, and disrespectful of We the People. Some of them refer to us as "the small people"; their arrogance is palpable. It's important to understand that the transnational corporatists live in an entirely separate, artificial universe. They feel, in general, that they are way above the rest of us, that they can make their own rules and do pretty much whatever they please, legally or illegally. Cutting corners to save money is a given, even when the safety of people is involved. The current BP fiasco is evidence of that---certain cheap materials were used in the well, and warning signs of disaster were ignored...not only by BP, but by Transocean and Halliburton as well. [By the way, British Petroleum was once a public/government operation; Margaret Thatcher privatized it, and it became the private corporation, BP. This is the same BP whose Head referred to the Gulf Coast residents as "the small people".]

The last piece of the puzzle is the Theory of Propaganda and Indoctrination, based on the work of Edward Bernays, the Father of Public Relations, and his most important book, Propaganda (1928). Bernays believed that propaganda (the manipulation of public opinion toward a desired end) was "an important element in democratic society". He went on, "Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country." An important journal article of his was, "The Engineering of Consent", in which he equated propaganda with the article title. In the political arena, Bernays worked with the old United Fruit Company (Chiquita Brands International today) and the U.S. Government to bring about the overthrow of the democratically elected President of Guatemala in the 1950s. United Fruit then dominated a series of corrupt governments in that country. [A key element of the propaganda demonstrated that the President was a Communist, but he wasn't .]

We Americans seem to believe that other governments propagandize their citizens, but our government does not. I suggest that we are propagandized almost constantly by our government, especially regarding Globalization, the political party not in power at the time, and going to war. I recall a debate of sorts between Al Gore and Ross Perot in 1992 (maybe) on the Larry King Show. Gore was extolling the virtues and benefits of NAFTA...pure propaganda. Perot retorted with his famous (paraphrased), "I guarantee you, all you're going to hear is a giant sucking sound...the sound of jobs going to Mexico!". He was right; and we still have not disengaged our country from NAFTA, which was approved in 1994. The poor people of Mexico are still poor. The only ones benefitting from NAFTA are the corporatists. Then, too, Congress approved CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) in July of 2005.

For several years, the Iraq War has been a boon to a number of transnational corporations: Kellogg, Brown & Root; Blackwater; SAIC; CACI; the Carlyle Group; and others. Prior to our invasion of that country, conferences were held, showing companies how to belly up to the government trough. Propaganda was used to sell the American public on the war: WMDs; Saddam is a really bad man (that was true, but wasn't relevant to constitutional use of the military); the Iraqis want democracy (perhaps, but again, not relevant to constitutional use of the military); and, we have to go there to fight Al Qaida, so we won't have to fight them here (I won't even comment on that one). Some Americans continue to believe that our leaders were sincere, but had bad intelligence reports. Perhaps, but I very seriously doubt it. As mentioned previously, Saddam was about to accept Euros for his oil; that's why he had to go. Plus, there's Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard and Its Geostrategic Imperatives for American Primacy [Emphasis added]. Our almost one billion dollar embassy in Iraq, the largest in the world, signifies that we intend to be in that country for a very long time. All of our troops supposedly will be pulled out next year; we'll see. I sincerely doubt it.

Globalization is taking place largely because of unelected corporatists and the use of propaganda. The world appears to be grinding slowly toward a world governance (or perhaps government) by the Heads of mega corporations and other elites. Nevertheless, there does appear to be some hope for reversing the process. Not long ago in Bolivia, the municipal water system was privatized in a major city...due to a Structural Adjustment Program. The private contractor was Bechtel, a major transnational corporation. Within less than two months of taking over operation of the water system, Bechtel raised the consumer fees by fifty percent. The company also claimed rights to rain water and all the river water. The Bolivian people protested, to no avail. Finally, the People took to the streets en masse and eventually forced Bechtel out. [Under privatization in India, entire rivers have been sold to companies; the government then designates those living along a river and using the water as "water thieves".]

Many South American countries now are reevaluating their entire relationship with the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank. All of the countries there that had bases, except for Columbia, have ousted the U.S. military. We have seven military bases in Columbia, ostensibly for the "War on Drugs"; however, it's more likely the bases are there to combat the country's 40-year-old insurgency, and to intimidate Chavez in Venezuela. There was a successful coup against Chavez in 2002, but almost immediately, Venezuelans restored him to power. [I don't agree with the Chavez philosophy of ruling, but then, it's not my country...and it's none of my business.]

When Kissinger was told that Allende was going his own way, Nixon's Secretary of State responded with, "Chile is a virus that might spread contagion...", meaning, Allende must be stopped before other Latin American countries get the idea that they, too, could be independent of the U.S. Consequently, the coup was carried out. Then began the testing of the neoliberal hypothesis.

One of my great concerns is that most of the American public are largely unaware of the implications of Globalization; and further, that they have almost no interest in discovering anything about it. Without identifying the problem and seeing how it came about, nothing effective can be done to solve it. Globalization (of the sort described here) is exporting manufacturing jobs and making "colonies" out of Third World countries. Furthermore, it is transferring wealth from our Middle Class to the Upper, Upper Class at an astonishing rate. Finally, it is creating a global economic and financial superstructure that is morphing into an unelected world government. It can be stopped if We the People wake up, get organized, and oppose the elites responsible. It appears to me that the first step in opposition is to oust the politicians who have approved the various "Free Trade Agreements" (such agreements are hardly free if they're forced upon Third World countries). We need to disengage from those agreements. Next, we should question loudly who it was that put the unelected World Trade Organization essentially in charge of all global trade, and expose their extortion of poor countries relative to privatization of public services. Voting with your wallet may very well have an impact on the transnational mega corporations, but it would help if it were a coordinated effort. Other boycott type activities surely are possible. Everything we can think of should be done to preserve our sovereignty...oppose all efforts to infringe upon your individual, natural rights, even when the government claims that giving up this or that right is "for your own safety"---that's propaganda.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, it's time to realize (or at least consider) that we are in a massive political paradigm shift. The battle is no longer between Dems and Repubs, Liberals and Conservatives; that's a distraction. The political paradigm now is fast becoming the Globalists v. the rest of us, or Globalism v. Sovereignty. You can see the propaganda in the Global Corporate's visible every single day. Because of that propaganda, we are focused on the faux battle between two factions (Dems and Repubs) of the Transnational Mega Corporate Party; thus we miss crucial machinations resulting in steady progress toward an unelected world government. The culprits aren't hiding anything...they act brazenly and arrogantly, right out in the open. If we don't start to see it, then we deserve exactly what we get. God help us if that happens.

This post is the end of the series.