Monday, March 12, 2012

"The One Percent Recovery" in the Evolving Neofeudal, Neo-Cold War Era

Chrystia Freeland March 8 Reuters

[excerpted] "a new Saez paper is hot news. And his latest, which set Twitter abuzz this week, is a humdinger. Saez has come up with a killer fact: In the 2010 recovery, 93 percent of the gains were captured by the top 1 percent. That’s because top incomes grew 11.6 percent in 2010, while the incomes of the 99 percent increased only 0.2 percent.

That gain is particularly painful because it comes after an 11.6 percent drop in income for the 99 percent, Saez reports, the largest such fall over a two-year period since the Great Depression. That decline more than erases the income gains since the last downturn...

Majia Here: Below are some of writings about the evolving neofeudal order that I see emerging

 My basic argument:

Under state mercantilism, the population became the source of value in western representations of wealth because of the demand for exportable crops (which elevated the significance of productive labor).

Government “freed” the market under early capitalism, breaking down noble aristocracies, but producing mercantile ones.

Capitalism saw value in laboring bodies, so long as the capitalists could extract value and the entrepreneur and the worker could consume enough to avoid over-production.

Government tended to reflect the interests of the elite classes under early capitalism until people—especially workers--started demanding more representative democracies, particularly in the twentieth century.

Western governments oscillated between representing elites and responding to populist demands in the post-WW II context. 

During the Cold War, the US and the Soviet governments saw their populations as human resources: there were the intelligentsia resources, laboring resources, and reproductive resources.

Capitalism and Cold War governments were typically aligned because both saw some level of value in the laboring and intellectual capabilities of their populations.

So the populace was enabled some voice, through organized labor, Civil Rights, and environmental activism.

Still, the US and Soviet empires were ruthless, exploiting other nations and wrecking havoc upon the health of their own people in the form of nuclear atmospheric testing.

Now, we are in the post-Cold War era. We are in the era of neoliberal economics.

Neoliberal economics are ruthless and economic financialization and capital mobility mean that national populations are relatively irrelevant (compared to previous periods) for the production and extraction of value.

The Cold-War state exists simultaneously in this neoliberal economic order, but it has transformed its guise by substituting new enemies (Middle East terrorists, cyber-terrorists, drug trade, Iran, China, etc.) for old ones. 

We’ve found with the Chinese that scary things happen when capitalism and government completely submerge in the East.

But what happens when the penultimate Cold-War government merges with neoliberal economics?

I think the massive cover up of the biggest environmental disaster ever -- Fukushima -- illustrates how disposable western populations (in the US and Canada) are to the NeoCold-War, neoliberal financial state.

The NRC transcripts include estimates of an annualized 30 millisieverts dose to the thyroid from radioactive iodine alone for small children in California.

California, Arizona, and Washington produce must be contaminated with fallout.

The NRC estimates that our TYPICAL background radiation level is 3 millisieverts.

What does it mean that we may now be getting multiple times that amount internally from the array of radionuclides now present in our food and water? 

Our health seems to matter not for those who decide.


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