cj#964,rn,sm> Chapter 3 – Evolution of capitalism: from competition to elite tyranny, by way of Wall Street


Richard Moore


This chapter completes Part I.  The latest version of the book (through
Chapter 7) can be found at:



                    Achieving a Livable, Peaceful World

                             Part I - Chapter 3

                     Copyright 1999 by Richard K. Moore
                     Last update 11 Jan 99 - 5600 words
                    comments to: •••@••.•••

Part I - Corporate rule and global ruin: understanding the dynamics of
today's world
Chapter 3 - Evolution of capitalism: from competition to elite tyranny, by
way of Wall Street

How is it that capitalism has over the past two centuries come to so totally
dominate the world? The answer lies in capitalism's growth imperative, its
need to constantly expand. As necessity is the mother of invention, so this
growth imperative has led to boundless innovation. The seemingly
irresistible power of capitalism arises from its harnessing of human
creativity toward the single-minded objective of increasing capitalist

In the previous chapters we've seen how this creativity has manifested
itself in the development of republics, powerful elites, political
corruption, imperialism, Pax Americana, and globalization. In each phase of
capitalism, new varieties of creativity have arisen in response to the
changing requirements of capitalist growth. In order to find out where the
creativity-inspiring growth imperative comes from, and to understand better
the dynamics of capitalism's evolution, we need to look at the processes of
capitalism itself. My American Heritage Dictionary's definition of
capitalism begins with:

     An economic system characterized by open competition in a free

This definition describes rather well capitalism's earliest phase,
competitive capitalism, which arose in its modern form first in Britain. In
this phase entrepreneurs start businesses, compete with other businesses,
and some succeed and some fail. In this struggle for survival among
businesses, creativity expresses itself as the development of new and better
products, more efficient production techniques, and improved means of
distribution and marketing. But this kind of competition, even though it
already unleashes the power of human creativity, does not explain the growth

The necessity of growth is better captured in the dictionary definition of

     An investor of capital in business...

What distinguishes capitalism from earlier forms of private commerce and
trade is the emphasis on external capital investment -- funds which are
invested in an enterprise for the purpose of increasing the value of the
investment. In particular capitalism is characterized by stock corporations,
where ownership shares in a business can be bought and sold.

Stockholders are technically the owners of an enterprise, but the interests
of stockholders are not the same as the interests of an owner who also
operates an enterprise. An owner-operator is concerned with operating a
healthy business and developing it over time. He or she might be interested
in growing the business, or might just as well be happy for it to stabilize
at some manageable size and then bring in a stable ongoing profit. But a
capitalist, an external investor, is interested solely in the growth of the
business, which is what increases the value of the stock investment. A
stable business translates into stagnant stock values; a business which is
merely profitable is not a good place for capital investment.

One can compare a corporation -- or any investment vehicle -- to a taxicab,
and an investor to a rider. The operator of a taxicab is concerned with
keeping the vehicle in good repair and making a regular profit over time. A
rider, on the other hand, is only concerned with his own use of the vehicle.
If the rider gets to his destination on time, he has little concern over
whether the vehicle is destroyed in the process. Similarly a capital
investor uses an investment vehicle. Only a period of growth is required by
the investor. If the vehicle then falters, investors simply sell their
shares and reinvest elsewhere. The history of capitalism is strewn with the
carcasses of boom-and-bust corporations, industries, and whole economies.

In a capitalist economy there is a pool of capital -- the sum of all the
money investors are making available. Just as water seeks its own level, so
this ever-growing capital pool always seeks the best available growth
opportunities. And just as water over time can wear down the highest
mountain, so the relentless pressure of this growth-seeking capital pool
eventually creates an economy and society in which growth is the dominant
agenda. External ownership -- the separation of ownership from operation --
is the origin of the growth imperative in a capitalist economy.

The evolution of capitalism proceeds according to the following dynamic. In
each phase of its development capitalism operates within a larger societal
regime -- a particular political, cultural, technological, and economic
environment. Within this regime, under the relentless pressure of the
investment pool, the various investment vehicles are developed to the
maximum practical degree. There always comes a point where further growth of
the pool becomes problematic or impossible. When such a societal growth
barrier is encountered, the creative energy of capitalism is unleashed on a
new objective: changing the surrounding societal regime.

There is thus a characteristic rhythm to capitalist evolution. Periods of
growth within a regime are punctuated by changes of regime designed to
create a new period of growth. A new societal regime might be characterized
by technological changes (the Industrial Revolution), by political changes
(creation of republics), or by new societal projects (imperialism.) Driven
by its relentless growth imperative, capitalism has become the driving force
behind societal evolution wherever it has taken hold.

Apologists for capitalism call such societal changes progress and emphasize
whatever real or imagined beneficial qualities might be present. In fact
such changes have been designed by human creativity yoked to the objective
not of societal improvement, but to that of creating new investment vehicles
for the ever-voracious capital pool. In fact the intentional destruction of
societies and economies, particularly but not only in colonized nations, has
been a technique frequently employed to create new investment vehicles.

The rhythm of capitalist and hence of societal evolution proceeds with a
slow beat of major changes as well as with a fast beat of minor changes. In
the realm of technology development, which contributes both new products and
more efficient operations to capitalism, change has been systematized in the
form of research institutions and the research-and-development industry.
Innovation in technology under capitalism becomes continuous, and is focused
always on creating investment opportunities. Societal benefits, such as they
are, arise from the need for products to be marketable, not from any
inherent need for them to be useful or beneficial.

The systemization of change, exhibited first in the realm of science and
technology, has been extended by capitalism to all aspects of society. Today
a generic agenda of never-ending change and growth has become the dominant
societal paradigm globally, in essence a universal religion. Capitalism's
growth imperative has manifested itself as a societal imperative for
economic development. In the Middle Ages the answer to every question was
sought in church doctrine; today the solution to every problem is sought in

In retrospect the poverty of Middle-Ages thought seems obvious. But to those
living through it, the intellectual regime was perceived as absolute
God-given truth. For those living in today's capitalist-dominated societies
it is difficult to comprehend how impoverished has become our societal
problem-solving toolkit. For every societal problem we have only the hammer
of development to apply.

The branches of a tree, if they grow up under a strong prevailing wind, will
be warped in a certain direction. Similarly our societies, under the
prevailing pressure of the capital pool, have been evolving in a warped
direction. In Part II, we will examine the rich possibilities opened to
societies by looking beyond the straightjacket of the development paradigm.
In this chapter we will examine how our societies have been warped by that

One of the most important and characteristic societal developments brought
about by capitalism is the rise of capitalist elites. Given that the
evolution of capitalism proceeds through an ongoing series of intentional
societal changes, it is only natural that the mechanisms of societal control
would themselves evolve over time and eventually be consolidated into
political domination by a capitalist elite.

     People of the same trade seldom meet together... but the
     conversation ends in a conspiracy against the publick, or in some
     contrivance to raise prices.
     -- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

In every society where capitalism has taken hold, a dominant capitalist
elite has in fact emerged, along with the establishment of institutions
designed to further elite interests in a systematic way. In Chapter 1 we saw
how the United States itself has become a vehicle for managing world events
so as to facilitate investment, to make the world safe for capitalism. In
Chapter 2, we saw how TNC's have evolved into gigantic engines for
generating capital growth, and we saw how TNC-dominated bureaucracies are
being given decision-making power over a wide range of issues, loosely
called economic -- and how those institutions are rapidly becoming in all
but name a world government.

Within the US, which is in many ways the most evolved example of a
capitalist society, the means of elite capitalist domination are also very
highly evolved. What is called "public debate" has become synonymous with
whatever is presented in the mass media, and the mass media is nearly
totally controlled, and mostly owned, by very large corporations. News,
analysis, and entertainment consistently reinforce the dogma of economic
growth and frame issues and events in ways that support elite agendas.

American political campaigns are conducted via the mass media, and the
ability of the media to present candidates in either a good or bad light has
been honed to a fine art, aided by techniques developed in the advertising
and public-relations industries. Media spin, which is entirely at the
discretion of the owners of the media, can and does determine the outcomes
of elections. Not only can candidates or officials be made to look like
fools by the kinds of questions they're asked on camera, but news events can
be sensationalized by the media so as to bolster support for a favored
candidate or to develop a constituency for an elite-desired platform agenda.

The boundary between the US government and TNC's has become increasingly
blurred. Top government officials -- people whose "expert" opinion carries
more clout that the wishes of the President -- typically rotate between
government posts and influential positions in the private sector. Corporate
representatives have ready access to Congress and to Administration
officials. Corporate-funded think-tanks produce the studies and analyses
which become, frequently verbatim, the agendas of later administrations.

With neoliberal globalization, the World Trade Organization, and the
explosion of "free trade" zones (NAFTA and its clones), the political
hegemony of the capitalist elite seems to have evolved nearly as far as it
can go. The program has not yet been fully implemented, but we are clearly
in the penultimate stage of its completion.

The civilization-clash system of world order is being implemented at a
break-neck pace. As I write the world is still reeling from the recent US
missile attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan, which seemed all-at-once to make
palpable a sense of chronic clash between the West and the Muslim world.
Desert Storm and the ensuing sanctions, the Western interventions in Bosnia
and Albania, and the settlement process in Northern Ireland -- in these
events one can see the world described by Samuel Huntington being
systematically brought into being. A conflict arises; it is interpreted by
the media as a cultural clash; the West intervenes militarily or otherwise
and "adjudicates" the problem. This is the geopolitical part of the New
World Order which George Bush alluded to upon the completion of Desert
Storm, and which Huntington elaborated under another label.

        [Since the above paragraph was written, this pattern has advanced
         still further with the destruction of Yugoslavia and the
         establishment of Kosovo as the first-ever example of a colony
         ruled directly by the new NATO Imperial Legions.
                In the message at the bottom, from the Coumbia Support
         Network, we see the same pattern being prepared for Latin
         America.  There seems almost to be a race going on to fully
         consolidate the New World Order by the time the Millenium
         arrives.  China and Russia, Beware!
                 -rkm ]

National sovereignty is coming increasingly under assault by the newly
constituted global regime, and not only by military intervention. Outside of
the West, the IMF is becoming a global autocrat, dictating agendas to whole
nations which further the interests of global capitalism, and which are
devastating to the nations themselves.

The case of Rwanda is particularly poignant. Rwanda had a reasonably healthy
economy which was divided into two primary parts. One part was a general
agricultural economy, supplying food for domestic consumption. The other
part of the economy was the coffee-exportation business, bringing in needed
foreign exchange. In 19xx, when Rwanda needed funding from the IMF, two
ominous conditions were laid down. It was decreed by the IMF that payments
to coffee growers be reduced to a certain figure -- a figure which was less
than the cost of production. It was also decreed that the retail price of
petrol be raised to a certain figure -- a figure at which farmers could no
longer afford to deliver their goods to consumers. The conditions of credit
completely and systematically destroyed the Rwandan economy.

The IMF is in fact the ultimate capitalist vehicle for engineering societal
evolution. Once a nation is in need of IMF credit, and this is already the
fate of xxx nations, the power of the IMF to dictate small and large
societal changes is total and arbitrary. There is no government nor agency
that has official power over the IMF, and those nations which have the most
influence over the IMF are as dominated by the capitalist elite as is the
IMF itself.

One might ask what global capitalism gains from destroying economies as it
has done in Rwanda, Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union, and elsewhere.
One way to answer this question is to look at the history of colonialism,
where the destruction of economies and societies has historically served to
"clear the land" for the development of dependent colonial economies. In
today's global economy there are additional reasons for the selective
destruction of national economies, additional investment vehicles that can
be created.

Global capitalism today is coming up against several constraints, and
globalization, in its full dimensionality, can be seen as the very creative
attempt by very competent, corporate-funded planners to overcome those
constraints. One of the constraints comes from the very global success of
capitalism -- there is no longer any possibility of growth through
territorial expansion. Other means of growth -- and many have been perfected
over the years -- must be deployed.

The capitalist benefits of an IMF intervention such as that in Rwanda become
obvious when one looks at the balance sheet of the "transaction" from the
perspective of global capital. Before the intervention, Rwanda was not
importing much food from TNC agribusiness operators, and it was increasing
the supply of coffee on the global market, exerting a downward pressure on
coffee prices. After the intervention, Rwanda's coffee was removed from the
market, and Rwanda was forced to import most of its food, creating growth
opportunities for corporate agribusiness.

Furthermore, the agricultural land and coffee plantations, being largely put
out of business, became available for bargain purchase by TNC's if by any
chance they fit into some development scheme or the other. In addition, the
people formerly employed in agriculture and coffee became in need of
employment, and without much bargaining power, in case their labor was
needed in some development scheme. All in all, the intervention was a good
deal for global capital, even while being a complete failure if the goal of
the IMF had been to recoup its loans to Rwanda.

In Southeast Asia the collapse scenario was a variation on this same theme.
One can debate the process by which the financial collapse came to pass, and
one must acknowledge the power of large (capitalist) financial institutions
to influence the value of currencies and the expectations of speculators.
But there can be little debate about the consequences of the ensuing IMF
edicts, consequences which were immanently predictable by any reasonable
person in possession of the facts. As in Rwanda, Korea and others were
forced to import what they formerly exported; their export products were
taken off the global markets; their domestic assets became available at
bargain prices to global investors.

An additional growth vehicle, and one which benefits from the boom-and-bust
policies of the IMF, is the international currency and securities market.
Ingenious derivative schemes, exemplifying the human creativity
characteristically harnessed by capitalist necessity, have leveraged this
marketplace to the point where only xx% of daily transactions are related to
the real economy -- that part dealing with goods and services. Fluctuations
in the global economy are transformed by derivative markets into capital
growth. This particular growth vehicle is known from history to be unstable,
an over-tuned pyramid-scheme race car, and dealing in some way with its
ultimate crash is an elite problem to be discussed later in this chapter.

One of the barriers currently being faced by capitalism is called the crisis
of over-production. The efficiency and size of TNC producers have evolved to
the degree where much more can be produced than can possibly be consumed. In
automobiles, electronics, and many other industries there are simply too
many producers chasing too few consumers. IMF interventions such as those
described above have become a systematic mechanism to selectively cull
global competitors, thus creating growth room for those that remain.

By this means and others, ownership of global commerce and wealth is being
highly concentrated in a relatively small number of ultra-large TNC
operators. In food, transport, communications, aircraft production, banking,
pharmaceuticals, and entertainment -- in nearly every business sector -- a
handful of operators are coming to dominate on a global basis. As long as
this concentration process can be continued, the dominant and growing TNC's
provide a vehicle-of-convenience for the global capital pool.

There is a limit to this shakeout phase, a point where further concentration
becomes impractical and the monopoly phase begins. Although the dominance of
a single operator is one of the possibilities (Microsoft), the more typical
outcome seems to be a clique of large operators who learn to collaborate
with one another in a fraternal way, allocating markets amongst themselves,
avoiding price competition, and generally managing the industry to their
mutual benefit. The classic example of this paradigm is the Seven Sister
petroleum majors.

Each of these capitalist phases, competition, shakeout, and monopoly,
provides its own characteristic investment vehicles which are able to ferry
the ever-growing capital pool to the succeeding phase. These same three
phases have played out in sequence in many places and at many scales of
manifestation. Occurring first in in Britain and then other countries, first
in national economies and later in colonial empires, this sequence of phases
is now being played out in the global economy. These upward changes of scale
are the macro-level regime evolution by which capitalism has punctuated its
ongoing growth. Although the rhetoric of "global free trade" is increased
competition and efficiency, the reality is simply a redeployment of the
oft-proven sequence of first competition then shakeout and finally monopoly.

In the rhetoric of capitalist apologists the shakeout phase is presumed to
be an extension of the competition phase in which the less efficient
operators fall by the wayside. But as we have seen, the IMF chooses which
economies, and hence which operators, to destroy. The culling of competitors
is not on the basis of efficiency, but on the basis of elite choice.
Similarly in the American robber-baron era of the previous century, it was
not only efficiency which led to domination by Standard Oil, US Steel, and
others, but the skill by which elite operators were able to carry out
predatory practices against their competitors, and the skill by which the
regulatory regime could be influenced to their selective advantage.

Although the impersonal pressure of the capital pool provides the wind for
the ship of capitalism, it is elites who are at the helm. Whenever a regime
change has been required -- when it has come time to take a new tack in
order to further the ship on its course -- elites have chosen which
particular tack to take and hence determined which operators could survive
the change of regime.

One of the myths of globalization is that it represents a relative decline
of Western interests, that market forces will allow other regions to make
inroads against traditional Western domination. With the postwar economic
rise of Japan and later Southeast Asia, this myth in fact gained
considerable credibility. But as the postwar boom began to level out, and a
new regime of growth became necessary, it has become clear that the global
capital elite remains primarily a Western elite. The IMF is in fact
dominated primarily by Western-based interests, and its power has been used
to selectively cull non-Western operators.

While the IMF culls competitors using the power of the purse strings, the US
and NATO accomplish the same objective in other ways. In the case of the
petroleum market, where limiting supply is crucial to maintaining desired
global oil prices, geopolitical machinations have been employed to restrict
at various times the production of Iran, Iraq, Libya, and others. By
encouraging the split up of Yugoslavia, which competed in several world
markets including automobile production, additional culling was

As capitalism enters its global era, it is doing so under the control of the
Western capitalist elite. This elite dominates the leading Western nations
politically, even more firmly controls the foreign policies (geopolitical
policies) of those nations, and totally controls the policies of the IMF,
the World Bank, and the other institutions of the global governmental
apparatus. All the potent agencies which determine the course of global
societal evolution are firmly in the control of the Western elite.

But in another sense the decline of the West is not myth but reality.
Western elites remain in firm control and continue to prosper under
globalization, but Western societies are in fact in decline -- economically,
culturally, and politically. This decline is intentional, planned and
implemented by the capitalist elite as a societal change designed, as
always, to create growth opportunities for the capital pool.

This particular episode of Western societal engineering is called the
neoliberal revolution and it was formally launched with the candidacies of
Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the UK, and with the
adoption of the Maastricht Treaty in Europe. The agenda of the neoliberal
revolution is summed up in the all-too-familiar mantra free trade,
deregulation, privatization, and reform. The true meaning of this agenda can
be easily found by analyzing each transaction in terms of its consequences
for capital growth.

Free trade, whose practical definition must be inferred from the terms of
the international free-trade agreements, in fact means the elimination of
national sovereignty over the flow of capital and goods. The consequence is
that TNC's have more flexibility in optimizing production and distribution,
and in exploiting the opportunities created by the culling of competitors.
This flexibility is the growth vehicle provided by the free-trade plank of
the neoliberal platform.

Deregulation refers to the elimination of national sovereignty over
corporate concentration, corporate operations, pricing, and product
standards. Again the benefit is clear. Greater freedom in concentrating
ownership, operating without environmental or other restraints, raising
prices, and reducing standards -- these all provide vehicles for growth in
this neoliberal phase of capitalism in Western economies.

Privatization refers to the sale of national assets to corporate operators
and the transfer of control over national infrastructures to those
operators. Each such transfer creates an immediate growth vehicle for
capital, in the exploitation of the asset and the infrastructure. In
addition the transfers have been in fact sweetheart deals where negotiators
on both sides of the transactions have represented the interests of the same
capitalist elite. Asset values have been heavily discounted, through various
tried-and-true trickeries of accounting, and the "sales" have in fact
represented immediate transfers of wealth from public ownership directly
into corporate coffers. The sale transactions themselves are growth

Reform, besides referring to generic compliance with the neoliberal agenda,
also means reducing the taxes of corporations and the wealthy, eliminating
social services, and generally cutting back the functions of government.
Obviously these tax changes serve to grow the capital pool. The elimination
of social services also serves as a growth vehicle in two ways. Workers
become hungrier for employment, creating a downward pressure on wages. New
enterprises can be started in order to provide the services formerly
provided by government (medical care, insurance, etc).

The general cutting back of government functions is simply part of the
sovereignty transfer from national governments to the centralized regime of
global institutions. As power and administration is concentrated globally,
the role of national governments is being reduced and refocused. As has been
long true of governments in much of the Third World, the role of Western
governments is devolving toward three major functions: conforming to the
dictates of the global regime, making payments on the national debt, and
controlling the domestic population. The paramilitarization of police
forces, the rise in prison populations, and the extension of police powers
are very necessary societal changes required to enable the full
implementation of the neoliberal agenda.

It is no accident that in the USA, where the neoliberal agenda has been most
thoroughly implemented, the collateral police-state apparatus is also most
thoroughly deployed. Swat teams, midnight raids, property confiscations,
mandatory and draconian sentencing, a booming prison-construction industry,
increased surveillance and monitoring of individuals and organizations --
these are all an increasing part of the American scene. Government officials
have stated that Americans must expect even more dramatic security measures,
and that military vehicles and weapons can be expected in domestic
situations where warranted by security concerns.

The neoliberal agenda in fact amounts to the dismantlement of Western
societies, undoing what was in some sense many decades of social progress.
Although the dominant global elite remains based in the West, strong Western
societies are no longer required under the global regime, as they were in
the era of competitive nationalism. Just as the IMF devastates non-Western
societies in ways that provide growth vehicles, so the neoliberal revolution
devastates Western societies for the same purpose, if at a somewhat more
gradual pace. Police-state regimes, whether or not acknowledged by that
name, are an inevitable necessity if Western nations are to be kept in line
as the neoliberal dismantlement, which is still in its early days, continues
to unfold.

The implementation of the global regime, a colossal project of societal
engineering, sets the stage for an ultimate growth phase of the capital
pool. The process of globalization, as we have seen, comes with a whole
spectrum of growth vehicles of its own, some (privatization) deployed in the
West and others (IMF destabilizations) elsewhere. As these vehicles provide
their temporary ride for capital, the global regime is being consolidated.
With all political and economic power fully centralized, and with global
wealth and commerce concentrated in a small number of elite-selected TNC's,
the ultimate phase of capital growth will be accomplished by the maximum
practical exploitation of this awesome power and wealth.

The centralized global institutions contain not only "front line"
organizations such as the World Bank, the IMF, and the WTO, but they also
contain background organizations, think tanks and planning commissions,
entities such as the The World Information Products Organization (WIPO) and
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). There is
no reason to speculate about how global capital might exploit its ultimate
global power, for these background organizations are busily documenting the
elite agenda for this ultimate phase of growth.

Absolute power, systematized in elite institutions, is unleashing incredibly
imaginative schemes for creating investment vehicles. Whole new kinds of
property are being created by decreeing that life forms can be patented,
that pre-existing processes can be claimed and owned, and that previously
free public information can be incorporated into corporate-owned databases
and then protected by strong copyright. Such new kinds of property and
property rights, and there are others, create whole new information property
marketplaces as vehicles for capital growth.

Other creative stratagems include seeds genetically-engineered to be
resistant to pesticides, not only creating markets for premium-priced seeds,
but also opening room for growth in pesticide sales. Seeds are being forced
on the market which are infertile, requiring farmers to buy new seeds each
year, no longer able to save useful seeds from last year's crop. Bans on the
sale of non-prescription vitamins and health foods are being drawn up, which
will allow that market to be taken over by large pharmaceutical and medical
operators, offering substitute products (perhaps of identical composition)
at higher prices and under prescription. Developments in genetic engineering
are enabling factory production to replace on-the-land agriculture, creating
room for capital growth by cutting production costs of traditionally
agricultural products.

These are only a few examples, and the global regime is only beginning to
flex its creative muscles. With full control over technology development,
pricing, distribution, and the regulatory regime, together with direct
control over markets, capital, and resources, one cannot predict what
imaginative investment vehicles will be created and deployed in the ultimate
growth phase of global capitalism.

Under globalization, the capitalist transformation of society will have in
some sense run its course. As we have seen, countless schemes for minor
changes which create ever more investment vehicles are possible. But with
power and wealth fully centralized under the control the Western capitalist
elite, and with the mechanisms of societal engineering systematized in
corporate institutions, it would seem that capitalism will have largely
reached its ideal, unimprovable world.

But every phase of capital growth has always run up eventually to an
external barrier, a barrier that cannot be overcome within the framework of
the current regime. In the case of the global corporate regime, that barrier
is the finiteness of the Earth itself. Whether you look at water resources,
fisheries, topsoil, overall use of biomass, or any number of other measures,
the evidence is clear that the overall collection of growth vehicles -- the
global economy -- simply cannot continue to grow much longer, and certainly
not at the rate required by capitalism.

As overall growth of the capital pool becomes increasingly difficult to
maintain, one obvious elite stratagem will be to seek the reallocation of
ownership of the capital pool itself, to transfer non-elite capital to elite
hands. Consider for example pension funds, which are the property of
millions of workers and their families, but which are under privatization
coming under the management of corporate financial institutions. These funds
are invested and become part of the global capital pool, supporting the
regime of economic growth. As regulations continue to be dismantled, these
funds become vulnerable to dramatic speculative losses, as occurred with
Bearings Bank and earlier with the American Savings and Loan industry.

Just as IMF diktats can destroy a society and cull its productive
competitors from global markets, so can deregulation selectively make funds
and industries vulnerable to speculative looting. The net consequence of a
looting episode is that wealth is transferred from one community of capital
investors to another -- the ownership of the capital pool itself becomes
more concentrated. In fact ownership of capital is already highly
concentrated, with xxx individuals, for example, owning xx% of common stock.

As the global economy approaches the barrier of the finite Earth, and
overall growth stagnates, we can expect all manner of engineered market
collapses and industry failures resulting in the near total concentration of
wealth and consolidation of societal operations into the hands of the
remaining clique of TNC megacorps and a small wealthy elite who own most of
the stock.

This elite, assuming they maintain their political hegemony, can take
society as close to the brink of global disaster as they see fit, and they
can even take society right over the edge into the breakdown of civilization
or perhaps the end of human life on Earth. But such universally dire
outcomes would hardly be characteristic of the human ingenuity exhibited
every time a previous barrier has been reached. One can expect, I suggest, a
more creative solution to moving beyond this final growth barrier, a
solution which leads to a favorable outcome for the capitalist elite, who
after all must live on the Earth and in society.

In a world where everything is run by a few megacorps which are owned by a
small global elite, and where that elite has available effective means of
maintaining global and civil order, then the landscape begins to resemble
much earlier worlds. The globe will have become a single empire,
administered by central institutions, and ruled according to the wishes of a
small wealthy elite who literally own the world. Nations become provinces,
to be run by designated governors on behalf of the global regime.
Populations become a mass of human resources and consumers, the disempowered
bottom end of the global hierarchy.

What is being described here is an autocratic global system based on the
absolute power of an elite oligarchy. It seems that the era of capitalism
and of Enlightenment doctrine, based supposedly on the quest for political
and economic liberty, is in fact to bring the world full circle back to
elite tyranny.

Ultimately the question of capital growth becomes a non-issue in such a
world. The elite own the megacorps, the megacorps run the world, and growth
can simply be defined as a non-goal. Stock markets can be eliminated, having
served their purpose of concentrating wealth in a few hands. It will then be
possible to run the economy within the bounds of a finite Earth, but how
much of that Earth will still be in viable condition is an open question.

From: •••@••.•••  (William Blum)
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 22:18:34 EDT
Subject: here we go again
To: •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••,
        •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••,
        •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••

Dear colleagues,

     The Colombia Support Network urges you to read the following letter
drafted by the CSN--Madison chapter which will be sent to Wisconsin
Congresspeople this week.  We encourage you to take a stance on the subject
and express your concerns through letters written to your respective
legislators.  Early protest by American citizens will give a head start to
the opposition to this proposal made by the Organization of American
States.  The proposal aims to create a multinational military force to
intervene in internal conflicts (as in Yugoslavia) to protect democracy in
a "threatened" environment. Public pressure on the individuals who concoct
such proposals, or to those that vote to put them into action, has proven
effective on numerous occasions. Our voices of protest toward the most
recent OAS agenda must be heard.

Thank you,
Brittney Taylor
                                                        June 15, 1999

                                                        Colombia Support
                                                        29 E. Wilson St.
                                                        Madison, WI   53701

The Honorable Senator _________
Washington, D.C.

Dear Senator ________,

        We the undersigned are very concerned about a proposal made by the
Clinton administration at a meeting of the Organization of American States
(OAS) a few days ago in Guatemala.

        This proposal would create a multinational military force to
intervene in internal conflicts where "democracy" in being threatened.
This proposal, which stunned Latin American nations, is an apparent effort
to obtain OAS approval for a U.S. led strike force, similar to that used by
NATO in Kosovo-Yugoslavia, which would intervene in any Latin American
country with a "democratic" facade whose government is under attack, such
as is currently happening in Colombia.  The U.S. is already distrusted at
best, detested at worst, throughout Latin America because of a long list of
ignominious actions in nearly every country -- Chile, Guatemala, Brazil --
actions that years later the U.S. seems to deny, distance itself from or
even (and rarely) apologize for.  It is apparent to the citizenry in Latin
America that such heavy handed U.S. intervention is not to promote
democracy, but is a thinly disguised effort to protect U.S. companies'
access to raw materials, cheap labor, and their markets by intervening
militarily to establish "stability."

        We oppose this most recent effort at armed intervention through
proxy armies as yet another example of thinly disguised U.S. military
interference in Latin American countries.  We urge you to voice your
disapproval of this interventionism to President Clinton and Secretary of
State Albright and to vote against any measure which may be introduced in
Congress to support this type of intervention in Latin America.



Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701
(608) 257-8753   fax (608) 255-6621
•••@••.•••    http://www.igc.apc.org/csn/



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