Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A lefty rant, but please read on

It seems that everything I read today continues to further my rage against our enslavement to the needs of business.

Take the view that Iraq was not a product of the need to prise open another market, or the use of public money to grab a bit of cash for the privileged few. Reports in the Independent that British firms are made £1.1 bn in Iraq last year* seemed to dent such a claim. However, the following, from an early day motion in the House of Commons, provides more substantial proof:
"... on 8th August 2005 the Iraqi Council of Ministers issued decree 8750 which declared that union finances would be taken over by the government and that a new law on trade unionism would be developed by the government, without mentioning freedom of association, which is a basic human right and one of the fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

...
[This House is disturbed by reports that] the Iraqi government has replaced the leadership of the independent engineers' union with its own appointeees in a prima facie breach of freedom of association"
I recently attended a Noam Chomsky lecture who spoke of the US's 'democratic mission' as being nothing other than a strategy to support 'top down democracy', which is far more malleable from a foreign policy perspective than 'representative democracy'. As such, the democratically elected Hugo Chavez is smeared as a demagogue. These policies of the Iraqi government are intended to cripple the emergent trade union movement and remove power from the hands of the very people that they are meant to represent. It is top down goverment once again.

Free-marketeers complain that government interference messing up the economy. Does the same apply to people interference? Who, then, is the Economy supposed to serve? Of what does the Economy consist?

The notion of the Economy has become so abstract that we cannot conceive of what it means for it to grow, shrink or stagnate - only follow programmed responses to each of these outcomes. As such, society has been moulded to serve a concept of economy that would be incomprehensible to Aristotle, who coined the term. Let us not confuse 'the economy' with the interests of those who hold economic power. We should do so only when the two notions coincide and there is every reason to believe this is rarely the case.

*those were just the ones that reported - many are veiled in secrecy in the interest of national security. Corporate Watch believed the figure to be as much as five times higher. If this is the case, then going into Iraq, with present costs of £3.5 bn, was a sound investment decision. Hurrah!

1 comment:

Andrew Bartlett said...

"then going into Iraq, with present costs of £3.5 bn, was a sound investment decision."

And of course, regardless of the public cost to the state, private profits are private profits.

When one argues that there were economic drivers towards war, you often hear the reply - but look at the cost of war. To which the only response is to stare goggle-eyed at the inability to separate the interets of intra-state actors from the interests and actions of the state.

War is radical intra-state wealth redistribution - shifting wealth from the great mass of people and their social wage (health, education, pensions, welfare) and transferring it to people who own companies involved in destruction and 'reconstruction'.

And this is before we get to 'looting'.

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