The Western Empire’s evil can seduce us into thinking that the BRICS are good, or at least they are an alternative. However the global plague of austerity and privatization rages as much in the BRICS as it does everywhere else. All of mankind is stampeding toward mass privatization, such that seven billion people are becoming slaves of a hundred owners or less. That’s one billionaire for each 700 million slaves.
The next world war will be like the last two: a contest not between “good and evil,” but between oligarchs. Millions will die to keep the rich in splendor.
The Greek philosopher Polybius discussed this 2,200 years ago in his book The Histories. (Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Machiavelli also discussed it.) Polybius observed that democracy is the stage immediately preceding oligarchy. All economies go through a cycle called anacyclosis which has three stages: from democracy into oligarchy, and then to aristocracy, in which oligarchs make themselves hereditary. In a hereditary aristocracy, most people slave for a tiny handful of owners who control everything. Obama’s TPP, TTIP, and TiSA are a great leap toward aristocracy, since the treaties supersede national sovereignty.
Eventually the aristocratic families fight among themselves, taking mankind to war. Then, after mass death and destruction, there is ochlocracy (mob rule), followed by democracy — whereon the cycle repeats anew.
We are now on the verge of global aristocracy, in which a handful of people own everything, and everyone else pays rent to them as their slaves. This is what neo-liberalism and austerity are all about: promoting mass slavery under the rich. Everything and everyone is now geared toward paying rent to the rich (i.e. paying on debts). Capitalism itself is drained into the service of debt and finance. Main Street exists to serve Wall Street.
Professors, politicians, and media pundits call this global evil “good.” And they call resistance to this evil, “evil.” (The resistance is socialism, i.e. public ownership).
The lie that the U.S. government is “bankrupt” is part of the evil. It is a lie that shared by almost everyone. Hence almost everyone is voluntarily rushing to become a slave.
The plague in China
In the late 1990s then-prime minister Zhu Rongji started pushing for mass privatization. Mr Zhu closed thousands of companies, and broke the “iron rice bowl” (he ended all guarantees of living standards for the masses) in an effort to shake China out of economic lethargy. (For the privatizer, economic “lethargy” means too much equality.)
Between 1995 and 2001 the number of state-owned and state-controlled enterprises fell from 1.2 million to 468,000. The number of jobs in the urban state sector fell by 36 million—or from 59% to 32% of total urban employment.
Countless millions of Chinese people lost their livelihoods, and desperately collected into sweatshops. Mass privatization economically wiped out rural folk, who converged on the cities, driving up property prices. Today China has the second highest number of billionaires in the world after the USA. Inequality is extreme, and is worsening all the time. Chinese oligarchs, like all oligarchs, are only concerned with increasing their power. As part of this, they push for
austerity, meaning cuts in funding for anything that promotes equality, or helps average people. Chinese President Xi Jinping began his austerity drive in mid-2013. The Chinese call austerity a “crackdown on corruption,” but – as always — it hits the bottom economic classes the hardest. (In the USA, the privatizers and their toadies regard Medicare and Social Security” as “corrupt entitlements.”)
As with austerity everywhere else, the cuts in government spending are only cuts in things that help average Chinese people. Meanwhile spending is increased for whatever boosts inequality. (In the USA, Social Security is called “unsustainable,” whereas endless trillions for war, for weapons makers, and for Wall Street bailouts are not called “unsustainable.” This same lie occurs in most countries. Countries where it does not occur are vilified as “rogue states” and as “state sponsors of terrorism.”)
Naturally there is talk of “shared sacrifice,” meaning the Chinese masses must sacrifice themselves to their rich owners. There is also talk of “market reforms,” meaning the transformation of free markets into rigged markets. “Market reforms” is also a code word for privatization, which itself means wealth concentration. It’s the same everywhere.
The plague in Russia
The Moscow Economic Forum is an annual meeting at Moscow State University for the development of Russia’s economic policy. It is sponsored by Mr. Konstantin Babkin, whose company ‘Novoye Sodrushestvo’ includes the Rostselmash factory that manufactures agricultural combines.
The summit is mainly attended by Russians, but many people also come from abroad. The most recent summit was on March 23 and 24. There, speakers and audience members criticized the Russian ruling class, calling it “separate from the people.” They complained about inequality. They complained that Russia’s economy, being based on the export of commodities, made a few people rich, but did nothing for the development of Russia’s own non-commodity related industries. They said the central government must assume a role as investor, rather than waiting for private banks to stimulate the economy. They said the financial reserves of Russia should be used for housing and the construction of railways and roads, not for bailing out banks and big corporations. They criticized the Russian government and the liberal economists advising it. (“Liberal” meaning pro-privatization, deregulation, and decriminalization of financial crimes).
In short, they complained that Russia is an oligarchy like most other nations. Privatization (and therefore inequality) is increasing in Russia like everywhere else. The Russian government is currently privatizing a wide range of state property, from energy to agriculture and banking to transportation. For the first time in its history, the government offered a quarter of Russian Railways monopoly. Russia sold almost eight percent of its largest hydropower producer, RusHydro. Russia sold 50 percent minus one share of agricultural leasing company Rosagroleasing and 100 percent of the United Grain Company grain operator. The government also sold a quarter of Russian Agricultural Bank, the core creditor of agriculture. The government also wants to sell the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow and most of the government’s stakes in Russia’s flagship airlines Aeroflot.
Russian Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov wants to privatize Russia’s largest government-owned banks (Sberbank and Vneshtorgbank). He wants to sell the government’s stake in the Rosneft petroleum company, and in ALROSA (the world’s biggest group of diamond mining companies), and in Bashneft (an oil company) and in Sovkomflot (a maritime shipping company that specializes in petroleum and LNG shipping).
As you can see, Russia has not been spared the plague of neoliberalism.
Privatization concentrates wealth. It reduces everything to the profit motive. It changes humans and the environment into disposable commodities that only exist to pay rent to the owners.
In Russia like everywhere else we see the rise of financial power, which has only one goal and one purpose: mass enslavement and the charging of rents. Rich Russians increasingly control the government. And they use that control to become even richer.
The world is rushing toward neo-feudalism, in which a handful of people will own the planet and everything on it. Politicians enrich themselves by accelerating this process. And the masses applaud their own doom. It is the same everywhere.
There is no reason for any person to have billions of dollars or yuan or rubles. Such extreme inequality cripples mankind, and sets us up for war when the oligarchs decide to fight. But that’s what we have.
We can’t stop the plague, but at least we can understand it.