Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The "Free" Market is not so free

Don't make the mistake of thinking that Friedmanist free market economics is only applied in other countries. It's alive and well, and growing, in the united States today.

I've been lead drummer on the anti-corporatist bandwagon for some time, as well as accompanist for the Close the Pentagon Glee Club, but I didn't understand until recently the economic pressures that underlie both of these social institutions.

Think back with me to the halcyon days of 1989, when the Soviet Union "collapsed," the Cold War was over and the "Peace Dividend" had legs... with the people. Of course, this movement had to be quashed, lest the military-industrial complex grind to a much deserved halt. Friedmanists were dispatched off to Moscow to squelch incipient democratic movements, while the security establishment at home sought diligently amongst the bushes for an enemy, any enemy, to hold up to public obloquy. This movement coalesced in Washington, DC, resulting, lo these many years later, in the Bush & Co. Neoliberal coup d'etat.

As it turns out, the Soviet Union did not so much collapse as have its economic carpet pulled out from under it by Boris Yeltsin and the Chicago School economists. Milton Friedman student Jeffrey Sachs was in the room in the Kremlin when Yeltsin announced the end of the Soviet Union, and he had been lobbying Yeltsin on free-market economics for some time. The next few years were characterized by a feeding frenzy of global marketeers grabbing up as much of Russia as they could carry away with both hands. Harvard was even sanctioned and fined for allowing its economist to double dip in the newly privatized Russian economy. Harvard, alma mater of George W. Bush and his economic adviser, Al Hubbard.

So, the uS lost its Enemy Number 1, that had served so well during the Cold War. What to do, what to do?

9/11 served up the perfect crisis for the imposition of Friedmanist economic reform in the uS, not to mention an out of control police state organized under the Teutonic appellation: Homeland Security. The Bush economic shock troops are working diligently on privatization of everything in the uS from Social Security to education, all the while building a culture of fear and dependency. Today, the "War on Terror" serves as the one-size-fits-all excuse for economic deconstruction and reassembly in a jigsaw puzzle of global free market capitalism.

Fortunately, as the Friedmanists knit new free market economies under the chins of manufactured dictators on one end of the Global Economy quilt, the other end is unraveling into populist democracies. Our greatest hope, as we move into the Age of Peak Oil and Climate Change, is that our neighbors to the south will help us out when the "Global Economy" collapses and the uS government abandons their people as they pursue the last dregs of Middle East crude. The tide of history will turn, turn, turn as the south rises once again.

That's South America, not Dixie, y'all.