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The Global Political Awakening and the New World Order

The Global Political Awakening and the New World Order
The Technological Revolution and the Future of Freedom, Part 1
Global Research, June 24, 2010
There is a new and unique development in human history that is taking place around the world; it is unprecedented in reach and volume, and it is also the greatest threat to all global power structures: the ‘global political awakening.’ The term was coined by Zbigniew Brzezinski, and refers to the fact that, as Brzezinski wrote:

For the first time in history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. Global activism is generating a surge in the quest for cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world scarred by memories of colonial or imperial domination.[1]

It is, in essence, this massive ‘global political awakening’ which presents the gravest and greatest challenge to the organized powers of globalization and the global political economy: nation-states, multinational corporations and banks, central banks, international organizations, military, intelligence, media and academic institutions. The Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC), or ‘Superclass’ as David Rothkopf refers to them, are globalized like never before. For the first time in history, we have a truly global and heavily integrated elite. As elites have globalized their power, seeking to construct a ‘new world order’ of global governance and ultimately global government, they have simultaneously globalized populations.

The ‘Technological Revolution’ (or ‘Technetronic’ Revolution, as Brzezinski termed it in 1970) involves two major geopolitical developments. The first is that as technology advances, systems of mass communication rapidly accelerate, and the world’s people are able to engage in instant communication with one another and gain access to information from around the world. In it, lies the potential – and ultimately a central source – of a massive global political awakening. Simultaneously, the Technological Revolution has allowed elites to redirect and control society in ways never before imagined, ultimately culminating in a global scientific dictatorship, as many have warned of since the early decades of the 20th century. The potential for controlling the masses has never been so great, as science unleashes the power of genetics, biometrics, surveillance, and new forms of modern eugenics; implemented by a scientific elite equipped with systems of psycho-social control (the use of psychology in controlling the masses).

What is the “Global Political Awakening”?

To answer this question, it is best to let Zbigniew Brzezinski speak for himself, since it is his term. In 2009, Zbigniew Brzezinski published an article based on a speech he delivered to the London-based Chatham House in their academic journal, International Affairs. Chatham House, formerly the Royal Institute of International Relations, is the British counterpart to the US-based Council on Foreign Relations, both of which were founded in 1921 as “Sister Institutes” to coordinate Anglo-American foreign policy. His article, “Major foreign policy challenges for the next US President,” aptly analyzes the major geopolitical challenges for the Obama administration in leading the global hegemonic state at this critical juncture. Brzezinski refers to the ‘global political awakening’ as “a truly transformative event on the global scene,” since:

For the first time in human history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. There are only a few pockets of humanity left in the remotest corners of the world that are not politically alert and engaged with the political turmoil and stirrings that are so widespread today around the world. The resulting global political activism is generating a surge in the quest for personal dignity, cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world painfully scarred by memories of centuries-long alien colonial or imperial domination.[2]

Brzezinski posits that the ‘global political awakening’ is one of the most dramatic and significant developments in geopolitics that has ever occurred, and it “is apparent in radically different forms from Iraq to Indonesia, from Bolivia to Tibet.” As the Economist explained, “Though America has focused on its notion of what people want (democracy and the wealth created by free trade and open markets), Brzezinski points in a different direction: It’s about dignity.” Further, argues Brzezinski, “The worldwide yearning for human dignity is the central challenge inherent in the phenomenon of global political awakening.”[3]

In 2005, Brzezinski wrote an essay for The American Interest entitled, “The Dilemma of the Last Sovereign,” in which he explains the geopolitical landscape that America and the world find themselves in. He wrote that, “For most states, sovereignty now verges on being a legal fiction,” and he critically assessed the foreign policy objectives and rhetoric of the Bush administration. Brzezinski has been an ardent critic of the “war on terror” and the rhetoric inherent in it, namely that of the demonization of Islam and Muslim people, which constitute one of the fastest growing populations and the fastest growing religion in the world. Brzezinski fears the compound negative affects this can have on American foreign policy and the objectives and aspirations of global power. He writes:

America needs to face squarely a centrally important new global reality: that the world’s population is experiencing a political awakening unprecedented in scope and intensity, with the result that the politics of populism are transforming the politics of power. The need to respond to that massive phenomenon poses to the uniquely sovereign America an historic dilemma: What should be the central definition of America’s global role?[4]

Brzezinski explains that formulating a foreign policy based off of one single event – the September 11th terror attacks – has both legitimized illegal measures (torture, suspension of habeas corpus, etc) and has launched and pacified citizens to accepting the “global war on terror,” a war without end. The rhetoric and emotions central to this global foreign policy created a wave of patriotism and feelings of redemption and revenge. Thus, Brzezinski explains:

There was no need to be more precise as to who the terrorists actually were, where they came from, or what historical motives, religious passions or political grievances had focused their hatred on America. Terrorism thus replaced Soviet nuclear weapons as the principal threat, and terrorists (potentially omnipresent and generally identified as Muslims) replaced communists as the ubiquitous menace.[5]

Brzezinski explains that this foreign policy, which has inflamed anti-Americanism around the world, specifically in the Muslim world, which was the principle target population of ‘terrorist’ rhetoric, has in fact further inflamed the ‘global political awakening’. Brzezinski writes that:

[T]he central challenge of our time is posed not by global terrorism, but rather by the intensifying turbulence caused by the phenomenon of global political awakening. That awakening is socially massive and politically radicalizing.[6]

This ‘global political awakening’, Brzezinski writes, while unique in its global scope today, originates in the ideas and actions of the French Revolution, which was central in “transforming modern politics through the emergence of a socially powerful national consciousness.” Brzezinski explains the evolution of the ‘awakening’:

During the subsequent 216 years, political awakening has spread gradually but inexorably like an ink blot. Europe of 1848, and more generally the nationalist movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reflected the new politics of populist passions and growing mass commitment. In some places that combination embraced utopian Manichaeism for which the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Fascist assumption of power in Italy in 1922, and the Nazi seizure of the German state in 1933 were the launch-pads. The political awakening also swept China, precipitating several decades of civil conflict. Anti-colonial sentiments galvanized India, where the tactic of passive resistance effectively disarmed imperial domination, and after World War II anti-colonial political stirrings elsewhere ended the remaining European empires. In the western hemisphere, Mexico experienced the first inklings of populist activism already in the 1860s, leading eventually to the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century.[7]

Ultimately, what this implies is that – regardless of the final results of past awakenings – what is central to the concept of a ‘political awakening’ is the population – the people – taking on a political and social consciousness and subsequently, partaking in massive political and social action aimed at generating a major shift and change, or revolution, in the political, social and economic realms. Thus, no social transformation presents a greater or more direct challenge to entrenched and centralized power structures – whether they are political, social or economic in nature. Brzezinski goes on to explain the evolution of the ‘global political awakening’ in modern times:

It is no overstatement to assert that now in the 21st century the population of much of the developing world is politically stirring and in many places seething with unrest. It is a population acutely conscious of social injustice to an unprecedented degree, and often resentful of its perceived lack of political dignity. The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still perches.[8]

Brzezinski explains that several central areas of the ‘global political awakening’, such as China, India, Egypt, Bolivia, the Muslims in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and increasingly in Europe, as well as Indians in Latin America, “increasingly are defining what they desire in reaction to what they perceive to be the hostile impact on them of the outside world. In differing ways and degrees of intensity they dislike the status quo, and many of them are susceptible to being mobilized against the external power that they both envy and perceive as self-interestedly preoccupied with that status quo.” Brzezinski elaborates on the specific group most affected by this awakening:

The youth of the Third World are particularly restless and resentful. The demographic revolution they embody is thus a political time-bomb, as well. With the exception of Europe, Japan and America, the rapidly expanding demographic bulge in the 25-year-old-and-under age bracket is creating a huge mass of impatient young people. Their minds have been stirred by sounds and images that emanate from afar and which intensify their disaffection with what is at hand. Their potential revolutionary spearhead is likely to emerge from among the scores of millions of students concentrated in the often intellectually dubious “tertiary level” educational institutions of developing countries. Depending on the definition of the tertiary educational level, there are currently worldwide between 80 and 130 million “college” students. Typically originating from the socially insecure lower middle class and inflamed by a sense of social outrage, these millions of students are revolutionaries-in-waiting, already semi-mobilized in large congregations, connected by the Internet and pre-positioned for a replay on a larger scale of what transpired years earlier in Mexico City or in Tiananmen Square. Their physical energy and emotional frustration is just waiting to be triggered by a cause, or a faith, or a hatred.[9]

Brzezinski thus posits that to address this new global “challenge” to entrenched powers, particularly nation-states that cannot sufficiently address the increasingly non-pliant populations and populist demands, what is required, is “increasingly supranational cooperation, actively promoted by the United States.” In other words, Brzezinski favours an increased and expanded ‘internationalization’, not surprising considering he laid the intellectual foundations of the Trilateral Commission. He explains that “Democracy per se is not an enduring solution,” as it could be overtaken by “radically resentful populism.” This is truly a new global reality:

Politically awakened mankind craves political dignity, which democracy can enhance, but political dignity also encompasses ethnic or national self-determination, religious self-definition, and human and social rights, all in a world now acutely aware of economic, racial and ethnic inequities. The quest for political dignity, especially through national self-determination and social transformation, is part of the pulse of self-assertion by the world’s underprivileged.[10]

Thus, writes Brzezinski, “An effective response can only come from a self-confident America genuinely committed to a new vision of global solidarity.” The idea is that to address the grievances caused by globalization and global power structures, the world and America must expand and institutionalize the process of globalization, not simply in the economic sphere, but in the social and political as well. It is a flawed logic, to say the least, that the answer to this problem is to enhance and strengthen the systemic problems. One cannot put out a fire by adding fuel.

Brzezinski even wrote that, “Let it be said right away that supranationality should not be confused with world government. Even if it were desirable, mankind is not remotely ready for world government, and the American people certainly do not want it.” Instead, Brzezinski argues, America must be central in constructing a system of global governance, “in shaping a world that is defined less by the fiction of state sovereignty and more by the reality of expanding and politically regulated interdependence.”[11] In other words, not ‘global government’ but ‘global governance’, which is simply a rhetorical ploy, as ‘global governance’ – no matter how overlapping, sporadic and desultory it presents itself, is in fact a key step and necessary transition in the moves toward an actual global government.

Thus, the rhetoric and reality of a “global war on terror” in actuality further inflames the ‘global political awakening’ as opposed to challenging and addressing the issue. In 2007, Brzezinski told the US Senate that the “War on terror” was a “mythical historical narrative,”[12] or in other words, a complete fiction.

Of Power and People

To properly understand the ‘global political awakening’ it is imperative to understand and analyze the power structures that it most gravely threatens. Why is Brzezinski speaking so vociferously on this subject? From what perspective does he approach this issue?

Global power structures are most often represented by nation-states, of which there are over 200 in the world, and the vast majority are overlooking increasingly politically awakened populations who are more shaped by transnational communications and realities (such as poverty, inequality, war, empire, etc.) than by national issues. Among nation-states, the most dominant are the western powers, particularly the United States, which sits atop the global hierarchy of nations as the global hegemon (empire). American foreign policy was provided with the imperial impetus by an inter-locking network of international think tanks, which bring together the top political, banking, industrial, academic, media, military and intelligence figures to formulate coordinated policies.

The most notable of these institutions that socialize elites across national borders and provide the rationale and impetus for empire are an inter-locking network of international think tanks. In 1921, British and American elite academics got together with major international banking interests to form two “sister institutes” called the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) in London, now known as Chatham House, and the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States. Subsequent related think tanks were created in Canada, such as the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, now known as the Canadian International Council (CIC), and other affiliated think tanks in South Africa, India, Australia, and more recently in the European Union with the formation of the European Council on Foreign Relations.[13]

Following World War I, these powers sought to reshape the world order in their designs, with Woodrow Wilson proclaiming a right to “national self determination” which shaped the formation of nation-states throughout the Middle East, which until the war was dominated by the Ottoman Empire. Thus, proclaiming a right to “self-determination” for people everywhere became, in fact, a means of constructing nation-state power structures which the western nations became not only instrumental in building, but in exerting hegemony over. To control people, one must construct institutions of control. Nations like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait, etc., did not exist prior to World War I.

Elites have always sought to control populations and individuals for their own power desires. It does not matter whether the political system is that of fascism, communism, socialism or democracy: elites seek power and control and are inherent in each system of governance. In 1928, Edward Bernays, nephew of the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, wrote one of his most influential works entitled “Propaganda.” Bernays also wrote the book on “Public Relations,” and is known as the “father of public relations,” and few outside of that area know of Bernays; however, his effect on elites and social control has been profound and wide-ranging.

Bernays led the propaganda effort behind the 1954 CIA coup in Guatemala, framing it as a “liberation from Communism” when in fact it was the imposition of a decades-long dictatorship to protect the interests of the United Fruit Company, who had hired Bernays to manage the media campaign against the democratic socialist government of Guatemala. Bernays also found a fan and student in Josef Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, who took many of his ideas from Bernays’ writings. Among one of Bernays’ more infamous projects was the popularizing of smoking for American women, as he hired beautiful women to walk up and down Madison Avenue while smoking cigarettes, giving women the idea that smoking is synonymous with beauty.

In his 1928 book, “Propaganda,” Bernays wrote that, “If we understand the mechanisms and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it.” Further:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society… Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. . . . In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons . . . who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.[14]

Following World War II, America became the global hegemon, whose imperial impetus was provided by the strategic concept of “containment” in containing the spread of Communism. Thus, America’s imperial adventures in Korea, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America became defined by the desire to “roll back” the influence of the Soviet Union and Communism. It was, not surprisingly, the Council on Foreign Relations that originated the idea of “containment” as a central feature of foreign policy.[15]

Further, following World War II, America was handed the responsibility for overseeing and managing the international monetary system and global political economy through the creation of institutions and agreements such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), NATO, the UN, and GATT (later to become the World Trade Organization – WTO). One central power institution that was significant in establishing consensus among Western elites and providing a forum for expanding global western hegemony was the Bilderberg Group, founded in 1954 as an international think tank.[16]

Zbigniew Brzezinski, an up-and-coming academic, joined the Council on Foreign Relations in the early 1960s. In 1970, Brzezinski, who had attended a few Bilderberg meetings, wrote a book entitled, “Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era,” in which he analyzed the impact of the ‘Revolution in Technology and Electronics,’ thus, the ‘technetronic era.’ Brzezinski defines the ‘technetronic society’ as, “a society that is shaped culturally, psychologically, socially, and economically by the impact of technology and electronics – particularly in the arena of computers and communications. The industrial process is no longer the principal determinant of social change, altering the mores, the social structure, and the values of society.”[17]

Brzezinski, expanding upon notions of social control, such as those propagated by Edward Bernays, wrote that, “Human conduct, some argue, can be predetermined and subjected to deliberate control,” and he quoted an “experimenter in intelligence control” who asserted that, “I foresee the time when we shall have the means and therefore, inevitably, the temptation to manipulate the behaviour and intellectual functioning of all the people through environmental and biochemical manipulation of the brain.”[18]

Brzezinski, in a telling exposé of his astute powers of observation and ability to identify major global trends, wrote that we are “witnessing the emergence of transnational elites” who are “composed of international businessmen, scholars, professional men, and public officials. The ties of these new elites cut across national boundaries, their perspectives are not confined by national traditions, and their interests are more functional than national.” Further, writes Brzezinski, “it is likely that before long the social elites of most of the more advanced countries will be highly internationalist or globalist in spirit and outlook.” However, warns Brzezinski, this increasing internationalization of elites “could create a dangerous gap between them and the politically activated masses, whose ‘nativism’ – exploited by more nationalist political leaders – could work against the ‘cosmopolitan’ elites.”[19] Brzezinski also wrote about “the gradual appearance of a more controlled and directed society,” in the “technetronic revolution;” explaining:

Such a society would be dominated by an elite whose claim to political power would rest on allegedly superior scientific know-how. Unhindered by the restraints of traditional liberal values, this elite would not hesitate to achieve its political ends by using the latest modern techniques for influencing public behavior and keeping society under close surveillance and control. Under such circumstances, the scientific and technological momentum of the country would not be reversed but would actually feed on the situation it exploits.[20]

Further, writes Brzezinski, “Persisting social crisis, the emergence of a charismatic personality, and the exploitation of mass media to obtain public confidence would be the steppingstones in the piecemeal transformation of the United States into a highly controlled society.” Elaborating, Brzezinski writes, “The traditionally democratic American society could, because of its fascination with technical efficiency, become an extremely controlled society, and its humane and individualistic qualities would thereby be lost.”[21]

In his book, Brzezinski called for a “Community of the Developed Nations,” consisting of Western Europe, North America and Japan, to coordinate and integrate in order to shape a ‘new world order’ built upon ideas of global governance under the direction of these transnational elites. In 1972, Brzezinski and his friend, David Rockefeller, presented the idea to the annual Bilderberg meetings. Rockefeller was, at that time, Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and was CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank. In 1973, Brzezinski and Rockefeller created the Trilateral Commission, a sort of sister institute to the Bilderberg Group, with much cross-over membership, bringing Japan into the western sphere of economic and political integration.[22]

In 1975, the Trilateral Commission published a Task Force Report entitled, “The Crisis of Democracy,” of which one of the principal authors was Samuel Huntington, a political scientist and close associate and friend of Zbigniew Brzezinski. In this report, Huntington argues that the 1960s saw a surge in democracy in America, with an upswing in citizen participation, often “in the form of marches, demonstrations, protest movements, and ‘cause’ organizations.”[23] Further, “the 1960s also saw a reassertion of the primacy of equality as a goal in social, economic, and political life.”[24] Huntington analyzed how as part of this “democratic surge,” statistics showed that throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s, there was a dramatic increase in the percentage of people who felt the United States was spending too much on defense (from 18% in 1960 to 52% in 1969, largely due to the Vietnam War).[25] In other words, people were becoming politically aware of empire and exploitation.

Huntington wrote that the “essence of the democratic surge of the 1960s was a general challenge to existing systems of authority, public and private,” and that, “People no longer felt the same compulsion to obey those whom they had previously considered superior to themselves in age, rank, status, expertise, character, or talents.” Huntington explained that in the 1960s, “hierarchy, expertise, and wealth” had come “under heavy attack.”[26] He stated that three key issues which were central to the increased political participation in the 1960s were:

social issues, such as use of drugs, civil liberties, and the role of women; racial issues, involving integration, busing, government aid to minority groups, and urban riots; military issues, involving primarily, of course, the war in Vietnam but also the draft, military spending, military aid programs, and the role of the military-industrial complex more generally.[27]

Huntington presented these issues, essentially, as the “crisis of democracy,” in that they increased distrust with the government and authority, that they led to social and ideological polarization, and led to a “Decline in the authority, status, influence, and effectiveness of the presidency.”[28]

Huntington concluded that many problems of governance in the United States stem from an “excess of democracy,” and that, “the effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups.” Huntington explained that society has always had “marginal groups” which do not participate in politics, and while acknowledging that the existence of “marginality on the part of some groups is inherently undemocratic,” it has also “enabled democracy to function effectively.” Huntington identifies “the blacks” as one such group that had become politically active, posing a “danger of overloading the political system with demands.”[29]

Huntington, in his conclusion, stated that the vulnerability of democracy, essentially the ‘crisis of democracy,’ comes from “a highly educated, mobilized, and participant society,” and that what is needed is “a more balanced existence” in which there are “desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy.”[30] Summed up, the Trilateral Commission Task Force Report essentially explained that the “Crisis of Democracy” is that there is too much of it, and so the ‘solution’ to the ‘crisis’ is to have less democracy and more ‘authority.’

The New World Order

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, American ideologues – politicians and academics – began discussing the idea of the emergence of a “new world order” in which power in the world is centralized with one power – the United States, and laid the basis for an expansion of elitist ideology pertaining to the notion of ‘globalization’: that power and power structures should be globalizaed. In short, the ‘new world order’ was to be a global order of global governance. In the short term, it was to be led by the United States, which must be the central and primary actor in constructing a new world order, and ultimately a global government.[31]

Anne-Marie Slaughter, currently the Director of Policy Planning for the US State Department, is a prominent academic within the American elite establishment, having long served in various posts at the State Department, elite universities and on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1997, Slaughter wrote an article for the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, “Foreign Affairs,” in which she discussed the theoretical foundations of the ‘new world order.’ In it, she wrote that, “The state is not disappearing, it is disaggregating into its separate, functionally distinct parts. These parts—courts, regulatory agencies, executives, and even legislatures—are networking with their counterparts abroad, creating a dense web of relations that constitutes a new, transgovernmental order,” and that, “transgovernmentalism is rapidly becoming the most widespread and effective mode of international governance.”[32]

Long preceding Slaughter’s analysis of the ‘new world order,’ Richard N. Gardner published an article in Foreign Affairs titled, “The Hard Road to World Order.” Gardner, a former American Ambassador and member of the Trilateral Commission, wrote that, “The quest for a world structure that secures peace, advances human rights and provides the conditions for economic progress—for what is loosely called world order—has never seemed more frustrating but at the same time strangely hopeful.”[33]

Gardner wrote, “If instant world government, [UN] Charter review, and a greatly strengthened International Court do not provide the answers, what hope for progress is there? The answer will not satisfy those who seek simple solutions to complex problems, but it comes down essentially to this: The hope for the foreseeable future lies, not in building up a few ambitious central institutions of universal membership and general jurisdiction as was envisaged at the end of the last war, but rather in the much more decentralized, disorderly and pragmatic process of inventing or adapting institutions of limited jurisdiction and selected membership to deal with specific problems on a case-by-case basis, as the necessity for cooperation is perceived by the relevant nations.”[34]

He then stated, “In short, the “house of world order” will have to be built from the bottom up rather than from the top down. It will look like a great “booming, buzzing confusion,” to use William James’ famous description of reality, but an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault.”[35]

In 1992, Strobe Talbott wrote an article for Time Magazine entitled, “The Birth of the Global Nation.” Talbott worked as a journalist for Time Magazine for 21 years, and has been a fellow of the Yale Corporation, a trustee of the Hotchkiss School and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a director of the Council on Foreign Relations, the North American Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission, and the American Association of Rhodes Scholars, and a member of the participating faculty of the World Economic Forum. Talbott served as Deputy Secretary of State from 1994 to 2001 in the Clinton administration and currently sits as President of the Brookings Institution, one of the premier American think tanks. In his 1992 article, “within the next hundred years,” Talbott wrote, “nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority.” He explained:

All countries are basically social arrangements, accommodations to changing circumstances. No matter how permanent and even sacred they may seem at any one time, in fact they are all artificial and temporary. Through the ages, there has been an overall trend toward larger units claiming sovereignty and, paradoxically, a gradual diminution of how much true sovereignty any one country actually has.[36]

Further, he wrote that, “it has taken the events in our own wondrous and terrible century to clinch the case for world government. With the advent of electricity, radio and air travel, the planet has become smaller than ever, its commercial life freer, its nations more interdependent and its conflicts bloodier.”[37]

David Rothkopf, a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, former Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration, former managing director of Kissinger and Associates, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently wrote a book titled, “Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making.” As a member of that “superclass,” his writing should provide a necessary insight into the construction of this “New World Order.” He states that, “In a world of global movements and threats that don’t present their passports at national borders, it is no longer possible for a nation-state acting alone to fulfill its portion of the social contract.” He wrote that, “progress will continue to be made,” however, it will be challenging, because it “undercuts many national and local power structures and cultural concepts that have foundations deep in the bedrock of human civilization, namely the notion of sovereignty.” He further wrote that, “Mechanisms of global governance are more achievable in today’s environment,” and that these mechanisms “are often creative with temporary solutions to urgent problems that cannot wait for the world to embrace a bigger and more controversial idea like real global government.”[38]

In December of 2008, the Financial Times published an article titled, “And Now for A World Government,” in which the author, former Bilderberg attendee, Gideon Rachman, wrote that, “for the first time in my life, I think the formation of some sort of world government is plausible,” and that, “A ‘world government’ would involve much more than co-operation between nations. It would be an entity with state-like characteristics, backed by a body of laws. The European Union has already set up a continental government for 27 countries, which could be a model. The EU has a supreme court, a currency, thousands of pages of law, a large civil service and the ability to deploy military force.”[39]

He stated that, “it is increasingly clear that the most difficult issues facing national governments are international in nature: there is global warming, a global financial crisis and a ‘global war on terror’.” He wrote that the European model could “go global” and that a world government “could be done,” as “The financial crisis and climate change are pushing national governments towards global solutions, even in countries such as China and the US that are traditionally fierce guardians of national sovereignty.” He quoted an adviser to French President Nicolas Sarkozy as saying, “Global governance is just a euphemism for global government,” and that the “core of the international financial crisis is that we have global financial markets and no global rule of law.” However, Rachman states that any push towards a global government “will be a painful, slow process.” He then states that a key problem in this push can be explained with an example from the EU, which “has suffered a series of humiliating defeats in referendums, when plans for ‘ever closer union’ have been referred to the voters. In general, the Union has progressed fastest when far-reaching deals have been agreed by technocrats and politicians – and then pushed through without direct reference to the voters. International governance tends to be effective, only when it is anti-democratic.”[40]

The Global Political Awakening and the Global Economic Crisis

In the face of the global economic crisis, the process that has led to the global political awakening is rapidly expanding, as the social, political and economic inequalities and disparities that led to the awakening are all being exacerbated and expanded. Thus, the global political awakening itself is entering into a period in which it will undergo rapid, expansionary and global transformation.

This ‘global political awakening’, of which Brzezinski has explained as being one of the primary global geopolitical challenges of today, has largely, up until recent times, been exemplified in the ‘Global South’, or the ‘Third World’ developing nations of the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. Developments in recent decades and years in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Iran exemplify the nationalist-orientation of much of this awakening, taking place in a world increasingly and incrementally moving towards global governance and global institutions.

In 1998, Hugo Chavez became President of Venezuela, having campaigned on promises of aiding the nation’s poor majority. In 2002, an American coup attempt took place in Venezuela, but Chavez retained his power and was further emboldened by the attempt, and gained a great burst of popular support among the people. Chavez has undertaken what he refers to as a process of “Bolivarian socialism”, and has taken a decidedly and vehemently anti-American posture in Latin America, long considered America’s “back yard.” Suddenly, there is virulent rhetoric and contempt against the United States and its influence in the region, which itself is backed by the enormous oil-wealth of Venezuela.

In Bolivia, Evo Morales was elected President in 2005 of the poorest nation in South America, and he was also the first indigenous leader of that country to ever hold that position of power, after having long been dominated by the Spanish-descended landed aristocracy. Evo Morales rose to power on the wave of various social movements within Bolivia, key among them being the “water wars” which took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest city, in 2000. The water wars were instigated after the World Bank forced Bolivia to privatize its water so that American and European companies could come in and purchase the rights to Bolivia’s water, meaning that people in the poorest nation in South America could not even drink rain water without paying American or European companies for the ‘right’ to use it. Thus, revolt arose and Evo Morales rose with it. Now, Morales and Chavez represent the “new Left” in Latin America, and with it, growing sentiments of anti-American imperialism.

In Iran, itself defined more by nationalism than ethnic polarities, has become a principal target of the western hegemonic world order, as it sits atop massive gas and oil reserves, and is virulently anti-American and firmly opposed to western hegemony in the Middle East. However, with increased American rhetoric against Iran, its regime and political elites are further emboldened and politically strengthened among its people, the majority of whom are poor.

Global socio-political economic conditions directly relate to the expansion and emergence of the ‘global political awakening’. As of 1998, “3 billion people live on less than $2 per day while 1.3 billion get by on less than $1 per day. Seventy percent of those living on less than $1 per day are women.”[41] In 2003, a World Bank report revealed that, “A minority of the world’s population (17%) consume most of the world’s resources (80%), leaving almost 5 billion people to live on the remaining 20%. As a result, billions of people are living without the very basic necessities of life – food, water, housing and sanitation.”[42]

In regards to poverty and hunger statistics, “Over 840 million people in the world are malnourished—799 million of them are from the developing world. Sadly, more than 153 million of them are under the age of 5 (half the entire US population).” Further, “Every day, 34,000 children under five die of hunger or other hunger-related diseases. This results in 6 million deaths a year.” That amounts to a “Hunger Holocaust” that takes place every single year. As of 2003, “Of 6.2 billion living today, 1.2 billion live on less than $1 per day. Nearly 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day.”[43]

In 2006, a groundbreaking and comprehensive report released by the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-WIDER) reported that, “The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of global household wealth.” An incredibly startling statistic was that:

[T]he richest 1% of adults alone owned 40% of global assets in the year 2000, and that the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total. In contrast, the bottom half of the world adult population owned barely 1% of global wealth.[44]

This is worth repeating: the top 1% owns 40% of global assets; the top 10% owns 85% of world assets; and the bottom 50% owns 1% of global assets; a sobering figure, indeed. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report stated that in 2009, “an estimated 55 million to 90 million more people will be living in extreme poverty than anticipated before the crisis.” Further, “the encouraging trend in the eradication of hunger since the early 1990s was reversed in 2008, largely due to higher food prices.” Hunger in developing regions has risen to 17% in 2008, and “children bear the brunt of the burden.”[45]

In April of 2009, a major global charity, Oxfam, reported that a couple trillion dollars given to bail out banks could have been enough “to end global extreme poverty for 50 years.”[46] In September of 2009, Oxfam reported that the economic crisis “is forcing 100 people-a-minute into poverty.” Oxfam stated that, “Developing countries across the globe are struggling to respond to the global recession that continues to slash incomes, destroy jobs and has helped push the total number of hungry people in the world above 1 billion.”[47]

The financial crisis has hit the ‘developing’ world much harder than the western developed nations of the world. The UN reported in March of 2009 that, “Reduced growth in 2009 will cost the 390 million people in sub-Saharan Africa living in extreme poverty around $18 billion, or $46 per person,” and “This projected loss represents 20 per cent of the per capita income of Africa’s poor – a figure that dwarfs the losses sustained in the developed world.”[48]

Thus, the majority of the world’s people live in absolute poverty and social dislocation. This is directly the result of the globalized world order that has been and is being constructed. Now, as that same infrastructure is being further institutionalized and built upon, people are being thrown into the ‘awakening’ like never before. Their very poverty pushes them into an awakening. There is a seemingly lost notion of judging a society by how it treats it weakest members: the poor. Poverty forces one to look at the world differently, as they see the harsh restraints that society has imposed upon the human spirit. Life simply cannot be about the struggle to make payments week-to-week; to afford water, shelter, and food; to live according to the dictates of money and power.

Look to history, and you see that from some of the most oppressive societies can come the greatest of humanity. Russia, a nation which has never in its history experienced true political freedom for the individual, has managed to produce some of the greatest music, art, expression and literature as a vibrant outcry of humanity from a society so overcome with the need to control it. It the fact that such triumphs of human spirit can come from such tyrannies over human nature is a sobering display of the great mystery of human beings. Why waste humanity by subjecting it to poverty? Think of the difference that could be made if all of humanity was allowed to flourish individually and collectively; think of all the ideas, art, expression, intellect and beauty we aren’t getting from those who have no voice.

Until we address this fundamental issue, any notion of humanity as being ‘civilized’ is but a cynical joke. If it’s human civilization, we haven’t quite figured it out yet. We don’t yet have a proper definition of ‘civilized’, and we need to make it ‘humane’.

The West and the Awakening

The middle classes of the western world are undergoing a dramatic transition, most especially in the wake of the global economic crisis. In the previous decades, the middle class has become a debt-based class, whose consumption was based almost entirely on debt, and so their ability to consume and be the social bedrock of the capitalist system is but a mere fiction. Never in history has the middle class, and most especially the youth who are graduating college into the hardest job market in decades, been in such peril.[49]

The global debt crisis, which is beginning in Greece, and spreading throughout the euro-zone economies of Spain, Portugal, Ireland and ultimately the entire EU, will further consume the UK, Japan and go all the way to America.[50] This will be a truly global debt crisis. Government measures to address the issue of debt focus on the implementation of ‘fiscal austerity measures’ to reduce the debt burdens and make interest payments on their debts.

‘Fiscal austerity’ is a vague term that in actuality refers to cutting social spending and increasing taxes. The effect this has is that the public sector is devastated, as all assets are privatized, public workers are fired en masse, unemployment becomes rampant, health and education disappear, taxes rise dramatically, and currencies are devalued to make all assets cheaper for international corporations and banks to buy up, while internally causing inflation – dramatically increasing the costs of fuel and food. In short, ‘fiscal austerity’ implies ‘social destruction’ as the social foundations of nations and peoples are pulled out from under them. States then become despotic and oppress the people, who naturally revolt against ‘austerity’: the sterilization of society.

‘Fiscal austerity’ swept the developing world through the 1980s and 1990s in response to the 1980s debt crisis which consumed Latin America, Africa, and areas of Asia. The result of the fiscal austerity measures imposed upon nations by the World Bank and IMF was the social dismantling of the new societies and their subsequent enslavement to the international creditors of the IMF, World Bank, and western corporations and banks. It was an era of economic imperialism, and the IMF was a central tool of this imperial project.

As the debt crisis we see unfolding today sweeps the world, the IMF is again stepping in to impose ‘fiscal austerity’ on nations in return for short-term loans for countries to pay off the interest on their exorbitant debts, themselves owed mostly to major European and American banks. Western nations have agreed to impose fiscal austerity,[51] which will in fact only inflame the crisis, deepen the depression and destroy the social foundations of the west so that we are left only with the authoritarian apparatus of state power – the police, military, homeland ‘security’ apparatus – which is employed against people to protect the status quo powers.

The IMF has also come to the global economic crisis with a new agenda, giving out loans in its own synthetic currency – Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) – an international reserve basket of currencies. The G20 in April of 2009 granted the IMF the authority to begin phasing in the applications of issuing SDRs, and for the IMF to in effect become a global central bank issuing a global currency.[52] So through this global debt crisis, SDRs will be disbursed globally – both efficiently and in abundance – as nations will need major capital inflows and loans to pay off interest payments, or in the event of a default. This will happen at a pace so rapid that it would never be conceivable if not for a global economic crisis. The same took place in the 1980s, as the nature of “Structural Adjustment Programs” (SAPs) could not be properly assessed as detrimental to economic conditions and ultimately socially devastating, for countries needed money fast (as the debt crisis spread across the developing world) and were not in a position to negotiate. Today, this will be the ‘globalization’ of the debt crisis of the 1980s, on a much larger and more devastating scale, and the reaction will be equally globalized and devastating: the continued implementation of ‘global governance’.

As austerity hits the west, the middle class will vanish in obscurity, as they will be absorbed into the lower, labour-oriented working class.[53] The youth of the western middle class, comprising the majority of the educated youth, will be exposed to a ‘poverty of expectations’ in which they grew up in a world in which they were promised everything, and from whom everything was so quickly taken. The inevitability of protests, riots and possible rebellion is as sure as the sun rises.[54]

In the United States, the emergence of the Tea Party movement is representative of – in large part – a growing dissatisfaction with the government and the economy. Naturally, like any group, it has its radical and fringe elements, which tend to draw the majority of media attention in an effort to shape public opinion, but the core and the driving force of the movement is the notion of popular dissatisfaction with government. Whatever one thinks of the legitimacy of such protestations, people are not pleased, and people are taking to the streets. And so it begins.

Even intellectuals of the left have spoken publicly warning people not to simply and so easily discount the Tea Party movement as fringe or radical. One such individual, Noam Chomsky, while speaking at a University in April of 2010, warned that he felt fascism was coming to America, and he explained that, “Ridiculing the tea party shenanigans is a serious error,” as their attitudes “are understandable.” He explained, “For over 30 years, real incomes have stagnated or declined. This is in large part the consequence of the decision in the 1970s to financialize the economy.” This constitutes ‘class resentment’, as “The bankers, who are primarily responsible for the crisis, are now reveling in record bonuses while official unemployment is around 10 percent and unemployment in the manufacturing sector is at Depression-era levels.” This same financial industry is directly linked to Obama, who is supporting their interests, and people are noticing.[55]

Another notable feminist intellectual of the left, Naomi Wolf, who wrote a book during the Bush administration on the emergence of fascism in America, and much of her message is being picked up by the Tea Party movement, as those on the right who were listening and agreeing with Wolf during the Bush administration (a considerable minority), then provided the impetus for the emergence of the Tea Party movement and many of its core or original ideas. In an interview in March 2010, Wolf explained that her ideas are even more relevant under Obama than Bush. She explained, “Bush legalized torture, but Obama is legalizing impunity. He promised to roll stuff back, but he is institutionalizing these things forever. It is terrifying and the left doesn’t seem to recognize it.” She explained how the left, while active under Bush, has been tranquilized under Obama, and that there is a potential for true intellectuals and for people more generally and more importantly, to reach out to each other across the spectrum. She explained:

I was invited by the Ron Paul supporters to their rally in Washington last summer and I loved it. I met a lot of people I respected, a lot of “ordinary” people, as in not privileged. They were stepping up to the plate, when my own liberal privileged fellow demographic habituates were lying around whining. It was a wake-up call to the libertarians that there’s a progressive who cares so much about the same issues. Their views of liberals are just as distorted as ours are of conservatives.[56]

In regards to the Tea Party movement, Wolf had this to say: “The Tea Party is not monolithic. There is a battle between people who care about liberty and the Constitution and the Republican Establishment who is trying to take ownership of it and redirect it for its own purposes.” Further, she explained that the Tea Party is “ahead of their time” on certain issues, “I used to think “End the Fed people” were crackpots. The media paints them as deranged. But it turned out we had good reason to have more oversight.”[57]

In time, others will join with the Tea Party movement and new activist groups, the anti-war movement will have to revitalize itself or die away; since Obama became President their influence, their voice, and their dignity has all but vanished. They have become a pacified voice, and their silence is complicity; thus, the anti-war movement must reignite and reinvigorate or it will decompose. The ‘Left’s’ distrust of corporations must merge with the ‘Right’s’ distrust of government to create a trust in ‘people’. Soon students will be joining protests, and the issues of the Tea Party movement and others like it can become more refined and informed.

When the middle classes of the west are plunged into poverty, it will force an awakening, for when people have nothing, they have nothing left to lose. The only way that the entrenched powers of the world have been able to expand their power and maintain their power is with the ignorant consent of the populations of the west. Issues of war, empire, economics and terror shape public opinion and allow social planners to redirect and reconstitute society. The people of the west have allowed themselves to be ruled as such and have allowed our rulers to be so ruthless in our names. People have been blinded by consumerism and entertainment. Images of celebrities, professional sports, Hollywood, iPods, blackberrys, and PCs consume the minds of people, and especially the youth of the west today. It has been the illusion of being the consuming class that has allowed our societies to be run so recklessly. So long as we have our TVs and PCs we won’t pay attention to anything else!

When the ability to consume is removed, the people will enter into a period of a great awakening. This will give rise to major new political movements, many progressive but some regressive, some fringe and radical, some violent and tyrannical, but altogether new and ultimately global. This is when the people of the west will come to realize the plight of the rest. This will be the era in which people begin to understand the realization that there is great truth in Dr. Martin Luther King’s words, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Thus, the struggle of Africans will become the struggle of Americans: it must be freedom for all or freedom for none.

This is the major geopolitical reality and the pre-eminent global threat to world power structures. No development in all of human history presents such a monumental challenge to the status quo. As global power structures have never resembled such a monumental threat to mankind, mankind has never posed such an immense threat to institutionalized power. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Even if elites think that they truly do run the world, human nature has a way of exposing the flaws in that assumption. Human nature is not meant to be ‘controlled,’ but rather is meant to be nurtured.

A View From the Top

Again, it is important to go to Brzezinski’s own words in describing this new geopolitical reality, as it provides great insight into not only how the ‘global political awakening’ is defined; but more importantly, how it is perceived by those who hold power. In 2004, Brzezinski gave a speech at the Carnegie Council on his 2004 book, “The Choice”. The Carnegie Council is an elite think tank based in the United States, so Brzezinski is speaking to those who are potentially negatively affected by such an awakening. Brzezinski stated that America’s foreign policy in the wake of 9/11 – the “War on Terror” – is presenting a major challenge to American hegemony, as it is increasingly isolating the United States and damaging the nation’s credibility, as well as hiding the issues in virulent rhetoric which only further inflames the real and true challenge: the global political awakening. He states:

The misdiagnosis [of foreign policy] pertains to a relatively vague, excessively abstract, highly emotional, semi-theological definition of the chief menace that we face today in the world, and the consequent slighting of what I view as the unprecedented global challenge arising out of the unique phenomenon of a truly massive global political awakening of mankind. We live in an age in which mankind writ large is becoming politically conscious and politically activated to an unprecedented degree, and it is this condition which is producing a great deal of international turmoil.

But we are not focusing on that. We are focusing specifically on one word, which is being elevated into a specter, defined as an entity, presented as somehow unified but unrelated to any specific event or place—and that word is terrorism. The global challenge today on the basis of which we tend to operate politically is the definition of terrorism with a global reach as the principal challenge of our time.

I don’t deny that terrorism is a reality, a threat to us, an ugly menace and a vicious manifestation. But it is a symptom of something larger and more complicated, related to the global turmoil that takes place in many parts of the world and manifests itself in different ways.

That turmoil is the product of the political awakening, the fact that today vast masses of the world are not politically neutered, as they have been throughout history. They have political consciousness. It may be undefined, it may point in different directions, it may be primitive, it may be intolerant, it may be hateful, but it is a form of political activism.[58]

Brzezinski explains that literacy has made for greater political awareness, while TV has made for immediate awareness of global disparities, and the Internet has provided instant communications. Further, says Brzezinski, “Much of this is also spurred by America’s impact on the world,” or in other words, American economic, political, and cultural imperialism; and further, “Much of it is also fueled by globalization, which the United States propounds, favors and projects by virtue of being a globally outward-thrusting society.” Brzezinski warns, “But that also contributes to instability, and is beginning to create something altogether new: namely, some new ideological or doctrinal challenge which might fill the void created by the disappearance of communism.” Brzezinski explains that Communism emerged in the last century as an alternative, however, today:

it is now totally discredited, and we have a pragmatic vacuum in the world today regarding doctrines. But I see the beginnings, in writings and stirrings, of the making of a doctrine which combines anti-Americanism with anti-globalization, and the two could become a powerful force in a world that is very unequal and turbulent.[59]

A question following Brzezinski’s speech asked him to expand upon how to address the notion of and deal with the ‘global political awakening’. Brzezinski explained that, “We deal with the world as it is and we are as we are. If we are to use our power intelligently and if we are to move in the right direction, we have no choice but do it incrementally.”[60] In other words, as Brzezinski has detailed his vision of a solution to world problems in creating the conditions for global governance; they must do it “incrementally,” for that is how to “use [their] power intelligently.” The solution to the ‘global political awakening’, in the view from the top, is to continue to create the apparatus of an oppressive global government.

On April 23, 2010, Zbigniew Brzezinski went to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations to give a speech at an event jointly-hosted by the Canadian International Council (CIC), the Canadian counterpart to the Council on Foreign Relations in the US and Chatham House in the U.K. These are many of the intellectual, social, political and economic elite of Canada. In his speech, Brzezinski gives a breakdown of the modern geopolitical realities:

Let me begin by making just a thumbnail definition of the geopolitical context in which we all find ourselves, including America. And in my perspective, that geopolitical context is very much defined by new – by two new global realities. The first is that global political leadership – by which I mean the role of certain leading powers in the world – has now become much more diversified unlike what it was until relatively recently. Relatively recently still, the world was dominated by the Atlantic world, as it had been for many centuries. It no longer is. Today, the rise of the Far East has created a new but much more differentiated global leadership. One which in a nutshell involves a wanton hazard, an arbitrary list of the primary players in the world scene: the United States, clearly; maybe next to it – but maybe – the European Union, I say maybe because it is not yet a political entity; certainly, increasingly so, and visibly so, China; Russia, mainly in one respect only because it is a nuclear power co-equal to the United States, but otherwise very deficient in all of the major indices of what constitutes global power. Behind Russia, perhaps individually, but to a much lesser extent, Germany, France, Great Britain, Japan, certainly, although it does not have the political assertive posture; India is rising, and then in the background of that we have the new entity of the G20, a much more diversified global leadership, lacking internal unity, with many of its members in bilateral antagonisms. That makes the context much more complicated.

The other major change in international affairs is that for the first time, in all of human history, mankind has been politically awakened. That is a total new reality – total new reality. It has not been so for most of human history until the last one hundred years. And in the course of the last one hundred years, the whole world has become politically awakened. And no matter where you go, politics is a matter of social engagement, and most people know what is generally going on –generally going on – in the world, and are consciously aware of global inequities, inequalities, lack of respect, exploitation. Mankind is now politically awakened and stirring. The combination of the two: the diversified global leadership, politically awakened masses, makes a much more difficult context for any major power including, currently, the leading world power: the United States.[61]

Conclusion

So, the Technological Revolution has led to a diametrically opposed, antagonistic, and conflicting geopolitical reality: never before has humanity been so awakened to issues of power, exploitation, imperialism and domination; and simultaneously, never before have elites been so transnational and global in orientation, and with the ability to impose such a truly global system of scientific despotism and political oppression. These are the two major geopolitical realities of the world today. Reflect on that. Never in all of human history has mankind been so capable of achieving a true global political psycho-social awakening; nor has humanity ever been in such danger of being subjected to a truly global scientific totalitarianism, potentially more oppressive than any system known before, and without a doubt more technologically capable of imposing a permanent despotism upon humanity. So we are filled with hope, but driven by urgency. In all of human history, never has the potential nor the repercussions of human actions and ideas ever been so monumental.

Suddenly, global elites are faced with the reality of seeking to dominate populations that are increasingly becoming self-aware and are developing a global consciousness. Thus, a population being subjected to domination in Africa has the ability to become aware of a population being subjected to the same forms of domination in the Middle East, South America or Asia; and they can recognize that they are all being dominated by the same global power structures. That is a key point: not only is the awakening global in its reach, but in its nature; it creates within the individual, an awareness of the global condition. So it is a ‘global awakening’ both in the external environment, and in the internal psychology.

This new reality in the world, coupled with the fact that the world’s population has never been so vast, presents a challenge to elites seeking to dominate people all over the world who are aware and awakened to the realities of social inequality, war, poverty, exploitation, disrespect, imperialism and domination. This directly implies that these populations will be significantly more challenging to control: economically, politically, socially, psychologically and spiritually. Thus, from the point of view of the global oligarchy, the only method of imposing order and control – on this unique and historical human condition – is through the organized chaos of economic crises, war, and the rapid expansion and institutionalization of a global scientific dictatorship. Our hope is their fear; and our greatest fear is their only hope.

As Charles Dickens once wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” That has never been so true as it is today.

 


This has been Part 1 in the three-part series, “The Technological Revolution and the Future of Freedom.”

Part 2 will examine the nature of the global awakening in the ‘west’, particularly the United States, and the potential for revolution within that awakening; as well as the state systems of control and oppression being constructed to deal with it; notably, the construction of a Homeland Security State.

Part 3 will examine the evolution of the idea and reality of a scientific dictatorship, the technological revolution’s effect on power, and the emergence of new systems of social control based upon a modern implementation of eugenics.

 


Endnotes

[1]        Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Global Political Awakening. The New York Times: December 16, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/16/opinion/16iht-YEbrzezinski.1.18730411.html

[2]        Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Major Foreign Policy Challenges for the Next US President,” International Affairs, 85: 1, (2009), page 53 (emphasis added)

[3]        AFP, A new brain for Barack Obama. The Economist: March 14, 2007: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2007/03/a_new_brain_for_barack_obama

[4]        Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Dilemma of the Last Sovereign. The American Interest Magazine, Autumn 2005: http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=56

[5]        Ibid.

[6]        Ibid.

[7]        Ibid.

[8]        Ibid.

[9]        Ibid.

[10]      Ibid.

[11]      Ibid.

[12]      Michael Collins, Brzezinski: On The Path To War With Iran. Global Research: February 25, 2007: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=4920

[13]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, Origins of the American Empire: Revolution, World Wars and World Order. Global Research: July 28, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14552 ; see sections, “World War Restructures World Order,” and “Empire, War and the Rise of the New Global Hegemon,” for a look at this interlocking network of think tanks.

[14]      John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays & The Birth of PR. PR Watch, Second Quarter 1999, Volume 6, No. 2: http://www.prwatch.org/prwissues/1999Q2/bernays.html

[15]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, Origins of the American Empire: Revolution, World Wars and World Order. Global Research: July 28, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14552 ; Andrew Gavin Marshall, Controlling the Global Economy: Bilderberg, the Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve. Global Research: August 3, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14614

[16]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, Controlling the Global Economy: Bilderberg, the Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve. Global Research: August 3, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14614

[17]      Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era. (Viking Press, New York, 1970), page 10

[18]      Ibid, page 12.

[19]      Ibid, page 29.

[20]      Ibid, page 97.

[21]      Ibid.

[22]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, Controlling the Global Economy: Bilderberg, the Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve. Global Research: August 3, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14614

[23]      Michel J. Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington and Joji Watanuki, The Crisis of Democracy. (Report on the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission, New York University Press, 1975), page 61

[24]      Ibid, page 62.

[25]      Ibid, page 71.

[26]      Ibid, pages 74-75

[27]      Ibid, page 77.

[28]      Ibid, page 93.

[29]      Ibid, pages 113-114.

[30]      Ibid, page 115.

[31]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, Forging a “New World Order” Under a One World Government. Global Research: August 13, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14712

[32]      Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Real New World Order. Foreign Affairs: September/October, 1997: pages 184-185

[33]      Richard N. Gardner, The Hard Road to World Order. Foreign Affairs: April, 1974: page 556

[34]      Ibid, page 558.

[35]      Ibid.

[36]      Strobe Talbott, America Abroad. Time Magazine: July 20, 1992: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,976015,00.html

[37]      Ibid.

[38]      David Rothkopf, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making. (Toronto: Penguin Books, 2008), pages 315-316

[39]      Gideon Rachman, And now for a world government. The Financial Times: December 8, 2008: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7a03e5b6-c541-11dd-b516-000077b07658.html

[40]      Ibid.

[41]      Jeff Gates, Statistics on Poverty and Inequality. Global Policy Forum: May 1999: http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/218/46377.html

[42]      Social & Economic Injustice, World Centric, 2004: http://worldcentric.org/conscious-living/social-and-economic-injustice

[43]      Ibid.

[44]      GPF, Press Release: Pioneering Study Shows Richest Own Half World Wealth. Global Policy Forum: December 5, 2006: http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/218/46555.html

[45]      UN, The Millennium Development Goals Report 2009. United Nations, New York, 2009: page 4

[46]      G20 Summit: Bank bailout would end global poverty, says Oxfam. The Telegraph: April 1, 2009: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/g20-summit/5087404/G20-Summit-Bank-bailout-would-end-global-poverty-says-Oxfam.html

[47]      Press Release, 100 people every minute pushed into poverty by economic crisis. Oxfam International: September 24, 2009: http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2009-09-24/100-people-every-minute-pushed-poverty-economic-crisis

[48]      Press Release, Financial crisis to deepen extreme poverty, increase child mortality rates – UN report. UN News Center: March 3, 2009: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=30070

[49]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, Western Civilization and the Economic Crisis: The Impoverishment of the Middle Class. Global Research: March 30, 2010: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18386

[50]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, Debt Dynamite Dominoes: The Coming Financial Catastrophe. Global Research: February 22, 2010: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17736

[51]      Reuters, G20 communique after meeting in South Korea. G20 Communiqué: June 5, 2010: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6540VN20100605

[52]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, Forging a “New World Order” Under a One World Government. Global Research: August 13, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14712 ; or for a more succinct analysis, Andrew Gavin Marshall, The Financial New World Order: Towards a Global Currency and World Government. Global Research: April 6, 2009: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=13070

[53]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, Western Civilization and the Economic Crisis: The Impoverishment of the Middle Class. Global Research: March 30, 2010: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18386

[54]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, The Global Economic Crisis: Riots, Rebellion and Revolution. Global Research: April 7, 2010: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18529

[55]      Matthew Rothschild, Chomsky Warns of Risk of Fascism in America. The Progressive: April 12, 2010: http://www.progressive.org/wx041210.html

[56]      Justine Sharrock, Naomi Wolf Thinks the Tea Parties Help Fight Fascism — Is She Onto Something or in Fantasy Land? Alternet: March 30, 2010: http://www.alternet.org/news/146184/naomi_wolf_thinks_the_tea_parties_help_fight_fascism_–_is_she_on_to_something_or_in_fantasy_land__

[57]      Ibid.

[58]      Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership. Speech at the Carnegie Council: March 25, 2004: http://www.cceia.org/resources/transcripts/4424.html

[59]      Ibid.

[60]      Ibid.

[61]      Zbigniew Brzezinski, America’s Geopolitical Dilemmas. Speech at the Canadian International Council and Montreal Council on Foreign Relations: April 23, 2010: http://www.onlinecic.org/resourcece/multimedia/americasgeopoliticaldilemmas

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Western Civilization and the Economic Crisis: The Impoverishment of the Middle Class

Western Civilization and the Economic Crisis: The Impoverishment of the Middle Class
When Empire Hits Home, Part 2
Global Research, March 30, 2010

This is Part 2 of the series, “When Empire Hits Home.”

Part 1: War, Racism and the Empire of Poverty


The western nations of the world have built their great wealth and societies on the exploitation and plundering of the people and resources of the rest of the world. The wealth, freedom, and structures of our societies have been built on the starvation, robbery, deprivation and murder of millions upon millions of the world’s people, both historically and presently.

It seemed for a time that “Western Civilization” had worked, even if only for the west. We saw the emergence and growth of a vibrant middle class, which has its origins in the Industrial Revolution, out of which we also saw the formation of the “nuclear family.” The middle classes of the west grew in wealth, education, and access. While the great problems of the world, and for the majority of the world’s people, persisted and expanded exponentially, the great purpose of the middle class was siphoned and expanded into facilitating the development of a massive consumerist society. The function of the middle class became that of consuming, not necessarily contributing to determining the direction of society.

Nevertheless, life was good; or so it seemed. Thus, the people were by and large able to turn a blind eye to the plight of the world’s majority. As the decades progressed, however, the great western empires, increasingly united under the umbrella of a US-led NATO empire, grossly expanded their plundering and exploitation of the rest of the world. New avenues for capitalist expansion needed to be found, more money to be made, more assets to be owned, more power to be had. As a part of this process, class structure was being reorganized, which meant that the middle class was to undergo an evolution.

In the past few decades, the middle class has been forced to survive on debt. In order to maintain the image of middle class, and to maintain the functions of the middle class (i.e., to consume), the middle class needed access to credit and had to descend into a class of debt. Now, as the world is undergoing a rapid social, political, and economic transformation, the middle class has been marked for death. As a debt crisis takes the nations of the world into debt servitude, the middle classes of the western world will lose their access to credit, and will be forced into repaying their debts. As nations fall under a debt crisis, the middle class will collapse with it. A class built and sustained on debt is not sustainable. We are entering into a period of rapid class transformation on a global scale.

The mirage of the middle class is steadily vanishing as our eyes adjust to the reality of our environment. The Empire we turned a blind eye to abroad, is about to hit home; what we do abroad, comes home to roost. The middle class is about to realize the true cost of empire.

The Debt Class

In 1958, the first successful modern credit card was launched by Bank of America, eventually evolving into what we know as Visa. The origins of MasterCard date back to 1966. The expansion of credit card usage grew exponentially through the following decades.

In 2004, PBS published a special report on the “secret history of credit cards.” One of the researchers explained that, “The almost magical convenience of plastic money is critical to our famously compulsive consumer economy,” as “With more than 641 million credit cards in circulation and accounting for an estimated $1.5 trillion of consumer spending, the U.S. economy has clearly gone plastic.” However, credit card companies do not seek as an ideal customer the one who pays off their cards on a monthly basis:

“The industry’s most profitable customers, the ones being sought by creative marketing tactics, are the “revolvers:” the estimated 115 million Americans who carry monthly credit card debt.

[. . . ] Some experts say the profitability of credit cards really began twenty-five years ago [in 1979], when the banking industry successfully eliminated a critical restriction: the limit on the interest rate a lender can charge a borrower. Deregulation, coupled with a revolution in technology that enables the almost real-time tracking of personal financial information and the emergence of nationwide banking, has facilitated the widening availability of credit cards across the economic spectrum. But for some, the cost of credit is often far greater than it appears.”[1]

Robert McKinley, founder and chairman of Cardweb.com and Ram Research, a payment card research firm, explained that, “[Banks are] raising interest rates, adding new fees, making the due date for your payment a holiday or a Sunday on the hopes that maybe you’ll trip up and get a payment in late,” and thus, “It’s become a very anti-consumer marketplace.”[2]

It was in the origins of the neoliberal era, in the 1980s, that the west saw the ascendancy of credit cards. While the western nations of the world, in collusion with international banks and corporations, plundered the ‘Third World’ through “structural adjustment” at the behest of the World Bank and IMF, the middle classes of the western world were lulled into a debt trap from which they would not emerge:

“Between 1980 and 1990, the number of credit cards more than doubled, credit card spending increased more than five-fold and the average household credit card balance rose from $518 to nearly $2,700. With the cost of money sinking and average balances climbing, profits soared.”[3]

In 2004, “the total amount of outstanding revolving consumer credit, which is primarily credit card debt, reached $743 billion,” which was “nearly nine times the amount recorded 20 years” prior. Thus, “Credit card debt collection has not only become essential, it has become very profitable. The most recent data indicates credit card debt collectors generated $1.2 billion in revenue” as of 2004.[4]

In 1994, Federal Reserve figures in the United States showed that, “middle-class families remain stuck with unusually high debt payments as a proportion of their income.” As the New York Times reported:

“That high debt, resulting from stagnating wages while low interest rates have encouraged families to borrow, means consumers are living close to the financial edge, and ready to cut spending at any sign of economic trouble.”[5]

One prominent economist even stated that, “The rate of consumer spending is not sustainable unless there is a noticeable pickup in the pace of income growth.”[6] This has not occurred.

In 2006, a major report released by a US think tank revealed that, “The middle class today is less prepared for an economic emergency, such as losing a job or visiting an emergency room, than at any time since the late 1970s.” The report, published 2 years before the outbreak of the global financial crisis, reported that:

“Despite a growing economy, a rising stock market and stronger corporate earnings that are helping the rich get richer, the middle class in America is caught in an unprecedented squeeze that makes it increasingly unstable.”[7]

Among the conclusions of the report, it was revealed that, “Income for middle-class families has remained stagnant or flat since 2001,” while “Prices for big-ticket items — housing, health care, college education and transportation — have skyrocketed, leaving families unable to save.” Thus, “Middle-class families are borrowing record amounts of money to pay their monthly bills.” One of the lead research economists at the think tank stated that, “Families are being forced to live beyond their means, just to pay for the basics, such as housing and health care,” and that, “They are not only spending their current income but all their future income.” Further, the report revealed:

“To maintain day-to-day consumption, Americans are taking on record amounts of consumer debt, researchers say — $5.2 trillion since 2001. In June 2006, families took on debt equivalent to 129% of their disposable incomes, a big increase from the 96% in March 2001.

Many homeowners are tapping into the equity in their homes, assuming more debt to pay for escalating energy and health-care costs. Falling home prices could force many of these middle-class families into foreclosure or back into apartments.

Middle-class families are also struggling with the ballooning costs of higher education. The total cost of tuition, fees, and room and board at four-year public colleges has increased 44% in the past four years.”[8]

Of course, this is exactly what happened with the onset of the global financial crisis, as foreclosures ran rampant, and household debt levels soared to new heights. This issue is not only confined to America. In 2005, it was reported that:

“[T]here are more credit cards than people in the UK (67m, to be precise), and that personal debt is so huge Britain is more indebted than Argentina. If interest rates go up, the experts warn, the effect on ordinary people could be like a “time bomb”. Credit card debt accounts for £2 billion and Britain has in total a £1 trillion debt mountain.”[9]

In 2006, it was reported that on average, “a Briton has twice the debt of a European,” and “Total consumer debt in the UK is at a record £1.3 trillion.” While Europeans are also mired in credit card debt, “the average Briton owes £3,175, compared to the average debt in Europe of £1,588,” as “Borrowers from the UK now account for a third of all unsecured debt in western Europe.”[10]

The Middle Class in Crisis

At the onset of the global economic crisis, as in, at the point in which the word “recession” was being used, in the Spring of 2008, it was reported that in the U.K., “The number of middle class families struggling to make ends meet has increased significantly, with debt advice agencies overwhelmed with pleas for help from households in affluent areas of the country.” The financial problems of the middle class “[were] being driven by rising inflation, the increased cost of living and the downturn in the housing market.” An article in the Telegraph explained that, “The face of debt has changed. Historically, it used to be mainly people on benefits and people in social housing who went to debt advice agencies.” However, “Since the credit crunch started, there has been a big increase in professionals and home-owners coming for help – you just didn’t see these people before at all.” The middle class is “struggling with mortgages, secured loans, and credit card debts.”[11]

The middle class in Britain has been plunged into a personal debt crisis, as professionals across the nation fall into the red. The middle class has been spending beyond its means; however, easy access to credit has been aided and abetted by the banks and financial institutions that gave away credit cards and loans without proper financial checks.[12]

At the same time, in America, it was reported in July of 2008 that years of spending beyond their means has left a record number of Americans “standing at the financial precipice.” Americans “have amassed a mountain of debt that grows ever bigger because of high interest rates and fees.” As the New York Times reported, “the increased availability of credit has contributed mightily to the American economy and has allowed consumers to make big-ticket purchases like homes, cars and college educations.”[13]

It was reported in June of 2008, that despite the obvious onset of the economic crisis at that time, “Cash-strapped Americans are ringing up more and more purchases on their credit and debit cards, and there could be a steep price to pay ahead.” One market strategist stated that, “Right now what we’re seeing is the US consumer losing their disposable income as they have to spend more and more on necessities because of higher prices for gas and food.”[14]

This debt crisis is a consumer debt crisis of the western world. An article in Macleans in March of 2009 explained that for Canadians, while “debt” used to be a “bad word” for nearly a century:

“[S]tarting in the 1990s our attitude to debt changed. As interest rates fell and soaring house prices made everyone feel richer, our nation of savers became a nation of borrowers. Debt emerged as the great enabler, the ticket to the trappings of a better life, to flat screen TVs and shiny new SUVs. Now the upward march of real estate has reversed course, taking the household net worth of Canadians with it.”[15]

Now, Canadians are “at the point where regular Canadians are carrying even more debt than Americans. It’s true we used to save much more—as recently as 1990 we socked away 13 per cent of our disposable incomes—but the average debt carried by Canadian households has jumped 71 per cent since then to $90,700, growing six times faster than the average household income.” The article elaborated, “the average Canadian family now owes more than 1.3 times its disposable income. That puts us in a slightly worse position that the typical American family, which owes just over 1.2 per cent of its disposable income.” The middle class wealth was built on this debt, and so when the housing market began to collapse, it “exposed much of that wealth as a mirage.” Foreclosures and bankruptcies have soared, and now, “paying down debts that once seemed quite manageable will become a crushing and onerous process.”[16]

In August of 2009, Bank of America released a report in which they explained, “The consumer debt problem in the economy really is a debt problem for the middle class. The need to work off a chunk of that debt will sap middle-class families’ spending power for perhaps years to come.” The twisted irony here is that institutions like Bank of America encouraged and facilitated debt-based consumption, and engaged in far riskier debt-based transactions on a global scale, which caused the global financial crisis. Subsequently, the banks, like Bank of America, were given a blank check by the government that bought their bad debts, and are now going to charge the taxpayers, of which the Bank of America report states they need to “work off a chunk” of their own personal debt. They forgot to mention that the taxpayers would also be paying off the bankers’ debts, too.

The Bank of America report further revealed that, “Lower-income families account for 40% of the population but just 12% of total consumption,” while, “The middle class is 50% of the population and nearly as large a share of consumption, at 46%,” thus, leaving “the wealthy to account for a hefty 42% of consumption.” The report explained:

“In terms of their debt burdens, neither lower-income families nor the wealthy are constrained the way the middle class is constrained. . .

[The report] says the middle-class has suffered more than the wealthy from the housing crash because middle-class families tended to rely more on their homes to build savings through rising equity. Also, the wealthy naturally had a much larger and more diverse portfolio of assets — stocks, bonds, etc. — which have mostly bounced back significantly this year.”[17]

Thus, the consumer society has already been altered. It will no longer be the middle classes that are the consuming class, but the wealthy. The middle class will be forced to deleverage and buckle under their debt burdens. This is only a radical acceleration of a several-decades long trend in Western society; the economic crisis simply sped up this process and is exacerbating its compound effects. Do not deceive yourself, this has been a long-time coming.

In May of 2009, it was reported that in the U.K., “The number of Britons in traditionally affluent areas who are being swamped by debt has more than doubled in the last six months,” as “The recession and resulting increase in unemployment has hit white collar workers in the service sector particularly hard.” One expert stated that, “We are seeing a higher percentage of middle and higher income clients who are struggling because of redundancy or the inability to manage their mortgage repayments, often alongside multiple credit card debts.” He further articulated, “Inevitably, these higher levels of debt are leading to [an] increased number of clients having to look at bankruptcy or other insolvency solutions.”[18]

In July of 2009, the IMF warned that “Britain’s credit card debt crisis will get significantly worse in the coming months with a wave of consumer payment defaults.” The IMF said it “expects [that] £1.5bn of consumer debt across Europe will not be repaid, much of it in Britain which has the highest number of credit card borrowers on the continent.” Further, the “failure to pay credit card bills is likely to increase as unemployment rises and the number of personal insolvencies, which reached 29,774 in the first quarter of the year, continues to rise.”[19]

In October of 2009, it was reported that, “High earners are struggling with debt as much as people on low incomes, according to financial experts and advisory charities,” as a direct result of the credit crunch and years of spending beyond their means, as “The withdrawal of easy credit as a result of the credit crunch has forced even those earning six-figure salaries to seek help with their debts.”[20]

Now into 2010, central bankers are concerned about the massive debt levels of nations and consumers (that they played a central role in), and “they are warning about the need to raise interest rates to control this.” However:

“When interest rates start to rise payments on these mortgages will rise to the point where some borrowers won’t be able to manage. The fear is that foreclosures will then increase and there will be a repeat of the market collapse that started in the United States in 2007.”[21]

As a result of the credit crunch in Canada, middle-income families have actually been increasing their credit and debt in order to stay afloat. In May of 2009, “household debt has reached an all-time high of $1.3 trillion in 2008,” as “Canadian families are financing consumption activity with unearned money as they increasingly reach for credit to finance day-to-day living expenses.” In October of 2009, the Bank of Canada reported that total household debt had risen to $1.4 trillion. In 2008, the average Canadian had a personal debt of almost $39,000, and the trend was on the rise. 58% of Canadians said their borrowing is to finance day-to-day living expenses. Between September 2008 and September 2009, 148,373 Canadians went into bankruptcy, with the trend rapidly increasing on a monthly basis, suggesting that the financial situation of Canadians is only getting worse.[22]

It was reported that over the course of 2009 in the United States, “Total credit-card debt outstanding dropped by $93 billion, or almost 10%.” On the surface, this appears to be a good trend, suggesting that people might be paying off their debts. However:

“It turns out that while total debt outstanding dropped by $93 billion, charge-offs added up to $83 billion — which means that only 10% of the decrease in credit card debt — less than $10 billion — was due to people actually paying down their balances.”[23]

In reality, “Consumers weren’t paying down their credit cards at all: they were racking up billions of dollars in new debt, and defaulting on the old stuff.” In late 2008 and early 2009, considered the worst period of the economic crisis, spending was down and panic was in the air. People were also trying to pay off their credit cards:

“Then two things happened: the panic started wearing off, and unemployment continued to rise. The urgency of paying down debt ebbed, even as spending naturally continued in the face of country-wide layoffs. And as a result, credit card debt continued its natural upward rise.”[24]

The only way to stem the rise in credit card debt is to increase employment so that people can afford to pay off their credit card debt. However, due to governments bailing out the banks at trillions of dollars, the governments have put themselves at great risk of a fiscal debt crisis; thus, to pay off their debt, they will have to cut spending, which means exacerbating the unemployment rate, not stemming it.

The middle classes of the western world, surviving only on debt, are about to be subject to a “class default.” The wealthy class will be the consumption class, as the middle class is absorbed into the lower class and labour work force.

The College Crisis

Coupled with and central to a crisis in the status of the middle class, we are witnessing a growing crisis in which college graduates are finding it increasingly hard to find jobs. As record numbers of students graduate, they do so into a dwindling and ever-decreasing job market. With so many students having gone into extreme debt to attain an education, and graduate into a jobless market, we see the growth of a “crisis in expectations.”

As the Guardian reported in September of 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis, “Universities are producing too many graduates, leaving more than a million people in jobs for which they are over-qualified.”[25] Thus, there are too many graduates and too few jobs.

Alan Krueger, an economist at Princeton, explained in December of 2008 the misrepresentation of the official statistics for unemployment as put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As he explained, to be counted as “unemployed,” it is required that someone:

“1) was without a job in the reference week; 2) made an effort to actively search for a job in the last four weeks; and 3) was available for work. A person who is not employed and does not meet this definition of unemployed is considered out of the labor force.”[26]

So, if you are unemployed and have given up on searching for a job, you are not counted in the statistics of unemployment. Further, if you are surviving on part-time work, you are not counted in the unemployment statistics. Students who can’t find a job and return to school are not counted among the unemployed. Thus, the official government numbers are a gross misrepresentation of the true degree of the crisis in employment.

In November of 2008, “the number of college graduates who were working fell by 282,000, while only 2,000 more college graduates were classified as unemployed,” as “Laid off college workers, who are unaccustomed to unemployment, may feel a stigma if they report themselves as actively looking for work, so they are uncounted among the unemployed.”[27]

From March of 2008, college graduates began abandoning the labour force, while high school graduates have been joining it. Many unemployed college graduates also decide to return to school instead of search for work. “Over the same period, the unemployment rate has risen more than twice as much for high school dropouts as for college graduates.” However, following March of 2008, when Bear Stearns collapsed and the severity of the financial crisis began to rear its head, the unemployment rate for college graduates accelerated and less-educated workers were increasingly getting the few available jobs. As economist Alan Krueger explained, “If funds for investment are not available because of the financial crisis, however, companies will hire fewer skilled workers.” Thus, we will see a trend in which college graduates will increasingly have to take up jobs in the service and labour economy.[28]

In January of 2009, it was reported that a poll of the UK’s 100 best-known companies revealed that, “Students face a “very slim” chance of a graduate level job” over the summer of 2009, as one in six graduate-level jobs have already been cut. The intake of new graduates was to be cut by 17% over 2009.[29]

There were even reports in the UK that the “slump” in graduate jobs in the UK would result in “hobbling Scotland’s economy for an entire generation.” As the Scotsman reported, “Despite racking up debts of up to £13,000 to pay for their degrees, those leaving university in the summer face a battle for work.” Further, “Dramatic falls in graduate opportunities could see soaring unemployment and increasing reliance on the welfare state.” One university official stated, “Students about to graduate are having to adjust their expectations.”[30]

Further, Scottish graduates “can expect to owe an average of £13,000 by the end of their degrees,” while English graduates “who pay tuition fees, were predicted to graduate with an average of more than £17,500 of debt.”[31]

The Sunday Times in the UK mentioned the story of one student, who, after 12 years of school, four years of university and a degree in Business Management, was now working on a factory production line. He said, “I want to do something that gives me opportunities, so that I can work towards something. I am qualified to do all sorts of things, but I am working in a factory.” This crisis is affecting large swaths of graduates:

“They are among an army of graduates emerging from the education system who face the toughest employment prospects for years as the recession deepens. The government, having encouraged youngsters into higher education that has saddled many with large debts, is deeply worried. Graduate numbers are hitting a record high just as the number of jobs is shrinking.”[32]

CBS reported in April of 2009 that graduates were entering the “toughest job market in decades,” as:

“The jobless rate among college graduates has more than doubled from a year ago to 4.3 percent. Almost 2 million college graduates are unemployed and a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers predicts companies will hire 22 percent fewer graduating seniors than they did last year.”[33]

There are even bigger problems for graduates, due to the excessive amounts of new unemployed, as college graduates are not simply competing against each other, but also a large amount of earlier college graduates who have more experience. There are around five unemployed workers for every opening, “so each job is a coveted prize.” Interestingly, “many recent college grads are also often more willing to settle for lower-skilled jobs.”[34]

In October of 2009, while people were being told that we were “in recovery,” the job market remained abysmal. While we are told that the job market “lags behind recovery,” we forget to use logic and realize the implications that the job market has for the near and long term future. Business Week did a special report on how “unemployment is ravaging just about every part of the global workforce, [yet] the most enduring harm is being done to young people who can’t grab onto the first rung of the career ladder.”[35]

This crisis is affecting young people in every area, from high school dropouts to college graduates, from Britain to Japan. One indication, the author stated, was that, “In the U.S., the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds has climbed to more than 18%, from 13% a year ago.” Thus:

“For people just starting their careers, the damage may be deep and long-lasting, potentially creating a kind of “lost generation.” Studies suggest that an extended period of youthful joblessness can significantly depress lifetime income as people get stuck in jobs that are beneath their capabilities, or come to be seen by employers as damaged goods.”[36]

Further, “the baby boom generation is counting on a productive young workforce to help fund retirement and health care.” However, young people will get jobs with less pay and benefits, which “would mean lower tax payments for Social Security and Medicare.” Amazingly, “Only 46% of people aged 16-24 had jobs in September, the lowest since the government began counting in 1948.” However, this has also led to some commentators suggesting the solution is to slash “high minimum wages,” saying that a “high” minimum wage has made it less attractive to hire young people. In this logic, the solution is to pay young people much less. This could very well turn out to be the “Lost Generation.”[37]

In November of 2009, it was reported that, “New college graduates had 40% fewer job prospects” over 2009, and that while the prospects for 2010 are “better,” they are “still not very promising,” as “hiring of grads with any degree will decline by 2% compared to 2009.”[38]

In December of 2009, it was reported that while the unemployment rate dropped in November for men and women, both black and white, (according to official statistics), “for recent college graduates and other young adults, the labor situation didn’t just remain dire — it got worse.” It was revealed that:

“For 20- to 24-year-olds, the jobless rate rose four-tenths of a percent to 16% in November, even as unemployment nationally slipped to 10% from 10.2%.”[39]

The Telegraph reported in March of 2010, that over the course of 2009 in the UK, “there were 44.3 applications for each graduate vacancy but this year the total is expected to be even higher as a backlog of unemployed graduates make further attempts to find jobs.”[40]

Student Debt: The Other College Crisis

In 2007, it was reported that a major crisis in the United States was in the increasing reliance upon private loans for students going to college, which were extremely unregulated:

“As college tuition has soared past the stagnant limits on federal aid, private loans have become the fastest-growing sector of the student finance market, more than tripling over five years to $17.3 billion in the 2005-06 school year.”[41]

Student loans from the government have interest rates capped by law; student loans from private financial institutions have “variable” rates, “like credit cards,” that can reach 20%. There was an increasing trend with students piling up debts, which have no limits, as high and higher than $100,000. Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers said, “When a student signs the paper for these loans, they are basically signing an indenture. . . We’re indebting these kids for life.”[42]

In the midst of the financial crisis, “graduates across the country are entering the workplace with staggering liabilities. The average student debt has doubled since the mid-1990s.” Further:

“[M]ore than two-thirds of all students now borrow money to finance their education, up from less than half in 1993. Among undergrads who borrow, the average finished school in 2004 with loans of $19,000, up from $9,000 a decade earlier.”[43]

In graduate school, however, “debt is escalating the fastest”:

“Master’s students who borrow, however, finish with an average $36,000 in loans; law students with $66,000; medical students with $106,000; and dental students with $143,000.”[44]

The Los Angeles Times reported in December of 2008 on the debt trap students are drawn into, where high interest rates and fees aren’t disclosed up front. The article tells the story of one girl who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in photography with $140,000 of debt, “some of it at interest rates as high as 18%. Her monthly payments are roughly $1,700, more than her rent and car payment combined.” She had taken the loans simply to pay for tuition.[45]

One interesting fact to know is that the student loan market is worth (as of December 2008) $85 billion.[46] Yet, the $700 billion bailout granted by Congress to the bankers would also benefit student-loan companies, which “will unfairly reward companies that have profited from writing risky loans to students.”[47] Meanwhile, the students suffer. A ‘real’ stimulus or ‘bailout’ would have been a student debt bailout; clear the slate and let students start anew.

Kathy Kristof writes for Forbes on the “Great College Hoax,” where students are cultivated with an image that college is a “sure-fire path to a life of social and economic privilege.” She tells the story of two students, who got into debt to go to law school, got married, and suffered under the burden of debt servicing, citing it as a major facet in their divorce. Kristof writes:

“The two disillusioned attorneys were victims of an unfolding education hoax on the middle class that’s just as insidious, and nearly as sweeping, as the housing debacle. The ingredients are strikingly similar, too: Misguided easy-money policies that are encouraging the masses to go into debt; a self-serving establishment trading in half-truths that exaggerate the value of its product; plus a Wall Street money machine dabbling in outright fraud as it foists unaffordable debt on the most vulnerable marks.”[48]

In January of 2009, student loan debt in Canada had reached $13 billion, which “does not include debt from provincial student loans or private debt, such as lines of credit.” Thus, says one commentator in the Georgia Straight, “Today’s generation of students is living in a debt crisis like no other in Canadian history.” The article continues:

“Federal and provincial funding cuts to postsecondary education have created this debt crisis by passing the burden of funding our public education system on to those who can least afford it: students. According to Statistics Canada, tuition fees in British Columbia are nearly 10 percent above the national average, at just under $5,000. High tuition fees and student debt have undeniable long-term consequences on students and our society as a whole.”[49]

The Wall Street Journal reported in September of 2009 that even in the midst of the economic crisis, student loans in the United States were rapidly accelerating:

“[T]he total amount borrowed by students and received by schools—in the 2008-09 academic year grew about 25% over the previous year, to $75.1 billion. The amount of money students borrow has long been on the rise. But last year far surpassed past increases.”[50]

Further, odious debts are affecting major life choices of graduates, “forcing them to put off traditional milestones—from buying a first home to even marriage and having children.”[51] Thus, we have entered a period where college graduates face record high levels of debt and unemployment. More and more adults are moving back home instead of buying their own.[52]

As Reuters reported in January of 2010, while access to credit everywhere seemed to be limited, “one area of the credit market is rapidly expanding: student loans.” Student loans have risen to unprecedented levels, even in the midst of the economic crisis, and the perceived ‘recovery’.[53]

Looking at this in broader economic terms, the private lenders are doing what all the big banks did in the lead up to the financial crisis and the creation of the housing bubble: giving excessive loans to high risk individuals who will never be able to pay back the loan. This has created an “education bubble,” where students would go into extreme debt in order to get an education, and upon graduation would enter an intensely competitive and difficult job market. Even if they manage to get a job, it is likely not in the field of their education, and it is very likely that they will never emerge from their student debt.

Students are thrown into debt to take jobs that don’t exist, in order to pay loans they can’t afford on wages they won’t get. Though, the ‘popping’ of this bubble will have a greater social dynamic than economic, there will certainly be an economic dimension, as this is a strong indication of years and possibly an entire generation of slow or negative economic growth. If there are no jobs for graduates, then the skills required for those markets will disappear, and with it, the economic vitality they created. It is, however, the social aspect that poses a still greater threat. With a generation of educated youth thrown into debt servitude and unemployment, a generation of ‘expectations’ is failed. When that happens, students take to the streets.

Class Default: What ‘Austerity’ Means for the Middle Class

In June of 2009, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) warned that while governments around the world “bailed out” the finance industry, they failed to reform or regulate any of the problems in financial markets that created the crisis, and “some rescue plans have pushed banks to maintain their lending practices of the past.” Thus, warned the BIS, “stimulus measures won’t be able to gain traction, and may only lead to a temporary pickup in growth,” and “A fleeting recovery could well make matters worse.” Further, the BIS warned that governments “will find it harder to place debt, and could face rising funding costs – leading to spending cuts or significantly higher taxes.”[54]

The BIS further warned that countries such as Australia “faced the possibility of a run on the currency, which would force interest rates to rise,” and “fiscal stimulus packages may provide no more than a temporary boost to growth, and be followed by an extended period of economic stagnation.” The BIS said that, “the biggest risk is that governments might be forced by world bond investors to abandon their stimulus packages, and instead slash spending while lifting taxes and interest rates.”[55]

This essentially amounts to “austerity measures” imposed upon the Western ‘developed’ nations of the world, akin to the austerity measures imposed upon the nations of the ‘Third World’ through IMF and World Bank Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) following the 1980s debt crisis. This “austerity adjustment” will be endemic of the Western world. We are entering “a fiscal crisis of the western world.”[56]

As the debt burden grows for western nations, they will be forced to raise interest rates, thus making payments on debt larger; currency devaluations will be required, in a stated attempt to encourage private investment; however, this will have the effect of causing inflation, where the prices of food and fuel and other essential commodities will rise dramatically. At the same time, countries will be forced to exponentially raise taxes and cut social spending in an attempt to gain revenue while cutting costs, in order to pay off the debt burden and reduce deficits.

The result of this will be the decimation of the public sector, as areas of education and health care as well as other public enterprises are dismantled, privatized and sold off to mega corporations and banks for pennies on the dollar, as a devalued currency would make purchasing companies and assets much cheaper than before. Concurrently, a massive privatization of infrastructure will take place, as roads, resources and other public assets are sold to multinational corporations. What will follow is what follows every time this is done in a ‘Third World’ nation: massive layoffs, spiraling unemployment and soaring poverty rates.

To know the extent of ‘austerity’ measures that will be imposed upon western nations, look to Europe, where nations already immersed in debt crises are undertaking ‘austerity’ reforms. In March of 2010, Greece unveiled a new round of ‘austerity measures’, which include salary cuts for state workers and tax hikes, and it “is likely to intensify public opposition in the Mediterranean nation, where strikes by unions in recent weeks have brought the country to a halt.” Greece will “raise its value-added tax, a national sales tax, as well as taxes on fuel, tobacco and other items.” One Greek government official stated, “It’s going to be painful, people will protest, but we know Greece has no alterative.”[57]

Right on cue, riots and protests broke out in Greece, with estimates of the number of people protesting between 20,000 and 60,000 in Athens alone. Even police and security forces were protesting many of the measures. Naturally, the riots were met by clashes with the police forces.[58] While Greece descended into crisis, British and American firms partook in aggressive speculative attacks against Greece in money markets, as the derivatives market booms with speculators hedging bets against a Greek default.[59]

As investors move their money away from buying Greek debt, signaling a lack of faith in Greece’s ability to handle its debt load, the country subsequently plunges deeper into crisis, “pushing the country further towards a possible debt spiral.” Speculative attacks are taking place against many countries, as “Alongside Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland, Greece has been the focus of widespread market selling over the past few weeks, with investors fearing the countries may be unable to repair their balance sheets alone.”[60]

Portugal, in an attempt to ‘forestall’ a debt crisis, has already begun imposing austerity measures, including “cutting welfare benefits and government hiring as well as selling assets and raising taxes.” Further, “Portugal aims to raise 6 billion euro ($8.2 billion) from privatizations, trim welfare benefits and slash other state expenditure in an effort to reduce the country’s heavy debt load.”[61] This is just the beginning of the austerity measures being imposed in these countries, which are scheduled under programs that are intended to last several years, until the deficits are brought down significantly.

‘Austerity’ in America

While it will likely be a little while longer before America is truly hit with harsh austerity measures to reduce its deficit, the groundwork is already being laid down. At the beginning of August, Timothy Geithner, the US Treasury Secretary who bailed out all the banks, said that, “Americans face tough choices in reducing the national deficit.” So after he gave the banks a blank check, saving them from their own institutional hubris, he acknowledged that indeed, someone must pay, and it will be the American people. Appearing before the Congress, Geithner, as well as former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said that, “the economy would not collapse.” However, considering their track record, this means absolutely nothing coming from them. What they did say that is worth noting, is that, “emergency steps, including the bailout plan last year and the economic stimulus bill this year, are expanding the federal budget deficit to unsustainable levels.” Geithner elaborated:

“We will not get this economy back on track, recovery will be not strong and sustained, unless we … can convince the American people that we’re going to have the will to bring these deficits down once recovery is firmly established.”[62]

Geithner refused to rule out tax increases, “saying President Barack Obama’s administration would take whatever steps were necessary to reduce the deficit,” and Greenspan said, “he believed the government eventually will impose some kind of value-added tax to raise revenue.” A value-added tax is a tax on the “transfer” of goods from production to delivery, which makes the price for the consumers higher. Thus, it is not a sales tax added onto the product, but is hidden in the product’s price, itself. Greenspan referred to the value-added tax as the “least worst solution.”[63]

We must be reminded that Obama’s economic team are all architects of the financial crisis, who in the past played pivotal roles in creating the conditions for the crisis to occur, and who are all closely aligned with the interests of Wall Street banks. They are now in charge of organizing the ‘solutions’ to the economic crisis they helped cause; they are there for the banks, not the people. Geithner was President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during the economic crisis, one of the key institutions of banking power, corruption, and the “black-ops outfit for the nation’s central bank.”[64] Now he runs the Treasury.

Top White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers was previously Deputy Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration where he was a pivotal figure is the dismantling of banking regulations and expansion of the derivatives market, both of which were essential facets of the economic crisis. Paul Volcker, another top economic adviser to Obama, a former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, was responsible for creating the 1980s debt crisis across the ‘Third World’ by raising interest rates dramatically, causing a wave of countries to default under their debt loads and leading to the re-colonization of the ‘Third World’ by the IMF and World Bank. These are men that should not be trusted to guard your piggy bank, let alone the national Treasury.

Lawrence Summers had, in the spring of 2009, promised that there would be no tax increases on the middle class; yet, in early August, he said he “would not rule out middle-class tax increases.” In March of 2009, Summers said, “Let’s be very clear. … There are no, no tax increases this year. There are no, no tax increases next year.” In August, he said, “circumstances change and options cannot be ruled out.”[65]

In March of 2009, it was reported that, “President Barack Obama is putting former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker in charge of a tax-code review aimed at closing loopholes, streamlining the law and generating revenue.” Volcker, the head of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, “will be examining ways of being even more aggressive on reducing the tax gap.”[66] The tax gap is the difference between taxes that are owed and taxes that are collected. In other words, tax collection will be rapidly and aggressively increased.

While on the campaign trail, Obama vowed that anyone making less than $250,000 a year “will not see their taxes increase by a single dime.” A golden rule of political rhetoric is to never believe what politicians say when they campaign. As the Wall Street Journal reported in August, Obama “was right, very strictly speaking: It’s going to be many, many, many billions of dimes.” Perhaps the most important tax hike will be the value-added tax, which “would apply to every level of production or service, and it is beloved by politicians in Europe because it raises so much money so easily without voters noticing.”[67]

Obama’s 2010 budget released in February of 2010 was most widely discussed for having increased taxes on the wealthy. Despite these seemingly progressive and pertinent measures, most commentary has been quite superficial, failing to see that the tax increases on the wealthy will do little to even dent the deficit. As one report noted:

“Taxing the rich will be one of the hot political stories this year. It will also divert attention from a much bigger story: Sooner or later, almost everybody in America is going to pay more in taxes.”[68]

Since raising income taxes is widely unpopular, politicians will employ it as a ‘last-resort’, which leads the way for ‘creative’ tax hikes to take place, such as raising state and local sales taxes, and to crack down on tax evasion and increase penalties for filing taxes late. There is also the route of ‘carbon’ and energy taxes. Health care taxes are also likely to increase, as several states had already raised taxes on hospitals. The federal government could also reduce aid to states, forcing them to cut their own spending. However, again, the “holy grail” of tax experts is the value-added tax (VAT), which would have the effect of simply raising prices.[69]

In early February of 2010, Obama said he was “agnostic” about raising taxes on the middle class. Obama stated that the government “needs to consider all options for reducing the deficit, including tax increases and cuts in spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.”[70] With the passing of so-called health care ‘reform’, roughly 12 new taxes will be levied against the middle class.[71]

The 2010 budget in the U.K. is “to carry out a £19 billion tax raid on the middle classes to help pay Britain’s record debt,” as well as “cuts and savings in public spending.”[72] Business Insider reported, following the British budget assessment, that America will likely have a similar increase in taxes, analyzing potential future taxes that may appear in America. Among these are raising the alcohol tax on a particular drink, such as wine coolers; an increased tax on tobacco, all drinking sales taxes, increased taxes on gasoline, taxes on waste and garbage, increased property taxes, income tax increases, social security tax increases, and a variety of others.[73]

In America, such an austerity budget would reduce funding programs for the unemployed, or those searching for jobs, spending on job growth would be cut and “gutted”, child spending would be cut, drug spending would be “destroyed,” dental services cut, retirees would be “ransacked,” salary cuts for public servants, carbon taxes would “hammer” consumers, education and science spending would be slashed, health spending would be cut, and welfare would be slashed.[74]

Dylan Grice, working for the Global Strategy arm of Societe Generale, a major international financial institution, wrote in late March of 2010 about the prospects of when it would be best to sell gold. In this report, he stated that, “developed market governments are insolvent by any reasonable definition.” In other words, the west is bankrupt. He suggested that America has the potential to fall into “an extreme inflationary event,” as governments tend to avoid an “explicit default” on their debt by allowing for an “implicit default” via inflation. He explained that a period of “short-term pain” would become necessary to deal with the financial reality of government debt. He explained that as Ireland undertakes harsh austerity measures to deal with its deficit, “These draconian fiscal policies wouldn’t have been possible five years ago. But the political winds have changed.”[75]

He explained that what is necessary for governments to undertake austerity measures, is to experience a fiscal crisis, in order to “force a majority acceptance of the implications of an overleveraged government.” He wrote that, “a government funding crisis is both inevitable and necessary. Dubai and Greece are merely the first claps of thunder in what is going to be a long emergency.” He elaborated:

“Eventually, there will be a crisis of such magnitude that the political winds change direction, and become blustering gales forcing us onto the course of fiscal sustainability. Until it does, the temptation to inflate will remain, as will economists with spurious mathematical rationalizations as to why such inflation will make everything OK… Until it does, the outlook will remain favorable for gold. But eventually, majority opinion will accept the painful contractionary medicine because it will have to. That will be the time to sell gold.”[76]

Make no mistake, a default is coming, and with that, the middle classes of the west should expect to be liquidated through inflation and ‘austerity’. Lest we forget, the reason why the people must pay, is because our governments have imperial foreign policies and serve the interests of powerful economic entities, such as the major international banks they bailed out.

Banking on a Crisis

As the nations of the western world have, since the onset of the global economic crisis, sought only to save the banks from their own bad investments, they have handed global banks a blank check. The governments bought the bad assets of the big banks, taking the private debt and transferring it to public debt. Thus, the bad practices of banks were and are still being encouraged, as governments have shown their propensity to step in and “save” the banks. Thus, governments have chosen to privatize profit, and socialize the risk; this is the foundation of corporatist state structures, corporate socialism, or what is otherwise known as ‘economic fascism’.

In mid-September 2009, the BIS warned that, “The global market for derivatives rebounded to $426 trillion in the second quarter [of 2009] as risk appetite returned, but the system remains unstable and prone to crises.” The derivatives trade had risen by 16% “mostly due to a surge in futures and options contracts on three-month interest rates.” In other words, speculation is back in full force as bailout money to banks in turn fed speculative practices that have not been subjected to reform or regulation. Derivatives markets pose “major systemic risks” for the global financial system.[77]

The destructive practice of financial speculation, largely operating through the global derivatives trade, remains totally unregulated and continues to be active and growing. This only suggests that as nations around the world begin to buckle under their debt burdens, the major financial institutions (along with the global central banking system) which were the key architects of the global financial crisis, will now be able to profit from the collapse of nations.

Large financial institutions and speculators will be able to engage in capital flight, quickly removing their money from a nation’s currency, speculating that it will collapse, which often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They will thus engage in currency speculation, speculation against debt burdens and national fiscal austerity programs. Countries that do not take the established method of imposing fiscal austerity through “Structural Adjustment” will face a speculative assault. As nations collapse, the banks will grow, further consolidate, and purchase major global assets.

This is why the financial system has not been subject to any actual regulations or structural reforms, because the financial crisis is far from over. The banks and mega-corporations must be permitted to grow and profit off of the crisis to come. Surely, several more banks and corporations will collapse, and we will witness an acceleration of the global consolidation of business and banking. However, as nations collapse, the banks and corporations at the top will profit.

It will be the people of the world, and the whole world over, who will be forced to pay for the crisis caused by the international collusion between banks and governments. Incessantly high taxes, rising inflation, mass unemployment and growing poverty will plunge the western world into a social crisis the likes of which have never before been seen.

The Reorganization of Global Class Structure

The world has already, in the past two years, witnessed the greatest transfer of wealth in human history.[78] What will follow is a global restructuring of class structure as the western educated middle class will largely be decimated and liquidated of all its material wealth. This is a new phase of globalization. As Robinson and Harris wrote in Science and Society Journal:

“One process central to capitalist globalization is transnational class formation, which has proceeded in step with the internationalization of capital and the global integration of national productive structures. Given the transnational integration of national economies, the mobility of capital and the global fragmentation and decentralization of accumulation circuits, class formation is progressively less tied to territoriality.”[79]

The authors argue that a global ruling class has emerged as a result of ‘globalization’, a class they refer to as the ‘Transnational Capitalist Class’ (TCC). The TCC “is a global ruling class. It is a ruling class because it controls the levers of an emergent transnational state apparatus and of global decision making.”[80]

As governance ‘goes global’, social structures must follow in step. Globalization has led to the formation of a truly global economy, where states have less influence in global economic factors, and increasingly the world economic system is controlled by a powerful minority of banks, international financial institutions, and corporations. This process has been facilitated by the major nations of the world, primarily the United States, and it has in turn led to the formation of a truly global ruling class. David Rothkopf refers to this global class as the ‘Superclass’ and has concluded that it is a class consisting of roughly 6,000 individuals, roughly one member of the ‘Superclass’ for every one million people.

The economy has been effectively ‘globalized’; the world’s political structures are following the economy in being ‘globalized’, as nation states are reorganized into regional governance blocs modeled on the European Union, and ultimately a global state apparatus emerges. Concurrently, global social structures will also have to be ‘globalized’.

The majority of the world’s nations do not have a vibrant middle class population. For a global state to form, global class structures must be totally transnationalized; the ruling class is not the only global class structure to be formed, it is simply the first to be transnationalized. Thus, we have a situation in which we will see an increasingly concentrated global ruling class consolidate their control over the global levers of power while a global labour class is transnationalized, meaning that the middle classes of the world have been marked for liquidation.

This, however, is not a new phenomenon. The middle classes of the western world, primarily that of the United States, have for several decades, been subjected to the erosion of their material wealth. The middle class exists in theory; it is a class built and sustained by debt.

As the middle class evaporates into the lower labour-oriented class, there will be a number of major social changes that take place. As the Industrial Revolution changed class structure, the Post-Industrial Revolution will do the same. Suburbia will need to alter its landscape, as lawns become gardens for growing food. The family unit itself will significantly alter. As the Industrial Revolution led to the formation of the ‘nuclear family’, the Post-Industrial Revolution will lead to a re-emergence of the extended family, with multiple generations of families living together in the same house. Communities will have to come together or fall apart.

Already, “The number of people living with several generations under one roof in the United States is at its highest point in 50 years, as families cope with ruinous job losses and foreclosures”:

“During the first year of the recession, the number of Americans living in such multi-generational families rose by 2.6 million, or more than 5 percent, from 2007 to 2008…

Now 49 million Americans — 16.1 percent of the population — live in homes with multiple generations. Many include adult children in their 20s.”[81]

We are entering into the era of the ‘Post-Industrial Revolution’, a ‘class cleansing’ of the western world. The entire socio-political economic landscape is being redrawn and reorganized. The effects will be felt from the wallet to the family unit, itself.

The global financial crisis is a global class war. In 2006, Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest billionaires, said that what is going in is “class warfare,” and that, “it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”[82]

Notes

[1]        Introduction, Secret History of the Credit Card. PBS Frontline: November 23, 2004: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/etc/synopsis.html


[2]        Ibid.

[3]        Robin Stein, The Ascendancy of the Credit Card Industry. PBS Frontline: November 23, 2004: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/more/rise.html

[4]        Mark Chediak, When the Debt Collector Comes Calling. PBS Frontline: November 23, 2004: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/more/collect.html

[5]        Keith Bradsher, MIDDLE-CLASS DEBT IS SEEN AS HURDLE TO ECONOMIC GAINS. The New York Times: March 28, 1994: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/28/business/middle-class-debt-is-seen-as-hurdle-to-economic-gains.html?pagewanted=1

[6]        Ibid.

[7]        Debora Vrana, Middle class living on the edge? MSN Money: 2006: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/SaveMoney/MiddleClassLivingOnTheEdge.aspx

[8]        Ibid.

[9]        Debt juggling, the new middle-class addiction. The Sunday Times: April 3, 2005: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/money/borrowing/article376520.ece

[10]      David Prosser, Britain becomes ‘never, never land’ as personal debt runs out of control. The Independent: September 28, 2006: http://www.independent.co.uk/money/loans-credit/britain-becomes-never-never-land-as-personal-debt-runs-out-of-control-417809.html

[11]      Caroline Gammell, Debt crisis: More middle classes seeking help. The Telegraph: May 18, 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1981850/Debt-crisis-More-middle-classes-seeeking-help.html

[12]      Sean Poulter, Now desperate middle-class families face huge debt crisis as more and more professionals plunge into the red. Daily Mail: May 19, 2008: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-567190/Now-desperate-middle-class-families-face-huge-debt-crisis-more-professionals-plunge-red.html

[13]      Gretchen Morgenson, Given a Shovel, Americans Dig Deeper Into Debt. The New York Times: July 20, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/20/business/20debt.html

[14]      Jeff Cox, Credit-Card Use Is Surging, Risking Another Debt Crisis. CNBC: June 3, 2008: http://www.cnbc.com/id/24948627/Credit_Card_Use_Is_Surging_Risking_Another_Debt_Crisis

[15]      Jason Kirby, Pay up or get out. Macleans: March 19, 2009: http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/03/19/pay-up-or-get-out/

[16]      Ibid.

[17]      Tom Petruno, ‘The consumer isn’t overleveraged — the middle class is’. Los Angeles Times Blogs: August 14, 2009: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2009/08/the-well-heeled-might-be-able-to-save-the-us-economy-from-a-long-period-of-dismal-consumer-spending—-if-only-we-dont.html

[18]      Sean Poulter, Middle-class debt epidemic: Wealthy plunged into crisis by recession. The Daily Mail: May 12, 2009: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1180710/Middle-class-debt-epidemic-Wealthy-plunged-crisis-recession.html

[19]      Alastair Jamieson, Credit card crisis to grip Britain, IMF warns. The Telegraph: July 27, 2009: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/creditcards/5914853/Credit-card-crisis-to-grip-Britain-IMF-warns.html

[20]      Jill Insley, Middle-class life and debt, even on a good salary. The Guardian: October 4, 2009: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/oct/04/middle-class-debt-good-salary

[21]      Rupert Taylor, Canadians Boosting their Debt. Suite 101: February 11, 2010: http://news.suite101.com/article.cfm/canadians-boosting-their-debt-a200789

[22]      Ibid.

[23]      Felix Salmon, That stubbornly high credit card debt. Reuters: March 10, 2010: http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/03/10/that-stubbornly-high-credit-card-debt/

[24]      Ibid.

[25]      Polly Curtis, Too many graduates, not enough jobs, says CBI. The Guardian: September 17, 2008: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/sep/17/graduates.business

[26]      Alan Krueger, The Job Market for College Graduates. New York Times Blogs: December 8, 2008: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/08/the-job-market-for-college-graduates/

[27]      Ibid.

[28]      Ibid.

[29]      Polly Curtis and Jessica Shepherd, Graduates facing ‘slim’ job market in downturn. The Guardian: January 14, 2009: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/jan/14/graduate-jobs-recession

[30]      Fiona Macleod and Beth Mellor, Slump in graduate jobs ‘is threat to hopes of recovery’. The Scotsman: January 12, 2009: http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Slump-in-graduate-jobs-39is.4864395.jp

[31]      Ibid.

[32]      Richard Woods and Jack Grimston, Labour’s graduates aren’t getting jobs. The Sunday Times: January 11, 2009: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article5488978.ece

[33]      CBS, College Graduates Tackle Dismal Job Market. CBS News: April 18, 2009: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/18/eveningnews/main4954222.shtml

[34]      Shaheen Samavati, Recent college graduates finding entry-level jobs hard to get and hard to keep. The Plain Dealer: May 31, 2009: http://www.cleveland.com/help-wanted/index.ssf/2009/05/recent_college_graduates_findi.html

[35]      Peter Coy, The Lost Generation. Business Week: October 8, 2009: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_42/b4151032038302.htm

[36]      Ibid.

[37]      Ibid.

[38]      Hibah Yousuf, Job outlook for 2010 grads: Still stinks. CNN Money: November 18, 2009: http://money.cnn.com/2009/11/17/news/economy/college_graduates_jobs/index.htm

[39]      Don Lee, Job market worsens for recent college graduates. Los Angeles Times: December 14, 2009: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/14/business/la-fi-jobs-graduates14-2009dec14

[40]      Roland Gribben, Graduate job scramble continues despite recovery in recruitment market. The Telegraph: March 15, 2010: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/7442887/Graduate-job-scramble-continues-despite-recovery-in-recruitment-market.html

[41]      Diana Jean Schemo, Private Loans Deepen a Crisis in Student Debt. The New York Times: June 10, 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/10/us/10loans.html

[42]      Ibid.

[43]      Nick Perry, Graduates drowning in debt from high cost of college. The Seattle Times: October 5, 2008: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008228780_loansmain05m1.html

[44]      Ibid.

[45]      Kathy M. Kristof, Students learn too late the costs of private loans. The Los Angeles Times: December 27, 2008: http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/27/business/fi-collegedebt27

[46]      Ibid.

[47]      Nick Perry, Graduates drowning in debt from high cost of college. The Seattle Times: October 5, 2008: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008228780_loansmain05m1.html

[48]      Kathy Kristof, The Great College Hoax. Forbes: January 14, 2009: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2009/0202/060.html

[49]      Shamus Reid, Student debt is a recipe for economic disaster. The Georgia Straight: January 23, 2009: http://www.straight.com/article-198179/shamus-reid-student-debt-recipe-economic-disaster

[50]      Anne Marie Chaker, Students Borrow More Than Ever for College. The Wall Street Journal: September 4, 2009: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204731804574388682129316614.html

[51]      Ibid.

[52]      Mary Pilon, College Graduates Facing Mounting Debt, Rising Unemployment. The Wall Street Journal: December 1, 2009: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/12/01/college-graduates-facing-mounting-debt-rising-unemployment/tab/article/

[53]      Student loan demand at record high, Reuters: January 21, 2010: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60K3VD20100121

[54]      Heather Scoffield, Financial repairs must continue: central banks. The Globe and Mail: July 29, 2009: http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090629.wcentralbanks0629/BNStory/HEATHER+SCOFFIELD/

[55]      David Uren, Bank for International Settlements warning over stimulus benefits. The Australian: June 30, 2009: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/bank-for-international-settlements-warning-over-stimulus-benefits/story-0-1225743622643

[56]      Niall Ferguson, A Greek crisis is coming to America. The Financial Times: February 10, 2010: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f90bca10-1679-11df-bf44-00144feab49a.html

[57]      Anthony Faiola, Greece to unveil another austerity plan: Salary cuts, tax increases. The Washington Post: March 3, 2010: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/02/AR2010030202028.html

[58]      Mail Foreign Service, Greece rocked by riots as up to 60,000 people take to streets to protest against government. The Daily Mail: March 11, 2010: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1257243/Greek-riots-Up-60-000-people-streets-protest-government.html

[59]      George Georgiopoulos, Greek investigators identify American, British speculators. Reuters: February 20, 2010: http://www.canada.com/business/Greek+investigators+identify+American+British+speculators/2590073/story.html

[60]      Edmund Conway, Greek crisis intensifies as Joe Stiglitz calls for Europe to ‘teach the speculators a lesson’. The Telegraph: February 8, 2010: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/7191113/Greek-crisis-intensifies-as-Joe-Stiglitz-calls-for-Europe-to-teach-the-speculators-a-lesson.html

[61]      Barry Hatton, Portugal uses privatizations, welfare benefit cuts to drive down debt ahead of bond issue. AP: March 8, 2010: http://blog.taragana.com/business/2010/03/08/portugal-uses-privatizations-welfare-benefit-cuts-to-drive-down-debt-ahead-of-bond-issue-39094/

[62]      CNN, Geithner: Economy healing, but deficit must go down. CNN Politics: August 2, 2009: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/08/02/geithner.economy/index.html

[63]      Ibid.

[64]      David Reilly, Secret Banking Cabal Emerges From AIG Shadows. Bloomberg: January 29, 2010: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=aaIuE.W8RAuU

[65]      Tom LoBianco, Geithner, Summers hedge on tax hikes. The Washington Times: August 3, 2009: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/03/geithner-summers-hedge-on-tax-hikes/

[66]      Roger Runningen and Ryan J. Donmoyer, Obama Asks Volcker to Lead Panel on Tax-Code Overhaul. Bloomberg: March 25, 2009: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?sid=a8yCQsJfpb24&pid=20601087

[67]      Opinion, Teeing Up the Middle Class. The Wall Street Journal: August 4, 2009: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204313604574328552267381152.html

[68]      U.S. News & World Report, Get ready to pay more taxes. MSN Money: February 3, 2010: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Taxes/Advice/get-ready-to-pay-more-taxes.aspx

[69]      Ibid.

[70]      Rich Miller, Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases. Bloomberg: February 11, 2010: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-02-11/obama-agnostic-on-deficit-cuts-won-t-prejudge-tax-increases.html

[71]      Fred Lucas, 12 Taxes in Health Care Law Violate Obama’s Pledge Not to Increase Taxes on Households Earning Less than $250,000. CNS News: March 25, 2010: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/63313

[72]      Andrew Porter, Budget 2010: Alistair Darling’s tax raid on middle class. The Telegraph: March 24, 2010: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/budget/7514760/Budget-2010-Alistair-Darlings-tax-raid-on-middle-class.html

[73]      Gregory White, Are These 10 Big Tax Hikes Coming To America? Business Insider: March 25, 2010: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-ten-uk-tax-hikes-that-could-be-coming-home-to-america-2010-3#now-check-out-how-the-us-government-would-look-under-an-austerity-budget-11

[74]      Ibid.

[75]      Dylan Grice, Popular Delusions: When to Sell Gold. Societie General – Global Strategy: March 23, 2010: http://www.scribd.com/doc/28795508/Dylan-Grice-Selling-the-Yellow-Stuff

[76]      Ibid.

[77]      Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Derivatives still pose huge risk, says BIS. The Telegraph: September 13, 2009: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/6184496/Derivatives-still-pose-huge-risk-says-BIS.html

[78]      Dawn Kopecki and Catherine Dodge, U.S. Rescue May Reach $23.7 Trillion, Barofsky Says. Bloomberg: July 20, 2009: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aY0tX8UysIaM

[79]      William I. Robinson and Jerry Harris, Towards a Global Ruling Class? Globalization and the Transnational Capitalist Class. Science & Society, Vol. 64, No. 1, Spring 2000: pages 11-12

[80]      Ibid, p. 12.

[81]      Donna St. George, Pew report shows 50-year high point for multi-generational family households. The Washington Post: March 18, 2010: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2010/03/18/ST2010031804512.html?sid=ST2010031804512

[82]      Ben Stein, In Class Warfare, Guess Which Class Is Winning. The New York Times: November 26, 2006: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/business/yourmoney/26every.html