blue bits. red rocks.


As transnational capitalism gains momentum, the chieftains of major U.S. international corporations feel less and less empathy towards their homeland and more akin to a world-state wherein the entire planet is their haunt. Their quest for profits dictates a worldly view that brushes aside nation-state regulations that interfere with profits, and their disdain for the peoples of any given nation-state leads to statist political leanings, meaning a concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a centralized government for control of individual nation-states whilst worldwide trade is subjected to free market capitalism. This course of action is already evident in Europe where nation-states like Portugal are being dictated to by a centralized body of technocrats, the EU. Likewise, this is happening in America where the Central Bank has become dictator of the markets whilst the global corporations on the Dow Jones Industrial Average carry on in their own markets around the world, splashing strong profits, in part, because of neoliberal tendencies that discriminate between which nation-states offer the cheapest labor and the weakest regulations. The common denominator of global corporations is cheap labor; they hover like bees around the queen wherever cheap labor is to be found. Transnational Capitalism

Penso que se esforçou muito por agir bem, mas está numa posição extremamente vulnerável. Assim que alguém entra na Casa Branca, sejam quais forem as suas ideias políticas, os seus motivos ou a sua consciência, sabe que é muito vulnerável e que o presidente dos EUA, ou de outro país importante, pode ser facilmente afastado. Nalgumas partes do mundo, como a Líbia ou o Irão, talvez só com balas o seu poder possa ser derrubado, mas em países como os EUA um líder pode ser afastado por um rumor ou uma acusação. O presidente do FMI, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, ver a sua carreira destruída por uma empregada de quarto de um hotel, que o acusou de violação, foi um aviso muito forte a Obama e a outros líderes mundiais. Não estou a defender Strauss-Kahn – não faço a mínima ideia de qual é a verdade por trás do que aconteceu, mas o que sei é que bastou uma acusação de uma empregada de quarto para destruir a sua carreira, não só como director do FMI mas também como potencial presidente francês. Bill Clinton também foi afastado por um escândalo sexual, mas no tempo de John Kennedy estas coisas não derrubavam presidentes. Só as balas. Porém, descobrimos com Bill Clinton que um escândalo sexual – e não é preciso ser uma coisa muito excitante, porque aparentemente ele nem sequer teve sexo com a Monica Lewinsky, fizeram uma coisa qualquer com um charuto que já não me lembro – foi o suficiente para o descredibilizar. Por isso Obama está numa posição muito vulnerável e tem de jogar o jogo e fazer o melhor que pode dentro dessas limitações. Caso contrário, será destruído. John Perkins

Apple’s enormous, complex global supply chain for iPod production is aimed at obtaining the lowest unit labor costs (taking into consideration labor costs, technology, etc.), appropriate for each component, with the final assembly taking place in China, where production occurs on a massive scale, under enormous intensity, and with ultra-low wages. In Foxconn’s Longhu, Shenzhen factory 300,000 to 400,000 workers eat, work, and sleep under horrendous conditions, with workers, who are compelled to do rapid hand movements for long hours for months on end, finding themselves twitching constantly at night. Foxconn workers in 2009 were paid the minimum monthly wage in Shenzhen, or about 83 cents an hour. (Overall in China in 2008 manufacturing workers were paid $1.36 an hour, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.) Despite the massive labor input of Chinese workers in assembling the final product, their low pay means that their work only amounts to 3.6 percent of the total manufacturing cost (shipping price) of the iPhone. The overall profit margin on iPhones in 2009 was 64 percent. If iPhones were assembled in the United States—assuming labor costs ten times that in China, equal productivity, and constant component costs—Apple would still have an ample profit margin, but it would drop from 64 percent to 50 percent. In effect, Apple makes 22 percent of its profit margin on iPhone production from the much higher rate of exploitation of Chinese labor. The Global Reserve Army of Labor and the New Imperialism

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Think about it. First, you have firms directly plugged in to the military-industrial and security-industrial complexes, with the DOD or TSA as their primary customers. You have the electronics industry, whose R&D was primarily government-funded throughout the Cold War, and which is protected from global competition by the drastic expansion of patent protections under the TRIPS accord. You have the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, at least half of whose research is taxpayer-funded and which are heavily dependent on government patent enforcement for their monopoly profits and market shares. And you have corporate agribusiness — ’nuff said. Subtract all this, and what do you have left? A model of capitalism in which the commanding heights of the economy are an interlocking directorate of large corporations and government agencies, a major share of the total operating costs of the dominant firms are socialized (and profits privatized, of course), and “intellectual property” protectionism and other regulatory cartels allow bureaucratic corporate dinosaurs like something out of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil to operate profitably without fear of competition. “American Exceptionalism;” or, It’s Not State Capitalism When America Does It

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? Rex Hammock

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