Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Broken World

On the same day that I read the gut wrenching article in the November Harpers by Ed Vulliamy entitled ‘Broken Britain’ that details how Britain went from relative prosperity to a country falling apart in ways familiar to Americans, I receive a link to a scientific study that identifies the 147 corporations and banks that literally rule the world:

As thoughtful people everywhere ask over and over again the question “why are ‘they’ doing this?”, the answer becomes increasingly clear: the earth cannot support the 10 billion people projected for mid or late century, hence those with power have set about seeing to it that increasing numbers become expendable.

Here are two excerpts from Vulliamy’s article:

(Prime Minister) “Cameron spoke of a ‘slow-motion moral collapse’  of the country he used to call, when in opposition ‘broken Britain’.  He insisted on the need to confront ‘the attitudes and assumptions that have brought parts of our society to this shocking state, including irresponsibility, selfishness, behaving as if your choices had no consequences.’


“The ‘moral collapse’, it seems, starts at the top  Yet no one wants to connect the dots - to look at the miasma of treaties, social and political alliances, cycles of back-scratching and mutual convergences that define the British elite.  Britain’s problems are singular: singularly serious, singularly fetid, and singularly vulgar.  The country that packages itself as ‘Cool Britannia’ has become greedy, obsessed with commercialism at the expense of any other value or norm...”

After detailing the disastrous state of formerly state-owned utilities and services, Vulliamy compares them to those of France, Germany and the Netherlands, countries with a healthy respect for government-owned public service entities, and which until recently, harbored an equally healthy mistrust of American style capitalism; none of them has seen the kind of violence that rocks Britain.

Back now to the New Scientist study, as reviewed by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd on Alternet:

“Less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network.... Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JP Morgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group. [...]”

A complex systems expert who has advised Deutsche Bank remarked that it is disconcerting to see how connected things really are.

“For OWS purposes: Merrill Lynch is at number 10, Goldman Sachs at 18, Morgan Stanley at 21, Bank of America at 25. Number one? Barclays, (the British bank) “which currently helps fund Robert Mugabe, among other things.

The scientists in the study were split on whether economic concentration necessarily amounted to political power, but it's certainly a porous distinction in some places.”

Progressive writers need to stop walking back from the evidence.


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