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Issue #1706      October 14, 2015

Editorial

Globalisation

Midwife to the New World Order

Anna Pha’s page one analysis of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal examines the existential threat to workers’ rights, to the democratic process and the very independence and sovereignty of the nation state. The TPP should be considered in its historical context, back to the relatively recent past and the US/NATO war on the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and further back to the emergence of monopoly capital.

Globalisation, the term used at the time to describe the latest phase of imperialism, was the midwife of imperialism’s New World Order; an imperialist New World Order.

NATO was to impose military order on behalf of the troika; the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and World Trade Organisation, and its whiphand the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. The UN was to be, and has been, sidelined. The NATO bombing and break-up of Yugoslavia without any reference to the UN was a big step towards this end.

The aggression against Yugoslavia was a qualitative leap that set the pattern for the future. Globalisation in the hands of the big corporations meant:

  • all countries were to be forced into the global market on conditions determined by the TNCs;
  • the privatisation of all publicly owned enterprises and institutions;
  • deregulation and the rolling back of the state’s economic control mechanisms;
  • “opening up” world markets, with all restrictions by governments being swept away;
  • less direct investment in specific productive industries and more highly speculative trading in currencies, shares and derivatives;
  • further and rapid monopolisation as take-overs and mergers of existing TNCs formed even bigger corporations.

The capitalist clarion call is for freely circulating capital, effectively giving control of economies to the big banks and financial institutions.

This capital is privately owned and controlled by a small number of financial oligarchs who decide where and when it will be invested.

It will only be invested where it will return the quickest and largest profit, where investment is made conditional on workers’ wages and living standards being taken to and kept at rock bottom.

To achieve this new form of global slavery, the ruling class in the US and leading Western powers have used – and will continue to use under the latest trade deals – all the means available to them: military power, economic control, political and ideological manipulation.

However, there are sharp contradictions and antagonisms between the major capitalist groupings. Each wants to be dominant and strives to protect its interests while trying to expand and take more of the world market.

(The contradictions in the TPP will soon make themselves known in terms of its attempt to marginalise and isolate China’s economy, which is totally integrated in the world economy.)

Central to these developments is imperialism’s drive to plunder the resources of all the world, its excesses being most noticeable in the poorer, less developed countries.

It is significant that globalisation increases the huge disparities between developed and developing countries. This is a direct consequence of imperialist exploitation.

As the advanced stage of capitalism, imperialism has developed a number of main features, including:

  • the growing monopolisation of the economy by a handful of major corporations;
  • the increasing export of productive capital to undeveloped parts of the world;
  • the growing integration of finance capital with productive capital, and the dominance of finance capital.

In Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin described these main features as far back as 1917:

  • Capitalist over-accumulation in the developed capitalist countries leading to an increase in the export of productive capital.
  • This required the creation of larger companies which resulted in growing monopolisation.
  • There followed a scramble and bitter struggle between the imperialist powers to control the world’s resources.

Even by the end of the 18th century the accumulation of capital saw an intense concentration of power and resources. Production was organised into ever larger integrated factories, bringing former isolated workshops into a single production process.

Capitalism still poses as a competitive system in a free market, but transnational corporations now dominate and control the markets.

The export of productive capital came out of the growing concentration and accumulation of capital. It gave birth to colonialism, a ruthless domination that has continued to this day, taking different forms, from direct rule, to gunboat diplomacy (now air strike diplomacy) and indirect rule via neo-colonialism.

Finance capital

Another important feature of imperialism noted by Lenin was the vast accumulation of finance capital – that is capital accumulated in banks and other financial institutions and not used to produce goods and services but in speculation. Although productive capital and finance capital became intertwined, the dominant position was taken by bank capital.

Bankers no longer wanted to only lend money for productive purposes. Huge profits could be made by speculation. Lenin’s analysis which noted this development has held true throughout the 20th century to today as finance capital has come to completely dominate the system.

US economist Richard Barnet put it this way: “The global financial network is a constantly changing maze of currency transactions, global securities, euro-yen swaps and an ever-more innovative array of speculative devises for repackaging and reselling money.

“This network is much closer to a chain of gambling casinos than to the dull, grey banks of the past. Twenty-four hours a day, trillions of dollars flow through the world’s foreign exchange markets. No more than ten percent of this staggering sum has anything to do with trade in goods and services.”

The New World Order and globalisation is about imposing the world-wide domination of capital.

Twice last century a major conflict in Europe, driven by the crises and contradictions of capitalism, resulted in world wars. Profits, from war, from plunder: that is the meaning of globalisation and its current manifestation, the TPP and its associated trade deals based on global plunder.

Next article – A devious attack on penalty rates

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