Yesterday I did a 30 minute Fireside Chat Podcast titled “Davos, Plato, and Dystopia.” In it I suggested that the global leaders who set policy for the rest of us are undoubtedly following in the footsteps of the philosopher Plato, moving toward a world ruled by philosopher kings (as they see themselves) and promoting “noble lies” (Plato’s words) in order to corral the masses on Planet Earth to follow the programs that they the rulers know is “best.”
Here are two videos I happened to chance upon this morning that strongly support what I was saying. Before I describe them, I will point out to my friends on the left side of the political spectrum that both of these videos are outstanding critiques of what is happening from a left-of-center point of view. And I am quite sure that my friends on the right side of the political spectrum will find a great deal of insight in what these two speakers are saying.
The first is the former Greek Minister of Finance, Yanis Varoufakis from an interview he gave three years ago. Varoufakis was a key member of the government of Alexis Tsipras, and both were members of the left-wing party Syriza. This as many of you remember was during the catastrophic Greek financial crisis and the national referendum on Grexit (which by the way passed by over a 60 percent vote and was then rejected by that very government, clearly under massive pressure from the European Union leadership).
Varoufakis gives an extraordinarily clear discussion of the Greek debt crisis, which to this day continues to act as a wrecking ball for the entire nation. It’s a rare person who can clearly and without hyperbole or political rhetoric state what happened and why it matters, but this is what he does. Indeed, the overarching theme of discussion was the EU leadership believing its members were the only “adults in the room,” a very telling description very much in line with what I had been saying about the elitism inherent in their worldview. Varoufakis also provides many other insights, such as how the Greek bailout was never intended to go to the Greek people or institutions but instead to the German and French banks that were leveraged by their prior massive loans to Greece. In other words, the plan by the EU leadership was always to get European taxpayers to foot the bailout bill, ostensibly for Greece but in fact which immediately was transferred back to those very banks. He also points out that forcing Greece into the draconian austerity measures that have effectively ruined the country were imposed not for genuine economic or financial reasons but for political reasons, mainly because the EU leadership could never publicly admit where the bailout money was really going. Rather than allow Greece to work with a reasonable repayment plan that would have been better for everyone (even, eventually, the highly leveraged banks), the situation that transpired was designed to protect the big banks immediately by the European taxpayers, and to impose massive austerity measures on Greece essentially to provide the rest of the bank bailout and, as he seems to suggest, function primarily as political theater. The rhetoric of the EU leaders had essentially painted them into a corner and made them unable to speak honestly about what was actually going on. I would ask any economic experts out there to tweak or correct my interpretation if I missed anything in the above characterization. There is much more to this interview, all of which I found to be enlightening.
The second interview is with a man named Nick Buxton, someone I was not previously familiar with. He clearly is a long-time observer and analyst of international global corporate developments, and describes what he calls a global coup d’etat by major corporations over global international and national institutions. He points out how corporate power is even behind the management of the Covid pandemic via the World Health Organization. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. He describes how the World Economic Forum (which he mentions is predominantly funded by wealthy corporations) has become a launchpad for important global initiatives around the world, and how it has gotten its hooks into such institutions as the UN and the WHO and more. He makes an important distinction between multilateral institutions such as the UN and “multistakeholder” institutions, which are not supported by governments but by large financial and corporate interests. Multilaterial institutions are on the decline, he states, while multistakeholder institutions are definitely on the rise, and probably already much more powerful than multilaterial institutions. He argues that the key decisions for everything in our world, from the creation of a digital infrastructure to management of the global pandemic, are dominated by these multistakeholder institutions. In the case of Covid, he says, it’s primarily major pharmaceutical companies, banks, and major foundations such as the Bill Gates Foundation. His general perspective is not radically different from one I have been expressing for more than a decade, which is essentially that there is no way to stop globalization, but the question is what will it look like? Will it be responsive in any way to the will of the people, or will it reflect only the interests of the most powerful and wealthy? Will it look at least somewhat like democracy, or will it look like fascism? Buxton has a lot of concern over things like climate change and also seems to oppose stringent border policies, and yet I find it refreshing to see a deep analysis of the “global coup d’etat” coming from the left, since the mainstream left for the most part has ignored any genuine review of the developments Buxton is talking about. For the past decade, essentially, such analyses have been vastly more common coming from the right side of the political spectrum. Buxton sees a coming rise of a global police state in the service of major banks and corporations, just as critics on the right see it. Very smart interview.
Not everyone here will have an interest in these two interviews but I suspect quite a number of you will, so I have them here for you to enjoy.