- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The colour of money.

Posted by: Gideon Hallett ( UK ) on July 22, 1999 at 16:26:56:

In Reply to: Do you have it in another color? posted by Gee on July 22, 1999 at 15:24:22:

: : Partially; but since corporates like DuPont, Monsanto, McDonald's, Philips, BP, Shell, Chevron, Total, ICI and others regularly and repeatedly break the law, I don't see the existence of "legitimate" conduits to be a fundamental point; they merely act as partial restraints on corporate behaviour.

: They are fundamental - who makes and supposedly enforces 'the law'?

Is that question "who is *supposed* to make and enforce the law?" (we the people, etc, etc.) or "who *actually* makes the law?" (politicos and corporates).

: Who controls the army and police choosing whom to persecute or not if it is not the sickly conglomoration of govt officials and the protected cash cows who feed them by strangling every other productive person.

Who makes the Government policy? It's normally the corporate backers and lobbyists; since a politician needs massive funds to buy the electorate, they are effectively in the employ of those who fund them. Things like NAFTA and the MAI weren't the off-the-cuff ideas of a politician; they were the result of lobbying by transnationals...

And when something is government policy, it is the duty of the police and army to uphold it, regardless of the morality of the law; it's what they're paid for.

Witness the fact that the UK and French authorities yesterday froze the funds of Greenpeace International; because Greenpeace International were engaging in a peaceful protest against BNFL (British Nuclear Fuels Ltd.) shipping near-weapons-grade plutonium to Japan.

Witness the fact that the police and military intelligence forces are being used to monitor pacifist environmental protest groups because they are felt to be subversive. We live in a world where protesting against the polluters gets your phone tapped and can result in you being jailed for conspiracy for up to 20 years.

: : You can't really say "it happens because the Govt. permits it"; it happens regardless, because profit is more important than the law. Check the list of EPA/DOE fines levied on the above for deliberate illegal dumping and pollution; yet those companies go on dumping illegally because of their profit margins.

: And the major problem is - no one cares, because no one owns what is being dumped upon (often the sea) its all wishy washy lines on a political map, its not 'in my back yard' because it isnt any ones back yard.

Why do people not care? The surface of our planet is our collective responsibility. We're all responsible for the destruction our society inflicts on the world. Yet the majority of people are content to live lives of TV and bread and circuses; it is portrayed as a good thing; a "normal" way of life.

The people reinforcing this conformity? Corporates and governments; governments like it because it makes for a docile populace, corporates because it makes a nation full of unquestioning drones who will happily consume anything dumped in front of them; thus providing an ever-present market for profit-oriented companies.

An example; check the debates on things like road building. Whenever this perpetual debate springs up, pundits will opine that new roads need to be built to accommodate the predicted increase in the volume of traffic. No one ever says that the roads are too full with polluting cars and we should be reducing the number of cars on the road.

When people suggest levying heavier taxes on motorists, the road and car lobby make a terrible racket; that these mad Green-obsessed hippies are damaging British industry in the name of ideology; that it is the freedom of any British motorist to drive where they want and when they want; and that if they can't, more resources should be consumed so that they can. No-one ever questions the assumption of ever-increasing consumption; no-one ever suggests that fewer people should have cars; because this would put people out of jobs and limit the freedom of British taxpayers. Moderation is not a profitable word.

: : Historically, corporate tactics have been to dump toxic waste onto ground until it becomes contaminated, then donate it to the general public to save on the costs of cleaning it up. I'm not exonorating politicos in this; they will frequently accept corporate sponsorship in exchange for favourable treatment in trade deals; check Monsanto's support of Clinton.

: Precisely. Had the ground not been donatable 'to general public' which seems mean handed over to govt officials they would have what is deserved - worthless land. Only the existence of govt to force US to buy their useless land and fix it up makes this practive possible.

Hang on; this land was traditionally only "private" because someone had stolen it in the first place. It's like saying that venture capitalists own the Internet; they don't; the 'net was running quite happily before the venture capitalists even knew about the "information superhighway" (*awful term*). I know; I was there.

(And, yes, it was better in those days, in my opinion; there was far less useless crap and vanity pages around.)

For land to be enclosed and despoiled requires the idea of private land; ask RD, but enclosure was characteristic of the rise of modern capitalism.

Private property also gives rise to nimby-ism; if you treat the entire planet as common property (rather than a collection of "back yards"); there can be no "NIMBY"; because you have a shared responsibility to all of it. It's the idea that people own land that gives rise to the idea that waste dumped "somewhere else" becomes someone else's problem.

: : However, the dominant tactic used by corporates today is not to follow laws that are repugnant to them; or if they do follow them, to employ lobbyists and tame politicians to try to repeal the laws in question.

: Not tame politicians, but very very willing ones - looking to slice and dice our money at the end of a gun we were forced to pay for.

And where do most politicians go after they quit political office? (or while they are still in office in the UK!) The boards of corporations; because they know valuable contacts in other governments; check the number of Tory former ministers on the boards of major UK banks (4 or 5 at the last count).

: : Exactly; so abolish government. That includes unfettered states as well as unfettered corporations; because a cartel of powerful companies is a government of sorts; except that it answers to no-one but the shareholders.

: And it cannot exist in the destructive force you describe if it is not able to use willing govt officials to do the equivelent of money laundering - govt is their willing launderer, their protectors.

Actually, if you check the proceedings of the last Bilderberg meeting but one, you will see that it was agreed that there was no overall opposition to the idea of armed security forces reporting directly to corporations. Or, to put it more bluntly, companies can raise their own armies.

In other words, our elected politicians (such as they are) are becoming increasingly irrelevant. If the MAI is passed eventually, transnationals will be able to prosecute governments (but the reverse will not apply) and if the Bilderberg motion is any indication of policy movement, companies will be able to raise their own armed militias.

Where does that leave elected government? "Surplus to requirements" is the phrase that springs to my mind...

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