John Bellamy Foster explains the ‘solution’ master-minded by global finance to resolve the imminent environmental crisis: create a multi-quadrillion dollar’s worth of assets on the back of everything nature does and expropriate it from the global commons to make a profit. Worse still: it is already happening.
Capitalism marches on. And thus housing, because it is a capitalist commodity, has resumed its upward cost, putting ever more people at risk of homelessness, hunger, inability to access medical care and medications, or some combination of those.
The contemporary neoliberal system is fundamentally unjust. It is filled with blood-sucking billionaires whose entire existence of grotesque opulence is structurally predicated on the continual exploitation of the working class – a powerful force in whose hands lie the productive powers of humanity.
The financial wizards of Wall Street have devised a new way to profit from Mother Nature. They’ve created a class of stocks called Natural Asset Companies that will control the earth’s resources such as water, wildlife, forests, minerals, and farmland. The project was developed by the Intrinsic Exchange Group in partnership with the New York Stock Exchange, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the investment firm Aberdare Ventures.
Under neoliberal capitalism, the commodification of education has accelerated. Before the establishment of the current accumulation regime, the educational sector was predominantly controlled by an interventionist state, committed to countercyclical macroeconomic management. The labour process of teaching within a state-owned domain followed the general pattern of any other production process. According to Michael Heinrich, such a general form – which is independent of any social determinations – comprises a distinction “among functional activity (labour), the object of labour (which is modified by labour), and the means of labour (the tools with which this process of modification is made possible) as elements of the labour process.”
The world that late-stage capitalism is creating is one where the only stable states—or things that resemble states—will be the fortified high-tech enclaves that the super-rich create in the wake of a collapsed civilization. In the scenarios that some futurists have been anticipating, by the end of this century the only places with reliable electricity are going to be the walled off communities of these elites, guarded by those seeking to be rewarded with food and housing and sustained by a neo-feudal network of farming.
In this wide-ranging discussion on the Moderate Rebels podcast, Hudson addresses US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, the policies of the Joe Biden administration, Beijing’s economic model, cryptocurrencies, and dedollarization – the potential end to the dollar as the global reserve currency.
Nearly half a millennium ago Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince described three options for how a conquering power might treat states that it defeated in war but that “have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom: … the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you.”
The U.S. is Saving the Financial Sector, not the Economy
Before juxtaposing the U.S. and alternative responses to the coronavirus’ economic effects, I would like to step back in time to show how the pandemic has revealed a deep underlying problem. We are seeing the consequences of Western societies painting themselves into a debt corner by their creditor-oriented philosophy of law. Neoliberal anti-government (or more accurately, anti-democratic) ideology has centralized social planning and state power in “the market,” meaning specifically the financial market on Wall Street and in other financial centers.
Britain’s National Health Service, the NHS, was the world’s first universal public health service. Designed to give millions of people “freedom from fear”, the NHS today is under threat of being sold off and converted to a free market model inspired by America’s disastrous health insurance system, which results in the death every year of an estimated 45,000 people. Now President Trump says the NHS is “on the table” in any future trade deal with America.