Fake Globalisation: Propaganda Lives On

Danfox Davies's picture

False Globalisation

Propaganda Lives On

 

by Danfox Davies | Bucureşti, Romania 16th September 2015 – Edited in Blarney, Ireland 17th August 2017

 

The presence of the spectre of the TPP, TTIP and TISA secretive ‘trade’ deals (and many other such deals like them) would lead anyone to think that the world is becoming increasingly homogenised for corporate purposes, that a grand unification of the hundreds of countries into one subservient consumer mass is already underway and importantly that no-one either can or should do anything to stop this. Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottles and cans can be found the world over, every city has a McDonald’s or ten and why would any country wish to impede this availability of consumer familiarity that everyone knows and loves (to hate)? Why indeed?

We know who stands to lose the most in the event of failure of these ‘trade agreements’, and they are the ones paraded as examples of the same capitalism that they are strangling the world over, one closed small company at a time. When the players of the game deliberately collude to produce a stalemate, it’s not the same game any more. The ‘capitalism’ we have known for the last thirty or more years sees governments subsidising the richest banks and oil firms so that their advantage can be ever-more unfair. The lobbying tactics deployed have worn down the resolve, warped and befuddled the minds of politicians, and ensured that laws designed to protect competition and innovation are seldom applied effectively against the worst offenders, whose exclusivity contracts leave many retailers feeling like they have no choice. So bravo, big business, you won. May all that money cushion your dreams from the ghosts of crushed dreams that follow in your wake.

But is that really it? Do we have to swallow the endless advertisements, celebrity endorsements and hand-shaking politicians word for word? Something has seemed off for a very long time with this situation. Sixteen years ago (Eighteen now - editing), Warren Ellis wrote and drew a comic book series called Transmetropolitan. Set in a future not too removed from now, it depicts the continued struggle of the free press against an incredibly corporate-led, dangerous future dystopia. I have to say, sans a few technological roll-outs, we’re already there.

 

It’s capitalism, Jim, but not as we know it!

 

Spider Jerusalem would feel right at home in any city the world over, assuming he ruffled enough political or corporate feathers to get noticed (he would). The politicians all move the goalposts outlining the political spectrum and only the ones who are sponsored by cronies tend to get in. When ones who are not supported by the corporate or military systems of their countries do occasionally get in, they are seen as outsiders, treated despicably, scrutinised and derided by the press under the instruction of moguls with vested interests. Why?

Well, as it turns out, greed both gave birth to and killed capitalism. Greedy people compete, greedier people make sure they get away with breaking the rules and forcing capitalism to become an oligopoly or monopoly in their favour. You can have too much of a ‘good’ thing. Especially if you are a bank and can re-brand counterfeiting to make money appear from nowhere for your bonuses (but not for your small-fry customers – anyone remember when interest used to be paid to you on positive balances in current accounts?).

Faced with such corruption, you’d be forgiven for looking towards the few places not permeated by such interests and wondering how you’ll ever apply the models of tiny communes and remote villages to flawed, bustling metropolises. What works where everyone knows and trusts everyone else is difficult to scale much in this dog-eat-dog world.

It’s times like this that we need not only to look to places that have done so much better and have so much to be smug about, but also to learn from the mistakes of places that did worse, or were brought down already by such greed. It’s time for some real globalisation: we need to start learning from each other all around the world indiscriminately, learning from our mistakes instead of ignoring them or papering over the cracks with propaganda.

This is why I came to be writing this article in Bucharest. Romania has had a traumatic history within my lifetime and during the era of the tightening corporate reign. From the enormous follies of its not-very-communist Animal Farm-like past, to a period of the past’s ‘also-rans’ clinging on and trying to corrupt the system back to their will, to the optimism-by-comparison seen today, this often-overlooked corner of Europe has seen its people try time and time again to throw off the oppressions of both fake communism and fake capitalism.

The copied French architecture from the pre-communism period suggests a good idea was seen abroad and used here early on. The introduction of communism and its subsequent corruption both ignored the needs of the people, and so does every Coca-Cola contract signed by any of the local shops to this day (same goes for other similar deals from other giant corporations). What all these things have in common is a denial or ignoring of local culture. Historically, Romania is described as a country of shepherds and herders, travellers and innkeepers. Little is done to recognise this compared to the bombardment of ‘globalised’ advertisements alongside posters from the government and the ubiquitous graffiti of a discontented public. This continued discontentment and corruption (which according to the locals, remains rife in high office), gives a sense that in trying to move as far away from their past as possible without looking, Romania runs the risk of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. Its enthusiasm for the Euro comes at a time when the pan-European currency is wrapped in scandal and dodgy-sounding manipulative pressures from Germany and others against Greece. Swapping one corruption for another gets you no net gain from false globalisation under a One Size Fits All policy. Rather, a sleepwalk into a more crass form of subservience seems to be underway.
Sounds familiar. We’re going the same way the world over. ‘Development’ as an index, the First/Second/Third world system seems benign until you recognise it for what it is: keeping track of how easy it is for corporate giants to win there, and maintaining a state-level classism to ensure there’s always an underdog who must ‘know their place’ and a middle-manager to keep them there on behalf of the rich. Given the carrot of convenience and modern services, people beat themselves with the stick of not thinking for themselves. People get discouraged, depressed and mince themselves into glass boxes of bullshit jobs because the entire system from cradle to grave can only offer this. Capitalism is supposed to be about freedom to start your own business and compete fairly on your merits as seen by people at your level, as supported and managed by the customers and as funded by those who have the heart to help you off the ground by honest custom, by the people and for the people. What we have does not do that, at least not very well at all.

 

Turbines don’t work that way!

 

The current way of crony-capitalism could be analogous to someone putting up wind turbines to create wind. It doesn’t work like that and isn’t needed, the same goes for Quantitative Easing and interest rate manipulation. When Jesus turfed the money-lenders out of the temple in that famous 3rd-4th Century hit book, The Bible, he likely saw a similar trend, albeit amid less technology and advertising.

The cash economy and centralised trust will always be flawed, however. Seeing cash as a way out is to underestimate the chance of things going awry. Nor does switching to 100% local everything really work, some things are just better done elsewhere. Trade is not the problem. Greed is.

To be rid of greed, we need education to drastically change focus. No more should ‘Sharing is Caring’ be left behind as some quaint vestigial notion at primary school. No more should money be the primary objective. We need:

 

* Ideas shared and remixed.

* Problems solved.
* The basics of life (food, water, sanitation, climate, communication).

 

From these grow all that we can desire. Money is a tool. Nobody sets out to collect as many hammers as possible and expects to use them all (unless they are building some kind of bizarre contraption that requires a huge number of hammers). Trade, maybe, but to use? Maybe a few different sizes and that’s enough. Greed is forgetting what ‘enough’ is.

 

Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!

 

Bankers jumping off tall buildings should be enough to show you that money does not beget satisfaction. We live in an economy that relies on satisfaction, but has no incentive to pursue it.

I get a warm, satisfied feeling for helping people, particularly where that help gives a lasting positive result. I help my friends and family, I do DIY and clean up when they have been too busy. They don’t take advantage, they show gratitude and informally return favours, often int he form of food. In fact, I am starting a company soon (have started a company – edit) for which the entire raison d’être is (broadly) to help people to solve problems and to share how we do it. Basing this on a trustless cryptocurrency gives me the confidence that a shared means of payment and other shared systems can and will work in place of the old corrupted ways. I am not going into business to make money. I want enough to pay off my debts I created in the name of this business and to have a sensible place to live and work, food ont he table and costs covered. I am going into business not to accumulate profits, but to accomplish projects, to create satisfaction, to treat people for what ails them and to make the world a happier place. TTIP, TPP and TISA etcetera are antithetical to this sentiment. Indeed, even without them there will be a long struggle needed to remind people what really matters.

 

It’s strictly B.Y.O.B.” - Flick, A Bug’s Life

 

The people who most deserve to be their own bosses are the ones most disillusioned by the current system. Nevertheless, in some way we should all be our own bosses, and in some way we should recognise that the machine against which we are raging may contain some perfectly re-usable components. That’s what democracy tries to facilitate whilst maintaining respect for the wishes of all stakeholders (i.e. everyone). Corporate lobbying and big budget campaigns are not democracy. They just build smokescreens, and where there’s smke there’s fire. If you want a job done properly, do it yourself. If it’s too much to do it yourself, collaborate on truly equal terms and share.

My friends here in Romania want me to start my business here, rather than back ‘home’ in the UK. The lack of overbearing regulations they cite is a blessing and a curse, so is the country’s membership of the EU. But I’d rather share my ideas and the early benefits of my business with people who have a new-found optimism and still have the momentum to traverse the fire now they are out of the frying pan, than be forced by beuraucracy to submit to the will of the establishment’s outmoded paradigms, and so I am giving it some thought (this contributed to me deciding to move to Ireland – edit).

Communism and capitalism alike can ruin a place, when greed weilds them. Drop the greed, be a Pirate and show you care: share.

@page { margin: 2cm } p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; line-height: 120% } a:link { so-language: zxx }