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Does the world need a fresh ‘new deal?’

Published on 8th June, Edition 23, 2015

 

Modern world’s financial mercenary, the corporate sector, has a history of sweeping aside every obstacle that hindered its way to the most “pious” goal of profit maximization. Historically, the so-called free market neither encouraged free competition nor did muster tolerance for government control over business. Free market always meant giving a “free hand” to big money to crush small money. Capitalism, now frequently described as American capitalism to highlight its origin and power-base’ was never found lacking when it came to earning money at the cost of democracy or the US itself.

The American company IBM helped Hitler with machines that were used in concentration camps. Another company General Motors helped transform Adam Opel AG, a German automobile company, into an armaments-producing corporation. Besides producing aircraft components and engines, the company produced Opel Blitz trucks that were used in historic German blitzkrieg attacks against France, Poland and USSR.

In this background, the American concern for democracy and disliking of fascist forces would appear a farce. Al Gore, in his book “The Future” has conceded that American democracy today is hostage to the powerful American Corporate sector that keeps pressurizing governments to advance policies of its choice. Joel Bakan wrote in his book “the Corporation” published in 2004: ‘Today 70 years after the failed coup, a well-organized minority again threatens democracy. Corporate America’s long and patient campaign to gain control of government over the last few decades, much quieter and ultimately more effective than the plotters’ clumsy attempts, is now succeeding. Without bloodshed, armies, or fascist strongmen, and using dollars rather than bullets, corporations are now poised to win what the plotters so desperately wanted: freedom from democratic control.’

Joel Bakan has ostensibly made reference to the plot hatched against the American president Franklin D. Roosevelt by minority but highly influential corporate groups including the likes of the Pitcairn family, Andrew Mellon Associates, Rockefeller Associates, General Motors’ top brass, the V. Pew family etc. The Plot to Seize the White House had developed in the wake of New Deal drafted and got signed into law by Roosevelt in 1933. In the words of Joel Bakan: ‘…Franklin D. Roosevelt created the New Deal, a sweeping and unprecedented set of regulatory laws and agencies that aimed to strengthen government’s control of big corporations and banks. The New Deal reflected Roosevelt’s conviction that the Great Depression would end only once the market’s invisible hand was replaced by the very visible, and benevolent, hand of government. In that spirit Roosevelt signed into law, among other things, new rights and protection for workers, debt relief for farmers, and fairness and transparency guarantees for investors.’

 

The conspiring groups wanted S. D. Butler, a US Marines General and one of the most decorated and honored military men to lead the coup, but the plot was leaked to the White House by Butler himself. Joe Bakan, has however erred by stating that the corporate objectives have been achieved without bullets and bloodshed. At the time when the book was published, Afghanistan and Iraq were having the taste of American bullets and their own blood. The dollars, in fact, were being pocketed by the US corporate sector which had goaded George W. Bush to go ahead with the Iraq invasion in total disregard of world agencies’ negative reports on WMDs.

Corporate sector’s financial crimes were more vividly revealed in the 2007-09 crisis, but this time there was no Roosevelt to script another New Deal. Still more devastating was the fact that Roosevelt’s counterpart(s) indulged in writing QED – Quantitative Easing Deal that not only infused new blood into the near-dead and drying bodies of corporate hooligans but also carried death signals for workers, farmers and those already struggling below the global poverty line. The newly generated huge money stock was unevenly distributed between the two economic classes – the haves and the have-nots. To many, this may rightly appear a wanton understatement of facts.

The corporate sector is having a nice time in 21st century – moving pompously ahead with the extended force of dollars on its side and military cover overhead. So, this is the time to write a ‘fresh’ New Deal. Isn’t it? But who is going to write it? We have no Roosevelt in sight, none in the foreseeable distance!

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