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Has it occurred to you how strange it is that your job can slip across international boundaries, but you are prohibited from crossing the same border to follow that job? It should.

Multinational Corporations have been busy for the last twenty years creating a new type of serf. In feudal Europe and Asia, serfs were tied to the land by a master, called the lord, and obligated to work for him. Now, the 1% are creating serfs out of whole nations of people. Sure, those lands are huge—nations—but they are still boundaries that bind you, and prevent you for selling your work freely, while multinational corporations are borderless entities.

Seeking to continue the tail spin to the bottom of wages, big business has been busy writing international treaties, allowing jobs to shift to ever lower paying environments with the least protections for workers. Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam are already involved in the latest negotiations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If signed the treaty will be a “docking agreement” open to any country to sign later. Canada and Mexico are expected to join this month. Japan and China are being courted to join. It is the largest trade agreement the world has ever seen.

The treaty creates an über-government superseding and overriding existing law in sovereign nations--seeking to stamp out democracy. In old feudalism, it was the Catholic church that held dominion over the nations of man. Now “the market” has taken the place of God. Profits are all that matters. Anything the market endorses is right because the market is infallible, unchallengeable. Keep democracy out of it.

The powerful and wealthy have finally found a way to regain the power they once held in feudal times. They have done it in ways intentionally hidden from the majority. Most of us don’t even realize we are in a battle for the type of global governance we will have in the future. For the last 50 years corporate leadership have simply bought our democracies and media outlets, making it easy for corporations to gain the upper hand, and convince voters to support governance that is secretive and totalitarian, without letting voters know they are doing so. Now the 1% want to solidify that power into an actual international treaty. They are seeking one economy under the rule of American corporations. They are, in fact, seeking world dominion.

The Cost of NAFTA

In 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was sold to the American public with grand promises. NAFTA would create tens of
thousands of good jobs here. U.S. farmers would export their way to
wealth. NAFTA would bring Mexico’s standard of living up, providing
new economic opportunities there that would reduce immigration to the
U.S.--Public Citizen
NAFTA was the opening salvo for the economy of outsourcing. Instead of focusing on reducing tariffs and trade quotas, NAFTA was a new breed of trade agreements. It protected the rights of foreign investors—even over the rights of the people in democratic countries.

Now, 19 years after NAFTA, most of us can clearly see the benefits touted to the
American worker never materialized. Instead of creating jobs, free trade agreements slashed wages and jobs on both sides of national borders. Investors used NAFTA’s new protections to move US operations to Mexico, where wages were lower and regulations lax. This skyrocketed the US trade deficit and unemployment.  Since NAFTA, one in four manufacturing jobs in the US has eroded away, more than a million jobs lost.

Even for the jobs left in the US, the race to the bottom was on. The workers, who still had jobs, felt pressure from the growing number of jobless to accept poorer benefits and, finally, lower wages. NAFTA gutted worker unions, leaving workers without protections from downward pressure on their wages. Decreased income, means decreased tax base, and decreased ability to pay mortgage payments, adding fuel to the housing crisis. This deprived state funded social services, like schools and road repair, eroding local safety nets just when people needed them most.At the same time NAFTA allowed companies to off shored their production, it also allowed those same companies to bring goods and services back into the US duty (tariff) free--thus the “free” in free trade. The end result was increased worker productivity that was rewarded with lower wages, no safety net, and a smaller share of the wealth of the nation, resulting in the redistribution of wealth to the upper 1%. The pro-NAFTA Peterson Institute for International Economics estimated that 39% of the wage inequity that developed during this time was due to trends in international trade. Even with the cheaper goods on Walmart shelves, US workers are worse off with the wage decreases they have suffered.

Bad for American workers, the agreement was a disaster for Latin Americans. NAFTA duped Mexico, the same way Walmart duped the rest of America. It promised more jobs to Latin American countries if they would give foreign investors a tax break. Local businesses were put at an economic disadvantage by this unequal taxation. Instead of  bringing new jobs, foreign corporations merely shifted jobs from local companies to foreign companies. This lead to a large share of  profits going off shore, destabilizing Latin American economies. Additionally, NAFTA was used to extract $325 million from member countries in tribunals that overturned already frail environmental laws and labor protections.

Mexican markets were flooded with US taxpayer subsidized corn and wheat products. The subsidized products were priced below what it costs to actually grow these commodities due to the US tax money given to industrial producers of wheat and corn. The price paid for a bushel of corn to a small Mexican farmer, campesino, fell by 50%. Yet the price of tortillas actually increased 279%, leading to food riots in Mexico.  The real value of Mexican minimum wage fell by 20%, and the number of families in need of food assistance increased by 50%. Yet, every attempt the Mexican government made to preserve jobs was met with judicial challenges by corporations whose investors are “wronged” by such favoritism of the government. Mexico is now on the verge of becoming a failed state. Migration to the north, due to this social collapse, increased 60% in the years after NAFTA. The massive influx of Latin American workers into the US (undocumented workers up 185%) cycled around to put further downward pressure on US worker wages.

Public Citizen: NAFTA’s Broken Promises

Obama and Free Trade

Leaked drafts of the agreement “sent shock waves through Congress because it showed that U.S. negotiators had totally abandoned Obama’s campaign pledges to replace the old NAFTA trade model and in fact were doubling down and expanding the very Bush-style deal that Obama campaigned against in 2008 to win key swing states.” --Lori Wallach, Public Citizen Global Trade Watch
Obama campaigned against NAFTA and used his stance on NAFTA in his bid for the presidency in 2008, saying it was time to rewrite our trade agreements to something that would create jobs. After his election, he dusted off the free trade deals, Bush could not get through Congress, and became their champion.
Obama also called for congressional passage of three controversial free trade pacts, stating “It’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama, Colombia and South Korea.” --Between the Lines
All these deals made it past the Republican dominated Congress. Obama even touted this as a success in the recent debates. Despite his assertion that the deals bolstered US exports, the governments own figures show a widening of the trade deficit by 29% over 2011 levels, dragging down jobs with it. Estimates are that 50,000 jobs were lost in the first few
months of the trade deals. The promised controls over laws in South America have not materialized either—Panama is still a tax haven and Columbia is still the most dangerous place in the world to be a labor leader.
AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka, has warned that a free trade agreement with South Korea will cost U.S. workers 159,000 jobs, while a deal with Colombia will cost 54,000 jobs. -- Between the Lines
After the election, Obama called for a stop to Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations for a “period of reflection.” That reflection never came. The negotiations continued, and Obama’s stance shifted, possibly due to worsening recession—with the thought that the trade agreement would increase jobs. This is nonsense, of course, but many of his advisers supported NAFTA in the Clinton era.
CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins said, "The TPP is shaping up to become one of the biggest and most destructive trade agreements because it could lead to even more offshoring of our manufacturing and service sector jobs, downward pressure on wages and benefits, and the subversion of our labor rights and environmental protections. But the public is unaware that the TPP even exists because negotiators are keeping their proposals hidden. Americans deserve the right to know what's being proposed in our names." --Communications Workers of America

At the time that NAFTA was being negotiated, the full text of the agreement was available on line. This led to a firestorm of controversy—not that the demonstrations against NAFTA had any effect. The agreement was still passed by the Clinton administration.

With NAFTA, jobs went to lower paid Mexico. Other free trade agreements saw jobs flee from Mexico to China. Now, big business feels Chinese workers are being paid too much and have too many protections! They want to move jobs to Vietnam and Malaysia.  Labor unions and opposition political parities are illegal in Vietnam
making it the new bottom for low paid, exploited workers.

ACLU has called TPP one of the biggest threats to free speech that nobody knows about. Almost every environmental group and most worker unions have come out against the agreement. Even the Tea Pary is largely against both NAFTA and TPP. Unfortunately, Tea Party candidates usually vote for free trade once in

Globalization leaders apparently learned a lesson from their ordeal with NAFTA. While Obama’s trade negotiator, Ron Kirk,  called the TPP negotiations “the most engaged and transparent process [possible].”--Public Citizen the truth is self evident. TPP is being negotiated behind closed doors since 2008. (That’s right in the middle of the financial crisis that NAFTA helped to create, the Bush administration opened up another chapter of globalization in secret. Color me surprised.)

None of the text of this agreement is available for the press, Congress, or the peoples of the world who will labor under the treaty. When Sen Ron Wyden, on both the Budget and Finance Committees, requested to read the agreement, he was told
it would not be available in the Congressional reading room, where secret
documents are kept, but he would have to go to the negotiations without staff, paper or pen, in order to read the text.

The secrecy surrounding the negotiations is breathtaking. In July, 134 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk requesting that the appropriate congressional committees be consulted and that a draft of the text be released. The members reminded Kirk that draft texts were circulated and congressional committees consulted throughout the NAFTA negotiations in the early 1990s. Their letter received no response. A month later, House members petitioned Kirk to allow a congressional delegation to observe the negotiations—as in the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the launch of the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization, and numerous NAFTA rounds. Despite its persistence, Congress has not been granted any significant oversight or insight regarding the
negotiations.--Foreign Policy in Focus
A quarter million signatures on petitions were turned in to the US trade representative asking for the text to be released. The only response from the negotiators was to accelerate the timetable for the process so the deal can be signed before public outcry can be obtained.
The schedule for negotiation has recently accelerated in order to bring the agreement to a close. The process has become more and more closed—stakeholder forums, which were more common toward the beginning of the process, have now been replaced with “stakeholder tables” – a table staffed by interested stakeholders to which negotiators may or may not go. The negotiators are also holding off-the-record "intersessional" meetings between official sessions. Public Knowledge
Currently the text is not to be release to Congress or the public until the negotiations are complete. Congress will be asked to ratify it after a brief time for the public to comment on the deal. Of course, the public will need to comment on it after a near complete media blackout. Proposals that lead up to the final agreement would not be available until four years after it is signed.

Yet, 600 corporate “advisers” from companies like Wal-Mart, Cargill, Halliburton, Dow Chemical, and led by General Electric, the US corporation that prides itself in pioneering outsourcing, have direct access to the US trade negotiator. It is actually US law that the US trade rep consult with corporate leaders before, during, and after the writing of a trade agreement. The corporate leadership gets to red line any part of this agreement before Congress and the rest of us get a chance to even see it.

Springing a Leak

All the concerns about NAFTA and jobs and trade deficits are amplified in the TPP. Asia, unlike South America, is a hub of technology. Green jobs and high tech
jobs promised in the presidential campaign will go overseas to Asia under this

Luckily, the secrecy has been rather leaky. Three sections of the draft have been leaked to the public so far. What has emerged is NAFTA on steroids, with even more
draconian provisions by corporations to overturn democracy and national sovereignty. Only 3 of the 26 chapters of the agreement deal with trade. The other 23 chapters are a dream sheet of corporate hegemony.

1. A Gift for Big Pharma: 

The agreement increases the number of years a pharmaceutical company has a monopoly over a drug, beyond the twenty years that already applies in the US. It would broaden the scope of patents, making even minor variations of an old medication patentable, while making it harder to challenge a patent. Finally, it would demand that patents be allowed on plants, animals and surgical procedures.

Developing nations would be prevented from using generics before drug monopolies ended. TPP would negatively impact the number of patients getting compassionate AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria therapy.  The first round of generic treatments for patients with HIV in poor nations brought the price per patient from $10,000 to $120.

Just because Britain was such a smarty-pants about your public health care system at the Olympics, the US trade negotiator is pushing several clauses to prevent governments from using formularies to reduce prices for medications, considered a form of price fixing here in the Pharma-friendly US. Of course, most other countries use formularies to keep prices low. TPP would force countries to have a judicial appeal system for pharmaceuticals to make sure governments “appropriately recognize the value” of various drugs. In Australia, where such a system has been implemented, the result was predictably higher drug costs.
 --Public Citizen, Citizen Trade

“The leaked text confirms the worst fears of health officials.  
The Obama White House is walking back the core concessions on patent
extensions, patent linkage and test data protection that were
negotiated with the Bush White House in May 2007.  Obama is now
objectively much worse than Bush on these issues.  It may help
the White House raise campaign money from big drug companies, or help
USTR officials find their next high paying job working as lobbyists
for the drug companies.  It is a huge disappointment for us.  
The texts cover complex issues, and it is hard to summarize all that
is important.   Even as regards to the reference to the WTO Doha
Agreement, the White House tries to sneak in text that makes it
appear as though it is limited to only some diseases or emergencies.
  Collectively, the provisions are designed to strengthen IPR
monopolies on drugs, and make it harder to regulate prices.  The
consequences of stronger monopolies and higher prices are less access
to medicine.”— James Love, Knowledge Ecology International
Don’t be fooled here. Obama is touting increased access. "Increasing access" means new drugs get to market faster and drug companies have access to more markets. What we need is not access to medications, but affordable medications.
“The leaked draft intellectual property proposals by the United States for the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement have confirmed our fears that the Obama administration is walking away from previous efforts to ensure that developing countries can access affordable medicines, setting a dangerous new standard that will likely be replicated in future trade agreements with developing nations. The administration is touting a so-called ‘access window’ as a mechanism to boost access to medicines. In fact, the administration is confusing access with affordability. The ‘access window’ is all about getting brand-name drugs to market faster, and giving their producers longer monopoly rights that prevent price-lowering competition and keeping medicines out of the hands of the millions of people who need them. Our doctors who work across the developing world rely on affordable generic medicines to trade patients. For example, competition among generic manufacturers is what brought down drug prices for HIV/AIDS by 99 percent, from US$10,000 per person per year to roughly $100 today. Trade agreements of the type being pushed this week in Peru threaten these types of crucial gains in access to life-saving medicines.”— Judit Rius Sanjuan, Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders
2. Gutting Worker and Environmental Protections at the Global Level:
. . . negotiations thus far have given corporations the right to avoid government review when acquiring land, natural resources, or factories. They have also banned corporate performance requirements, guaranteed compensation
for the loss of “‘expected future profits’ from health, labor, [or] environmental” regulations, and included stunning provisions concerning the right to “move capital without limits.” If these are indeed terms of the TPP, then the agreement would make it nearly impossible for countries to hold corporations accountable for their conduct—and would in fact hold governments liable for any “damage” incurred by corporations due to the institution of regulations.--Foreign Policy in Focus

TPP has a rewrite of NAFTA’s  "Investor State Section." Corporations can sue governments directly for violations of their investor's rights and for projected loss of profits due to democratically passed laws. They do this, not in an impartial international court, but in a tribunal set up with corporate interests in mind, called an “investor-state dispute settlement mechanism.” If the democratic laws of a nation are found to be in conflict with the trade agreement, the trade agreement wins. Corporations can demand taxpayer money to replace predicted future profits not realized due to a nation's laws. Multinationals already did this in Guatamla Peru, El Salvador, Ecuador and the US. In the US portions of  the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammals Protection Act have all been rolled back under similar agreements. That is why you don’t see dolphin free tuna any more. In fact over $325 million have been extracted already just from countries involved in NAFTA via such a tribunal.--Counterpoint, Public Citizen, Citizen Trade

So far, Australia stands alone in resisting this part of the TPP agreement. Kudos to
the Kiwis.

The provisions undo laws that force exports to be manufactured into some sort of
commodity, making “rip and ship” economies more likely. Current laws in developing nations prohibit raw materials, like logs, from leaving the country. They force exporters to make raw materials into a commodity, like boards, so they support local manufacturing economies. These laws would be undercut, allowing foreign corporations to come into a country, and take the raw materials for export at an inexpensive price, increasing mining or drilling in less developed nations by the cheapest way possible, without regard for the local people or the environmental destruction. The acquired raw materials are shipped to the Western world at a lower financial cost, but a much higher environmental and social cost. Citizen Trade

3. Capital Controls Overturned

After the banking crisis, some countries did re-regulate banks. Countries which instituted such capital controls could be taken to court by private corporations and could be held liable for damages. Limits on the size and scope of financial institutions (too big to fail laws) would be outlawed, reducing the regulation of hedge funds and insurance companies.--Foreign Policy in Focus, Public Citizen --Citizen Trade

4. Public Safety Sacrificed

Countries would be forced to import food that does not meet their minimal safety requirements. The pact would mandate “scientifically justifiable” safety laws, which would undercut any “precautionary principle” for putting new pesticides and other chemicals into the environment. In other words, you would have to prove that a new or current chemical, food additive, genetically modified food caused cancer or some other harm before it could be restricted or removed from your countries shelves.Additionally, US subsidized corn, soy, cotton, wheat and rice would be dumped on the poorer countries, driving out their family farms. This works to condense the owners of the global food supply into fewer and fewer hands. (Anyone read The Wind Up Girl?) --Public Citizen, CitizenTrade

5. Copyright Use

The draft strengthens copyright to the point of the ridiculous. “Fair use” laws that allow limited copies at libraries and for educational purposes (including the
 block quotes commonly seen on blogs) could be abandoned.--Public Knowledge

6. Public Procurement Provisions: The agreement provides companies greater access to government contracts. This would prevent local governments from favoring local businesses to keep taxpayer dollars in the local economy. It also prevents local governments from spending money preferentially on businesses that do not pollute their environment, advance social goals, or have good human rights records.--Citizen Trade

These represent roll backs of legislation won during the Bush era, making Obama actually worse than Bush on these issues. TPP is being called a trade agreement, but most of the agreement is granting business new privileges over nations and democracies. Collectively this agreement represents big businesses interest in domination of world governments and the end of democracy.

Citizen Trade
Citzens Trade Campaign
Transnational Capitalist Class (i.e. the 0.0001%)
Between the Lines Audio with Ben Beachy
Counterpoint audio with Arthur Stamoulis
Eyes on Trade
What Corporations are Seeking from the Deal
Sign the Petition to tell Obama you want to see the text of the agreement
Donate to reward offered by Wikileaks for leaks of the Agreements drafts

Originally posted to Anti-Capitalist Meetup on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow, a Tour De Force, TPau! (17+ / 0-)

    This will take some time to digest, so I'll be back later to comment further.  

    Thanks for all your hard work.

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:12:10 PM PST

  •  Thanks for making the connection (22+ / 0-)

    between transnational corporations and neo-feudalism. I still feel that part of the solution lies in the creation of strong unions to represent the workers. In today's world, these unions must also be transnational in order to be effective. In the neo-feudal model, traditional governments are ineffective because they are localized and less powerful than the corporations.

    •  Great points... (14+ / 0-)

      I think you are completely right about unions needing to be as transnational as the corporations that they are pitted against. Perhaps the Wobblies need to go international!

      De air is de air. What can be done?

      by TPau on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:33:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How Right You Are: Transnational Unions Needed. (13+ / 0-)

      Upon reading the horrendous implication of this transnational trade agreement, my first thought was what the hell can we do to stop this in its tracks?

      The first step is obviously to demand that the terms of these negotiations be released to the public.  (Thanks TPau for giving the link to a petition to that effect: See "Sign the Petition to tell Obama you want to see the text of the agreement" above.)

      One hopes that brave whistle-blowers will continue to release what the can as well.

      But ultimately a counter-force, like a transnational labor union is required to effectively resist these multinational capitalist efforts to reduce workers (and consumers)  throughout the world to the status of serfs, if not slaves, for the imperialists.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:47:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We should all be Wobblies. (10+ / 0-)

        De air is de air. What can be done?

        by TPau on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:53:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed, we need international labour unions (8+ / 0-)

        whose actions are not tied to a capital-labour accord and we need to revive notions of international solidarity as capital mobility due to cheap labour keeps workers in those countries where trade unions have not been allowed to organise working for low wages and also leads to unemployment and eroding of living standards in the advanced capitalist world. What needs to be done is increase the standards of living, job protections and workers rights in those countries, not maintaining their poverty and destroying our rights in the advanced capitalist world. Putting the blame where it belongs, on MNCs or Transnational corps is essential; the "their stealing our jobs" enables divide and rule between workers and only strengthens the hand of capital.

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:04:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree--that whole "taking our jobs"... (6+ / 0-)

          idea is just to divide and conquer labor. We are all better off realizing that workers have more in common regardless of which country they are from, than the 1% has with any worker, even if that 1% was born here.

          De air is de air. What can be done?

          by TPau on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:16:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  agreed completely TP! (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TPau, Justina, Ojibwa, mint julep, George3

            It is so important to support their struggles and to get them to support ours; it is the same struggle and we have the same enemy! I was thrilled to see pictures of indian workers supporting striking walmart workers and we must do the same when they go out to fight for their rights!

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:18:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  one thing about international labor unions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Of course, I agree that worker solidarity is important, if we are to combat global corporatism. What I wonder is- some workers conditions are more desperate than others? For example, I think American workers have more access to tools for organizing, in terms of time and technology, than maybe Indian or Chinese workers? Also, in terms of organizing internationally, how would one involve oneself in a way that is not harmful to those who live under more repressive governments? Like I said, I am in agreement that workers need to organize, I am just thinking of the giagantitude of the corporate state/system (?? not sure what to call it- I guess global capital in general) and the logistics involved.

    •  Excellent article. Two main concepts that are (10+ / 0-)

      necessary to making their agenda work are capital mobility combined with labor immobility (the nation state's borders and restrictions along with the inability for most poor workers to go where the jobs are, though, as our immigration debate shows, workers are clearly trying.

      We absolutely need real international unions, not just unions with International in their name.  We can also fight the capital flight to wherever the labor is cheaper and workers are not organizing by finding ways to stabilize capital and labor regionally.  The coop movement has had some success with with this (see harvey) and some unions are even beginning to show an interest in this as a new tactic.  We certainly, in a global economy where the national state is breaking down cannot go back to traditional import substitution.  BTW, I think this is the reason both Obama and Clinton have always been free traders --they think that any globalized economy will have to operate beyond the concept of nation states.  the trick is to do it in a way that we choose, not at the expense of the workers.

      Sorry it's taken me so long to participate, but was trying to work on my new netbook --finally gave up and found a regular desktop.

  •  ACM Schedule (and a plea for volunteers) (7+ / 0-)

    Hello fellow travellers:

    We desperately need writers for the rest of the month and for December and the coming year. The series is reliant upon contributions from all members so that we can share the wealth of ideas, actions and experiences of anti-capitalists across political lines. Please volunteer! Reply to this message or send a private message to ny brit expat (who is coordinating posting).


    18: Una Spenser and NY brit expat


    30: Annieli

    January 2013:


    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:32:56 PM PST

  •  Your title reminded me of Thomas Frank's fine book (12+ / 0-)

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:40:48 PM PST

  •  We're fucked (9+ / 0-)

    Isn't there a guillotine somewhere not being used????

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:41:03 PM PST

  •  Thank you for this wonderful diary (6+ / 0-)

    on a subject that has been way overdue for discussion. What we are seeing here is free mobility of capital (capitalist competition) with labour free to move between countries in free-trade pacts like in the EU.

    This is an excellent piece covering the impact of NAFTA on the US; but it has had awful impacts on Mexico as well and that needs to be addressed. The only ones that gain from these blocs are the MNCs and capitalists; invariably labour is screwed over both in the more advanced countries and in the lesser developed economies in this situation, reinforcing lower wages in poorer countries and undermining jobs and wages in the advanced countries.

    As you know I strongly disagree with describing the situation of labour immobility here as neo-feudal. Labour is not tied to a specific land or an aristocratic lord as in the feudal system. In feudalism, feudal lords literally owned the serfs that were tied to the land (read Gogol's dead souls). The amount received as subsistence was conditioned by historical customs and agreement. The idea of forced labour in lieu of taxes (in the form of a corvee, see Corvee), or payment of rent in kind or in money for forced labour upon the lord's land distinguishes this system from the modern one.

    The fact is you could go and work in countries where these factories moved if they are part of a free trade pact, but the reality is that wages are far lower there and that is why capital has moved there in the first place. Wage protection across the pacts are never enforced (if they even exist as the point of free mobility is to take advantage of wage differentials and costs of raw materials in underdeveloped capitalist countries or emergent economies). The fact is that you would not want to go there; this does not mean that labour is not free. Free labour means that you have to essentially sell your labour for subsistence and you can switch jobs, you are not forced to labour under one aristocrat for the rest of your life. To call this modern situation of immobility of labour between countries, neo-feudalism is misleading. You can go and work in other places, you can apply for jobs overseas. But you most probably do not want to go and work where these jobs have gone as they are paid pennies on what you made in the US.

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:53:31 PM PST

    •  I disagree. In some cases you can jump... (7+ / 0-)

      a border to follow a job, (you going to England) but often you can not. Ask the Latin American population here. The mobility only goes one way--down. That is what keeps the pressure on.

      This is a dynamic situation. The comparison to feudalism is looking where this situation leads in the future, not where it is now. This agreement leads to corporate hegemony with nation-state borders being no more important than the boundaries of the lord's manor with the bulk of people in a state of inescapable subservience.

      De air is de air. What can be done?

      by TPau on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:30:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I was saying in terms of travelling (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Le Gauchiste, Geminijen, cynndara, George3

        cross-country, most countries in Europe have limited immigration for those outside of Europe unless they are highly skilled workers; it is getting harder and harder for those with no skills to move across borders. You can easily move to europe to work as a doctor for example, but someone that is a dog walker cannot. Academic workers, those working for finance capital are mobile; but lower skilled workers are not. However, look at immigrant labour towards the US from Mexico, these are predominately low skilled workers. If workers wanted to go to Mexico to work, they would receive wages there which are far below the wages in the US in those industries that moved there. They moved there because of the low wages. What is needed is not necessarily labour mobility between countries, what is needed is workers rights, decent wages, and protection of regulation between countries. This disincentivises capital to shift overseas in search of cheaper costs of production and raises everyone up. This is not what free trade pacts are designed to do; they are meant to undercut wages everywhere ... it is the internationalisation of capitalist competition.

        I agree completely that the power and control of nation states in terms of international controls is extremely weak and is being weakened as part of globalisation. But this is not feudalism and calling it feudalism merely introduces confusion to the discussion. We are not owned by the MNCs in the sense of serfdom or slavery; free labour means that we are free to sell our labour at the going wage; in other words, we are free to starve to death in the absence of a social welfare state as we need to sell our labour to survive. Under feudalism, we have no choice between aristocrat 1 or 2; we are owned by them and must work for them under law and custom. All I see here is the expansion of capitalist economic relations globally on a world scale; this has nothing to do with feudalism and it is not returning. In fact, work is even more precarious than ever; "jobs for life" are becoming more and more of a fantasy in the advanced capitalist world with workers being forced into part-time, temporary labour and sub-contracting to undermine the working conditions and standards of living that people have fought for since the capitalist system becoming dominant. When I see this neo-feudal argument, it appears to me that people are not recognising what the capitalist system is, have no idea of the relationship between serfs and lords under feudalism, and there is an implication that capitalism was something that it never was; the linkage between wages and productivity that we saw in the post-war period was due to high levels of growth and the strength of trade unions in the context of class struggle in capitalism. The deliberate shift of manufacturing and industry to the peripheral economies and emergent economies was part and parcel of the elimination of trade union power and capital shifting countries (rather than sectors) in search of higher profitability. What is feudal about the capital/labour relation here?  This is why I keep saying read Gogol's Dead Souls, read Lenin's The Development of Capitalism in Russia, look at the debates on transition from Feudalism to Capitalism between Sweezey, Rodney Hilton, some of which is in this book: We are not free in that in the absence of a social welfare state (which they are working hard to destroy) we cannot survive w/o selling our labour; but we are "free" in that we can move from master to master and are not formally owned. Labour mobility is not a panacea for the problems we are facing; we need to ensure levels of subsistence for all, job conditions and job protections for all irrespective of what country they are in. We can also call for limits to capital mobility, we can demand regulation of said capital internationally, we can demand international taxing to stop tax avoidance, there are many things that can be done. But labour mobility, why would that help?

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:09:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re feudalism (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NY brit expat, annieli

          What NY brit expat said.

          After fascism, feudalism is the most abused word in the lexicon of politico-economic history.

          "Karl Marx and Frederick Engels came to the checkout at the 7-11 Marx was skint - but he had sense Engels lent him the necessary pence What have we got? Yeh-o, magnificence!!" (The Clash, 1976-1983)

          by Le Gauchiste on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:02:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You're absolutely right as far as analysis goes -- (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          northsylvania, George3

          but it was just such strong imagery as far as workers being stuck in each nation state.  Obviously workers need to organize globally for better wages (and other more integral rights!), but when they can only enter another country illegally, it makes it much more difficult to organize and plays into the genral race to the bottom.Actually when I first read the piece, I knew you were going to jump all over the feudalism comparison because of your economic training, if nothing else. And really, you are of course right.  Guess it was just my literary background that made me want to cut TP a little slack on this.

          •  In a situation where people do not even (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cynndara, George3

            understand what capitalism is, how can introducing the idea that this is neofeudalism help people understand what is happening in the world economy? I understand the allusion, it is inaccurate and confuses people.

            Feudalism covered the needs of its lower class in agriculture; the same can not be said of capitalism. The general race to the bottom is not caused by immigrants coming to advanced capitalist countries, it is caused by the destruction of manufacturing sectors and the elimination of wage protection, job protection and legislation on the workplace. The argument that "competition" is not working as our workers are too protected, too well paid has been a part of all the arguments on export-led growth (justifying lowering wages for competitive purposes) has been used in Germany, is being used in the UK now and has been used throughout the periphery and emergent economies to justify denial of workers rights and union organisation. You know this ... add to this the destruction of sectors of industry and manufacturing which were strongly union organised, privatisation measures where non-union labour would be hired means erosion. Labour migration will not solve the problem.

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 05:09:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I understand your concern about the analogy to (5+ / 0-)

      feudalism, but in a loose image way, i think it works.  In fact, due to immigration laws, general poverty, etc. most labor is not free to move to where the jobs are. It is one of the reasons this agenda works. Capital moves into a country, as soon as workers organize, they move on leaving the workers behind. Interestingly, this dynamic actually resulted in a new tactic -- workers taking over the businesses when the corporate interests flee for greater profit and even cheaper labor.  this was how the recoperated factories started in Argentina.  I am not suggesting this as a total solution, just one tactic. Obvously we need reall international unions.  We also have to start strategizing in a global way instead of just asking for the same old import substition model.  Most, but not all unnions stil think of themselves as American workers or chinese workers, instead of aligning with the workers in other countries which is the only long term solution, along with developing regional pockets of production that can stabilize the economy when the corporations try to run from one area to another.  As the young anarchists say, think globally, act locally.  

      •  All great points. Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northsylvania, George3

        De air is de air. What can be done?

        by TPau on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:10:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It simply adds confusion to a discussion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that is already, imho, confused. This is a great piece discussing globalisation and the move to increase it even further. The argument on feudalism or neo-feudalism makes things confusing; we are not owned by anyone. We sell our ability to labour, not our labour itself. We are not serfs or slaves.

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:12:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Jumping in w/both feet . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat

      Re "feudalism", what I invariably see in these discussions is a lack of understanding of the PROTECTIONS feudalism actually held for the worker/serfs.

      First of all, by no means all of the poor in feudal times were serfs.  Poor cottagers and smallholding free men owning acreages of 1-5 acres (insufficient to feed a family) were common.  These people were analogous to today's workers, in that they lacked sufficient capital resources to survive without selling either their labor or products produced without access to adequate real capital.

      Second, "serfs" had evolved OUT of slaves held by Roman aristocracy, and there was actually a long development of gradually increasing rights and protections culminating eventually in legal emancipation.  According to when you investigate, European serfs could be anything from near-slaves to serfs-in-name-only.  At the least, they always had the legal right to accumulate personal wealth and purchase their freedom with it, thereby providing a means to escape perpetual servitude to a hated master.

      Third, serfdom was attached to the land, or capital property, not to the individual lord.  If the property changed hands, all serfs went with it.  There was little difference from a corporation purchasing a smaller company.  All the workers go along with the plant.

      Fourth, while running away was technically illegal, it was practically impossible to prevent.  Serfs regularly eloped from their estates, found jobs in chartered towns or taverns, and were officially free if they managed to elude recapture for a year and a day.  Practically, again, few lords had the motivation or the wherewithal to chase down a single reluctant worker unless he took valuable property with him.  Policing over distances greater than about three days' travel (60 miles or so) was virtually unknown.  Identity documents didn't exist except for some church birth records and introductions for diplomats and government officials.

      Finally, worker protections were gradually built up over the course of the medieval era from simple prohibitions on random killing in the course of baronial warfare to a statutory plethora of holy days, reciprocal gifts, and socially mandatory givebacks.  We talk about getting the crumbs from the corporate table; in the medieval era the aristocrats were religiously required to send the leftovers from every meal out to the poor waiting at the gate to receive them.  For every tax, there was a reciprocal largesse demanded of the owner.  And while the owner had more privileges and lived much better than his serfs, the localism of feudal life created a situation where he could not easily survive without the willing cooperation of his workforce.  When harvest time came around, he could hire a few extra bodies from the nearest towns, but for the most part, he had to depend on his own people.  If they refused to work, or even delivered slow and surly obedience, his income for the entire year would plummet.

      Anyway, my fundamental gripe is that yes, "free-trade" capitalism is nothing like feudalism.  It's worse.  In the feudal system, the wealthy and privileged had responsibilities enforced both by the Church and by the realities of limited population and poor transport that made them dependent on a defined pool of workers.  Capitalists have no such restraints.

      •  exactly and thanks! (0+ / 0-)

        the historical points that you make really help. Thank you for this!

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:49:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent job! (7+ / 0-)

    Loaded with info and well-written. Just one thing...

    So far, Australia stands alone in resisting this part of the TPP agreement. Kudos to the Kiwis.
    Australians are Ozzies, New Zealanders are kiwis. ;)

    Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

    by Purple Priestess on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:19:06 PM PST

  •  Thanks for a well-researched diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TPau, Justina, NY brit expat

    It illustrates the problem in stark terms.

    The big question, as I see it, is what do we do about it?

    A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

    by slatsg on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:28:13 PM PST

    •  This is the best question! Some suggestions: (7+ / 0-)

      Tell Prez Obama that you want to see the entirety of the agreement on the internet. See the link above.

      Tell others about the TPP so more people are aware and waiting for it to come to Congress.

      Keep your eyes pealed for when this treaty does go in front of Congress for approval. Pressure your representatives not to vote for confirmation. If they hold commentary near you, go and bring friends to tell Congress this is not what you want.

      Continue to pressure our leaders to revoke corporate "personhood."

      STOP SUPPORTING LEADERS WHO DO THIS TO US! Consider the Green Party. Peace and Freedom?

      There is discussion, above, about international worker unions. I think that is a great idea. All of us should belong to the IWW.

      Support independent news. Much of this info, I got from independent news including Unwelcome Guests, Between the Lines, and Project Censored.

      De air is de air. What can be done?

      by TPau on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:50:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Demolition of Nation State Sovereignty Cometh. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NY brit expat, TPau, Geminijen, tardis10
    . . . negotiations thus far have given corporations the right to avoid government review when acquiring land, natural resources, or factories. They have also banned corporate performance requirements, guaranteed compensation for the loss of “‘expected future profits’ from health, labor, [or] environmental” regulations, ...
    So much for sovereign nation states and any vestige of nation-based democracy.  One world corporate government here we come.  We will need a very big "one world union" to counter-act this:  
    Workers of the World, Unite.  You have nothing to loose but your chains.

    becomes even more relevant than it was in 1848.

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:37:41 PM PST

    •  Ya know, I have no problem with a global... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mint julep, NY brit expat

      government. In fact, I think it is a necessity, giving our shrinking world. I have a problem with the corporate rule part. Democracy, real democracy, needs to push back.

      Picking up the chant:

      Workers of the World, Unite.  You have nothing to loose but your chains.

      Workers of the World, Unite.  You have nothing to loose but your chains.

      Workers of the World, Unite.  You have nothing to loose but your chains.

      De air is de air. What can be done?

      by TPau on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:54:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Can See Feudalistic Concentration of Wealth and (5+ / 0-)

    rights, but I wonder if it will work with labor in our technological age as it did during agricultural feudalism where most hands were needed to grow crops.

    There's more labor than ownership needs now, and with increasing wealth concentration, markets are going to be small, and then add in the automation of both tasks and problem-solving, and labor surpluses could be huge.

    I think we're looking toward a lot of people not being in the system much at all.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:52:04 PM PST

    •  This is true only because ownership... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mint julep, tardis10, annieli

      is currently pushing labor beyond their abilities. We have increasing depression, anxiety, suicides. We are working men and women through their child raising years. We are taking away retirement a year at a time.

      Labor needs to push back and get time off and a living wage that can support a family during child bearing. We need to get time off so we are not walking around like zombies on Xanex during the few waking hours we are not at work. We need to reclaim time off in vacations and decrease the work week hours. Then there would not be a labor surplus. That surplus was artificially created by the elites to pressure more and more productivity out of the worker.

      De air is de air. What can be done?

      by TPau on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:01:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Dairy (4+ / 0-)

    I've often wondered if this sort of global feudalism is what George H.W. Bush had in mind when he coined the phrase New World Order. I know he used it in a different context, but still ...

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:57:24 PM PST

  •  Here's a question (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TPau, YucatanMan

    If the TPP is as bad as you say, why is President Obama making this agreement the centerpiece of his trade policy?

    History will be kind to us because we will write it.

    by Sky Net on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:47:59 PM PST

    •  Obama and Clinton both supported free trade... (4+ / 0-)

      policies. Democrats have been as willing to betray Americans on this issue. Remember that CAFTA was the gem stone of Clinton's policy before it became obvious it was a monumental failure.

      De air is de air. What can be done?

      by TPau on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:58:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But why do you think that is? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If you answer is that the President is an evil mastermind you'll get some disagreement from the millions of us who just voted for him.

        History will be kind to us because we will write it.

        by Sky Net on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:03:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, I don't think Obama is an evil mastermind... (3+ / 0-)

          But he has the same problem every presidential candidate has. He has to raise millions of dollars for campaigning. The people with millions of dollars happen to be CEO's in big business. It makes them compliant with big businesses demands over the majority.

          Carter betrayed  people by allowing the Sec of Treas to raise the interest rate and driving the third world to bankruptcy.

          Clinton championed free trade and put the final nails in the coffin for the FCC.

          Obama's betrayals are too numerous to enumerate here.

          De air is de air. What can be done?

          by TPau on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:43:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  perhaps (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            That's a logical explanation and a more likely one than ny brit expat's that the President simply doesn't care about working people.  That really doesn't seem like him.

            However, I think you have to be open to the possibility that he simply disagrees with you and believes that America's future would be better with open rather than closed markets. Rational people can have different points of view on this topic.

            History will be kind to us because we will write it.

            by Sky Net on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:21:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  True, but this experiment has already been... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              YucatanMan, tardis10, NY brit expat

              done, with rather horrible results. See the section on NAFTA. It would be hard to believe that an obviously intelligent man does not understand that he is about to repeat and amplify history.

              De air is de air. What can be done?

              by TPau on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 08:11:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It may be that this (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                NY brit expat

                POTUS (as well as some Third Wayers) believes this is the best deal he can forge with the corporate & financial sectors.The corporate crusade to free the rich from the constraints of democracy leaves little to salvage.  
                In the words of Senator Durbin "The banks own the place". But we keep pretending that they don't. Which is probably the wisest course we can take.

                "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

                by tardis10 on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 11:03:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Rational people (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NY brit expat

              have hopefully noticed that life for many of us, and for the environment as well, has gotten much worse under free trade. When profit is the only metric by which to measure success, as it is for corporations, the well being of the entire system is ignored. As an example, note the reference to dolphin safe tuna in the story.
              As to why Obama supports free trade after campaigning against it previously, Tea Party candidates do it as well. One of the very effective strategies both the Democrats and the Tea Party use to differentiate themselves during elections is to use social policy differences. Economically, they aren't that far apart, especially when they are back at home in Washington and away from their home districts. Hardly anyone in the finer districts of DC is hurt in any way by free trade; on the contrary, the majority probably benefits.

              "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

              by northsylvania on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 03:14:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  It is not a question of caring or not caring (0+ / 0-)

              unfortunately, the politicians of governments (run by both parties) believe the lies that government cannot create jobs and economic growth and that they are leaving this to the private sector, which we know damn well cannot create it while we are in an economic crisis. Free trade is an ideology, we know what happens when it is introduced, we have evidence from history, there is no reason why, this time, it will be ok.

              Rationality means not doing the same thing over and over when it does not work the first time. In fact, the economic policies currently being preached by mainstream parties are the same ones that brought us the great depression.

              "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

              by NY brit expat on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 05:13:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I wouldn't call it a betrayal. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NY brit expat

            And I agree that if you ask Obama, he will tell you he cares deeply about American workers, and don't doubt he really believes that.

            But Obama is a corporatist, first and foremost, not an organizer for social justice. He doesn't recognize U.S. state capitalism (or any other state capitalist system - they're all supported by states) as structurally repressive. He believes, as he's said over and over, in the "free market" and "free enterprise" as the best economic systems/practice. He wants to go back to the kind of economic policies under Clinton - when unions were crushed and membership declined, when the majority of jobs created were low wage with no benefits, and when the successes of our economy were built entirely on unsustainable bubbles.

            We have to imagine and begin to practice an entirely new economy. This one is beyond done.

            Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

            by cruz on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 05:36:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Because President Obama, like (5+ / 0-)

      President Clinton, is a neoliberal and considers the interests of corporations andfinance capitalism to be of predominant importance rather than the needs of working people. He is not representing the majority on economic issues, he is representing the interests of international capital. President Obama is making a grotesque error, like many world leaders in the advanced capitalist world. The impact of NAFTA on the US, Mexico and Canada is evident, the impact of export-led growth strategies, deficit reduction in the midst of an economic crisis, free trade policies areevident. Increasing unemployment that is structural, not cyclical, in the advanced capitalist world, increased precarity for labour in terms of jobs and conditions and declining wages and standards ofliving in the advanced capitalist world. The attempt at stimulation of effective demand through expansion of easy, but expensive, credit to ensure purchase of goods, led to the economic crisis of 2008. Higher incomes, rather than reduction of wages for the majority ensures demand and economic growth under capitalism; export-led growth regimes, removal of restrictions on capital mobility leds to the mess we are in. Add to that the fact that incomes are kept low for those in the capitalist periphery or emergent economies and you have what we are seeing now, a realisation crisis, that is, the capitalist s are unable to sell their goods and services to obtain the profits on them, stagnation, and now economic crises become the norm.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:20:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh the irony (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    They want to move jobs to Vietnam and Malaysia.  Labor unions and opposition political parties are illegal in Vietnam making it the new bottom for low paid, exploited workers.
    Vietnam, once the darling of anti-capitalists, is now its bane.  When there was an embargo on Vietnam it was considered to be a grave travesty.  Now that the Vietnamese are trading with us, however, the far left is suddenly shocked, yes shocked, to discover that Vietnam does not have independent unions or political parties.  Time to cut off trade with those ne'er do wells.  Poor Vietnam just can't seem to get any love.
    •  It's been a while (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat

      since the Left have championed trade with Vietnam uncritically. I believe Garry Trudeau covered the issue in the funny papers in around 1997 or so.

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 03:19:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's about right (0+ / 0-)

        As soon as the Vietnamese started actually trading with the U.S. the left lost all sympathy.

        Hey, what do you think the over-under is on how long it will take after the Cuba embargo is dropped that this group starts complaining about them damn Cubans working for slave wages....

    •  Viet Nam, as well as China, are capitalists (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cruz, northsylvania

      production for profit has been adopted; it may be controlled by the state, but it is capitalist. Workers have little, or no, protection as that is not in the interest of capitalism at this stage and the workers are not strong enough to force an increase in incomes.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 05:16:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        All national economies that are capitalist are in fact "state-capitalist." There isn't a single market economy on earth (except for areas where government is simply absent) where government doesn't play an important role in guiding, supporting, and regulating that economy.

        Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

        by cruz on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 05:40:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  nicely done, and as always at this moment in (0+ / 0-)

    history raises mode/forces of production discourse including the constant redefinition of feudalism and uneven development, as well as thinking about the globalization of capitalist power in the difference between free trade, free markets, and freedom rather than liberation

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 09:18:37 AM PST

  •  Correct and yet some footnotes (0+ / 0-)

    One of the more interesting footnotes is that there has been a simultaneous opening of borders via the web/Internet that has created an elimination of distribution and marketing for artisanal work.

    I.e. labor has moved down in wage, and wage in all areas, including the bourgeoisie, has gone down as the number of incomes per household has increased. A single worker is nearly disabled thereby. At the same time, though, the displaced worker says, "Oh, but I hear that people in Estonia are just crazy for salt water taffy, so I'm starting a little Internet business making it."

    There is an actual pressure to oversupply the Etsy markets, to believe in artisanry as a solution, because it is the one place where a means of production and distribution now lie entirely in the hands of the worker. I doubt very much that these small outlets and freedoms amount to much capital.

    Time is not a fiction; it is a narrative.

    by The Geogre on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 09:53:28 AM PST

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