cj#814> report from a cj reader; strategic thinking

1998-08-12

Richard Moore

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Date: Wed, 12 Aug 98
From: <name withheld by moderator>
To: •••@••.••• (Richard K. Moore)

I have read and thought about your posts on cj and find the basic outline
to be fundamentally important as a way to interpret the events and trends
as presented by the mainstream media and our other major industries.  One
of the things you advocate is to begin to look at the world through the
strategic agenda of moneyed interests.  This way of thinking has availed me
of much insight and has allowed me to critique our world both for what is
presented through media and other cultural authorities, and just as
importantly, what is not presented.

An example of how this has worked for me occurred when a friend and I where
discussing how advertising and marketing practices drive consumerism.  As
we went on we realized how much credit cards have propped up our
lifestyles.  When the discussion turned to a way out, we also realized that
we both knew people who have declared bankruptcy as a result of too much
credit card debt. Usually these sorts of discussions end on a note of
personal responsibility etc. -- which, no doubt, factors in there somehow.
But, this discussion ended with a prediction based on an assumption that it
is the goal of banks to give everyone a credit card and to encourage them
to max it out.  Given this assumption the snag for banks is that people can
max out consumer debt and then declare bankruptcy, wiping the slate clean.
Our prediction was that this would soon be limited or removed as an option
(this occurred with student loans a while back).

Well, a few months past and we had both forgotten about it, when one day I
picked up a newspaper and there it was -- credit card companies have
successfully lobbied to get a measure on the political agenda to severely
reduce personal bankruptcies.  Now I cannot claim to be the first to have
predicted this, I'm sure its been thought of before. But the point is the
strategic thinking you advocate worked for me in this instance.  I now feel
armed with bit of new understanding of how things are going.  It actually
seems to resemble the old turn of the century "company store" concept that
kept people in huge debt preventing them from ever leaving the company.
This is, now that I think of it,a very old and pervasive technique of
control used in medieval serfdom, southern sharecroppers, turn of the
century industrialization, modern sweatshops, the SE Asian sex trade
industry, and in many others manifestations throughout time and space.
Credit card companies have just found a relatively new and successful
manner in which to accomplish this.

I don't know the structure of ownership of banks and products but an
important, mutually beneficial symbiosis has occurred regardless of formal
relations where the manufacturing industry is being propped up by the
consumer credit industry. This has been so successful because they use
tried and true propaganda techniques, playing on people's fears and
desires, connecting them, pavlovian style, to the purchase of products. Of
course, the degree to which the proportion of consumer spending is based on
debt creates a large scale pyramid scheme that is alarming to me at least
(I have no figures on this but would welcome some).

This is just one piece of the giant puzzle that seems to have been the lot
of human kind for so long -- the desire to subjugate and control others for
personal gain.

I find it a huge problem Richard, yet must say that I am impressed with
your process model of change.  I have not yet thought very long about your
request for comments on the model but plan to do so when I can. ---<snip -
personal material>---

Thanks for your hard work on these urgent issues -- a true voice in the
wilderness.

x

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Dear x,

I enjoyed your report very much, and hope other cj readers will also find
it useful, even inspirational.  The fact is that very little is hidden from
us, but we often lack the courage to interpret what we see, to apply our
full knowledge and common sense, and to refuse to allow the `consensus
reality' perspective to cloud our thinking.

I've been talking to some others recently about this question of credit,
and of debt.  Your thinking dovetails with some of this discussion.

Debt can be a primary thing, that is the goal of the loaner is to retrieve
his capital and interest, and make a profit.  But then, as you point out,
debt can be a _tool, to achieve other goals.  In the company town, the debt
will never be retired; the company never expects a profit from that side of
his books.  Instead debt becomes an engine of servitude; one might say the
borrower himself has been "repossessed by the bank", has become an
income-producing serf for the bank (or company), rather than a repaying
client.

This transition from debtor to serf is a profound change of relationship,
and of role.  In it the debtor loses his freedom; he is no longer a
voluntary participant in a transaction, but has become subject to another's
control.  The creditor becomes a master-of-others instead of a banker.

This has clearly become the pattern with the IMF, with respect to nations.
Nations generally, the US included, will _never be able to repay their
external debt.  Many loans now are simply to finance payments for previous
loans, and nations struggle even to pay the interest which falls due each
year.  The recent IMF loans to Korea, for example, don't go into Korean
banks, they simply transit Korea on their way into the pockets of the
speculators who caused the crash.

Through debt, many nations are now controlled by the IMF.  The IMF does not
use its power to facilitate repayment, any more than does the company-town
operator.  In the company town, the goal is to keep the person working in
the factory, and to gain back all his wages via the debt scheme.  Thus the
company has zero labor costs, except for the cost of the supplies that are
delivered to the store.  The economy is one of slavery -- slave-owners
always need to feed their slaves.

With the IMF, the game is to coerce the nation into playing whatever role
is deemed suitable for it under the globalization project.  In the case of
Rwanda, it was desired that Rwanda cease being a coffee producer, and that
it become a food importer.  In the process of achieving these goals,
Rwanda's ability to repay debt was grossly reduced, thus giving the lie to
any pretense that the IMF's goal was to facilitate repayment.

In the case of Asia, one must keep in mind that there is currently a
"crisis of overproduction" today in many sectors, including electronics and
automobiles.  That is to say, there is far more ability to produce cars
than there is a market for them.  In a true free market system, this would
lead to price competition, the failure of inefficient producers, etc.

But under the centrally managed globalization regime, which is anything but
a free market system, the command decision was reached that instead of
inefficient producers failing, it was preferred that Asian producers fail.
Through whatever means, and many are available, the well-tested
speculation-bubble scenario was encouraged, and the IMF then stepped in to
execute the program.

The over-prodution problem was thereby alleveated, and the IMF then
presided over a garage sale of Asian assets at bargain prices to Western
buyers.

The default post-capitalist regime is corporate feudalism.

rkm


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