‘Neoliberal capitalism is already global,’ writes Buell. ‘Resistance to it must itself be global and democratic.’
Conservatives warn us that deficit spending will turn the U.S. into a fiscal basket case, like Greece. No longer truly independent, Greece is ruled by the IMF, the ECB, and the European Commission. What conservatives seldom point out is that membership in the Eurozone cost Greece control of its own currency, and thus the ability to combat recessions bound to occur in most capitalist economies. It thus becomes a prey to any corporatist experiment the troika implements.
Here in the U.S., continual harping on deficits is really a smokescreen to privatize Social Security and fatally wound the already inadequate U.S. welfare state. Now in the midst of a partial recovery that has reduced the deficit, corporations are trying to foist on the U.S. another of its dangerous international agreements. The unstated goal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is to undermine efforts to reduce economic inequality or compensate victims of environmental damage.
This agenda represents a radical departure even from classical market theory. Adam Smith believed that markets were natural and would evolve spontaneously. Today’s corporate conservatives, the so- called neoliberals, take a less naïve view. Ardent supporters of markets, they believe strong governments are needed to foster and sustain these. Though often employing the rhetoric of the spontaneous, unregulated “magic of the market,” they incarcerate populations displaced by the market, expand military presence, spy on dissidents, subsidize or bail out monopolies or oligopolies it has encouraged or enabled.
TPP illustrates the neoliberal agenda. Sold as “free trade” it is defended with the classical liberal arguments of comparative advantage, whereby each nation specializes in what it does best and trade between them benefits both. Paul Krugman rejects this argument, pointing out that “trade among these players is already fairly free, so the T.P.P. wouldn’t make that much difference.”