The United States is technically a corporatocracy

"Imperialism" is out of date

Of jackals, killers, conquerors and knights of the sad figure

Imaperialism was surrounded by the magic of a historic mission in Europe for 500 years. Today, violent unilateral land grabbing on a grand scale is just a crime. Two new publications this year report on this upheaval in the moral foundations of the West: Peter Sloterdijk “In the Inner Space of Capital” and John Perkins “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”.

Peter Sloterdijk writes his philosophical history of globalization around the question of why the USA, the admired center of world capitalism for 200 years, has been perceived as a "foreign body in the moral ecosystem of the post-historical world commune" since the Iraq war. For John Perkins, a successful one for decades Member of the US financial elite, the American belief that America’s doing is ultimately just doing is shattered in self-accusations:

The means of the Economic Hit Men (EHM) are fraudulent financial analysis, election rigging, bribery, extortion, sex and murder. Your game is as old as power, but today, in the age of globalization, it has taken on new and frightening dimensions. I know that, I was an EHM (Economic Hit Man).

John Perkins

What does this shift in moral consciousness mean? What is the new thing about "globalization" that makes John Perkins see tried and tested imperial power techniques in a morally new light, frightening America's self-certainty?

Peter Sloterdijk offers a historical-philosophical answer. For Sloterdijk, globalization is the five hundred year process of European conquest of the world. This world conquest was completed with the end of colonialism after the Second World War. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the "European world system" developed globally. Its principles define the entire way of life on the globe. Sloterdijk takes the term "globe" in "globalization" seriously and asks himself: Since when has there been talk of the "globe ”And what does it mean?

The map absorbs the land, the image of the globe gradually makes the real expansions disappear for the imaginative thinking of the space.

That is why a brilliant success story begins for the terrestrial globe, this typographical marvel that informs modern people more than any other picture about their location, which extends over a period of more than five hundred years. (...) In its dominant epoch, the terrestrial globe is not only the leading medium for the new homogenizing positioning; not only does it become an indispensable instrument of worldview in the hands of everyone who has acquired power and knowledge in the old world and its dépendances. In addition, thanks to ongoing amendments to the map images, it records the permanent offensive of discoveries, conquests, developments and names with which the advancing Europeans, maritime and terran, establish themselves in the universal outside world.

Peter Sloterdijk

Globalization has been a revolution in the worldview that has been going on for five hundred years. Instead of the Ptolemaic view of the world, in which every place is sheltered under its own sky, there is the image of an earth on which every place is only a more or less well-developed point, a possible location on the spherical surface of the earth for global capital. The means of creating the new world were discovery, conquest, submission, the well-known power techniques of colonialism and imperialism. These were considered by the European powers to be justified by their world historical mission. Their crimes were heroic acts as they served a historical telos. The instance that morally disinhibited the unilateral bloody act was "history".

The ideologues (whose functional predecessors in the 16th century were the Italian secretarii and the confessors of the princes) disinhibited themselves and their clients usually in the name of "history" and its iron laws - hence the inevitable task for these advisors, their often violent ones To present whisperings as outflows of a "science of history".

Peter Sloterdijk

This "story" is over today, the goal has been achieved. The globalized earth is reality. The age of "globalization" has congealed into the "global age".

"Completion of terrestrial globalization" - that means: You now know once and for all that you will not be the first to arrive anywhere in the world; you also have to explicitly take into account that you cannot express yourself on any topic in the world independently of discourse. (...)

Adventurism is part of globalization, reservation is part of globality. The explorers of the era of globalization boarded the departing ships with muskets, machetes and vague maps, the speakers of the global era board the aircraft with a place card and a finished manuscript.

Peter Sloterdijk

The earth no longer offers space for far-reaching movements, it is narrowed by backward and reciprocal effects. There is no longer any room for imperial one-sidedness in established globality. It is the state of "forced neighborhood with innumerable coexists", a life in the "crystal palace", a state of increased density that forces communication and consideration.

Being chronically in dense environments becomes second nature to us. If it is sufficiently practiced morally and physically, the mere one-sided seizure of the initiative will appear like a utopia that no longer corresponds to the circumstances. Freedom to act, as it was once understood, now looks like a fairy tale motif from the time when attacking still helped. If one still observes a one-sided expansion here and there, this is an indication that certain actors continue to believe that they are finding pre-dense, disinhibited conditions. In general, however, one can say that all "virgin soils", wherever, have found their colonists. From a process-theoretical point of view, high density means: The successful phase of unilateral practice is over, without the possibility of an occasional violent aftershock being ruled out expelled from the historical Eden, where salvation was promised to the one-sided.

Peter Sloterdijk

In the conquered world, the conqueror becomes Don Quixote

When the post-historical world leaves no room for one-sided expansion, for unilateral practice, the question becomes all the more urgent: What did the US-American unilateralism of the Iraq war mean? Doesn't the US understand the signs of the times? What is preventing them from integrating into the "post-historical" world community? How sustainable is this relapse into "historical times"?

John Perkins sees the violent unilateralism of the USA as a betrayal of the moral foundations of the republic, of the ideals of the founding fathers. For Peter Sloterdijk, America's spiritual foundations are jointly responsible for the moral isolation of the USA in the “post-historical world commune.” The constant precaution of the ideals of the founding fathers makes the USA blind to the real historical situation.

Sloterdijk suspects a complicated delusion that is closely interwoven with the American belief in chosenness. In America's golden age, when the revolutionary republic was still surrounded by colonialist and imperialist powers, belief in America's democratic mission still made sense. In the post-historical world, this belief becomes a trap. "Mediocrity is forbidden for the chosen." The result is a systematic psychosocial falsification. The "euphemistic falsification of Activa" and the "misappropriation of reasons for depression" permeates the entire American motivation system in Sloterdijk's diagnosis. The whole country is manic. There can and must not be defeats. Unmanageable dependencies cannot be tolerated their existence is denied with all the energy that can be mobilized.

With a blindness reminiscent of ancient heroes, the American strategists and their consultants, thanks to their acquired inability to recognize elementary facts, overlook the fact that reciprocal inhibition constitutes the modus operandi of the postmodern world context as such, because it is inevitably based on compression, coupling and - to use the worn out word after all - networking is based.

Peter Sloterdijk

In spite of this acquired blindness, the "postmodern world context" is an inevitable precondition for its actions also for the USA. In what form does the denied return in American strategy?

John Perkins calls American unilateralism "world empire", but in fact describes a clandestine process of enrichment on a large scale reminiscent of Mafia methods and its crisis in postmodern times.

That is the real competence of the EHM: We are building a world empire. We are an elite of women and men who use international financial organizations to create the conditions under which other countries are to be subjected to corporatocracy. And this corporatocracy rules our largest corporations, our government and our banks. Like our counterparts in the Mafia, we offer EHM a service or a favor. This can be, for example, a loan to develop the infrastructure: power plants, expressways, ports, airports or industrial parks. The loan is subject to the condition that engineering companies and building contractors from our country build all of these projects. In principle, most of the money never leaves the US; it is simply transferred from banks in Washington to engineering offices in New York, Houston or San Francisco.

Although the money flows back almost immediately to companies belonging to the corporatocracy (the donor), the recipient country has to repay everything, the debt plus interest. If an EHM is really successful, then the loans are so high that the debtor can no longer meet his payment obligations after a few years. Then like the mafia we demand our share. Above all, this includes: control over the votes in the UN, the establishment of military bases or access to important resources such as oil or control over the Panama Canal. Of course, we do not cancel the debt of the debtor for this and have again subjugated a country permanently.

John Perkins

So much for the economic model of action. His central requirement is the confidentiality of all those involved. It can only work in secret; if it were done publicly, it would be drowned in a storm of moral indignation.

If everything goes as intended, the only thing the public will know about the deal is the disastrous consequences: the ruin of a country. She does not learn anything about the actual causes. Mismanagement of a corrupt elite in any third world country is then the popular explanation. The fact that there was intent and strategic planning behind it can at any time be dismissed as a conspiracy-theoretical assumption, as "communist" propaganda.

In every phase of its implementation, the model presupposes precisely the "inhibitions of the condensed world" that Sloterdijk describes as a postmodern achievement. Without the interwoven web of global capitalism, the firmly established institutions of globally operating banks and corporations, the flow of finance, goods and information it wouldn't work.

The world empire of the economic hit men

As Perkins reports, the birth of the EHM was the successful operation of CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt in Iran, which led to the overthrow of the democratic government of Mossadegh and the enthronement of the Shah.

If the US wanted to enforce its claim to global rule (as envisioned by Presidents Johnson and Nixon, for example), then the new strategy had to be based on Roosevelt's example in Iran. That was the only way to defeat the Soviet Union without provoking a nuclear war.

John Perkins

The "world empire" of the EHM was right on the border of the illegitimate right from the start. During the Cold War, however, the actors could still believe that it was justified as a covert weapon in the world civil war. With the fall of the Soviet Union, this justification was also destroyed Since then, the model as such has been in crisis. In ever new waves of economic and political enlightenment, the American model of global economy and politics comes under fire and one country after another tries to escape the constraints of the EHM clutches.

Against this background, how does the Iraq war fit in? How could the Bushists believe that this war could be a meaningful answer to the crisis of the EHM model, and why is the Iraq war having such a cathartic effect on John Perkins that he breaks the silence of the EHM and makes public confession?

Shortly after my return from Ecuador in 2003, the US invaded Iraq a second time in 14 years. The EHM had failed, and the jackals had failed too. So young men and women were sent out to kill and die in the desert sands.

John Perkins

And elsewhere:

As I read these articles (about the economic war profiteers of the Iraq war, the Bechtels, Halliburtons, etc. and their ties to the US government in American mainstream media), I had to think about how many people besides me probably knew that Saddam was still would be in office if he had played the same game as the Saudis. He would have got his missiles and chemical plants; we would have built them for him, and representatives from our companies would be busy today maintaining them and bringing them up to date. It could have been a fabulous business for everyone involved.

John Perkins

The military intervention brings to light the moral weakness of the invisible American empire

Military intervention is the third stage of the EHM model, its ultima ratio. It is supposed to bring dissenters to their senses and ensure the continuation of good business. However, as such a continuation of the EHM economy by military means, the Iraq war is not very convincing. He violates an essential basic principle of the EHM economy: "The bill is paid by the others." The Bechtel, Halliburton, Stone & Webster and Brown & Root etc. do not collect at the expense of another country, which has to pay the bill in the end, but largely at the expense of the American national debt.

In the "post-historical" world, the ultima ratio can no longer save the EHM empire, on the contrary, the military intervention brings to light the moral weakness of the entire invisible American empire. This war is therefore a moral and political monster. It offends blatant ones Wise against both the moral foundations of the American Republic and the postmodern morality of the world commune. The military conquest of Iraq is rotting in a swamp of corruption, scandals and embarrassment, the country is sinking into anarchy and attempts to demonstrate heroism are reminiscent of one Comic version of the heroic. We had therefore called the Iraq war in an earlier article operetta imperialism. The attempt to justify it with the help of America's "historical mission" is ultimately only suitable for making belief in this "historical mission" itself permanent To discredit. Not to see this is the real thing Blindness of the Bush administration and this is shaking Perkins to the core.

For the US, the Iraq war is a moral, economic, military and political disaster. John Perkins' life confession is a symptom of the depth of this crisis. Perkins has a flair for life-threatening crises. He always knew how to get off a sinking ship early, before others could even imagine that there might be leaks. For example, he resigned his post of chief economist at the consulting firm MAIN in 1980 when all of his colleagues thought this was an insane act. 4 years later the company was bankrupt and the remaining partners received less than half for their shares. He later founded a successful energy company that he was able to sell on time for a decent profit. You should therefore take your crisis diagnosis seriously. Let's give him the floor one more time:

The global supremacy of the United States is largely based on the fact that the US dollar is the world's default and reserve currency and that the United States Mint has the right to print those dollars. And so we give loans to countries like Ecuador, knowing full well that these countries will never be able to repay them; we don't even want them to pay their debts, because this failure to pay gives us the means we need. Under normal circumstances this would seriously jeopardize our capital because no creditor can permanently afford to have too many bad loans on his books.

But we don't live under normal circumstances.The United States prints money that is not backed by gold. It is essentially backed by nothing but general worldwide confidence in our economy and in our ability to properly utilize and deploy the powers and resources of the empire we have created. That we can print money gives us tremendous power. It means, among other things, that we can continue to make loans that in all likelihood will never be paid back and that we can pile up gigantic mountains of debt. In early 2003, the United States had a staggering $ 6 trillion in debt, and it should climb to 7 trillion by the end of the year - roughly $ 24,000 for every US citizen. The main creditors of the USA are the Asian countries, especially Japan and China, which buy large quantities of US government bonds and securities (especially debt securities), with foreign exchange obtained through the export of consumer goods, primarily electronics, computers, and automobiles , Home appliances and textiles to the US and other parts of the world.

As long as the world accepts the US dollar as its default and reserve currency, this excessive debt poses no serious threat to the corporatocracy. However, should another currency eventually replace the dollar, or should some of America's creditors (Japan or China) decide to adopt one Selling some of these securities to get their money back would change the situation dramatically. The United States would suddenly find itself in a most precarious position.

The possibility that such a competing currency could emerge is by no means excluded: In January 2002 the euro entered the international stage and is gaining increasing prestige and economic importance. The euro presents an unexpected opportunity for OPEC countries when they want to retaliate for the Iraq invasion or for any other reason decide to pressurize the United States. For example, if OPEC were to settle its oil exports in euros instead of dollars, the foundations of the US empire would be shaken. In addition, if one or two of our main creditors asked us to repay our debts in euros, then there would be enormous turmoil.

John Perkins

The dollar system - despite the enormous expense of the Iraq adventure - has by no means become safer. With Saddam an acute danger to the dollar was removed, but the far greater danger of the slow, creeping disintegration of the system by the immanent processes of world capitalism remains.

Imperial asymmetries are becoming more and more difficult to maintain in the unfolded global world system. In the postmodern world there is no permanent superiority, neither economic, nor political, nor technological, but also not military.

The US's twenty-year plans for a high-tech army, for example, reveal their absurdity if one takes a look at the history of the location of computer technology over the past twenty years: It was a time of constant relocations: from Silicon Valley to Taiwan and today to China. What the "Bell Lab" was twenty or thirty years ago is now taking place in Shenyang or Shenzhen. And where the world center of high-tech will be in twenty years, no one can yet know. But how can a military-technical program achieve permanent superiority for the USA guarantee, if the research competence in this sector can be established anywhere in the world? What is preventing other countries from developing effective military-technical counter-strategies in the projected project period of 20 years? The knowledge necessary for such strategies is ubiquitous in the post-modern world. No country and no The corporation can monopolize the global knowledge commons for itself, no matter what the patent attorneys think about it.

Local innovators and entrepreneurs can transform themselves into global players in the unfolded global world at the speed of modern transport and communication systems and overturn apparently firmly established asymmetries. The rise of China provides illustrative material for such a process. Although all places are possible locations for investments, they nonetheless remain locally rooted as places and develop their strengths out of themselves.

The great mobilization by capital must leave behind what opposes liquidation. It cannot transfer local cultures by international transfer; it can modify generative processes, but not replace them.

Peter Sloterdijk

Sloterdijk's history of globalization therefore ends with praise for the irreducible, the stubborn local, the diversity of languages ​​and the inevitable natural, incidentally very similar to how John Perkins confession ends with a look at the indigenous people of Ecuador. The postmodern world of the 21st century will be a multipolar world of regional competencies. There is no room in it for "eternal" asymmetries in the long run.

John Perkins: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. On the road in the service of the business mafia. Riemann publishing house. 384 pages. € 19.00. ISBN: 3-570-50066-7

Peter Sloterdijk: In the inner space of capital. For a philosophical theory of globalization. Suhrkamp Verlag. About 416 pages. approx. € 24.80. ISBN 3-518-41676-6

(Ulrich Berger and Christoph Stein)

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