My apologies for this rant. I confess to being very worried about the rise of powers that would have no problem in their hearts with reducing our civil liberties; but worse, would entrench a view of the world that would destroy what it is to be human, to be of a community, and of a place. I really don’t think they see what they do because they view the world through a paradigmatic lens of mechanical money transactions in an anti-real cyberspace model world of their own imaginings.
There is no room for qualitative things like ‘democracy’ and ‘justice’ in their models, because that is all reflected in economic allocation through the market. Never mind the deeper thoughts of Amartya Sen, Robert Putnam, E.F. Schumacher, Herman Daly, John Cobb, Leopold Kohr, Adam Smith, John Kenneth Galbraith. Never mind the great moral and Political Economy thinkers. Never mind the history of neoliberal excess leading to destruction – the 1840s dispossessions, the 1890s manufactured famines of Asian colonies, the 1930s Great Depression, the constant financial mini-collapses of the last 30 years.
We have an economic order that sees: 1. large corporates and large finance as benign because they are – within the model – a reflection of their own particular ‘merit’ (like one of Adam Smith’s butchers in his village economy analogy), not their coercion or political influence, and; 2. governments as suspicious – which, by extension, means that democracy is suspicious, which by extension means that the ideas of the people are suspicious. And so liberty is lost, to rapturous applause, incrementally, little by little, just as the infamous dictators prescribed.
That anti-real view as espoused by economists of the Neoliberal ‘cult’ (and I will defend my claim it is a cult should anyone want a longer explanation) begat the horrors we now see unleashed. It forgets that the anti-real model is not the real world within which we live and breathe, then proceeded to destroy systems of balance, justice and wider & longer meanings of what it is to live and be in a communal place. It replaced those systems with their preferred and theoretical social institutions through political & media influence that treats people and our planet ‘as if’ it actually is a construct of infinite and otherwise meaningless ‘resources’.
In unwittingly designing this destruction, the neoliberal cult is actively supported by the narrowest and meanest of corporate commercial minds who hugely benefit from the loss of meaning and the peoples’ wisdom. Anyone versed in the history of the expropriation of commonwealth for private gain – followed by destruction – since the pre-classical empires of Asia-Minor will see the same patterns. Collapse is the logical corollary. Yet today the scale is different, the stakes are higher; not a mere local Empire collapse of Nebuchadnezzar (who at least dreamed of his destruction), but a potential planetary and cultural end-of-days Ragnarok.
You are destroying the sacred.
You have lost sense
Of what it is to be human,
To be a people,
To be of and in a place.
You are destroying meaning
And have replaced it
With a spreadsheet
Filled with false idols
Masked by dollar signs
To what end?
A recent TV pole revealed that only 34 percent of New Zealanders are in favour of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. The Government is losing the battle. They call it a ‘trade deal’. The people see it as a deal to lock in Corporate rights at the people’s expense.
The government spin is so obvious it is cringeworthy. This is not about trade, it is about power and control by corporations for their own ends. It is about profit, not achieved through normal Adam Smith village commerce, but through extraction, shifting the wealth of natural and social systems held in common by us all into their cashflows, with their tax deceit, and their coercion of small business and democratic systems everywhere.
More and more people see this government as a puppet for Big Corporates, with Big Corporate ethics and A big Corporate view of the world. We are clients, resources, measured in dollars. The New Zealand National Party has lost its compassionate conservative and democratic roots, and has been taken over by the wide-boy deal makers. Labour is still lost in the Neo-liberal cult, which let loose these Dogs of Commerce, and apparently cannot find a tunnel out of the abyss.
The TPPA is about Big Corporates grabbing even more of the Commonwealth. They want to set up their own court – not the International Court like the Hague where there are real judges and systems of appeal – but a Corporate Court run by their own types without anything like appeals. And THAT is supposed to tell a democratic country what its laws will be.
This is a big step toward totalitarian control by the most unethical, most short-sighted, most power-crazed, least far-sighted, least wise, most greedy, completely dys-connected degraders of our world – planet and community. Be outraged by these Corporations. Be outraged that these type of people – these people with their empty eyes – would dare to try to reduce our democracy for their own narrow ends.
That fact that they are in the negotiation room – not small local enterprises, but these Corporate mega-corrupters of the democratic process – says it all. We need to stop this – and if it does go ahead, simply ignore anything a Corporate Court tries to make us do. Gandhi Civil Disobedience is the next step. We will not lose in the long run. There are too many of us, and too few of them.
I confess, this enrages me. This is definitely a step toward a totalitarian system of government. Corporatism may one day be held in the same distain we have for Fascism. And the similarities are evident with hierarchy, control, propaganda, the grabbing of commonwealth, theft, power games, scapegoats, and the cult of the business suit as the great gods of government. The least wise, and they end up in a bunker tearing their hair out and not understanding how this Banquet of Consequences could possibly have happened in their deluded minds. We only know in hindsight the emptiness and pathetic ego-driven psyches of these types of people.
Hi Chris, This one really strikes home. Well done. And I thought it was just because I was getting old, reminiscing about the âgood old days when we could roam at willâ, and therefore losing track of âprogressâ.
But there are now decades of younger people who just do not have access to the broad education that we had, nor the underpinning of ethics and common sense that went with the freedom to take responsibility for your actions. Normally just a few cuts and bruises plus maybe reprimands that hit home.
So what to do? Civil disobedience seems doomed to fail due to negative press via the spin provided.
A sense of helplessness just keeps growing.
I would not want to be 50 years old and looking to the next 25 years.
I think I was one of the youngest to go through the extensive practical lessons after graduation Barry. I first graduated in 1984, did post-grad, and then spend years being shoved all over the place to teach me wisdom – including ethics. Doesn’t happen anymore. Treasury thought it ‘inefficient’. You are merely your university credential after all, not your broader ‘knowing’.
Even worse, a ratified TPPA will mean that the rights of foreign investors from partner countries will override countries commitments to any Climate Change agreement. And on that, I wish our newscasters would stop reiterating the out-of-date and dangerous mantra of limiting global warming to 2 degrees. The science now confirms that 1.5 is the allowable limit. Time we caught up. Time we changed the government also. I truly despair.
Until we make these mega-corporates either illegal or their power neutered, I fear it will go past that Makere. But I still have faith that people are waking up. The next decade will not be as happier a time if you are a Corporate reptile. People are waking up.
In my more hopeful moments, and I try to have many, I agree Chris. As the grandmother of seven, my mantra has become, not on my watch. Not on my watch, will they win; Not on my watch, will we go past 2 degrees warming. I wholeheartedly believe that is true for more and more people every single day.
I’ve got the same motivation Makere. “Granddad, what did you do when you all knew that you had to change the world?”