Saturday, June 14, 2008

Obama's pick for economic advisor is one of the Chicago Boyz

You know, the purveyors of Friedmanesque orthodoxy that has had genocidal consequences wherever it has been applied. Chile during the Pinochet regime's rule would be one of the more notoriously brutal exemplars - those first years of the regime (1973-1976) merit its inclusion in Genocide Watch's list of genocides since 1945 to the present. That said, the more insidious genocidal features of neoliberalism have largely been organizational and structural in nature: violent in their effects, but not as salient in public discourse as massacres. Subcomandante Marcos referred to NAFTA in a 1994 interview as a "death sentence" for the campesinos in his nation1. In fact, Marcos went on to say,
"NAFTA sets up competition among farmers, but how can our campesinos - who are mostly illiterate - compete with US and Canadian farmers? And look at this rocky land we have here. How can we compete with the land in California, or in Canada? So the people of Chiapas, as well as the people of Oaxaca, Veracruz, Quintana Roo, Guerrero, and Sonora were the sacrificial lambs of NAFTA."
Indeed, the subsequent 14 years have borne out his concerns, as imported produce flooded the markets, forcing campesinos to abandon their plots and become among the mass numbers of displaced people (many of whom then risk life and limb attempting to cross the border into the US). Similarly, as I've noted, manufacturing laborers also took a severe hit as jobs were outsourced to China. Although the effects of neoliberal orthodoxy have been far less visible in the US, we can note its effects here in the land of milk and honey as well - increased poverty, homelessness, decreased quality of life for all but a relative few multimillionaires and billionaires. Although Obama talks a good game when it comes to "change" - given his choices in Congress and on the current campaign trail, it's just talk. He's certainly not about to change nearly three decades of neoliberal orthodoxy that has governed the US in its domestic programs and international relations. Rather, expect more of the same, merely with a happier facade.

1. Benjamin, Medea (1995). Interview: Subcomandante Marcos. In E. Katzenberger (Ed.), First World, Ha Ha Ha! The Zapatista Challenge. San Francisco: City Lights.

No comments:

Post a Comment