Saturday, October 20, 2007

In Your Wildest Dreams Friedmans and Co.

It is fascinating to me the way neoliberal capitalism is defended through fanciful, mythological success stories that do not bear in reality. No matter how much one researches these supposedly glowing examples (Chile, South Africa, Poland, Brazil, Argentina, China, et. al.) of neoliberalism's economic miracles, one only finds the ways in which Milton Friedman and Co. have wreaked havoc across the globe. To be fair, I must admit that neoliberalism has been very successful for a select few, including the beautification of many of the poorest countries' shiny neo-neoliberal capitals, all the while ignoring the surrounding suburbs and rural poverty. This is best exemplified by Thomas Friedman's (no relation to Uncle Milty--I think?) praise of Bangalore. It makes one wonder if he ever bothered to travel around the rest of India. Anyway, the problem is that not only were there doctrinaire promises made about how neoliberal capitalism would solve the world's economic problems and end poverty, but there are still so many people ideologically singing its praises despite contravening evidence. This makes these people either blind fools or its beneficiaries.

Freeing up markets, privatizing everything, stamping out organized labor, lifting restrictions for capital's free reign, removing environmental standards, giving corporations the rights of human beings, reinvesting social spending in production infrastructure, etc. has served its designed purposes perfectly! The gap between rich and poor has never been wider! (An undisputed fact!) Labor markets are cheaper than ever, not competitively driving wages upward as was promised. Instead we are racing ourselves to the bottom. It's as if we are sprinting backwards to the Dark Ages. Not surprisingly, most of the same families that ruled today can be traced back to the aristocracy of the old world.

Perhaps the most stunning feat accomplished by modern capitalism is the way it has been able to return our societies to global slavery, but now however, the capitalists are not even having to finance the transportation of its slaves, instead the 'wretched of the earth' are forced to gravitate where the work is on their own dime, and then forced to work as slaves away from their homes, land, families, and cultures. One will even find among those that have posted on this blog people who believe this kind of exploitation is a necessary step towards the alleviation of such insanity. Such irrational critiques ignore the social, political and economic situations prior to this latest phase of capitalist terror (the neoliberal age). For example, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil were all in much better shape prior to the neoliberal invasion, when many countries such as these and around the rest of the world were developing social democracies, socialist states, etc. Stunningly, they ask us to hold out hope for capitalism's eventual delivery of promises yet unfulfilled. You know, the classic theory in order to save the village we first have to destroy it.

So I am very anxious to hear from those that continue to praise capitalism. I'm excited to hear about their newest example of a capitalist miracle. I'm happy to do some further research and see what I can learn about capitalism in action where it is actually delivering on its promises. However, I would encourage these enthusiasts to own up to the lack of veracity in their claims since the evidence overwhelmingly denies their positions.