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Capitalism and the TPP: A Kinder, Gentler Totalitarianism

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 By Dennis Weiser, Truthout | Op-Ed
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Media and marketing have convinced the populace that government alone is to blame for our problems, rather than the fusion of corporate power and government decision-making.Corporate propaganda has convinced the populace that government alone is to blame for our problems, rather than the fusion of corporate power and government decision-making. (Image: Businessmen backlit via Shutterstock)

Subscribe to Truthout's email newsletter for news updates in your inbox - seven days a week, 365 days a year!

Doug Hughes, a mail carrier, flew a gyrocopter under the radar to land on the Capitol lawn to deliver letters to every member of the US Congress urging them to get real campaign finance reform done.

John Kerry's Senate farewell warning that corporate money threatens to steal the American democracy is belated. US democracy has already been stolen. The only question is: Can it be recovered, and, if so, how?

To respond appropriately to the italicized events noted above, consider two questions:

1. How can any campaign finance reform possibly be effective until we dismantle all multinational corporations, perform the gene-splicing that will permanently remove the tendency toward monopoly and contamination from the organizational DNA inherent in all organized commerce?

2. How can we expect to dismantle all multinational corporations unless we get all electronic media advertising (especially cable and network television, radio and print media) money out of political campaigning?

The answer to both questions is the same: We can't. The Corporate Advertising-Marketing-&-Lobbying Fog Machine has bamboozled the American people into misguidedly blaming government alone for our problems instead of recognizing the complete fusion of corporate power and government decision-making (this, by the way, is the definition of fascism according to Benito Mussolini, who presumably knew what fascism was). Corporate strategy now dominates our government and dictates all government policy.

The traditional corporate line of defense supposedly justifying this situation and perpetuating the status quo is the shouted mantra: "We Create Jobs!" Multinational corporations exploit a blurry equivocation in the public mind (they actually planted it there), which identifies multinational and transnational corporations with the totality of corporate business, with all of commerce, with entrepreneurialism and with the political agenda that drives multinational denizens in every industry to preserve the status quo of their power, privilege and profits in the name of unsustainable growth and unattainable "progress." These propagandizing delusions deserve to be excised and therefore merit the following responses:

1. Multinational corporations do not create jobs for the majority of citizens. In more than 400 years of its history, corporate capitalism has never created meaningful work or a decent standard of living for the majority of citizens. Multinational corporations destroy US and global employment opportunities by currency gambling, by forced austerity via IMF and WTC predatory loans, by off-shoring jobs to cheap labor markets in Asia, India, Central America and Mexico à la NAFTA, CAFTA, and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Act (TPP), for which President Obama is currently seeking prior fast-track trade authority to secretly finalize the TPP and Trade-in-Services Agreement (TISA).

2. More importantly, multinational corporate strategy is committed to eliminating half of all existing forms of employment across all sectors by automation tied to volatile and arbitrary technological changes. This is why it favors creating only high-tech jobs that meet the wants of corporations instead of the needs of citizen populations they purportedly - but in reality, do not - serve.

This is the underlying rationale and ulterior explanation for a host of problems, including multinational corporate destruction of public education by replacing schools with private sector charter schools; the imposition of such deliberately self-destructive legislation as "No Child Left Behind," "Race to the Top," the use of test scores to terrorize teachers and demoralize students, and the promulgation of a "Core Curriculum" ("core" is one of the favored terms of art among corporate-owned-and-operated social scientists); the wholesale firing of entire classes of long underpaid, highly skilled teachers (based on those test scores and "outcome studies"); the 2006 legislation requiring the US Postal Service to pre-fund the retiree health benefits for 75 years, the goal of which is plainly to force bankruptcy and privatization on an enterprise whose funding is guaranteed under the Constitution for the purpose of keeping the electorate informed; and corporate domination through funding and control of university scientific research. Besides providing lucrative entrées to public sector wealth by predatory private testing firms, fatuous real estate speculators and construction companies facing extinction, these disastrous trends reflect the multinational corporate culture's preference for STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) training over traditional humanities, arts and sciences. Clearly, the rationale, the raison d'être, behind all these activities is sheer cupidity, profit maximization and ever more concentrated corporate wealth.

3. The bottom line is: These artificial corporate entities do not want an educated citizenry and are working overtime to undermine all such education. What they crave is gullible malleable consumers who will function as a desperate, highly mobile workforce and, in case of workforce glut, obedient soldiers who will die quietly in capitalism's inescapable wars.

Employment security has long been a tool of capitalist power brokers for extorting compliance from the mass of workers who have for centuries been nurtured on myths like (1) "there is dignity in work" (as everyone knows, the very opposite - "indignity" - is what work provides a-plenty as organized under corporate capitalism); (2) everyone must work for money to "earn one's living" (obviously a falsehood, since the wealthy don't have to work - or work mainly at protecting and increasing their wealth - and yet have all the leisure needed to enjoy the finer things in life: art, music, literature, science, and spirituality); and (3) young people should "learn the value of a dollar" (the value of a dollar is simply its purchasing power, which presumably would take only a minute to learn. Purchasing power, be it noted, is one thing in 2015 America, another in Vietnam or Guatemala, and quite another in the inflationary Weimar Republic circa 1933).

4. This multinational executive barony knows that employment "churn" (that is, the unpredictable wholesale displacement and replacement of workers and skill sets) resulting from technological, economic and market volatility is inevitable under corporate capitalism.

5. According to the US Small Business Administration, 67 percent of all jobs are created by small businesses of 499 or fewer employees. Despite estimates of government and right-wing think tanks like the National Bureau of Economic Research and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, small firms of 200 and fewer employees (the vast majority of which are small partnerships and private practices with little or no international market presence or potential) produce nearly 85 percent of all jobs.

According to reliable research from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the economy is not creating many jobs at all; the 13 states that raised their minimum wage had higher job growth than states that did not raise the minimum wage and the Trans-Pacific Partnership will cost jobs, not create them. This corporate cannibals' global power-grab, if implemented, will set back financial, environmental, public health and safety regulatory standards 100 years, as well as grant corporate ogres the right to empty the US treasure for alleged "future" loss of profits. Given the cocked-up state of corporate-controlled social "science" research, that will be an easy case to make. The fact that the TPP guarantees that such judicial "decisions" will be rendered by a tribunal of corporate lawyers all but ensures a pro-corporate capitalist outcome. Too bad for the people, huh?

In an op-ed article, CEPR co-director Mark Weisbrot, notes:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a very special trade agreement. It is so special that our government officials who are negotiating it want to keep it completely secret from us. It's like a special Christmas present so they want it to be a surprise! And to make sure it's a surprise, they won't even let a single member of Congress see what they are negotiating. However, hundreds of corporations have been given access to the draft text.

This should give you some idea of our government's trade agenda. President Obama says that he wants to create jobs through trade, but this agreement is more likely to cost jobs here than to create them. Leaked drafts of parts of the agreement indicate that our negotiators are trying to increase patent protection for pharmaceutical companies, for example. This will not create jobs, although it may make our big drug companies and their shareholders richer.

It is the multinationals that, to the detriment of the public interest, want to jack up exports to profit their financial investors. Clearly, if we want to change this imbalance between the opulent clout of corporate advertising and lobbying "dark money" and the sheep-like impotence of the American people, ordinary citizens will have to organize themselves in local communities all across the country and mobilize to dismantle all multinational corporations, which are preying on the people and rapidly demolishing every trace of public good.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Dennis Weiser

Dennis Weiser has published more than a dozen works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction since 2005. He is a former weekly columnist for The Kansas City Business and book reviewer at NPR affiliate KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Missouri, where he has lived since 1981. In September 2014, he launched 3RD AWAKENING BOOKS, which in June 2015 will publish Sinister Dynamic, Volume Three: The Challenge: Redefining Work, Equality & Authority. A member of the Academy of American Poets, Dennis is currently writing his third novel, set in 1879 Java against the backdrop of Dutch Colonial exploitation.

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Capitalism and the TPP: A Kinder, Gentler Totalitarianism

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 By Dennis Weiser, Truthout | Op-Ed
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Media and marketing have convinced the populace that government alone is to blame for our problems, rather than the fusion of corporate power and government decision-making.Corporate propaganda has convinced the populace that government alone is to blame for our problems, rather than the fusion of corporate power and government decision-making. (Image: Businessmen backlit via Shutterstock)

Subscribe to Truthout's email newsletter for news updates in your inbox - seven days a week, 365 days a year!

Doug Hughes, a mail carrier, flew a gyrocopter under the radar to land on the Capitol lawn to deliver letters to every member of the US Congress urging them to get real campaign finance reform done.

John Kerry's Senate farewell warning that corporate money threatens to steal the American democracy is belated. US democracy has already been stolen. The only question is: Can it be recovered, and, if so, how?

To respond appropriately to the italicized events noted above, consider two questions:

1. How can any campaign finance reform possibly be effective until we dismantle all multinational corporations, perform the gene-splicing that will permanently remove the tendency toward monopoly and contamination from the organizational DNA inherent in all organized commerce?

2. How can we expect to dismantle all multinational corporations unless we get all electronic media advertising (especially cable and network television, radio and print media) money out of political campaigning?

The answer to both questions is the same: We can't. The Corporate Advertising-Marketing-&-Lobbying Fog Machine has bamboozled the American people into misguidedly blaming government alone for our problems instead of recognizing the complete fusion of corporate power and government decision-making (this, by the way, is the definition of fascism according to Benito Mussolini, who presumably knew what fascism was). Corporate strategy now dominates our government and dictates all government policy.

The traditional corporate line of defense supposedly justifying this situation and perpetuating the status quo is the shouted mantra: "We Create Jobs!" Multinational corporations exploit a blurry equivocation in the public mind (they actually planted it there), which identifies multinational and transnational corporations with the totality of corporate business, with all of commerce, with entrepreneurialism and with the political agenda that drives multinational denizens in every industry to preserve the status quo of their power, privilege and profits in the name of unsustainable growth and unattainable "progress." These propagandizing delusions deserve to be excised and therefore merit the following responses:

1. Multinational corporations do not create jobs for the majority of citizens. In more than 400 years of its history, corporate capitalism has never created meaningful work or a decent standard of living for the majority of citizens. Multinational corporations destroy US and global employment opportunities by currency gambling, by forced austerity via IMF and WTC predatory loans, by off-shoring jobs to cheap labor markets in Asia, India, Central America and Mexico à la NAFTA, CAFTA, and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Act (TPP), for which President Obama is currently seeking prior fast-track trade authority to secretly finalize the TPP and Trade-in-Services Agreement (TISA).

2. More importantly, multinational corporate strategy is committed to eliminating half of all existing forms of employment across all sectors by automation tied to volatile and arbitrary technological changes. This is why it favors creating only high-tech jobs that meet the wants of corporations instead of the needs of citizen populations they purportedly - but in reality, do not - serve.

This is the underlying rationale and ulterior explanation for a host of problems, including multinational corporate destruction of public education by replacing schools with private sector charter schools; the imposition of such deliberately self-destructive legislation as "No Child Left Behind," "Race to the Top," the use of test scores to terrorize teachers and demoralize students, and the promulgation of a "Core Curriculum" ("core" is one of the favored terms of art among corporate-owned-and-operated social scientists); the wholesale firing of entire classes of long underpaid, highly skilled teachers (based on those test scores and "outcome studies"); the 2006 legislation requiring the US Postal Service to pre-fund the retiree health benefits for 75 years, the goal of which is plainly to force bankruptcy and privatization on an enterprise whose funding is guaranteed under the Constitution for the purpose of keeping the electorate informed; and corporate domination through funding and control of university scientific research. Besides providing lucrative entrées to public sector wealth by predatory private testing firms, fatuous real estate speculators and construction companies facing extinction, these disastrous trends reflect the multinational corporate culture's preference for STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) training over traditional humanities, arts and sciences. Clearly, the rationale, the raison d'être, behind all these activities is sheer cupidity, profit maximization and ever more concentrated corporate wealth.

3. The bottom line is: These artificial corporate entities do not want an educated citizenry and are working overtime to undermine all such education. What they crave is gullible malleable consumers who will function as a desperate, highly mobile workforce and, in case of workforce glut, obedient soldiers who will die quietly in capitalism's inescapable wars.

Employment security has long been a tool of capitalist power brokers for extorting compliance from the mass of workers who have for centuries been nurtured on myths like (1) "there is dignity in work" (as everyone knows, the very opposite - "indignity" - is what work provides a-plenty as organized under corporate capitalism); (2) everyone must work for money to "earn one's living" (obviously a falsehood, since the wealthy don't have to work - or work mainly at protecting and increasing their wealth - and yet have all the leisure needed to enjoy the finer things in life: art, music, literature, science, and spirituality); and (3) young people should "learn the value of a dollar" (the value of a dollar is simply its purchasing power, which presumably would take only a minute to learn. Purchasing power, be it noted, is one thing in 2015 America, another in Vietnam or Guatemala, and quite another in the inflationary Weimar Republic circa 1933).

4. This multinational executive barony knows that employment "churn" (that is, the unpredictable wholesale displacement and replacement of workers and skill sets) resulting from technological, economic and market volatility is inevitable under corporate capitalism.

5. According to the US Small Business Administration, 67 percent of all jobs are created by small businesses of 499 or fewer employees. Despite estimates of government and right-wing think tanks like the National Bureau of Economic Research and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, small firms of 200 and fewer employees (the vast majority of which are small partnerships and private practices with little or no international market presence or potential) produce nearly 85 percent of all jobs.

According to reliable research from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the economy is not creating many jobs at all; the 13 states that raised their minimum wage had higher job growth than states that did not raise the minimum wage and the Trans-Pacific Partnership will cost jobs, not create them. This corporate cannibals' global power-grab, if implemented, will set back financial, environmental, public health and safety regulatory standards 100 years, as well as grant corporate ogres the right to empty the US treasure for alleged "future" loss of profits. Given the cocked-up state of corporate-controlled social "science" research, that will be an easy case to make. The fact that the TPP guarantees that such judicial "decisions" will be rendered by a tribunal of corporate lawyers all but ensures a pro-corporate capitalist outcome. Too bad for the people, huh?

In an op-ed article, CEPR co-director Mark Weisbrot, notes:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a very special trade agreement. It is so special that our government officials who are negotiating it want to keep it completely secret from us. It's like a special Christmas present so they want it to be a surprise! And to make sure it's a surprise, they won't even let a single member of Congress see what they are negotiating. However, hundreds of corporations have been given access to the draft text.

This should give you some idea of our government's trade agenda. President Obama says that he wants to create jobs through trade, but this agreement is more likely to cost jobs here than to create them. Leaked drafts of parts of the agreement indicate that our negotiators are trying to increase patent protection for pharmaceutical companies, for example. This will not create jobs, although it may make our big drug companies and their shareholders richer.

It is the multinationals that, to the detriment of the public interest, want to jack up exports to profit their financial investors. Clearly, if we want to change this imbalance between the opulent clout of corporate advertising and lobbying "dark money" and the sheep-like impotence of the American people, ordinary citizens will have to organize themselves in local communities all across the country and mobilize to dismantle all multinational corporations, which are preying on the people and rapidly demolishing every trace of public good.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Dennis Weiser

Dennis Weiser has published more than a dozen works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction since 2005. He is a former weekly columnist for The Kansas City Business and book reviewer at NPR affiliate KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Missouri, where he has lived since 1981. In September 2014, he launched 3RD AWAKENING BOOKS, which in June 2015 will publish Sinister Dynamic, Volume Three: The Challenge: Redefining Work, Equality & Authority. A member of the Academy of American Poets, Dennis is currently writing his third novel, set in 1879 Java against the backdrop of Dutch Colonial exploitation.