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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Sad Way of the World Is Competition: Nations, Boeing, Nadella, and You

Posted by on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 8:33 AM

From Dani Roderik's book The Globalization Paradox:

The creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, after nearly eight years of negotiations and as the culmination of the so-called “Uruguay Round” (the last under the GATT), ushered quite a different understanding [of international trade]. Along with the onset of financial globalization around 1990, the WTO marks the pursuit of a new kind of globalization that reversed the Bretton Woods priorities [country first/international trade second]: hypergobalization. Domestic economic management was to become subservient to international trade and finance rather than the other way around. Economic globalization, the international integration of markets for goods and capital (but not labor),became an end in itself, overshadowing domestic agendas.

The thrust of policy discussions increasingly reflected this change. From the 1980s on, if you wanted to argue for or against something, you couldn't do better than adorn your case with the words "our countrv's international competitiveness requires it." Globalization became an imperative, apparently requiring all nations to pursue a common strategy of low corporate taxation, tight fiscal policy, deregulation, and reduction of the power of unions.

From Seattle Time's "[Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO] Ray Conner asks for understanding as Boeing cuts costs in ‘fierce marketplace’":

"[Boeing's] survival depends on being competitive—and the state of Washington has a lot at stake... By taking steps to remain competitive, much like we did earlier this year... we will ensure that Washington continues to benefit from the jobs, revenue, and technological skills we contribute to this region. I've never seen such a fierce marketplace."

Deepa Bhandura in "One Indian Writer’s Perspective on Two of Seattle’s Prominent Indian-Born Americans":

Nadella strikes the corporate world as a kind of Gandhi figure. Tall and trim with buzzed hair and dark-rimmed glasses, he exudes a corporate brand of asceticism. His lean runner’s body harbors no extra fat. His speech is measured and Spartan. His disciplined form matches his disciplined attitude. In his first public interview as CEO, he stated: “The first thing I want to do and focus on is ruthlessly remove any obstacles that allow us to innovate.”

His self-proclaimed “competitive zeal” came through last week, when he announced by e-mail that Microsoft would shave off 18,000 jobs as a way to “become more agile and move faster” in the new economy.


Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval in The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society:

But while neo-liberals accept the need for state intervention and reject pure governmental passivity, they are opposed to any action that might frustrate the operation of competition between private interests. State intervention even has the converse sense. It does not involve limiting the market through corrective or compensatory action, but developing and purifying the competitive market through a carefully tailored legal framework. It is no longer a question of postulating a spontaneous agreement between individual interests, but of creating the optimal conditions for the interplay of their rivalry to satisfy the collective interest. In this respect, rejecting the second of the two propositions mentioned above, neo-liberalism combines a rehabilitation of public intervention with a conception of the market centred on competition, It [makes] competition the cardinal principle of social and individual existence.

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Comments (5) RSS

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1
Of course, the competitiveness myth of financial globalization has always been just that, a myth!

As the Fifth Protocol of the WTO's Financial Services Agreement so aptly illustrates, it is all about a One World Bank and One World Exchange and their ownership of a One World Corporation. The mandate within that agreement demands the allowing of foreign ownership of banks, and the acceptances of credit derivatives (structured finance or structured financial products) as valid financial instruments, not the ultra-Ponzi schemes which they in actuality are.
Posted by sgt_doom on July 23, 2014 at 10:20 AM · Report this
2

Globalization => Regio-nationality.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 23, 2014 at 12:25 PM · Report this
treacle 3
creating the optimal conditions for the interplay of their rivalry to satisfy the collective interest.

Soo...
1. Competition is encouraged, but not co-operation.
Hm, ok. What is the reason for that blinkered focus? Is there some sort of moral imperative guiding this limited choice?

2. Lots and lots of "competition" equates with high volatility and less stability (companies going under, being bought out, products flickering in and out of existence), and also cheap, shoddy goods & food as corners are cut to try to reach the lowest price. Also, lower-wage jobs. As can be plainly seen.

3. to satisfy the collective interest
What, indeed, is the 'collective interest' here? Merely cheap prices? Volatility? Increased monopolization of globe-spanning industries? Periodic but unpredictable & uncontrollable "recessions" as so much bad economic weather that fucks up peoples lives? An unstable economy? More shitty jobs?

Or.. Universal (free) education? The ability to earn a living and support a family? The end of prohibition? Guaranteed minimum income? Reducing the prison populations?
Posted by treacle on July 23, 2014 at 12:34 PM · Report this
4
When Boeing whines about competition it is lying through its teeth. They only have ONE competitor, Airbus! Airbus is based in France, a union-friendly country. "Competition" is in no way an excuse for them to engage in union-busting. It's all about redistributing money from workers to shareholders, not growing the pie.
Posted by Always east coaster on July 25, 2014 at 8:34 PM · Report this
5
neoliberalism is currently moving toward the end of reducing prison populations. even Paul Ryan's poverty plan includes moves to reduce sentences.

the aerospace industry's pie is not growing? there r not more planes than before? this is interesting

@ treacle: yes - cheaper prices and better paying jobs for people in places where previously there were few jobs. Germany and Texas have the most neoliberal housing markets, and the cheapest rents. Latin Europe (including union-friendly France) has the least neoliberal labor markets, and the lowest employment rates. private sector labor markets r neoliberal - cheap consumer goods, record profitsi. public sector labor is protected - gov services get cut, govs r broke

E. Asia living standards enormously improved
Posted by alfresco on July 26, 2014 at 1:38 PM · Report this

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