March 7, 2015

The TTIP and Corporate Rule


1. The name “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” expresses what the globalization process sees as the only real sovereign group and political constituency – corporate “investors”. (Under the term “stakeholders”, these are explicitly considered to be the only legitimate citizens of the corporate-dominated society envisioned by the TTIP and similar pacts. These pacts comprise a new Corporate Constitution to effectively crush existing human constitutions and institutions.) Meanwhile the term “trade” is purely Orwellian, since globalization is not about legitimate demand-based trade, but the extreme opposite: Forcing supply upon markets which don’t demand it at all, or don’t demand it in the form corporatism wants to supply it.
The system takes it for granted that the goal of the TTIP and of all globalization policy (and government policy as such) is “market liberalization”, i.e. a command economy based on overproduction, corporate welfare, dumping, coerced markets, and the total gutting of all public interest regulation. Note well that only public interest regulation and demand-side policy like local buying requirements are targeted for “equivalence” and “coordination”. Corporate welfare, such as Big Ag crop insurance, is not considered a “regulation” which needs to be “equalized” among the parties to the compact.
We need rigorous discipline regarding the propaganda term “free trade”. We should never let this term pass unnoticed in our thoughts and words. We must reject in thought and words any concession to the Big Lie that globalization has anything to do with legitimate trade. Globalization is all about maximizing the imperatives and prerogatives of supply-driven corporate “markets”, toward the corporate concentration of all economic and political power. Real trade is demand-based and develops naturally and organically from human economies. Globalization, so-called “free trade”, is a top-down planned economy based on intentional overproduction and the subsequent forced creation of “markets” for this overproduction. To be anti-globalization is therefore to be pro-trade in the real economic sense, and vice versa.
Europe proves that the supply-driven export dictatorship which globalization pacts seek to impose aren’t necessary for the general prosperity. For example, Europe’s overwhelmingly conventional agriculture is superior in every way, quantitatively and qualitatively, to the GMO-based agriculture dominant in the US and Canada. This proves at least that a fully modern Western society is better off without GMOs. But one of the core goals of the TTIP is to impose the US GMO model upon Europe, thus eradicating Europe’s great qualitative advantage, for the domestic economy and for trade.
This leads us to the specific case of GMOs and their structural importance. Obviously the US government and the GMO cartel see Europe as a massive, relatively untapped market. But beyond this, they have a structural imperative to force all economies to come under GMO domination. They also loathe the current state of European agriculture as a real world alternative which has proven superior in every way to GMO domination. Europe proves every day that even given the parameters of industrial agriculture, GMOs are unnecessary and inferior. Europe proves every day that conventional agriculture performs better and less expensively without them. This is an ongoing embarrassment and affront to US corporatism. The US corporate system tries to deny this in the same way that during the Cold War the US and USSR would deny the very existence of ways in which one outperformed the other.
They would have destroyed these embarrassing facts if they could. Today the US government is trying to use the TTIP to wipe out the embarrassing fact of Europe’s superior agriculture and its far healthier food system. The EC bureaucracy is coordinated with this goal, since by its nature it sees things in terms of corporate one-world government rather than as a power struggle with the US-corporatist bloc.
2. The explicit goal of the TTIP is to coordinate all regulation which has anything to do with “any planned and existing trade”. That means all regulation, law, court decisions, etc. It’s the same principle as with the totalitarian expansion of the commerce clause in US constitutional jurisprudence, since it can encompass literally anything power wants it to. The coordination is also to be extended by whatever means necessary to EU member countries and US states. Sector-specific provisions will supersede “cross-cutting horizontal” coordination, which sets a floor. Corporate-dictated “commerce” assaults and supply-driven “trade” are already taken in the US to encompass all production/consumption activity including the informal economy, including production purely for personal use and including even pure inertness. That is, the imposition of corporate poll taxes is said by the system to be part of the Commerce power. The TTIP will enforce this for Europe as well, and far more intensely for both zones. Note well that as usual this only goes one way. Domestic economic activity, the informal economy, production for personal use, and any other kind of activity which doesn’t formally seek profit across national borders will not have access to the World Bank tribunals or to any court to litigate any harm arising out of this “trade” aggression. As always with this criminal system, it’s heads the elites win, tails the people lose.
The process gives oligopoly corporations based in any country which is party to a compact special privileges over the rights of the people or of any legitimate business within any country which is also a party. It exalts the “right” to corporate profit and supply-driven “trade” as the supreme imperatives of society, lofting these far above all other values, rights, goals of policy and law. This includes the suppression of domestic economic activity, since the supply-driven export imperative favors the big corporations, the oligopoly sectors. NAFTA’s Chapter 11, upon which the TTIP and TPP ISDS provisions are modeled, lets corporations complain about any policy, law, regulation, court decision, which in any way allegedly infringes on any hypothetical profit the corporations can conceive. This has nothing to do with uneven treatment between foreign and domestic businesses. Even where the provision applies equally to all, it’s held to strict liability as far as how it impacts any corporation’s alleged ability to profit.
This is proof that globalization compacts are not about trade, but about power. If they were about trade, then a law which applied to everyone equally wouldn’t be a problem.
Profit, meanwhile, is purely a measure of power, indeed an artifice of the mysticism of power. Especially in the time of quantitative easing and mark-to-make believe accounting for the finance sector and “austerity” for humanity, corporate “profit” is self-evidently a reflection not of actual productivity and wealth but on the contrary of destruction and robbery.
3. In being formally totalitarian, dedicated only to profit in principle, corporate bureaucracies are explicitly established as the direct exercise and rule of power (Might Makes Right), mediated only by government regulatory action. Strictly speaking, corporations are not supposed to be restrained directly by law. On the contrary, part of the purpose of the corporate form is to place legal barriers between the actions of corporate cadres and those actions’ having any actionable legal character, civil or criminal. The purpose is to legalize crimes when committed by representatives of “the corporation”.
Government bureaucracy, meanwhile, is supposed to be restrained by law and by respect for democracy. But here too individuals are often formally absolved of personal responsibility for actions. This kind of absolution goes to the core of the evil of any such hierarchies, since nothing is so firmly proven as that if you give individuals power and freedom from consequences for their actions, they’ll take their actions to bad extremes. That’s why humans should never allow power to concentrate, and should never grant individuals a blank check, and most of all should never combine the two. Meanwhile it’s laughable to expect any bureaucrat to respect democracy. By its nature bureaucracy respects only administrative power and process, and despises law and democracy. (Meanwhile, the “Law and Economics” ideology and jurisprudence seeks to impose radical responsibility upon regular workers for their actions, even where coerced by bosses into dangerous or illegal actions. There’s the Heads I Win Tails You Lose again.)
With this Gleichschaltung plan, a more complete formalization and rationalization of government bureaucracy’s subordination to corporate bureaucracy, the nominally “legal” bureaucracy is to be subsumed under the direct power bureaucracy. The government regulators are then to use their nominal fig leaf of legality, not as a restraint on power, but as propaganda on power’s behalf (and, where appropriate, as a weapon against rivals). This is the most institutionalized and rationalized form of the neoliberal scam.
So EC bureaucrats and similar bureaucracies (e.g. the EPA, FDA, and USDA) exemplify the mindset and role of the bureaucrat, which is to carry out the dictates of power in an automated way. As corporate power increases, these government bureaucracies will naturally become more inherently pro-corporate. This is according to their basic inertia, what they inherently are, rather than “capture” or “corruption”. These latter do exist, but are epiphenomenal. To emphasize those is to reinforce the lie that corporations and regulators have any kind of inherently adversarial relationship. On the contrary, where corporations hold the power, bureaucrats naturally see them as their true constituency. All this is also naturally pleasing to the inherent elitism and anti-democratic tendencies of bureaucrat types.
4. Where there’s any conflict between the corporate domination imperative and any other value, it’s taken for granted there can be no compromise. The non-corporate value must submit, if necessary to the point of its own extinction. As the historical record makes clear, this is true of all human values – health, happiness, prosperity, culture, tradition, religion, morality, simple human decency and fairness. None of these can coexist with corporations. In the long run these must all go extinct, if corporatism continues to exist.
This is borne out by the analysis of globalization as an economic and anti-political offensive being carried out by corporatism toward the goal of total domination. By economic and anti-political I mean that the goal is total domination through total economic domination, while all real manifestations of politics are to be suppressed completely. The neoliberal phony semblance of “politics” – sham elections, nominal constitutional rights and so on – may continue for some time. Actual power will be exercised at the command of corporate oligopoly sectors, by executive government bureaucracies and extranational globalization tribunals, and increasingly, directly by the corporations themselves.
5. This is not a new kind of corporate behavior. Privateering, the formal charter to commit crimes, goes back to the 16th century, the dawn of the corporate form. Corporations were envisioned in the first place to help enable “violent crime grafted onto trade”, as Ted Nace put it. The very term “free trade” originally referred directly to freedom from the law. Or as Hannah Arendt wrote in Origins of Totalitarianism, legalized gangsters sought to use politics to regulate their bloodshed. The British East India Company’s violent lawlessness is exactly mirrored today in the form every sort of corporate thuggery and the way corporate crimes are generally considered above and outside the law. Blackwater, explicitly declared above the law and granted a charter to literally perpetrate massacres, is merely the distillation of the way every large corporation is empowered to act, and the way they usually do act. Indeed, in principle this is the way they are required to act according to the core principle that profit-seeking is the only acceptable value. (What kind of sick society would ever have enshrined such a sociopathic form in the first place? The very existence of profit-seeking corporations reflects a self-loathing and self-destructiveness on the part of civilization itself.)
Today’s “free trade” has exactly the same criminal nature, but the term has been sanitized to refer to an economic theory rather than a legal concept of chartered outlawry.
Today it’s true in a precise sense that corporations are formally legalized criminal organizations. Take for example the repeal of the bucket laws, which used to recognize gambling as gambling whether done over dice in a back alley or stocks on an exchange. A bank couldn’t ask the state to enforce a wager any more than could a two-bit hood. But these sane laws started being repealed in the 1980s. The process culminated in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA; recognize a similarity to the “Food Safety Modernization Act” (FSMA)? the similarity isn’t just terminological). Now what was naturally unproductive antisocial gambling was legalized as a “contract”. The result was massively bloated bank profits and hideous distortions of the economy, climaxing in Wall Street’s intentional crash of the real economy in 2008. The crash was then used as the pretext for the Bailout and austerity. The Wall Street bailout was a massive payout on bets gone bust. This entire process was premeditated and had its origin in the legalization of what are naturally outlawed acts. Acts of reckless gambling by the banks, indistinguishable from a bunch of drunks at a bar betting on a football game, have come to comprise legal contracts. Of course, when a solitary bum bets his children’s lunch money at the track and loses, it’s terrible for that family. When the government lets the banksters do the same thing with trillions and then pays off these bets with taxpayer money, millions of children must go hungry.
The massive collusion, dating back to the 1990s, to fraudulently induce mortgages was helped along by this original legalization. And the rest of the crimes were piggybacked on these, leading up to the finance sector’s intentional crash of the global economy in 2008. Today where ISDS is in force we see the most extreme form of this kind of government protection. Here the corporate gambler doesn’t even need to make the bet, but only to say it could exist in theory, in order to get paid.
This is the most extremely destructive and the most typical of the legalized forms of organized crime which are bound up in the corporate form. While many of the subsequent crimes may still technically be illegal, they were enabled by the underlying legalization of gambling. And once the government has been corrupted enough, even existing laws are no longer enforced, as we see every day. This is simply the de facto legalization of corporate crime.
6. Corporatism is the process by which the 1% seeks to shift decision-making power and control from nominally “public” government to nominally “private” corporations. In US constitutional parlance, the system is transferring this power asset from the three branches of government enshrined in the written constitution to the extra-constitutional Fourth Branch, the corporations. In this way, power and control are shifted from nominally accountable “representative democracy” to power structures which are totally unaccountable even in principle. The nominal government remains as corporate welfare bagman and police thug, and to maintain the fraudulent facade of elections and other trappings of representative democracy. I call this the bagman-thug model of government. This process is also called neoliberalism, since it seeks to maintain the semblance of classical liberalism and pseudo-democracy even as it institutes most of the substance of fascism.
This is part of the 1%’s general secession trend. The government abdicates its power to corporations at home, to globalization cadres abroad. It imports the alien power of the globalization cadres to domestic affairs. Throughout, government abdicates all public policy, privatizes all public property, but maximizes its absolute size, only now as corporate welfare bagman and thug.
Accounting 101 for corporate rule: The entity is Government. Power is its asset. Democratic accountability and financial risk are among its liabilities. Government’s creation and support for corporations is an organizational shell game. The goal is to transfer the power asset to the “private” corporate entity while leaving all liabilities with the taxpayer-liable “public” entity.
To sum up, here’s the basic tenets of corporate ideology:
A. Governments should create corporations. (Corporations are in fact extensions of government. They’re meant to reorganize central government power, removing it from even the theoretical jurisdiction of “representative government”. It’s a kind of organizational shell game, transferring an asset from one entity to another. Meanwhile any liabilities remain with the original entity.)
B. Corporations should be enshrined as entities that have infinite rights and zero responsibilities. They should have their profits guaranteed by the government, while all their risks are assumed by the government (i.e. the taxpayers, society) and the environment.
C. The main purpose of government is to provide corporate welfare and thug services for corporations.
D. Government should seek to liquidate all aspects of itself which are not directly toward B and C.
E. Government (including in the form of globalization cadres like the WTO and IMF) should always get bigger and more aggressive, but only in ways that are directly toward B and C.
F. The purpose of humanity and the earth are to serve as resource mines and waste dumps for corporations. Society, civilization, etc., are to be maintained only insofar as they help organize and pacify these slaves and victims. Otherwise these are to be liquidated.
Of course I’m not saying there’s some secret master council while consciously deliberates all this. I’m describing the behavior and inertia of a socioeconomic and political force, in the same way I’d describe how the ocean organizes itself and moves.
7. Today we confront the ultimate totalitarian manifestation of this ideology and the institutions based upon it, globalization. This reached a new level of aggressiveness in the post-war time, and especially since the end of the Cold War. The “free trade” treaties starting with NAFTA, “the law of the land” according to the Constitution, comprise a global anti-constitution. Their only content enshrines corporate license and prerogative at a level far above national governments and laws. Democracy and civil society have no place at all in this system. The “treaties”, written by multinational corporations, peddled by corrupted bagman/goon governments, and forced upon all other countries, are nothing but laundry lists of anti-sovereign usurpation and incitements to governments to set up administrative “free trade zones”, designed to obliterate all rule of law after the example of the Nazi General Government of Poland (as Richard Rubenstein pointed out, legalistically speaking no crimes were committed at Auschwitz), whose secession from law and civil society are then to be extended to encompass the entire “country”. At that point sovereignty would be completely obliterated and replaced by direct corporate rule.
The provisions are set up to encourage corporations or their goon government proxies to file lawsuits against any manifestation of sovereignty or democracy anywhere which could hinder the profit-seeking imperative, which is the only one recognized by the globalization structure. (The same imperative which is the only one recognized by the “legal personality” regime.) The suits are heard by unelected, unaccountable secret tribunals staffed, as are the globalization cadres themselves, by corporate lawyers who come in through the revolving door. Suits have been filed against the US, Canada, Mexico, and many other governments. The very threat of such suits has a stifling effect on democracy and public health.
While the WTO is relatively backward in having governments sue other governments on behalf of corporations, lateral agreements like NAFTA are more advanced in having the corporation directly sue the offending democracy. If it was deranged to allow domestic corporations to sue for rights against the government that created them, how anti-sovereign is it to allow alien corporations to sue a government? Perhaps the most telling fact is that under NAFTA and similar “treaties”, an alien corporation actually has more rights against a sovereign people than a purely domestic one not involved in global commerce and therefore not eligible for the powers of the Treaty.
This perversion of sovereignty is the terminal manifestation of how so-called foreign policy has always been the mechanism by which anti-democracy and subversion has been innovated “elsewhere” and then brought home to impose domestic tyranny.
8. The policies business wants encoded in the TTIP and TPP and enforced by governments and World Bank tribunals provide a clear picture of what these persons are. They’re nominally “businessmen” seeking “profit”. They’re really political and economic totalitarians seeking total power and control. They seek this under the rubric of business ideology, and using the corporation as their basic mode of organization. But any large corporation is not really trying to provide a good/service and make a profit, but is rather a power-seeking organization using its particular economic sector as its base of operations. It seeks to attain total power within that sector and use that economic base to assert political domination as extensively as possible.
I was about to say, “just because it’s not overtly political, the way a de jure political party or political pressure group is, doesn’t make it any less the same kind of organization.” But in fact anyone who pays attention to corporate actions knows they’re every bit as openly political as any non-profit, de jure political group. Corporations and their trade groups describe and disseminate political principles, devise political strategies and carry them out, lobby nominal politicians and regulators. There’s really no such thing as a lobbyist-politician dichotomy, but only two political activists talking to one another. In every way corporations are organizations which seek political power. The only difference is that under representative democracy a de jure “party” is the kind of organization which runs someone called a “candidate” for a particular type of political office, while corporations are bureaucracies, identical in a de facto way to nominal government bureaucracies like the USDA or FDA.
The twin bureaucratic structures, corporate and regulatory, understand their mission well. Today the TTIP and the TPP propose to expand the NAFTA model from North America across both oceans to encompass Europe and the Pacific Rim under a single corporate umbrella, turn the Atlantic and Pacific into ponds upon one big corporate park, use this power position to overawe Latin America and ruthlessly subjugate Africa, and to crush what’s left of the substance of democracy and economic self-determination in every country encompassed, including America and the EU. The corporations see total power within their grasp. Today they’re gearing up to reach for it. The coupled mechanisms of the globalization compacts through which they intend to attain the totalitarian goal are “investor-to-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) and “regulatory coherence”. The former is a direct assault on democracy, civil society, and politics as such, as well as being a massive corporate welfare conveyor. The latter is a formula for total bureaucratic Gleichschaltung (coordination). More specifically, it’s a plan to fully and formally institutionalize the subservience of government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy, and to fully rationalize the processes of this subservience.
Take for example the European Commission. The existing EU system is not pleasing to it. The EC, like any bureaucracy, despises democracy and accountability, and politics as such, and seeks to maximize its own power as such without any necessary reference to what its nominal job is supposed to be.
To its ongoing frustration, the EC hasn’t been able to persuade Europeans to relinquish political power, nor has economic coordination gone as far as the Commission wants, which is always the maximum conceivable. Although the EC has vast power to propose and decree “legislation” (what really are administrative decrees for the most part), it’s subject to some checks and balances from the European Council of national ministers and, to a lesser extent, the elected Parliament. Both of these latter bodies are subject to considerable bottom-up pressure from the people, and in turn put pressure on the EC. A good example of how the EC has been hamstrung is how relatively few GMO applications it has approved for cultivation, even though in theory it could have decreed the approval of far more. Of course a more practical obstacle is that few European countries want to cultivate them.
So in the EU there’s mostly administrative rule in theory, but to its disgust the EC has to jump through lots of political hoops. It looks to the TTIP to solve this problem of residual democracy. That’s why the EC is so ardent to embrace a compact which will turn it into a flunkey of the US government and mostly US-based corporations. The EC would rather hold a lower position in a fully rationalized, coordinated hierarchy of administrative rule, than be at the top of what it sees as a mishmash.
The TTIP is meant to override European democracy and European politics in general. Globalization is inherently anti-political. Corporatism sees politics as such to be an atavism. Globalization is meant to impose a bureaucratic, anti-political solution to this atavism.
To sum up. Regulatory coordination as enshrined under the TTIP and TPP will seek to:
*Formally coordinate all regulators under the goal of serving corporate power. It will formally subordinate government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy. Bureaucracy will go to war against democracy, politics and whatever’s left of law, while sham law will be enlisted to serve corporate power. All real government power (i.e. the power of violence) will be put under corporate control.
*A race to the bottom among all governments in all regulatory sectors.
*The direct access of corporations to regulators. Corporations shall directly write regulations.
*Regulators shall always be proactive on behalf of the corporations and at their command.
*Regulators shall always inform the corporations of any threat and help them to fight it.
*Regulators are to be required to respond to any corporate demands.
*All this is to be always in motion, always accelerating, always seeking the next way to further amplify corporate profit, power, control, domination.
Real power is inertially in the hands of the bureaucracies, “public” and “private”. But of course bureaucracies don’t just passively receive and use the power which economic structures deliver to them. On the contrary, globalization is a planned economy. It’s been planned by those same bureaucrats toward the goal of permanently increasing and expanding their power. Going back to the rise of imperialist ideology and corporate lobbying in the 19th century, corporatism has relentlessly and with ever greater self-consciousness and intentional focus sought to build this command economy.
The corporate manifesto I analyzed in my post on corporate-government bureaucratic coordination was issued by the US Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope. Its provisions are typical of the consensus among all corporate “trade” groups and the various sector and industry groups.

The proposal is clearly not just any proposal. On both sides, many other cross-sector business groups explicitly support the proposal or suggest a similar approach in their contributions to the official consultations on TTIP, including BDI (German Industry Association), Confederation of British Industry, Coalitions of Services Industries, British American Business, National Foreign Trade Council, Roundtable on Trade and Competition, Transatlantic Business Council, National Association of Manufacturers, Eurometaux and the United States Council for International Business. Some, notably the Competitive Enterprise Institute, take a step further and demand that businesses are able to choose freely which set of standards and regulations they will apply.

On top of this, 30 business associations, including most of the aforementioned, have written a common letter to the US Trade Representative and to Commissioner de Gucht’s department to stress the importance of a system of “regulatory cooperation”. They include sectoral lobby groups from the chemicals industry, car industry, the financial sector, biotechnology, pharmaceutical industry and many more. They point to the existing structures on regulatory dialogue, the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum, and assert that they “can be made much more effective and should include enhanced opportunities for dialogue with stakeholders”.

This is explicit confirmation from the corporations themselves that their goal is total economic control and domination, to be leveraged into total political control and domination. This confirms everything I’ve written about corporate totalitarianism and that humanity’s great need is to completely abolish the de jure corporate mode of organization. We have to abolish the corporations completely.
9. Today we’ve reached the terminal stage of this devolution. The neofeudal elites wish to undertake the final enclosure of all real assets – land, natural resources, physical space itself, buildings, infrastructure, and all the products of the mind. At the same time they want to cut all ties with human beings other than the ties of exploitation. They want to eradicate all semblance of government, law, and civil society, except insofar as these are weapons of domination or of pacification. They want to take totalitarian control of the Earth itself, enjoy a total license to do anything they wish and have this license enshrined as their “right”, while being absolved of literally ALL social or legal responsibility. These sociopaths, these willful outlaws, want to actually secede from civilization. They want to steal all the benefit of human interaction but incur zero reciprocal responsibility or obligation. They want to burn off all relationships between human and human, distilling them to the primal confrontation of master and slave in the dead of a wasteland. Since neither slaver nor slave can be human, these corporate fundamentalists wish to completely eradicate civilization and humanity itself. They are in fact post-civilizational barbarians.
The TTIP (and TPP) as a whole is an assault on freedom, democracy, economic prosperity, and human happiness. It’s to be a major escalation of corporate tyranny, a major step toward corporate domination. As we should have abundant experience by now, all of its promises are lies, and none of its promised benefits will come true. It’ll only accelerate the corporate destruction of the real economy and what’s left of democratic politics, leaving behind only austerity, serfdom, hunger, disease, and an ever more severe police state.
The rise of corporate rule has been a counterrevolution within the revolutionary age of fossil fuels, industrialism, capitalism, and democracy. Just as those, including the birth of the democratic consciousness, were features of the Oil Age, so was corporate rule a necessary countermeasure if the crypto-feudal parasites were to carry their prerogatives through the dangerous age.
Now all of those except one must decline and perish. In prospect we perceive the feudal core now rising again in the form of post-capitalist corporate domination, and we experience whatever’s left of the democratic consciousness which is the one shining legacy of the fossil fuel age, the greatest lesson humanity has ever learned, the most marvelous gift we bestowed upon ourselves out of the seemingly endless and pointless travails of history. It’s now up to us to either embrace this democratic heritage and go forward boldly living it, or reject it and adhere to the noxious residue as eternal slaves in the darkness.
Here’s my earlier TTIP posts. If you don’t read anything else, I strongly recommend reading at least part one about the coordination plan and the ISDS post.









February 12, 2015



(Someone asked me whether or not there was something philosophically bad about so-called “welfare”, using food stamps as his example. This was my reply.)
1. Since all the wealth of government and corporations is stolen from the people who actually do the work in the first place, or is extracted at the socioeconomic and spiritual expense of those who are artificially rendered “unemployed” by a system which separates humanity from its ability to work, anything the people can get back from this system is automatically justified.
2. For every penny of “welfare” there’s probably a thousand dollars of corporate welfare, so that right there renders “welfare” for human beings a non-issue anyway, from any practical or moral point of view. Like with so many other problems and issues, we’d have to abolish corporatism first and THEN see if there’s any problems left over with anything that actually benefits human beings.
3. The money for this or any other government program doesn’t come from taxes paid by the working class, it comes from money the Fed prints. Taxes are not in fact necessary for a government to pay for things, but are rather a form of social control. (The way things are going now, with the Fed printing trillions to be directly handed over to Wall Street and other corporate sectors, is unproductive, destructive, and unsustainable, but that’s a different issue.)
4. The food stamp system is intentionally set up to make it easy to procure junk food and difficult to obtain good food like fresh produce. I’ve worked at a farmers’ market and can attest to how hard it is to set up to accept food stamps. Different states do more or less to help with this. And then of course many food stamp recipients live in food deserts artificially created by the system, where fresh produce is hard to come by. So if some recipients use food stamps to buy junk food, that isn’t just some kind of individual turpitude. The far greater cause is the structural trap they’re in.
5. But that outcome is intentional, since food stamps aren’t really meant to feed those who couldn’t otherwise afford to eat. Their main purpose is to be laundered corporate welfare for food manufacturers, just as farmer subsidies are laundered corporate welfare for the input manufacturers and commodifiers. That’s why food stamps are part of the same Farm Bill that enshrines Big Ag subsidies. That food stamps do help people eat is just a side effect from the government’s point of view.
6. So although lots of people want to moralize about “welfare”, it’s actually meaningless and amoral to talk about it at all unless it’s placed in its political and socioeconomic context, where we see that it’s (A) utterly trivial compared to the magnitude and malignity of corporate welfare, (B) in many cases actually is laundered corporate welfare, (C) is helping people who have been rendered economically superfluous and unemployable (because the jobs no longer exist) by those same corporations, who control all government policy.
I’ll go a step further and say it’s immoral and depraved to have no objection, and especially no moral/emotional objection, to trillions in corporate welfare which helps no one and is purely destructive, but to feel outraged over the few pennies the government still spends which actually can help actual human beings who have been impoverished and economically exiled by the policies of that same government.
All my outrage is directed at corporate rule.


April 4, 2013

Money, Reprise


One of the basic lies is that there’s only a “fixed” amount of money available at any given time, and that the measure of this amount is based on how much of a particular metal you have. This metal has usually been gold. According to system lies, if more paper money is issued than is justified by the amount of gold the system holds, the result is inevitably destructive inflation.
The lies here are that money is a real thing in itself, that this real thing is naturally based on gold, and that inflation as such is a bad thing. The goldbuggers often add an element of moralizing, that money not based on gold would be immoral and reckless, and that inflation is the consequence of a moral failure.
(I’ll add that the banks always overstate the amount of gold which is actually available. If at any time, including today, everyone who has invested in gold were to demand physical redemption, they’d immediately discover that they’d been sold fraudulent paper backed by nothing. So even given the framework of the gold standard, the banksters were precisely the immoral inflationists they accused others of being, along with committing flat out fraud.)
The truth is that money is nothing in itself, but in a normal economy would merely reflect the real production of that economy. As one Populist put it, money is just the yardstick measuring the yarn. But the goldbug ideology claims that the yardstick itself is worth as much as the yarn it measures.
Money’s only constructive role would be to exist in sufficient form to represent the real economy’s production, and to represent its productive capacity. This latter means that there should always be somewhat more money in circulation than the value of what the real economy is producing at the moment, since this extra money is what greases the skids of new productive investment and innovation. (I’ll add that it also means that to have legitimacy, money must always be circulating. The “velocity of money”, in the jargon, must be high. Money’s legitimate functions are as a medium of exchange and, as Graeber emphasizes, a unit of account. But to hoard money, to use it as a “store of value”, is always illegitimate. Taking money out of active circulation renders it pointless and therefore malevolent, since it’s no longer reflecting real productivity.)
It follows from this that if you’re going to have a central government and centralized money, the government should directly issue money in a sufficient amount to lubricate the entire productive capacity of the economy. This is called greenbackerism, named after the “greenbacks” the Lincoln administration issued to finance the Civil War (which of course couldn’t be financed with the existing gold-constrained system). This would bring only mild, constructive inflation. This mild inflation is economically healthy and good for borrowers. Real production, wages, and quality of life would increase in tandem. In fact, it’s increasing productivity which ought to dictate the pace and amount of money issuance. But the goldbug straitjacket, dedicated as it is to the artificial scarcity of money and to a generally deflationary pressure (which favors creditors over debtors), constantly puts an artificial ceiling on productivity, resulting in frequent economic crises and depressions.
Goldbuggery is utterly incapable of dealing with the complexities and productive surge of a modern fossil fuel economy. To maintain bankster control of the money but render this control more flexible, the banks dictated the establishment of the Fed in 1913. The Fed is nominally a hybrid government-bank institution, but is 100% under the control of Wall Street. In this way Wall Street continues to issue the money, which the government borrows.
(Meanwhile the silver scam has twice been the system’s response, under duress, to an uncomfortable debate and confrontation between gold and greenbacks. Most famously, in 1896 the People’s Party, having heroically forced the greenbacker idea into the public discussion, committed ignoble suicide by selling out to silver and embracing the Democratic Party instead of fighting for itself and the Populist movement which extruded it in the first place. Sound familiar? In 1896, at the LATEST, history proved that the Democratic Party was a tar pit for all human aspiration. Yet to this day people rush in droves to entomb themselves in this pit.)
I can’t stress enough that the money belongs to the people. We create 100% of the real productivity and wealth, of which money is a reflection. It’s OUR MONEY. If there’s to be a central government at all, then directly issuing the money is indisputably one of the core functions of this government. The Constitution itself mandates this.
But under all systems of bank money, including the system centered on the Fed, the government abdicates this core role, the banks illicitly usurp it, and we the people now have to pay extortion rates to rent OUR MONEY back from the banks who stole it.
One of the infinite vilenesses of the liberals is how we the people had a golden opportunity (pardon the pun, and note the profound corruption of the vernacular itself) in 2009 to smash this system once and for all and take back our money. But instead the liberals presided over the aggressive bailout of Wall Street, using trillions in taxpayer money to bail out the robbers who intentionally crashed the economy. This example was at least as awesomely self-destructive as 1896, and far more malevolent. Will America learn a lesson this time?


December 6, 2012

The Temporary Resumption of Petty Middle Class Faith


1. Despite a brief surge of proto-revolutionary feeling in 2009-10, the “early adopters” have gone back to their idiocy. In spite of all they saw and all they supposedly learned, in the end they followed Bernanke, Geithner, and Obomney and learned to love and believe in the Bailout.
2. Meanwhile, in a spectacular example of cognitive dissonance and pseudo-religious fundamentalism, liberals have responded to the overwhelming evidence record by doubling down on their faith in the Obama cult. “I believe because it’s absurd.” They’ve also had second thoughts about their own dependency on organized crime. They still have their crumb for the moment. They have a cowardly, cringing mindset. Do they really want to gamble that crumb right now?
3. After a brief period of progress, truth-tellers like me are back in the position Hoffer described – “they won’t listen to him”.
4. Instead, as we see all over the blogosphere, presented with a clear structural critic and a troll, your aspiring do-gooder ignores the critic and tries to reason with the troll. Of course, this is ingrained in the do-gooder’s temperament. But for a little while there the do-gooders were starting to overcome that temperament. Now they’ve gratefully gone back to it. This is reinforced by how they’ve reaffirmed their psychological comfort in living off the fruits of crime.
5. This is part of why there’s no good Food Freedom discussions online. (Besides, the food movement never reached the consciousness of the anti-bank movement. Just like political blogs almost all suck, so food blogs almost all suck, while the only real action was at the econoblogs.)
6. For now it seems to me it’ll have more inflammatory than probative value to participate on sites like that. I’ll try to just read the posts but ignore the “discussions”. If I find this impossible, then I’ll drop those sites completely. I’ll continue looking for discussions, but be ready to abandon them as soon as I see how lame they are. For the time being a critic can’t, with any good return on investment, guide a basically conformist conversation onto a critical path.
7. So we have to head back to Geneva for now. The 1905 blossom has withered. It’s time to start over from the beginning and build, first a nucleus and then a movement, from scratch. My own blog is senescent. A blog’s not a great forum anyway. Just use the blog to advertise the forum. Start a real discussion, and moderate it just as relentlessly as these liberal petty bourgeois idiots do. (They’re especially idiots because, on account of their own SQ brainwashing, they don’t even realize their own aggressive ideology, nor how their selection of discussion emphasis comprises a vicious pro-system bias.)
8. It seems that philosophically it’s time for slow fermentation. We need to build the full basis for somnambulistic counterattack. We can start in the sweet spot, the good wedges of Community Food, anti-GMO and anti-corporatism, without primarily insisting on Food Sovereignty. (It’ll be better to do this where we can choose our own battlefield. It’s harder to stick with it at places where the liberal and petty bourgeois idiocy is jabbering right there in front of us.)
9. Part of this sweet spot is relentless counterattack on the government food police and how they’re preventing America’s economic resurgence. (But this too is for a core audience? In the period of system retrenchment, won’t most people including system NGO types disregard the real need for Food Relocalization? Their actions show that they do.) But every attack on the government has to include at least some anti-corporate element, and some teaching that government and corporation are the same thing, the same enemy.


June 27, 2012

GMOs Can’t Feed the World and Don’t Intend To


As the GMO rackets and the corporate media collaborate in pushing a GMO domination strategy for Britain, we’re again hearing the “Feed the World” Big Lie, and arguments about GM yields. But anyone who starts with the question “which yields more?” is already surrendering vast ground to corporate agriculture. He’s probably running a scam. The real first question is:
Does corporate agriculture have any intention of feeding the world? Even better – Could it feed the world even if it wanted to?
We already know, from fifty years of experience, that the answer is No. That food corporatism can feed the world has been empirically proven to be false.
(And why would the answer be yes? Corporatism’s goal is artificial scarcity, since only this makes profit possible. Anyone who actually wanted to feed people wouldn’t put the food system in the hands of profiteers. It takes a very strange kind of mind to say, “we need to make food more universally available, so let’s organize it according to a system which needs to make it more scarce!”)
Therefore, questions of yield are moot compared to questions of systemic ability and intent. Organic agriculture can feed the world and wants to. Corporate ag doesn’t want to and therefore, if only for that reason, cannot.
The terms “intrinsic yield” and “operational yield” are often used to denote, respectively, how much of a crop can be grown in theory, under optimal conditions, as opposed to how much is actually grown in the real world.
Here too, the concepts are hermetic and therefore meaningless until we include the limitations of politico-economic systems. Today’s operational yield really means, intrinsic yield under corporatism, or corporatism’s political intrinsic yield. This is far more than enough to feed the world, but since corporatism artificially restricts access to food, the political operational yield, i.e. the amount which actually gets to the people as a whole, is much less. (Meanwhile the physical intrinsic yield is a meaningless abstraction and distraction.)
Meanwhile, with a system based on Food Sovereignty, the physical and political operational yields would be identical, while the physical intrinsic yield would stand as the aspiration for a much higher actual distribution of food to the people.
Even if it were true that industrial ag technically outproduces organic, its actual, i.e. politically distributed, yield is vastly lower than what organic ag would produce under Food Sovereignty.
So the supporters of industrial and corporate agriculture systematically suppress the fact that the question of food is first of all a question of political/economic systems. They try all they can to frame the questions in order to rig the answers for corporatism and against the truly organic.
That makes it all the more impressive that organic production, even in spite of all the real-world political and economic barriers to it and assaults upon it, and in spite of the conceptual elisions and suppressions and riggings in the data, has been proven to be at least as productive as industrial, and often more so, even under adverse status quo conditions.


March 26, 2012

Genocide By GMO Famine?


I’ve seen more mentions lately of the possibility of new genocides perpetrated upon the billions being rendered economically superfluous. The idea’s in the air. 
Economic superfluity, permanent unemployment, are of course nothing natural and could never occur under natural conditions, including conditions of social organization which are adapted to the ways of the earth. On the contrary, these are the artificial productions of economic hierarchy in general, and capitalism in particular. The basic goal of capitalism is to impose artificial scarcity upon natural abundance. This is applied to the land, to natural resources, and to the products of human labor.
It’s also applied to access to work itself, which like everything else is enclosed, parceled out as “property”, and then rented to us, the true owners. In this case the scarce parcels, carefully rationed, are called “jobs”. The ability to function in society, and the very measure of being human, are to be tied to this piece of property, and whether one is allowed to rent it from “the employer”.
On the other hand, the number of jobs is being further constricted all the time. Billions are being rendered permanently non-functional from the point of view of the system. They’ve been dispossessed, and dehumanized. They are, in fact, not human.
Nor does the system intend to use them all as slaves. The 1% don’t need so many slaves. So what could possibly be the intended fate of these billions of unpersons?
I’ve been tossing around an idea regarding the system’s attempt to impose GMO monoculture by force. This monoculture is guaranteed to frequently collapse, triggering catastrophic famines. This is by its own inertia and inherent vulnerabilties.
But I think it may be true that even beyond the corporatist motives for this policy, the 1% also intend to be able to trigger these collapses and famines at will. After all, no accumulation of artificial collapses, famines, and disease outbreaks causes them to admit the bankruptcy of the policy, any more than Wall Street’s intentional destruction of the global economy in 2007-08 caused them to dismantle the finance sector.
We know for a fact that Wall Street is, by system intention, to be allowed to destroy and plunder economies at will. We know for a fact that the system cares nothing about food safety, but that on the contrary the lethal pandemics which will arise (and may already have arisen) from CAFOs are considered acceptable. This is at best collateral damage, at worst something desired. Similarly, we know that the system considers the hyper-vulnerability of monoculture in general and GMO monoculture in particular to be desirable. It’s a feature, not a bug. (This is part of why the system is so unconcerned with the predicted and now documented rise of bt- and herbicide-resistant superbugs and superweeds. This was always a desired outcome, since it now escalates biological warfare, requiring the purchase of ever greater amounts of herbicide and ever more expensive proprietary seeds. Each new GMO generation is more expensive than the failed one it, by intention, must replace. GMOs were the epitome of disaster capitalism from their inception. We already knew that corporate agriculture, contrary to its propaganda, seeks disaster and scarcity, not plenty.)
When we consider all this, we must also take seriously the possibility that artificially-engineered mass famine, like those engineered by the British in India, the Nazis, Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, and many times before by Western capitalism, is on the drawing board here.
At the very least, no one can deny that with our total dependence on corporate agriculture, this is a practical possibility. Nor can anyone deny the malevolence of the 1%. Put the two together, and we have more than enough to know that the current situation is untenable and intolerable. We must, with all organized speed, decentralize, relocalize, and democratize food production and distribution, on a beyond-organic basis. 

January 10, 2012

Raw Milk, Decriminalization/Legalization, Public/Private, Property


After a year’s journey through the New Jersey legislative process including a 71 to 6 passage in the Assembly last spring, the raw milk partial decriminalization bill was allowed to die on the vine at the end of the Senate’s session this week. Big Dairy was putting pressure on key senators throughout the process. It looks like their failsafe all along was to prevent a Senate vote, and that they succeeded in this. Now the process needs to start all over again.
I doubt I need to tell the readers of this blog how this is a perfect example of the futility of “working within the system” and expecting “reform”. If I were still inclined to let myself get angry about stuff like this, I’d want to use a copy of the senate register to crack the skull of the next person I see lecturing us about “voting” and “getting the law changed”. It’s long been impossible to be aware of current events and not see how this is a kleptocracy where the only system action will be to further gut what’s left of society and further entrench organized crime. Just look at the work of the NJ senate here as a typical example, and you’ll see how there were plenty of bills passed, all of them worthless, most of them destructive.
Sure enough, there was plenty of time for votes on gutting water protections, urban school privatization, and extending legalized gambling. With “privatization” and “legalization” we see two typical elements of corporatism.
I wouldn’t mind seeing gambling decriminalized, but I don’t want it legalized as a state-sanctioned numbers racket or betting parlor. In this form gambling is a far worse scourge on the community than if it were merely neutral from the point of view of the law. Worst is how the ubiquity of gambling propaganda helps entrench the something-for-nothing desperation of the culture. Legalized gambling is the biggest part of what the finance sector does. Derivatives, securitization, credit default swaps, currency and commodity speculation are all such back-alley bets enshrined as state-enforced and media-exalted “contracts”. A sincere and non-cowardly reformist would demand nothing less than one big bucket law to de-legalize these, outlaw them in the technical sense of placing them outside the law. Without government thug backing for these phony contracts, the finance tyranny would collapse immediately. That’s just one way in which the banksters would cease to exist without massive government interference in the market.
The fact is that you can’t legalize unnatural things according to some ivory tower ideal and then expect their artificial reality to conform to the fictive notion. I’ve written before about how property is a good example of this legalization scam. True believers in property rights like Hernando de Soto expect the state to enshrine and enforce this fiction, and are then dismayed to see the concept and practice deployed in typical Might Makes Right fashion. But it should be obvious that property, just like representation, law, and rights themselves where these are developed, elaborated, administered, and enforced by a centralized system dominated by obscenely concentrated wealth, will exist in all these ways only as a weapon on behalf of the 1%. It cannot exist otherwise. If something doesn’t exist in nature, and is fabricated by an aggressive interest system, then it will never exist other than as the weapon of that interest. Nothing outside nature “is”. Everything is always on a vector. To expect these fictive legalizations to exist on anything but a class war vector is delusional.
Meanwhile, if the 99% abolishes the system as such, all these vectors disappear, as well as the fraudulent rationales for the fictions.
That’s a good example of how the decriminalization vs. legalization distinction is usually intertwined with the scam distinction of “public vs. private”. In a corporatist system (and all large structures inherently tend toward corporatism), there is no such distinction in substance. Government and private rackets comprise one whole, with the former serving as thug and bagman to the latter. The ornamental fictions “public” and “private” are merely a typical pretext for empty divisive propaganda, to artificially divide people into corporate tribes and set them against one another.
Meanwhile “privatize” doesn’t mean what the English language might cause you to think. It doesn’t mean the private sector takes on the costs, risks, responsibilities, and rewards. No, the risks and responsibilities remain with the taxpayer. The costs are covered by corporate welfare. The only thing that changes is that a private corporation now gets to steal directly from the government system, while this incorrigibly criminal system becomes even more corrupt.
To take the example of the schools, you either maintain the system schools or you don’t, but the alleged public-private distinction is a scam. I want community schooling and support home schooling. I’d like to see the abolition of the system schools. But the worst of all worlds is to maintain the system schools but “privatize” them. This maintains and aggravates everything that’s bad about them, while adding new racketeering pathologies and cons. (I saw that the Republican thug Santorum was involved in a typically sordid “charter school” rip-off. As usual, none of these thieves is going to prison, because such crimes are the proper use of privatization, not at all an “abuse” the way liberals would claim.)

October 7, 2011

One Simple Demand: Abolish Debt. Abolish Wall Street.


In the comment thread for my last post we discussed the possibility of some educational pamphleteering at the occupations. One idea was a few bullet points summing up the facts about debt, along with a recommendation to read David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years
So what might those points be? Here’s a few thoughts:
*Are you in debt?
*Are you forced into debt in order to live like a human being? It hasn’t always been this way.
*Humanity has flourished without formalized debt for most of its history.
*Formalized debt has always gone hand in hand with scarcity, tyranny, slavery, and war.
*Formalized debt is the mode of control of despotic structures like big government and big corporations.
*These structures, too, have only recently come into existence, and only along with tyranny, slavery, and war. Humanity has always done better without them. [Maybe those latter two are better to leave implicit for now? Maybe it’s better to isolate the formal debt issue, leading up to saying Wall Street and financialization shouldn’t exist.]
*Cash money is the vehicle of formalized debt.
*Wall Street exists only to preside over this unnecessary and destructive debt machine. It serves no legitimate or constructive purpose.
*History proves that we can undertake all human endeavors more fairly and efficiently without Wall Street and its debt burdens. Humanity is cooperation.
*We must redeem our human economy by building alternatives to cash and debt.
*We shall flourish again only with the abolition of Wall Street, the domination of finance, and the tyranny of money debt.
So there’s One Simple Demand right there. Abolish the debt system, abolish the finance sector, abolish Wall Street.

March 14, 2011

Corporatism is Legalized Crime


As Ted Nace points out early in his survey of corporatism, Gangs of America, the worst crimes of corporations seldom involve technical breaking of the law or the personal evil of corporate executives, but the pattern of destructive anti-social activity which corporatism (and its corrupted system of “law”) enshrines in principle as normal and normative. Corporatism is in fact the ideology and practice of formally enshrined organized crime.
The banks recently crashed the real economy, and permanent joblessness (including the waste of life termed “underemployment”) creeps toward and over 20% according to the measure. This destruction of the basis of our lives is a calculated, intentional corporate-dictated policy. Today we see quarter after quarter of corporations reporting record levels of “profit”, building up record cash hoards, and their executives personally looting these corporate hoards in the form of “bonuses”. All this even though the original stated purpose of the Bailout was to get liquidity circulating again. Today, not only does the government tolerate what’s obviously fraudulent accounting, disaster profiteering, and the obstinate refusal of corporate elites to live up to the terms of the Bailout. (I include all corporate sectors among the bailed out, since the bankster and government allegation was that all sectors would perish unless the TBTF banks were bailed out, and no other sector dissented from this, because they all expected the Bailout to trickle down to at least their own stock prices and exec comp.)
Not only does it do this, but it proclaims that this “jobless recovery” is in fact the real recovery they intended all along. Thus we have the same history as in Iraq: The initial rationale is proven to have been a Big Lie. The government then starts inventing new rationales ad hoc, temporarily proclaiming victory according to each, until forced by reality to move on to the next, further attenuated rationale and metric.
So we have Sodom-like corporate profiteering as the real economy continues to deteriorate, indeed in inverse proportion to the rising calls for “austerity”, that public amenities and civil society need to be gutted because there’s not enough existing wealth to support them.
Corporate profiteering and personal looting by executives, vs. austerity. This ratio is a direct metric of organized crime. It’s nothing but monumental, capital crime. Corporatism is the system of command economy, and trickle-down is ideology meant to justify it. But corporatism is nothing but robbery, and trickle-down nothing but the verbal part of fraud. Advocacy of it abets capital robbery. This incriminates both Washington gangs, the entire MSM, most of academia, and conservatism and liberalism as a whole.
In a formula:
Capitalism = corporatism and trickle-down = organized crime.
This is not a new kind of corporate behavior. Privateering, the formal charter to commit crimes, goes back to the 16th century, the dawn of the corporate form. Corporations were envisioned in the first place to help enable “violent crime grafted onto trade”, as Nace put it. The very term “free trade” originally referred directly to freedom from the law. Or as Hannah Arendt wrote in Origins of Totalitarianism, legalized gangsters sought to use politics to regulate their bloodshed. The British East India Company’s violent lawlessness is exactly mirrored today in the form every sort of corporate thuggery and the way corporate crimes are generally considered above and outside the law. Blackwater, explicitly declared above the law and granted a charter to literally perpetrate massacres, is merely the distillation of the way every large corporation is empowered to act, and the way they usually do act. Indeed, in principle this is the way they are required to act according to the core principle that profit-seeking is the only acceptable value. (The question of what kind of sick society would ever have enshrined such a sociopathic form in the first place I’ll leave for another time. But I’ll say here that the very existence of profit-seeking corporations reflects a self-loathing and self-destructiveness on the part of civilization itself.)
Today’s “free trade” has exactly the same criminal nature, but the term has been sanitized to refer to an economic theory rather than a legal concept of chartered outlawry.
Today it’s true in a precise sense that corporations are formally legalized criminal organizations. Take for example the repeal of the bucket laws, which used to recognize gambling as gambling whether done over dice in a back alley or stocks on an exchange. A bank couldn’t ask the state to enforce a wager any more than a two-bit hood. But these sane laws started being repealed in the 1980s. The process culminated in the CFMA in 2000. Now what was naturally unproductive antisocial gambling was legalized as a “contract”. The result was massively bloated bank profits and hideous distortions of the economy, climaxing in the crash of the real economy. (This is the intended culmination of financialization itself.) The crash was then used as the pretext for the Bailout and austerity. This entire process was premeditated and had its origin in the legalization of what are naturally outlawed acts. The massive conspiracy, dating back to the 90s, to fraudulently induce mortgages was enabled by this original legalization. And the rest of the crimes were piggybacked on these.
This is both the most extremely destructive and the most typical of the formal legalizations of organized crime which are bound up in the corporate form. While many of the subsequent crimes may still technically be illegal, they were enabled by the underlying legalization of gambling. (And once the government has been corrupted enough, even existing laws are no longer enforced, as we see every day. This is simply the de facto legalization of corporate crime.)
Yet today most people fail to see this. The magnitude of the crime, and the government imprimatur accorded it, is such that it becomes hard to register. Pro-corporate propaganda and indoctrination reinforce this self-obfuscation. This is what Hitler intended with his doctrine of the Big Lie. (This same magnitude of crime enabled by the hijacked law and corrupted polity also renders it impossible for the existing system of law to rein such crimes back in and impose any deserved justice. When the day comes that the people finally take back their country from such criminals, nothing short of a Nuremburg-level proceeding is sufficient to the task of justice.)
So we have a regime where responsibility for every crime, the robbery of trillions, international murder, slavery, the ravaging of the environment, conspiracies against plant genomes, and anything else profitable, are either directly legalized at the corporate behest or else laundered through the corporate form and dissolved.
All this is within the prescribed use of corporations. These are not “abuses”.
Here’s another example. Corporations serve as the underlying for the stock market. The stock market has a fraudulent basis in the first place, since only the first offering actually raises capital. The rest is just the same legalized gambling. It has never been anything but socially and economically destructive. And by what reality-based measure does stock price reflect value at all? Yet once you enshrine it as the most important measure of value, control fraud becomes ideologically justified. From there the next step is to change the law and/or regulation itself. Again, organized crime becomes legalized.
One of the ways the law gets changed is through pro-corporate SCOTUS decisions, like the recent one striking down most of the enforcement potential* of the “honest services” law, which was a modest attempt to retain some criminal liability for the most egregious executive fraud. This is just one example of how corporate power has corrupted our institutions, that even in the rare cases where the legislative branch tries to do part of its job, the judiciary blocks it.
[*In my previous corporatism post I referred to the double standard of law and jurisprudence enshrined by the SCOTUS where it comes to corporate speech. Corporate speech “rights” are interpreted extremely loosely, while at the same moment, in the same cases, corruption is interpreted with extreme pedantry. If there’s not a physical sack with a dollar sign drawn on it, it’s not corruption.
The SCOTUS just applied this same strict standard of “corruption” in the honest services case, declaring that the law is constitutional only where applied to explicit kickbacks and such. Obviously, this is meant to gut the law in practice, since today’s corruption is generally more sophisticated than that. But SCOTUS jurisprudence is designed to let all implicit corruption elude accountability.]
We’ll soon find out what’s the latest from the SCOTUS on unconscionable contracts of adhesion, extortionate “contracts” forced upon us through the coercion of monopoly and artificially created economic hardship. These strong-arm contracts are increasingly popular, and are imposed anywhere the corporations attain the position of dominance which enables them. In theory such contracts, just like gambling, are supposed to be unenforceable, uncontracts. But here too the SCOTUS has usually served as the corporate goon. The Lochner era was based upon the legalization of “contract” extortion, and although the court nominally abandoned this doctrine in 1937, in practice courts almost always still find such contracts valid. In the case of AT&T vs. Concepcion, AT&T’s thefts were so outrageous that the lower courts found the contracts it imposed, forestalling its victims to combine to sue as a class, to be unconscionable. But this will be the SCOTUS’ big chance to restore Lochner as official court doctrine. 
Meanwhile government contractors, starting with the weapons rackets, are implicitly encouraged to bilk the taxpayer out of billions. By now it’s not conventional corruption but systematic corporatist robbery, with the DoD and other agencies as bagmen. Robert Gates once explicitly told an audience of weapons racketeers that where it comes to the military Obama’s top priority is an ever-escalating Pentagon budget as such, as a value in its own right.
Those are just a few examples of systematic corruption, i.e. organized crime. The term kleptocracy should be understood in a profound way. Corporatism comprises a new paradigm of criminal practices, and the pro-corporate mindset is a characteristic, immutable criminal mindset. It’s not just a set of criminal actions, but an indelible criminal essence. It’s the mindset that we can no longer exist at all without being totally controlled by corporations, having all we produce monopolized and stolen by corporations, and submitting at every moment to corporate imperatives even in our very thoughts. The elites, for obvious reasons, believe this themselves. The system they’ve set up is dedicated to enforcing this corporate totalitarianism from the top down. The corporations themselves have no purpose at all except to preserve and intensify this kleptocracy, and to keep stealing.
But we know that we don’t need corporations to have a vibrant, productive economy. We know we’d be far more productive without them. Without them we would restore our prosperity, our communities, our social morality, and our democracy. The only thing in the way of our redeeming our humanity and saving our lives and freedom are a few gangsters, organized as big corporations. The corporate form is what enables this in the first place. Let’s abolish it. 

November 23, 2010

Guns, Butter, and Bonuses (MMT, Money, and Deficits) Part 2


In part 1 I discussed some of the core lies of neoliberalism: That money creation is based on deposits; that we need the banks in order to create money; that money creation without risking runaway inflation is constrained by anything other than the capacity utilization of the economy; that under today’s Depression circumstances America faces any “deficit problem” at all other than the political one created by the criminals who are looking for a pretext to steal yet more trillions under the rubric of “austerity”.
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), the latest incarnation of a much older idea once called producerism, greenbackerism, chartalism, and other names, teaches these truths. So in these senses MMT is objectively subversive of the particular status quo which afflicts us today. It means the banks have no legitimacy and shouldn’t exist at all.
Money creation is a sovereign power of the people, and a core responsibility of government if we’re to have a government at all. Whether done directly by the government or through the middleman of the banks, money creation is done out of thin air, simply by crediting the account of a loan or payment recipient. The right way to create money is to gauge the money supply to the productive capacity of the real economy. If there’s capacity underutilization, the government should engage in deficit spending to fill the gap, until it has done enough to stimulate the full productive capacity and full employment. This is MMT’s prescription, according to many of the MMTers I’ve read.
The most direct, efficient, rational, and productive way to do this is for government to directly issue money, directly credit accounts.
Contrary to popular propaganda, the banks don’t create money as a multiple of deposits, but simply create it out of thin air. They do this not for the sake of economic health, but for their privatized rent-seeking. They want nothing but control of money in order to steal as much of every transaction as possible. The banks tax economic activity at least as much as the government does, but bank taxation is far more destructive in principle. Government taxation, although usually excessive and tyrannical in practice*, can in principle be measured and used for the sake of rearranging wealth so that economic well-being and productivity is maximized. But bank taxation is never anything other than purely greedy, purely destructive, and never has any measure other than how much they can get away with stealing. That’s what the financialization of the economy is, the attachment of a permanent financial parasite to the real productive activity of a people. This parasite does nothing but suck ever larger amounts of our life blood, steadily weakening us and even achieving motor control over our actions.
[*Today we have terminal kleptocracy, and this government, itself a creature of the banks, will never tax for any purpose other than to help the banks and corporations steal. So I’m certainly not calling for this particular government to tax more. On the contrary I say we must reject and resist all new or extended taxes on the non-rich.
In this discussion I only want to establish the principle that, as a matter of reformist philosophy, for the government to resume the full money creation and taxation power from the banks would be a progressive step.
But in the end we must get rid of centralized government as well.] 
Once the banks have financialized the economy, they believe in and demand rampant deficit spending, but they want it detached from all real production. Under financialization, the currency becomes mere funny money for bankster gambling and speculation, while all losses and destructive effects are socialized on the productive people.
Toward this end, the bankster-bought government has alienated its sovereign currency and its sovereign power. Thanks to the government’s corruption and abdication, the banks create money, not for socially and economically productive ends, but for destructive profiteering.
But the government could just as easily reclaim its money sovereignty and directly issue the money, and do so toward the goal of a healthy, productive real economy. We wouldn’t need the big banks to exist at all, and could be rid of them. There would be no threat of destructive inflation from this money issuance so long as there’s major capacity overhang and unemployment in the economy, as there is today.
Meanwhile the banks encourage unhealthy corporatist deficit spending (A2 = C, in my terminology from part 1, instead of the healthy A1 = B), and neo-austerity-mongers like Krugman embark upon their own bait and switch, wanting to surreptitiously switch in A2 for the A1 they previously advocated, and the C for the B. But they face two prospects of change: The possibility of having to capitulate to deflation at some point; and the possibility that the old greenbacker idea, in today’s MMT form, will get more and more traction.
As a contingency plan, they’ve started floating trial balloons for a restored gold standard. This is an old bankster trick. In the short run, it’s standard political misdirection. In the 19th century they used to call it “sound money” and “honest money”, and this does have a surface plausibility.
In the long run, any metal standard is always used to artificially constrict the money supply among participants in the real economy, in order to force them into debt. Whether it’s a time of real inflation or real deflation, the gold standard is used the same way, as a depressant and control over the non-finance sectors, and especially the non-rich. In our circumstance, as deflation definitively sets in, a gold standard would be used by the banksters to accelerate it beyond its natural pace, in order to more effectively impose debt indenture and strangulation. A gold standard would simply be austerity by other means.
So there’s more evidence that the true reform solution, if we’re to continue with a centralized economy at all, is that:
1. The government should directly issue greenbacks;
2. toward economically productive goals.
No “finance sector” necessary.
So the reformist MMT idea is an attempted end run around the criminal hoarding of social wealth on the part of the banks and corporations. The call for direct government issuance, including deficit spending when the economy is depressed, would be an attempt to bring the circulating supply of money in line with the economy’s productive capacity and counteract the intentional withholding of money from the economy by rent-seeking criminals who hoard that money (all stolen), and who do so in order to prop up those same rents.
There are various proposals which mean in effect crediting the accounts of the unemployed. Right there we can already see a structural weakness in the concept, since it seems to assume the continuance of bank accounts. Well, maybe it could refer only to local banks, credit unions, state banks. (I’m going to expand on a few of these ideas in an upcoming post on state banking.) The proposals could be called partial refunds of our money the banks stole through the Bailout.
While I’m not calling for such a program myself, let me stress that Washington already does “credit the bank accounts” of the unemployed. It’s just that these particular unemployed are the parasites of the FIRE sector, Pentagon sector, Big Ag, and all the rest of the corporate welfare recipients who do no work at all, who only destroy. Meanwhile to give money directly to the nominal unemployed would in fact be giving the money to productive workers who are unemployed only because those same banks intentionally destroyed their jobs.
This is in fact what MMTers advocate. Here’s a typical proposal from Marshall Auerback:

What we desperately need to do is to increase our deficit by several percentage points of GDP and offer public sector jobs to all those who want one. Government as Employer of Last Resort is one idea I have been pushing (along with Randy Wray, Bill Mitchell and a host of other people). As I said in an earlier post,

The U.S. Government can proceed directly to zero unemployment by hiring all of the labor that cannot find private sector employment. Furthermore, by fixing the wage paid under this ELR program at a level that does not disrupt existing labor markets, i.e., a wage level close to the existing minimum wage, substantive price stability can be expected. Other benefits could be provided, including vacation and sick leave, and contributions to Social Security and, most importantly, health care benefits, providing scope for a bottom up reform of the current patchwork health care system……

At any rate, what we desperately need to do is to increase our deficit by several percentage points of GDP and offer public sector jobs to all those who want one. We thus have to aim to ensure public spending fills the gap left by non-government saving (a consolidated position combining the private domestic and foreign sectors) and keeps aggregate demand growing at such a rate that it provides scope for the private savings desires to be realised without compromising our public purpose goal to ensure there is sustained full employment and inclusive income distribution outcomes.

But by far the majority of the unemployed workers could be offered a minimum wage job to work on community and environmental care projects for as long as they desired. I would suggest we also raise the minimum wage so that everyone has access to decent housing and health care etc. But the ELR scheme would only be offering a wage to workers who have no market bid for their services by definition. It will give them a job, some income security, will add to aggregate demand and help stimulate a broader recovery and, in itself, will not be inflationary.

As Auerback says, many of his colleagues support similar ideas. While I reject the specifics*, it’s good that the basic idea is spreading. It’s a cognitive rebellion against the structural bank paradigm itself, and against the deficit terrorist “austerity” propaganda and policy demands.
[*What’s wrong with specific MMT-related job creation programs:
1. They still want this job creation within the capitalist framework, and explicitly don’t want to create living wage jobs. (Edit: Cf. comments below for more on this. My critique here may not apply to every proposal.)
2. Nor are the jobs supposed to compete with the inefficient, uncompetitive private sector. So these proposals want the worst of capitalism in every aspect, the structural inefficiency and incompetence as well as the exploitation of the worker.
3. No doubt in practice the disbursement and administration would be corporatized. We saw how Obama’s idea of “job creation” is employer tax credits, i.e. another useless, expensive corporate toll booth. No other job creation program under corporate circumstances is likely to be executed any differently.
4. What these proposals really want to do is deliver a modest direct payment, but because they think it would be more politically palatable, they want to launder it through degrading makework. But I don’t think even the politics would work out that way. Nobody seems willing to learn, you can’t appease neoliberalism. Anything you try to do, good or meager, will be equally demonized. So why not demand the good, instead of a program which looks like real-life version of a caricature from a conservative polemic?
If you want a job creation program, go for the jugular, and do it with pride. Let it be real work at a real wage. Compete directly with the inefficient private sector, and proclaim that competition as a selling point, not a matter for fear and shame the way these guys seem to think it is. One can never win politically through timidity and appeasement. The best chance is always to seek to compel respect through an honest, frontal assault.]
In the end this is will all still be academic if it takes the current political parameters as given. For there to be effective fiscal policy change presupposes a general, radical political transformation. I think MMT can be part of the mix of transformative ideas, but is doomed to be relegated to arcana if its advocates see themselves as mere “reformers within the system”, and maybe not even that.
Here’s how I see things. My moral derivation from MMT (which I’m not claiming is part of MMT, but which I do claim morally and rationally follows from it) is that since money in itself has value only on account of government fiat (because government will accept it for tax purposes), therefore it follows that money can never legitimately serve as a “store of value”.
It can count as “property” only where it’s actually circulating or fermenting as a truly productive investment. Only then is it participating in the public life of the society which gives it life in the first place.
Money being hoarded, antisocial money, money as a store of value, in effect has no right to exist at all, and should be restituted to its proper owner to be put to its proper use. “Store of value” represents unproductive, parasitic hoarding of the public resource. Resources must be used productively in order to confer legitimacy of possession upon the possessor. One is a participant in the economy to the extent he is an agent of the velocity of useful, constructive activity (not mere “velocity of money”). One who’s not such a participant has no valid claim on society’s resources. That includes all rentier parasites. Hoarded “property” is nothing but stagnation, rot.
Hoarded wealth is both useless and pathological. Since all wealth is produced by people working together, even if we agreed to channel more of it through some hands than others, this could be fair and efficient only if the intent were to give them greater opportunity to enjoy the wealth only through the act of recirculating it, spending it in the real economy.
But for someone so blessed to instead hoard and financialize is a double-cross. It’s breaking the deal which distributed that wealth in the first place. (As for the “investment” justification, history has empirically proven that beyond a modicum, concentrated wealth is not productively invested but is used for unproductive, destructive speculation and gambling. In the same vein, corporations which aren’t producing but merely hoarding, as so many are today, have no right to be “taking profits” at all. By definition any such extractions are just looting. Under today’s post-capitalist conditions, the forms of capitalism are no longer valid. They’re worthless and worse than worthless. Pernicious.)
This is the basic critique of idle, useless “property”: Since all value is a cooperative endeavor, and the only rationale for allowing property rights would be to increase the cooperative value and happiness, therefore as individuals and groups we have a legitimate right to useful possession, but none to stagnant hoarded “property”. We should apply this to money, purging the “store of value” concept.
So that’s why I say sitting on wealth, relegating it to unproductivity, is useless in any practical sense, and has no moral validity because it abrogates the social contract under which it was unequally distributed in the first place. Only constructive velocity can justify inequality of distribution. (Again, wealth is cooperatively generated in the first place. Even the greatest thinker still stands on the shoulders of his predecessors, and on the education society provided him. And he then depends upon the resources of nature and the work of many others to bring his ideas to fruition.)
In all this I’m referring to large wealth concentrations. I’m not referring to attempts at saving on the part of the non-rich under this system, where people are forced by circumstances to try to save for the hardships of the future, since we have no adequate social support system or safety net. The neoliberal barbarians of today want to do away with civilization itself.
But in a human community there would never be any need or justification for unproductive hoarding. Useful possession is the measure of legitimate possession. MMT supports this with its proposition that since money is created only by the government, and only as an economic lubricant of the productivity of the people, money as a “store of value”, that is the hoarding of it, has no rational or moral legitimacy.
So getting back to MMT’s accounting identity, here’s the course of action to render things morally and rationally valid: The government can run a deficit in order to stimulate the depressed real economy (this depression being accounted for by the “surplus” hoarded by the banks and corporations), so its production recovers from the vandalism inflicted upon it by the banks, and counteracts their depressive criminal assaults which destroy jobs and relegate resources to uselessness. The government could even redeem its sovereignty and smash the criminals, restituting this stolen “private surplus” and restoring it to the productive people who are its true owners. In all this, there would be no practical reason nor moral right for the big banks to exist.
In the course of this restitution the economy’s productive potential could be focused on the transformation from the fossil fuel based “growth” economy to the post-oil steady-state economy.
Once this was done, there would no longer be a need for a government deficit, or for a centralized government at all. This could be retired as the now fully employed, fully productive steady state economy rationally and prosperously proceeds.
These ideas will become more and more apparent as the criminal disease metastasizes. For now the point here is to be aware of these facts:
1. Government will spend on anything it wants. (And so long as the economy is depressed, it can spend as much as it wants without fear of triggering inflation.) The elites, whether aware of the real nature of money or not, all implicitly agree that deficits don’t matter. Their actions prove this.
2. But the elites tell the lie that spending is constrained in order to justify cutting public interest spending and raising taxes on the non-rich.
This conjunction of 1. and 2.  explains the obvious, grotesque contradiction of a government hemorrhaging borrowed money and deficit spending on bailouts, wars, and corporate welfare at the same time it calls for “austerity”. (This juxtaposition is so patently idiotic and obscene that I don’t understand why just by itself it doesn’t trigger a revolution. Is it really possible to be so dense and/or compliant that one can’t see the manifest bad faith, indeed total criminality, of such a government?)
3. For now we can’t do much about 1., but we can expose the lie upon which 2. is based. That’s the mission of MMT.
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