Guest Post: What Do BP And The Banks Have In Common? The Era Of Corporate Anarchy

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VK's picture


Good ol' Joe Bageant says it best; http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2010/05/lost-on.html#more

That common womb of American consciousness is dying. Slowly or rapidly, depending on how you assess the global ecocide and peak everything, it is dying. There will be resuscitations along the way, more massive infusions of money, fear and the rawest sort of fantasy fed to a mood and commodity drugged public. Still, its condition is terminal, because the hyperdrive consumer culture it was built to sustain, is itself unsustainable. Its appetite ate the world. In fact, so voracious is its appetite that even if our "consumer economy," (legalized feudal theft) sees a recovery, and resumes the level of growth required just to keep capitalism alive, it will die just that much faster. It is not in capitalism's DNA to care about the death of the earth. Nor is it in the brain chemistry of an American satiated on prime beef and sailing across the landscape at 70 miles per hour in a $40,000, steel exoskeleton from General Motors, to care. Hominid gratification is what it is -- hard wired -- and there is no circumventing it.

The system has just begun its crash, and already we are seeing an armed infantilized nation wail, hurl blame and do horrific things, the worst of which we do to one another (excluding sending predator drones after Middle Eastern school kids). Surveillance, witch hunts, destruction of civil liberties, and the government inching toward star chamber trials for those who do not display correct traits. Citizens embracing totalitarianism as stability in the face of the ultimate instability -- the death of the planet.

Gully Foyle's picture

 VK 

"Citizens embracing totalitarianism as stability in the face of the ultimate instability -- the death of the planet."

Once again the reason of Carlin will set you free.


George Carlin, “The Planet Is Fine”

We’re so self-important. So self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned how to care for one another, we’re gonna save the fucking planet?

I’m getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. I’m tired of fucking Earth Day, I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world save for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don’t care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we’re a threat? That somehow we’re gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that’s just a-floatin’ around the sun?

The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles…hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages…And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet…the planet…the planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!

We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

You wanna know how the planet’s doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, how the planet’s doing. You wanna know if the planet’s all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilowaia, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?” Plastic…asshole.

So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that’s begun. Don’t you think that’s already started? I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And the planet can defend itself in an organized, collective way, the way a beehive or an ant colony can. A collective defense mechanism. The planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let’s see… Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh…viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction.

Well, that’s a poetic note. And it’s a start. And I can dream, can’t I? See I don’t worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we’re part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. The Big Electron…whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn’t punish, it doesn’t reward, it doesn’t judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while.

dark pools of soros's picture

you have to agree..  and the planet is probably itching for us to start nuking each other to speed up our demise.

 

BUT  what people really mean when they say "save the planet" is "save the way the planet used to be" but hell the Indians would say we already totally fucked it to hell while some urban thug would only start bitching once the air is so thin that it gets hard to light a crack pipe

AnAnonymous's picture

Is this Carling guy a success? He  made such a mockery of the US citizens' way of thinking.

The  only way I see him be a success is that US citizens do not understand they are being mocked and take his comments for face value, not as the derisional mockery they are.

jailnotbail's picture

Is this Carling guy a success? He  made such a mockery of the US citizens' way of thinking.

The  only way I see him be a success is that US citizens do not understand they are being mocked and take his comments for face value, not as the derisional mockery they are.

 

Well, you might say so. He had about a fifty-year career as a stand up comic and recorded fourteen HBO specials, the last one about  four months before he died at age seventy-one.

But you're right, U.S. citizens didn't really understand him, especially towards the end when he told them to their faces that they were a bunch of sheep, owned by an elite class that had been robbing and exploiting them for years, and that they had now resolved to steal their social security. 

He was a little early on that last point, but I give it a couple of years or so until it proves to be a solid hit.  After all, we've got to get rid of all these "unfunded liabililties" that we've been paying 14% of our wages to fund for the last thirty years, because the money has already been spent to fund tax cuts for the top few percent of income earners who run this plantation they call the United States of America. 

How else are we going to maintain those tax cuts for the elites and fund their wars all over the planet?

jailnotbail's picture

Is this Carling guy a success? He  made such a mockery of the US citizens' way of thinking.

The  only way I see him be a success is that US citizens do not understand they are being mocked and take his comments for face value, not as the derisional mockery they are.


Well, you might say so. He had about a fifty-year career as a stand up comic and recorded fourteen HBO specials, the last one about  four months before he died at age seventy-one.

But you're right, U.S. citizens didn't really understand him, especially towards the end when he told them to their faces that they were a bunch of sheep, owned by an elite class that had been robbing and exploiting them for years, and that they had now resolved to steal their social security. 

He was a little early on that last point, but I give it a couple of years or so until it proves to be a solid hit.  After all, we've got to get rid of all these "unfunded liabililties" that we've been paying 14% of our wages to fund for the last thirty years, because the money has already been spent to fund tax cuts for the top few percent of income earners who run this plantation they call the United States of America. 

How else are we going to maintain those tax cuts for the elites and fund their wars all over the planet?

Inspector Asset's picture

So So true.

Its a sad state.

I am going to make a wager and say GS will be the bank making the disbursmentrs to the gulf victims, all 20 billion of it, eager Obama is to cut those checks to the victims. 20 bil in stimuluis over night.

 

RReminds me of FDR and had a program , some works program, where he paid people to dig ditches and and then paid other people to bury those ditches.  TVA maybe?

 

blindfaith's picture

indeed, sad. And no one will every see a dime, less a few oil stained souls for the media to parade around with some BP or adminstration stooge with a giant check that all three must hold up, . By the time the bank and it's administration fees, attorney fees from all sides, income taxes, misc expenses, etc., etc., are deducted from the "promise to pay" there will be nothing there. And, let not forget about the arbitrator who will decide if that dollar is a bit over the top or not.

BP will drag this out for decades, until the claimants are dead from old age.

Every have a disagreement with your stock broker? Well, same thing ...all stacked against YOU.   And you are asked for the last 10 years of tax returns, police and credit reports, business affilations, and on and on. The "claimants" will scratch their heads and ask WHY all this. And BP will say 'to be sure you are not a criminal trying to scam us"! " To be sure you don't have a past history of scamming another oil company or some other Great American Industry".

I am in Florida and the hurt from this is staggering. Consumers and tourists are using it to blackmail businesses into giving discounts and money back promisses for no reason other than the MEDIA has painted the whole world black with oil. The Media sells a 100K dollar ad spot to broadcast speculation which stupid drink like cola, and our county has to spend 5 million with them to advertise that we are OK. Another example of an industry that practices anarchy against the citizens, they get paid to play both sides of the fence.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Brilliant find VK, thanks so much for sharing.

Searing, sad and so true.

In this fractal world we are all Americans. As an interesting experiment (with real intent behind it), I put up a page on my web-site asking people to help come and set up a Gulf Evacuation Assistance program. I offered to fund the initial development (I am not rich, nowhere as rich as some of the folks here probably), be the hub from where it could/should take off. I invited broad participation and plastered the link all over the place.

It was especially targeted to the hand-wringing arm-chair sitting, keyboard banging, educated, wealthy, well written activists here at ZH on all the BP pages and the folks over at the oil drum. I got hundreds of visits. And being that all the hand-wringers are regulars, I'm sure they were those among the hundreds of visitors.

Yet not one, not a one wrote in to even say, interesting, keep me posted if it picks up steam.

So, sitting here in India, I offered time, money and resources to get something going for a looming disaster in the USA and the only, single response I got was : and i quote "that is the gayest idea ever".

That about sums up the apathetic world we live in, helpless, even in the full knowledge of what is bearing down upon us.

Well said Mr. Bageant.

The train has left the station.

ORI
http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com

cossack55's picture

Being a soldier in the Army of the Planet, it would have been counterproductive of me to assist.  This species developed out of anarchy, and now it is time to return to our roots. Have a good day.

G-R-U-N-T's picture

In this fractal world we are all Americans.

What a ridiculous statement.

Perhaps you need to step out your back door, and solicit your own countrymen to help you pull your own country out of the cesspool it's been in. Oh, wait a minute you have American's to help you do that. Get back.....I think your train has left the station.

 

 

Thoreau's picture

I recommend Joe's book "Dear Hunting with Jesus;" especially if you're presently incarcerated in the South, lol.

E pluribus unum's picture

The reason that people are lookimg to "big government" to save them is the rapacious nature of "big corporations. That "safety" is an illusion.

jeff montanye's picture

boy is it ever.  it shouldn't be, in a democracy, but it is.  and the most pernicious part, to me, is the supreme court's paramount value:  corporations may not be limited in their campaign contributions as that is the most important constitutional right to protect.  

extending the crimes of the prior administration, the current one claims that individual citizens may be assassinated at any time and place by executive order without appeal or, alternatively, secretly imprisoned for life without counsel or appeal and the supreme court, perhaps, makes minute adjustments in procedure, possibly requiring, say, congressional support.  but let congress try to limit political contributions, clearly a poorly disguised form of bribery and the fountainhead of most of our current political ills, and the law is summarily struck down with no expectation of resuscitation.  thanks.

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

The reason people look to big gubmint is because they've long been over-coddled, have become soft, stupid, slothful, looking for an easy out, and haven't the brain-power to recognize that gubmint ain't a solution.

cossack55's picture

Sadly, it has now become impossible to even beat that into their empty noggins.

jailnotbail's picture

The reason people look to big gubmint is because they've long been over-coddled, have become soft, stupid, slothful, looking for an easy out, and haven't the brain-power to recognize that gubmint ain't a solution.

 

That's the popular perception in the post-Reagan era.  And after thirty years of government by politicians who espoused the same sentiment, and recreated government to reflect the implications of that sentiment, I have to say that it's hard to argue with it.

But believe it or not there was a time, roughly from the time of the New Deal until business interests captured the government with the election of Reagan, when government worked in this country, after a fashion.

It was deeply flawed even then, but at least it wasn't openly feeding off the labor of it's citizens.

And more importantly, people actually trusted government, and believed it was capable of  initiating societal change and transformation that would ultimately result in a better country for all.  Oh, I know, pure socialism.  Anything that contemplates government doing anything for the 90%  who don't own this country is of course.

But that's all over now anyway. Now, we bide our time in the predator state,
and cower in fear as we await the master class's execution of the final phase of their plan to impoverish and enslave us, reducing us to subjects to serve their needs and desires as long as they find us useful.  Until such time as they decide we are no longer worth the resources we consume, and are done with us.

percolator's picture

I got news for you, Corporatism isn't just happening here in the USA, but is happening in Europe and Asia too!

MADinMelbourne's picture

it's a global phenomenon, one key incident was when the Queen of England classified 'business' class on trains for (initially) product.

Bearster's picture

Let's not confuse regulation with law.  The former is more formally known as prior restraint.  If you "regulate a corporation" up the wazoo, then the corporation cannot act in any way without permission.  The latter is about convicting criminals--those who in fact have actually committed a crime.

The former is also known as fascism.  Private (non-coercive) action is strictly limited to whatever the government has granted you permission to do.  Your life, your property, and your liberty exists only at the good graces of the government.

The US was founded (but is no longer even close to) the opposite.  It was government that was strictly limited to powers enumerated in the Constitution.  And private action was unlimited except an enumerated list of crimes like murder and fraud.

If you say that fascism is better, then you have to ask: what makes the men of government better than the men of corporations?

And of course you have to be aware of the difference between a government and a corporation.  The former does what it does by force.

theopco's picture

When corporations control the government, then corporations are the government. They are the same. Even the most rabid, right wing idealogue would have to admit that corporations write the very laws that govern them, and indeed even the laws which govern their customers.

In what way are they separate from the government?

"And of course you have to be aware of the difference between a government and a corporation.  The former does what it does by force."

And now that corporations are the government, they have that power too, with the government as their proxy.

 

 

 

 

Notenpresse's picture

First off, I don't think you understand the terms "prior restraint", law and fascism the way you're loading and lobbing those terms around.

You then say "life, your property, and your liberty exists only at the good graces of the government." But this is in fact true! If "YOU" is a corporation of foreign individuals--"YOU" exist only on condition that "YOU" do not violate our inalienable and sovereign rights. It is a fundamental duty of a justice system to protect the rights of the weak against your plundering, pillaging oligarchs.

Now we're getting to the topic of how "The US was founded" This vast injustice you are attempting to frame-up as guilt of the elected government is perhaps the most stark example of the lack of the Sovereign Citizens of the US to protect their basic freedoms.

If the ability to protect national collective resources like sovereign waters and fisheries against British oppression and destruction by fraud is not part of the powers, then what exactly is the Government of the Democratic Republic to do? What is more clearly enumerated?

There were oil men in the WH, the lackeys were plied with women and drugs, and documents were forged. What other criteria do you require?

"if you say fascism is better...what makes the men of gov. better" Now who has been advocating your straw-man undefined fascism? You certainly don't have any interest in productive, logical debate.

But to the point, the men of the Government are not better by nature, but they are the designated representatives of American power. There are enumerated protections within to avoid populist overreach.

However, it is the refusal of your those of your ilk to allow the balance of power and the levers of Democracy to function. This fact is at the heart of our great indecision. The true Constitution must prevail; the Senate must actually vote on legislation.

Enough with your putrid and tired apologies for corporatist "rights." This only indicates that you must be 5000 feet deep on a giant gusher of teabagging glory. Cheers mate, you'll keep calm and carry on.

DeweyLeon's picture

Corporations give larger political donations than do individuals.  So individuals have less rights and freedoms, simple as that, end of story.

Gully Foyle's picture

DeweyLeon

You seem to disregard political self preservation. A politician will throw anyone or anything under the bus for purely personal gain.

Yep money may give one the political advantage but only until a far greater need arises.

jeff montanye's picture

dewey and i (and perhaps others?) are waiting for that need to arise.  so far there has been precious little evidence of it.  the last decade has been a particularly painful demonstration of just how far money will take the evil doers and how much taking the money will make evil the doers.

buzzsaw99's picture

Both are skimmers

Both had blowout quarters

Both have clueless CEOs

Both are lying about toxic assets

Both abuse small fish

ad nauseam

LeBalance's picture

Barney Franks abuses small fish, too.

Gully Foyle's picture

I sincerely doubt it was corporate Anarchy. Corporate self interest, corporate manipulation, corporate control, all of those but definitely NOT Anarchy.

Cursive's picture

Interesting article.  Not sure if we need another word for fascism, but I understand the nuance of corporate immunity from rules as opposed to state-sponsored industries.  Kind of fascisms by default.  I look at it as a new dark ages.  A majority of the populace seems closed minded to openness, reason and personal industry and seems to prefer to abjagate  control over their most basic human transactions to a higher temporal authority.  In the Middle Ages, it was the Holy Roman Catholic Church that controlled lives from cradle to grave.  The Social Democrats of Europe and Progressives/Liberals/Democrats of North America have brought us Big Government.  I am an American and I can say that we have strayed far afield from the writings of Messrs. Adams and Jefferson.

Gully Foyle's picture

Cursive 

Dude, those of us who read Cyberpunk are not that startled by corporate hegemony. In fact everyone probably underestimates the sheer power wielded.

Cursive's picture

Did my comments suggest that I was startled by corporate hegemony?

Gully Foyle's picture

Cursive

I don't know, are you? 

Have you read any Cyberpunk? Maybe watched Johnny Mnemonic?

Cursive's picture

I have done neither.  Enlighten me.

jeff montanye's picture

the author of the story that the film is based on thought the film missed his point (and humor) and that the film was recut to make it more "mainstream".  basically a dystopian fantasy about megacorporations (primarily east asian) controlling/destroying the world in pursuit of short term profit.

Cursive's picture

@jeff montayne

Thanks for the info.  That's a pretty common theme (mis-adaptation of the book), but maybe the biggest irony (besides Gully pulling a what's-the-frequency-Kenneth moment with me) is that a guy who wrote cyberpunk sold it to the mainstream.  Can't have your cake and eat it too.  Rebels are not sell outs.

jimijon's picture

Forget cyberpunk. Go to the source, that drug slinging, non-stop writing, underrated literary genius, Phillip K Dick!

 

LeBalance's picture

How 'bout those andriods dreamin'?  Electric Sheep, you say?

Privatus's picture

After the state, the corporation is the coldest of cold monsters.

Salinger's picture

from the article above

"My own sense is, there will be no revolutionary change. The corporations won. They won when they convinced the best and brightest—of which I used to be—that the only path to success was through a corporate career. No necessarily through for-profit corporations—Lefties never seem to quite get how pernicious and corporatist the non-profits really are; or perhaps they do know, but are clever enough not to criticize them, since those non-profits and NGO's pay for their meals."

From today's hearings two brilliant video clips side by side:

Rep. Steve Calise (R-Louisiana) asks Hayward,  Who's in charge?

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) asks Hayward about healthcare

 

 

Catullus's picture

Idiotic from beginning to end.  Mistaking oligarchy for anarchy.  Just because your precious government (the particular band of thugs in power at the time) isn't controlling these people doesn't mean they're not controlling each other.  Also, equating a corporation as being on par with the individual shows the depths of your blindness.  A corporation is nothing more than a human construct; an association that exists only in the minds of human beings.  There is no collective.  It's just an association of people.  The lawlessness you correctly observe is the ability of the INDIVIDUALS who control these associations to act with impunity.  You serve them well by referring to their corporations and not the individuals themselves. 

To this end, I say let the derivatives market continue to be unregulated.  Let these people eat each other.  It's only the free market finding a way to prevail.  At least the "destruction" in the derivatives market exists only a balance sheet. 

Apostate's picture

There's anarchy in the philosophical sense, and then anarchy in the "chaos, war of all against all" kind of meaning.

What we have now is the latter. Governance through force and fraud is not order, but chaos. It offers no stability - only madness and tumult.

Attempts to regulate the derivatives market could destroy the governing apparatus. Leaving it unmanaged will also destabilize the system sufficiently to take down the Fed and the government.

Anarchy in the sense of non-aggression and integrity begins with personal behavior. 

Catullus's picture

I think the derivatives market (and the CDS in particular) created the archnemisis to fractional reserve banking -- the bank run. It's really the greatest regulator of all. And that's why I think the established authority fears it so much. They had no idea that it was going to cause a cash call. They thought the FDIC was enough. But it's unsustainable and the market found a way to run on the system and expose it as a fraud.

To get rid of the derivatives markets would be the end of contracts. That's the chaos. Not contracts being enforced.

Captain Willard's picture

Catullus - you're right that "anarchy" wasn't the right term for Lira to employ. But he made some good points along the way. In the end, Oligarchy, as you observe, is the right term for the abysmal situation we find ourselves in.

Corporations have been given unlimited rights to political speech by the Supreme Shysters recently. The people that control them run amuck. Imagine if you or I spilled all this oil. We would be in Angola State Prison in Louisiana getting severe correction. A corporation just runs away.

We have oil CEOs that don't understand engineering, bank CEOs that don't understand loans or derivatives. Should we be surprised that we have politicians that cannot govern? And yet they all control us...........

RichardP's picture

Are you free to go buy a farm somewhere in hunting country - where you can grow and shoot your own food?  Some will answer "yes", and I will answer "so they don't actually control us, right?"  But the fact is, if everbody under the thumb of corporations and governments were to do that, there would not be land enough available to support them all.  There are too many of us to escape the corporations and government by living off of the land.  If we cannot support ourselves, then we must depend on others for the satisfaction of a least part of our needs.  Because of this, we will not ever be able to do away with either corporations or government.  Shoot down what we have and new ones will rise to take their place, out of necessity.

 

Cursive's picture

Monsanto is doing its best to control and dominate the individual farmer.  Given what I know of the Monsanto patents and tyrannical control of its patented seeds, I firmly believe that Thomas Jefferson, were he alive today, would be vandalizing the Monsanto research labs and corporate offices.