The Business Party Wins Again – and the Earth loses

In a lucid analysis of uS politics and “The Economy,” Noam Chomsky strips the mask from the illusion of America’s “two-party” political system:

“Politics is the shadow cast on society by big business,” concluded America’s leading 20th century social philosopher John Dewey (1859 – 1952), and will remain so as long as power resides in “business for private profit through private control of banking, land, industry, reinforced by command of the press, press agents and other means of publicity and propaganda.”

The present economic crisis, for the investor class, is repeatedly compared to the Great Depression of 1929, and assurances are already being offered that this too will pass, we will weather this “adjustment,” and all will be well soon. Government socialization of corporate losses once again rescues corporate capitalism from inevitable failure.

There is a difference this time around, however, a difference that no one is talking about. The global recessions of the 1890s and 1930s were rescued by military Keynesianism, the influx of public money into the private economy through military spending. The post-World War II economic recovery was brought about by the expansion and globalization of the petroleum economy, which brought cheap energy to businesses and families throughout the developed world. Oil money allowed the projection of uS power throughout the world and solidified uS economic hegemony … until most recently.

Things are different now; different is not the same.

In 1929, we were at the beginning of the oil economy. In 2008, we’re near the end. Rosy projections of economic recovery following this natural and necessary collapse of corporate capitalism are based on the economic conditions of the past when oil supplies, and prices, were on the rise, the human population of the world was much smaller (1929 – 1.8 billion), natural resources were more numerous and cheaper to produce, and the world’s environments were not changing rapidly as a result of human industrial activity.

“Free-market capitalism” has never existed, and can never exist in a world of finite resources. The only thing free about free-market capitalism has been the free ride for its adherents and defenders … until now. The present economic collapse is the bill slapped onto the table by a surly waiter, the bill for 75 years of profligacy and economic opportunism marked by the destruction of the natural environment for human profit.

Mother Nature is calling in her markers.


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