Sunday, May 29, 2016

We're Finally Coming To Our Senses. When Will Our Political Caste Come to Their Senses?

Even the High Temple of free market fundamentalism, the IMF, acknowledged last week that globalization, the economic arm of neoliberalism, fuels inequality and creates economic chaos.

They're finally coming around to what John Ralston Saul proclaimed 10 years ago when he wrote, "The Collapse of Globalism."

Nobel laureate economist, Joe Stiglitz, has been warning of the same thing for years. James Galbraith has written a book about neoliberalism's hellspawn, "The Predator State." Philip Mirowski has dissected this malignancy to show how neoliberalism survived the 2008 financial meltdown in "Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste."

Globe and Mail business writer, Eric Reguly, wrote about it in two recent articles. One explored how globalization has turned governments against their own blue and white collar middle class citizens. In a companion piece he makes the case for the free trade revolt now beginning to erupt.

Western governments did virtually nothing constructive to manage the worst effects of globalization on their populations, such as the loss of millions of jobs.

No wonder more and more Europeans and North Americans are not buying the free-trade hype any more. The marginal trade gains could be more than offset by greater pressure on working-class jobs or laxer regulations on, say, food quality. Europeans also fear that both TTIP and CETA are essentially undemocratic. They were negotiated almost entirely behind closed doors, and both have dispute resolution mechanisms that would allow companies to sue governments for damages if profits are hit because of changes in government policy or regulations. In effect, the provisions would rob their governments of their sovereignty.

Unfortunately our governments haven't figured this out. They're still stuck in the rancid hollow ideology of neoliberalism and that goes for the current prime minister, Slick. Above all else he envisions himself as a global trader. He's no economist but all of his advisors have almost certainly spent their careers deeply invested in neoliberalism and free market fundamentalism.

It's time Justin put on the long pants and recognized that we need new political and economic models to replace the failed ideologies of the past forty years. He needs to come to his senses and recognize that we have been robbed of our sovereignty and its past time to take that back.

If they're not going to serve the public interest, we should ask whose interest they are serving, other than their own.


Lorne said...

In my view, Mound, the only hope for stopping this race to the bottom that enhances only the well-being of our corporate masters lies with the Americans and the Europeans. Canadians seem to have such tiny voices, easily ignored by our new government, even as it claims to be listening and responsive.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

"They are still stuck in the rancid hollow of Neoliberalism" That's what worries me Mound.When other countries are starting to question the failure of Neoliberalism, Trudeau and his Liberals seem to be embracing and promoting it.Are their no advisors in the liberal party or else where that will advise him against choosing Neoliberalism, mainly because it is a threat to our sovereignty? How can you be the Prime Minister of Canada and not know about that threat.He's rubbing shoulders with the big boys now. I find it hard to believe that someone hasn't explained Neoliberalism to him. He just has to look at various countries, especially in the developing world, to see the total damage that has been done by the west controlling markets, that control these countries capital, labour and resources while the rest of the country lives in dire poverty. I just find it hard to believe he is that naive. Like I said before, I find it hard to get a handle on his thinking.

Anonymous said...

No wonder more and more Europeans and North Americans are not buying the free-trade hype any more.
I know you don't wish to here this !
Donald Trump is the only want to be head of state that wishes to rid North America of NAFTA.
The whole effing system is not working yet we, in Canada,elect a Conservative lite to run the country!
WHen will the time come when the voters will elect someone for their ethics and morals rather than what cash incentives they offer to his or her special interest?


The Mound of Sound said...

@ Pamela. Most of the senior advisors, deputy minister types and the like, have spent their entire careers in the temple of neoliberalism. That swept in during the Reagan, Thatcher and Mulroney years and was nurtured by their successors and their bureaucrats in the decades that followed. It is their orthodoxy. It is what they know. The fictions by which it was introduced and inculcated are now their gospel.

Justin was a grade school drama teacher. He did not have the education or intellectual training that his father brought to office. He will be heavily dependent and thus heavily swayed by other voices on matters economic.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Trailblazer - you place far more faith in Trump than I. His promises to the public are about as reliable as his promises to investors or to the unfortunates who enrolled in Trump University. A couple of days ago he told the people of California that their drought was a hoax just as, to him, climate change is a hoax.

Anonymous said...

Mound; I have no faith!nor trust in Trump.
I only state what is whether I agree or not.
Trump is despicable but he does offer some truths.
How he intends to handle those truths is a matter of debate.
A President Trump would accelerate the demise of the USA.
Without an obvious successor is this desirable?


Pamela Mac Neil said...

Then we have alot to worry about Mound. Freeland however does not buy the Neoliberal line. She is an intelligent knowleadgeable woman, who knows how the 1% acquire their money.That does not mean she will not betray her own knowledge. There are also intellectuals like John Ralston Saul who explaind very well the damage globalism causes. Sounds like Trudeau and his advisors do not want him to go for advice outside of his liberal clique. You're right about his father though. Here's a quote from him. "Why do you think that United States should treat Canada differently from Guatemala when reason of state requires it and circumstances permit? This was in 1963 Cite' libre (translation) Pierre Trudeau understood American Imperialism. United States may decide that reason of state requires it and circumstances permit to now through ratifying Neoliberal CETA and TPP start focusing on Canada's sovereignty and wealth.

Anonymous said...

Freeland signed the treasonous TPP and she promotes the neoliberal line every chance she gets. Freeland and Trudeau keep repeating that the Liberal is a "pro-trade" party. They both support the Harper economic agenda.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon - your characterization is anything but accurate. She signed to acknowledge that the text of the agreement is in accordance with the terms negotiated. That is not "signing off" on the treaty. It does not bind Canada and that is an important distinction that you simply choose to ignore. Hence your contention is inaccurate to the point of ridiculous.

zoombats back from Hong Kong said...

I guess they are hearing the "sucking sound" as the jobs leave... It is kind of like closing the door after the horse has left the barn.

The Mound of Sound said...

The "Big Lie" we have been fed is that our economy isn't suited to manufacturing. We're a "resource economy" so the Free Traders tell us. Britain tried to tell us that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it sought to use the Empire as its customer base. We would send Britain essential raw materials accepting their manufactured goods in exchange. Instead Canada implemented a degree of protectionism - tariffs and duties - and, just like many other countries, built a manufacturing sector that was later to be stripped away by trade pacts.

Yes there are countries with a cheap labour advantage, China for example. Yet China is resource deprived. It must import most of its energy, its ores, rubber and such. Nations that have abundant supplies of food, energy and resources begin with an offsetting advantage to China's labour price. There's also the tax base argument. We earn no revenue from the income received by foreign labour. We tax our own workers. Of course the greatest advantage is local markets. A fellow in Vietnam may make $100 runners but with a wage of two or three bucks a day he won't be buying them. A fellow here, earning $25 an hour can make those same runners and he and his kids will buy them just as they are doing now. The manufacturer doesn't get the same spread but, if that's the cost for access to the market, they'll go with it.

And then there's climate change and a rapidly destabilizing world. Globalization is highly dependent on a significant degree of stability among the chain of "partner" nations. The era of major, rapid, non-linear change has arrived and we're only at the "early onset" stage. Around the globe there are important nations in which freshwater supply is imperiled and food insecurity looms. Food insecurity was a major destabilizing force in the Arab Spring. Drought-fueled food insecurity was a trigger of the ongoing, murderous Syrian civil war.Let's say you had a high risk job. How would you like going to work if you knew that your job partner, the one responsible for your safety, wasn't able to feed his family?

We have to get out from under these trade agreements and restore a modest amount of tariff protectionism. The alternative is terrible.

Anonymous said...

Mound, there's a bit more to signing a treaty than acknowledging that its text agrees with the terms negotiated. By signing a treaty, the leader of the country commits to seeking its ratification and to avoiding actions contrary to it.

I don't think Anon's characterization is anything but accurate. By signing Trudeau voluntarily tied his own hands regarding future legislation and enforcement of existing legislation that would contravene the terms of the treaty. The US, for example, signed but hasn't ratified the 1992 UNCLOS treaty. It nevertheless voluntarily complies with its terms and uses its dispute resolution framework. It's not unreasonable to expect similar action from Canada on the TPP.


Pamela Mac Neil said...

Anon 7:47 I probably didn't explain myself well enough. Freeland does promote the Neoliberal line when ever she can. My point was , this is not out of ignorance. She knows exactly what Neoliberalism is and the damage it causes, so her supporting it is inexcusable. She wrote a book for GAWD sakes "Plutocrats: The rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone else" She called the CETA agreement gold plated. She is Minister of Trade, so she has enormous clout in pushing these deals through. She is literally sacrificing her own knowledge to go along with the party line.