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Crisis Capitalism September 23, 2008

Posted by Kate Ryan in Economy, National Politics.
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In her 2007 book, “The Shock Doctrine”, Canadian journalist Naomi Klein argues that free-market fundamentalism requires disasters to accomplish the dismantling of the social network.  For example, having all kinds of intelligence that pointed toward Islamic extremists doing something “big”, the neocons in the Bush administration sat and waited.  Then, 9/11 happened.  As a seminal event in our history, 9/11 is paralleled by few others – and created a gigantic void in which the government was given a blank check to do whatever it wanted.  And that included invading Iraq with no provocation or necessity.

If anyone doubts at this point that the Iraq war was mostly economically motivated, I’d like some of what they’re smoking.  The initial invasion of Iraq got the neocons exactly what they wanted – the oil fields that Saddam Hussein had closed off to the West, provided opportunities for well-connected firms like Haliburton and Blackwater, and a giant land mass in the Middle East to build bases on to protect “our interests” in the region.  I’m not one of those conspiracy theorists that say that the Bush administration planned and executed the 9/11 attacks, but I do believe that they allowed them to happen in order to further their plutocratic aims.

Now, we have this melt-down on Wall Street and it appears that the taxpayers will be left holding the bag to the tune of a trillion dollars.  Trillion – with a “T”.  I can’t even wrap my head around that.   This will add more crushing long-term debt to the US Treasury as we will have to obtain the money on the world market (read: China).   Whomever wins the White House next term will be faced with a staggering economic black hole.

But I can’t help thinking that this is exactly what they want.  Think about it – because the government had to pony up so much cash to save Wall Street, there won’t be any money to help your kids schools.  The answer?  More charters, vouchers, and privatization.  The free market will have to take care of it.  And there won’t be any money to rebuild our infrastucture – but private companies can build roads and bridges, so we’ll just let them do it and they can charge tolls.  Oh, yes, forget spending money on energy independence.  We will need the oil companies to invest in those changes because the government can’t afford to.  And you may as well forget all about health care, food assistance, housing assistance, and your social security.  There won’t be any money for generations.

In Michael Moore’s documentary, “Sicko”, he interviews a British politician that explains that the US government LIKES keeping people in debt.  Because when you are in debt, you are afraid; afraid to ask for more money, afraid to unionize, afraid to agitate for better working conditions.  It is time for all of us to put aside that fear and tell our government that we believe in the social contract.  We need to tell them that we expect that they will stand by us and save us from the excesses of the corporate oligarchy that runs this country.

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