1.8. The US is Not a Supporter of the Free Market

In the last blog we established the concept of trickle-down economics as a ridiculous myth that has wrought devastation across the  world. Part and parcel of the trickle-down economics myth is pushing the need to allow the “free market” to flourish because, as the myth goes, the free market will naturally fall into balance and everything will be wonderful.

 

With the acceleration of economic fascism in the 1980s the US, chiefly through its military, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, imposed its will on the world with the claim that they will enforce the free market with or without their coorperation. Take, for example, this propaganda piece from the Wall Street Journal praising the free market plans of the Bush administration in the early stages of the invasion of Iraq.

 

While a free marketplace alone would be a terrible imposition on the people of the world it is important to note that US foreign and domestic policy does not operate with the free market as a goal. In fact, the last 30 years has seen a sustained assault on free markets by the richest countries in the world. The Reaganites, quoting the Foreign Review: “presided over the greatest swing towards protectionism since the 1930s.” The Reagan administration shifted the US from being a supporter of multilateral free trade to being its leading challenger.

 

It is fast becoming a running theme of this blog, but it’s always an Owellian word game with the American government. It uses the word “democracy” when it means repression and exploitation. It uses the term “counter-terrorism” when it means committing terrorist atrocities. It says “security” while implementing measures guaranteed to make the people less secure. And it says “free market” when it means “crony capitalism”.

 

Consider the response to the global financial crisis in 2008. A free market system would have allowed the big banks to fail. Instead it gave $700 billion to the financial sector with no accountability, no regulation, no promise of return, no idea of whether it worked. To make matters worse, the bill was voted down by the House and was rammed through by the Senate anyway, curtailing the democratic process so they could rush the taxpayer’s funding to their donors.

Consider the tax breaks given to the wealthiest corporations in the world such as General Electric, Wells Fargo, and Exxon Mobil, who have paid negative tax for many years.

Consider the international incursions instigated by the US to benefit multinational corporations, such as the coup in Iran to prevent them from nationalising British Oil, the coup in Chile to protect the copper industry from being nationalized, the coup in Guatemala to enable a large acquisition of land by from United Fruits, and the coup in Haiti to crush its rice sector such that it became the dumping ground of highly-subsidised rice from the US.

Consider the violence forced upon protesters who attempt to peacefully resist the multinationals domestically and abroad. It happened with Occupy Wall Street, which was brutally put down by police from Zucotti Park outwards. This article provides a list of 14 specific allegations of police brutality in New York alone, including the physical abuse of journalists and a retired judge, handcuffing a person who had alerted the police that he had a dislocated shoulder, and driving a motor vehicle into a crowd. It happened at Standing Rock, where police were imported from outside the state, used a private big-oil-funded mercenary to attempt a false-flag operation, and sprayed water on protesters in the freezing cold before brutally crushing them. This site provides a long list of militaristic activities against the water protectors.

 

These are clearly not the actions of a body that supports the free market. Regardless of which party is in control, the US government is entirely beholden to its donors, and it will go to such lengths as destroying its economy, brutalising its citizens, and even threatening humanity as a species to feed their endless greed.

 

Where does the power go?

Running a country is a zero-sum game. Even if the size of government is reduced, decisions still need to be made. If they are no longer made by the government, who makes them? They are passed on to the corporate elite; those powers that corrupted the politicians by funding their political careers and providing for their personal financial futures with executive or lobbying jobs, etc, after they leave office. These corporations function in a manner that is about as close to a totalitarian order that we could imagine, are unaccountable, and operate in the dark. For example, you could probably name the last five US Presidents and maybe the main players in their cabinet, but could any of you name the CEO of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Walmart, or Lockheed Martin? Shouldn’t we know who they are if they wield so much executive authority?

 

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