By Rowan Wolf
Two years ago I penned this piece and it is as pertinent now as it was then. Particularly in the context of what appears to be a global uprising against the concentration of power that is sinking the planet. So here is a republication of this piece that was originally published October 26, 2009.
Economists state that “Higher unemployment might become the norm as result of (the) recession.” The problem is that this is not simply a “recession,” but the collapse of the heavily skewed global economic system. The follies of monopoly capitalism, combined with the funny money financial schemes, have hit the world hard. However, they have hit the United States particularly hard, and may have permanently damaged the economic dominance of the United States.
Even before this collapse/implosion, the United States was in a shaky position. We have an economy recrafted on consumerism and a service economy. Productive capacity has been hamstrung since the 1980s as increasingly manufacturing – even infrastructure and security critical activities – were relocated to “cheaper” places in the world. The question raised early in this movement was “Can a nation that produces nothing survive?” Unfortunately, the United States may soon be able to answer that question in the negative.
The globalization/corporatization movement pushed by Republican neo-conservatives, and Democratic neo-liberals have auctioned the economic and political sovereignty of the United States by chasing the grail of making money out of nothing. Now we are in a situation where the dollar may be replaced as the standard currency and for oil. We may be waving goodbye to the petrodollar, and that is bad news for the country that prints those dollars – the United States.
Hocked to the ears and beyond to Dubai banks, China and Japan, the United States has it’s butt blowing in the wind and survives at the pleasure of those creditors. If any of them choose to call the loans, or sell off the their dollar reserves, then what is a now dire situation in the United States may take on the hue of the “good old days.”
Therefore, we (and the economists) can well say “the world has changed,” and that change means ongoing higher levels of unemployment and underemployment, and falling wages – for most of the population.
Speaking from a different perspective, the Goldman Sachs International Vice President stated at a panel in Britain: People should “tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity for all”… “we should not … be ashamed of offering compensation in an internationally competitive market which ensures the bank businesses here and employs British people.”
One has to wonder if this is the world that those at Goldman Sachs and other profiteering finance firms have always had in mind – extracting the the wealth of the global population and returning to their perceived “natural” order of the royalty and the serfs. Perhaps, Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach sees no real issue with stagnant wages and high unemployment for the masses. After all, it leaves more for the “deserving” at the top. However, it seems unlikely that he can truly believe that extreme inequality somehow creates “prosperity.” The pronouncement itself makes absolutely no sense. However, being one of the big winners in the monopoly economy, perhaps he is only concerned about the prosperity of those with extreme wealth.
This two class society where the few get bonuses, compensation, and investment windfalls in the millions of dollars, while the majority of the population (here and globally) scrabble for leftovers, is possible only if we accept the constraints of the current system. It is only inevitable if we accept Lord Griffiths world view that extreme inequality somehow increases prosperity. However, I do not think that the population of the planet will share the inevitability of this skewed world view.
10/19/09. Raum. Associated Press. Higher unemployment might become the norm as result of recession
10/21/09 Quinn & Hall, Times/UK, Goldman Sachs vice-chairman says: ‘Learn to tolerate inequality’