The Wall Street-Treasury Complex as
Counterpart to the Military-Industrial Complex
By Norman D. Livergood
Capitalism is based on the private ownership of the means of production–the farms, factories and service industries. Capitalists make profits on their investments, instead of selling their labor power like the working class. The United States at present is primarily a capitalist economy, though some means of production are publicly owned.
A nation with a capitalist economy can, under the proper leadership, facilitate democratic freedoms and create a high standard of living. However, with the kind of leadership the U.S. has suffered under for several decades, capitalism becomes a tyranny in which the moneyed class loots the nation, while the working class suffers lower wages, higher prices, decreased constitutional liberties, and chronic unemployment. This latter kind of exploitative economy is most accurately called “vulture capitalism,” and we are seeing it now in full view with the fascistic tactics of the cabal.
The U.S. is a “consumer society” in which workers must buy and sell to live. Every part of life becomes a commodity, something to be bought and sold, whether it is a computer, the latest automobile, sporting or technological skills, sex, or our ability to work. In essence, capitalism is “generalised commodity production,” the transforming of all life into a “thing,” something to be owned or traded.
Vulture capitalists call this commoditization of human life the “free-market-system” and force it on nations throughout the world. When this “system” fails, the vulture capitalists send in their carefully-selected Harvard economists to see that the nation’s financial ruin is complete. In 2001, Argentina was the last in a long list of nations which have fallen prey to the ravages of vulture capitalism: currency-manipulation, asset-stripping, and factories and products sold at pennies on the dollar.
There are important distinctions between the various types of capitalism:
- industrial capitalism: producing profit through manufacturing and distribution
- finance capitalism: producing profit through the manipulation of financial instruments (bonds, stocks, securities, derivatives, etc.)
Vulture capitalism is a form of finance capitalism, a hydra-headed monster:
- multinational corporations moving their manufacturing plants to wherever the labor market is cheapest, where they can get the largest tax break from the host country, and where they can be assured that the host country will adopt a currency that can be traded without danger of political interference
- the Wall Street-Treasury Complex during the 1990s allowing its economic client-states (Japan, South Korea, Thailand, South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and others as occasion dictates) to make profits by selling their goods on the American market
- vulture capitalists selling U.S. client-states military weaponry manufactured by their own corporations and peddled through the Pentagon and U.S. embassies world-wide
- the Wall Street-Treasury Complex forcing its client-states to open their economies so U.S. vulture capitalists can carve out huge profits through currency manipulation and asset-stripping
- the vulture capitalists buying assets (manufacturing plants, banks, businesses, etc.) at pennies on the dollar, when the client-state begins to go under, because the American market is saturated
- the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank–fronts for the Wall Street-Treasury Complex–offering loans to nations with ailing economies, forcing them to implement draconian economic measures (euphemistically called “conditionalities”):
- laying off as many workers as possible
- cutting wages at all levels
- forcing the nation to pay its debts to IMF and the World Bank before making any other payments
- vulture capitalists attacking the currencies of nations with ailing economies (e.g. Indonesia, Russia) and reaping obscene profits
“For globalization to work, America can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is. The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonald-Douglas, the designer of the F-15, and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technology is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”Thomas Friedman, New York Times, March 28, 1999
Friedman is a leading mouthpiece for U.S. imperialism. This editorial appeared four days after the start of the 1999 bombing war against Yugoslavia. Friedman makes it clear that the military-industrial complex is the indispensable “hidden fist” making imperialist globalization work.
Throughout the world, workers are being systematically beaten down by vulture capitalism:
- unequal taxes (huckstered as “tax cuts”)
- “rent-a-judge” justice systems
- sky-rocketing unemployment
- rising prices
- sold-to-the-highest- bidder- congresspersons
- corporations such as Enron left to their own dog-eat-dog profit-making tactics which receive U.S. tax monies when they make bad foreign investments
Our federal and state governments have been taken over by people who are able to amass multi-million dollar election campaign funds. Either wealthy persons run for office themselves or they “buy” their own candidates. These elected officials then carry out the programs of those who put them into power.
The most visible example of this was Enron’s chairman, Ken Lay, giving $2 million dollars to the Bush campaign and then allowed by the Bush administration to manipulate the energy markets to make billions. Even when Enron went under, Ken Lay for a while still had his own private billions he’d taken from the company. Enron’s 21,000 employees lost most of their retirement savings because their pension accounts were stuffed with now-worthless Enron stock, and many lost their jobs as well.
If you are an American multinational corporation, such as GE, Chrysler, or Boeing, or if you are a savings & loan, bank, or financial institution, then the federal government will see that your losses are covered with American taxpayers’ money.
The American government will also see to it that an almost unlimited number of immigrants are allowed into the country, to keep wages at as low a level as possible. This policy of unrestricted immigration creates a very dangerous situation in America and Europe, aside from lowering wages.
Immigration Into the U.S. Was At An All-time High
Immigration into the U.S. reached its peak in 1991, with 1,827,167 immigrants allowed in and has been steadily decreasing as the American economy has fallen into recession.
The Bush administration had planned to shift into a “war economy” so fewer immigrant workers would be needed. And now, with the Terrorist attack of 9/11/01, the immigration policies and procedures of the federal government have been shown to be fatally flawed. Not only did the federal government allow a flood of immigrant workers into the U.S. so the corporations would have low-wage workers, but the Immigration and Naturalization Service did not keep track of them–resulting in legal and illegal immigrants bombing the World Trade Center.
The Immigration Act of 1990 exclusively assisted American multinational corporations, providing them an abundant supply of foreign workers willing to work for the lowest possible wages. The Act had been sold to the American public as being necessary because there was said to be a shortage of skilled workers in the science professions. On the contrary, between 1990 and 1993, according to the Bureau of Statistics, 146,000 engineering jobs disappeared, as employment fell from 1.862 million to 1.716 million.
As Donald Bartlett and James Steele show in their informative book, America: Who Stole the Dream?, “two new engineers were graduated from American universities for every job that opened up. And the unemployment rate for engineers doubled, rising from 2.1 percent to 4.1 percent. Yet during this period, the United States admitted nearly 190,000 engineers as immigrants or temporary workers.”
Vulture capitalism has taken many high-paying manufacturing jobs out of the United States, resulting in an eroded infrastructure, massive unemployment, high crime rates, and homelessness never before seen.
Corporate profits reached a twenty-five year high in 1995 while the median wage earner’s pay shrank in real terms, by one percent a year, every year from 1989 through 1995.
While the sales income of the world’s 500 largest multinational corporations have grown seven fold, worldwide employment in these global firms has remained virtually flat since the early 1970s, approximately 26 million people.
Where did all the extra profits go – certainly not to the workers?
The average American’s income decreases rapidly while the rich get richer.
|—||—||—||Executive Annual Salary, 1996|
General Electric Chairman
|—||—||—||Executive Annual Salary, 1995|
Wells Fargo Bank
Compaq Computer, Senior VP
Between 1980 and 1992, the top 1% in terms of share of the nation’s income increased their share from 8% to 14%. The next 9% only increased their share of the nation’s income from 24% to 25%. The bottom 90% (those making less than $65,000) saw their share of the nation’s income decrease from 68% to 61%.
The U.S. government, the “American” multinational corporations, and the American banks told the hapless U.S. voters that passing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would result in fabulous increases in our exports to Mexico. WRONG!!!
While exports to Mexico have increased, from $41.5 billion in 1992 to $46.2 billion in 1995, an increase of 11.3%, imports from Mexico rose five times faster, going from $50.5 billion in 1992 to $62.4 billion in 1995, an increase of 54%.
NAFTA has resulted in Mexican laborers being used up and spit out by a pitiless system whose only goal is profits. To get a clear picture of the misery and death caused by NAFTA in Mexico, read Charles Bowden’s article, “While You Were Sleeping,” Harper’s, December, 1996, a story about Juarez photographers who expose the violent realities of free trade.
It is at times like these that we should remember the admonition of some of our past Presidents, such as Eisenhower, who warned about the military-industrialist complex, and John F. Kennedy, who warned that American Presidents should not allow themselves to be unduly influenced by the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff.
What Can Be Done
- Countries such as Malaysia and Taiwan, and cities such as Hong Kong have erected currency barriers to protect themselves against the vulture capitalists
- We can expose the economic terrorism of the vulture capitalists’ globalism schemes
- We can expose the oil imperialism of the vulture capitalists
- Americans must become fully aware of our present situation:
- America still enjoys a great degree of freedom, more than anywhere else at present
- American citizens can act to bring about a change in our situation
- The Obama administration is using the terrorism crisis and its high approval ratings to attack constitutional liberties
- We must act in a peaceful, intelligent manner, toward goals we can achieve
- We must work to bring the federal, state, and local governments under the leadership of the people
- We must work continually to become informed citizens
- We must remember who we are
- We should not work against our own interests. For example:
- We should not invest in mutual funds or other Wall Street con games which provide money for the multinational corporations to take American jobs abroad and provide the means for them to “buy” their political puppets
- We should not see our fellow workers as our enemies but as our allies struggling against common foes
- We should not allow ourselves to be conned into a meaningless war such as the Persian Gulf Oil Empire fiasco or the Afghanistan Oil War
- We must be wise consumers, purchasing as much as possible from companies which support American interests
- Beginning immediately, we should build cooperative commonwealth communities
- 12/16/2013: Capitalism Conquers America
- 2/4/02: Crime in the Suites, by William Greider
- 1/29/02: The Enron Collapse and the Crisis of the Profit System, by Nick Beams
- 1/27/02: How the IMF Sank Argentina, by Mark Weisbrot
- 12/31/01: Globalization and China, by William Greider