Monday, August 31, 2015

Meet the new boos. The same as the old boss.

If you read this book, you’ll find yourself double-checking the dates at the end of each section: 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998. But the book reads like it’s all about today, 2015 – secret trade deals, fast track, the veil of secrecy, the corruption of democracy to the point of near extinction, privatization, austerity measures forced upon the poor and middle class, mass surveillance and collection of personal information, an ever-widening wealth-gap between the 99% and the top 1%, accumulation of wealth by dispossession, union busting, public socialized risk and costs in totally unbalanced ratio to private profit margins and corporate economic control, low and lowering wages, unemployment, out-sourcing manufacturing jobs, rolling back environmental protections and human rights progress, trade union suppression, personhood for corporations (15years before Citizens United), behind-closed-doors trade treaties agreed upon by powerful international trading cartels and corporations but never ratified by the US Congress in violation of the Constitution. And there’s more!

From cover-to-cover, the book is an expose of the secret government that controls the world – this is not some imaginary paranoid conspiracy theory from the John Birch Society or the Tea Party, but it’s an invisible government with no accountability to public democratic institutions, no elected officials except those elected board members selected by private stockholders, bankers and international finance lobbyists having no allegiance to nation-states, loyal only to the principles representing international business, profit, wealth and power. Sound familiar?

There is no “good news” in this book. But Chomsky attempts to end his book of gloom on a slightly up-beat tone by observing that the public, in fact, WAS able to delay, or at least postpone, an important Clinton-driven trade deal during his administration called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). Chomsky points to this “victory” and ends his book with this timely warning dated August 1998: “One should attend carefully to the fear and desperation of the powerful. They understand well the potential reach of public action.” The powerful invisible government (in the US, a “virtual Senate”) is determined to prevent the public from seeking a more free and just world by gaining understanding how the system is rigged, and putting that intelligence to work effectively against rich and powerful globalized special interests. They will do everything within their power to prevent that from happening. That’s an understatement!

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