The IMF Clusterfuck And The African Queen

“Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.”                                                                                               Hepburn to Bogart – The African Queen

Question: Did you ever get to wonderin’ why those Somali pirates appeared suddenly off the coast of Africa two years ago?  Well it all began two decades earlier as young Somali fishermen woke up to the fact that their safe and plentiful coastal waters were disappearing; their livelihood and their villages’ food supplies hijacked. How, you might ask?

It certainly is true that a principal culprit was the illegal and often clandestine encroachment by fishing fleets from developed (read ‘civilized’) nations like South Korea, Japan and Spain, among others. The pillaging of the Somali coastline began shortly after the dismantling of Somalia’s government roughly twenty years ago.

Moreover, from the 1970s until its civil war in the early 90s, the Somali government was bent over backwards getting fucked by the IMF and its partners at the Paris Club and the World Bank. “Like most countries devastated by debt in the late 1970s, Somalia could rely only on the nostrums of the IMF and its program of Structural Adjustment (SAP).”  This program typically required that “underdeveloped” countries lay down, open their economic kimonos, and spread their legs wide – allowing foreign corporations and multinationals to enter and do what they will; that is, of course, if the governments of those countries wanted to get their hands on IMF money.  It was a nice quid pro quo if you will.  All part of the package for economic globalization!!

More often then not, where SAP is implemented, agribusiness or other multinationals move in and, without any real oversight or regulation (an SAP signature move), eviscerate local economies, close down smaller indigenous operations, set up sweat-shops, and displace villagers, confiscating natural wealth, planting miles of exportable crops, or building “cities of pigs that stretch around the world.”  [Incidentally, this is the reason for swine flu epidemics. They are a direct result of large-scale live stocking and agribusiness farming which create large colonies or “pig cities” of tens of thousands of pigs, with a commensurate increase in the potential for squalor, waste and disease.]

These are some of the reasons there are still pirates off the coast of Somalia even today.  No doubt, they are looking to get even with all those who fucked them. But the IMF continues to extract its pound of flesh, not only from the poorer countries of Africa and elsewhere around the globe, but now from its EU brethren in Greece, Portugal and Ireland. But what does this all have to do with a poor immigrant maid from West African Guinea, or does it?

OK. Granted Dominique Strauss-Kahn had been head of the IMF only since 2007; but perhaps he wasn’t satisfied just fucking the poorer countries of the world. So, allegedly, he decided to pick on one lonely black woman from the poorest of the underdeveloped countries in Africa. Quite possibly, one would think, he could get away with a little action on the side.  After all, no one seemed to mind how his organization had been fucking the rest of the African continent for years now.

And yet still we sit enthralled, dazed at the images on our screens, exactly as we did while our very own St. Bill was getting his proof of membership re-nude and shined by Monica in the Oral Orifice.  But, why are we so fascinated by the sordid details about whether or not the head of the IMF got “head,” how, and from whom?  Does it irritate or surprise us?  Perhaps it fascinates our civilized (read ‘repressed’) sensibilities that he allegedly had the nerve to take what he apparently felt, in typically colonialist fashion, was his for the taking?  After all, his IMF did this regularly to debtor nations.

On the other hand, perhaps this poor immigrant woman is just trying to get even for her sufferings and those of her fellow Africans at the hands of the IMF. Her attorney keeps reassuring us that she knew nothing about this man or who he was; but, hey, that’s just good legal representation (i.e., marketing). One might even sympathize with such a conspiracy were it found to be true.  After all, she is the ideal ‘poster-child’ for all those persons displaced by the IMF’s machinations and suspect policies. Who would blame her for taking revenge on the emperor running the institution that had already fucked her and her ‘countrymen’ for two decades now?

These assault allegations, moreover, come at a time when the IMF continues to impose its imperious will on various African governments, forcing countries to devalue local currencies and slash services for the poor through more Structural Adjustment Programs. As Online Nigeria reports:

[Today’s headline] ironically underscores years of failed economic policies championed by the IMF on the African continent, the very reason that increasing numbers of Africans have become vulnerable second class citizens in Western capitals, often exploited as sex slaves, maids and nannies by powerful capitalist oligarchs.

So where is the real rape taking place?  I believe it is the IMF’s relentless fucking of poor nations for their land, raw materials, and the slave labor that supports our rapacious Western lifestyle.  Hopefully, that is what this story will shed light on, so that those of us here in the ‘first world’ can see things more clearly.  After all, the bill for one night stay in the luxury suite of his Manhattan hotel was enough to provide a daily wage for several thousand African workers in Guinea today.  But, our media will not report on that rape, now will they?

By the way, did you know that African Guinea hosts an abundant cache of natural resources, including gold, diamonds and rare metals, as well as a significant portion of the world’s known bauxite reserves? No wonder the IMF wants to impose an SAP on the region… all the easier for us first-worlders legally to take whatever we want whenever we feel the urge.  The Western rape of this country and the African continent continues, unabated.  After all, the white power brokers see it as their god-given right; just like taking an African woman whenever they happen to feel the urge.

I guess what I am saying folks is that life imitates life.  The allegations against the head of the IMF with this African woman is itself a metaphor for what the IMF has been doing to the nations of Africa for decades.  Isn’t it great that sixty years after The African Queen we are still trying to help those poor underdeveloped people rise above nature.

48 Responses to The IMF Clusterfuck And The African Queen

  1. John Patrick says:

    Thanks for the writeup, Sandy!

  2. John Bollig says:

    Sandy,

    Before we start to blame the african debt problem on the evil imperialist neo colonialist multinationals, let us remember that it was Rwandan’s killing fellow Rwandans and Idi Amin’s expulsion of the indian community in the 1970’s that caused its economy to collapse. African leaders and elites are themselves so corrupt that they sold their fellow tribal members out to the multinationals. Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, Congo and many many more African nations have been sold out by their own leadership. While people were starving in many nations, their local leaders refused to pass famine laws and even hoarded USAID grain stores for sale to the highest bidders. Sudan and Congo used famine as a weapon in wars against opposition movements. Blaming evil white people in this day and age is passe. These nations have had at least 40 years to screw things up and yes they have done a great job of doing so. The IMF is an evil corrupt institution. Multinationals are raping everyone, black white yellow red and brown. But it is the local leadership who have done the most personal rape of all of their own citizens. Child slavery is still allowed in some subsaharan nations. They don’t call it the Sahel for nothing. While, certainly the colonialists deserve much of the condemming for their disgusting behavior, It is the local leadership that remains the main factor in the demise of their nation.

    • kulturcritic says:

      John – perhaps you miss my point. I never blamed IMF for the debt problem (please reread). Also, I never address the leadership of these nations in the post. I am simply pointing out how the IMF serves the interests of multinational industrial hegemony, and not the interests of the ‘underdeveloped’ nations that it purports to help. And I agree with you completely, they (the multis) are raping everyone.

    • BobGeldof says:

      African countries and the physical space they occupy were created by western colonial powers, with little regard for local tribal territorial boundaries. That’s why borders in Africa look like they were designed with a ruler. Its confusing for westerners that people would treat “their own” so poorly, and find it difficult to understand the cruelty between people that are supposed to be working together within their own country. What we are actually seeing is the result of a whole bunch of different nations and cultures being chopped up and mashed together without any sensitivity or thought given to the millions of years of history of the people of that continent. The people of the old empires have gone away (at least they think they have), apologized, felt bad, had some therapy and bought iPod’s. But the mess those empires made, politically and psychologically, is still being lived through today by normal everyday people. Those everyday people would prefer to just get along with educating their kids and living their lives without being fucked by empire 2.0.

      Interactive Map showing the traditional tribal boundaries of Africa

      • Disaffected says:

        That map is amazing, and a reminder that “all politics is local” as they say. There’s also the no small issue of local would be elites seeing the handwriting on the wall (the imperialists are going to fuck us all anyway), and deciding that there may be some personal advantage to be had playing the role of local turncoat/ sympathizer/facilitator. All for the people’s “own good” of course. Unfortunately, greed and power lust knows no racial/ethnic barriers.

        As far as blaming the local leadership for one’s plight in the end, I have no particular problem with that point of view either, as long as it’s remembered, ESPECIALLY by those in the US, that that same standard is going to be applied to us IN SPADES when the time comes, and my guess is that not only will no other nation or block of nations come to our defense, but indeed, that a great many will instead stand cheering wildly on the sidelines, while energetically stoking the fires. And it will all be entirely fitting and just.

        • kulturcritic says:

          “There’s also the no small issue of local would be elites seeing the handwriting on the wall (the imperialists are going to fuck us all anyway), and deciding that there may be some personal advantage to be had playing the role of local turncoat/ sympathizer/facilitator.”

          In fact, this is what happened in spades (as they say) with the American Indian many times in the USA when the US Army was making short shrift of their nations and tribes.

          • Disaffected says:

            Indeed, correct! Indeed, shameful, as well. There are always potential traitors among us, merely waiting to be revealed – for a mere small price to be paid. Shakespearean INDEED!

        • kulturcritic says:

          But DA – the ‘locale’ of African politics is tribal… a far cry from the make believe communities of Amerika! But, you are right… American politicians should be held accountable; but, of course, they are the one’s perpetrating the fiascos on the rest of humanity (along with their other European counterparts, of course).

          • Disaffected says:

            Sandy,

            I was merely turning JB’s argument back onto itself as a rhetorical device. I had no intention whatsoever of blaming/equating actual local African leaders with their American/first world counterparts. Indeed, such a comparison would seem to be ridiculous on it’s face. My bad if that’s what was insinuated.

            DA

      • kulturcritic says:

        Bob – great reminder!! Unfortunately Empire 2.0 is the hyper-version, and it will only stops when it self destructs. Thanks for joining our discussion. Looking forward to more from you. sandy

      • kulturcritic says:

        Truly an amazing map!!

  3. pixelwhiplash says:

    This is such a sordid episode for thinking humans. This is large scale systemized abuse unleashed on people who don’t deserve it. I think this reprehensible behaviour should be punishable and not be swept under the rug. And John, you need to read more. That bogus rationalization sounds like it came out of the IMF excuse brochure for why they do what they do. Saying that this is a local problem is laughable.

  4. Disaffected says:

    Great post today. One wonders whether it will be the IMF used as a rationale to impose austerity on Americans as well when the time comes (and it’s definitely coming). Already we’ve seen the bond rating agency Standard and Poor’s downgrade US debt as a blatantly obvious rationale for the Tea Baggers to have their way with social programs (while tax cuts for the rich continue unabated). This is all part of a concerted effort on the part of the plutocratic elite to justify, sell, and impose the complete gentrification of the world economy, while the US war machine stifles and eliminates all dissent. Kind of gives the upcoming Memorial Day holiday new meaning, huh?

  5. Disaffected says:

    From today’s Tomgram by Rebecca SolnitWhen Institutions Rape Nations:

    How can I tell a story we already know too well? Her name was Africa. His was France. He colonized her, exploited her, silenced her, and even decades after it was supposed to have ended, still acted with a high hand in resolving her affairs in places like Côte d’Ivoire, a name she had been given because of her export products, not her own identity.

    Her name was Asia. His was Europe. Her name was silence. His was power. Her name was poverty. His was wealth. Her name was Her, but what was hers? His name was His, and he presumed everything was his, including her, and he thought he could take her without asking and without consequences. It was a very old story, though its outcome had been changing a little in recent decades. And this time around the consequences are shaking a lot of foundations, all of which clearly needed shaking.

    As they say in the biz, this story apparently “has legs,” and well beyond the scope of a mere tawdry sexual encounter at that.

    • kulturcritic says:

      DA – Wow!! Solnit’s story is superb. Reading her gratifies me; I think we hit this nail on the head!! These houses of cards are beginning to show signs of weakness, and may soon fall!!

      • Disaffected says:

        Sandy,

        While you definitely hit the nail on the head and the houses of cards are indeed beginning to show their age, the “soon falling” part I’m still not so confident in. As I’ve warned JB a few times, I think we underestimate the persistence and ferocity of the powers that be when we take false consolation in the as yet very premature signs of the leviathan’s ultimate demise.

        Rest assured, exorcising this beast is truly gonna be one for the ages. US style financial capitalism, enabled by nothing less than an historical bounty of energy that existed never before in human history and will very likely never again, IS TRULY the beast that will not die until its last breath is exhaled. I think we underestimate the truly world-shaking battle that looms ahead.

        • kulturcritic says:

          As you have pointed out in the past… it is epic and mythological in scope and depth!!

        • Straycat says:

          The battle will indeed be earthshaking. The Powers that Be are now running scared. I see the Tea Party excesses as a last resort for the crazy right. Wisconsin is in battle, while the governors and TP’s are frantically reducing voting rights and poll access, destroying civil liberties and the state economies in the name of creating jobs and balanced budgets. These desperate acts are increasingly becoming understood to be class war by the right, and the traditional Republicans and independents are presently either frozen in place, or moving away from the TP onslaught.
          Meanwhile, the populations of the countries in Europe are striking and protesting the rampant corruption of every aspect of social and economic life, while many MENA countries face the same. To the extent that the IMF, World Bank and the central banks of the world have their power supported by respect and expertise, they are failing. Iceland may, hopefully be followed by Greece and Ireland. If so, one of the most important legs of the predators will snap. The Banks are all indebted to one another, as are all of the “Sovereignties” We can look for, sometime soon, for the costs of holding down citizens demanding honesty and basis right will be outweighed by the returns, as less people work and pay protection money. And peop-le are not going to be willing to go home and be good because the criminality, emptiness and decay is finally out in the open, and the stink can no longer be covered by soap operas and sports, nor explained away by the “bad apple” distraction.
          While it probably won’t happen all at once, I feel a ripple coming that will grow to rogue wave size because a vast number of people no longer have any hope of change, or of any thought that those in leadership positions have any concern except for their personal wealth and security.
          Every strand of commerce has been infected with poison, defective goods, heavy metals and theft. Every law is infected with greed and cynicism. Every act of governments, world wide, is subject to reasonable suspicion that the acts are for improper purposes, to protect those in power and to further handcuff the the populace. The evidence for all of this in in the streets of Cairo, the counties of Syria, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Greece and Spain The total corruption of government is highlighted by the Gulf Oil Gusher and the Nuclear Disaster in Japan. Government safety rules winked at, and the resultant death and destruction treated as an act of the gods. Government partners with the immediate criminals to cover up the evidence and deflect responsibility. With allegiance diminished or destroyed, there is no longer a civic center, but only the power of Blackwater/Xe and national armed forces. But, then there is Pakistan. Who knows what breaks first.

          • kulturcritic says:

            WOW! Straycat. Now, I call that a summation!!!! It is 1:30 am where I am now; so more reflection on this wonderful commentary later. sandy

          • kulturcritic says:

            It seems like a perfect storm brewing, Straycat and DA. Certainly the centripetal forces holding this together cannot now be much stronger than the centrifugal forces pulling it apart. And while the citizenry of the USA is demonstrably slower, being further under the spell of the Dream-turned-nightmare, it cannot be too much longer until they turn as well. And I agree, SC, it is the Teabaggers who may break this things loose, as I stated elsewhere in one of the posts. TBs are also, by and large the ones with the guns; they just need enough piss and vinegar to use them… I in fact think here in the States this could unwind the Union into regionalized factions, when the federal center can no longer hold. I vote for Alaska, Hawaii, Texas and Vermont being first out the door.

            • Disaffected says:

              Sandy,

              I like those guesses, With, of course, a NYC/DC power alliance trying (ultimately in vain) to hold things together.

              What I think would be truly funny would to find one of the Tea Bagger nut cases holding the reigns of power in DC at the time of the meltdown, and – OF COURSE – not being willing to give up the ghost. Couldn’t happen to a better person named Sarah Palin in my opinion.

              DA

              • kulturcritic says:

                I would bet on sister sarah and another lunatic by her side, maybe even a woman named michelle!!!

              • Disaffected says:

                I’d be willing to vote for Palin/Bachmann – Bachmann/Palin just to marvel at the ensuing meltdown. Hey, if they could even possibly win election, it certainly couldn’t be considered a “fluke.”

    • kulturcritic says:

      John Bollig – you need to read the link here on DA’s post!!

  6. Disaffected says:

    Wow! I’m now getting so old (and/or drunk) that I’ve apparently forgotten many of the huge influences in my life. Rest assured, this was one of them:

    Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn

    You can follow the links as you like. I was extremely disappointed (like I always am) to see this book turn into a pseudo-political/self-help movement, in spite of the fact that it’s main message is clearly WAY beyond politics.

    And the message is, you might ask? That modern man has CLEARLY exceeded his capabilities with his “modern” brain, and needs to step back and reassess. Of course the subplot is this: EQUALLY CLEARLY, that’s not even remotely possible given modern man’s current mythology, aka “belief systems (we are superior in every way to all species on earth)”.

    • kulturcritic says:

      DA – you can’t be as drunk as we get here doing straight shots of vodka, by the bottle, several times a week. But, it is a great story, Ishmael!

      • Disaffected says:

        Thanks Sandy. I’ve always been one who recognized and went with his/her intuitive take on things first and foremost.

        Ishmael was a story that struck me as so overwhelmingly true as to be undeniable.

        True to form, the next step HAD TO BE the inevitable let down. I think that must be in our nature, especially in these times.

        In my opinion, modern man – and that includes all of us – honestly just doesn’t know what to make of the “truth” on the rare occasion that he actually “finds” it.

        Are we fucked? You decide, but for me, I think the answer is 80/20 affirmative.

  7. Disaffected says:

    Likewise, one of MANY predictable headlines in the coming years:

    Deadliest tornado season in 50 years – but why?

    And of course, the “but why” part of the equation will ALWAYS be forestalled by the “equally valid” question of: “can you prove it?”

    Meet the future numb-nut Americans, it is ALREADY embracing your stupid asses – PROVEN or not!

  8. John Bollig says:

    After being treated like a pinata for a few days by my fellow members of the club, I guess an explaination is in order.

    Yes, I do understand what DA is talking about since I am painfully aware of the rampant inequality in the system. I work with disabled adults who live on SSDI and SSI. You need not preach to me about not getting it or a need to read more. While in college, I worked with many Ugandans, Kenyans and Nigerians who told me that it was their own fellow elites who plunged their nations into SAP’s. In order to support their lavish westernized lifestyles, the elites signed off the nations economies to giant multinational companies. But, first things first, they did not blame the internationalists for the root of the problem, they blamed the local elites for being willing to sell the nation for the magic beans. What is more hypocritical about these elites is the response to their own nation’s falling behind on the loans or the falling behind on payment is to blame the lender and demanding forgiveness of the entire loan. Who brought the mercedes with the loan money? Who sent their kids to expensive schools in France or the UK ? Who brought the Mirages from France ? The T 72 s from Russia or the massive numbers of AK-47s with the knowledge that they had no intention of ever paying a euro back to the lender ? It may be unpopular to hold such beliefs that the BUCK STOPS HERE and that whatever colonial issues exist in the past, the nation states that come out of colonialism have to quit blaming the colonialists. In the aritcle qouted by DA and many others, Bill Clinton takes some responsiblity for the mess of driving farmers out of the marketplace by teling the leadershio that they need not grow rice when Mechanized western farmers can do it at a fraction of the cost. My Nigerian friends tell me stories of the fancy agricultural machinery paid for by grants from American donors. What happens is the equipment is illsuited for the local conditions, parts were impossible to find and when they broke down, they were abandoned, rusting memorials to the local elites and their donor sponsers. The liberal elite that blames the IMF and the colonialists have only themselves to blame for the failures involved in SAP’s The BUCK STOPS HERE and there is no rational reason why nation states that willingly sold their souls to the devil should be able to play the victim card and expect the taxpayers of the Global North to bail them out. When people fail to pay their bills, you shouldn’t loan them money. The nations who do not pay their bills should be able to find ways to getting along without mercedes, T 72’s or Mirage jets. Who’s policies put the nations in chains ? The elites : My point is that if you look at the picture a little closer and you actually read, not just cut and paste and post it on line, you will find that the real picture is that the responsiblity lies with those who signed their names to the documents, the leaders who conned the taxpayers into supporting such a ponzi scheme and the Taxpayers themselves for voting for these bozos.

    Have a happy day !!!!

    • Disaffected says:

      Ahh John, take heart. We weren’t really having a go at you personally. More just kicking around points of view in a good natured, albeit sometimes rough and tumble manner. I know, I know, sometimes it feels like you’re being ganged up on, and I sympathize with your point of view. We’ve all either been there and done that, or soon will be if we hang out on the internet very long.

      No quarrel whatsoever with blaming the leaders responsible for the shit we’re in, nor theoretically with blaming the voters who put them in as well. I would caution, however, that at some point in time (and the time has long since passed), the system, absent a herculean effort on the part of its “subjects,” becomes virtually self-replicating and self-perpetuating, especially with the aid of modern computer technology*. That is to say, the enormous amount of (exponentially increasing) complexity becomes even more than even large groups of the so-called “experts” who hatched it can deal with. One need look no further than Wall St (in particular) for a glaring example of this fact. And of course big finance has now gone global and infested every nook and cranny of modern life, meaning that the whole “modern” world is now fatally linked to the concept of too big to fail.

      Too Big to Fail, The Book

      Too Big to Fail, the HBO Movie

      On the plus side, this shit can’t last. Hyper complexity, especially in the hands of relative fools with a profit motive as their guiding principle, is doomed to fail. The downside is – obviously – that in a complex economy designed for the most part by those self same fools, the fallout turds seldom if ever end up in the beds of their rightful owners; but instead in the fools’ who trusted the fools in the first place. That’s you and me.

      In two words: WE’RE FUCKED. And there’s no escaping it either. Even with 80 acres and twelve mules, when it comes time, “the law” will be interpreted to suit whatever rich and powerful interest at the moment wants it too (see The “Patriot” Act), and there won’t be a damn thing you, or I, or anyone without even more riches and power can do about it. Same as it ever was.

      In truth, none of this is even remotely new or controversial. It’s just the same feral “rule of the jungle” that was gradually applied by the power structure on the way up the hierarchical ladder, being REapplied by that same power structure on the way back down to chaos. It will all play out in time; unfortunately, that time frame will almost certainly be longer than you and I will be drawing breath. At least in this incarnation.

      DA

      *There’s also the considerable – if not completely overriding issue – of human emotional/intellectual investment in an idea or belief. My NUMBER ONE example would of course be religion. In my not so humble belief, this very simple concept ALMOST ALONE explains the entire concept of modern first world organized religion, which is in my view, nothing less than legally recognized, state-sponsored INSANITY!

    • Disaffected says:

      Hey John,

      One more thing. When it comes to your comments about being responsible and paying one’s bills with regards to nations, I think you indulge in some of the same fantasies that we all do when considering international finance. Equating personal finance with state (somewhat) /national/international finance is a fools’ errand. They’re not the same. I recommend you visit the site: Naked Capitalism for further reading on the subject (and follow the many links from there), ESPECIALLY the reader comments boards.

      International finance is not an easy subject to grasp, and it’s really a matter of immersion and absorption for most . I have a undergrad major in Accounting & Finance and an MBA, and I can honestly say that I’ve learned MUCH more from reading this site ALONE than what I learned in school. Admittedly, I also read many other sources and had a tremendous interest in the subject.

      Anyway, it’s all essentially a scam in the end…

      • kulturcritic says:

        My take on ‘responsibility’ is that it is a modern concept going back to the French sense of duty that ties originally to the privilege of nobility ‘noblesse oblige’. It seems like a strained (i.e., legalistic) attempt to elicit adherence to some abstract principles of law where no natural (consanguine or affine) sense of obligation resides. Anyway, these are just some very initial and thought- provoking ideas on a very problematic topic.

        • Disaffected says:

          Sandy,

          Excellent thought as well. The word responsibility is just FRAUGHT with guilt, once again, ESPECIALLY with regard to religion. We in the west, who seem to be so hopelessly conflicted about both, would be wise to beware the implications.

          DA

          • Disaffected says:

            “The word responsibility is just FRAUGHT with guilt, once again, ESPECIALLY with regard to religion..”

            …add “and allegiance to the state.” They’re really one and the same, although most don’t realize that fact.

            Very convenient fact that, for the state in particular.

            • kulturcritic says:

              As I said in my post Science, Religion and the Curriculum of the West:

              Second, with the fracturing of kinship in the newly established social settings of cities, kingdoms, and satellite villages, the need for control over persons also became paramount. This was particularly true in larger urban centers, whose populations were comprised mainly of displaced villagers and other relocated strangers. In this context, revealed religion often aligned with already entrenched political hierarchies – temple and palace together – served to provide sacred law for the conduct of individual behavior and control of social relations.

          • kulturcritic says:

            you got my vote on that one, for sure!!

        • StrayCat says:

          I agree. The promises made in contracts under the common law required that there be adequate consideration, that is a real benefit to each party. In addition, there had to be roughly equal bargaining power, or the contract could be nullified. Today, the legal positivists have stripped the law of contracts from all of its community and protective elements and have handed the banks and financial people a shotgun loaded with slugs to use against those on the other side of the “agreement” I suggest that in the present circumstances, breaking your promise is not immoral or unethical, and indeed in many cases may be the moral and right thing to do. Slaves who made it to Canada did the right thing. These situation is of the same kind, even though of somewhat lesser effect than the case of slavery.

    • kulturcritic says:

      John – I was not trying to pick on you. If I ever do… you will know it!! LOL

  9. Straycat says:

    Hi Sandy, DA, John and others, this week produced a nice developed discussion. As a daily follower of Naked Capitalism, as well as other economics blogs, I can agree wholeheartedly with DA as to its value. As a further note on references, th emost recent issue of National Geographic has a cover article on religion and the beginning of hierarchy. It’s not well developed, but has some interesting thoughts on religion and social control. Another blog, Real Economics has some material on hierarchy and economic controls.
    Since my last comment on this post, Greece has become a boiling point, and it may be that a “default” may be the pin falling that drops the Ireland, Portugal, Spain pins. There are so many unexamined possible consequences of such a state of affairs that I expect some bad judgment and overreaching to cause even more chaos. Too many of the powers that be are narrow, technocratic thinkers, and are hidebound in their responses.
    John, you are, of course, right about the failure of states and bureaucracies to honor their words; however, neither the borrowers or lenders expected the other parties to honor anything of their promises, but only wanted the opportunity to put blame on the other parties for the bad outcomes of the phony agreements and arrangements. In the African countries, (not many of them are nations) the problem is that the new leaders, native born though they are, are just as much colonialist as their trainers and educators. The governmental theories derived from the post Roman European and American national experiences have almost no relevance to the lives and histories of Africa, and for the most part, Asia. The whole project from 1600 on was a large, evolving scam, with the new leaders no more honest or committed to their societies than the English, French, German, Belgian, Spanish and Portuguese invaders.
    DA, I agree with your assessment of religion, but probably have an even more jaundiced view of the whole idea of religion. The worst of religion is that they have all taken title to the spirit and mind of man, and has destroyed any ability of most people from examining the very essence of what it means to be a human being. They have reduced the exiting adventure to a rite, mumbling, unthinking repetition and guilt.
    Final point, because the financial casino owners have grown like a cancer into the very bone and muscle of the productive companies over the past 50 years, the blow up of the Euro countries may end with a kind of paralysis that will end in mass starvation, lack of medicine and materials for a substantial period of time. Combined with the very real diminution of allegiance to both formal and informal organizational bodies, things may happen more quickly than they have in past cultures. Part of the problem is that there are no marches, no frontiers or empty places to go or to relieve the pressures. It is important to note that these concerns or being examined in the mainstream press and in military and government planning agencies. We are no longer outliers.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Great analysis Straycat! This has been the entire modus operandi of the civilized West – to take what they want from indigenous groups, whether in Africa, Melanasia, America, or elsewhere, and make good use of turncoat natives with promises of a place in the new kingdom. A really great book on this topic with respect to native Americans is Columbus and Other Cannibals, Jack D. Forbes. And you are right… the trajectory and likely responses to our current malaise is being heavily weighed and game-planned by the powers that be.

    • Disaffected says:

      Straycat (Strut),

      Good stuff. With regard to:

      I>Final point, because the financial casino owners have grown like a cancer into the very bone and muscle of the productive companies over the past 50 years, the blow up of the Euro countries may end with a kind of paralysis that will end in mass starvation, lack of medicine and materials for a substantial period of time.

      There was a scene in the HBO movie Too Big To Fail where GE CEO Jeffery Immelt calls Sec Treasury Hank Paulson to complain that “We’re a REAL business! We make aircraft engines and light bulbs, etc., and our financial arm is taking us down!”

      Talk about an AHA! moment. And yet, almost all STILL do not see the connection to and the inherent risk in the current state of affairs. We are literally walking a razor’s edge, and all for no good reason other than to obscenely enrich the top .1% of the population.

      Not good enough I say. Not good enough AT ALL!

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