Saturday, August 25, 2007


That’s because elites don't make justice because we ask them to nicely and appealingly. They do it when the alternative to justice is worse.

I think that what lies at the root of that lack of confidence is that we’re told over and over again that progressive ideas have already been tried and failed. We hear it so much that we accepted it. So our alternatives are posed tentatively, almost apologetically. “Is another world possible?” we ask.

“There is no alternative,” said Thatcher. “History has ended,” said Fukuyama. The Washington Consensus: the thinking has already been done, the consensus is there. Now, the premise of all these proclamations was that capitalism, extreme capitalism, was conquering every corner of the globe because all other ideas had proven themselves disastrous.

...what was failing was not Scandinavian social democracy, which was thriving, or a Canadian-style welfare state

...It wasn't the so-called Asian miracle that had been discredited, which in the ’80s and ’90s built the Asian “tiger” economies

These policies did not create explosive growth concentrated at the very top, as we see today. But record levels of profit and a rapidly expanding middle class, that is what has been attacked in these past thirty years.

What was collapsing was centralized state communism, authoritarian, anti-democratic, repressive

very savvy people, many of them in this country, seized on that moment to declare victory not only against communism, but against all ideas but their own.

Fukuyama ... in his famous 1989 speech, ... not that we were reaching an end of ideology, ... or a convergence between capitalism and socialism, as Gorbachev was suggesting, it was not that ideology had ended, but that history as such had ended.

He argued that deregulated markets in the economic sphere combined with liberal democracy in the political sphere represented the endpoint of mankind's ideological evolution and the final form of human government.

two streams: you had democracy, which you can use to vote for your leaders, and then you had a single economic model. Now, the catch was that you couldn't use your vote, you couldn't use your democracy to reshape your economy,

redefining democracy to include the economy: deep democracy, participatory democracy. And it was a challenge to this idea that these two streams could not intersect. The right to land as a form of democracy, the right to biodiversity, to independent media.

September 11th in this country. ... was harnessed by leaders in this country and their allies around the world to abruptly end the discussion of global justice that was exploding around the world.

...used the dislocation of 9/11 to pursue the very same pre-9/11 radical capitalist project, now with a furious vengeance, under the cover of war and natural disasters. So forget negotiating trade deals at the World Trade Organization. When the US invaded Iraq, Bush sent in Paul Bremer to seize new markets on the battlefields of his preemptive war. He didn’t have to negotiate with anyone. which everything from waging wars to reconstructing from those wars to disaster response became an entirely for-profit venture. This was a bold evolution of market logic. Rather than the ’90s approach of selling off existing public companies, like water and electricity, the Bush team was creating a whole new framework for its actions. That framework was and is the war on terror, which was built to be private, privately managed from the start. The Bush administration played the role of a kind of a venture capitalist for the startup security companies, and they created an economic boom on par with the dotcom boom of the 1990s.

...using 9/11, of course, to radically increase the surveillance and security powers of the state, concentrated in the executive branch, but at the same time to take those powers and outsource them to a web of private companies, whether Blackwater, Boeing, AT&T, Halliburton, Bechtel, the Carlyle Group

...great ironies of the war on terror, is that it proved such an effective weapon to furthering the corporate agenda precisely because it denied that it has, and continues to deny that it has, a corporate agenda at all.

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