This essay is Part X of Prof John McMurtry’s “The Undeclared World War, Human Rights versus Corporate Rights”
Corporate-system drivers of “deregulation”, “privatization” and “lower taxes” lead reversals of civil commons evolution. When 70% of France supports the strikes against raising the public pension age in the Fall of 2010, resistance to the totalizing private-profit agenda grounds in the civil commons. Yet even as they are again attacked in Italy and Greece to pay private banks and bond issuers a year later, France’s uprising dissolves from view. More profoundly, Argentina’s’ triumphant default on the very same debt as Greece in 2002 is erased from public choice space. Any example of regaining the real economy from the money-sequence party is silenced – but the unspoken Latin American revolution from Argentina’s historic default carries on. Once released from the debt-money clawhold in the face of the direst IMF threats, it regrouped its economy to public direction, spectacular agricultural productivity, capital and export controls, and world-leading reduction of poverty.
Yet in the European crisis, only the “catastrophe of default” is trumpeted by the corporate-state leaders and media – the historical amnesia that sustains the rule of the corporate money-sequence system. Thus Greece and Italy are equated to their debt status with private banks and money-lender rates, while Europe is equated to its new currency of payment to them. Bailing out the private banks and bondholders is, accordingly, equated to “saving Greece” or whatever society is next in the money-party’s sights. The meaning of society itself is transmuted to serving private bank issuers of debt. Taking back the control of debt issue and credit to public bank authority is the known solution no leader dares to speak, nor media to mention.
In normal times, civil commons are dismantled, defunded and restructured to serve the private-profit order as “more efficient and cost-saving” wherever the people allow it. In post-2008 times, slash-and-burn of the life-serving public sectors and services becomes a war of movement towards their elimination. Facts do not compute in either process. Consistent demonstration of decline in life goods and cost-efficiency wherever the corporate money-sequence system invades is forgotten in the culture of occupation.
In the wider culture of surrender, perpetual threats of war distract attention with their invariant meaning unstated – armed aggression to seize poorer countries’ assets for foreign corporate exploitation. Always called “defending freedom”, the ever beating war drums and threats are fore-grounded by one coliseum contest after another in “fight to the death”. The mobs are thus held in helpless trance. On the global plane of humanity’s fields of life, the great disorder simultaneously loots and pollutes the natural world on every plane by the same value code of money-gain and growth as all there is. The cumulative collapse of common life goods does not, therefore, compute to the ‘economics’ of this system for which all life conditions from the atmosphere and breathing air to the phytoplankton top and living grounds of the world’s oceans do not enter any market or state account of society’s well-being.
Social State Evolution versus Corporate State Growth: The Battle Lines Defined
Life-value analysis recognises that there is not one modern state, but two conflicting states within one – the now dominant state to serve and grow private corporations and commodity markets at whatever cost to life capacities and support systems, and the public state to serve the common life interest of universal life goods at all levels.
Herein lies the core of the transformation of contemporary human society backwards or forwards. On the make-or-break level of public funding, the lines of invasion are clear. Government functions and expenditures are increasingly structured to subsidize private-profit interests towards bankrupting the social state. Since the 2008 collapse of the global money-party scheme, countless trillions of dollars and still counting of present and future public funds have been haemorrhaged out by many channels to refinance the dominant private banks and bondholders with no function but maximum take at the cost of life systems on every level. This has been the turning point of the money-sequence cancer for all to see, but the public money-flows out to corporate-bank circuits only increase.
The global crisis developing from the corporate-rights system consuming society’s life support systems has been, however, a long time building. Longitudinal diagnosis reveals public subsidization of global for-profit corporations growing with no accountability in ever more staggering amounts – continual major tax cuts and write-offs which make major corporations pay less tax than their lower-end employees; growing subsidies to dominant corporations for extraction of public resources and pollutive commodity production; continued transfer of credit and currency creation to large private banks and rising public subsidies for private automobile, weapons, aeronautical and commodity research and manufacture; perpetual expansion of heavy-gauge highways and police-and-prison systems tailored to private corporate interests; rising armed forces and corporate weapons production to guard these and other for-profit corporate appropriations and interests beyond home borders; and ever increasing bankrolling of corporate-trade offices, negotiations and enforcements to systemize and extend corporate rights further within and across borders. All are justified as “necessary” and “in the public interest” until life-value analysis is applied to recognise the opposite.
One historic heist to beggar all before it in bleeding peoples and social states dry across the U.S. and European Union has stood out historically – the 2008 crash of the central private debt-issue system leveraged to uncontrolled levels of extraction from already hollowed out economies and peoples across the world. Yet within eighteen months after the many trillions of dollars of direct transfer of public wealth to the largest private corporate banks in 2008 as “necessary to save the economy and restore credit”, public-sector and debt crises have only spread further. Time to pay for this vast hand-out to failed private money-sequencers to hold onto for still more private profit and executive bonuses has now fallen upon life-serving sectors of the economy to be squeezed further. Life-blind categories of judgement and decision prop every step so that the fatal meaning is hardly conceived. Societies’ life support systems are now pursued to extract more from them. The private system of money growth with no limit or goal but more of itself now feeds on what is left wherever it can while hoarding its public giveaways to go on hollowing out its life hosts.
The darkest turn has been that the European Union itself, whose public sectors and civil commons infrastructures have led the world, are bled to pay for the carcinogenic money-sequencing at ever greater public expense. Public constitutional control of credit and currency remains blocked out and is nowhere directed to funding the common life interest of the real economy itself. None goes out to social and natural life support systems, nor to secure public employment, nor to life-serving purpose of any kind. All goes to the carcinogenic private money sequences to more without any life function. All comes out of present and future citizen lives and life support systems to pay for their continued growth.
Beneath the surface play of phenomena, the determining economic form of corporate money sequences is undiagnosed for what it is. The system crests in pure exaction, expropriation and chaos with Wall Street leading in licensed fraud to steal the life security of tens of millions – but lavishly rewarded by the U.S. government with nearly a trillion dollars to begin. The cancer circuits are thus re-financed to keep on hollowing out the world, with ever more public money to ensure the bank’s private debt extractions. The societies least able to pay are always the first to be made to ensure that the rising costs on their private debt payments never end. The private financial corporations are thus at the top of the feeding cycle for which governments are the obedient enforcer, funder and granter of money-creation rights. The great meltdown had been set up in countless ways across the post-1980 global system – all to enable the corporate-person rights’ regime to turn societies, their peoples, their resources and their built and natural environments into free sites for multiply leveraged money-sequence takeovers, resource looting, and junk commodity invasions as well as debt enslavement.
“Free trade” treaties and wars against non-conforming societies have been the major pincers of attack, grounded in private bank control of the public’s money and credit issue. In these ways, formerly evolving social orders to serve people’s lives rather than corporate money-sequence rights have been usurped from top to bottom. The world has thus been coerced to civil and ecological breakdown by the private money sequence system for no life function, and it has been subverted most by what is not seen – the silent hijacking of constitutional public control of money creation. This is the deepest unrecognised civil commons of publicly protected exchange medium which has been wrested away from the public. The design is not new, but elaborated since Benjamin Franklin and others reported it as the main reason the Thirteen Colonies rebelled against British rule. It was Britain’s banning of the “colonial scrip” by the 1775 Currency Act which had enabled the independent prosperity of the Colonies, and whose outlawing by the private Bank of England caused a depression.
This is the one cause of the American Revolution you never read about in history books. The private bank appropriation of public currency and credit is the tuning core of the financial subjugation of societies, but is little known. Today it is led by endless debt issue by banks without the money to back it. As long as public and constitutional jurisdiction over exchange medium and public credit is not reclaimed, the life security of people and peoples is broken step by step beneath even Marxian detection.
From the Depression, Anti-Fascist War and Decolonisation to the Corporate Occupation
The corporate money-right takeover of government has entailed the destruction of the social state. Democratic government’s real function of serving, regulating and enabling the common life interest of its people is mutated into serving the private money sequences of transnational and bank corporations instead. This systemic, life-and-death conflict within the contemporary state and its citizen body is not academically or officially recognised – although the Wall Street motto of the one percent and the 99 percent opens the window to it. In terms of the life and money codes of value, it is the war between life requirements of human beings and private money-rights for corporate persons which is the essence of the whole matter.
We will not here engage the usual rationalizations away of this war of aggression as “the engine of the economy”, “the provider of jobs”, “society’s wealth producer” and “the return of power to the private sector”. The facts clearly demonstrate the opposite on all scores. The corporate-rights system pervasively invades people’s private lives at every channel and node. Its money sequences ever more preponderantly produce nothing or junk. Its essential mode of enrichment is eliminating people’s jobs and downgrading them, not creating them. And it wastes, pollutes and runs down the life capital bases of societies towards collapse, a cumulative wealth destroyer at the real level. “Wealth” in the money-sequence code means only private money control at the top
In an age of induced amnesia of the real economy and real peoples’ struggle for freedom, we require an historical perspective which takes into account the economic and social progression of society before the corporate-right usurpation of it. Before 1945 ended the most systematically genocidal system in history, the Nazi’s proclaimed natural right to rule other societies by eradication of non-Aryan peoples and limiting borders of Europe followed upon earlier cultural genocides and enslavements of other peoples from Latin America to Africa to India to Vietnam by a broader and longer-lived Euro-American colonialism. Accompanying and preceding these imperial systems there were the ecogenocides of the first peoples across the American hemisphere, while before and coincident with these there was the clearance of the village commons of the British countrysides during and through the rise of its world-wide empire. Analysis can track this ruling pattern of ecogenocidal depredation and rule back through millennia and before corporate rule itself to the command of Yahweh to “exterminate all the men, women and children” of the “Promised Land” whose claimed right reigns still today.
This enduring pattern of massacre, occupation and exploitation where all rights are on the one side and none for the rest is what Europe’s emergence out of a continental zone of wars into an enduring multinational union of many-sided civil commons and rights of human life led world civilisation. Yet the only lasting large-scale social system in modern history to regulate towards social justice and universal human life goods provision for all citizens has been and continues to be systematically reversed. Transnational corporate relocation of production to regions with no labor or environmental standards to sell back into societies so as to thereby bankrupt their advanced and independent civil commons has been the global corporate formula. Captive states extending cumulative public subsidies of every kind to these same dominant private corporations to defund social programs has been the complementary policy formula for the public’s dispossession. “The tough new global marketplace” is the master meta idea, recalling John D. Rockefeller’s famous declaration: “The disparity in income between the rich and the poor is merely the survival of the fittest – – – the working out of a law of nature and a law of God”.
At the level of international law which had unprecedentedly moved beyond this credo after the defeat of Nazism, the corporate-rights reverse has instituted a pre-Nazi contempt for life-protective laws and human rights. No such law or norm, however binding and sacredly sworn to by governments since 1945, is now enforced. The International Criminal Court is only used by the world’s lead corporate state which has not ratified it. The laws and covenants against genocide or for economic and political rights – a very impressive body of law as we see ahead – are effectively suspended. In effect only unilateral private corporate rights are imposed by transnational trade treaties effectively annulling all rights but of corporate investors. All international law in the common life interest is ignored unless usable against non-corporate state targets. The macro imposition of the global corporate-rights system across political differences and borders now rules the world’s economies and politics as absolute wherever corporate rights are concerned . It is a far more embracing absolutism than Nazism achieved and it is managed by financial means with war as a back-up rather than the leading edge. The global corporate-rights system entitles, for example, override of national and regional legislation everywhere, and huge fines against government’s public budgets for disobeying the countless new “disciplines” adjudicated by in-secret procedures of tribunals of appointed trade lawyers.
The Morality of Corporate Rights: No Rights Except for Private Money Sequences
There is no morality but “free trade” throughout – a moral theology of the ‘invisible hand’ which is believed to necessarily produce the best of possible worlds whatever the exchanges for price and profit might be – for example, financial syndicate/ bank/ hedgefund betting on higher cereal crops and oil prices pumped by massively subsidized bio-fuels at the same time to make a killing when millions cannot afford the higher prices and go hungry or starve.
The fanaticism of the moral theology of theo-capitalism has many expressions. It also includes calling E.U. refusal of genetically engineered foods “immoral”, forgiving poor countries’ debts a “moral hazard”, and – perhaps above all – bombing defenceless societies with socially owned oil revenues as “enemies of freedom”.
Thus the goal of “world rule” long projected onto the Soviet Union has been strategically achieved by the global money party. Its perpetual war of movement and position to grow private money sequences across all limits explains why even in the aftermath of the self-caused corporate-bank collapse of 2008, public funds have gone to large corporate bank bailouts and none or little to the poor, the disemployed, the home-expropriated, the pension-ruined and, least of all, to public options in place of the private corporate failures.
It follows from this ruling disorder that human persons and their life conditions cumulatively dissolve into functions of transnational corporate rule – that is, to grow corporate-person money-sequences anywhere and everywhere for maximum private profit with no life-protective regulatory limitations or life costs computed. Backed by countless rules enforceable against still pliant governments, this extra-parliamentary corporate rights reign still commands intra- and inter-governmental relations across the G-20 and beyond.
Real persons’ lives and life support systems do not factor in at all. Life-grounded morality is not only alien to this absolutist corporate-rights system, but attacked whenever societies or movements seek to institute mutual life security or public ownership of natural resources. If protection of life support system or resource control is profitable to deny or destroy, then private and borderless corporate extractors will eradicate them as “barriers” unless peoples stop them. There is no limit to what will be seized or eliminated in the name of “market freedom”. Even if the enemy is a poverty-ridden peasant movement seeking untilled land to farm or to deploy resource revenues for food subsidies, free healthcare, education, or other public means of life, they are lethally attacked, or bombed to oblivion – as in Iraq and Libya in recent years. This is the long ecogenocidal method of the world’s ultimate rogue state.
First-world states are enmeshed in its system and stripped by financial means. The testing question here is – what public health program, university education, broadcaster, or pension is safe in our country from the corporate-rights regime of economic occupation and budget stripping?
Social Justice and Economic Integrity: The Life Code in Social Defence
Such a systemically pathological pattern is not decided by ‘economic laws’ or ‘human nature’. It is imposed by a constructed and unilateral corporate rights system whose nature is to deny all other rights, most basically to human life. This is the secret history of modern capitalism from before the Reagan presidency’s explicit turn from “human rights” to the “fight against communism” – that is, against indigenous poor people fighting for land and means of existence. The previous world war, in contrast, was against fascism – not for it.
History is decided not fated. Thus the 1939-45 war was directed against a mass-murderous system for the rights of human beings to live, and waged by real economies – from universal public rations of scarce life goods to full employment of citizens to controls on private money attacks on society’s life capacities to the sovereign right of nations to self-determination against foreign occupation. All are now down the memory hole of the global corporate occupation. Under the Orwellian concept of “growth”, it is now structured to invade the world at all levels of life organisation, and corrupt, extort or obliterate whatever stands in the way.
After the victory over racist fascism, the money-sequence absolutism behind it was held in check. The world flourished in real life economy and human rights perhaps more than ever before in the human condition – mystified by Hobsbaum and the left as “the golden age”. Over 30 years of civil commons building was achieved before the new global corporate absolutism, the incubus of the old, seized borderless global power by the invisible coup d’etat anatomized ahead. Behind the lure of market commodities, big lies about more jobs and closing out of unions, backroom writing of an override system for all economies, and black armed force from the streets to the sky, the coup prevailed in macrocosm as it had in microcosm in Chile before.
While the new driver of private money profit and consumption has cumulatively depredated life capacities on most levels, it is still absurdly called “wealth creation” and “freedom” no matter how despoiling of healthy life it in fact is. On the other hand, the diverse building of a very different kind of social order dedicated to the lives of its citizens becoming better by universal access to universal life goods has been warred upon. Behind a culture of pervasive lies and ostentation, the ‘enemy’ is, decoded, any social ordering or public sector universally providing necessary life goods without mediation by corporate price and profit.
Yet the civil commons basis of human life cannot die so long as society exists, and it continues into the institutional present. Its social formations have already evolved in both mixed capitalist and state-socialist economies, and are still supported by great majorities. Yet global corporate absolutism is structured to grow only private money sequences to more. In a world whose aggregate demand has been hollowed out by non-stop appropriation of revenues from working people and the social state, depression is predictable. It is in this dead-end that the corporate bank, oil and oligopolist axis finds its last great frontier – public budgets to loot. This metastasis to the core of social life organisation by the transnational money-sequence growth system cannot be sustained. It implodes into one disaster after another. It cannot correct its incapacity for provision of otherwise scarce means of life to which it is blind in principle and only degrades over time – from food, water and healthcare to science and higher education.
The failed corporate-rights system cannot, in short, continue on without despoiling the world. It plunders the world’s life capital bases of reproduction, and its major consumer ‘goods’ are disease and death causing. India’s increasingly captive state may in 2012 let the global junk food system in to flood its society as everywhere else with sugar-salt-fat addictive substances (post-apartheid Africa the latest case). Nonetheless at the world system level, the return of humanity’s social evolution occurs again in Latin America’s resounding repudiation across nations of the “neo-liberal model” and new economic success. Despite the euphemistic category for reduction of human society to an instrument for private money sequencing with no purpose beyond multiplying itself, the long-haul r/evolution continues.