By : Jim Pinto,
By : Jim Pinto,
Industrialized countries present their neo-liberal brand of globalization and capitalistic freedom as things that bring peace, prosperity and power. In the past, it was easy to embrace this enticing vision, especially with no clear alternative on the horizon. But, the dreams of capitalistic globalization cannot be sustained.
San Diego Mensan, October 2003
The fall of Communism left Capitalism as the only real alternative for modern society. So today, industrialized countries present their neo-liberal brand of globalization and capitalistic freedom as things that bring peace, prosperity and power. And America is portrayed as the ultimate example.
The basic tenet of our capitalistic system is "enlightened self-interest". Increasing corporate profits provide the motivation and drive for corporate leaders, expressed by their paychecks, stock options and bonus packages which fuel personal wealth. They are projected as heroes, to somehow justify their motives. Their wealth is somehow supposed to "trickle down", with prosperity for everyone.
Wasn't it wonderful when that mirror of prosperity, the stock market, went up and up endlessly? The WorldComms and Tycos saw endless growth opportunities, while the Enrons moved from generating electricity to simply factoring it as a computer entry with leverage and quick margins. The values of dotcom tech companies jumped to stratospheric heights, and capitalism seemed to be on a track to save the world.
But, when the dreams of unlimited growth suddenly stopped, corporate minds turned quickly to cost-reduction as a means to generate continued profit. In the absence of any coherent alternative, many corporations carry on recklessly down a path of cost cutting to generate profit. This results in record unemployment in the US, while some companies continue to generate a profit and handsome bonuses for their executives.
Increasingly without allegiance to any specific country, international corporate power weaves its webs virtually unopposed, commanding hordes of hired guns in all areas - marketing, production, commerce, finance. They are building the universal culture of McWorld that has no roots in the past, and only profit in the present, and a future without any cultural context.
International corporations expand, invest and grow, concentrating ever more wealth in a limited number of hands. Together, they conspire to influence local, national and international institutions and laws. With the governments of their home countries in Europe, N. America and Japan, as well as with the international institutions they fund (such as the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the IMF) they are molding an international system in which they can trade and invest even more freely. They look for a world where they are less and less accountable to the cultures, communities and countries in which they operate. Underpinning this effort is NOT the development of world prosperity, but rather the reality of the overriding corporate purpose: maximum profits.
In the past, it was easy to embrace this enticing vision, especially with no clear alternative on the horizon. But, the dreams of capitalistic globalization could not be sustained. The bubble was already bursting before 9/11 took center stage.
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