Friday, March 21, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 7: The Victors Segment 13/14
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The matter of capital flow is also complex. In the first place, the regional hegemons are not remotely comparable in wealth and economic level, and never have been, so that their role in economic transactions will differ greatly. For another, investment has intricate effects. It can lead to economic growth, benefit certain sectors of the population while severely harming others, lay the basis for independent development or undermine such prospects. The numbers in themselves tell only a small part of the story, and have to be complemented by the kind of analysis that has yet to be undertaken in comparing Eastern Europe and Latin America.

It should be evident without further comment that the standard comparison of Eastern to Western Europe, or the Soviet Union to the United States, is virtually meaningless, designed for propaganda, not enlightenment.

Other subordinate and dependent systems have yet a different character. Discussing the rapid economic growth of South Korea and Taiwan after the powerful stimulus given by Vietnam war spending, Bruce Cumings observes that it resumes a process of development begun under Japanese colonialism. Unlike the West, he notes, Japan brought industry to the labor and raw materials rather than vice versa, leading to industrial development under state-corporate guidance, now renewed. Japan's colonial policies were extremely brutal, but they laid a basis for economic development. These economic successes, like those of Singapore and Hong Kong, are no tribute either to democracy or the wonders of the market; rather, to harsh labor conditions, efficient quasi-fascist political systems, and, much as in Japan, high levels of protectionism and planning by financial-industrial conglomerates in a state-coordinated economy.63

Comparison of the former Japanese colonies to the regions under U.S. influence is not common here, but right-wing Japanese are not reluctant to pursue it. Shintaro Ishihara, a powerful figure in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which holds a virtual monopoly of political power, contrasts the domains of Japanese influence and control with the Philippines. The countries that were once under Japanese administration are "success stories" from the economic point of view, he writes, while the Philippines are an economic disaster and the "showcase of democracy" is largely an empty form. "Philippine landowners have accumulated incredible power and wealth, siphoning everything from the ordinary people," while "tradition is dismantled" in favor of a shallow and superficial veneer of American culture, "an atrocity -- a barbaric act."64

This spokesman for right-wing nationalism is plainly not a trustworthy independent source. But there is more than a little truth to what he says.

Comparison of the Latin American economies with those of East Asia is another topic that has rarely been undertaken seriously. Editorials, news reporting, and other commentary commonly allege that the comparison reveals the superiority of economic liberalism, but without providing the basis for that conclusion. It is not easy to sustain, if only because of the radical departures from liberal capitalism in the success stories of Asia. The topic was addressed at a conference on global macroeconomics in Helsinki in 1986.65 Several contributors observed that the situation is complex, and concluded that the disparities that developed in the 1980s (though not before) are attributable to a variety of other factors, among them, the deleterious effects of greater openness to international capital markets in large parts of Latin America, which permitted vast capital flight, as in the Philippines, but not in the East Asian economies with more rigid controls by government and central banks -- and in the free market miracle of South Korea, by punishment up to the death penalty.66

The complexity of the issues that arise is shown in a revealing study of Indian development, in comparison to China and others, by Harvard economist Amartya Sen. He observes that "a comparative study of the experiences of different countries in the world shows quite clearly that countries tend to reap as they sow in the field of investment in health and quality of life." India followed very different policies from China in this regard. Beginning at a comparable level in the late 1940s, India has added about 15 years to life expectancy, while China added 10 or 15 years beyond that increase, approaching the standards of Europe. The reasons lie in social policy, primarily, the much greater focus on improving nutrition and health conditions for the general population in China, and providing widespread medical coverage. The same was true, Sen argues, in Sri Lanka and probably Vietnam, and in earlier years in Europe as well, where, for example, life expectancy rose rapidly in England and Wales after large-scale public intervention in the distribution of food and health care and expansion of public employment.

But this is not the whole story. In the late 1950s, life expectancy in China plunged for several years to far below that of India because of a huge famine, which took an estimated 30 million lives. Sen attributes the famine to the nature of the Chinese regime, which did not react for three years, and may not even have been aware of the scale of the famine because totalitarian conditions blocked information flow. Nothing similar has happened in India with its pluralist democracy. Nevertheless, Sen calculates, if China's lower mortality rates prevailed in India, there would have been close to 4 million fewer deaths a year in the mid-1980s. "This indicates that every eight years or so more people in addition die in India -- in comparison with Chinese mortality rates -- than the total number that died in the gigantic Chinese famine," the worst in the world in this century.

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63 On these matters, see particularly Amsden, Asia's Next Giant; and for some recent reflections on Taiwan and Japan, Carl Goldstein, Bob Johnstone, Far Eastern Economic Review, May 3, May 31, 1990. Cumings, "The origins and development of the Northeast Asian political economy," International Organization 38.1, Winter 1984.

64 Akio Morita and Shintaro Ishihara, The Japan That Can Say No (Konbusha, Tokyo), translation distributed privately, taken from Congressional Record, Nov. 14, 1989, E3783-98.

65 Banuri, No Panacea (see chapter 1, note 19).

66 Amsden, "East Asia's Challenge" (chap. 1, note 19). KEYWORDS terrorist democracy elections cia mossad bnd nsa covert operation 911 mi6 inside job what really happened wtc pentagon joint chiefs of staff jcs centcom laser hologram usa mi5 undercover agent female sex exploitation perception deception power anarchy green social democratic participation japanese spy black-op false flag gladio terror.

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