Saturday, October 4, 2008

Living in the Age of Scoundrels

from The National Herald (Greek-American weekly newspaper), September 27, 2008, by Dr. Nikolaos A. Stavrou

Bankers of the world, unite to defend your loot! The system that produced, nourished and coddled you still needs your breed very badly and you need it. Neither you nor the system can afford to follow the path of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. Be reminded that your persistence in the art of theft of public assets and peoples' wealth paid off. Indeed, you, the bankers, succeeded where Stalin and Trotsky failed. Those two historical anachronisms fought each other to death over the issue of whether "permanent revolution" (Trotsky's choice) or "Socialism in one country" (Stalin's) should be the goal of the first Marxist state. As we now know, they both failed; but you, the bankers, succeeded brilliantly. You achieved "socialism in one country", the United States, and a "permanent global turnoil" which is pretty much the same as "permanent revolution."

It is a unique type of socialism: big business, bankers, and assorted crooks get the profits and the tax-payers assume the losses. The latest effort to save the bankers of the world will cost each and every American taxpayer approximately seven thousand dollars. Indeed, it took the ingenuity of capitalism to bring the world closer to what Karl Marx envisioned, i.e., a world in which the state would be irrelevant and will be ruled by financiers, with no national or state allegiance, and eternal global allegiance with each other to defend their class interests. The only mistake Marx made was that he picked the wrong class to put an end to the concepts of nation, national interests, and nation-state. He should have known better than depend on the working class to abolish the global political edifice known as the bourgeois state system. That is the specialty of thieves, the bankers, and the products of Harvard's Business School; in other words, the very people who for thirty years worshiped the Gospel of privatization, and worked tirelessly to demolish the regulatory system that Franklin Roosevelt establsihed to avoid a repetition of the Great Depression...

The still unfolding financial meltdown is the logical consequence of thirty years of a carefully orchestrated social engineering that went through four stages:

First, the educational system was re-programmed to produce human robots instead of citizens equipped with the necessary ethical foundations and critical skills to challenge the system. Ethical norms were dismissed as the ruminations of "dead, white European philosophers."

Second, a systematic assault was unleashed against the social ownership of critical economic assets. Privatization became an article of faith and was promoted with evangelical zeal by Ronald reagan and every president since. "Get the state out of the way of the private sector" was the credo of modern conservatism. As we all know, the fastest way to privatization of public assets is to steal them.

Third, a systematic assault on Franklin Roosevelt's regulatory and social welfare system as well as on workers' rights was unleashed and exacerbated with advances in technology. Exporting the industrial production to China, Bangladesh, India, and Mexico negated any influence of labor unions, leaving financiers and industrial magnates to roam from country to country in pursuing easy profits and corrupt politicians.

Fourth, with the removal of oversight and regulations, the state was relegated to one and only one function: to secure the unimpeded flow of capital from one country to the next in search of the cheapest labor and the highest profits.

But when the sandcastle collapsed, the scoundrels tell the government, "We are too big to let us fail." The government in turn tells its citizens, "You are too stupid to understand." Just strust us, "be happy, don't worry," The age of scoundrels pursuing socialism of big business has dawned. Fasten your seat belts.

Dr. Nikolaos A. Stavrou is Professor Emeritus of International Affairs at Howard University.

DISCLAIMER: I know some very good, ethical, wonderful people who work for banks, who are definitely not crooks and far from it - including my next-door neighbor and my son-in-law. (Please pray for him, as he is with Wachovia.) Also, I worked for a bank myself once...


James the Thickheaded said...

Yeah. I love the passion, agree and all that.

And the good news in all this I think is that we may actually come to a point where we stop shopping for a few days, and reconsider the covenant between the governed and the government. I love the proximity of the crisis to an election... which while fraught with some issues, otherwise focuses the mind in unaccustomed ways. I think the elites that govern this country (all of them) as if the rest of us weren't here or paying attention may get a very real wake-up call. My guess is that this mess is a generation getting into, and a generation getting out. And I mean that both figuratively and literally... time to turn to a new generation - our kids and grand children to build a new and better world that can look at this and say, "Nah. Time for a do-over." And then move on to get it right... or at least more right. Will they make mistakes? Sure. Can they be any worse than we've done? Not a chance.