When the Weaponized Debt Chickens Come Home to Roost
The economic warfare that’s been waged against the third world for decades is being fully implemented here in the states. Self-described economic hit man, John Perkins, had his personal account of his role in this warfare published in 2004, titled Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Here’s the wikipedia summary:
According to his book, Perkins’ function was to convince the political and financial leadership of underdeveloped countries to accept enormous development loans from institutions like the World Bank and USAID. Saddled with debts they could not hope to pay, those countries were forced to acquiesce to political pressure from the United States on a variety of issues. Perkins argues in his book that developing nations were effectively neutralized politically, had their wealth gaps driven wider and economies crippled in the long run.
The main trial balloon for how this will work is Detroit:
Detroit’s state-appointed emergency manager says a $350 million loan has been secured to help the city pay its way out of a complicated deal involving major creditors.
Kevyn Orr said Friday that the money committed by Barclays will help with Detroit’s reconstruction as he tries to take the city into the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
The loan still has to be approved by a bankruptcy court judge.
About $230 million would be used to pay off some obligations related to its pension debt. The rest would be used to improve basic city services and technology infrastructure.
The city says the loan is secured with pledges of casino and income tax revenue, and cash from the potential value of assets that exceed $10 million.
Remember, the “state-appointed emergency manager” is an unelected person given sweeping powers by Michigan’s truly disturbing and potentially racist emergency manager law.
If you want to hear from Perkins, this Democracy Now interview is worth checking out.
Knowing all this, what can we do about it? There’s enough brainwashing on the right regarding debt to provide cover for the austerity attacks, and enough fecklessness on the left to provide reliable failure. Third party alternatives just get absorbed and politically weaponized by one side or the other.
Maybe shutdown is the answer. Maybe the “radical” environmentalists had it right with sugar in the tank and spikes in the trees. Maybe we can wed government hatred from the tea party with the sentiment expressed by Mario Savio:
There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!
I should note that quote came from a speech given at Sproul Hall on the Berkley campus on December 2nd, 1964.
It’s too bad that kind of post-WWII campus radicalism got effectively derailed by hippie hedonism, but I think it’s coming back, as evidenced by the growing Millennial appreciation for socialism.
Or we could keep pretending that we have a representative government capable of countering the influence of obscene wealth concentration and the political influence that wealth can purchase.