Globalisation and Constitutionality, II

Free Trade Agreements, as presently conceived, are really global constitutions for global corporations. They are designed primarily to create a beneficial transnational habitat for corporations to grow and flourish in a World Economy because the fact is that corporations are no longer sedentary, but chase their resources, labour, and markets around the world.  These FTAs are designed to provide a favourable business climate for investment and profit-taking. And no one, and not Mr. Trump, is going to command them to heal, sit, and stay.

Labour used to be the mobile social factor and the corporation (or capital) was the fixed or sedentary factor. This situation has reversed itself, and this fact is connected not only with “rootless capitalism” (as even the UK’s Conservative PM Theresa May put it), but also with the “Precariat” and what is called “job churn”. As a former IBM executive put it, “money knows no country”.

Recently, Canada’s Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, advised young people to get used to the reality of “job churn”, the basic condition of what is called “the Precariat“, which we are all gradually falling into not only because of the transience of capital but of automation as well. Global security for capital has basically meant global insecurity for everyone else. In those terms, “growing the middle class”, promoted as the rationale for FTAs, is in fundamental contradiction with the reality of “rootless capitalism” and the facts of “job churn”, and the resultant ever-expanding class called “the Precariat”.

Does anyone really think that Mr. Trump is going to interdict and arrest this global movement of capital and corporations while restoring what we might call “primitive capitalism” itself?

“Job churn” and the “Precariat” and “rootless capitalism” are the facts of the “new normal”. The question here is whether they are only symptoms of “chaotic transition” or represent the new status quo. The “iron price” (to crib from The Game of Thrones) for the security of capital is increasing insecurity and precariousness for labour. And how does one reconcile this social fact with the objective of “growing the middle class”? I have yet to hear any policy, apart from a compensatory “guaranteed annual income”, that would effectively square the circle and reconcile this contradiction, which is basically Double-Think.

Apparently, the economist Peter Pogany did address this problem of the contradictions and of “chaotic transition” in his book Rethinking the World and in his posthumously published book Havoc Thy Name is Twenty-First Century. I don’t think too many of our Keepers of the Economic Orthodoxy have heard of him or bothered to learn of him. But at least someone is exercising still some foresight and hindsight, and thinking about the problem in more than generalities.


31 responses to “Globalisation and Constitutionality, II”

  1. davidm58 says :

    Yes, Peter Pogany has articulated a vision for a future global system that retains the necessary elements of a global economy along with a relocalization of many parts of the economy which will be necessary and healthy when use of fossil fuels declines significantly.

    Edgar Morin has also touched on this theme in his book “Homeland Earth.”
    “The global economy seems to oscillate between crisis and noncrisis, misarrangements and rearrangements. Profoundly deregulated, it ceaselessly reestablishes partial regulations, often at the price of destructions (of surpluses, for example, to maintain the monetary value of products) and a chain reaction of human, cultural, moral, and social havoc…”

    In short, Morin argues that we must both globalize and deglobalize.
    I think Todd Logan calls it glocalism…not sure if he came up with that term or borrowed it from elsewhere.

  2. mikemackd says :

    On pp. 816-817 of his work “The Shield of Achilles”, Philip Bobbitt referred to what we can look forward to from the continuance of what he terms “market states”,by quoting from W.H. Auden’s poem of the same name:

    “A ragged urchin, aimless and alone …
    Who’d never heard
    Of any world where promises were kept,
    Or one could weep because another wept”.

    The book is quite a read.

    As I have said before, I consider that such states are not market states at all because they have no special claim on market value transactions. He says such states must “provide public goods because that is precisely what the market cannot do” (p. 814),

    Yet the evidence is in the opposite direction to Bobbitt’s requirement. According to the current crowd, if public goods get in the way of short term corporate profits, well,too bad for public goods, and say hello to a world of ragged urchins, aimless and alone.

    Oh: you’ve met plenty already? Such ragged urchins are useless eaters, who get in the way of corporate profits too! They must go the way of public goods.

    If this system had a brain of its own, that is what it would say. But it does not: it is a machine. Instead, it mindlessly parasites on predators the same way a gun does.

  3. Charles Leiden says :

    As you and the others write – this is a vicious stage. Joe Holland is good writer – (Social Analysis is one of his books). He writes the three stages of Modern Western Industrial‐Colonial Capitalism and about its climax in its current new global stage which is being articulated in these discussions. He is writing from a tradition of Catholic social justice. Here is a link to a paper that I found interesting.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Thanks for the link. I’ve scanned it briefly, paying particular attention, though, to the chapter on the Four Great Late Modern Crises. I know some folks in the Catholic Social Worker movement. I’m not sure they are familiar with Joe Holland, but I’ve forwarded the link to them.

      There are interesting and intriguing echoes of Gebser’s four structures of consciousness in Holland’s essay, which I will explore further as time permits. But I think Holland does a quite excellent job of highlighting and identifying the major crises of Late Modernity or Post-modernity.

      This is always the first obstacle: if people aren’t even aware that we are in the midst of a major crisis (or even series of crises) they won’t even begin to look for the exit. Very few really understand or appreciate the depth and the scope of the crisis or why it is happening. Holland, I think, does a very good job in describing those crises in that respect.

      • InfiniteWarrior says :

        if people aren’t even aware that we are in the midst of a major crisis (or even series of crises) they won’t even begin to look for the exit.

        I think they are aware. They know, intuitively, and even talk about it — a lot — but in vague, disjointed terms related to their own experiences. There are myriad instances of it in everyday conversation.

        Very few really understand or appreciate the depth and the scope of the crisis or why it is happening.

        That’s probably how I wound up at TDAB, come to think of it. There’s something in the way of that understanding and appreciation; and it has very little, if anything, to do with narcissism.

        • Scott Preston says :

          You recall, IW, what I wrote when Obama was elected some eight years ago? That if he only delivered disillusionment, it would be a disaster.

          Obama has delivered disillusionment, although disillusionment is a two-edged sword. There were high expectations of him that maybe he couldn’t meet. In a sense, both Bush and Obama paved the way for Trump.

          • InfiniteWarrior says :

            WTF? I said then, “he is just one man”.

            And the hell of it is, he was swept into the White House on a wave of Hope, then left to drift alone — yes, alone…utterly alone…through the straights of Scylla and Charybdis . And came out the other side, sputtering nonsense, e.g. “sustainable, unlimited growth”.

            Take that as you will.

            • Scott Preston says :

              Yes, and he had to deal with a great deal of obstructionism and so on. And its possible, too, that Sanders would have encountered the same thing (and most likely would have), regardless of the fact that the policies he proposed were needful presently. Obama needed to keep and sustain the momentum and enthusiasm of his supporters for radical reform of the system — the “vision thing”. And I don’t think he did that. He needed to sustain the momentum for radical change despite the obstructionism of the establishment, because that is where the change is going to come from.

              It’s a curious thing that some people who supported Obama now support Trump. Why? Because Obama couldn’t or didn’t keep them inspired to move mountains despite the obstructionists. Even if he were frustrated in his purposes, he had to make sure his base of support was not frustrated. He had to learn to wield that base of support like dynamite to blast away the obstructions, and he didn’t do that.

              Now the situation looks very troubling. There’s a precedent for this — the German Weimar Republic during the interwar years and there again there was predicament. I’m almost loathe to mention it, because of its implications, but the one force that could have arrested the momentum of the Nazis was the Socialists, and they caved because they were pacifists and feared civil war like the plague. The Nazis took advantage of that fear to roll right over them.

              Obama’s opportunity was to effect a “moral equivalent of war” to bring about a more just society. It wasn’t the time for pacifism but for militancy, as the success of Sanders campaign proved. Sanders was about a moral equivalent of civil war, as it were. But now, I’m afraid, the possibility of a “moral equivalent” is fast fading, to become the “immoral” one.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              It’s a curious thing that some people who supported Obama now support Trump.

              Trump is their stick of dynamite or, as Hedges put it, their “middle finger” to the establishment.

              The momentum hasn’t diminished, but Sanders’ supporters are told they have to hold their nose and vote for Clinton — not because they particularly want to, but because they should fear a Trump presidency. Thankfully, a good many prefer to remain calm and excercise their conscience instead.

              The same struggle for proportional representation occurring in Canada is occurring in the US.

              I wasn’t talking about politics in the comment above, though. I was talking about cognitive connections not being made. People say things such as “I remember when there were four seasons. Now, there’s only two.” And “I can’t believe it’s Halloween and 80 degrees outside.” But they don’t make that all-important connection to climate change. You can say something that prompts reflection; draw a distinction between climate science and the systemic poison that passes for “politics” in the US. Unfortunately, the systemic poison appears to be stronger than self-reflection at the moment.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Might add to the previous comment that Rosenstock-Huessy, in his more theological writings, thought too that we were leaving the Pauline Age (Age of Religion or doctrinal age) and entering the Johannine Age (Age of the Spirit), and that Nietzsche’s “death of God” pronouncement was the death only of the god of religion or the doctrinal god. Holland appears to concur with that, and the Johannine Age would seem to be an interpretation of Gebser’s integral structure of consciousness, too — particularly in his anticipation of the “diaphainon”.

  4. Scott Preston says :

    Steven Hill also has a piece in the Euobserver on “The Mouse That Roared” that pretty much summarises the views of the last few posts here on CETA and FTAs in general. It’s pretty good.

  5. Scott Preston says :

    This is bad news, assuming Mike Lofgren is correct in his analysis and interpretation of events. Not good news at all.

  6. Charles Leiden says :

    Scott, I agree about Holland does an “excellent job of highlighting and identifying the major crises of Late Modernity or Post-modernity.” Holland writes

    “But we need to remember that this National Security State of late modern Global Capitalism – however terrifying it could eventually prove, even in ‘inverted totalitarian’ form – constitutes the political swan‐song of the Modern Industrial‐Colonial form of Western Civilization.”

    This reminds one of the thoughts of Gebser and William I. Thompson’s “sunset effect.”

    davidm58 I agree with Morin. Discontinuing is a good description.

    Yes – being aware or accepting that there is a crisis is a big step. Holland has been writing about this for many years so he is clear about what he wants to get across.

    there are many ways of imagining and talking religion. It can be based on authority, understanding doctrine, fellowship. There are many meanings of religions. Paul Tillich talks about ‘ultimate concern” One could turn the K Marx around and say “materialism is the opiate of the people” More and more are becoming spiritual without being religious.

  7. abdulmonem says :

    It is no longer the problem of Mohammad,Moses,Jesus,Buddha or any of the names quoted, it is the problem of me and the billion mes on this earth. The responsibility is personal and each one is pawned by his/her deed and each one has the faculties to choose for him/herself the unique path,before standing face to face in front of the one without intermediary. Mohammad said to the people, I seek no reward from you because my reward will be from the unseen one that has sent me , but my errand is only to make you know that each one has his own unique path to him that each one has to seek for him/herself. It is no longer to attain economic change or social change but to attain psychological balance, the apogee of self-realization, in his presence in order to be a good community serving member. It is to listen and speak without preconditioned ideas or prejudice, to talk in human time not in earth time or cosmic time lest one misses the utilization of own short time. Centralism of religion,race, color or culture is unhealthy and what humanity has suffered at the hand of the anglo-zionist alliance or the european fascism is enough to teach any sensitive soul the necessary lesson to make him/her to say enough. It is time to see all humanity and not part of it away from the deception of using the mask of globality while the users mean something else. It is time to expose the four ugly traits Scott always talk about. It is time to speak our own experiences that we have gained in his presence, without mixing the two separate images. Let not the perverted decreases our zeal in our searching path to him.

  8. Charles Leiden says :

    mikemacd, Thompson is one of my favorite writers. Very erudite and imaginative. I wrote this months ago. William Irwin Thompson’s new book is Beyond Religion -The Cultural Evolution of the Sense of the Sacred from Shamanism to Religion to Post-religious Spirituality. Those of us who read Thompson expect what he calls “mind jazz” and this book is no exception. I learned long ago that a student of cultural history must be open-minded and be able to step back with a sense of detachment to discern what is really happening. Thompson with his cultural erudition is an articulate guide ( a map maker) to a post-religious worldview. Of course, each of us begins the quest with a worldview that is given in whatever culture we live. One aspect is the cultural or social self (ego) that is the process of growing and becoming in a particular culture. This cultural ego just assimilates unconsciously the characteristics of the family and culture, whatever the environment offers. It is a feedback loop between consciousness and the environment. This social ego is limited by whatever by the limits of the culture is. Every culture is a sort of superstructure that determines whatever is allowed to be knowledge.

    You’ve mentioned Lewis Mumford who is an amazing writer. The idea of Plenitude from The Pentagon of Power is worthwhile.

    • mikemackd says :

      Yes Charles, you and I are very much on the same page there. It’s also good to read him after being informed by McGilchrist. For instance, in “Imaginary Landscapes: Making Worlds of Myth and Science”, Thompson states “mythic thinking is macrothought. Think big and you think myth” (Thompson 1989, p. 47). That is not an injunction, it is an observation. One cannot think big without engaging myth, which is a right hemisphere function and, as such, missing in merely machine minds per se.

      Looks like “Beyond Religion” is yet another book to add to my reading list: it should be worth it: Thompson has much enriched my understandings, and my life thereby.

  9. abdulmonem says :

    Thompson is also one of my most favorite writers. I think he is one of the outstanding writer in the field of spirit and the planetary future vision. Long time ago I listened to him in an interview conducted by Michael Garfield speaking on the planetary horizon of humanity. I see him in the expressions of my above comment. I still remember some of his words reflecting on Mohammad religious experience saying, How he could not receive the inspiration after his contemplative retreat in that cave.concluding by paying the regular islamic greetings on him, showing his departure from the closed atlantic vision and moving into a planetary vision, I think Thompson is a good example for those who are honestly seeking the road to the integral consciousness vision. It is time to realize that the unseen divine consciousness is working with us, sometime in counter movements to the human perverted movements as reminder before it is too late. Thank for the link ,it ignited the nostalgia for processing the true movement to the realm of the divine revelatory knowledge and leaving the prison of the mental parlance. All signs show we are entering a new space time frame with an ever-expanding and speeding up human consciousness to meet the true consciousness of the creator and conductor of all these marvelous embodied intelligence that feeds our physicality and spirituality.

  10. abdulmonem says :

    I may add that that myth is the truth of our existence ,through which we enter the realm of the whole, moving from the micro to the macro . As the Sufis put it, You think you are a small germ and in you the whole cosmos incorporated. We are both emissary and master, emissary to the only one and master on our ego consciousness. We are not a fragmented being like this unwise civilization made the human to believe, thus it has thrown him in all this resentment and anxiety, not only fragmented him but made one fragment preside supreme over all other fragments. No wonder we are living in a state of imbalance with all the besieging crises. We are human before we are of this race or that or this religion or that,or this culture or that etc. It is tragic that we start reading out of the divine realm ,the divine that taught us how to read and taught us all that we know and no longer believe that there is divine instruction sent to humanity through the prophets.

    • mikemackd says :

      Well said, Abdulmonem!

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      moving from the micro to the macro

      Where “leadership” so often fails and prophets don’t is in guiding people to an understanding of their intrinsic nature. This is something that must be experienced personally. Intermediaries tend not to do that and I think we all know why.

      This four-part film does an excellent job of illustrating the principle: Inner Worlds,
      Outer Worlds

    • Charles Leiden says :

      Abdulmonem Good writing.

      There are really no clear answers for why a human being becomes a true individual spiritual being. At some moment one understands that one can be responsible or must be responsible for one’s own truth. This begins with an image of the human being that one aspires towards. Who do I aspire to be? Needless to say, one must transcend their particular culture and increase their ‘radius of comprehension’.

    • mikemackd says :

      I have been banging on a lot about Lewis Mumford lately, but once again he had something relevant to say, this time about your post above, Abdulmonem.

      These are from his book Interpretations and Forecasts 1922-1972:

      To be on friendly terms with every part of mankind, one must be on equally friendly terms with every part of oneself; and to do justice to the formative elements in world culture, which give it greater significance and promise than any earlier stage in man’s history, one must nourish the formative elements in the human self, with even fuller energies than axial men applied to this task. In brief, one cannot create a unified world with partial, fragmentary, arrested selves which by their very nature’ must either produce aggressive conflict or regressive isolation. Nothing less than a concept of the whole man — and of man achieving a consciousness of the cosmic and historical — is capable of doing justice to every type of personality, every mode of culture, every human potential. At this point a further human transformation, so far not approached by any recorded culture, may well take place (p. 444).

      What is ideally desirable, at this stage of man’s development, does not exist in any past form of man, either biological or social: not the pure Hindu, the pure Muhammadan, the pure Christian, nor yet the pure Marxist or the pure mechanist: not Old World man nor New World man. The unity we seek must do justice to all these fragments, and be ready to include them lovingly in a self that shall be capable of transcending them. Any doctrine of wholeness that does not begin with love itself as the symbol and agent of this organic creativity can hardly hope to produce either a unified self or unified world; for it is not in the detached intellect alone that this transformation must be effected (p. 455).

      • Charles Leiden says :

        Mumford was a profound writer.

        The unity we seek must do justice to all these fragments, and be ready to include them lovingly in a self that shall be capable of transcending them.

        You answered the question above about becoming a human being.

  11. Charles Leiden says :

    Abdulmonem – I was just reading his book Coming Into Being today. Thompson appreciates Gebser and talks about Gebser and McLuhan in the first chapter. Good ideas. True mind jazz. here is a thought from the intro chapter

    In chaos dynamical theory in mathematics, it is the accumulation of noise that pulls a system from one attractor to another. So in our transition from industrialization to planetization, it is the accumulation of noise that is pulling civilization apart. In industrialization, the global marketplace was the phase-space of human culture that defined the value of all human transactions. The new phase-space, however, is not the marketplace but the catastrophe, for it is the catastrophe that brings us together in a condition that now defines all our human transactions. This evolutionary catastrophe bifurcation of “up or out” compels us to look on human culture with a new, deeper, and more compassionately spiritual level of understanding. Those who are oriented to the marketplace will resist this transformation of world view, so the accumulation of noise will have to be great indeed before they are pulled into the basin of a new attractor.

  12. abdulmonem says :

    I am really happy to be in the company of such good seekers. It is catastrophe that brings us together. How true. We never know how the divine attractors are mobilized, but the definite thing that we know is that human purity of heart , with honest devotion is the best motivators to the divine attractors , the attractors that give the humans the intuitive insight to see in this dark and help others on the road, like Thompson whom we see in his words the insight we are all seeking. It seems time of crises is time for the enhancement of the human consciousness through the divine attractors that become operative in such time to help those honest seeker to see and to help. All prophets appear in time of spiritual fatigue, moral catastrophe to remind humanity of the divine rules they have bent,broken and tossed away and warn them that the law of reversal will never leave the aggressors unchecked, those who lied and falsified the words of the divine. It is high time to stop thinking about the parts outside the necessary whole and stop addressing the ghosts name and fabricated concepts away from the real issues. Thank you all.

    • Charles Leiden says :

      Good writing. I agree. Thompson and other observers can offer insight into the present. Paradoxically, it may be wise to entertain a a long-range vision and live in the present moment.

  13. lendyoualense says :

    Great blog! I have recently written a blog questioning whether we are becoming Globalised or actually regionalised! What the future will hold who knows! If you are interested, here is the link to my post:

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