Monday, 26 October 2015

The Free Market

Margaret Thatcher famously said there is no alternative to the free market, likewise her friend Augusto Pinochet, the then fascist President of Chile, could have echoed similar sentiments. If he would have said there is no alternative to massacring communists, it would be no less absurd than Thatcher’s words.  Thatcher’s principle, or rather, one of her principles, was to destroy socialism. The Thatcherite free market fundamentalist extremists of the 1980’s evolved into the fanaticism of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in the late 1990’s and beyond.  Britain and every country in Europe and indeed almost every country in the entire world has the free market as their financial structure. Yet the free market is seldom discussed, many do not have the slightest idea what it is, and those that do tell epic lies without knowing it.  

When free market faithful enthusiasts discuss this they often cite Adam Smith, shamefully misusing his name in their web of lies and deceit.  A few truths, here, should be pointed out about Adam Smith. It was Adam Smith who said “principal architects” in England were “merchants and manufacturers” who went on to use the state for their own interests.  Interestingly he labelled “the national interest” as a total and absolute fraud, saying it was a delusion.  For Adam Smith, one key principle is that individuals ought to be free.  He did not believe in the division of labour, being subjected to such things, destroys people, Smith says, but free market fundamentalists would have you believe otherwise.  The underlying question is was Smith in favour of free markets? That is not such an easy question to answer because he was only in favour of markets that led to total liberty, equality, freedom and so forth; what Adam Smith foresaw was not the terrifying model of the free market we have today, far from it.  So was he in favour of this sort of free market?  Certainly not.  What he believed in was the total opposite of capitalism.  Yet his name is still used, subverting his message.  

Of course the free market is all about bartering, buying and selling produce, but the free market is free from government interference and people too, it must be added.  This  sounds harmless.  It is extremely harmful.  What happens here is that, and this has been a concerted effort by western imperial powers, the poor countries remain poor while the rich ones expand their wealth.  The wealth of the rich countries remains in the hands of the select few: multinational corporations, private investors, CEO's and so on while much of the country suffers from mild poverty, others from absolute poverty.  There is homelessness in their tens of thousands in developed countries all over the world, slums have been created, prostitutes are forced into desperate acts, in many countries people can not afford healthcare, they even struggle to pay their household bills.  

When the words “in the national interest” is used, it is interesting to define what is meant here, when politicians of various ilk use this abominable phrase, they know precisely what they are talking about; the general population do not.  One other group who know what they are talking about is private power, because this language is aimed at them, in the free market system, not one that Smith envisioned, but what we have today, totally eliminates people: the worker, the student, the professional and so forth.  It is interesting to discuss what kind of system or framework does this.

The framework must be called a fascist one.  It is firstly important to understand what fascism is. A definition of fascism is not butchering people, forcing women and children into gas chambers and death camps, no fascism is something more clearly defined than that.  Fascism then is when you move an entire people from an  arena of sorts and reduce their liberty, freedom and living standards, and the free market certainly does that.  I am not arguing the free market is fascist, just the structure of it is.  The rest of government policy is aimed at gaining power.  For no sane person would issue such backward policies in a developed country.  Wealth and power come first, if the government create policies favourable to you, all that means is you are fortunate enough to be within a group  of people where government’s self interest lies, but it is nothing more than that.  Otherwise, the government have nothing to lose.  

Yet the free market and its devastatingly  fascist framework is not even debated in the capitalist press or media.  Mainstream political parties do not discuss it and people are totally unaware of its evils because they believe they have lavish freedoms when they do not.  For the nations, or rather the governments that do not submit to this free market fundamentalism are met with the bludgeon, nations that have met with this with a particular imperial power have been Cuba, Nicaragua, Indonesia, just to name some.

Arthur Schlesinger Jr, the former Kennedy aide, said that “the spread of the Castro idea of taking matters into one’s own hands”.  He was, of course, speaking about the former President of Cuba, Fidel Castro. What Schlesinger did not go on to say was what his Government and future U.S governments have been subjecting Cuba to because of “Castro taking matters into one’s own hands”.  It is all fair and well to say Castro was a demagogue and that he was never democratically elected and so forth, while that is true, much of Cuba’s history is deliberately missed out.  In the 1820's those in power in the U.S spoke of invading Cuba for reasons of self-interest and doing unspeakable things there.  People like Benjamin Franklin and John Quincey Adams, after the British forbade such actions, agreed that in a hundred years or so, such a thing would be possible.  They did not have to wait that long.  It was in 1898 when the U.S were able to treat Cuba as their “backyard”, controlling their economy, in other words, stealing Cuba’s  wealth and putting it in the hands of American conglomerates, while many Cubans were just virtual slaves, working in heinous conditions to serve U.S interests.  From 1898 to the revolution in 1953-59 Washington installed dictator after dictator.  They were absolutely brutal, but had Washington’s support from the outset.

Misery in Cuba was so widespread that people started to rise up.  The Castro brothers, Che Guevara and others overthrew Fulgencio Batista.  During the revolution, Castro was supported by his North american neighbours but when Castro initiated his agrarian reforms and the other things he planned, they changed tact.  Castro, on becoming President of Cuba, did what any decent person would do.  He threw out the American corporations who were literally thieving billions from the Cuban economy, and instead launched impressive social programs in Cuba which were lauded all over the world.  This was the threat, nothing to do with communism, that is just a fraud, a delusion to justify in launching terror campaigns against Cuba, which the Kennedy “liberals” did.  John.F.Kennedy launched a terror campaign against the Cuban people in the early 1960's. He appointed his brother, Robert, as the person to lead the terror campaign.  Over a period of decades Cuba was subjected to a systematic terror campaign by America.  During Kennedy’s short reign, chemical weapons were used, a factory was bombed, killing 400 workers, huge damage was done to Cuban infrastructure, including crop destruction, not to mention the economic strangulation of Cuba.  If it was not for Cuba’s impressive health care system, tens of thousands would have died as a consequence of U.S-imposed sanctions.  This systematic terror was because Castro refused to adopt to free market fundamentalism, in other words, refusing to permit U.S corporations from bleeding Cuba dry, while Cubans remain in total penury.  It was nothing to do with communism.

Nicaragua had adopted the U.S framework since 1933, when Washington instituted a brutal dictator, the most notorious family in the whole of Nicaragua: the Somoza's.  Every American President since Roosevelt had supported this barbarism. But in 1979, Nicaraguans rose up, overthrew Anastasio Somoza, the Sandinista's took power and announced free and fair democratic elections. The then President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, was beside himself, he supported Somoza right up to the end, or there abouts, so instead he supported terror against the ruling party, this was extended all throughout the 1980's by Ronald Reagan.  Under Reagan’s two-terms at the White House , he had blood on his hands: at least 50,000 were slaughtered in Nicaragua, the Sandinistas, the ruling party, built social programs for the poor and refused to sign up to Reagan’s free market fundamentalism.  The terror Reagan and his recidivist colleagues subjected Nicaragua to is both heinous and outrageous, but will be omitted here.  Adopt our fascist framework or perish, that is the option countries like Cuba and Nicaragua face.  

Indonesia is another story completely, and it is a world away from Latin america.  Indonesia is in South-East asia and from 1945 until 1967, was led by the nationalist, Sukarno.  He did not care so much for neo-liberal, fascistic monetary institutions and asked the World Bank and the IMF to leave the country; in 1957-8 Britain started a covert war with Indonesia and began arming insurgents and opposition groups, a coup was plotted, with direct U.S and British involvement but it failed.  A second coup in 1965 was successful, Sukarno was overthrown and General Suharto was declared President. He, to Washington’s relief, embraced the World Bank and the IMF, he opened up Indonesian markets to foreign investment.  Washington and its European allies did not care that Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and wiped out a third of the entire population.  The massacres were akin to Nazi war crimes, around a million people in Indonesia were also murdered, all in favour of opening up foreign investment with the west.

The European Union in the 21st century, now prefers free market enterprise to democracy, Greece and Italy are models which are likely to follow.  One prominent journalist at the Financial times, Gillian Tett, has already argued that Britain needs a Prime minister to deal with the markets, suggesting it should bypass democracy altogether.  Germany, and others impose fiscal austerity programs, as they like to call them, and expect whoever is elected to adopt their decisions which have already been made for them.  If democracy ever did exist in the European Union, it is certainly being undermined because of the markets, everybody goes on about the markets but never give clear definitions what they are.  

Ever since the infamous financial crash of 2008 a barbaric sort of fascism has been established in Europe.  The people who are paying the price for banking fraudsters are the people with the least money: public sector workers, the unemployed, and those on the minimum wage, while the powerful and rich are feeding into the free market machine and are seeing stupendous profits, and British banks, who are known to have committed grotesque crimes in their fraudulent activities around the world; their connections with murderous drug cartels and terror groups, being given fines instead of life sentences.  The people paying these fines are not the banks but the wretched, the poverty-stricken and destitute worker.

This is a clear example of the free market.  That it is only interested in helping people who really need it: the rich, the powerful and so forth.  The crash justified in extending the fascist framework across Europe: increasing taxes on the poor; decreasing wages for the lowest paid workers and for those that do not work at all, finding new and creative ways to suspend benefit payments, introducing furtive taxes on the poor and defenceless, while at the same time empowering the rich and powerful.  Presently it has turned into a dystopia for many. People who once lived comfortable lives and now living on the streets, people are forced to give their children away because they no longer can afford to feed them.  These cuts to public spending are applauded everywhere.  Yet if the whole of Europe imposed the law onto the rich into paying taxes, instead of paying nothing, the debt would be wiped out overnight. 

What has indeed taken place is shock therapy.  Shock therapy is a system where a country has experienced a shock, in this case a global recession, so many countries are affected.  The shock therapy then begins.  Public services are privatised, taxes are reduced for the rich, funding to public services are then slashed and this becomes the norm.  It will continue without people even realising it.  Politicians of all parties will be complicit in all of it, as will the media, only a few voices will be openly opposed to it and such people are vetted from reaching the mainstream media.  And so it goes.  

The free market serves only the interests of the rich and powerful.  The media are aware of such practices but refuse to report it, intellectuals are aware of these practices but refuse to discuss it, politicians are also aware of these same practices, and lie outright when asked about it. There is only so much misery and suffering people can take, and governments ought to realise when people have nothing to lose fear that is when the savage actions of government will really become regretful.
4th February, 2013

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding analysis, John. The "Free Market" of today is nothing like the market advocated by Adam Smith. Current & past Neoliberals also have misused Smith's "Invisible Hand" of the Market. Noam Chomsky has a short clip about that on YouTube; sorry, I don't have the link. Blog on!