The fruits of globalisation: a world in flames

END PERMANENT WAR: the supposed dominance of the neoliberals and NATO as their armed wing has sparked the crisis we now face. (PHOTO: 'Photo-Op' by 'kennardphillipps)

by Ken Ferguson The unspeakable horror on the streets of Paris dramatically spotlights the world of chaos resulting from the 30 years plus economic, social and military policies of neoliberal globalisation. First tried in Chile by Pinochet’s US-sponsored thugs and brought into the western mainstream by Thatcher, it was enthusiastically adopted by Blair’s New Labour. It is now the economic orthodoxy across the EU which ruthlessly enforces it, as in Greece, the US and “emerging” China and India.

In economics it aims to sweep away public provision of services privatising water, railways and healthcare with the almost religious faith that the “market” knows best in all circumstances.

Hence the brutal privatisation forced on the Greek people and the continued privatisation of water in Italy despite over 90 per cent of voters rejecting it in a national referendum.

Alongside this, policies which ban state aid for say Scotland’s closure of threatened steel works make action to save vital industries virtually illegal.

All this represents a relentless drive to replace democracy in the form of elected governments with shadowy committees of self interested “experts” which has played a large part in the so called “voter apathy” as national politicians are revealed as little more than puppets of big business.

Across the globe, jobs have been shipped from relatively organised labour in the core EU, US and other states to a low paid, tightly controlled work force in so called emerging economies.

In these countries thousands toil in sweatshops to produce ever more fancy electronic goods which are sold to those whose jobs were exported to these states and are now told they live in a “post-industrial” world.

It is world of precarious jobs, zero hour contracts all enforced with anti union laws to keep them in their place. This new economy is heavily sold 24/7 by those who run it as one of personal liberation, wide choice and a ever expanding paradise of new shiny consumer goods.

The entire package generates a hugely introspective “social media’ which, while it can be used for progressive purposes as during the indyref also feeds an individualistic culture which potentially weakens social solidarity.

Environmentally the same process produces lofty declarations on the need to combat global warming from sharp suited functionaries who then go on to further feed the endless mill of production, not for human need, but for profit irrespective of the fact that finite resources are wasted. pollution caused and the future of both planet and people menaced.

The ongoing VW pollution rigging scandal is just one of the more dramatic illustrations of the fact that, despite pious declarations to the contrary the ruling elites remain committed to an economic system which seeks endless growth of production of goods and use of finite resources not to meet human need but to produce ever growing profits.

Put simply, this is a circle that cannot be spared if the tipping point of a two degree rise in global temperature—now on recent information just one degree—caused by human activity is to be avoided. The choice is, as the slogan has it system change not climate change.

Contrary to the propagandists of climate change denial such a change can not only save humanity from major climate based disruption it also opens up the prospect of moving towards a economy based on meeting the needs of people and planet rather than the profiteering minority.

The time is now past when it is realistic to think that a just and sustainable society can be built while ignoring the climate change emergency which we are now facing. Reds must now also be Greens.

It is perhaps the third leg of neoliberalism—the military—which will be uppermost in people’s minds after the Paris horror.

Of course the Voice, like many others, utterly condemns the Paris terrorism and the ideas behind it, but amidst the drama it is necessary to understand how we got here.

The US opened Pandora’s box in the early ’80s when it backed religious fundamentalists to defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. With the Soviet collapse the academic servants of Wall Street and the City proclaimed “the end of history” and pronounced the market all triumphant. How wrong they were.

Reacting to Washington’s arrogant policy of economic and military superiority know by the Pentagon as “full spectrum dominance” opposition movements, often claiming inspiration from their interpretation of Islam grew culminating in the 9/11 atrocities in New York.

The spiral which resulted saw years of war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria where the supposed dominance of the neoliberals and NATO as their armed wing has sparked the crisis we now face, most dramatically with the rise of ISIS barbarism and the huge refugee crisis sparked by the war and terrorism sweeping the Middle East.

Simply put, the new imperialism represented by the neoliberals has forced its model of economics for the rich through political pressure, as most recently in Greece, and in a seemingly never-ending war which has taken us to the state we now face.

Only a clean break with the economic system of profit over people and planet can open the way to a change which delivers economic justice, ends permanent war and deals with the gathering climate change emergency offers any real hope of change in Scotland, Europe and the planet.


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