Saturday, October 18

oppression, the American way to economic freedom

I do believe that Friedman was an idealist and didn't relish the brutality that came along with the implementation of his policies. However, it was shown again and again that in order to implement his policies a perceived disaster was required. It has also been shown that these policies only benefit the rich who are allowed to scavenge the resources by buying up commodities at incredibly reduced rates. There is no such thing as the trickle down theory, the rich just get richer and the middle class get poorer (often by being required to pay the debts accumulated by those same corporate multinational scavengers), it is called oppression.

But where to lay the blame? Those intellectuals that came up with the ideas? Those pressuring a society to come out of debt? The person implementing the ideology? The corporations who benefit? The individual shareholders pressuring the companies to make more money?

In reality there are many in the west who benefit and turn their heads from how we have accumulated our wealth. Can a capitalist system surmount the greed that seems to be inherent and become humane? Now we are facing an economic crisis, let us think it through and develop a plan based on what type of world we want to live in, hopefully we all agree that is a humanitarian one.

Here is some information from from Naomi Klein' s book, The Shock Doctrine, the Rise of Disaster Capitalism

(overthrow 1973):
Freidman advisor to General Augusto Pinochet
more than 3,200 people disappear, 80,000 imprisoned, 200,000 fled country
Chicago Boys run economic policy
social spending & tax cuts, free trade, deregulation, privatized services (including all utilities, schools, companies, banks)
Piranhas (Enron style financial houses freed from all regulation) buy up countries assets on borrowed money and run up $14 billion debt by 1982

Brazil (US supported junta 1973):
Freidman advises economic policy
Generals in power raise debt to $103 billion in 1985

Uruguay (military coup 1973):
Chicago graduates reform tax system & economic policy
$5 billion debt (3 million people)

Argentina (junta seizes power 1976):
Kissinger supports coup
Argentine Chicago Boys gain all key financial positions except for Minister of the Economy
strikes ban, fire at will policy, price controls lifted, restrictions on foreign ownership lifted, hundreds of state companies sold
30,000 people disappeared
additional $37.1 billion in debt (owed to World Bank, IMF and various US banks including the US Export-Import Bank), of which $19 billion was found to be moved offshore.
In 1982 Argentina's central bank bails out multinational firms (including Ford Motor Argentina, Chase Manhattan, Citibank, IBM, Mercedes Benz) putting total repayment on the public.
Cavello plan (written by JP Morgan and Citibank): harnessed chaos of hyperinflation to complete privatization (from its national airline to oil reserves, firing 700,000 workers to corporations including Citibank, Bank Boston, France's Suez and Vivendi, Spain's Repsol and Telefonica).

Bolivia (Banzer 1985):
Jeffery Sachs advises Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (Goni) who sets up a top secret bipartisan emergency economic team to radically restructure the economy
elimination of food subsidies, canceling price controls, 300% hike in oil cost, frozen wages & decreased minimum wage, deep spending cuts, unrestricted imports, downsizing state companies, decrees state of seige and outlaws opposition parties
sell offs included national oil company, airline, railway, electricity, phone companies to Enron, Shell, Amoco Corp., Citicorp

Indonesia (Suharto's coup 197 )
the Ford Foundation funds economists, known as Berkley Mafia
sell off of oil and mineral rights to western multinationals

South Africa (de Klerk - ANC negotiations 1993):
$850 million IMF deal signed just before elections
De Klerk ensurred economic programs, central bank and treasury were competely separated from government and handed over to "impartial experts" (IMF, World Bank, GATT) and that Derek Keyes would remain as finance minister.
ANC unable to carry out Freedom Charter as it did not control any land or economic policies and was required to pay $4.5 billion annually to service the debt incurred by the Apartheid system.

United Kingdom (Falklands War 1982):
nationalist excitement allowed Thatcher to use tremendous force to crush coal miners and launch privatization frenzy, including British Telecom, British Gas, British Airways, British Airport Authority, and British Steel.

Poland (Solidarity sells out 1989):
financial aid withheld until country agreed to Freidmanist economics
Jeffery Sachs (financed by George Soros) organized privatization of state industry, the creation of a stock exchange and capital markets, convertible currency, and budget cuts and secured debt relief with the IMF.
by 2003 59% of population below pverty line
worker pressure forced government to slow down privatization and a coalition of left wing parties were elected in 2003 and halted the process.

China (Tiananmen Square 1989):
clamp down on pro-democracy movement
two to seven thousand dead and 30,000 injured, 40,000 arrested
Freidman advising government officials in China in 1988
conversion of country to export zone

Russia (Yeltsin's coup 1993):
support from Bill Clinton and Jeffery Sachs advising Yeltsin
fire sale privatization creating the oligarchs (Yeltsin didn't allow foreign nationals to buy up companies directly, only through shares)
middle classes become poor
1994: Chechnyan war increases Yeltsin's popularity and wins election (with $100 million in financing from oligarchs and oligarch controlled tv stations)
40% of an oil company sold for $88 million (2006 sales were $193 billion)
Norilsk Nickle sold for $170 million (annual profits soon reached $1.5 billion)
Yukos (controls more oil than Kuwait) sold for $309 million (now revenue of $3 billion)
51% of Sidanko sold for $130 million (2 years later valued at $2.8 billion)
huge weapons factory sold for $3 million
by 1998 more than 80% farms bankrupt, 70,000 state factories closed, 74 million Russians living below poverty line

Mexico (Tequila Crisis 1994):
US bailout terms demand rapid-fire privatizations, including increasing foreign ownership of banks
creation of 23 new billionaires

Asian Tigers (the economies of South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan 1997):
rumours sparked massive bailouts sparked by panic, $600 billion withdrawn in one year
highly protectionist governments forced to forced to drain their reserve banks
IMF waits until economy totally crashes in order to implement long list of demands (privatised basic services, independent central banks, flexible work forces, low social spending, total free trade, hike interest rates)
World Bank states 20 million Asians thrown into poverty
Wall Street scavanges Asia-Pacific:
Merril Lynch bought Japan's Yamaichi Securities and Thailand's largest securities firm,
AIG bought Bankok Investment,
JP Morgan bought a stake in Kia Motors,
Soloman Smith Barney (chair Donald Rumsfeld and boardmember Dick Cheney) bought many large companies including one of Korea's main textile companies,
Carlyle Group (James Baker, John Major, Bush Sr.) snapped up Daewoo's telecom division while GM bought its car division (valued at $6 billion for $400 million),
SsangYong, and became a major shareholder in one of Korea's largest banks.
Samsung was broken up: Volvo got its heavy industry division, SC Johnson got its pharmaceutical division, GE its lighting division.)
Coca Cola bought a Korean bottling company for half a billion dollars
Proctor and Gamble bought a Korean packaging company
Nissan bought one of Indonesia's largest car companies
GE aquired a controlling stake in Korea's LG
Powergen nabbed LG Energy
Alwaleed bin Talal collected companies including a stake in Daewoo
Other players include Seagram's, Hewlett Packard, Nestle, Interbrew (Inbev), Novartis, Carrefour, Tesco and Ericsson
Bechtel got water and sewage systems in eastern Manila and a contract to build an oil refinery in Indonesia
Motorola got full control over Korea's Appeal Telecom
Sithe (New York based energy giant) got a large stake in Thailand's public gas company, Cogeneration
Thames Water and Lyonnaise des Eaux split Indonesia's water system
Westcoast Energy snapped up a huge Indonesian power plant project
British Telecom purchased a large stake in both Malaysia's and Korea's postal systems
Bell aquired part of Korea's telecom Hansol

Belgrade (NATO attack on citizens 1999):
rapid privatizations in the former Yugoslavia

Sadaam didn't pose threat to US security but to US energy companies as he had signed contracts with Russia and France and left out the US and British.
Paul Bremer, Director of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (Kissinger and Associates) enacts radical laws to ensure mass privatization (US insured they cut out local elite, a mistake made in Russia), free trade, flat 15% tax, for profit relief & construction, no bid contracts, 100% foreign ownership (former local companies couldn't even get the subcontracts for reconstruction), privatized health care and drug distribution system, cancelled elections
Iraq managed to hold back state owned oil but occupying authority took possession of $20 billion worth of revenue ($8.8 billion of which dissapeared)
brand new currency printed by De La Rue
Rebuilding aid (including USAID) went to foreign contractors (Haliburton, CH2M Hill, Research Triangle Institute, Betchel, Parsons, KPMG, RTI, Blackwater)
Custer Battles (security firm): $100 million contract from US government
BearngPoint (KPMG) paid $240 million to build "market driven system"
Haliburton by 2006 generated $20 billion in revenue

Sri Lanka (tsunami 2004):
blocking of rebuilding local communities as land taken over for resorts

Canada (debt crisis 2003)
Deficit hysteria propagated by media (including national TV and the Globe and Mail)
only solution was to drastically cut spending on unemployment and health care and lower taxes; Liberal party obliged
Crisis found to have been invented by think tanks funded by major banks and corporations to pass legislation

United States (War on Terror 2001):
September 10th, Rumsfeld declairs war on the Pentagon bureaucracy, wants to outsource war to privatization
2003 $327 billion to private companies for contracts
2006: Department of Homeland Security grants 115,000 security contracts
global "Homeland Security sector" becomes $200 billion industry
Insurance industry profits $60 billion
Privatization of war, including security, health care, intelligence, Counterintelligence Field Activity and training (CACI International Inc, Halliburton, Serco, L-3 Communications, Blackwater, Cubic Defence Applications, Health Net, IAP Worldwide)
2006 President gains power to declare martial law in any emergency
contractors include Halliburton (Cheney), Lockheed, Bechtel, oil companies (ExonMobile, Chevron, Shell, BP), Carlyle and Gilead (Rumsfeld), labeled "proto-disaster capitalists" and the "architects of the War on Terror", key ones include:
John Ashcroft (former attorney general and prime mover behind Patriot Act) Ashcroft Group
Tom Ridge (first head of the Dept of Homeland Security) Ridge Global and advisor to Lucent
Rudi Giuliani (former New York mayor) Guiliani Parners, crisis consulting
Richard Clarke (counter terrorism czar under Clinton and Bush) Good Harbor Consulting
James Woolsey (former head of the CIA) Paladin Capital Group & VP Booz Allen
Joe Allbaugh (head of FEMA on Sept 11) New Bridge Strategies, bridge between Iraq investing and government contracts
Michael Brown (replace Allbaugh as head of FEMA) Michael D. Brown LLC, disaster preparedness
Henry Kissinger (Kissinger Associates) consultant & appointed 9/11 commission chair
James Baker, co-chair of Iraq study group and special envoy to Iraq's debt and a senior counselor at Carlyle (who gets paid to help Kuwait recover its debts from Iraq)
Richard Perle (Trireme Partners: Gerald Hillman & Henry Kissinger; Boeing) Defence Policy Board chair (other members: Gerald Hillman & Henry Kissinger)
Committee for the Liberation of Iraq:
George Shultz (former secretary of state, representative of Bechtel, Lockheed Martin)
Bruce Jackson (former VP strategy & planning Lockheed Martin)
Charles Kupperman (VP space & strategic Missiles Lockheed Martin)
Douglas Graham (Lockheed's director of defence systems)
US firms pull out having spent aid money and jobs unfinished

United States (New Orleans 2005):
Heritage Foundation develops "relief package" (suspend wage laws, enable flat-tax free-enterprise zone & economic competitiveness zone -waive regulations, privatize schools)
Money allocated to flood victims goes to replacing public schools and public housing to
create charter schools and upscale subdivisions and creating large permanently displaced poor population.
Congress repeals environmental regulations on Gulf Coast and in Arctic National Wildlife Refuse (for drilling)
Contractors: Halliburton, Blackwater, Parsons, Fluor, Shaw, Bechtel, CH2M Hill, AshBritt

Freidmanism: (economic policy attributed to the ideals of Milton Freidman from the University of Chicago) taking advantage of a major crisis to erase a public system with a private one of Neocon design. (Neocons: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Shultz, Jackson, Kissinger)

Freidmanists include several US presidents (Henry Kissinger, Ronald Regan, ), British Prime Ministers (Margaret Thatcher, John Major), Russian Oligarchs, Polish Finance Ministers, Third World dictators, Chinese Communist Party secretaries, IMF directors, and the past three chiefs of the US Federal Reserve.
Americans include Donald Rumsfeld, David & Nelson Rockefeller, Freidrich Hayek, Arnold Harberger, Dick Cheney, Alan Greenspan.
Canadians include Brian Mulroney, David Frum, Steven Harper, Stockwell Day
Organizations include think tanks (American Enterprise, Heritage, Cato, Hoover, CD Howe, Adam Smith, Fraser Institute), International Monetary Fund (Dani Rodrik, ), World Bank (John Williamson (Washington Consensus), Joseph Stiglitz),

"Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change "
Milton Freidman, 1982

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