THE EMERGING NEW PAX AMERICANA: IT’S DO OR DIE, SINK OR SWIM, MAKE OR BREAK.
North America has arrived at a strategic juncture in its history. Never since the era before FDR’s New Deal have men and women of money, power, property, prestige and personality wielded so much influence in our two countries. A secret memo from Citibank, leaked and obtained by Michael Moore and featured in his film called ‘Capitalism’ was very telling. In it, management gloated over the fact that the upper 1% of American income earners now accounted for a very substantial percentage of total American wealth. The memo went on to state that, unfortunately, the only thing which was preventing this elite group of people from totally dominating America was that the other 99% of the population still enjoyed voting rights!
I was astounded at what I saw, but ultimately not surprised at the scope of corporate fascist style plutocratic elitism in America, the likes of which has rapidly spread to Canada, with a longstanding Conservative government very much concertedly and studiously deconstructing and dismantling as much of the federal government’s ability to supply goods and public services to its citizens as it possibly can before it gets summarily turfed from office in the next federal general election in the spring of 2015. We have seen massive cutbacks at the CBC, Canada Post, the Coast Guard, the Armed Forces, the Civil Service, massive amounts of outsourcing of jobs in an attempt to break unions, dumb down wages, disentitle workers to health benefits, pensions and paid vacations and the list goes on and on.
The Canadian federal government is essentially acting at the behest of a corporately driven neo-liberal, otherwise known as neo-conservative libertarian ideology, which has its roots in late 18th century British, or should I say Scottish political Philosophers such as Adam Smith, who wrote the Wealth of Nations and who wrote at a time when Absolute Monarchies were being disestablished all over Europe, Kings and Queens were getting their heads chopped off, priests and nuns were being turfed out of their monasteries, killed, their buildings and land seized by zealous secular Republican libertarian bourgeois anticlerical and irreligious radicals and generally the furrows of Europe’s fields were, as the French National Anthem so aptly put it ‘running with blood.’
Adam Smith was a noble-minded Scot I’d have to say who had a bit of an idealized view of how capitalism was supposed to work. One of his most famous excerpts from the Wealth of Nations dealt with two different yet equally microcosmically idealized societies which functioned along the lines of more or less primitive and somewhat more developed ‘free enterprise.’ The first was the description of a traditional tribal society, whereby capitalism was depicted as the ideal method for the satisfaction of wants and needs of producing and consuming goods and services. This is so because Smith described a traditional society whereby persons who were skilled in the production of certain types of goods, would use their natural ability to benefit and prosper from producing such goods and exchanging them for goods for which they had no natural ability to produce and vice versa. In this manner, according to Smith, society was able to satisfy all of its material needs and wants through the natural means of supply and demand.
The other scenario was the depiction of an idealized sort of late 18th century, early 19th century small town British shopkeeper trading system, whereby all of the citizens of a local village were serviced in their material wants and needs by various shopkeepers who supplied a wide range of goods and services. If a certain shopkeeper did not supply a good or service at a reasonable cost or quantity or quality, customers were free to go elsewhere and buy what they needed from another shopkeeper, hence putting the ‘bad’ or ‘uncompetitive’ shopkeeper out of business in short order, thereby proving that the ‘free market’ ‘naturally’ adjusted itself to provide citizens with the best possible outcome.
What Smith did not predict was that these same ‘shopkeepers’ who were also busily disentitling Kings, Queens, clerics and nobles of their property, wealth and cephalous appendages to their anatomies, were also busily in the process of arrogating to themselves vast amounts of material wherewithal as bankers, merchants, industrialists and landowners, all the while using their increasingly prevalent and unfettered power which they had so recently wrested from the Crown, Clergy and Nobility, to position themselves as the new uncontested barons of corporate feudalism and global neo-fascist plutocracy.
So what we now have occurring is a new Gilded Age of Corporate Feudalism, while the middle class in North America continues to evaporate before our eyes and production continues to move overseas to Asia, where there has yet to emerge a Fordist wage scale capable of sustaining mass consumption on the scale like we saw in the west after WWII, and a continued erosion of purchasing power in the west whereby the elites continue to exhort the masses to engage in unsustainable debt-driven consumption, without providing the citizenry in the west with the sufficient purchasing power in the form of living wages so as to engage in a sustainable level of consumption capable of supporting healthy families and healthy communities at all levels, both economically, morally, spiritually, socially, culturally and so on.
So think of it, the insanity. The process of production of goods is being performed in a part of the world (IE the east) where people do not have the money to purchase what they are producing, and the goods are being sold in another part of the world (IE the west), where people don’t have the money to buy them either, but are maxing out their credit cards and lines of credit to do so! Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Actually it happened before not too long ago. It was called the Crash of 1929. Too many people were earning too little money and buying stuff on credit and the whole thing fell apart, followed by a ten year Depression a six year World War, 60 million dead, including 20 million Russians, 6 million Jews, 400 000 Americans, 42 000 Canadians and so on.
All of this because men of money, power, property, prestige and personalities could not and would not get their minds around the idea that men and women of all races colours and creeds were equal before God and that there were no superior or inferior races of people. Before the end of WWII, Social Darwinism and Eugenics still were fairly popular theories concerning the racial superiority of white Anglo Saxon people and the inferiority of Slavic and African people, not to mention the desirability of sterilizing the mentally challenged and a heavy dose of ant-Semitism. Only the absolute horrors of Hitler’s Final Solution in the death camps of Auschwitz, Belsen and Buchenwald convinced the world of Hitler’s folly and convinced our leaders that a Slavic or working class man could be just as well-trained and efficient at killing German soldiers than an Anglo Saxon man from a ‘good family’, if he were given the proper food and training to do the job.
However, I find that I’m starting to see and hear those same disparaging remarks being made about the current batch of immigrants coming to Canada and the USA as were made about those who came during the latter part of the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries. Many people are complaining that immigrants don’t want to ‘fit in’ or ‘be like us’ or ‘adopt our ways.’ Many are disparaging their cultures as inferior and backward, not realizing, or perhaps not wanting to acknowledge that we too were once a tribal society living in Europe and were hunter gatherers and ate with our hands and did not have a written language.
I remember reading in my courses in university how immigrants in the era of economic uncertainty and poverty after WWI were being blamed for all sorts of acts of sedition, sabotage, disloyalty, terrorism and crimes against the state, as they are today. What people don’t realize is that it takes fully 3 generations for an immigrant community to be fully integrated and acculturated into their new country of adoption. The first generation will hold onto the Old Country like there is no tomorrow and may never learn the language or customs of their new homeland or very little. Second generation will be more ‘Canadian’, will speak English and/or French and might also speak the language of the Old Country to converse with parents and grandparents. But third generation immigrants are usually fully North Americanized. But it takes time.
What I really don’t understand is that our entire civilization might actually fall apart if the higher ups don’t start listening to those further down the food chain who are clamouring for justice. The wealthy depend on a healthy economy with lots of wage earners buying goods and services with money that they actually have, not that they borrowed and can’t pay back, which flows through the economy and makes its way into the coffers of the wealthy property owners in the form of rent payments, car and mortgage payments, payments to buy furniture and appliances and home electronics and so on. If there are not enough people earning good enough wages to actually pay for the stuff that is available for sale on the open market, whether it was produced here or not, then the centre cannot hold. The periphery will have become so distanced and so detached from the core that the whole process of core-periphery development will collapse by virtue of the sheer weight and unsustainability of the system.
Woe to the men and women of money, power, property, prestige and personalities of this continent, for in their mortal hands lay the seeds of the possible destruction of the moral, social and economic fabric of society on this continent. For the choices that they make may ultimately be responsible for either the downfall or the fabulous rebirth of the lifeblood of this continent. It all depends on whether the lofty and the mighty of this world truly believe in doing the right thing for the common good of all humanity or whether they believe above all in the protection and promotion of their own pecuniary interests at the expense of the collective good.
For indeed we must ask ourselves if we truly consider ourselves to be good and faithful stewards of the master’s vineyard in his absence. For the Lord of the Harvest shall come in due time and he shall gather up both the wheat and the chaff. The wheat he shall gather into his barn while the chaff he shall tie into bundles and they shall be burned in the eternal fires of Gehenna, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For indeed the Lord God of hosts is slow to anger and rich in mercy and compassion. But like our Lord and Saviour told the Evil One on the eve of the beginning of his public ministry, ‘though shall not put the Lord God to the test.’
I rather fear that our leaders, especially economic and political, are definitely putting the Lord God to the test. When the Final Judgement will come is anybody’s guess. Whether a new Pax Americana will ever come out of all of this before the Final Judgement is anybody’s guess. Some say that the emergence of America and the re-establishment of the State of Israel are precursors of the End Times. Like the Police sang ‘When the world is running down you make the best of what’s still around.’ Truer words were never spoken. Maybe what we need is another New Deal. Wait a minute, that was followed by WWII…..Uh, can I ask a friend for help? (Now there’s a good idea!!!)