Friday, May 13, 2005

The Econocracy

Ya se que la mayoria de los que leais esto pasareis mucho de leer una parrfada en inglés, pero este es un articulo que he escrito para The New Estate, de donde soy colaborador.
Habla sobre como el neoliberalismo ha permitido a las diferentes fuerzas economicas tomar el control de las políticas gubernamentales (la llamada Econocracia), hasta el punto de que los gobiernos legislen contra los intereses de la mayor parte de la población. Los tratados de libre comercio con el tercer mundo es uno de los ejemplo analizados en el árticulo sobre esta clase de legislación:


The Econocracy

During the last two centuries, the idea of democracy as the best form of government has spread all around the world. The concepts of freedom and citizen rights have been much related to this movement, based on the belief that, if the people have the power they will make the laws to defend everyone’s freedoms and rights.
Of course, you can find problems in democracy: corruption, lack of representation of minorities etc… however, there is no other political system that guarantees the individual and collective freedoms better than democracy.
For this reason the ideas of freedom and democracy are immediately associated one to another by all the people.

During the last century, the neoliberalism and the free market theories have also gained more and more influence over the world. And of course, when the URSS colapsed, this influence was even more important.

Language is many times a source of confusion. Words have not only several meanings, but several connotations that lead to some incorrect associations of ideas. For example, free market is immediately associated with freedom, and freedom with democracy.
In fact the freedom existent in the free market has nothing to do with the freedom in democracy. In the latter, there are laws to guarantee everybody’s rights and freedom, while the free market will be something nearer to the anarchism, where there is no state, and no laws. However, to call it anarchist market theories had too many bad connotations.
The association of ideas between free market and democracy quickly spread around the world with the help of the different governments. The reason for this was more political than economical, free market was opposed to communism, so depending in which side you were (NATO vs URSS) you would support one or another.
However, the free market is nothing but democratic. The members of the free market do not have equal power at all, as most of the power is held by a few rich people/corporations.

While the free market ideas spread around the world, governments gave more and more power to their corporations, and they started to grow and grow. Soon few corporations controlled the economy, as they were responsible of thousands of workers, stock market stability etc… As soon as they realized how powerful they were, they started influencing the government policies. I am not talking about mass media during campaigns, or donations, but direct influence over the government policies, as the economy of the country was very dependent on this big corporations.
The competition for the shareholders and the interest lead to a competition in profits, and this was only possible with a cheaper manpower. Corporations started to ask governments to take back some of the rights that workers had achieved fighting for years, and in many cases the corporations were successful in their petitions. However, as fortunately we are still in democratic societies, many times the governments hear to their people and they kept workers rights.

At that moment, the corporations started to ask for free trade with underdeveloped countries. The idea is simple, if we produce with third world working rights and salaries and sell with first world prizes we will multiply our benefits. And governments agreed.
In the first world governments tried to sell the population the idea that the free trade was good for everyone, that we would have cheaper products and at the same time we were helping the third world countries. However, this has been the biggest fallacy ever made. The free trade policies supposed the lost of thousands of jobs in the first world, and they made the first world workers lose some of their rights just to try to compete. And in the third world workers were exploited by the companies: people working 15 hours a day for a salary that does not pay even their own meal, children working, no health care, the working conditions are even worse that those of the slaves that the American civil war liberated….
Who took all the profit? The corporations, and their major shareholders…. The richest people of the richest countries became even richer while the people in the first world lose their jobs and the people in the third world were exploited.

Some of the third world countries were obligated by the World Bank to accept the free trade agreements, others were corrupt, and others were so poor that they had no other option….
And what about the first world countries? Why did the governments agree with such policies that were not good for their own population? Well, at some point, governments forgot about the democracy and they thought that we were in a Econocracy, were the national economy should determine their policies. As the economy was controlled by the big corporations, they simply followed their instructions. Lobbies promoting free trade policies, mass media convincing the population about these changes in the economy, disturbing their minds with the big macroeconomic numbers while they were losing their jobs and the working rights that they fought in the past.

No matter who are you voting, governments do not search anymore the best thing of their own citizens but for the corporations that rule the economy. Democracy has become a mass media spectacle every four years, and nothing changes, corporations keep ruling their countries and the econocratic system has slowly blurred the democracy to the point that it is difficult to say how could we recover it again.


Pablo Moreno

Más información sobre los efectos de los tratados de libre comercio en al economía mundial aqui:

Trade liberalization statistics

2 comments:

delreal said...

En realidad no creo que lo que "la pérdida masiva de trabajos en el primer mundo y la esclavitud en el tercero" como el fenómeno del libre comercio sea totalmente cierto en la práctica, los países sudamericanos por ejemplo o hablo solo por Colombia tienen leyes que hasta ahora sí están siendo flexibilizadas un poco a beneficio del empleador pero igual aún sigue siendo un gran riesgo contratar un obrero porque los costos que implican un beneficio más o menos dignos de la vida de su familia se garantizan y son costosos.

Creo que igual la tendencia entonces en los países del primer mundo serán a que sus ciudadanos se especialicen en trabajos que requieren más conocimientos e igual mayores salarios, la mano de obra de operarios y trabajadores de base de pirámide sí está bien en los países donde no todos tienen acceso a la educación superior y son muy buenos y el costo de vida permite salarios más bajos.

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