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← L'Encerclement - La démocratie dans les rets du néolibéralisme

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Showing Revision 1 created 12/09/2013 by Retired user.

  1. Encirclement

  2. Neo-Liberalism Ensnares Democracy
  3. Producer, director, editor
  4. Photography
  5. Sound
  6. Music
  7. In order of appearance
  8. In the ’30s,
    the term “totalitarian regime”
  9. was applied to single-party regimes
  10. where the party’s mandate
  11. was to rule over the totality
    of a society’s activities -
  12. political, economic, social, cultural.
    The state looked after everything.
  13. Unfortunately, we had examples
    particularly in Fascism, Nazism …
  14. and Stalinism: totalitarian societies
    run by an omnicompetent party.
  15. Today, we live in a democracy,
    of course, but we notice that …
  16. single parties have given way
    to a single mindset,
  17. and the proponents
    of such unilateral thinking
  18. reckon that there is
    but one solution -
  19. the one imposed by the market -
    to cover all society’s activities.
  20. Whatever the activity -
    economic, social, cultural, athletic -
  21. the market is mandated
    to regulate it.
  22. We see how the market penetrates
    all society’s interstices,
  23. like a liquid, that leaves nothing
    and spares nothing.
  24. This is why we can now talk
    about “globalitarian” regimes:
  25. because there’s a will to impose
  26. a kind of unique solution
    to the plurality of our problems.
  27. I wrote “La Pensée Unique” …
  28. in 1995,
  29. when most of our citizens …
  30. hadn’t yet become totally aware
  31. that we had fallen into an ideology
    in which we were now immersed.
  32. Today, we’d call this ideology
    “neo-liberal”.
  33. Neo-liberalism
    is an economic technique,
  34. a certain set
    of economic principles,
  35. but in reality, imperceptibly, it’s
    also a veritable ideological yoke.
  36. This is what I was trying
    to point out, primarily,
  37. by saying what it
    ultimately consists in:
  38. Neo-Liberalism consists in
    a certain number of principles,
  39. notably that
    the market’s invisible hand
  40. is there to settle problems. People
    and States need not get involved,
  41. let the market work.
  42. Establishing principles
    like deregulation.
  43. Everything’s over-regulated,
    the State’s been too involved.
  44. We need less government.
  45. Capital must prevail over labour.
    We must always favour capital.
  46. And we must privatize.
  47. The State’s perimeter must be small,
    the private sector’s expansive.
  48. Free trade must be promoted
    because commerce is development.
  49. We made this kind of equivalency.
  50. I was trying to show how
    these principles weren’t recent,
  51. but had been developed since ’44,
    since the Bretton-Woods conference,
  52. which initiated the IMF
    and the World Bank.
  53. It arose from all the work the IMF
    had done since the ’60s and ’70s
  54. geared towards southern countries,
    called “structural adjustment”,
  55. or, in some countries,
    “the Washington Consensus”,
  56. namely that State budgets
    must necessarily be reduced,
  57. no public deficit, no inflation,
  58. bureaucracies must be reduced,
    all public services like health …
  59. and education
    must be reduced to a minimum.
  60. The State isn’t to make
    that kind of expenditure, etc.
  61. Many southern countries
    suffered greatly, of course.
  62. These were basically my points,
    and when we add up these elements,
  63. we’re faced with an ideology.
  64. And at the time, France was on
    the eve of a presidential election,
  65. which took place
    a few months later in May.
  66. So, I was saying that
    ultimately, in reality,
  67. we were being proposed this almost
    single-party kind of pensée unique.
  68. Leftist Privatization
  69. Shortly after the Iron Curtain fell,
    we witnessed in the West
  70. a reframing rightwards by the
    vast majority of left-wing parties.
  71. From the British Labour Party to
    Germany’s SPD via the Parti Québécois,
  72. they all got into a State “reform”,
    “reengineering” or “modernization”
  73. that invariably meant
    adopting neo-liberal politics.
  74. From 1997 to 2002 in France,
    Lionel Jospin’s socialist government
  75. proceeded to privatize about
    10 major national corporations -
  76. the same number as the right-wing
    governments before and afterwards.
  77. How has neo-liberalism found its way
    into so-called “socialist” parties?
  78. And where is it coming from?
  79. origins
  80. Winnipeg General Strike, 1919
  81. Neo-liberalism appeared …
  82. under particular intellectual
    and institutional configurations.
  83. Generally speaking,
    from 1914 to 1945,
  84. capitalism went through
    an unprecedented crisis.
  85. The crisis was a material one.
    In the ’20s,
  86. capitalism had boomed
    after Reconstruction,
  87. but the Depression in the ’30s
  88. led to unemployment,
    bankruptcy, political disorder.
  89. And intellectually,
  90. the liberal credo yielded
    to the claims of economic planning,
  91. interventionism, and
    general wariness of laissez-faire.
  92. There was widespread demand
    for reinforced State intervention,
  93. state-controlled economies.
  94. This turned into concrete projects,
    both in “dictatorships”
  95. and in democracies.
  96. We think of the Soviet 5-year plan
  97. and also the New Deal in the U.S.,
  98. under the National Recovery
    Administration (NRA)
  99. and other such structures.
  100. In Nazi Germany, it was
    the Reich economics ministry.
  101. In Fascist Italy, it was
    the corporations ministry.
  102. Even in France, a national
    economy ministry was established -
  103. a totally new thing,
    under the rising Front Populaire.
  104. Communist Demonstration
    Berlin, 1929
  105. Important to establishing
    a neo-liberal network in France
  106. was building a publishing house.
  107. It was called Les Éditions
    de la Librairie de Médicis,
  108. founded in 1937.
  109. It was created by a woman,
    Marie-Thérése Génin,
  110. which was rare
    in this fairly masculine field.
  111. She was connected to a leader
    in French business associations,
  112. Marcel Bourgeois,
  113. who encouraged her to establish
    a vehicle for intellectual texts
  114. for a public of intellectuals.
  115. Éditions de Médicis published
    Walter Lippmann’s La Cité Libre,
  116. the precursor of
    the Walter Lippmann colloquium,
  117. as well as texts by Hayek,
    Rueff, Ludwig von Mises.
  118. About 40 works
    between 1937 and 1940.
  119. They published the proceedings
    of the Lippmann colloquium
  120. at the Institut International
    de Coopération Intellectuel,
  121. now defunct,
    but the forerunner of UNESCO.
  122. This happened
    in a fairly official context.
  123. There were 26 participants, whose
    significance is now acknowledged:
  124. Friedrich Hayek, future
    Nobel Prize winner for economics,
  125. Robert Marjolin, a pillar
    of European construction,
  126. the founders of Germany’s
    “social market economy”,
  127. Alexander Rüstow and Wilhelm Röpke,
  128. de Gaulle’s financial advisor,
    Jacques Rueff,
  129. the mastermind of Ronald Reagan’s
    Star Wars, Stefan Possony.
  130. That’s all hindsight. At the time,
    they were less famous.
  131. The colloquium lasted 4 days,
    during which were discussed
  132. the eventual responsibilities
    of liberalism in the Depression,
  133. as well as the means
    of renewing liberalism
  134. and building worldwide opposition
    to interventionism and socialism.
  135. The Walter Lippmann Colloquium
    hosted the avant-garde
  136. of the neo-liberal battle
    in preparation.
  137. Among the most ferocious opponents
    of collectivism,
  138. Friedrich von Hayek and
    Ludwig von Mises stood out.
  139. Hayek and Mises represented
    a particular trend in neo-liberalism,
  140. the Austrian School.
  141. They advocated a radical liberalism
    that grants the State minimal power.
  142. The minimal State is an expression
    used by their disciples.
  143. These two had slightly different
    economic ideas.
  144. Liberals often gloss over
    their divergent views.
  145. But they also had
    certain points in common.
  146. The first is that economic science
    was just a fraction of their work.
  147. Mises considered it a branch of the
    more general science of human action.
  148. Hayek soon left pure economics
  149. to pursue psychology.
    He studied the brain,
  150. political orders, law, etc.
    For them, economics …
  151. was their original field, but it
    didn’t cover all of the humanities.
  152. Secondly, their conception
    of economics was fairly particular.
  153. Austrian School economics
    were far from concrete:
  154. no statistics,
    no mathematical data, etc.
  155. Everything stemmed from axiomatics.
    There were “typical” ideal situations
  156. where one observes
    how a rational person acts
  157. in negotiating choices
    between work and leisure,
  158. sleeping and getting rich, etc.,
  159. supported by metaphors like
    Robinson Crusoe on his desert island.
  160. The third thing they had in common,
    significant to neo-liberal history,
  161. is a concept of intellectual work
    and its role in socialism.
  162. The thinking of Hayek and Mises
    was very elitist and aristocratic:
  163. basically, that the mass
    of humanity doesn’t think.
  164. Mises book, Socialism, says,
    “The masses do not think.”
  165. Only a few intellectuals think,
    and do so on society’s behalf.
  166. So they thought,
    intellectuals must think,
  167. and progressively oppose socialism,
    which other intellectuals invented
  168. and spread to the masses.
    Socialism wasn’t spontaneous.
  169. It was propagated by intellectuals.
  170. Hayek and Mises put the intellectual
    at the centre of social change,
  171. and political and economic change.
  172. This led to them founding groups
    like the Mont Pelerin Society.
  173. War imposed a hiatus on the
    neo-liberals’ militant activities.
  174. The CIRL, a French research centre
    for the renewal of liberalism
  175. arising from the Lippmann Colloquium,
    disappeared after only a year.
  176. As soon as the war ended,
    Hayek took up the torch again.
  177. He invited proponents
    of liberal reestablishment
  178. to a meeting that would be decisive
    to the future of neo-liberalism.
  179. The Mont Pelerin meeting
    took place …
  180. from April 1 to 10, 1947,
  181. in the Hôtel du Parc,
    near Vevey, Switzerland.
  182. It was explicitly meant
    to bring together
  183. liberal European and
    American intellectuals,
  184. and to found an international
    organization for liberal ideas.
  185. Hayek had started making contacts
    2 years earlier
  186. with Colloquium participants
    and the British and Americans.
  187. He invited this circle
    to Mont Pelerin,
  188. whence the society’s name.
  189. There were 39 participants
    at the first meeting.
  190. Again, there were some major figures:
    3 future Nobel winners,
  191. Milton Friedman, George Stigler,
    Maurice Allais.
  192. People known for their political
    or philosophical essays,
  193. Karl Popper, Bertrand de Jouvenel.
  194. And those with direct political
    influence in their country -
  195. the Germans, Wilhelm Röpke
    and Walter Eucken,
  196. associated with Germany’s
    “social market economy”.
  197. Discussions revolved around
    relatively general subjects
  198. like Christianity and liberalism,
    the competitive order,
  199. the possibilities of founding
    a European economic federation.
  200. It lasted several days.
  201. Hayek thought they needed
    a flexible structure
  202. with invited members only,
  203. no offices,
    statutes deposited in Illinois,
  204. that would meet biannually
    in different countries -
  205. a fairly nebulous structure for
    confirmed intellectuals who thought
  206. liberalism was a doctrine primarily
    for intellectuals themselves.
  207. at the core
    of the neo-liberal network
  208. The Mont Pelerin Society
    is not a think tank.
  209. It’s a kind of liberal academy.
  210. Nevertheless, a kind of
    division of labour came about
  211. between the Society, which recruited
    only the most renowned liberals,
  212. and its members’ national activities,
  213. which could include setting up
    associations or think tanks.
  214. This took diverse forms.
    In France, they created
  215. the association for economic freedom
    and social progress in the ’60s,
  216. the French section of Mont Pelerin,
  217. the members of which were recruited
    from business or politics.
  218. This broadened recruitment
  219. into milieux other than
    intellectual circles.
  220. The other, think-tank model has been
    perennial in Mont Pelerin’s history.
  221. The most famous are Britain’s 1955
    Institute of Economic Affairs,
  222. or the Heritage Foundation from 1973,
    linked to the U.S. Republican party.
  223. These think tanks
    have appointed employees,
  224. people paid to write notes,
    produce legislative proposals
  225. that are all laid out
    and distributed to politicians
  226. and to journalists with the aim
    of creating liberal public opinion.
  227. There are now hundreds of think tanks
  228. that form a veritable cluster
    which is fairly disorienting,
  229. to the point where think tanks
    like the Atlas Foundation
  230. now have the role
    of promoting think tanks
  231. by distributing kits and instructions
    on how to form one’s own.
  232. They take very different forms.
  233. Groups focused on an author -
    the Hayek Center,
  234. the Mises Institute -
  235. that revolve around
    a particular person’s work.
  236. Groups can have a subject
    of particular concern -
  237. the environment,
    foreign politics, etc.
  238. The quality and power of these
    think tanks are very different.
  239. A think tank’s strength comes from
    whether it can connect intellectuals,
  240. some businessmen, and a general
    trend within conservative parties.
  241. There are think tanks
    like the Center for Policy Studies
  242. of Keith Joseph,
  243. which promoted Thatcher
    and let her garner …
  244. support to revolutionize
    the Conservative Party in the ’70s.
  245. That’s an organization
    at the junction of 3 milieux.
  246. A purely intellectual think tank
    with general thoughts on liberalism
  247. would have little influence
    on political debate.
  248. A whole part of the career
    of Mises, Hayek, etc.
  249. can be explained by the affinities
    they had with business lobby leaders.
  250. Mises was associated with the U.S.
    Foundation for Economic Education,
  251. and thus with business associations.
    Hayek got to Chicago
  252. financed by tycoons who wanted him
    to write another “Road to Serfdom”,
  253. but on America, not just England.
  254. These intellectuals got more power
  255. by teaming up with
    or befriending powerful people.
  256. Hayek’s work may reveal
    a utopian quality,
  257. but it’s the Utopia of the strongest,
    not the most underprivileged.
  258. Financed by corporations
    and vast private fortunes,
  259. neo-liberal think tanks often enjoy
    charitable organization status.
  260. Their generous donors thereby
    have the right to tax exemptions.
  261. However, the law says
    charitable organizations
  262. cannot engage in political acts.
  263. In 1989, Greenpeace was stripped
    of its charitable status
  264. by the Canadian government.
  265. The Canada Revenue Agency
    concluded that this NGO
  266. did not always act
    in the public’s interest.
  267. It contributed, for example,
    “to propelling people into poverty
  268. by demanding the closure
    of polluting industries.”
  269. On the other hand, no neo-liberal
    think tank with charitable status
  270. has ever been interfered with.
  271. During their annual declaration
    to the Canadian government,
  272. these “non-partisan” research
    institutes solemnly state
  273. that they “do not try
    to influence public opinion
  274. or obtain the modification
    of a law or policy”.
  275. How can the market promote
    individual choice and freedom?
  276. Student seminar,
    The Fraser Institute on public policy,
  277. organized jointly with
    l’Institut Économique de Montréal …
  278. Saturday, February 10, 2001 ,
  279. sponsored by Fraser Institute
    supporters throughout Québec”
  280. When one grants coercive power,
  281. the monopoly on coercive power,
  282. to an agency,
    one we call the government,
  283. there will always be a tendency …
  284. to use it, either ignorantly,
    or to abuse this power.
  285. And power has a tendency to grow.
  286. What the Fraser Institute tries
    to research and emphasize is,
  287. what the proper limits
    of government are,
  288. and what are the limits
    of private enterprise,
  289. or of voluntary exchanges
    between individuals?
  290. Therein lies the nexus, the division,
  291. between coercion and free will
    that will inform my discussion …
  292. my lecture today. And you’ll be
    seeing lectures by others who came
  293. to participate today.
  294. SPECIAL LUNCHEON PRESENTATION
  295. … from the Foundation for
    Economic Education in New York.
  296. In his presentation,
    ’Cleaned by Capitalism’,
  297. this expert on liberty will discuss
    how our rising standard of living
  298. has allowed us the ‘luxury’
    of worrying about such things
  299. as global environmental issues.”
  300. This seminar’s not government funded.
    It’s financed by private sponsorship.
  301. It’s encouraging to see people put
    their money where their beliefs are.
  302. I think there are
    far too many services
  303. like unemployment insurance,
    health, education,
  304. that fall under a monopoly,
  305. that of the government, which is
    the sole producer of these services.
  306. Why not open it up
    and have competition?
  307. We could have competition
    in the production of services,
  308. and perhaps address
    our concern for the poor
  309. by giving them grants
    so they can buy these services.
  310. So, divide …
  311. Separate production, which I’d like
    to see private and competitive,
  312. from funding, which could be
    partly governmental.
  313. I don’t like talking about markets.
    They don’t exist without governments.
  314. Every market needs rules.
  315. Every market needs
    a certain level of coercion.
  316. And I don’t like talking about
    freedom as a value in itself.
  317. Many people don’t want freedom.
  318. l’d like the freedom
    to choose my masters.
  319. What I try to …
  320. discuss in my lectures is,
  321. how can we …
  322. have a system of government
    that permits us the choice
  323. of what kind of representatives
    and restrictions we’ll choose.
  324. We must all live under restrictions,
    even the fiercest libertarians.
  325. brief liberal anthology
  326. libertarianism
    and the theory of public choice
  327. Le Québécois Libre
    Editorial
  328. What must libertarians do?”
  329. Libertarianism is the descendent
  330. of classic liberal philosophy.
  331. It puts the accent
    on individual freedom
  332. and its repercussions. Economically,
    it’s the free market. Politically,
  333. it’s the minimal State
    and the least coercion possible.
  334. The least regulation …
  335. It gives individuals as much
    leeway as possible to act
  336. and have willing relationships
    with others.
  337. Socially speaking as well, it’s …
  338. the polar opposite of philosophies
    that impose some social, religious …
  339. or cultural order. The idea is,
  340. if we are free in a context where
    person and property are protected,
  341. everyone will be able to have
    voluntary relationships,
  342. which will lead to harmony.
    Libertarianism isn’t anarchy,
  343. with individuals fighting,
    “wild capitalism”, “wild competition”.
  344. It’s not that at all.
  345. It’s giving people enough space for
    peaceful, voluntary relationships.
  346. Neo-liberal, anarchist
    or libertarian?
  347. Libertarianism is the descendent
    of classic liberalism,
  348. a philosophy that was developed
    in the 17th and 18th century
  349. in reaction to the authoritarian
    monarchies of the period.
  350. Liberalism said,
  351. to match sovereign power,
    individuals must have more freedom.
  352. This developed in subsequent
    centuries to give us …
  353. our current philosophy,
    which embraces the free market …
  354. But 20th-century libertarians
  355. stand apart from liberals. The
    definition of “liberal” has changed.
  356. In the U.S. a liberal
    is ultimately the reverse:
  357. a social democrat or a leftist.
  358. Europe keeps the French tradition,
    where liberal means liberal.
  359. But there’s a lot of confusion.
    The Americans, the classic liberals,
  360. started calling themselves
    “libertarians” in the ’20s and ’30s
  361. to stand apart from leftist liberals.
  362. And libertarian philosophy
    is more coherent and radical
  363. than classic liberalism,
  364. calling for State reduction,
    either to its simplest form,
  365. or certain libertarians even favour
    eliminating the State altogether,
  366. privatizing even defence,
    security and justice.
  367. Redistributing wealth is immoral
  368. Today, in a society
    where the State spends …
  369. State expenditures represent
    about 45% to 50% of the GDP.
  370. The State controls such sectors
    as education, health.
  371. It controls a lot
    and regulates other things.
  372. It subsidizes almost everyone.
    Much of the population …
  373. lives only off
    the redistribution of money.
  374. They don’t produce goods demanded
    by others on the free market.
  375. They just receive State money
    confiscated from other taxpayers.
  376. This means there are many people …
  377. who live at the expense of others.
    From a libertarian standpoint,
  378. society can be divided in two,
    those who produce and those who live
  379. as the producers’ dependents
    and are a kind of parasite.
  380. It’s a strong word,
    but it’s appropriate.
  381. You can’t favour individual
    responsibility and defend that stance.
  382. All who live dependently on others
    are really irresponsible.
  383. They don’t do anything required
    and they live …
  384. on State coercion, which transfers
    wealth from one group to the other.
  385. If we want to promote
    freedom and responsibility,
  386. we cannot accept the dependency
    of much of the population.
  387. The theory of public choice says
    the adoption of government policies
  388. is not motivated
    by collective interests
  389. but by the particular interests
    of various social groups.
  390. In 1986, James M. Buchanan,
    originator of this theory,
  391. who denounces State inefficiency and
    advocates limited public spending,
  392. won the “Nobel prize” for economics.
  393. Contrary to the perception
    being peddled here,
  394. we in Québec live in a State culture.
    People don’t realize
  395. because we’re so inured
    to this viewpoint,
  396. that we naturally accept it,
    but it’s actually a State culture
  397. that naively perceives …
  398. the State as the instrument
    to maximize the common good.
  399. As though the inspiration …
  400. But that view or vision
    of the State is perfectly …
  401. angelic. It has nothing
    to do with real governments.
  402. Why do we believe our governments,
    democratic as they are -
  403. which is an advantage -
  404. will maximize the common good?
    They won’t.
  405. Governments obey
    the game rules that rule them.
  406. What game rules?
    The electoral process.
  407. That’s the virtue of it.
  408. What does this herald?
  409. Primarily that …
  410. we will often witness …
  411. majority dictatorship.
  412. Since the primary, if not sole,
    rule in politics is the majority,
  413. a government that can win elections
    will first privilege the majority.
  414. The majority’s incomes are weak
    relative to the average.
  415. So the sole object
    of policies will be …
  416. to redistribute wealth in its favour,
  417. not to maximize wealth
    or enhance growth.
  418. Efficiency isn’t a major issue
    for a government.
  419. Its priority is redistributing wealth
    to the majority that elects it.
  420. That explains
    universal social programs.
  421. That explains …
  422. the majority’s predilections
    with regard to …
  423. the public health
    and education monopolies.
  424. It’s not compassion,
    nor a concern …
  425. for sharing wealth
    that inspires this position.
  426. The majority wants services paid
    by a slightly more affluent minority.
  427. That’s the sense of it.
  428. So, it’s a gigantic lie to say
  429. that compassion inspires …
  430. public health and education
    monopolies. That’s not the reality.
  431. The second dimension is that people,
    i.e., the majority,
  432. is rather apolitical.
  433. In economics, it’s what we call
    “rational ignorance”.
  434. It would be stupid for each of us
  435. to acquire lots of information
    on politics,
  436. to get informed on the impact on us
    of more than just a few policies.
  437. Because we can’t do anything.
    We’re one voter out of X million.
  438. So, informed or not,
    whether we vote wisely or badly,
  439. the result’s the same.
  440. So, everyone must aim to minimize
    the effort of understanding politics
  441. and political information,
    which they do.
  442. People often can’t name their MP.
  443. And they’d be incapable …
  444. of explaining a policy.
  445. To them, this is normal
    because, again,
  446. it would cost a lot to get informed,
  447. whereas their potential
    influence is nil.
  448. So, people are apathetic, apolitical.
    They don’t participate in politics
  449. because it’s not worth it.
  450. This opens the way for intervention
    by strategically placed groups.
  451. Interest groups.
    That explains their dominance.
  452. Organizations like the CSN or the
    Canadian Manufacturers’ Association
  453. are already prepared to do politics,
    propaganda and lobbying,
  454. at minimal cost because
    they’re already organized.
  455. So that means political decisions
    will be dominated
  456. by strategically placed people,
    organized groups.
  457. All the world’s great governments -
    today’s and yesterday’s -
  458. have merely been gangs of thieves,
    come together to pillage, conquer
  459. and enslave their fellow men.
  460. And their laws, as they call them,
    represent only those agreements
  461. they deemed it necessary to enter
    in order to keep their organization
  462. and act together in plundering
    and enslaving others,
  463. and securing to each
    his agreed share of the spoils.
  464. These laws impose no more real
    obligation than do the deals
  465. that brigands, bandits and pirates
    find it necessary to enter into
  466. with each other.”
  467. - Natural Law, or the Science
    of Justice, 1882 (paraphrased)
  468. lf we look objectively at the facts,
    the State is a coercive institution.
  469. The State can only operate
    by forcibly imposing things.
  470. For example,
  471. when the State has
    a monopoly like Hydro-Québec,
  472. if I decide to produce
    and sell electricity
  473. and I’m outside the monopoly,
    ultimately,
  474. they won’t just slap my wrists for
    breaking the rules. I’ll go to jail
  475. if I persist in doing something
    the State prohibits by regulation.
  476. The State will physically assault me
    if I offer a service
  477. that the statesmen
    have decided to monopolize.
  478. All the State does
    when it steals half our salary -
  479. sorry, but no one asked
    my opinion about it,
  480. so half my salary’s stolen …
    It could be said that,
  481. democratically, we elected people
    who decided that for us,
  482. but democracy is
    the “peaceful” organization
  483. of the State’s thievery.
  484. I didn’t vote to have half my salary
    lifted, but many are interested -
  485. because they live
    at the expense of the State -
  486. in having the State take half
    and giving it to them.
  487. So, democracy isn’t true freedom.
  488. I’m not anti-democratic in the sense
    of being for an authoritarian State,
  489. When you speak against democracy,
    you’re always seen as favouring
  490. an authoritarian State.
    On the contrary, I’m for a State
  491. that’s absolutely non-authoritarian,
    to the point where
  492. it doesn’t even justify its actions
    on the basis of democracy.
  493. Individual freedom does not equal
    democratic freedom.
  494. Democratically giving people
    the power to take and impose things,
  495. contradicts individual freedom.
  496. A true defence of individual freedom
    doesn’t favour more democracy,
  497. more ways of divvying up
  498. resources that have been
    stolen from others.
  499. We’re for reducing the State’s role
    so individuals are altogether free,
  500. not to decide
    which fox they’ll vote in
  501. to raid the hen house, but to decide
    what to do with their property.
  502. The incentives incorporated
    into social policies are harmful,
  503. both to the poor,
    and to the general population.
  504. What I mean by that is,
    we have a public social economy
  505. in parallel with
    the capitalist market economy.
  506. One is productive. The other is
    based on the former-USSR model
  507. and comprises incentives that
    hurt everyone. We reward people …
  508. for not working.
    We compensate them
  509. for not having stable families.
  510. Welfare for single mothers …
  511. is a way of multiplying births
    outside the family.
  512. And we reward poverty.
    It’s as radical as that.
  513. Poverty obeys the standard rules:
    subsidies make it more prevalent,
  514. because people start liking it.
  515. This has been clear in Ontario
    and the U.S. over the past 5 years,
  516. where they really imposed
  517. limits to people’s access
  518. to welfare payments,
  519. and the population of poor people
    fell by half in a few years!
  520. Because there was no more money,
    conditions changed,
  521. work was imposed on them,
    whatever the methods were.
  522. So, there are ways
    to foster people’s reinsertion
  523. into the productive economy.
  524. Instead of piling them
    into social housing, ghettos,
  525. where everyone’s poor,
  526. if they were given vouchers or stamps
    that gave them access to property,
  527. instead of subsidizing unemployment,
  528. as with unemployment insurance.
    People are subsidized
  529. to be unemployed.
    Otherwise, no subsidy.
  530. We could create
    unemployment savings funds,
  531. so people could accumulate a hedge,
  532. sheltered from tax,
    even subsidized,
  533. in case they lose their job.
    Everyone would then be careful
  534. not to lose their job because
    they’d be eating into their own fund,
  535. the beneficiary of their own savings.
  536. Lots of ideas. But our social
    policies are really built
  537. to create an industry of poverty,
    an industry of dependence,
  538. that benefits all the bureaucrats
    who gravitate around it
  539. and encourage dependence
    in the population,
  540. as well as political support,
  541. with no long-term effect
    across the country.
  542. Social policies
    haven’t diminished poverty.
  543. That’s the final diagnosis
    of the matter.
  544. We observe …
  545. that growth …
  546. Historically and from
    country to country,
  547. the growth of economies’ revenues
    is the only means
  548. to help the poor.
  549. We have rigorous data about this.
  550. The only variable that affects …
  551. that reduces poverty
  552. in various countries
  553. is the growth of wealth.
  554. Social policies count for nothing!
  555. So, whoever is concerned
  556. about helping the poor
    or underprivileged
  557. must also privilege growth.
  558. Consequently, all those
    who oppose free trade
  559. on behalf of poor countries,
    or of the poor within countries,
  560. are wrong.
    Their observations are mistaken.
  561. The facts contradict their options.
  562. The best help is to open trade
    so everyone’s income goes up.
  563. Statistically, the income of the poor
    increases as fast as anyone’s
  564. when revenues go up. To achieve this,
    the economy must be opened up.
  565. Beyond that,
  566. beyond helping the poor
    with measures that might help,
  567. I don’t see any …
  568. basis for redistributing wealth.
  569. The government
    redistributes a lot of wealth
  570. in favour of the middle class,
    because it’s the decisive majority.
  571. But not on any moral basis.
    The only social justice, if I may,
  572. is the respect for property rights.
  573. Libertarians believe
    public goods don’t exist.
  574. The notion’s a fallacy
    to justify State intervention.
  575. The logic is, there are always
    external factors, like pollution.
  576. We cannot produce without making
    smoke, which falls on our neighbour,
  577. or residues that will have to …
  578. go into the river.
    But the reason this happens is
  579. there’s no property right
    over water, for example.
  580. Rivers are public.
  581. Hence,
    during the entire 19th century,
  582. companies were allowed
    to pollute rivers,
  583. and until very recently
    this was done because the State
  584. controlled the river. It was
    a public State-controlled resource
  585. and the State let private companies
    pollute the river.
  586. But if the river had been privatized
    and each of its owners
  587. had had to be consulted
    for permission for the company
  588. to put effluents into the river,
    we can be quite sure
  589. things would’ve been different.
    Or it might’ve happened,
  590. if the company had paid
    the true price for polluting,
  591. i.e., paid the owners
    for polluting their resource.
  592. Resource allocation
    would’ve been very different.
  593. There would’ve been emphasis
  594. on alternative solutions.
  595. Companies would’ve invested more
    in technological solutions,
  596. or arranged to pollute
    in very targeted places
  597. owned by someone who would accept
    pollution in exchange for payment.
  598. Production priorities would’ve been
    reorganized differently.
  599. So, “public goods” exist
    only because the State
  600. distorts production
  601. by nationalizing certain assets,
    or the environment itself.
  602. Historically, liberalism
    represented a progression.
  603. But classic liberalism
    as championed by Adam Smith,
  604. founder of political economics,
    has very little to do
  605. with what’s presently circulating as
    the “liberalism” in neo-liberalism.
  606. It has almost nothing to do
    with classic liberalism.
  607. So, historically liberalism was
    a progression, in that it was …
  608. a way of contesting
    absolute monarchies,
  609. and giving individuals rights.
  610. Among these rights,
    in the liberalism of Locke and Smith,
  611. were private property rights.
    That’s a progression.
  612. But it’s not absurd
    to think that even anarchism …
  613. is a child of liberalism. Early
    liberalism was somewhat radical,
  614. and today’s “liberal” thinkers would
    make Adam Smith roll in his grave,
  615. because he wouldn’t recognize much
    in what’s now passing for liberalism.
  616. Take the case of private property.
  617. lf it stems from interactions driven
    by transnational corporations,
  618. at the core and in the framework
    of classic liberalism,
  619. this is unthinkable.
    It’s a fallacy to think
  620. that private tyrannies like GM
    or Bombardier can have rights,
  621. either property rights or rights
    that transcend human beings.
  622. On the other hand, the question
    of property rights is a hard one.
  623. It’s important to ask.
    There’s no simple answer.
  624. Nevertheless, I’m sure that,
    even in the context of liberalism,
  625. one cannot place current practices,
    agents such as transnationals,
  626. and their accepted rights,
    within a classically liberal model.
  627. Property rights must be reconsidered.
  628. My opinions about it
    are those of classic anarchism:
  629. private ownership of means
    of production seems aberrant.
  630. But what Proudhon calls “possession”
    has a place.
  631. Ownership rights are healthy.
  632. But the current, ersatz “liberal”
    or “neo-liberal” doctrine is absurd.
  633. Let’s suppose that, in our world,
  634. someone can appropriate,
  635. by the means one normally acquires
    property rights over anything …
  636. Suppose someone like me
    appropriates by accepted legal means
  637. elements that are essential
    to everyone’s life.
  638. People like you could die
    or sell out to me.
  639. Current neo-liberalism would
    recognize such a society as just.
  640. It’s clearly aberrant. Such questions
    can’t be answered as simplistically
  641. as our world would have it. But it’s
    a tough question. I choose to think
  642. production means can’t be private but
    ownership of things we use is good.
  643. Free trade
    is a very beautiful concept,
  644. and, as it was imagined
    in the 18th century,
  645. it certainly had merits,
    because it’s very logical to say
  646. you must produce better
    and more cheaply,
  647. and trade with others
    who’ll do the same.
  648. Instead of making wine in England,
    buy it from Portugal.
  649. The Portuguese
    will buy your woollens.
  650. That’s Riccardo’s original example.
  651. But the great 18th-century
    theoreticians never imagined
  652. that capital itself would be free
    to go where it wanted,
  653. and an American or British company
    could go invest in China,
  654. take advantage
    of repression in China,
  655. which rejects unions
    and so has extremely low wages,
  656. could “externalize”
    all the environmental costs,
  657. make society and the whole planet pay
    because it pollutes but it’s cheaper.
  658. So, instead of having
    a “comparative” advantage -
  659. I make wine cheaper than you,
    you make woollens cheaper than me -
  660. it becomes an absolute advantage
    because …
  661. my capital is free
    to roam wherever it finds
  662. the best conditions for profit.
  663. This is what warps trade practices,
  664. and makes the transnationals
    naturally want
  665. the greatest possible freedom
    for themselves.
  666. But there’s no question
    of labour circulating,
  667. except for our “contemporary nomads”-
  668. highly qualified personnel,
  669. covered under service agreements,
    since they have the right
  670. to circulate freely
    and set up where they want,
  671. whereas the common mortal does not.
  672. December 17, 1992.
    U.S. president, George H. W. Bush,
  673. signed the North American
    Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  674. with Canada and Mexico.
  675. Fourteen years later,
    on October 26, 2006,
  676. his son, George W. Bush
    promulgated the Secure Fence Act.
  677. This law authorizes
    the construction of a double wall,
  678. 4.5 meters high and 1,200 km long,
    along the Mexican border.
  679. It is also outfitted with
    the latest surveillance technology:
  680. watchtowers, cameras,
    ground sensors, drones, etc.
  681. The theory of comparative advantage
    posits international specialization.
  682. It says nations must specialize
    according to comparative advantages.
  683. It’s a purely static theory.
  684. Pawns are shifted around a box
    without questioning the box’s form,
  685. or whether the box evolves
    with the pawn configuration.
  686. The theory’s purely immediate.
    So, why doesn’t it work?
  687. Because international trade
    isn’t just neutral exchange,
  688. where the nice Natives trade
    with the charming conquistadors.
  689. It doesn’t work like that
    and it never did.
  690. The conquistadors kill everyone.
    Then trade comes in
  691. as Phase Two of pacification.
    But in international trade,
  692. which is the matrix of business …
    That’s another preconceived notion.
  693. Trade’s not intra-village, then city,
    region, nation. Then international.
  694. It never worked that way.
    Quite the contrary.
  695. International business
    follows the military,
  696. it follows predation. Then comes
    an inward pacification process.
  697. The “invisible hand” theory
    is quite extraordinary.
  698. First, it wagers that men are bad.
  699. It’s quite lucid. It says,
    we’ll work with that.
  700. People are self-centred, greedy,
  701. mean and self-interested.
    They dislike collectives.
  702. They’re unsupportive,
    anti-social, narcissistic.
  703. Let’s say this kind of flaw
    turns into …
  704. an advantage
    for the collective and society.
  705. Let them go. Public happiness will
    arise from their egoistic antagonism.
  706. That’s the invisible hand.
    The idea is that
  707. every time one intervenes,
    tries to order this ego antagonism,
  708. the system gets disrupted and worse.
    One great reactionary thesis
  709. is the argument of perverse effect.
    Hirschmann said it. It’s great.
  710. The reactionary rightists
  711. have always accused leftists
    of causing evil by doing good.
  712. You want to do good, help the poor,
    you’ll create a lot of poverty.
  713. The Economist published an amazing
    picture after the Seattle summit.
  714. It showed starving Third-World people,
    African children, labelled,
  715. Victims of the Seattle failure.
  716. That is vile!
    Worse than the Benetton ads.
  717. The message was, you played
    around at hindering the WTO.
  718. To what end? You created
    poor, unhappy, starving people.
  719. Whereas this system creates
    the poor, starving, unhappy.
  720. The invisible hand says, let it be.
  721. You can’t fix it. Man is unkind, bad.
  722. Only wickedness can stop wickedness.
  723. Put two bad guys together,
    it balances out. Laissez-faire.
  724. Economists have been studying
    the invisible hand since 1776.
  725. So they’ve been studying
    this problem for quite a while.
  726. For it to work, men have
    to be separate. Autonomous.
  727. No relationships, no collectives.
    Only their own rationality,
  728. separate from others’, individual.
    Absolute individualism.
  729. The second condition
    is perfect information.
  730. Omniscience about future events
    for centuries to come …
  731. Second condition.
    Now, what’s the third …
  732. Perfect information …
    and thirdly,
  733. no uncertainty, like a storm,
    chance, Ariane breaking down
  734. on the 25th flight and not the 3rd.
  735. The world must be hazard-free,
    which is corollary to saying
  736. perfect foresight is necessary.
    Under these conditions,
  737. the invisible hand might work,
    but it’s not even sure,
  738. for it’s important to know
    that liberal economists -
  739. the greatest, most mathematical,
    most prestigious, Nobel winners -
  740. have shown for about 25 years,
  741. that the invisible hand theorem
    doesn’t work. It’s bullshit.
  742. They’ve shown it.
    Many suspected as much.
  743. Keynes suspected it for a long time
    because he thought
  744. the idea of equilibrium
    was inapplicable to economy,
  745. It was more disequilibrium -
    economy was fundamentally chaotic.
  746. But the pure, hard, mean, liberal,
    most prestigious economists,
  747. draped in the prestige
    of the most hard-nose science,
  748. starting with Nobel winner,
    Gérard Debreu, 25 years ago,
  749. have said it doesn’t work. Markets
    don’t mean equilibrium or efficiency.
  750. Markets don’t mean equilibrium, so
    supply-and-demand means nothing.
  751. And they’re not efficient, so
    laissez-faire is the worst solution.
  752. Thank you, liberal gentlemen. Kind of
    you to say so. We thought as much.
  753. So anyone who says “invisible hand”,
    “supply and demand”, “equilibrium” …
  754. is either a crook (not uncommon),
  755. or hides his eyes (also happens),
    someone who’s wilfully blind,
  756. or Sartre’s “bastard” -
    who knows but stays silent,
  757. or an incompetent. They exist too.
  758. Adam Smith, David Riccardo,
    Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill,
  759. Malthus, more or less -
  760. all the classic figures
    in the creation of economics
  761. incorporated social thought.
    They were social philosophers
  762. more than “pure” economists.
  763. But the neo-classics - Auguste
    and Léon Walras, father and son,
  764. mid- to late-19th century,
  765. inaugurated a kind of economics
    that calls itself scientific.
  766. In doing so, it dispenses with
    all moral or philosophical thought.
  767. So it evacuates all the concerns
    the classics had until Karl Marx,
  768. which were the following:
  769. Who makes money and why?
    Has he the right to make so much?
  770. Is this fair? Unfair?
  771. Is it good for the community or bad?
    Economics had an ethical dimension.
  772. And this was evacuated
    with neo-classical thought.
  773. This neo-classicism opened the way
    for neo-liberal thought.
  774. Neo-liberalism then added
    to neo-classicism’s kind of …
  775. scientific decree (We are a science,
    so we imitate physics.):
  776. We notice money goes
    from here to there.
  777. We count, observe, classify.
  778. But we refrain from casting judgment,
  779. because physics, the mother
    of all sciences, does not judge.”
  780. Economics’ strength is that it
    comes as obvious, neutral truth -
  781. a neutral discourse
    that speaks neither good nor evil,
  782. that is scientific,
    with all the neutrality of science,
  783. that comes across as normal.
  784. Putting pressure on wages
    to cut inflation is obviously normal.
  785. Obviously we can’t have inflation.
  786. No matter if this generated
    phenomenal inequality,
  787. led certain peoples into destitution,
  788. created disparities
    between north and south,
  789. created a caste of rich people
    taking up the foreground,
  790. eradicating State power,
    breaking social security.
  791. Despite all this,
    there is but one obvious truth:
  792. You can’t be pro-inflation!?
  793. But if we look at truth and history,
    we see that those rare times
  794. when capital was muzzled,
    as in the glorious ’30s,
  795. were inflationary periods
    when wages could increase,
  796. because people who borrowed
    for houses, etc., due to inflation,
  797. managed to pay off debt quickly.
  798. Now, it’s an economy of the rich.
  799. One could ask,
    “You want the rich to run the world?”
  800. instead of,
    “Surely, you’re against inflation?”
  801. To impose their ideology,
    neo-liberals have, over the years,
  802. developed a relentless strategy,
    thought encirclement.
  803. This strategy rests in large part
    on the actions of a global network
  804. of propaganda, intoxication
    and indoctrination
  805. that can make its polymorphous voice
    heard in all forums.
  806. Largely conceived in think tanks,
  807. neo-liberal propaganda subsequently
    branched out in many ways.
  808. Education became
    one of the most important branches.
  809. propaganda and indoctrination
  810. propaganda and indoctrination
  811. education
  812. The idea of national education
    arose in the 18th century.
  813. In the wake of the French Revolution
    and European nation-states,
  814. there arose the idea …
  815. that a public democratic space
    implied people who were informed,
  816. and who were skilled
    at thinking, discussing,
  817. participating in political discourse.
    There were 2 institutions for this
  818. to ensure that people could become
    “citizens”, as they said at the time:
  819. Education, one important function
    of which was to train citizens,
  820. prepare citizens.
    And then, the media.
  821. We’ll discuss that later.
    As for education,
  822. one of its mandates - not that it was
    implemented or realized very well -
  823. but a mandate of education
    was to train citizens,
  824. empower people to take part
    in political debate
  825. and reflect on political questions
    beyond their own interests.
  826. That was the main thing.
    Not to think about politics,
  827. or economic and social debates,
    from a self-serving standpoint,
  828. but from the standpoint of the
    public good and collective interests.
  829. Education cultivated this.
  830. But in the so-called “neo-liberal”
    changes of the past 30 years,
  831. the dominant institutions realized
    education was an important issue,
  832. and important to appropriate.
    Is what I’m saying right?
  833. Are they penetrating education?
    Anyone who looks knows it is.
  834. From primary school to university,
    it varies according to country.
  835. It’s different in the U.S.,
    Canada, Québec, France.
  836. It depends on the history
    of how each system developed.
  837. But we see massive penetration
    on the part of private industry
  838. into the education system. Why?
  839. The answers are quite simple.
  840. Education’s a very profitable market.
  841. It’s interesting to appropriate this
    piece of social and economic activity
  842. because it’s profitable. And it lets
    children’s minds be appropriated.
  843. It’s as blunt as that.
    Educating is seizing minds.
  844. Being able to take hold of children’s
    minds is extremely crucial, serious.
  845. It requires a strong justification
    and I’m not sure we can give it one.
  846. When companies infiltrate education,
    they’re aiming for children’s minds,
  847. and to transform the subjects taught.
  848. That’s when training deviates from
    citizenship and sense of common good
  849. towards the interests of the
    businesses appropriating education.
  850. Seeing the world through culture,
    knowledge, outside of oneself,
  851. is different than from the viewpoint
    of what a company gives us.
  852. The latter element’s always there.
  853. Appropriation of a market,
    of children’s minds,
  854. and preparation for labour.
    From this perspective,
  855. education will increasingly
    lose its other functions -
  856. preparation for civic life,
    openness to the world,
  857. the pure pleasure of understanding
    and knowledge for its own sake -
  858. to orient towards
    market enslavement,
  859. the preparation of subjects
    taught for economic functions.
  860. Education will become
  861. a prelude to mercantile life,
    and to employment.
  862. That’s also very troubling.
  863. We’ve seen transformations like this
    for about 20 years.
  864. With some resistance.
    As this phenomenon arises,
  865. so does resistance to it, luckily.
  866. Channel One is an American company,
  867. now listed on the stock market.
    It launched a project
  868. where they go into
    underfunded schools and say,
  869. Since you have no supplies,
    we’ll furnish you with TV’s, VCR’s
  870. in exchange for which,
    you’ll screen for 20 minutes a day
  871. our educational videos.” -
    current issues shows for children.
  872. Their interest in this
    is the captive clientele.
  873. Throughout the X minutes of
    proposed programming, there are ads.
  874. They add a few minutes of publicity
  875. that allows advertisers to address,
    in an extremely privileged context,
  876. this captive clientele.
  877. This is strong in the U.S.
    Here, it has been tried.
  878. The company in Canada
    was called Athena.
  879. It made sustained efforts
    for a few years.
  880. By and large,
    the school boards refused.
  881. Our public-service funding is not
    in the same state as the U.S.’s,
  882. but it’s another assault
    being conducted against education.
  883. It takes many forms,
    according to country and region.
  884. Mobil has shows on energy. Learn
    environmental protection from them.
  885. And nutrition from NutraSweet,
    which has a kid’s show on nutrition.
  886. You’ll learn the virtues
    of NAFTA with GM,
  887. and about protecting
    forests and the environment
  888. from the companies
    responsible for deforestation.
  889. This model has repercussions
    from primary school to university,
  890. which means, ultimately,
    we could have - I’m half joking -
  891. university ecology departments
    where pollution will be justified.
  892. That’s the troubling thing.
  893. The loss of meaning in certain
    intellectual and human activities …
  894. that this implies.
  895. The more efficient we think
    we are economically …
  896. Financially is more precise,
    since finance is multiplying money.
  897. The more efficiently we make money,
    the less sense it makes.
  898. Does it makes sense to say
    that GM, for example, is efficient
  899. because it made $23- or 24-billion
    net profit in the last decade,
  900. when it created 300,000 unemployed!
  901. Does that make sense?
  902. We say GM is efficient,
    but what is this efficiency?
  903. We say the American economy
    is more efficient.
  904. It is, in financial indicators,
    yield over capital investment, etc.
  905. But the U.S. has never had so many
    people living under the poverty line,
  906. the American poverty line,
  907. or so many people
    without access to health care -
  908. 40% of the American population has
    practically no access to health care.
  909. The U.S. has never had
    such a low level of education.
  910. 50% of Americans
    can’t locate England on a map.
  911. Today, this is aberrant,
  912. when there are at least
    50 TV channels per household.
  913. There’s a picture of what
    I’m calling lack of meaning.
  914. Materially, economically,
    financially, we’re more efficient.
  915. But ecologically, socially,
    politically, humanly,
  916. we are steadily losing
    our values and quality of life.
  917. Senselessness.
  918. To discuss this, we must eschew
    the dominant economic discourse.
  919. To start to make sense of this,
    the problem must be reformulated …
  920. from scratch. To do this,
    we must go back to Aristotle.
  921. He said, “Do not confuse
    the economic -
  922. oikos nomia, the norms
    of running home and community,
  923. with chrematistic, krema atos,
    the accumulation of money.”
  924. That brings us to education.
  925. In education today,
    to what degree is Aristotle taught?
  926. Who knows Aristotle? Who reads him?
  927. I could say the same
    of Victor Hugo, Jean-Paul Sartre,
  928. Archimedes, etc.
  929. So, today,
  930. we say we’re in
    a knowledge-based economy,
  931. but we’ve never educated
    or taught so little.
  932. Yet we’ve never put so much emphasis
  933. on so-called training
    and educational institutions.
  934. Now for the paradox and nonsensical.
    They’re in the fact that
  935. just about everywhere,
    particularly in North America,
  936. schools are being turned into
    the system’s servant factories.
  937. In other words, thinking bipeds
  938. must be concerned only about fuelling
    this free, self-regulating market
  939. and the mechanics
    of production and finance.
  940. We call this “employability”,
  941. training the employable,
  942. reforming education,
    from grade school to university -
  943. training people to find their place
    in the labour market.
  944. That’s horrible.
  945. Would a Victor Hugo
    be employable today?
  946. Would a Socrates be employable?
  947. Would a Paul Verlaine
    or a Rimbaud be employable?
  948. No! So, there would be none.
  949. But what would humanity be
    without Socrates, Aristotle,
  950. Rimbaud, Verlaine, Hugo?
  951. What would we be without them?
    We’d be animals.
  952. Now, on the pretence that they’re
    unemployable and unwanted,
  953. we no longer train poets, literary
    people, pure mathematicians,
  954. or theoretical physicists.
  955. We only train what industry,
    financial enterprise, wants
  956. to fuel the money-making machine.
  957. Who is employable?
  958. The people I see in universities
    where I teach, around the world.
  959. In other words, at the highest level
    - Master’s, Ph.D. -
  960. they’re what I call “technocrats”,
  961. analytical technocrats,
    trained to analyze problems.
  962. We tell them they’re smart
    because they do problem-solving.
  963. Problem-solving is not intelligence.
    Problem-formulation is.
  964. The person who formulates
    the problem is the smart one.
  965. He articulates it, puts it in terms
    of links and combinations
  966. that call for a question.
  967. He’s the smart one. The one who
    relies on a pre-formulated problem
  968. in order to find the right solution
    isn’t intelligent.
  969. Despite what they say.
    Analytical technocrats
  970. master techniques
    of analysis and calculation,
  971. and confuse thinking
    with analyzing and calculating.
  972. They make decisions with no qualms,
    like laying off 60,000 in a day,
  973. doubling their salary by a million,
    and saying “I’m suffering.”
  974. I make hard decisions.
    These are non-humans!
  975. Someone who openly makes
    decisions without soul-searching
  976. is saying, “I’m not a human being.”
  977. By what right do we let him make
    decisions that affect human beings?
  978. He says, “No soul-searching,
    no soul. I’m not human.”
  979. These are highly trained technocrats.
    At the intermediate level …
  980. are the producer technicians.
    These technicians serve machines,
  981. from the computer
    to the digital machine
  982. that cranks out parts
    in plastic, steel, aluminum.
  983. These people are there
  984. so the automated mechanics
    of production never break down.
  985. The only knowledge required of them
  986. is the logic of the machinery
    they’re overseeing. That’s all.
  987. What’s more, they’re merely required
    to understand the machine’s demands.
  988. They don’t even dominate the machine,
    or possess a kind of …
  989. human superiority, additional soul,
    knowledge or sense of the machine.
  990. Instead, the machine says,
    if you’re smart enough,
  991. find the bad chip, change the card.
    And if he can’t, he’s no good.
  992. And on the lower levels,
    what do we train? We don’t.
  993. 45% of the labour of multi-nationals,
    American in particular,
  994. are completely illiterate.
  995. The multi-nationals
    don’t want to change that.
  996. They don’t want these illiterates
    to be the least bit trained,
  997. because otherwise
    they’ll start asking questions.
  998. lf they read papers and reports,
    they’ll start asking questions,
  999. unionizing, thinking.
  1000. So, no way.
  1001. Today, particularly in North America
    and even more in the States,
  1002. there are primary
    and high school graduates …
  1003. in fairly staggering proportions -
  1004. up to 25% here in Québec,
  1005. and if we looked at U.S. figures,
    they’d be the same, if not more -
  1006. who graduated, yet are illiterate,
    who basically can’t read or write.
  1007. They graduated by seniority.
  1008. By attendance and age.
    This suits the system fine.
  1009. Because when your low-level workers
  1010. are lobotomized bipeds,
  1011. who haven’t even been taught to think
    because this would require reading …
  1012. lf I want to learn to think,
    I must read Victor Hugo, poems …
  1013. I must read philosophers.
  1014. Writers teach me to think.
  1015. I can’t think without putting words
    and their permutations into my head.
  1016. lf I don’t have this, I cannot think.
  1017. But I can become an excellent
    reproducer of the system,
  1018. who doesn’t think
    and who defends the system.
  1019. There are now workers who say -
    and this has happened to me
  1020. in serious situations where
    there are closures, layoffs, etc.
  1021. and I ask the workers,
    “What do you think?”
  1022. They often tell me,
    “It’s the law of the market.
  1023. Competition. We must be more
    competitive than the Japanese…”
  1024. They defend the very system
    that’s crushing them.
  1025. We began by examining the networks
    by which ideas circulate.
  1026. Education’s the same. We find …
  1027. ideological justifications, theorists,
    people who conceived education,
  1028. advocating its transformation
    in a way I’ll describe.
  1029. There are also
    powerful transnational institutions
  1030. that entertain the same discourse
    and compel agents, governments
  1031. and teachers to adopt practices
    that conform to these ideals.
  1032. Finally, lobby groups, think tanks,
    try to accomplish the same thing.
  1033. Education is striking.
    It has all three.
  1034. The most influential education
    theorist of the last 50 years
  1035. was an economist, not a pedagogue.
  1036. The top educational theorist
    was probably Gary Becker.
  1037. He teaches at
    the University of Chicago.
  1038. He developed
    the theory of human capital.
  1039. The idea is …
  1040. humans and knowledge
    are capital that requires investment
  1041. and evaluation from
    the standpoint of profitability.
  1042. This theory of human capital
  1043. allows mathematical economic tools
    to be applied to education,
  1044. henceforth viewed as a certain order
    of capital that can be quantified.
  1045. This has been the most influential
    theory of the last 50 years,
  1046. especially where it counts, in places
    where decision-makers are influenced.
  1047. Places where States,
    education ministers
  1048. and education policy-makers
    are influenced.
  1049. The second theorist who established
    the mechanisms that are in play now
  1050. is Milton Friedman, the father
    of monetary economics,
  1051. who proposed a system
    of education vouchers,
  1052. the idea again being
    to inject market mechanisms
  1053. into education,
    and to make schools compete.
  1054. These 2 education theories, never
    discussed in education faculties,
  1055. are the most influential
    recent educational thinking.
  1056. These theories circulate to the IMF,
    the OECD, the World Bank.
  1057. National education systems are
    analyzed from their point of view.
  1058. Recommendations
    are made accordingly.
  1059. Think tanks and major media groups
    often enjoy privileged connections.
  1060. Propaganda naturally circulates
    from one group to the other.
  1061. Also, it is largely due
    to this media transmission
  1062. that neo-liberal ideology
    attains the status of accepted fact.
  1063. propaganda and indoctrination
  1064. propaganda and indoctrination
  1065. the media
  1066. It has traditionally been said
    that Hitler invented propaganda.
  1067. Journals, etc., describe how Hitler
    understood its role in World War II.
  1068. It’s true, he understood
    it’s societal importance.
  1069. But he didn’t invent it.
    He learned from us,
  1070. the Western democracies,
    in particular the English,
  1071. and the Americans.
  1072. Overall, since the advent
    of modern societies,
  1073. two trends prevail.
  1074. The first calls for participative
    democracy with aware people,
  1075. who can talk, act
    and influence decisions.
  1076. The other vision of the world says
    some people must be pushed aside.
  1077. They must not get involved
    in the issues that concern them.
  1078. This vision of society,
    the world and the economy
  1079. also exists in our culture.
    It strongly manifested itself
  1080. during World War I in the U.S.,
    when the government was elected
  1081. on a promise
    of abstaining from war.
  1082. Shortly thereafter, for reasons
    pertaining to internal affairs
  1083. and the role of the industrialists,
  1084. the government decided
    to enter into the conflict.
  1085. The serious problem it then faced was
    confronting an opposed population.
  1086. They formed a commission named after
    the journalist who presided over it,
  1087. Mr Creel.
    It was the Creel Commission.
  1088. This commission largely invented
    modern propaganda techniques,
  1089. techniques for shaping
    and preparing public opinion.
  1090. The Creel Commission magnificently
    fulfilled its mandate,
  1091. reversing public opinion
    in a few months.
  1092. The commission engaged very famous
    people, renowned intellectuals
  1093. and Edward Burnays, founder of
    the modern public-relations industry.
  1094. These people later
    left the commission
  1095. and established communication tools
    within our societies
  1096. that are still present and are among
    the propaganda mechanisms.
  1097. One very important political aim
  1098. is to exclude part of the population,
    to shape public opinion
  1099. and build consensus within society.
  1100. The institutions they invented -
    public relations firms -
  1101. plus the modern concept of the role
    of companies and of P.R. within them,
  1102. social communication, media,
    the role of the intellectual,
  1103. the role of publicity and information
    in our society …
  1104. This was all set up, and was
    the lesson Hitler rightly remembered.
  1105. Whence the mechanisms that
    led to today’s one-track thinking?
  1106. They’re the descendents of what
    I’m describing - the Creel Commission
  1107. and, further back in time,
    of the conception of politics
  1108. that says society must exclude
    part of its population to function.
  1109. We find this too.
  1110. But if the agents I’m describing
    are very powerful, strong, numerous,
  1111. a counter-discourse arises, as do
    sites where other analyses blossom,
  1112. alternative media, intellectuals,
    social and community groups,
  1113. where new thought percolates.
    There’s a dual phenomenon.
  1114. Unfortunately,
    pensée unique predominates.
  1115. Propaganda is working.
  1116. Through such mechanisms
    and institutions,
  1117. a world vision, a vocabulary, a way
    of thinking and conceiving the world
  1118. ensure that certain questions
    may be asked,
  1119. certain answers given,
  1120. certain analyses made,
    while others are excluded.
  1121. Currently, dominant ideology,
    which I call ambient ideology,
  1122. has its official face,
    the pensée unique we spoke of,
  1123. and its unofficial face, which is …
  1124. this ensemble of behaviours
    prescribed by the media overall.
  1125. This ideology never appears
    as an ideology.
  1126. It’s presented as entirely natural,
    something we should obviously do.
  1127. Owning a TV must be obvious.
    “How can one not own a TV
  1128. in the late 20th century?”
  1129. Accepting the advertising system
    is obvious.
  1130. Surely, you won’t,
  1131. in early 2K, call the advertising
    system into question!”
  1132. All that is ideological,
    all that is choice,
  1133. which the system has organized
    without consulting us,
  1134. is presented to us as self-evident,
    given and above discussion.
  1135. Interesting. Indeed,
    concerning pensée unique,
  1136. which is a uniform,
    partial and sectarian way
  1137. of interpreting and
    conducting economy,
  1138. Alain Minc said, “Thought
    is not unique, reality is.”
  1139. From that point on,
    forget calling into question
  1140. what the liberal or ultra-liberal
    economy was doing.
  1141. It was given as reality.
    Reality had to be followed.
  1142. For example,
    “Internationalization is a reality.”
  1143. Of course it is,
    but not necessarily a good one.
  1144. The ideology says it’s a reality,
    it’s valid, we must go with it.
  1145. Globalization, same thing.
  1146. Privatization, same thing.
  1147. It’s being done, so it must be done.
    It had to be done, etc.
  1148. They present as faits accomplis,
  1149. things people must be made to accept,
    instead of asking whether they agree.
  1150. Naturally, this pertains to
    what I was saying in my book
  1151. on the sophism of the ineluctable:
  1152. most politicians cover up
    their actions, their choices,
  1153. because these choices and decisions
    are being billed as inevitable.
  1154. We couldn’t do otherwise.
  1155. It was decreed.
    The Americans are doing this.
  1156. Everyone knows what happens in France
    happened 10 years earlier in the U.S.
  1157. It had to be done in France.
  1158. Renault closed a factory in Belgium
  1159. in order to restructure …
  1160. and create factories elsewhere to do
    the same work, with cheaper labour.
  1161. That was the result
    of an economic calculation.
  1162. About this closure, the head of the
    French state declared the following:
  1163. Alas, factory closures are life.
  1164. Trees are born, live and die, as do
    plants, animals, men and companies.”
  1165. That is a good example
    of naturalizing
  1166. what’s happening,
    which is depoliticization.
  1167. People are obliged
    to accept as natural,
  1168. as independent
    of the will of politicians,
  1169. certain decisions
    that are in fact contingent.
  1170. That’s how they manipulate citizens
  1171. and dissuade them from believing
    in their own vote, ultimately.
  1172. Today, the functioning
    of the media
  1173. fosters the creation of truth.
  1174. The truth can only appear
    as the confrontation,
  1175. the verification of a given version
  1176. confirmed by a number of witnesses.
    We know truth is hard to establish.
  1177. We see it with investigating judges,
  1178. with analytical scientists
    trying to discover truth.
  1179. But today,
    the way the media functions,
  1180. it’s enough that,
    in coverage of an event,
  1181. all the media - press, radio, TV -
    say the same thing
  1182. for this to be established as truth,
    even if it’s false.
  1183. We saw it during the Gulf War,
    and recent mega-events.
  1184. Consequently, in establishing
    this kind of false equation,
  1185. repetition equals proof.
    I was recently rereading …
  1186. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley,
  1187. and I found a phrase
    about hypnopaedia,
  1188. the aural hypnosis they subject
    infants to when they’re born
  1189. to persuade them to be happy
    to be what they are,
  1190. and one of the directors of the
    Conditioning Centre, as it’s called,
  1191. says, “64,000 repetitions
    make one truth.”
  1192. We’re now in Huxley’s world.
  1193. Sustained by incessant
    propaganda and proselytizing
  1194. that pass repeatedly through
    the multiple relays
  1195. of a sprawling network
    of mind control,
  1196. neo-liberal reforms
    gradually impose themselves
  1197. in the anaesthetized consciences
    of Western democracies.
  1198. In these countries, in the name
    of a necessary “realism”,
  1199. all parties, both right and left,
    adopt measures
  1200. that sap the social State more
    every day, to market’s benefit.
  1201. But elsewhere, where propaganda
    doesn’t enjoy the same success,
  1202. especially in developing countries,
    other solutions are imperative.
  1203. Drastic solutions.
  1204. For behind the ideological
    smokescreen,
  1205. behind the beautiful concepts
    of spontaneous order
  1206. and harmonized interests
    in a free market,
  1207. beyond the panacea
    of the invisible hand,
  1208. what’s really hidden?
  1209. What were the true motivations
    of the bankers and industrialists
  1210. who financed the establishment
    of the neo-liberal network?
  1211. neo-liberalism or neo-colonialism?
  1212. strong-arm tactics
    of the financial markets
  1213. Before,
  1214. nearly all of banks’ operations
    until the ’70s were monitored.
  1215. All these operations passed
    via the French central bank
  1216. which kept track.
  1217. Now the problem is,
    banks transact over the counter.
  1218. They’ve taken out just over
    half of their business figures -
  1219. OTC transactions
    outside market control.
  1220. It’s as though there were
    the normal market,
  1221. and a black market.
    A grocery with posted prices
  1222. and a proper cash register.
    Then, a mysterious black market.
  1223. In its reports,
    the Bank of France says,
  1224. when it checks bank reports,
  1225. about half of bank transactions
    are unreported,
  1226. beyond the control
    of a superior authority,
  1227. like a public treasury
    or a central bank.
  1228. These unreported activities mean that
    governments count for nothing.
  1229. There must be …
  1230. $500 billion minimum
  1231. circulating every day
    in off-shore funds, etc.
  1232. If a government hassles a bank,
  1233. it doesn’t care. It just stocks up
    with one of its foreign counterparts,
  1234. another multi-national bank,
  1235. an off-shore fund or elsewhere.
    No problem. Money’s mobile now.
  1236. Beyond the control
    of any public authority.
  1237. OTC transactions
  1238. are a very serious problem.
  1239. To control the economy,
    you must control money.
  1240. Over-the-counter operations
    are generally effectuated
  1241. with relatively new financial
    instruments, derivative products:
  1242. It’s basically insurance contracts.
    In other words,
  1243. you get insured
    against future fluctuations
  1244. in interest rates and currency.
  1245. You sign a contract
  1246. with someone to pay in 6 months.
    The contract is in dollars.
  1247. If the dollar rises,
    you’re in trouble. In 6 months,
  1248. you’ll have to buy dollars at a 10%
    premium. So you take out insurance
  1249. on the value of the dollar.
  1250. A guy takes on the risk. You pay him
    3% or 4% extra at the onset.
  1251. Whatever the dollar’s rise or fall -
    the guy wins if it falls -
  1252. you don’t move. You have insurance.
    That’s derivative products.
  1253. The interesting thing is
    it creates a risk economy.
  1254. Currency’s no longer controlled,
    capital flux isn’t monitored, etc.
  1255. So, it’s an economy
    where risk is maintained
  1256. in order to create
    on top of this system,
  1257. an insurance system
    where risk is covered.
  1258. But the difference between this
    and risks like car accidents
  1259. is that accidents are predictable.
    It’s the law of probability.
  1260. Whereas the risks
    in the financial markets …
  1261. are rare epiphenomena that
    can’t be statistically quantified.
  1262. Absolute risks,
    absolutely unforeseeable.
  1263. So these insurance contracts
    that crown the normal economy
  1264. create a 2nd layer
    that’s even riskier.
  1265. So, sometimes people take out
    insurance on their insurance.
  1266. It’s Escheresque.
    You create a risk pyramid.
  1267. And people speculate on that.
  1268. You create a purely speculative
    economy by sustaining risk.
  1269. A trait of contemporary capitalism
    is this economy where financial risk
  1270. is systematically maintained,
    and systematically marketed.
  1271. In the 1980s, under the sway
    of Thatcher and Reagan,
  1272. a number of countries adopted reforms
    to deregulate financial markets.
  1273. By allowing capital to flow freely,
    governments considerably increased
  1274. the power
    of major institutional speculators:
  1275. hedge funds, commercial banks,
    pension funds, insurance companies …
  1276. Now in a position of strength,
  1277. these entities would act as a new
    purveyor of neo-liberal ideology,
  1278. going so far as to compel
    the most recalcitrant States
  1279. to accelerate the liberalization
    of their economy.
  1280. Among the methods used to do this,
    speculative attacks proved to be
  1281. particularly effective …
    and devastating.
  1282. Certainly, the emperor’s new clothes
    are woven of complex mechanisms
  1283. that readily deflect
    the most curious minds.
  1284. But if colonialism has changed
    its look, its goal remains the same:
  1285. the concentration of capital.
  1286. Speculation …
  1287. has several instruments.
  1288. Without going into technical details,
  1289. I’d like to show what happened
    in the Asian Financial Crisis of ’97,
  1290. which led to a currency collapse
    in several countries,
  1291. countries that had been categorized
    as “Asian tigers”,
  1292. with a successful economy, etc.
  1293. There were various factors
    in this crisis,
  1294. but I think one of
    the fundamental elements
  1295. was the prior deregulation
    of the exchange market.
  1296. In certain cases,
    this deregulation was imposed,
  1297. if not indeed recommended by
    the International Monetary Fund.
  1298. Now, speculators
  1299. got their hands on the reserves
    of the central banks
  1300. through the following mechanism:
  1301. they speculated against
    national currencies
  1302. by selling short.
  1303. Short selling is speculating on
    a transferable security’s decrease
  1304. rather than on its increase,
    as is traditionally the case.
  1305. If a security is the object
    of massive short selling,
  1306. it leads to a collapse in demand
    and thus of the security’s price.
  1307. This constitutes speculative attack
  1308. for, in wagering massively
    on a decrease in value,
  1309. the speculators themselves
    bring about the decrease.
  1310. Say I want to short sell
    the Korean won.
  1311. I start selling huge quantities
    of Korean won,
  1312. deliverable at some future date.
    The contracts are 3 or 6 months.
  1313. When the contract comes to term,
    I must deliver huge quantities
  1314. of Korean won or Thai baht.
  1315. But I don’t have them.
    I can sell as much as I want,
  1316. I can sell billions of dollars’ worth
    of Korean won.
  1317. Who buys up the Korean won?
  1318. The central bank of Korea,
  1319. which is obliged through accords
    with the International Monetary Fund
  1320. to stabilize its currency.
  1321. Technically, what happened was,
  1322. when the Korean currency fell,
  1323. a few months later,
  1324. the short-selling contracts
    came to term
  1325. and that’s when …
  1326. there was an appropriation
    of the central bank reserves,
  1327. because the won was worthless
  1328. and speculators had only to buy
    Korean won on the spot market,
  1329. and then fulfill the terms
    of their contracts.
  1330. So the central bank’s buying back
    its own money - not too profitable.
  1331. And in exchange,
    its reserves are confiscated
  1332. and go into the pockets
    of the major Western banks.
  1333. That’s the mechanism.
  1334. Now the reserves have been sacked,
  1335. and this means Korea must now
    go to the IMF and say,
  1336. Our reserves have been sacked.
    We can’t function without them.
  1337. We must reimburse…” (The money
    hasn’t even gone to creditors yet.)
  1338. We must reimburse our creditors
    (the speculators).
  1339. What’s going on?
  1340. When the IMF grants a loan
    in the order of $56 billion,
  1341. there’s participation
    by a number of countries.
  1342. There were 24 countries,
  1343. because astronomical sums are needed.
    The American and Canadian treasuries,
  1344. the main Western governments.
  1345. For the American
    or Canadian treasury
  1346. or another Western country
    to help give
  1347. a $56-billion loan,
  1348. they have to raise
    their own debt level,
  1349. which means they must start selling
  1350. and negotiating their debt
    on the stock markets.
  1351. So, it’s the debt market.
    And who controls the debt market
  1352. for sovereign Western debt?
    The same speculating banks.
  1353. There’s a vicious circle here.
  1354. Attack Korea, come to its rescue,
  1355. confiscate its reserves,
    lend it money …
  1356. from the public funds
    of various Western governments,
  1357. and increasing the debt
    of these Western countries
  1358. requires backing from
    these private-sector banks,
  1359. the underwriters of national debts.
  1360. In the end, everyone goes into debt
  1361. except the speculators,
  1362. who are creditors of both Korea
    and the Western governments
  1363. who came to Korea’s rescue
  1364. through the intermediary
    of the IMF program.
  1365. So, what happens?
  1366. The Korean economy
  1367. is doomed to bankruptcy.
  1368. Its bank shares and high-tech
    industry are sold at a discount.
  1369. What’s in the process of happening
  1370. is the transfer of
    all this country’s industrial wealth
  1371. to American foreign investors,
  1372. to the point where …
  1373. its shares are practically taken over
    for an absolute pittance.
  1374. I’ll give you an example
  1375. of one of the primary Korean banks
  1376. that was restructured
    on the recommendation of the IMF,
  1377. following this operation,
    because it had conditions.
  1378. This bank, Korea First Bank,
    was sold for $450 million.
  1379. It was sold to Californian and
    Texan investors for $450 million.
  1380. But a condition of sale was
  1381. that the Korean government
    finance the bad debts of this bank
  1382. with grants,
  1383. subsidies that were
    35 times the purchase price.
  1384. Something in the order
    of over $15 billion.
  1385. These American investors
    arrive in Korea,
  1386. and overnight they gain control over
    the whole local financial apparatus,
  1387. the commercial banks,
  1388. and they hold the debt
    of major Korean companies
  1389. like Hyundai, Daewoo, etc.
  1390. And they’re in a position to dictate
    the break-up of these companies!
  1391. Part of Daewoo
    has now been sold to GM.
  1392. Other Korean companies will be sold.
  1393. So, through a mechanism
    that was initially based on
  1394. manipulating financial markets,
  1395. they take possession
    of an entire economy.
  1396. Korean companies see
    credit dried up by bank crisis.
  1397. A million people
    affected by unemployment
  1398. The IMF’s ‘beggars’”
  1399. The most serious social crisis
    South Korea has faced
  1400. since the war began.
  1401. Early March, the number
    of unemployed surpasses a million”
  1402. The economic liberalization campaign
    led by the financial markets
  1403. wouldn’t have enjoyed
    the same success
  1404. without the precious collaboration
    of the Bretton Woods institutions,
  1405. which constitute another major
    vehicle of neo-liberal ideology:
  1406. the International Monetary Fund
    (IMF),
  1407. the World Bank
  1408. and the World Trade Organization
    (WTO, formerly GATT).
  1409. The IMF and World Bank
    were established in 1944
  1410. to ensure the stability of exchange
    rates and support the reconstruction
  1411. of countries devastated
    by World War II.
  1412. Over time, however, the U.S. and
    Europe have considerably altered
  1413. the mandate of the twin institutions,
    based in Washington.
  1414. Indeed, shortly after the U.S.’s
    unilateral decision in 1971
  1415. to put an end to
    the International Monetary System,
  1416. the IMF and World Bank were invested
    with an entirely new mandate:
  1417. to impose economic liberalization
    upon developing countries,
  1418. by fixing as a “conditionality”
    to granting any loan
  1419. the adoption of a series
    of neo-liberal measures.
  1420. Some have described this set of
    economic reforms as “shock therapy”,
  1421. while others ironically call it
    “the Washington Consensus”.
  1422. neo-liberalism or neo-colonialism?
  1423. neo-liberalism or neo-colonialism?
  1424. strong-arm tactics
    of the Bretton Woods institutions
  1425. or
  1426. the Washington Consensus
  1427. Washington, where the World Bank
    and IMF are headquartered,
  1428. started dictating
    to the rest of the world,
  1429. especially the poorest,
    almost-bankrupt countries,
  1430. how to apply sound economic science.
  1431. It was called
    “structural adjustment measures”.
  1432. or “the structural adjustment plan”,
    dictated by the IMF,
  1433. and bolstered with World Bank loans
    to the countries concerned.
  1434. Equatorial Guinea, 2006
  1435. Many dozens of countries
    were thrown into chaos
  1436. precisely because of the measures
    of the IMF and the World Bank,
  1437. of which there are many.
    It would take too long to outline
  1438. fundamental adjustment measures
    vs. short-term cyclical adjustments
  1439. but overall,
  1440. let’s say the 3 or 4 most important
    measures can be summed up.
  1441. first measure:
    reduce State expenditures
  1442. The first measure imposed
    on countries approaching default,
  1443. i.e., poverty-stricken,
  1444. was governmental non-deficit
    or deficit reduction:
  1445. the reduction of State expenditures.
  1446. Shrink the government,
    shrink its expenditures.
  1447. second measure:
    privatization
  1448. In privatization, who will buy?
  1449. There are no local operators.
  1450. If there were enough
    local money to buy
  1451. entire oil, phosphate
    or steel companies,
  1452. the country wouldn’t be so poor.
  1453. The extraversion of these Third-World
    impoverished economies gets so bad,
  1454. they sell off their last
    national economic interests
  1455. to foreign interests.
  1456. So, multi-nationals start buying
    and relocating to these countries,
  1457. due to low wages and dollarization.
  1458. It gets cheaper for multi-nationals
    to produce there than at home.
  1459. But these multi-nationals
    can also acquire, dirt cheap,
  1460. installations and
    production capacities,
  1461. like sugar production and refining,
  1462. oil or gas production
    and pre-refining,
  1463. gas liquefaction
    or mineral transport, etc.
  1464. at low prices, which cost these
    national economies years and years.
  1465. third measure:
    currency devaluation
  1466. Devaluing local currency
    means, all of a sudden,
  1467. for already-poor countries,
  1468. anything imported becomes
    proportionally more expensive
  1469. than the level of devaluation.
  1470. When the CFA franc
    was suddenly devalued by half
  1471. in the early ’90s,
  1472. well, suddenly about
    a third of Africa or more
  1473. that was using the CFA franc,
  1474. found itself with half its
    purchasing power overnight.
  1475. So, your wage, that lets you live
    at a certain level,
  1476. only gives you half of that.
  1477. That’s an immediate 100% inflation.
  1478. Add to that manufactured or
    semi-manufactured products,
  1479. refined products and
    everything you’d expect Africa,
  1480. West and Central French Africa,
    to import.
  1481. Suddenly with the franc cut in half,
    these things are twice as expensive.
  1482. Combine that with the effects
    of local devaluation,
  1483. and products and services
    suddenly cost you 4, 5, 6 times more,
  1484. from one day to the next!
  1485. Add time, and see what happens.
    Local products
  1486. made from imported
    semi-raw materials,
  1487. or that need imported binders,
    glues, solvents, paint, etc.,
  1488. over a longer wavelength,
  1489. 1 , 2, 3, 6 months later, they become
    2, 3, 4 times more expensive.
  1490. fourth measure: reorient
    the national economy around export
  1491. If we measure the effects
    of making the poorest countries,
  1492. where the IMF and
    World Bank intervene,
  1493. boost the production
    of exportable products,
  1494. we make them compete
    with the same products.
  1495. Coffee-producing countries
    all start producing more coffee.
  1496. Cocoa, petroleum, same thing.
  1497. Bauxite …
  1498. Whatever it is … Sugar, wheat …
  1499. All the base products
  1500. suffer falling prices
    due to over-production.
  1501. Not only do their prices fall,
    and countries made to compete,
  1502. but added to this is the inflation
    effect from currency devaluation
  1503. and the automatic increase
    in anything the country imports.
  1504. We witness a kind of reversal
    of the countries’ interests -
  1505. even as we pretend to defend them -
    caused by this initial phenomenon.
  1506. All their imports
    are increasingly expensive,
  1507. while all their exports
    bring in less.
  1508. They enter a spiral of indebtedness
    that means that now, in 2002,
  1509. servicing the debt
    of most of the poorest countries -
  1510. I’m talking about countries like
    Bangladesh, Ruanda, Burundi, Togo -
  1511. countries like that,
    that are already minus 250th …
  1512. Their debt servicing alone can be
    up to 600 x their export revenues.
  1513. fifth measure:
    “getting the prices right”
  1514. Getting the prices right
    goes like this:
  1515. no subsidies for basic necessities,
    so no more subsidized housing,
  1516. no more subsidies
    for health, oil, rice …
  1517. transportation …
    No more subsidies,
  1518. in the name of the right price.
    What does this mean?
  1519. In terms of dollars, all prices
    become equivalent world wide.
  1520. If you travel with dollars,
    as I, a Canadian citizen, do,
  1521. wherever you go, products
    and services cost the same.
  1522. Whether in Cotonou, Benin,
    one of the poorest countries,
  1523. or Chicago, New York, Paris,
  1524. your Holiday Inn or Sheraton room,
    your Holiday Inn meal
  1525. cost about the same in dollars
    throughout the world. Fine.
  1526. But in Cotonou, capital of Benin,
    one of the world’s poorest countries,
  1527. one night at the Sheraton,
    where I sleep when I go there,
  1528. equals six months’ salary
    of a Benin public servant.
  1529. One meal in the restaurant
    of this Cotonou hotel
  1530. is a week’s work
    for a minor Benin official.
  1531. sixth measure: liberalization
    of investment and reverse wage parity
  1532. Next comes reverse wage parity.
    This consists in …
  1533. a succinct formula
    that slides all wages
  1534. down to the lowest, by sector,
  1535. and does so in concert with
    the “movement” to liberalize trade.
  1536. I’ll explain.
  1537. NAFTA is announced: the Mexico,
    U.S., Canada free trade zone.
  1538. Wages naturally slide from the
    American level to the Mexican level.
  1539. That’s what happens when Mexican,
    Canadian and American labour compete.
  1540. Relocation to Mexico means NAFTA
    has created employment in Mexico.
  1541. But in net terms,
    6 or 7 years after NAFTA,
  1542. wages in the whole region of Leone,
    northern Mexico,
  1543. where the American
    multi-nationals moved in -
  1544. while they shut down
    proportionately in the U.S. …
  1545. There has been
    an elimination of jobs
  1546. that were high-paying,
    compared to Mexico,
  1547. to “create” jobs in Mexico
  1548. that are infinitely lower-paid.
    So, for the past 5 years,
  1549. the average wage in the most
    active, richest region of Mexico,
  1550. where the American
    multi-nationals relocated …
  1551. Wages dropped in net terms
    of purchasing power by 23%.
  1552. Five years ago, a General Motors
    worker in northern Mexico
  1553. could survive and maintain
    a family of 1 or 2 kids.
  1554. Today, the same worker
    can support only his own needs.
  1555. Survive alone.
  1556. On the eve of the summit
    to be held in northern Mexico,
  1557. they’re building in Monterey
    a wall to hide the slums.
  1558. Three meters high
    and kilometers long,
  1559. so summit participants
    won’t see the poverty there.
  1560. That’s reverse parity: sliding wages
    from highest to lowest by sector.
  1561. And now that the most modern sectors
    - like information technology,
  1562. electronics, etc. - are increasingly
    saleable in the Third World,
  1563. you have entire companies -
    such as Swissair I think,
  1564. and other companies,
    the steel industry, whatever -
  1565. that do all their accounting,
    financial and IT work in Bombay.
  1566. A Bombay accountant who does the
    same work as a Swiss or Canadian one
  1567. costs 100 times less.
  1568. A programmer who writes an aviation
    program is 200 times cheaper.
  1569. And so on.
    That’s reverse wage parity.
  1570. What bothers me is that
    when we combine these measures -
  1571. devaluation, export, debt servicing,
  1572. privatization,
    shrinking public budgets,
  1573. forced public lay-offs
    making more unemployed …
  1574. Combine all these
    with the prices and wages,
  1575. and we come to the situation
    we’re in today:
  1576. rich countries are infinitely richer
    and poor countries infinitely poorer.
  1577. And I’m alarmed to see
    the World Bank and the IMF
  1578. trying to repeat in Argentina exactly
    what massacred the Argentine economy.
  1579. It’s like we never learn.
    Why not? There’s a reason.
  1580. It’s in their interest that this
    ideology that explains the world,
  1581. continue to survive,
    as long as the planet,
  1582. in its entirety,
    is exploitable this way.
  1583. At the International Monetary Fund,
    the right to vote is exercised
  1584. within the board of directors.
  1585. Now, it’s a right based on …
  1586. financial participation,
  1587. or the financial contribution
    of each State.
  1588. In fact, it’s the IMF shareholders.
  1589. Same for the World Bank.
    It’s not like the U.N.
  1590. The main shareholders
    of the IMF are, of course,
  1591. the U.S., Germany, Japan,
    Great Britain, France, etc.
  1592. But ultimately, that’s just
    one aspect, because …
  1593. under the political representation
    in an intergovernmental organization,
  1594. there are other issues.
    It’s the backroom.
  1595. It’s influence-peddling between
    Wall Street, on one hand,
  1596. and Washington. It’s the connections
    between the IMF and the think tanks:
  1597. the Heritage Foundation,
    the Brookings Institute.
  1598. The American treasury’s involved.
    The U.S. Federal Reserve.
  1599. This all forms what’s been called
    “the Washington Consensus”.
  1600. It’s a power game.
  1601. In 2005, Paul Wolfowitz,
  1602. one of the most radical ideologues
    of imperialist politics
  1603. and President Bush’s warmonger,
    passed directly
  1604. from the U.S. Defense Department
    to being head of the World Bank.
  1605. This appointment put an end
  1606. to any ambiguity about
    the World Bank’s real goals
  1607. and revealed the true face
    of the Bretton Woods institutions.
  1608. Bretton Woods conference,
    Mount Washington Hotel, 1944
  1609. After the war,
    naturally there was the creation
  1610. of the IMF and the World Bank.
  1611. In the mind of John Maynard Keynes,
    the architect of these institutions,
  1612. a third thing was needed.
  1613. A third organization,
    the International Trade Organization.
  1614. This didn’t work.
    The Americans didn’t want it.
  1615. So, as a fallback position,
  1616. GATT was created.
  1617. It was created in ’47
    and was supposed to take care of
  1618. lowering customs duties
    on industrial products.
  1619. GATT worked fairly well
  1620. because during
    its 50 years of existence,
  1621. there were major reductions
    in duties,
  1622. which went from
    an average of 40% to 50%
  1623. down to 4% or 5%.
  1624. But that covered only
    industrial goods. Products.
  1625. So, the need was felt,
  1626. primarily by transnational
    financial companies
  1627. to create an organization
  1628. that would cover many more domains
  1629. than just industrial products.
    That’s why,
  1630. at the end of the Uruguay Round,
    the final GATT negotiation cycle,
  1631. the decision was made to create
    the World Trade Organization,
  1632. which became a reality
    on January 1, 1995,
  1633. and covers a multitude of agreements.
    Not just the perennial GATT
  1634. but the agricultural accord,
  1635. the TRIPS accord
    on intellectual property,
  1636. the general accord on the service
    trade, a huge thing that covers
  1637. 11 main areas and 160 sub-areas,
  1638. so that all human activities
    are found there,
  1639. covered by GATT regulations:
  1640. education, health, culture,
    environment.
  1641. There are other technical agreements
  1642. that may seem technical,
    but that are extremely political:
  1643. the accords on
    technical trade barriers,
  1644. on sanitary and
    phytosanitary measures.
  1645. These are accords on standards
    that various members, i.e., States,
  1646. can put in place
  1647. and which declare that certain norms
    are technical barriers to trade.
  1648. Perhaps lesser known,
    but the most important of all
  1649. is the Dispute Settlement
    Understanding,
  1650. which is the very powerful
    judicial branch
  1651. of the World Trade Organization,
  1652. which enables it to settle
    disputes among members
  1653. and exercise jurisprudence.
  1654. So, who judges?
  1655. We don’t really know.
    Experts are chosen from lists.
  1656. Countries may recommend someone
    for these lists.
  1657. They’re generally private citizens.
  1658. Business lawyers or sometimes
    former business executives.
  1659. But they’re unidentified.
    They meet in secret,
  1660. generally in three’s.
  1661. They decide fairly quickly.
  1662. There’s also an appeals process,
  1663. but appeals have the same conditions:
    a new panel,
  1664. and it’s done in secret.
  1665. What’s important to know about the
    DSB, the Dispute Settlement Body,
  1666. is that it’s at once
  1667. the legislator, the jurist
    and the executive,
  1668. because it renders verdicts
    and establishes jurisprudence.
  1669. It places itself above all the laws
  1670. that have been passed
  1671. by the countries’
    individual legislatures,
  1672. but also above international law,
    established laboriously over 50 years.
  1673. Human rights,
  1674. multi-lateral conventions
    on the environment,
  1675. the basic labour conventions of the
    International Labour Organization.
  1676. All this is forgotten and verdicts
    are rendered at the DSB
  1677. that say, “Business trumps all,
  1678. and we don’t want to hear about
    your environmental conventions.”
  1679. And it’s executive because
    it has the power to impose sanctions.
  1680. When a country disagrees
    with its verdict, it’s told, “Fine.
  1681. Don’t make your legislation conform
    to our verdict, but you’ll pay.
  1682. You’ll pay annually,
  1683. through customs duties that your
    adversary in this settlement process
  1684. will determine.”
    So when the U.S. decides
  1685. to impose duties on Europe,
    for France,
  1686. on foie gras, mustard
    and roquefort,
  1687. it’s perfectly within its rights.
  1688. And it’s expensive. And few countries
    can afford this annual leaching.
  1689. At the WTO, various negotiations
    go on at the same time.
  1690. A country with no ambassador
    in Geneva,
  1691. or that shares one
    with other countries,
  1692. as is the case with the Africans
    and with many small micro-States …
  1693. It’s impossible for them
    to follow negotiations.
  1694. So, the South doesn’t know
    what’s going on in all areas,
  1695. and they say so openly.
    One Southern ambassador
  1696. said, “The WTO
    is like a multiplex theatre.
  1697. You must pick a film,
    you can’t see them all.”
  1698. So they pick only what seems
    important to their country.
  1699. So who really makes the decisions?
  1700. They say it’s by consensus.
    There’s never been a vote.
  1701. And the American ambassador said
    a vote would be a very bad precedent.
  1702. So much for democracy.
  1703. In reality, it’s the Quad.
    The Quad is 4 countries -
  1704. Canada, the U.S.,
    the European Union and Japan -
  1705. that meet all the time
    and have numerous staff
  1706. at the WTO,
  1707. and that come to their own consensus
  1708. and come back
    before the plenary assembly
  1709. and say, “Well, you agree,
    don’t you?”
  1710. And it’s very hard for
    Southern countries to say no.
  1711. It takes courage
    and they must be certain,
  1712. because pressure tactics
    against them exist.
  1713. And don’t delude yourself.
  1714. If you’re dependent on the IMF
    or have problems with the U.S.,
  1715. you know you can’t step out of line.
  1716. Certainly, the financial markets
    and the Bretton Woods institutions
  1717. have become privileged instruments
    of the neo-liberal conquest.
  1718. But some countries
    still obstinately refuse
  1719. to join this forced march.
  1720. That’s when colonialism
    sheds its new suit
  1721. and comes forth
    in its old warrior gear.
  1722. From the break-up of Yugoslavia
    to the war in Afghanistan via Darfur,
  1723. post-Cold War conflicts
    hinge on very different issues
  1724. than the ones Western propaganda
    presents as new “military humanism”.
  1725. Control over resources,
    financial flux and geostrategic space -
  1726. like the dictates of the IMF,
    the World Bank and the WTO -
  1727. ensure the domination of mega-
    corporations and giant capitalists
  1728. over the entire planet.
  1729. Also, the colonial governments
    that the conquerors have installed
  1730. have soon moved to adopt
    the dogma of neo-liberal ideology.
  1731. And the encirclement is complete.
  1732. neo-liberalism or neo-colonialism?
  1733. neo-liberalism or neo-colonialism?
  1734. strong-arm tactics
    of military humanism
  1735. or
  1736. war is peace
  1737. The Dayton Accords were signed in ’95
  1738. on an American military base.
  1739. And if we consult
    the text of these accords,
  1740. we see the Constitution
    of Bosnia-Herzegovina appended
  1741. to the Dayton accords.
  1742. This constitution was written by
    American consultants and lawyers,
  1743. who got together and wrote
    a fundamental document
  1744. without so much
    as a constituent assembly
  1745. of Bosnia-Herzegovina citizens.
  1746. And we can read
    in this constitution
  1747. prepared by the United States,
  1748. Article X:
  1749. The central bank
    of Bosnia-Herzegovina
  1750. shall not function as a central bank.
    It must function as a currency board.
  1751. In other words, a colonial bank,
  1752. with no chance
    of creating money.
  1753. Meaning, it’s completely trapped
    by its external creditors.
  1754. Well, that’s the model that
    currently exists in Argentina.
  1755. Moreover, in the Bosnia-Herzegovina
    Constitution, written in Dayton,
  1756. we read that
  1757. the IMF will nominate the president
    of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s central bank,
  1758. and this person …
  1759. may not be a citizen
  1760. of either Bosnia-Herzegovina
    or a neighbouring country.
  1761. In other words,
    we see that this constitution,
  1762. which is totally fabricated
  1763. and has no citizen base
    within Bosnia-Herzegovina,
  1764. is installing a colonial government.
  1765. We don’t call it that. We say
    it’s the international community …
  1766. But ultimately we see that
    all the administrative structures
  1767. are dominated by foreigners.
  1768. Budgets are dominated by foreigners.
    Monetary policy is non-existent.
  1769. Nevertheless, the Dayton Accords
  1770. are now being presented by the
    so-called international community
  1771. as the answer to the problems
    of various countries.
  1772. They’d like to establish
    the same management model -
  1773. colonial administration -
  1774. in countries like
    Macedonia and Yugoslavia.
  1775. Indeed, they talk about a mosaic.
  1776. A mosaic of protectorates.
  1777. Adaptation: Kathleen Fleming
    Anrà Médiatextes, Montréal
  1778. srt & ripped by Tokadime