on the gifts of Globalization & bad actor Trump! Almost Marx comments

In answer to Mr. Sandbu’s fulsome praise for ‘Globalization’ framed in a kind of political moralizing, because that framing is all important to the production of usable propaganda:

Headline: An enfeebled America stands alone

Sub-headline: Economic change has affected other countries, but they have managed globalisation

Gerald Suttles, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Chicago and adjunct professor of sociology at Indiana University, offers some valuable  insights on globalization, in an American context, and the Post War Welfare States of Europe with some adjustments to the particulars of each state. His book is titled Front Page Economics (From pages 6&7)

Globalization stands in direct conflict with the social contract and rhetoric worked out during Roosevelt ,Truman, and Eisenhower years. With globalization the industrial contract ( “workplace socialism” it was called at its best ) ends. Labor and capital have no fixed location and the nation becomes a legal rather than a moral community. Patriotism becomes empty rhetoric. That is quite a moral and conceptual leap  to be spliced onto  a rhetoric of understandings and reassurance in which the nation, community, and the community were almost coterminous. Yet, even the critics of the current globalization are in favor of it in principle if  not in practice (James 2001; Soros 1998; and Stiglitz 2002)

The reader just might offer this, that Globalization and an utterly failed Neo-Liberalism are the twin manifestations of the post war economic doldrums, exacerbated by American Imperial war making in Vietnam,  and the popularity of the Mont Pelerin Philosopher Kings, and their vulgar pamphleteer ally Ayn Rand.

Although Mr. Sandbu does off some insights on the economic condition of the age, following the 2008 Market Crash, that approximates or simply rehearses the complaints of the unconvinced: The Great Unwashed. But simply acts as historical backdrop to kowtowing to the ersatz Utopianism of Globalization/Neo-Liberalism.

Mr. Sandbu’s praise of the TPP,  as America’s missed opportunity is to put it mildly shallow, but self-serving as propaganda must be. Who wrote the TPP? Not American legislators who could read the document , yet could not take notes, and were barred from discussing its contents with their constituencies. Secret Laws? And what of the ‘Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) or investment court system (ICS)’ that is an outright attack on not just Law, but on the very notion of State Sovereignty, not to speak of Democracy itself. The imperatives of Capital is a Law above all else! The practice of Arbitration, in the world remade by Neo-Liberalism, is to blunt and even usurp the force of Law not enhance its power. Globalization/Neo-Liberalism is, in sum, an attack on the Republican Tradition of the ‘West’ as told in J.G.A. Pocock’s The Machiavellian Moment. 

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) or investment court system (ICS) is a system through which individual companies can sue countries for alleged discriminatory practices. ISDS is an instrument of public international law and provisions are contained in a number of bilateral investment treaties, in certain international trade treaties, such as NAFTA (chapter 11), and the proposed TPP (chapters 9 and 28) and CETA (sections 3 and 4) agreements. ISDS is also found in international investment agreements, such as the Energy Charter Treaty. If an investor from one country (the “home state”) invests in another country (the “host state”), both of which have agreed to ISDS, and the host state violates the rights granted to the investor under public international law, then that investor may bring the matter before an arbitral tribunal.

ISDS is in the mutual interest of the host country and foreign investors, as it protects foreign investors and enforces their property rights, thus encouraging them to invest in the host country.[1] In the absence of ISDS, foreign investors would be less likely to invest in a given country, because of the uncertain status of their property rights and due to the tendency of countries to discriminate against foreign firms.[1][2]

While ISDS is often associated with international arbitration under the rules of ICSID (the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes of the World Bank), it often takes place under the auspices of international arbitral tribunals governed by different rules or institutions, such as the London Court of International Arbitration, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre or the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.

This reader can only pronounce Mr. Sandbu’s political intervention as more of the same, from The Financial Times as defender of ‘Free Markets’ by any means necessary, with Trump as the featured villain in this episodic Populist Melodrama.

Almost Marx




About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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