Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Killing In The Market

Jon Schwarz, as always, combines humor & horror in this illuminating post on the late Thomas Enders and his friends in the American ruling structure. I've nothing to add to Jon's take, but I do wish to expand on his open:

"Several years ago I helped organize a political event. We invited Gore Vidal to speak at it, and while in the end it didn't work out, during the process I was lucky enough to talk to him.

"We mostly spoke about the American empire, such as it is, and Vidal's description of it in his books. I made a long-winded argument that the financial arm of our empire -- basically the IMF, World Bank, and WTO -- has actually killed more people than the military arm. There was a pause. Then Vidal said: 'Well... let's call it a tie.'"

As much as I enjoy Vidal, he sometimes foregoes facts in favor of punch lines. (An understandable trait.) Here I'm solidly with Jon -- the financial arm of our empire has definitely killed more people than bombs, bullets and torture centers. Starvation is the preferred weapon, cost effective, low overhead. Dehydration and disease make inspired contributions as well. Of course, bombing the holy living fuck out of poor people helps to set up the later slow murder of the survivors. But the mechanism of private profit can work efficiently on its own.

Now, it's common Web wisdom that nothing can match commie-ism's body count -- 100 mil total, according to the much-cited, little-read "Black Book." But even if we take that number at face value (and this is being generous), the commies still cannot compete with capitalism. Not only did capital win what was amusingly called The Cold War, it also out-killed the state-planning amateurs (while making, in most cases, a decent profit). And being the winner, capital continues to kill, as you may have noticed.

This is nothing new. Mike Davis wrote about the tens of millions who perished for the sake of 19th century "free trade" (another witty term) in his book, "Late Victorian Holocausts." The British were the main culprits here, though they did have help from us upstart Yankees, who were still mopping up what remained of the indigenous population. A messy yet necessary undertaking. I mean, if it wasn't for this, we wouldn't have this.

So count your blessings. And pass the salt.