15 April 2003


A friend of mine who supports Howard Dean for President writes:

> Thanks, Sam. Very interesting and a bit
> distressing. But then I know
> nothing about Charles Knight and the Project on
> Defense Alternatives nor the
> leanings of Common Dreams. Do you? I still like
> Dean the best.j Do you
> have a candidate yet?

We were discussing an article that discusses Democratic Presidential candidate Howard Dean's position on foreign policy, characterizing it as being very close to Bush's. Dean, if you remember, had once been against the war with Iraq. I responded:

SDF: Common Dreams, Charles Knight, PDA etc. are most likely a bunch of liberals. It is of course quite necessary to be skeptical as to whether their facts are correct, and to corroborate what they say with other sources to determine whether they are wrong or right. I shall try to do that when time permits.

As for your other question: no, I have no candidate. In fact, I'm not even sure what I will do about the next election at this point. It is indeed quite possible that Dean is the best of what the corporate Establishment would allow into the Presidency. I may in fact support him and vote for him. Yet I still perceive that it's possible that Bush-style policies will persist in American government regardless of the 2004 election's winner.

My thinking in this regard is based partly on the economic analysis of Harry Shutt (The Trouble With Capitalism). Shutt's analysis is as follows: the standard expectations for investment brokering are today far ahead of any actual growth rate that exists in the world, which has been steadily declining since 1973. (Shutt figures the investors hope to turn a 20% yearly profit, whereas the actual growth rate is 3 to 5% per year and declining.) So, according to this analysis, since 1973 we've been living in a corporate world dominated by economic unrealists whose expectations of profit far exceed the growth rate.

So how does this play out in the real world? What constitutes that 15-18% yearly profit that has to be found above and beyond the actual growth rate? Shutt claims that the corporations find such profit by claiming a bigger share of the surplus each year, whilst at the same time creating more and more poverty 'round the world. Whole nations (e.g. Argentina) are ransacked for their resources and left with huge unemployed populations picking through the trashcans of the rich. Shutt predicts, therefore, that the whole economic system is likely to collapse. But, before it does, the corporations are likely to attempt to ransack nations that have so far been "out of reach" because their leaders haven't been permitting the sort of corporate penetration demanded by profit-hungry corporations. So that's what the "boom of the '90s" was: a continued ransacking of the world's resources for the sake of propping up America's corporate economy.

Who's Harry Shutt? According to his bio, he's a low-on-the-food-chain investment advisor. Another ordinary guy.

Naomi Klein's explanation of why Bush invaded Iraq makes sense in terms of Shutt's framework. Klein's analysis can be found at The Nation website if you want to read it, and I recommend it highly. The Nation is of course a magazine run by liberals. Klein thinks that Iraq was invaded for the sake of getting Saddam Hussein out of the way so its oil reserves could be privatized. Iraq does have 10% of the world's oil, and in fact Iraq's oil is rather high-quality, easy-to-pump stuff. None of Bush's stated reasons for invading made any sense, not to mention the impending oil crisis detailed at hubbertpeak.com , and you'd have to suspect that the oilmen in the White House know this stuff already. So, now that they've ransacked the rest of the world, Bush can invade countries with oil for the corporate profit-mongers so they can be ransacked too. Iran? Venezuela? The Bush Administration has threatened Iran already, and Venezuela was briefly invaded by Colombian troops early this month (and remember Clinton's $1.6 billion gift to them). (The "coup" strategy appears to have run out of gas, however.) I think, however, that it's quite arguable that any corporate-controlled President would pursue most of Bush's policies, since any election winner, Democrat, Republican, or Green, will be responsible to his corporate backers (and their desires for profit) in much the same way that Bush is.

Now, as for the candidate thing: the whole point of nominating Nader last time, as I saw it, was to expose to all the way in which the system is rigged -- I suppose the media blackout was stronger than any Presidential gesture the Green Party could have made to defy it. I remember watching ridiculous TV reports on the 6 O'Clock News back in 2000, where the news anchors would briefly mention Ralph Nader and "his party" as if it were taboo to mention the actual NAME of that party. I'm beginning to think we'd be better off with a campaign against the corporate mass media than with any Presidential run...


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