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Friday, April 26, 2013

The International Connection Between a Book and a Local Restaurant

Posted by on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 8:44 AM

I want to make a connection between a book, The Making of Global Capitalism, I reviewed in this week's books section...

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And a new Ethiopian restaurant, Wonder Coffee and Sports Bar, I reviewed in this week's chow section.

Here is the connection: In The Making of Global Capitalism, the Canadian authors (Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin—the first is a professor of political science and the second is an economist), convincingly argue that globalization is essentially Americanization. To understand their reasoning, you have to first understand this: There is no such thing as a pure capitalism, a capitalism as a kind of Platonic form. There are instead multiple capitalisms, each marked by the culture through which it is expressed—Singaporean capitalism, German capitalism, Brazilian capitalism, and so on. The kind of capitalism that went global during the second half of the 20th century was US capitalism. Not only that, this capitalism was made global not by capitalists or multinational corporations but by the US government. Only a powerful state has the kind of muscle needed to build, support, and reproduce an economic order on a global scale.

And how does this connect with the Wonder Coffee and Sports Bar? A passage from my review:

A part of the menu offers Ethiopian dishes. The other part offers plain American meals... Now here is where things get wonderfully weird: The Ethiopian dishes are in the Wonder Special Ethiopian section of the menu, and the American meals are in the Wonder Special International section. When you eat a hamburger down the street, it is not international—but when you eat it in Wonder, it is. America, not Ethiopia, is international in Wonder.
Wonder, however, is correct to categorize American plates (even in America) as international—it is the food/language/culture of global capitalism. A cheeseburger, no matter where it is served, is international; injera bread, no matter where it is served, is local.

 

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..that globalization is essentially Americanization.

I don't agree with the underlying thesis. Globalization, which started many decades, if not centuries, earlier, is essentially predatory capitalistic privatization on a global basis, could be predicated on British Financial Empire capitalism as such, but structured as the greatest wealth grab for the fewest possible ever.

The fundamental mythology of capitalism is that it rewards merit, yet nowhere historically is that to be observed, instead there are neverending rigged situations, markets, operations, etc., which is why the vast majority (as in 10 out of 10 Americans in the 27 major cities) are clueless as to the causes of the economic meltdown, and why there will never be any so-called recovery. (Regardless of what Martin Feldstein, Alan Greenspan or Ben Shalom Bernanke claim!)

There was nothing particularly mystical or celestial about it: the banksters, or global elites, or transnational capitalist class, bought and sold an unlimited number of insurance policies (credit default swaps) against the debt they churned out in an almost unlimited degree. With $2 trillion worth of CDSes sold on Bear Stearns' $190 billion of external debt, the payout would have been a potential $200 trillion dollars, considerably far more than all the world's GDP combined, and that was just one instance; AIG sold $460 billion worth of CDSes, with the potential payout of from $20 trillion to well over $40 trillion, so with just those two instances (and due to the lobbied and paid-for nature of the the derivatives market, nobody truly knowns just how many CDSes were extant) we have $240 trillion in unregulated insurance payouts --- which couldn't be covered by all the banksters on the planet --- especially since none of them had the reserve capital even on hand for such an economic catastrophe of their own making, but from which they profited highly from and managed the greatest theft/transfer of wealth in human history.

This was why the interbank loans froze (LIBOR, EUROBOR, etc.), and the bond market collapsed: the US Treasury TARP bailout funds, and the Federal Reserve pumping trillions and trillions of dollars out worldwide, continued making those debt payments so those CDS (naked swaps) wouldn't come due.

Pure insanity, excepting that it worked for the .01 percent who controls and owns everything!
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Posted by sgt_doom on April 26, 2013 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 1
Well, of course the bread is local, it doesn't last long.

But our cheeseburgers last for a year.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on April 26, 2013 at 9:04 AM · Report this

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