The invisible pimp hand of the marketplace

" I don't care of poor people.." - (...

” I don’t care of poor people..” – (omaggio al banale popolo dei contribuenti che non merita le attenzioni dei governi “moderni”) (Photo credit: emilius da atlantide)

Well, its Super Bowl weekend in the sweet land of liberty where our valiant leaders narrowly averted the fiscal cliff by taking the fiscal off ramp and where most everyone is living a little less large. Whether its due to un(der)employment, foreclosed homes or unaffordable care acts, the cause is increasingly moot at this point as more and more Americans are breaking out their old patchouli oils and love beads and singing, “This is the dawning of the Age of Austerity©…”. It’s a tune that many citizens around the globe have already been belting out for years now. In America, the production is still in the rising action chapter but the stage is being set for the performance to reach its inevitable climax. Back in New Orleans, thank goodness there’s at least money for more than 70 Homeland Security agencies and even NORAD to attend the showdown between the gridiron gladiators and get their Hurricane on in the Quarter. It is fitting that football, particularly the brand of hyper aggressive athleticism practiced by the En Ef El is the marquis sporting event in America. For, just as on field acts of physical belligerence and pugnacity are esteemed by fans and sports commenters alike, there is a form of violence in the air in America that is just as hard hitting and devastating as a blindside hit from Ray Lewis. Best of all, this method of brutality can be implemented without a shot being fired (at least in the beginning). Naomi Klein has shown how economic warfare has been waged on citizens across the globe by using the pretext provided a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina or a manmade one such as the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa to implement brutal monetary policies while the population is still reeling from the events or upheaval they have experienced.

English: The invisible hand of the market. Fra...

English: The invisible hand of the market. Français : La main invisible du marché. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the word violence is talked about or considered, the physical acting out of aggression or use of force by an individual or group towards another is typically what comes to mind, including the myriad forms of sexualized violence that take place around the globe. However, the ruling class has long known that a well placed economic policy can act like a surgical strike on an uninformed and unsuspecting populace and its tracks are easier to cover. Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco have documented the economic warfare being waged on Americans in their book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. They employed the term “sacrifice zones” to describe areas of the country such as Camden, NJ and Wlech, West Virginia, places whose workforce and environmental resources were extracted and liquidated by the modern day robber barons in our midst. For myself, the most striking chapter was when Hedges and Sacco chronicled the hardships of migrant workers in Florida and the efforts of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to advocate on their behalf.  Slavery is another hold over from an era once thought passed by in our country but the reality is it never left. Men, woman, and children of certain immigration statuses still face the whip of the boss man or crew leader. Here too, debt as economic bondage is the leverage used to control the workers in the tomato fields of Immokalee who find that paying off their tabs is like going through the revolving door at the company store. Just ask any scholar of organized crime whether money and violence go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Regulations cramp my style

Regulations cramp my style (Photo credit: Liz | populational)

Because the ruling class controls the levers of finance and dominates the marketplace, they are the ultimate purveyors of violence in American society. By pulling the strings of the politicians, seemingly trivial statutes and regulations are slipped through to codify economic policies that can lead millions into poverty with the stroke of a pen or banging of a gavel. In America, you are either an asset or a liability you cannot be an assability. Women have long been the targets of economic violence both world wide as well as in the United States (Bank) of America. Here, they have borne the brunt of Clinton era welfare reforms that has served to further stigmatize poor and single mothers rather than offer them the visible hand of a compassionate and concerned fellow citizen. No (Wealthy) Child Left Behind/Race To The Top (of Witch Mountain) and Yo Mama (Obama) Care were both economic Hellfire missiles aimed squarely at the poor, working and middle classes in America to pull the rug out of two public institutions, education and healthcare, that have traditionally served these two populations with varying degrees of effectiveness, until the invisible hand flicked its invisible finger to knock them down. And now that the goose has been genetically modified by Monsanto, the POTUS and his band of merry bankers and billionaires are going after the golden eggs, Medicare and Social Security. Then, there shall be a great cry throughout the land and the Age of Austerity© will finally reach its inexorable crest. There will be no intermissions or refunds for dissatisfied ticket holders and, if you really complain, let’s just say the hand will no longer be so invisible and you may find it wielding a baton and pepper spray. International sanctions are a powerful economic weapon in the first world arsenal that can have crippling effects on the people who are being punished for the alleged sins of their leaders. The outcomes, widespread poverty, hunger, sickness and suffering, can be as destructive as a full blown military assault on the population being targeted.

Few know that, in 1984, God spoke to His people through the sage Pat Morita, “Walk on road? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later get squish just like grape.” Truthfully, all I really need to know I learned from Mr. Miyagi. I learned how to wax a car, how to paint a fence and, best of all, how to do the crane kick. Like karate, either we do this thing called life “yes” or we do it “no” but we can no longer afford to do life “guess so”. Just as the incorrigible John Kreese and his Cobra Kai found out the hard way, the way of the fist is strong but Mr. Miyagi’s pimp hand is stronger. So too, the invisible pimp hand of the neofeudal corporatalist marketplace may seem unshakeable but our collective hands are strong enough to break the financial finger locks, however, it must take a struggle. In America, the arc of the moral universe may bend toward justice but, right now, its the backs of the American people that are hunched over. Whether the arc is long or short will depend on which side of the road we walk on. May we all do life yes and may we no longer be squished like grapes. Peace to all readers.

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14 Responses to The invisible pimp hand of the marketplace

  1. Beautiful job on this post, Jeff!
    Really, the term “post-colonialism” is a big fat lie. We’re still IN colonialism, and we are LOSING – fast.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      More and more in this country are learning what life is like on the reservation first hand. Another great Frederick Douglass quote, “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.”

      Your words and images on your blog are an inspiration to me and to many others.

      Like

      • Aw, gee. You just brought small tears to my eyes…thank-you, Jeff.

        So many people don’t know that Frederick Douglas was born and raised a slave, and didn’t reach freedom until he was a young man – you may have pointed this out, but I just wanted to make sure people know it. Sorry if I’m being a butt-in-ski.

        Your fan,
        Claire

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      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        I appreciate the details and context you add to the discussions. You’re always welcome to butt in on my ramblings!

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  2. RigoHC says:

    yes there is more violence in cutting the top tier tax rate than all armed robbery’s

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Good analogy, that’s why the rules are rewritten in the fine print so that offshore tax havens and a wealth of other loopholes are always readily available to offset higher tax rates if you have attorneys and accountants of a certain caliber.

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  3. Sherry says:

    Well said indeed. I am hoping that all this leads to the kind of Gandhian passive resistence strike that needs to happen to redress our grievances. We are ruled by corporations for corporations and we are fast returning to the days before TR busted the trusts and restored some kind of dignity to the working class, and indeed fostered a true middle class. Democrat or Republican, its just a tiny distance between and the rest of us are unrepresented.

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Hearing about the factory fires in Brazil and labor issues involving Apple and Foxconn in China are reminiscent of Sinclair era America. The elite would definitely like to turn the clock back on the progress made for worker’s rights in this country. I agree with you that nonviolent and passive resistance is key to the movement.

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  4. Pingback: The invisible pimp hand – Jeff Nguyen – Deconstructing Myths « johndwmacdonald

  5. Victoria says:

    Chris Hedges, one of my heroes.

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  6. Henry Jekyll says:

    Really enjoy your writing Jeff. Free markets? IMHO just newspeak for unwillingness to bear any of the costs associated with production. A society that views the natural state of man to be a bellum omnium contra omnes will not display any compassion towards the poor unless compelled. Dollar menus, pseudo reality tv, off the field conduct of professional athletes (who cares btw??), all seem like modern day versions of bread and circuses.

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Bread and circuses is apt, Madison Avenue has done a stellar job convincing the middle class they’re one pulled up boot strap away from being the next Carnegie or Morgan, or more currently Gates and Walton. As long as one is facing the upper class in fealty one’s back is turned on the poor and lower classes.

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  7. We used to be told that one family ruling as absolute rulers was a dictate of God, and there was no other way the world could be. The idea that the world must be as it is now is just as much a fairy tale.

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  8. dougstuber says:

    Building a small village that lives outside the realm of globalization as MUCH AS POSSIBLE is my next task in life. Your Blog helps give us strength. After 14 years I gave up trying to change the top. I still believe small units of good can help anyone prosper if we work for ourselves on one hand, and to help those who need it on the other. Big corporate no longer needs, and never deserved to take advantage of natural resources and human resources the way it has. Shoot, tax breaks to move jobs to cheaper labor countries? If folks can’t see how rigged the legislative process is via stuff like that, then I am SURE humans will be able to see how unfair it is when the next USA war comes stomping into their neighborhood: and this does not mean just overseas I fear. Be small, be independent, be quietly hidden while loud about humanity, and be safe.

    Liked by 2 people

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