Friday, February 7, 2014

The Neoliberal Presidents: Reagan, Poppy Bush, Clinton, Dubya, and Obama...and the WTO

If you think that none of this affects you, please think again after you're done reading it.  I'm too old and decrepit to worry about any of it for myself, but I'm very concerned about the impact of it on my grandchildren...now, and when they become adults.

Neoliberalism is an economic philosophy/policy which promotes (on a global scale) deregulation, privatization of government services, financial liberalization, and trade liberalization.  All the Presidents listed in the title above were/are Neoliberals.  If you believe that none of this affects you and your family, unfortunately, you're dead wrong.  If you're a "Conservative" (which really means Neoconservative) in the USA, and if you believe that Neoliberalism sounds pretty good, you're dead wrong.  Here's why.
Background---
The World Trade Organization (WTO) grew out of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).  The idea (after WW II) was to liberalize Trade around the world... make it easier, which supposedly would benefit all people.  The groundwork for the WTO, formally founded in the mid-'90s, was laid during the Reagan-Thatcher Era and the White House tenure of Poppy Bush in the '80s & early '90s...with eight years of trade talks, the so-called "Uruguay Round".
The Catch---
At the last count I'm aware of, the WTO has seventeen Agreements... only one of which has anything to do with Trade in any substantial way.  The other Agreements deal with subjects such as environmental regulations, health & safety regulations (including food safety and toy safety), unions & workers, privatization of government services, deregulation of the financial sector, rules for the SERVICE industry, etc.  Keep in mind that the WTO controls about 97% of all world trade.  Member countries must agree to all seventeen covenents.  If a country breaks one of the Agreements, the WTO can apply economic sanctions/trade sanctions to that country.  In other words, the country basically can be excluded from world trade.
So, for example, India (the world's largest Democracy) once had laws prohibiting the patenting of life forms, seeds, and medicines.  Because of WTO action, India had to repeal or drastically modify those laws.  Also because of the WTO, all water in some places in India is owned by private companies...and anyone who collects/gathers rainwater or river water is considered a thief.
Because of the sixteen other Agreements of the WTO, various countries have been forced to privatize government services such as water and electrical utilities.  In most cases, the cost of those services then went up to as much as 50% more.  This is why, as a result of the Bolivia Water War, commoners in that country essentially and eventually kicked out of their land the transnational corporation, Bechtel...they had the public water contract and water fees went up by half.
The Presidents---
Reagan, along with Prime Minister Thatcher of the UK, concocted what became known as the Washington Consensus---a global promotion of Neoliberalism.  In many ways, it's the trickle-down theory of economics---make the rich richer and benefits will trickle down to what the Oligarchy calls the "little people", or "small people", or "ignorant, meddlesome outsiders", or "spectators".  But that theory seems to have worked well only for the super-rich.
Poppy Bush was simply more of the same.  More than once, he spoke of "a New World Order", by which he meant seamless world trade and Big Business as the savior of all of us.  He didn't put it quite that way. :)
Clinton probably was the first of the Neoliberal "Democrats".  Thanks to him and Gore, NAFTA deceitfully was sold to the American public.  A lot of manufacturing and jobs went South...and mostly only Oligarchs were the financial beneficiaries.  Their Administration also was largely responsible for getting rid of the Glass-Steagall Act, thus "liberalizing" the Financial Sector...which certainly to some degree made possible the greatest heist in American history---"too big to fail".
Dubya's Adminstration was responsible for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) which included the USA, Mexico, and Canada...as well as CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement.  In the minds of the Oligarchs, the SPP was to be the pre-cursor of the North American Union.  All of these types of things are either tools of the WTO or supportive of WTO objectives.  Bush also was a big backer of deregulation and privatization...great sounding goals, but their implementation often negatively impacts the so-called "little people".
Obama, much more than the others, truly is a wolf in sheep's clothing.  He's a consummate liar and deceiver.  He blatantly promotes the TPP and TAFTA, and all other so-called "Free Trade Agreements"...selling them as the best thing since sliced bread.  He poses as some sort of "Leftist", but in reality is a Corporatist of the highest order.  He protects Big Business while backing regulatory reforms that either are window dressing or actually favoring his Corporate financial backers.  He ran more or less as a Peace candidate, but he's the most war-like President since LBJ (who also ran as a Peace candidate).  He's a genuine Neoliberal...and just as bad as Dubya.

Let's be clear.  All the above Presidents support (or in Reagan's & Poppy Bush's cases, laid the groundwork for) the WTO.  The WTO is a worldwide economic structure run by unelected elites that promotes deregulation of environmental-health-safety laws, deregulation of the financial sector, the loss of worker protections such as unions, the ability of private mega corporations to own natural resources (such as rainwater) that should be available to all, the ability of mega corps. to PATENT life forms, the ability of mega corps. to control the world seed market, the forcing of countries to accept foods with artificial growth hormones, the forcing of countries to accept genetically modified foods, the forcing of countries to accept potentially unsafe children's toys and pet foods, and on & on.  That's Neoliberalism.  The Fed Gov't (at the highest levels) and the Corporate Media have a different story...and it's a lie.

ALL the above Presidents (who are still alive) fully support and promote Neoliberalism, especially Obama.

Just my opinion...and that of many, many others.  The available scholarship on this subject is impeccable.  All you have to do is ignore the Propaganda Kool Aid and do a little digging.

[NOTE:  In addition to the economic philosophy/policy of Neoliberalism, there also is a political philosophy by the same name.  Political Neoliberalism, as you might guess, simply is broader in scope.  I don't have the time or energy for that right now.]

Happy Trails

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