I read an article in the Al Jazeera, the major media of the Arab world, called “A Revolution Against Neoliberalism.” This is the closest I’ve seen in any press, so far, that tells the story of the driver behind the protests in the middle east. It outlines the economic situation well in Egypt, the situation which is the underlying cause of the protests and which caused the breakdown of the mechanisms of social control in that, and other countries.
One key point of that article is that the neoliberal system created a very small but wealthy class, and most of the rest of society was poor. About 40% of the people live below the poverty line, although the official numbers put it at 20%. Yet, it was hailed by the International Monetary Fund as a model of free market success.
One thing the article didn’t mention, however, was that Neoliberalism is the system of globalization. With its prime directive being the sanctity of the markets and privatization of everything, the Neoliberal system has impoverished a huge percentage of the world’s population. There are other names for it as well, Free Trade, Free Market, Free Enterprise. I call it Neocolonialism. It’s all under the umbrella of globalization.
What we are seeing in the Middle East and now in U.S. states like Winconsin (some protesters there have signs of support for the protesters in Egypt). I believe that the protests in the U.S. will grow organically as they are in the Middle East. The U.S. economy is being destroyed by these same policies and is being turned into a third word country.
Look at what globalization has done. It sent millions of jobs over seas to use cheap labor. Then they sell us those goods and make a huge profit. State and local governments lose the tax revenue base from those jobs and are now bankrupt. They are trying to cut spending on everything, including wages, services and benefits. It privatized our water supply, energy supply and many other services with the promise that the markets will bring costs down. They have gone up in every case.
Because of deregulation, there is now a huge financial speculative derivatives bubble that’s bursting, and bringing down the whole financial system. Yet the private markets, which advocate no government intervention in the markets, are getting bailed out by the government (isn’t that intervening in the markets?) while many people are losing their jobs, their homes, their insurance and the 401Ks, among many other things.
I could go on and on about the economic woes but I’m sure you get the picture. The point is that globalization has done this…well, around the globe. Just about all countries are affected by it. It won’t be surprising to see many other countries erupt in protests and demonstrations against the same thing. They may not be against globalization specifically, but they will be against the effects of it.
So, what is the answer to all this? Since America is still a power, it needs to get back to its roots of the American System, the system of Alexander Hamilton, the system that was created to counter the liberal (now neoliberal) system of the British Empire. Then, export that system to all the countries that want to develop as independent, self sufficient countries and raise the living standards of their populations.