måndag 14 juli 2008

Nyliberalism eller demokrati

"In recent years the imposed regime is commonly called "neo-liberalism", thats the reigning economic orthodoxy of the past several decades. It's not a very good term incidentally, the socio economic means are by no means new and it's not liberal at least in the sense of liberal understood by classical liberals, Adam Smith and others. It's fair to say that a common enemy of democracy and development in the modern period is neo-liberalism, although it has earlier guises. As I mentioned it's obvious in the case of democracy, in fact the very design of neo-liberal principles is a direct attack on democracy.

So take say, privatization, well true by definition that thats an attack on democracy. You take something out of the public domain and put into the hands of totalitarian systems, which is what corporations are, unaccountable totalitarian systems. Obviously that reduces democracy.

When you move on to the current primary theme, what's called "trade and services". Trade and services means privatization of services. There's nothing to do with trade. It's called trade so that they can fit it into trade agreements, general agreements on trade and services. That means selling of services. Well what are services? In brief services are anything that a human being can be interested in. Education, health, water, pretty soon it will be air, or whatever it may be. Anything that a person could be interested in is what is called services. Trade and services means putting all of these into the hands of unaccountable totalitarian institutions. If that is achieved, to the extent that that is achieved, you can have formal democracy, quite openly, clean elections, count the ballots etc. But it doesn't matter because there is nothing for people to have decisions about. Nothing that matters at least. That's all somewhere else, in the hands of unaccountable tyrannies. So that goes under the name: "The general agreement on trade and services", thats the leading theme of the current trade negotiations.

Well, another component of the neo-liberal package is financial liberalization. It means for example that governments can't control capital flight, currencies aren't regulated and so on. It's very well understood by economists what that leads to. Financial liberalization creates what some international economists have called "a virtual senate" of investors and lenders who carry out a moment by moment referendum on economic policies. If they don't like those policies they destroy the economy by capital flight, by attacking currencies, by selling bonds and so on.

And there are policies that the "virtual senate" doesn't like, anything that is "irrational". Irrational means it's helpful to people not to profits and the "virtual senate" keeps an eye on this second by second and if a government makes a mistake by being "irrational" it feels it very quickly. A huge capital flight, attacks on bonds, and it happens all the time it keeps the countries in line. It means what is sometimes called a "dual constituency", 2 constituencies, one of them is the voters, the other is the virtual senate and you can guess who wins."

Från denna föreläsning av Noam Chomsky.

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