Has the era of colonialism really ended? I think not.
The creation of the nuclear bomb changed the game of global competition, but even today the essential model of exploitation endures. It is all but impossible for dominant nations to fight each other for territory directly anymore for fear of nuclear retaliation. Vietnam and Afghanistan have shown the stark limits of conventional warfare. The age of national empires lasted for thousands of years, climaxing with two world wars of catastrophic bloodshed, but things are different now than they have ever been in all of human history.
Today competition takes a more subtle form – economic colonization. America lead the revolution against foreign dictators seeking to impose their authority over domestic land, yet in the modern age of trans-national corporations there remain some eerie similarities to the tyranny of the past.
As a country we would not accept taxation without representation from an effectively foreign British government, yet today the huge majority of our citizens passively accept the same basic practice from the companies they work for. A chain company sets up colonies in as many locations as possible to tax profits from those local markets and send them back to headquarters, where the masses of workers have zero representation in the most important decision making.
This is made possible by paying the workers less than the true profits they produce – by fixed wage labor (a system early Republicans like Abraham Lincoln despised, considering it little better than slavery).
The premise that the masses are too stupid to manage themselves well has been inalterably proven false by the staggering success of America – a country founded on the idea that people are competent enough to govern themselves. Fundamentally the “rule of the many by a privileged minority” idea is a weak one, the only caveat being that the uneducated of the masses are easily manipulated. It is unnatural – evidenced by its repeated failure throughout history, provoking revolt after revolution.
“Might makes right” philosophy was used to ‘justify’ the use of brutal violence to preserve unfair systems for centuries – but our founding fathers wisely made sure common citizens would always have access to guns to prevent such oppressive evil from taking root in America.
Yet military force no longer needs to be used to enforce foreign rule because the threat of unemployment works more than well enough. Rulers need not shoot the masses when they can be starved or driven into homelessness more easily. Through this mechanism corporate leaders can act as unaccountable dictators over their employees. Indeed the passing of corporate empires and fortunes down through the families of owners is very similar to feudal royalty, if not exactly identical.
Market or share holder “democracies” are not legitimate representation. Dollars are Not the same as votes – to imagine they are the same thing is to believe “Might makes right” – that he who has the biggest gun is justified in doing whatever he wants because he has the biggest gun [or bank account], no matter how criminal his actions.
A democracy means 1 man 1 vote. In America’s case the top 10% of households own from 80 to 90% of the stocks – clearly far from equal representation when it comes to share holders. The fallacy of market democracy is further eroded by the problem of monopolies. Monopolies undermine the principle of fair competition. They limit available products to choices between false competitors, who are often actually working together – 1,000 different brands may all really be owned by the same small group of executives.
(Stat Source: http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html)
Perhaps the most wicked of problems in our predicament is that citizens have become dependent on their overlords. The founding fathers did not live in a time where everyone needed to depend on others for a job just to survive. We were once an agricultural nation where many common folk had their own sustainable farms – a time when lots of average families owned enough land to hunt on. Today over-development has severely diminished these once precious natural resources. Technology has increased our quality of life to be sure, but it has also harmed our independence by outsourcing much of the work we depend on. We have been reduced largely to a country of consumer-workers in the service of far away masters.
The entrepreneur still exists, but most are born too poor to start any business of their own without first finding private investors – who stand to profit from his work merely by the grace of their providing the start up capital – then charging him interest on it.
Through privatizing the profit produced by an army of citizen workers the elite have amassed fortunes so huge they can influence the very integrity of our nation’s political system – corrupting it by way of campaign finance, made worse by the Citizens United supreme court decision.
The corporate royalty are not just conquering economies via local markets around the world – in their arrogance they even attempt to conquer the United States of America. I perceive this to be the greatest threat facing our nation and our planet today. By corrupting our laws in their own self-interest they act as illegitimate rulers. They were not elected and are unfit to rule our country or meddle in the affairs of citizen government.
Through alliances with state military powers whole nations are destroyed to serve business interests and protect them from popular labor movements when they organize. The IMF and World Bank can then generously grant loans to these once independent countries, charging them unreasonable interest rates, and forcing them into a debt from which they will never recover. Once the debt becomes too great a burden to bear, the bankers can then repossess the nation’s property without consent of its voters. After this happened in Bolivia – a group of corporations privatized the whole country’s water supply – even charging people money if they tried to collect rain water in buckets because they presumed to “own” the rain.
Capitalism has grown out of control.
Thankfully the parasitic and unsustainable aspects of our system are curable – they can be made obsolete by a newer, superior system that will have more equitable distribution of wealth and power, one that will be more capable of providing wide-spread prosperity for decades to come. There are enough resources in the world to eradicate poverty – yet the elite intentionally impose conditions of artificial scarcity.
I am not talking of repossessing anything from the rich – so relax with unfounded communism concerns. I mean to discuss changing the infrastructure of our economy that creates such outrageous imbalances to begin with.
We don’t need to make the government bigger but rather give our citizens more control over it by severely limiting the political influence of money – as an influence of mine, Dr. David Schweickart asserts. Let us restore the nation of We the People and remove our dependence on the elite class who shown over and over again that they do not have our best interests at heart.