Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shock and awe ...

Let's start with two premises:

First you are a "free market economist" and believe that the New Deal was a betrayal of the American Dream and it must be reversed, eradicated, and totally obliterated from American History.

Second, you believe that the American People have become "spoiled" by the New Deal entitlements and will never willingly give them up.

So what do you do?

If you're the noted Economist Milton Friedman, you hypothesize that only a disaster, natural or man-made will cause enough shock to the public where they will accept return to "free market" principles as the least objectionable alternative to all other alternatives. In the process of "creative destruction" you create a "blank slate" for new economic rules to be written upon....and once the "shock" subsides, the Conservative Utopian FREE MARKET complete with rainbows, sunshine and unicorns (and ponies too!) will magically appear. In short, a society must be SHOCKED into the perfect free market. With a little help from the IMF (International Monetary Fund ) , the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the World Bank countries finding themselves in financial crisis could be blackmailed into becoming laboratories for Friedman's theories. (Pictured at right, Ronald Reagan with Fredrieck Hyek, founder of the "Austrian School" and mentor to Milton Friedman)

The first laboratory for Friedman's Shock Doctrine was Chile and it gave the world Pinocet.
It was followed by Bolivia, Argentina, and the so-called "Horn of South America". The Chicago School of Economics, inspired by the "Austrians" ...the school of economics that preached the end of the new deal like the Sermon on the Mound...quickly instituted their holy trinity of shock principles: PRIVATIZATION, DEREGULATION and ELIMINATION OF SOCIAL PROGRAMS.

It failed everywhere it was tried and instead of being "shocked" into submission, the populaces reacted with rebellion ...which in most cases was quickly put down by brutal, murderous methods...(remember reading about the "disappeared" in Argentina?) In one case, to avoid repeating the mistakes of Pinocet, the dictator sent the army into the Ford Motor Company plant to arrest union stewards. The army was joyfully assisted in arresting the union officials by the managers of the plant. The union officials were sometimes tortured in rooms provided by management on the site itself or, sometimes, taken to the back of the site and shot. Shock and awe indeed.

These "failures" didn't deter the Friedman faithful. The tried it in Poland, Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and eventually in the Pacific Rim during the Asian Crisis in Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. (As I type, the IMF and World Bank are imposing the same formula on Greece and it is being met with fierce resistance)

The Conservative wet-dream laboratory was IRAQ. Here, they could literally destroy the entire economy with the force of weapons and dismantle a functioning economic system in days. Once this was done it could be replaced with what Coalition Provisional Authority leader Paul Bremmer called, "the world's largest free trade zone." No Iraqi citizens need apply; Iraq's infrastructure and indeed its entire economic system was sold off to the highest foreign bidder in order to maximize profits. Bremer famously said, "Iraq is OPEN FOR BUSINESS".


We all know how well Bremer's petri dish of capitalism in Iraq worked.

But as with all conservatives, the failures are never their fault. They take no responsibility for anything. Chile failed because Pinocet was too brutal. Peru, Bolivia failed because the reforms weren't instituted fast enough. Russia failed because there was too much corruption inside the market. Poland failed because Solidarity didn't act fast enough.

So they tried it again.

In 2004 in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami. Didn't work there either

In 2005 in New Orleans. Didn't work there because there was too much corruption.

And what about now?

In Ohio, Maine, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin we are told we are in a "fiscal emergency" and we must....ready for this?....PRIVATIZE, DEREGULATE AND CUT SOCIAL SPENDING!

If it all sounds familiar to you its because it is the same SHOCK DOCTRINE being used on the people of the United States. Written, produced and directed by the same Republican Think tanks that brought you the Austrians and the Chicago Boys with the same dream of creating a capitalist utopia in every state in the union. Under the mantra "A rising tide raises all boats!" it is claimed that helping the "producers of jobs" by cutting their taxes, deregulation of their businesses and cutting out the "leeches" of society (poor, elderly, unions etc) eventually everybody's "boat" will rise.

Paul Volker said that the shock doctrine would be like an elevator to the top of a 50 story building. Everybody starts out at the bottom and the elevator takes a small amount of people to the top on each trip until eventually EVERYBODY gets to the top floor.

People of Poland, Russia, the Southern Horn have been waiting for that elevator your decades. The people of Iraq haven't seen even the first load of people go to the top. The displaced (permanently ) from New Orleans will never see the elevator nor will the humble fishermen of Sri Lanka whose beach property was confiscated and sold to developers of luxury resorts.

We, in each of the states are waiting for an elevator that exists only in theory.

And those at the top who told us to wait are laughing at us.

Read SHOCK DOCTRINE by Naomi'll be glad you did.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Failure of Liberalism

The Failure of Liberalism

I was surprised to see the name "Happy Rockefeller" on this post but it's a great read and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Thank you Henry Clay

I'll have to admit that my blood pressure soared recently when an acquaintance called to my attention that I had been "raked over the coals" by a political opponent on his blog site for what I considered to be a highly successful "Listening Session" for people in my ward.

Against my better judgment, I gave the opponent's site a "hit" and read his post.

It was polemics at its worst and the equivalent of a long "hiss" from him as an audience.

Then I stumbled across this anecdote from the famous abolitionist, Henry Clay.

While giving an abolitionist speech one day, Henry Clay found himself struggling to be heard above the incessant hissing of a number of slave-owners.

"Gentlemen," he finally exclaimed, "that is the sound you hear when the waters of truth drop upon the fires of hell!"

Thanks Henry...I feel much better.