Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘.Liberal capitalism

Finally, Mighty Market, Finance, and Liberal Capitalism have “human faces” to confront…

There are 63,000 capitalists owning over 100 million, and their total wealth represents the internal value of the entire world production or $40 trillion.

Two out of 1,000 individuals control 50% of the world capital exchange.  These portfolios are managed by:

1. Banks: Goldman Sachs, Santander, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale…

2. multinational insurance corporations such as AIG, Axa, Scor…

3. pension investment funds such as Berkshire Hathaway, Blue Ridge Capital, Soros Fund Management….

You may fill as many as you want after reading the list of corporations below…

For decades, the media, the political candidates and the elected public figures denied knowing who are the movers and shakers in the world of Markets, Finance, and multinational corporations.  Politicians refused to name and give human faces to these liberal capitalists.

And the liberal capitalists denied meddling in politics.

The world of Mighty Market, Finance, and Liberal Capitalism was an abstraction, money and power acting in a disembodied cloud, anonymous fluid power and might…How could any elected representative confront invisible and unidentified enemies?

French current President Francois Hollande lied on his campaign. He said: “I am fighting a veritable adversary: He has no name, no face, no party, will never be a candidate and thus will never be elected…My adversary is the world of Finance…”

For decades, politicians and financiers have been switching roles and jobs and playing musical chairs. The world of finance would finance political campaigns, and when the politician finishes his tenure, he will re-integrate the world of “private multinational corporations”, and cycle resume ad nauseam.

For example, Pierre Moscovici, President of the French industrialist lobby, financed Francois Hollande’s Presidential campaign; and Kenneth Griffin of Chicago Citadel Investment, financed Barack Obama campaign…

You recall how after the financial crisis, the US Administration and most capitalist States inducted the financiers leeches in their government? Why? The political leaders claimed there were no “financial experts” in the public service and no such “technocrats” among the entire pool of citizens who are a little conversant in finance or have any idea of how sub-primes mechanism work and function…  The kinds of John Paulson, Laurence Summers….

Now you have names and faces to confront and fight the good fight for the sanity of mankind, his miseries, and indignities.

The first list mentions the current politicians coming from the world of finance and corporations as “experts” and “technocrats”… Just to revamp, reform, and steady this confusing political catastrophic environment…by more budget restraints at the expense of the downtrodden and lower middle classes…

Italy is the first example, representing the capitalists who donned the mask of current politicians, and you watch the succession of such occurrences in the coming years. You may do the research of who is currently ruling Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, the USA, Britain…

Mario Monti PM (Italy) was teaming with Coca Cola, Goldman Sachs, Fiat, and Generali

Corrado Passera (Italy),  Minis. of Economic and Development, coming from Intesa Sanpaolo

Elsa Fornero, Minis. of Work, coming from Intesa Sanpaolo and prof. of economics in Turin Univ

Francesco Profumo,  Minis. of Education and Research, coming from UniCredit Private Bank and Italia Telecom (controlled by Intesa Sanpaolo , Generali, Mediobanca, and Telefonica)

Piero Gnudi, Tourism and Sports and from UniCredit Group

Piero Giarda, Minister of Parliament relations, coming from Banco Popolare and Pirelli

The next list is of former public political figures who switched to the world of private multinational corporations (do you know the name of such specimen currently ruling in your government?):

Public Political Figure        Former Position    Political Party     Multinational Corp.

William Clinton,                    National Economic Council

Laurence Summers,                Finance Minister                           D.E Shaw

Alan Greenspan,                            Federal Reserves                    Pacific Investment Management

Paul Volcker (USA)                     Federal Reserves                                                JPMorgan Chase

Henry Kissinger, State Department, joined JPMorgan Chase

Mario Draghi                                                                                                                        Goldman Sachs

Jacques de Larosiere                                                                                                     AIG, BNP Paribas

Lord Adair Turner                                             Standard Chartered Bank, Merryll Lynch Europe

Alexandre Lamfalussy                                    CNP Assurances, Fortis

Tony Blair PM (Britain) accumulate posts with Zürich Financial Services, Landsdowne Partners, JPMorgan Chase

David Miliband (Britain Labor foreign affairs) joined Vantage-Point Capital Partner, and Indus Basin Holdings (Pakistan)

Peter Mandelson (England representative to the  European trade commissioner) joined Lazard

Wim Kok PM (Holland)                    Internationale Nederlanden Groep (ING), Shell, and KLM

Gerhard Schroder PM (Germany)  Nord Stream AG, Gazprom (Russia), Suez, and Gasunie

Otto Schily (Germany) and Minis. of Interior Social-Dem   Investcorp of Bahrein

Wolfgang Clement, Minister of work and economy, at River-Rock Capital, Citigroup (Germany)

Caio Koch-Weser, Foreign Affairs and Finance, joined Deutsche Bank

Peer Steinbruck, Finance minister, joined Thyssen-Kripp

Wolfgang Schussel PM (Austria)   Conservative    Investcorp of Bahrein

Giuliano Amato, Vice President of European Convention, at Investcorp of Bahrein

Kofi Annan (UN Secretary General), joined Investcorp of Bahrein and JPMorgan Chase

Franz Vranitzky PM (Austria)           Socialist                  Canadian Magna International

Felipe Gonzalez PM (Spain)                 Socialist                  Tagua Capital, Gas Natural

Carlos Solchaga (Spain)       Finance Minister     Socialist                    Citigroup, Fitch (Fimalac)

Mrs. Gro Harlem Brundtland  (Scandinavia)      Social-Democrat    PepsiCo

Thorvald Stoltenberg                                                   Social-Democrat     East Capital Asset Management

Goran Persson                                                                 Soc-Dem                      JKL Group (Publicis)

Lord Mark  Mallock-Brown  UNPD administrator  GeorgeSoros

Note: Post inspired from a piece by Geoffrey Geuens in the monthly French Le Monde Diplomatique, May 2012. Geoffrey Geuens teaches at Liege Univ. and is the author of “Imaginary Finance” (La Finance Imaginaire), “The Anatomy of Capitalism”, and “From financial markets to Oligarchy”

Are you talking of an individual or a person?

It is important to weight the innuendo of your terms in writing and in speaking.  It is good to start differentiating between an “individual” and a “person”: They project different meanings in the collective mind.

Confusing the individual (the Greek atom) of a living biological entity with passions, with the person endowed with spiritual and moral value system is very harmful in disseminating a line of thinking.

Confusing the individual (the subject in experiments) with the person leads to considering individuality as a mass of numbers to be used statistically for commercial and financial interests, projects, and material planning…

Confusing the individual with the person confound liberal capitalism with materialist communism, both of them viewing mankind as means for instituting absolute ideologies, based on abstract notions and fundamentally founded on the abstract individual that has no mind of his own and no will of his own…The individual is thus abstracted and good to be used and abused as any object (living or inanimate).

The more we tend to confuse the two terms, the more frequent is the habit of subjugating communities in the name of the power-to-be political system.

Becoming a “person” with a complex system of moral values, and positions on “what is life”, and “what is death”…is not an automatic transition from the state of individual with huge ego to a community member wishing the good entente and reconciliation among the “cluster” of individuals…

Becoming a person is a community undertaking, starting with the extended family, that nurture the basic individual into a responsible citizen, teaching him that he is entitled to freedom of expression, and questioning authority figures, and voting, and paying taxes…

Becoming a person is a community undertaking to learn to respect the living, their dignity, their spiritual needs, their customs, their opinions…

A dead individual is not the same as a dead person: The value added to mankind can be measured on a logarithmic scale of magnitude…

Life is series of contradictions and passions, evolving by the day…Life is not a philosophical or mathematical unifying structure in order to judge people on how they behaved long time ago: Stay attune and alert to time change, to the most current development, and base your opinion on the emerging changes in the “person”.

Note: The essay was inspired from a section of the interview that Carlos Catania conducted with late Ernesto Sabato and published in a book “Between the letter and the blood

 Occupy Wall Street: Is Statement Official?
A statement was voted on and approved by the general assembly of protesters at Liberty Square: Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.
It is called “Official Statement from Occupy Wall Street and it says according to Erika Morningstar:
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.  As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality that:

First, the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members;

Second, our system must protect our rights.  And upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors;

Third, a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth;

Fourth, no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power.

We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

They continue to block alternative forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. These grievances are not all-inclusive.

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!”

Note: you may read my 4-part article “Can Liberal Capitalism be vanquished?”  You may start with this post

Step forward: Demand to take on your responsibility

Seth published this short post on responsibility and authority.

“Achievers in traditional organizations often say, “I want more authority.” They mean that they want the power to make things happen, the mantle of authority that will allow them to get things done.

This is an industrial-era mindset. Management by authority is top-down, risk-averse, measurable and perfect for the org chart. It’s essential in organizations that are stable, asset-based and adverse to risk.

There’s a different approach, though, one that’s based on responsibility instead of authority. “Anyone who takes responsibility for getting something done is welcome to ask for the authority to do it.”  Ah, your bluff is called. And so is your boss’s”.

In absolute monarchy, family or clannish dictatorship, “old money” classes of the richest 1% of the population, authority are delegated, irrespective of talents or effort invested in improving once character and qualities. Why? These close clubs, cults, privileged classes earned their authority from a “divine power”, the highest authority that mankind managed to invent, irrespective of the Constitution or description of the government.  They are the real power behind the curtain.”I want more authority” is never mentioned: It is executed, it goes without saying…

In artisan family enterprises, the child who learn the profession and showed willingness to continue the family business snatches the authority: Someone had stepped forward to provide for the family.

One thing is standard custom: If you ever volunteer to work for free, do not expect to assume authority for paid position.  If you are unable to earn a living of your valued effort, you are considered incapable for managing profitable organization, and earning money for the enterprise. Unless you were appointed by the “divine right” associations.

Who should step forward and demand his responsibility?  You should have a proven record in the business-unit, unless you are running for public office (assuming it is the electors who will turn you down!), and demonstrated a strong tendency for people oriented behavior (as in doing politics), being available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (as in politics), assimilated the lesson that it is proper to kiss asses when profit is guaranteed (as in doing politics), firing heartlessly “redundant” workers in difficult downturns, taking positions that taxing rich people is bad for the economy, that liberal capitalism is the ultimate financial system to generating jobs for the lower middle classes, and getting the economy functioning as usual (meaning to keep 20% of the population hungry and wanting for survival for any scrap dangled in front of them)…

Stepping forward to demand responsibility has high price to pay in moral values and human rights standards. Stepping forward to demand responsibility is a political demand, which carries all the previous prerequisites to be satisfied.

Stepping forward to demand responsibility sound bold, righteous, democratic, quality oriented, secured individual rights for achievement, liberty, the land of the “go get it”…Are you aware of the hidden prerequisites to be handed over any serious responsibility, if you step forward for it?

Stepping forward to demand responsibility is a great motto in “benign” associations.  But a good training ground for the next generation of youth spring upheavals.

Perpetrators of financial crisis reap the benefits, politically and financially! Any other cause of social upheavals?

Since WWII and till the fall of the Berlin Wall (end of the Soviet Union empire), the capitalist States, especially the USA and England, made it a fantastic profitable business of borrowing money.

You might think that when you borrow at high interest rate, you are really in great trouble:  That is correct on the individual level and for small enterprises.

On a State level, particularly powerful States, with the right of issuing currency and the power of influencing inflation, the US and England managed to generate 6.3% of their GNP just by keeping inflation over 4% during this entire period.

How that?

Lenders or buyers of State treasury bills discovered that inflation actually resulted in negative return on the interest rate they expected to earn “while sleeping”:  The dept of the States were automatically reduced by more than a 50% because of the frequent devaluation of the currencies.   For example, the public dept of the US of 116% dropped effectively to 66%, and the public dept of England dropped to 138% from the high of 216%.

How that again?

The States reimbursed the nominal value that kept being reduced every year from the inflation level.  Practically, an interest rate of 5% is repaid with a currency devaluing at a 10% rate!  It is the State borrower that pocketed the difference in profit.  The end result was that you deposited your money in banks that lent to the State at rates lower than effective inflation rate.

Why investors grudgingly accepted to be fleeced out of their expected profit? 

It appears investors with cash surpluses had no viable alternatives due to capital control and nationalization of banks policies.

The other risky alternative, against the law and liable of prison terms, was to dispatch bag full of gold bars to foreign banks.

Actually, since 1968, the dollars was constantly floating and ceased to be linked to gold reserve:  The European countries had to cover up for the dollar frequent fluctuations since the dollar was the international currency in the “Free World“, fighting this survival battle with communist Soviet Union!

The dollar was the problem of the other productive “Free countries” and never affected the economic well-being or development of the USA.

During that period, developed States instituted vast social network coverage in health care, early retirement and excellent saving retirement plans…:  People in developed countries can go on extended vacation trips with pocketful of money.

Things have changed quantitatively in the 80’s:  Salaries were reevaluated at the rhythm of inflation, still within capital control policies.

Thus, developing States could no longer generate profit from borrowing extensively, though borrowing was still an excellent means of covering larger public dept.  The current US public dept is about 14 trillion or 14,000 billion and increasing like mad.

Things have changed qualitatively in the 90’s:

The power shifted from States to multinational financial institutions.  States covered up the deficits of banks (bankruptcies) under the excuse that economic chaos will befall society if banks are not salvaged by using people tax money!

After the 2007 financial crisis, most developed States extensively salvaged irredeemable banks with practically no financial preconditions.  The States are bankrupts and entirely reliant on banks and international monetary institutions to cover up budget deficits.

For example, the IMF, World Bank, Europe Central Bank and powerful international financial companies are not reluctant in abusing of blackmailing tactics, unbearable constraints, and issuing ultimatum to less developed borrowing States such as Greece, Portugal, Ireland…

The poorer borrowing States are pressured to balance budgets, and specifically by targeting the previously acquired social network  rights, and the reduction in salaries and retirement benefits…

Liberal capitalism was hardly able to force social democratic States to tampering with a single social right acquisition.

Currently, States are hitting all these social network benefits at the same time, as a national requirement for a “package deficit reduction plan“! State Parliaments are happy satisfying inhuman and brutal constraints set by non-elected, unregulated, and uncontrolled foreign financial institutions.

Liberal capitalists  expect the rights of the richest 10% classes to remain intact!  Unemployment is increasing drastically and free paid jobs are the trend, named “extended training periods“…

The irony is that most chairmen of finance ministries, central banks, and public monetary regulation institutions are former high officers in private international financial companies. 

Tax laws and loopholes are vastly privileging the rich classes.  Indignation is mounting:  It is no longer a matter of financial techniques and gimmicks, but a political and social struggle to redress power imbalance. 

The people and their representatives have to regain the political power and start giving priority to the welfare and the due rights of the common working people.

Note: The colonial wars in the previous centuries were undertook under the excuse that the borrowing nations failed to repay their debts. Spain lost its colonies in Cuba, Philippine… to the USA.  The far eastern countries such as Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma… were captured militarily by France and England for failing to repay their debts…

Discredited certitude?

Unregulated capitalism (liberal capitalism) is plainly discredited; communism was discredited way before 1989; the doctrine of the Christian religion was discredited since the French Revolution in 1787 ; Islam was discredited less than a century after the Prophet’s death,  but can religion be eradicated from the spirit of the masses?

The power of current religions is that you don’t need to apply to any religious sect for fear of being  ex-communicated, whether you are a believer or not, or whether your opinions are not compatible with the predominant ideology. (Radical sects still kill those who change religions)

Religion exercises its legitimacy once it combines the doctrines of “communism or socialism” for equal opportunities and the aspiration for independence against a usurper of our wishes.  That is how extremist Islam has managed to package its ideology: an ideology targeting the poor and the disinherited who were deprived of dignity and were humiliated by the western powers.

The progress in Europe was established indirectly by a centralized Papal spiritual authority.   Ironically, this spiritual centralization was acquired when the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine supposedly converted to Christianity.

Christianity could have evolved without any serious centralization if it was not ordered by the Roman ideological system of centralized power.

Hundreds of Christian sects existed in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Greece, and throughout the Roman Empire before the year 325:  They were persecuted as “heretics” after the conclave of Nicaea (current Turkey) in 325 and several other conclaves within the century.

Papal Rome vigorously hindered progress and any changes  for nine centuries, but once society expressed its willingness for change then it followed suit and even staunchly maintained the changes and supported them against any refracting bishops or religious Christian sects.

Centralized Papal Rome was a counterbalance to the tyranny of temporary authorities who had to compromise and rectify policies that challenged the dignity and well-being of the poor citizens.

Islam had no such centralized spiritual authority:  Islam viewed with suspicion any kinds of religious centralization: Islam didn’t appreciate mediators between the believer and his God.

Thus, the political sultans and sovereigns dominated the religious spiritual power.  In most instances the monarch grabbed the legitimacy of caliph. The counterbalance to tyranny lacked in the Moslem world:  Any recognized cleric, ordered by a sultan, could proclaim a “fatwa” (an injunction for the people to obey) as a religious obligation.  You could have several “fatwas” concurrently expressing injunction of opposite orders.

The problem in Islam is not in the source or the Koran, but the free interpretations of any monarch or leader at any period.  There are no stable and steady spiritual legitimacy in any interpretations that can be changed or neglected at other periods.

The author Amine Maaluf recounts this story.  A Moslem woman applies in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) for a private club that would allow Moslem women to meet and maybe share common hot baths along with sauna and Jacuzzi (hammam).

A week later, the municipality rejected the application on ground that the local Moslem cleric (Imam) had an objection to the club”.   If the woman was European would the municipality ask the opinion of a Christian cleric? It would certainly not.

What this story proves is that, under the good intentions of respecting ethnic minorities, the European are exercising covert apartheid: They are sending the message that minority rights are not covered by the UN declarations which are supposed to be valid for all human kinds.  The human rights approved by all States within the UN convention are applicable to all regardless of color, religion, sex, or origin.

What is fundamentally needed is that all States feel that the United Nation is a credible institution that is not dominated by veto power of Super Nations and that it has effective executive power to enforce its human rights proclamations to all world citizens and political concepts.

Let me resume my previous article on “Misleading Legitimacies“.

Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt managed to capture legitimacy in the emotions and spirit of the Arab populations as the leader of the Arab World by politically defeating the joint military attack by Britain, France, and Israel in 1956 to recapture the Suez Canal.  The Arab populations were satisfied that their crushed dignity for over 5 centuries was re-emerging among the nations (the western nations).

Even the crushing military defeat by tiny Zionist Israel in 1967 maintained Gamal Abdel Nasser as the legitimate leader, and most of the Arab State leaders converged to him to help resolve their conflicts with their neighbors or within their State.

Abdel Nasser resurrected the spirit but failed in his social promises, and of freeing the Arabic minds from oppression and dominant central government doctrines.

After the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser (The Raiyess) in 1970, the goal of Arab leaders was to re-capture Arab legitimacy.  The successor of the (Raiyess) in Egypt was Sadat who needed to rely on the legitimacy of the “Moslem Brotherhood” to strengthen his power and thus proclaimed to be “The First of the Believers (among Moslems)”.

All the Arab leaders realized that legitimacy reside in convincing victories against common enemies to the “Arabs”, or mainly any western nation and Israel as the closest geographically.  The initial victory in 1973 on the Sinai front against Israel was cancelled out by bedding with the USA and “My Dear Friend Henry (Kissinger)”.   Sadat was hated by most Arabs and no one shed a tear when he was assassinated.

Dictator Saddam Hussein enjoyed many potentials in Iraq: literate population, large army, and natural resources. He jumped at the occasion when the USA encouraged him to invade Iran of Khomeini in 1980.

This time, the enemy was the Persians who had re-captured lands that the Arab and Ottoman Empires had secured centuries ago and was called “Arabstan” or Khuzistan. After 8 years of mutual slaughtering in the battle field that resulted in over one million of victims, Saddam Hussein reverted to its neighboring “Arab” State of Kuwait and invaded it in 1990.  Saddam was vanquished by the USA (the arch-enemy of the Arab spirit) and a coalition of European and Arab armies.  Saddam lost his legitimacy.

Saudi Arabia’s successive monarchs endeavored to gain legitimacy in the Arab World through building thousands of mosques, appointing clerics who favored the Wahhabi sect, and lavishing petro-dollars for settling conflicts among the Arab States.  Saudi Arabia has been working for the long-term by proselytizing their conservative extremist Wahhabi sect among the Sunni Moslems and gaining legitimacy by proclaiming that they are the “Servitors or Guardians of the Holy Kaaba and Medina (al Haramine)”.




March 2023

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