No 2365 Posted by fw, September 1, 2018
NOTE — To access my other posts related to Prof. Phillips’ book and video, click on the Tab in the top left margin, titled Giants: The Global Power Elite by Peter Phillips ~ Links to All Posts.
“Western governments and international policy bodies serve the interest of the transnational capital class, capital concentrations. Wars are initiated to protect their interests. Uncooperative regimes are undermined and overthrown in support of the free flow of global capital for investment anywhere the returns are possible. We’ve seen regime changes and attempted regime changes in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Afghanistan, the Balkans – are all examples of wars to support international capital penetration of the region. … the ultimate crisis of humanity, short of a global nuclear war, is also environmental degradation. The rising temperatures mean a continuing worsening of weather events, extreme storms, record-breaking heat, cold, fires, tidal surges, heavy death rates and financial losses. You’ll see massive freshwater and food shortages. … Global capital is a primary contributor to those problems. And they invest in all the things that are making it happen. The financial money managers study the transforming environment for new investment opportunities. Climate change investing can be profitable according to Forbes — getting in on low-carbon investments, and should climate change stress increase investments in defence, health, property insurance are all good ideas, Forbes thinks.” —Prof. Peter Phillips
Today’s post is Part 4 in my series of transcripts of a one-hour video of Prof. Peter Phillips’ talk about his 240-page book Giants: The Global Power Elite. Peter Phillips is a professor of political sociology at Sonoma State University.
Yesterday’s post, Part 3 of the series of transcripts, presented a profile of the 199 power elite managers that are part of the financial core of the transnational capitalist class, including, for example, 1) their similar backgrounds, education, nationality, and big city work locations; 2) the kinds of global policy groups they advise, counting the G20, G7, IMF, WTO and World Economic Forum; and 3) that elites see themselves as the “engineers of global capitalism” which, they declare, is “best for all humankind.”
Today’s post, Part 4 of the series of transcripts, explains how war and climate-related environmental degradation serve the interests of transnational capital class (TCC). What emerges from Phillips’ summary analysis is TCC’s glaring contradiction, and true crisis of capitalism, is capitalists’ complete lack of concern for humankind.
To facilitate selective access to the video’s content, my transcript, which appears below the video, is chronologically indexed, and edited, as necessary, to enhance text readability of Phillip’s talk. In addition, to enable skimming, I have added my own headings and subheadings in [square brackets] and, as well, text highlighting to bring important text to the fore.
The transcript for Part 3 starts at 23:36 and ends at 31:48.
TRANSCRIPT (From 23:36 to 31:48)
[HOW WAR AND CLIMATE-RELATED ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION SERVE TCC INTERESTS]
[Western governments’ war machine serves the interests of the transnational capital class]
23:36 – So, Western governments and international policy bodies serve the interest of the transnational capital class, capital concentrations. Wars are initiated to protect their interests.
[Uncooperative regimes are undermined and overthrown in support of the free flow of global capital]
Uncooperative regimes are undermined and overthrown in support of the free flow of global capital for investment anywhere the returns are possible. We’ve seen regime changes and attempted regime changes in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Afghanistan, the Balkans – are all examples of wars to support international capital penetration of the region.
[TCC seeks to dismantle democratically elected governments, militarily surround totalitarian regimes]
24:16 – There were some blockages before by dictators or government blockages. And they’re [the TCC] seeking to undermine them. And they’re seeking very hard to dismantle the democratically elected countries in Venezuela and Cuba, for that matter. And earmarking and surrounding, militarily, China and Russia.
[China’s 80 billionaires operate separately, much to the annoyance of TCC power elites]
24:38 – The Chinese have some 80 billionaires and they are invested in this market. And they are part of the policy planning thing, but they still maintain separate military and nationalistic orientations that the power elite don’t like very much.
[Power elites’ speculation in everything war has mass humanitarian consequences]
24:59 – So while millions [of people] suffer, the power elites focus on seeking returns in the trillions of dollars, and they’ll do this and on speculation in everything, like food and land. And they’ll cooperate with each other to control and entrap — control and entrap cycles of economic growth with continuing mass humanitarian consequences.
[Their bulk food investments drive up food prices, contributing to mass starvation]
They’re investing in bulk foods on the commodities market and the prices are going up. For somebody living on $2 a day, and the price of whatever commodity they’re eating – rice, potatoes, whatever – goes up, that leads to the continuing starvation of tens of thousands of people every day.
[War yields a highly profitable return on elites’ investment of excess capital]
25:50 – So war and preparation for war is a major return use of excess capital. For the US that amounts to $600 billion in 2017, it’s higher this year. China is $215 billion, Russia $69 billion, Saudi Arabia, UK, India, France, Japan, Germany are all in the 40$ to $50 billion range. South Korea, Italy, Australia, Brazil, Israel are all now $20 to $30 billion range.
[The human cost of war profiteering is huge in terms of lives lost and refugees displaced]
26:19 – Dwight Eisenhower said in 1953: “Every gun that’s made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those that are hungry and are not fed, and those that are cold and not clothed.”
The post 9/11 wars continue to reap havoc and death in the Middle East, Africa, and other regions. Over 180,000 people died in 46 conflicts in 2014; 65 million people are displaced refugees from 2017, fleeing war and famine.
[Propagandized, ideological fear of terrorism drive corporate profit-making in war]
And these wars are not just the results of military adventurism or political conflicts, but are motivated by propagandized, ideological fears of terrorism, the desire for profit and military investment. Lockheed Martin takes the lead with profit-making in war with $36 billion spent in 2015. The perpetual war on terrorism is good for business, and the transnational capital investment people invest in these companies. In the book I researched, and I found out that Lockheed Martin – if you look at the 17 Giants — State Street has $15 billion invested in Lockheed Martin; Capital Group has $12 billion; Vanguard $6.5 billion; Blackrock $6 billion; Bank of America $3 billion; Bank of New York Mellon almost a billion; UBS $900 million; FMR Fidelity $700 million; Morgan Stanley $700 million – All of them are invested in Lockheed Martin.
All of them are invested in Northrop Grumman with State Street taking the lead at $5.9 billion. All were invested in Boeing with Vanguard taking the lead at 11.9 billion.
[Centralized capital Giants are highly invested in big, war-making companies – Giants have no conscience]
28:18 – So, these companies, these big, war-making companies, that make profit from war, are highly invested by the centralized capital Giants. That’s where it is. They also invest in Coca-Cola, by the way. And of course Coke is the number one cause of diabetes and sugar consumption in the world, and they put out 1.4 billion plastic bottles a year, of which just a few percent of them are ever recycled. And they continue to do that.
28:55 – So Giants have no conscience in terms of where the money is invested. It’s just wherever it could be the best returns.
[THE CONTRADICTION OF TCC, AND TRUE CRISIS OF CAPITALISM, IS TCC’S LACK OF CONCERN FOR HUMANKIND]
[As investors, global capital is primary contributor to environmental degradation related to climate crisis]
29:03 – Part of this is that the ultimate crisis of humanity, short of a global nuclear war, is also environmental degradation. Scholar David Ray Griffin asks, in his book Unprecedented, [Clarity Press, 2015] can civilizations survive the CO2 crisis? Since pre-industrial times, the [global average temperature] has risen 1.4°F causing significant changes in our world’s weather. Just 100 companies have been the source of 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. So, the people causing this are a very small number – 100 companies.
[Unprecedented risks from rising CO2 emissions]
29:51 – There’s a 10-year lag between CO2 emissions and temperature changes. So, what we’re putting out now we’ll see the impact 10 years from now. The rising temperatures mean a continuing worsening of weather events, extreme storms, record-breaking heat, cold, fires, tidal surges, heavy death rates and financial losses. You’ll see massive freshwater and food shortages. All this will be in our future if left unchecked.
[All things environmental are seen as potentially profitable investment opportunities]
30:22 – Global capital is a primary contributor to those problems. And they invest in all the things that are making it happen. The financial money managers study the transforming environment for new investment opportunities. Climate change investing can be profitable according to Forbes Magazine — getting in on low-carbon investments, and should climate change stress increase investments in defence, health, property insurance are all good ideas, Forbes thinks.
[Mining in the Arctic region and water privatization are seen as attractive investment opportunities]
30:53 – Increasing interest in new mining opportunities available due to global warming in Greenland and places where the ice melting back. And private investment in control of water sources is seen as an increasingly attractive opportunity for capital investment.
[What’s unacceptable to global capital is spending money on people, the environment, and services that do NOT benefit capitalism]
31:10 – The most important issue for the transnational capitalist class is protecting capital investment and building opportunities for future returns. And if protecting the environment is profitable, then reinvestments are acceptable, or remains unacceptable as the spending of money on people, the environment, and services do not benefit capitalism. This lack of concern for human betterment, intended or not, is the core contradiction of the transnational capitalist class and the true crisis of capitalism today.
END OF PART 4 OF TRANSCRIPT
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