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Ear to the Ground

WTO Chief: ‘Peace in Danger’

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Posted on Feb 8, 2009
Wikimedia Commons / José Cruz / ABr

The global economic meltdown reminds World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy of the 1930s, but, he says, “The crisis today is spreading even faster ... and affects more countries at the same time.” That could lead to political unrest of the scale that produces world wars.

Lamy’s concern echoes our own Chris Hedges, who recently suggested that the U.S. could experience such unrest.

AFP via Google:

Questioned about the risks of political instability, Lamy—who wraps up his four-year term as WTO director-general in September—responded that that was “the main danger”.

“This crisis weighs heavily on politics and puts peace in danger,” he said.

“Some democracies are old and sufficiently stable to overcome such problems, (but) others are going to be confronted by unrest and inter-religious and inter-ethnic conflicts.”

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By samosamo, February 9, 2009 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

By octopus, February 8 at 5:51 pm

You got it oct. Makes me want to vomit to see a talking head from one of the major causes of this disaster come out spewing this puke as if he is the intellectual superior that is placing the blame of what is about to crash anywhere BUT on his circle jerk bunch of organizations including the World Trade Organization, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Wall Street, Federal Reserve, any central banking group, Council of Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, america’s military/industrial/congressional complex, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the recent out of office administration, what appears to be the current administration and that is all I can think of for now but I think most all are considered by at least themselves as ‘elite’, more worthy of life than the rest of the people. Which is not surprising as I would think any terrorist, and these and the people that are in these organizations, are the financial terrorists that have planned and executed and are still carrying out their agenda of grand larceny on the world since it is called ‘globalization’ along with their nazi styled propaganda machine the america conservative owned(4 or 5 of them)mainstream media.
And that is where that little dwarf w, the global village idiot, was shrewed enough along with the help of his dick to call the beginnings of it all the ‘global war on terror’ which would divert most everyone’s attention to a bunch of people in a cave that would bring destroy or bring down this country. But you World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy(a participating pivot man in this circle jerk) are exposed as being a very close collaberator of this neocon/elitist agenda. I hope you are a victim real soon of that upcoming unrest when the masses realize what you and a bunch of other criminal people have done.

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By Marton, February 9, 2009 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern bourgeois society, with its
relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic
means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the
powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the
history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces
against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for
the existence of the bourgeois and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that
by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial, each time
more threateningly. In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the
previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises, there breaks out
an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity — the epidemic of overproduction.
Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears
as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of
subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much
civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The
productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the
conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these
conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring
disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The
conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them…
Marx 1848
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/manifest.pdf

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By Blackspeare, February 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

Many people as well as some historian credit FDR’s government sponsored works programs as ending the Last “Great Depression”, but in reality it was WW II that did it.  Large or world wars serve several purpose.  It culls the population. It creates jobs both during and after the war.  It can put a nation in a dominant political picture for the immediate future and it solidifies a nation in time of economic stress.  Things are now ripe for a large scale war——the big question is who???

Remember the world, throughout time, has been through a number of large wars and we’re still here——humans are a resilient lot.

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By The Expat View, February 9, 2009 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wonder if there is an apt metaphor for the time we live in.

For fanciers of old cartoons, the metaphor could be one of those scenes where Wiley Coyote of “Roadrunner” fame has raced off the cliff and is still balanced in the air—before he looks down and crashes. 

For those of us who like naturalistic metaphors, how about “the calm before the storm”? Or, the eye of the hurricane (since the GW Bush administration was quite a wallop for most of us and not all that many of us thrived under Clinton, either).

I heard the economist Dean Baker last night clearly state the difference between the current recession and the last two awful ones that had huge unemployment, the Nixon recession in 1974 and the Volker recession in 1980-82.  Those earlier recessions were in part caused by the Fed taking action, that is, raising interest rates.  In essence, the Fed overshot its policy goal, and it could rejigger its usual tools to help fix the problem it caused.

This time, the recession has been caused by Fed and government inaction.  The proliferation of financial instruments and money-making schemes was the product of the omission of government and Fed involvement. 

And that past inaction puts more of a burden than usual on government and the Fed to act if they wish to avoid the disasterous consequences around the corner. (“If,” but that’s another story.) 

The tool the Fed usually uses, lowering interest rates, has not stemmed the tide of job losses and business failures. With the interest rate at or near zero, this tool has been exhausted. 

Because the bankers that run the Fed are probably unwilling to run the whole country (and would we want them to, anyway?), they probably won’t use the tool most likely to have an effect, buying commercial paper.

That leaves Congress.  Fiscal tools, such as generating demand to make up for lost demand in the economy, are well-established, so much so that we can tabulate how much we need down to the nearest million dollars.  This is the stimulus President Obama is calling for. 

To work, it has to make up for the 1.4 trillion dollars that were sucked out of the economy under the Bush administration.

But if you are going to borrow anyway, why not borrow for war?  Why not start a big one, like World War II, to get the economy moving?  As the Republicans keep pointing out, it was war not new-fangled policy that got the US out of the Depression.

I fear that war is what people like Pascal Lamy are preparing us for.

These business people and bankers would rather have war, with massive destruction and loss of human life and—always—the possibility of nuclear holocaust, than a peaceful restoration of economic health through stimulus. 

We can see through their rhetoric, but can we stop them?  Who knows?  As other commenters have noted, our democratic instutions have been devastated along with our livelihoods.  But as William Blake pointed out generations ago, “We are many, they are few.”

P.S.  One aspect of the Roadrunner metaphor:  Mr. Coyote miraculously returns for another day, always.  I hear a lot of senior financial people talking in these terms, about how the economy will rise again.  It will; the question is (and it is a political question), must it be government-sponsored corporate capitalism?

If you believe, as I do, that “capitalism,” “socialism,” and “communism” are not synonymous with the “economy” but merely ways to manage an economy, the answer is a ringing “NO.”  George Bush, bless his little heart, has given us the unique opportunity to remake the governance of our economy into a system that reflects our current values of accountability, respect for all people, restoring our environment, and minimizing our impact on Earth.

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By Verne Arnold, February 9, 2009 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

Isn’t it incredible, how an incompetent American President can actually bring down the world’s economy and thereby potentially destabilize the entire planet?

I mean; who’d a thunk?
His father should have taken him out to the woodshed and spanked the hell out of him.  smile

http://whatintheworld.blogspot.com/

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By Shift, February 8, 2009 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

Peace in danger?  What peace!

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By octopus, February 8, 2009 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

Mr Lamy,
You would, in my humble opinion, be much more attractive with me wrapped around your head, with two of my tentacles up your nostrils. I would then bore a hole in your dome with my beak and snack on your otherwise useless grey matter.

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By Alan MacDonald, February 8, 2009 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s curious that both the International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said, “Advanced economies are already in a depression” and that World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy said, “The crisis today is spreading even faster (than the Great Depression) and affects more countries at the same time,” which could lead to political unrest of the scale that gave us a world war—- and that the IMF and WTO BOTH leaked these existential threats within 24 hours!

At first I was simply intrigued this morning, that Larry Summers on “This Week” when confronted by George STEPHANOPOULOS quoting the IMF’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn saying, “the advanced democracies are already in depression” would not answer George.

But now I am much more intrigued (and worried) about why the IMF head and the WTO head are BOTH seeding massive fear-mongering of ‘depression’ AND ‘war’ in the same 24 hours?

Why would two of the most powerful global organizations, which I think of as having supported global ruling-elite corporatist/financial Empire for several decades, pick the exact same time to publicly speak (which they don’t often do individually), and to seem to have a coordinated fear mongering PR message of impending economic and military armageddon hitting the global airwaves simultaneously?  Strange, eh?

Well, I’ll keep my shirt on for now.  But if the World Bank leaks some ‘end of times’ message this week I’d be tempted to call it some kind of a ‘Trifecta’ or maybe a ‘Three Card Monte’—- and start wondering who’s planning what for us peons.

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By octopus, February 8, 2009 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and The World Trade Organization plus the US Military and Covert Ops have been dictating the gospel of Globalization for decades to give Multinational Corporations access to cheap labor and other nations natural resources. The Free Market they call it. Freedom at gun point that is. This is his true message….Go ahead and try and protect your own country and people by re-nationalizing your economies, try to reclaim what we have stolen from you,and we will wage war against you. Maybe his threat is actually disguised as a benevolent warning, as if empathy was actually in his vocabulary….

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By Fadel Abdallah, February 8, 2009 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

Well some of us were not waiting for a big name with a big job to tell us the obvious. I, for one, has said this on these Truthdig threads more than once. So if the World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy was a little slow in his analysis and predictions, he must know that there are average university professors, like myself, who are ahead of their times and have more freedom to speak out even when it’s politically incorrect to do so!

Let me repeat something I said several times before; and that’s we are having a long visit from NEMESIS-the Goddess of retribution, who punishes human transgression of the natural, right order of things and the arrogance, intransigence, greed, and false pride that cause it!

Let me also repeat that the signs of the US becoming a failed state are so obvious and serious to the point that no amount of so-called democracy will be able to fix it. Naturally, popular unrest or even bloody revolutions might be in store for many failed countries with failed economies. And for war-mongers, and there are many, this is their chance to provoke wide regional wars if not a WWIII! Israel and the US are the most likely candidates to push for global wars. I might even live to witness this!

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