Wednesday, June 29, 2016

current events

I missed posting last week so I'll put up two today - this one because Matt Stoller described something in a series of Twitter posts I'd never heard of before. Come to think of it you could write a book about the things I never heard of (Crow agrees).

(1) The basic dynamic re: #Brexit and #TPP is that post-WWII we stretched multinationals around the globe to keep nation-states from warring.

(2) National industries and nationalism were seen as causal factors in two recent wars that killed tens of millions.

(3) Some, like George Ball, were explicit.

(4) "to fulfill its full potential the multinational corporation must be able to operate with little regard for national boundaries..."

(5) " - or, in other words, for restrictions imposed by individual national governments"." Ball helped create the post-war trade agenda.

(6) Ball was a huge proponent of the EU. Opposed Vietnam War, seen as very liberal. Supported multinationals over national sovereignty.

(7) By late 60s Nixon opposed free trade. Maurice Stans negotiated textile controls w/Japan/Taiwan/Hong Kong, was called racist for doing so

(8) The Ball generation sought to prevent war, understood the multinational as a responsible actor constrained by antitrust and regulation.

(9) Lifting of restrictions on multinationals in the 1980s/1990s led to monopolies, financial disasters, w/no sovereign capacity to govern.

(10) Sovereign state power to make war originally would be checked by corporate supply chains, free trade, orgs like IMF

(11) But the cure for nationalist warfare - multinationals - mutated. And multinationals unfettered do not meet human needs.

(12) So people are crying out for some sovereign aside from the corporation (which is a grant of sovereign power). And nationalism is back!

(13) But this is not a right-wing phenomenon. Many on the left, though not socialists, want localism. Nation-state is more local than IMF.

(14) But the old DNA of George Ball is still there. If you do not see the virtues of free trade and multinationals, then.. warmonger!

(15) For globalizing elites, it literally is unthinkable to stop stretching corporations around the world. They cannot imagine it...

(16) ... because they see it as restarting World War II. They think they are peaceniks.

(17) That is why Germany, France, etc want to punish UK or Greece for bucking them. Don't these people realize that WORLD WAR will come?!?!

Next is Professor Mark Blyth of Brown University regarding Brexit. This is quite entertaining.


  1. Well I just about followed him at that pace, but then I'm Scottish, we tend to talk so fast when we want to ensure nobody really has time to question what we are saying. Love the subtitles required when a Scot is speaking English.

  2. They do that for Americans, Andrew. Still, I'm pretty sure his students have no difficulty and neither did we.

    ps: Results of glitch gone in a flash.

  3. Hi Susan,
    I didn’t realise you had posted on Brexit which is a subject of interest to me – since you generally don’t follow suite so soon. The good professor is the fastest talker I have ever heard so I must concur with what Andrew said. Looks like he is intent on stirring up a bit of interest in stuff that has been hotly debated for decades, but only comes to the surface on such momentous occasions. But I notice he veers off the subject matter a tad in discussing the rather obvious inevitable contradiction of a Union formed with a common currency( doesn’t apply to Brexit and monetary policy( also didn’t apply to Brexit either ) having different fiscal policies and debt burdens, dating back to the common Euro set up in 1999. Pity he didn’t engage in a bit more political philosophy on the rather grand European project – which now looks much further away than ever. I would agree the Referendum provides the impetus to a growing ultra-nationalist / populist movement to gain traction in some European countries. Don’t expect generosity from Brussels though and such moves will be far more complicated for countries entwined within the Euro currency. Nicola Sturgeon will be moving for a second referendum on Scottish “independence” but wants Scotland to remain in the EU. The Scots voted 62% Remain and the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) control the Scottish Parliament. I would be interested in what Andrew thinks about Scotland staying in or otherwise.
    Best wishes

    1. Hi Lindsay,
      Thanks for coming by again and noticing this somewhat brief and sloppy post about Brexit. I really hadn't known before that the EU (or Common Market as it was previously named and known) came about largely because of the fear of what another European war would entail. One can't help but agree with that decision and things did go along just fine for what seemed like a long time - a large part of my life, that is. Still, things change as time goes on and what changed in Europe after 1992 was that the Maastricht Treaty resulted in the eventual institution of the common currency. Of course there were many other political changes that you're probably more familiar with than I. Anyway, having remembered Margaret Thatcher had reservations about the progression of the union I found she'd said that whoever controls interest rates in Europe would control the politics of Europe and that money cannot be de-politicised.
      You're right that generosity from Brussels can't be expected as Greece and Italy have already discovered. I'm sure there are many good things about the European union but the management class has taken over and people are right to be angry about a group whose answer to so many problems is austerity.
      My husband and I wonder about the expert class and their enormous influence on the world we now inhabit. They went to good schools and their children go to good schools, they eat well, exercise and get lots of fresh air. That was true for all of us in the industrialized west when we were growing up even though many of us came from poor(ish) backgrounds. Nowadays that isn't necessarily true, at least certainly not in the US, and I know the UK outside of the south has been strongly affected by job losses. The experts, one way or another, have arranged for ordinary people to be kept in the dark and that may mean they really are the only ones fit to rule.
      I don't know what will happen in Scotland or much at all about the machinations of high finance but I do think the Brexit result was the first really strong indication of a new peasant rebellion. There's no way to know where it will lead but they've made it obvious that changes will continue to happen. I've always thought that smaller governments are more democratic. Now if only somebody could take all the weapons away..
      All the best

      ps: I wish Andrew was a bit more open to conversation too.

  4. We are certainly living in interesting times.
    To add but one tiny aspect to all mentioned so far:
    I wonder why Mrs Sturgeon does not mention how delighted Spain will be to welcome an independant Scotland in the EU. Well, actually, I don't. :)
    And so does, I am pretty sure, Andrew.

  5. An independent Catalonia, you mean? Last
    week I heard that the City of London was
    considering secession. :)