Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, February 25th, 2016 - 141 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, climate change, debt / deficit, disaster, Economy, energy, Environment, equality, farming, Financial markets, food, overseas investment, peak oil, poverty, Privatisation, sustainability - Tags:
One of my frustrations with the mainstream political parties is how they are avoiding the obvious using policies of ‘pretend and extend’ symptoms management and crisis fire fighting.
It’s nice to talk about where KiwiSaver and NZ Super is going to be in 30 years time: but only if you studiously ignore how current megatrends are going to undermine every assumption we use in the conversation.
Briefly, the ruling establishment has put our civilisation on a course which is leading to massive death and suffering via a nasty combo of environmental and resource exhaustion, fossil fuel energy depletion, severe climate change, and increased societal fragility.
Chris Hedges describes this as the Thanatos instinct, a collective and historical embrace of the impulse which works towards our mutual death and destruction.
Note, for millions in many countries around the world, this “massive death and suffering” is a present tense phenomena that we in the comfortable west have previously been shielded from.
In his original book, Perkins describes how the western economic empire corrupts/controls the leadership of entire nations in order to extract resources and economic value out of those countries for cents in the dollar. The use of debt and international institutions like the IMF, World Bank and ECB are central to crushing entire peoples into economic servitude.
Enriching a few of the co-operative local elite and chosen compradors but leaving the ordinary citizens of those countries with nothing but bitter ashes, pollution and poverty.
Now the Economic Hitmen have turned their skills and techniques against their own people in modern western countries.
Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary for the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and academic, describes how the basic EHM (Economic Hitman) process works:
An EHM is an operative who sells the leadership of a developing country on an economic plan or massive development project. The Hit Man convinces a country’s government that borrowing large sums of money from US financial institutions in order to finance the project will raise the country’s living standards. The borrower is assured that the project will increase Gross Domestic Product and tax revenues and that these increases will allow the loan to be repaid.
However, the plan is designed to over-estimate the benefits so that the indebted country cannot pay the principal and interest. As Perkins’ puts it, the plans are based on “distorted financial analyses, inflated projections, and rigged accounting,” and if the deception doesn’t work, “threats and bribes” are used to close the deal.
The next step in the deception is the appearance of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF tells the indebted country that the IMF will save its credit rating by lending the money with which to repay the country’s creditors. The IMF loan is not a form of aid. It merely replaces the country’s indebtedness to banks with indebtedness to the IMF.
To repay the IMF, the country has to accept an austerity plan and agree to sell national assets to private investors. Austerity means cuts in social pensions, social services, employment and wages, and the budget savings are used to repay the IMF. Privatization means selling oil, mineral and public infrastructure in order to repay the IMF. The deal usually imposes an agreement to vote with the US in the UN and to accept US military bases.
Occasionally a country’s leader refuses the plan or the austerity and privatization. If bribes don’t work, the US sends in the jackals—assassins who remove the obstacle to the looting process.
But that’s only the basics. There is now a very well developed, mature and diverse range of weapons and techniques that Economic Hitmen use nowadays. And they are turning their sights on western peoples in western countries. Roberts continues:
Perkins describes how Boeing plundered Washington state taxpayers. Using lobbyists, bribes, and blackmail threats to move production facilities to another state, Boeing succeeded in having the Washington state legislature give the corporation a tax break that diverted $8.7 billion into Boeings’ coffers from health care, education and other social services. The massive subsidies legislated for the benefit of corporations are another form of rent extraction and Hit Man activity.
Perkins has a guilty conscience and still suffers from his role as a Hit Man for the evil empire, which has now turned to the plunder of American citizens. He has done everything he can to make amends, but he reports that the system of exploitation has multiplied many times and is now so commonplace that it no longer has to be hidden…
People have been so badly plundered by jobs offshoring and indebtedness that consumer demand cannot support profits. Consequently, capitalism has turned to exploiting the West itself. Faced with rising resistance, the EHM system has armed itself with “the PATRIOT Act, the militarization of police forces, a vast array of new surveillance technologies, the infiltration and sabotage of the Occupy movement, and the dramatic expansion of privatized prisons.”
And what is the bottom line of Perkin’s writing, according to Roberts?:
Perkins shows that the evil empire has the world in the grip of a “death economy.”
He concludes that “we need a revolution” in order “to bury the death economy and birth the life economy.” Don’t look to politicians, neoliberal economists, and presstitutes for any help.