[FoRK] US defence budget will equal ROW combined "within 12 months"

Ian Andrew Bell (FoRK) fork at ianbell.com
Wed May 4 16:27:21 PDT 2005

On 4-May-05, at 12:58 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:

> I don't doubt that these activities have had an Imperial effect to 
> some extent with some countries.  I'm curious how much that was the 
> direct intent; certainly it seems that South America has had some 
> suspicious patterns.

Well I would suspect that the appointment of former Defense Secretary 
James McNamara, who ran the World Bank from 1968-1981; or that the 
appointment of Paul Wolfowitz from Deputy Secretary of Defense to the 
World Bank this year, might be indicative of the criticality of the 
process in implementing US foreign policy.. but maybe that's too 

Of course, there doesn't NEED to be an explicit conspiracy in this 
regard.  The furtherance of the corporate agenda (which motivates us 
all to make decisions to enrich ourselves) embedded in the design of 
our economic system is enough to motivate most imperial activities.  In 
the latter 20th Century, Imperialism was no longer driven by 
authoritarian monarchs and their generals, armed with powerful navies 
and foreign legions; it was driven by plutocrats and their middle 
managers, armed with Excel spreadsheets and development aid.

> The .com boom/bust, with its very beneficial leap forward in 
> technology, awareness, and access and transfer of wealth from 
> moduls/foundations to the meritous-middle class, is a creative 
> destruction model to desire.

I'm sorry ... I realize I'm questioning our own existence here, but 
what exactly is/was the profound human social benefit of the dot com 
boom/bust?  How does eBay really contribute to the furtherance of 
mankind?  Are fewer babies dying of malnourishment because I can now 
shop for books and DVDs online?  Does ubiquitous broadband really 
further the human endeavour or does the subsidized propagation of 
internet access merely allow countries to compete economically with 
other countries who, well, also subsidize the propagation of internet 

Given that the majority of those who were left holding worthless shares 
were that selfsame middle class I suspect that any detailed analysis of 
the flow of funds during the era would reveal that the opposite was 
true:  the dotcom boom/bust had more to do with a transference of 
wealth from the middle class to the moguls/foundations than the 
inverse, as you've stated.  That a few "meritous" Sergeis, Yangs and 
Koogles were beatified by those moguls to serve as beacons to the 
slaving masses is hardly evidence of such wealth transference having 
occurred meaningfully.

To assume that more technology is a good thing perpetuates a very 
Western-centric view of humanity.  The Achuar tribe in Ecuador has 
lived sustainably and happily in the same area for thousands of years 
and I don't think they have much interest in getting internet access, 
or in buying and selling securities.  Of course, their primary interest 
over the past 30 years has become growing and selling enough cocaine to 
buy weapons to defend themselves from the encroaching oil companies and 
their US-trained government security details.  Ironic that both the 
cocaine and the oil end up in the same place though, no?

> We should all hope that the world leaps forward in all of these ways, 
> however messy it is and whatever path it takes.

When it wipes out societies, cultures, and species; when it consumes 
every available resource as it careens down a blind path to global 
ecophagy; when it actively promotes the deaths of millions of people 
whether they're in New York, Iraq, Panama, or Israel .... I'm beginning 
to think that maybe it's a bit too messy for me.

And the assumption that such leaping moves us forward is perhaps even 
more problematic.  The point is that if your yardstick for "progress" 
says Made In America then every person on the planet must be measured 
on a continuum with the Bush family at one end and a starving 
HIV-infected baby on the other.  The point is that the success of the 
Bush family is entirely dependent upon a system which necessitates the 
existence of both groups in increasing numbers, leaving progressively 
fewer of us in the middle.

> The main cause of villany is ignorance

The main cause of villainy is personal greed.  Ignorance allows 
villainy to scale.  Profound ignorance allows villainy to scale 

"Economics" is a very good mechanism for the institutionalization and 
export of ignorance.


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