Posts Tagged ‘Crony capitalism’
Global Leviathan

Rise up and oppose this abomination all lovers of liberty. Global tyranny is still tyranny. In a world run by despots, tyrants and vested interests we must protect our rights. The rights our forbears fought and died for – our children’s birthright.

A global Leviathan is to be feared every bit as much as a national one. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a step toward creating just such a global leviathan. One which will make that of Hobbes look like a responsive pygmy:

 “TPP is a “trade deal” that mostly does not deal with trade. In fact, of the 29 chapters in this document, only five cover traditional trade matters! The other two dozen chapters amount to a devilish “partnership” for corporate protectionism. They create sweeping new “rights” and escape hatches to protect multinational corporations from accountability to our governments… and to us. Here are a few of TPP’s provisos that would make our daily lives riskier, poorer, and less free…..

One of the deal’s chapters creates a monstrous monkey wrench called the “Investor-State Dispute Resolution” system. In this private, supra-legal “court,” corporations are empowered to sue TPP governments over environmental, health, consumer, zoning, or any other public policies that the corporations claim are either undermining their TPP “rights” or diminishing–get this–their “expected future profits.”

This elevates thousands of private, profit-seeking entities to the legal status of sovereign nations. Under the investor-state system, a smaller version of which was included in NAFTA and other free-trade schemes, the deck is stacked for corporate interests. Cases are decided behind closed doors by three-person international tribunals…. These “tribunalists” are not accountable to any electorate, and their decisions are final–there’s no appeal to a real court. If a corporation wins a case, taxpayers of the government being sued lose, for they must pony up cash to compensate the corporation for its “loss” of profit.

No wonder they wanted to keep the full text from us until it is approved:

Last year, Obama’s top trade rep, Ron Kirk, declared that locking out the people is necessary, because the deal’s details would outrage Americans and spook Congress from rubber stamping it. In short, to win public approval of TPP, the Obamacans say they must keep it hidden from the public.”

Not just Americans.

The outcomes of our elections, our democratic processes will become irrelevant if we cede too much sovereignty. This is way too much sovereignty. Stop it. Stop it now. An ounce of prevention is worth a tonne of cure. Our freedom is way too valuable to gift to a bunch of international bureaucrats and their crony capitalist controllers.

Graphic courtesy of Hightower Lowdown

 
Year of Revolutions

The progressives have done an excellent job of overthrowing traditional conservative values. Of course, there have been some unexpected consequences:

The fact that it is no longer socially unacceptable to be a lying, cheating conman, as long as you are successful at it. Greed is good, and so the achievement of wealth by any means available, as long as you beat the system and don’t get indicted, is the epitome of human achievement and worth.

Truly our modern way of life is not sustainable. Not because of environmental degradation, but cultural ones. They have created a system that can not perpetuate itself through time. Something that can not continue forever will not. But betting on when reason will reassert itself is betting on a Black or Grey Swan event. It will be a source of regular consistent losses, until the extreme event comes in. Hence comments such as this from Jesse:

I have lost quite a bit of money underestimating the willingness of frightened men in positions of power to engage in financial shenanigans, outright fraud, and seemingly irrational support for the rationally unsustainable. And I hope never to forget that lesson. Fiat is a powerful drug.

But there will be no sustained recovery until the financial system is reformed, and so we will continue on in a state of fragility, as so eloquently expounded upon by Taleb.

C.A. Fits explains just how bad things are in this video.

There are many trying to maintain the lie, seeking to obscure rather than reveal reality. They may be misguided, or acting from baser motives:

“A credibility trap is a condition wherein the financial, political and informational functions of a society have been compromised by corruption and fraud, so that the leadership cannot effectively reform, or even honestly address, the problems of that system without impairing and implicating, at least incidentally, a broad swath of the power structure, including themselves.

The status quo tolerates the corruption and the fraud because they have profited at least indirectly from it, and would like to continue to do so. Even the impulse to reform within the power structure is susceptible to various forms of soft blackmail and coercion by the system that maintains and rewards.

And so a failed policy and its support system become self-sustaining, long after it is seen by objective observers to have failed. In its failure it is counterproductive, and an impediment to recovery in the real economy. Admitting failure is not an option for the thought leaders who receive their power from that system.

The continuity of the structural hierarchy must therefore be maintained at all costs, even to the point of becoming a painfully obvious hypocrisy…..

As Jesse goes on to point out. The problem is not restricted to the Anglo-sphere:

Their success has been propelled by the dominance of Anglo-American financialization, and the rise of oligarchies in Russia, China, Latin America, and India. Countervailing power has been co-opted and subsumed. Any opposition has become marginalized and isolated.

When reality reasserts itself it will do so globally. The correction will leave many people bewildered. Their old certainties crumbling along with the values of their fiat money.

The resulting reversion to the norm can have the impact of a thunderclap. So government becomes complicit in the control fraud which it abets, perhaps for certain policy ends, so that finally only those without conscience can abide it. And that is the genesis of the credibility trap, and the ascent of the careerists, and white collar sociopaths.

“All the truth of my position came flashing on me; and its disappointments, dangers, disgraces, consequences of all kinds, rushed in in such a multitude that I was borne down by them and had to struggle for every breath I drew.” Charles Dickens

History will repeat. It will be another 1848 year of revolutions, but at a global level. Revolution and repression will be aided and abetted by technology. We can but hope it will be the best of times along with being the worst:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way” Charles Dickens

Graphic courtesy of Jesse

 
Splendid Links 2

A couple of videos:

  • Charles Ferguson on the Financial Landscape after 2008’s “Inside Job”: More pointed commentary on the lack of prosecutions.  He has released a book, Predator Nation in addition to his documentary Inside Job. He suggests that the financial sector has subverted the legal system in addition to the regulatory one. If he is correct there will be interesting times ahead. If something can’t last, it will not.
  • Sheila Bair: Keeping Banks Honest: Bill Moyers interview with Sheila Bair. Bair was appointed by President Bush in 2006 to chair the FDIC. During the 2008 meltdown, she argued that in some cases banks were NOT too big to fail — that instead of bailouts, they should be sold off to healthier competitors. Hat tip The Big Picture

A text post:

And to round it off, an audio: