While the mainstream media is too busy dealing with the detailed coverage of the huge earthquake at Wall Street and other international markets, a group of researchers from the United Nations completed a study on 120 major cities around the world which presents some disturbing conclusions. The picture is not very bright, the report suggests, with the growing inequality and wealth gap in the biggest urban areas of the world. John Vidal, environment editor of The Guardian, tries to draw our attention to the consequences of this situation, in his latest article.

High levels of inequality can lead to negative social, economic and political consequences that have a destabilizing effect on societies,” said the report. “[They] create social and political fractures that can develop into social unrest and insecurity.”

According to the annual State of the World’s cities report from UN-Habitat, race is one of the most important factors determining levels of inequality in the US and Canada.

This picture has nothing to do with the present economical collapse of the international finance-capital. Even if the things went completely alright for the financial lords without any serious fluctuation at the “credits market”, the majority of the people who live in the most urbanized parts of the world would feel the harsh impacts of the globally dominant economic system which was built upon inequality.

The report found that India was becoming more unequal as a direct result of economic liberalization and globalization, and that the most unequal cities were in South Africa and Namibia and Latin America. “The cumulative effect of unequal distribution [of wealth] has been a deep and lasting division between rich and poor. Trade liberalization did not bring about the expected benefits.”

Social unrest has always been the direct result of the deep economical inequalities at sharing the wealth, which brought the end of feudal monarchies some two hundred years ago. Beginning with the end of this decade, we can expect a widespread unrest, social and political clashes, or even civil wars around the world – perhaps at the heart of the global finance-capital, like America and West Europe.

The Neoliberalism ship badly stranded and the “wise guys” of the global financial elite are in a helpless manic-depressive situation. This picture was more or less foreseen by the thinkers of our age almost a century ago but the smart-ass “experts” of the post-war era were so over-confident that they thought they could keep the veins in hand even under the worst circumstances, by injecting the rules of a “financial religion” they called the “global capitalism.” The greed and the bigotry of the international finance-capital finally led the world economy to a total collapse – and alas, the worst is not over yet.

Walden Bello, a Foreign Policy In Focus columnist and professor of sociology at the University of the Philippines, analyzes the present situation thoroughly in a Q & A style. (I recommend the original article at the source site.)

We’re seeing the intensification of one of the central crises or contradictions of global capitalism: the crisis of overproduction, also known as overaccumulation or overcapacity.

In other words, capitalism has a tendency to build up tremendous productive capacity that outruns the population’s capacity to consume owing to social inequalities that limit popular purchasing power, thus eroding profitability.

clipped from www.fpif.org
Did greed cause the collapse of global capitalism’s nerve center?
Good old-fashioned greed certainly played a part. This is what Klaus Schwab, the organizer of the World Economic Forum, the yearly global elite jamboree in the Swiss Alps, meant when he said in an interview earlier this year: “We have to pay for the sins of the past.”
Was this a case of Wall Street outsmarting itself?
Definitely. Financial speculators outsmarted themselves by creating more and more complex financial contracts like derivatives that would securitize and make money from all forms of risk — including such exotic futures instruments as “credit default swaps” that enable investors to bet on the odds that the banks’ own corporate borrowers would not be able to pay their debts
Was it lack of regulation?
Yes. Everyone acknowledges by now that Wall Street’s capacity to innovate and turn out more and more sophisticated financial instruments had run far ahead of government’s regulatory capability
A worth-to-read-these-days article from MRZine, based on a lecture which Rick Kuhn, Reader in Political Science at the ANU, will deliver in London on 7 November. Kuhn presents a solid panoramic view of the recurrent crisis of capitalism and analyzes the “chaotic essence” of the dominant economic system which is “destined” to collapse totally in this century and transform into a new, “hybrid thing”. The below clip includes the few paragraphes that I picked but the entire article is highly recommended. A good read indeed.
clipped from mrzine.monthlyreview.org
Don’t panic! That’s the panicked cry of governments and central bankers around the world. Meanwhile their behaviour shows that they expect a very, very deep recession.
More ‘transparency’ and better regulation of banking won’t deal with the underlying issue which is low average rates of profit across the global economy.
Capitalism has a tendency to break down that is expressed in deep crises like the current one. Grossman argued that

capitalist production is characterized by insoluble conflicts. Irremediable systemic convulsions necessarily arise . . . from the immanent contradiction between value and use value, between profitability and productivity, between limited possibilities for valorisation and the unlimited development of the productive forces.

The fact that production is organised not to satisfy human needs but to make profits for the capitalist class is the ultimate cause of the system’s recurrent crises.

Not a fresh video of course but it’s very “psychedelic” now, helping to think on capitalism, globalism, war strategies and the new terrifying circumstances again. Nation columnist Naomi Klein explores a key argument from her new book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.



Wanna hear a pulp hypocrisy story? Bush Administration comdemned the violent crackdown in Burma. Not only George W. Bush and the First Lady, but also Condoleezza Rice made very “strong” statements against the junta’s latest actions in Yangon. Now, let’s recall who on earth has been the biggest supporter of the Burmese regime? Clue: A multinational oil corp. Amy Goodman helps our memory in her article on Truthdig. Let’s read on about multinationals, globalism, neocons, Chevron and slave labor:

The Bush administration is making headlines with its strong language against the Burmese regime. President Bush declared increased sanctions in his U.N. General Assembly speech. First lady Laura Bush has come out with perhaps the strongest statements. Explaining that she has a cousin who is a Burma activist, Laura Bush said, “The deplorable acts of violence being perpetrated against Buddhist monks and peaceful Burmese demonstrators shame the military regime.”Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, at the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said, “The United States is determined to keep an international focus on the travesty that is taking place.” Keeping an international focus is essential, but should not distract from one of the most powerful supporters of the junta, one that is much closer to home. Rice knows it well: Chevron.Fueling the military junta that has ruled for decades are Burma’s natural gas reserves, controlled by the Burmese regime in partnership with the U.S. multinational oil giant Chevron, the French oil company Total and a Thai oil firm. Offshore natural gas facilities deliver their extracted gas to Thailand through Burma’s Yadana pipeline. The pipeline was built with slave labor, forced into servitude by the Burmese military.Rice served on the Chevron board of directors for a decade. She even had a Chevron oil tanker named after her. While she served on the board, Chevron was sued for involvement in the killing of nonviolent protesters in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Like the Burmese, Nigerians suffer political repression and pollution where oil and gas are extracted and they live in dire poverty. The protests in Burma were actually triggered by a government-imposed increase in fuel prices.

Goodman writes about the “lifeline of the Burmese regime”. Recommended for refreshing memories and diagnosing the hypocrisy of the neocons. Oil companies have all the blood stains of the innocent people on their hands. As usual.