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Neoliberalism in Chile and the cost of human life

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Henry Kissinger meeting with Pinochet

Neoliberalism in Chile has a long history of failed promises, repressive policies, and authoritarian ideologies that cost the lives of thousands of Chilean citizens. Chile was praised for its new reforms and adoption of neoliberalism that promised more equality for everyone. In reality, an oppressive regime was born on the back of these promises that terrorized the people of Chile for seventeen years. Neoliberalism was born in Chile in 1973 and it died the same day, when human rights and human dignity were sacrificed in the name of economy and for the ideas of a few people that decided to overlook the terrorizing situation in Chile, just to prove a point about their economic thoughts. There is no miracle in Chile, and the thousands that died and suffered in Chile are the proof.

The Downfall of Salvador Allende

On September 4, 1970, presidential elections were held in Chile. Salvador Allende, the candidate of the Popular Unity coalition won with 36.2% of the votes. Upon assuming the presidency, Allende carried on a socialist platform that aimed to nationalize large-scale businesses in Chile, such as copper mining, telecommunications, and banking. Besides that, Allende wanted to drastically improve the socio-economic situation of the poorest people of Chile by implementing new policies to support socio-economic welfare, provide employment in new public work projects or the newly nationalized industries. Salvador Allende served as the President of Chile from 1970 until the military coup d’etat in 1973. He was the first Marxist elected President in a liberal democracy in Latin America. He was described by his friend Fernando Alegria as a tireless fighter and a bold president that was defeated by a two-headed enemy: The United States of America and local military saboteurs (Alegria, 1994).

The local military saboteurs were under the command of Augusto Pinochet. Augusto Pinochet was the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Armed forces. On September 11, 1973, he overthrew the democratically elected President Salvador Allende. The presidential palace was shelled while Allende was in it. It is believed that Salvador Allende committed suicide. Pinochet was the lead plotter of the coup while his position as Commander-in-Chief allowed him to coordinate with both the military and the national police. Following the coup, a military junta, with the help of the U.S was established that exercised both legislative and executive power in the new government of Chile. The constitution and the Congress of the country were suspended, all political parties and activities were banned and a curfew and strict censorship were imposed. Augusto Pinochet self-declared himself as the President of the Republic, becoming de facto dictator of Chile until 1990. The U.S backed military coup and Pinochet’s seventeen-year dictatorship, are seen as aberrations in Chile’s twentieth-century history of multiparty democracy and institutional stability, two parameters that were very unusual in Latin America (Joseph & Grandin, 2010, pp.121-122).

The Implementation of Neoliberalism

The new military junta under the influence of foreign third parties and individuals implemented a new economic liberalization. Chile was the first country where its citizens were forcefully subjected to a new economic system that was called neoliberalism. Neoliberalism was first mentioned by the Austrian-British economist Friedrich Hayek. Hayek’s ideas were divided into two parts. In the first part, Hayek suggested that the concept of free markets responds to the needs of every individual. As a result, markets had to be operated freely, while the government would be limited to allow order to arise spontaneously in society. In the second part, which is depicted in his book The Road to Serfdom (1944), Hayek suggested that central planning of an economy does not respond to the needs of the individual. The two parts are interconnected and result in only one possibility according to Hayek. A totalitarian regime. Hayek believed that the government should have its limitations. He promoted the idea that the central role of the government should be to maintain the rule of law with as little intervention as possible. It must be projected as a civil association that provides a framework for every individual to follow their own projects (Hayek, 1960).

Friedrich Hayek’s remarks and ideas were highly influential for politicians like the President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher, in particular, based the ideology of the British Conservative Party on the ideas of Friedrich Hayek. She championed the ideas of unfettered free markets, the idea of shrinking the government and cutting taxes alongside state-provided services. However, the ideas of Friedrich Hayek about the implementation of free markets and his opposition towards totalitarian regimes made him a controversial figure. Naomi Klein, a Canadian author, and journalist describes his ideas as a shock doctrine, where people are forced to accept a new reality for their own good either through economic hardship or brutal government policies (Klein, 2007). His free-market ideology is associated directly with the totalitarian regime of Augusto Pinochet, since he was one of the key economic advisors, together with Milton Friedman that was close to Augusto Pinochet. He always thought that no one is qualified to have unlimited power, yet he was standing behind a dictator. While he is championed by many right-wing politicians as a defender of liberty, he is despised by many left-wing politicians who see him as a hypocrite that stood behind a murderous dictator whose forced economic implementations brought misery and pain to thousands of Chilean citizens.

The Involvement of the United States of America

It is important to remember that the situation in Chile did not happen without the help of the U.S. The involvement of the U.S in Chile happened for two reasons. To implement the idea of the domino theory and to protect the interests of U.S companies in Chile. The domino theory was the predominant Cold War theory for the U.S. It suggested that if one country in a region would eventually become communist, then the surrounding countries and regions would follow up in a domino effect. The first time that the domino theory was mentioned was back in 1954 in a press conference when the U.S President Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to communism in Indochina.

“You have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the “falling domino” principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences”. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The domino theory was used by various U.S administrations to justify and American intervention around the world. Richard Nixon used the same theory for his foreign policy and to justify his intervention in Chile. In 1977, he defended the U.S actions to destabilize Allende’s Chile. In an interview with British journalist David Frost, Nixon stated that a communist Chile and Cuba would create a “red sandwich” that could entrap Latin America between them (Qureshi, 2010, p.56). After Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan followed the same rhetoric to justify the situation in Chile while he expanded in Central America and the Caribbean region.

The protection of the interests of U.S companies in Chile was the second reason why the U.S intervened in Chile and why it was supporting the Pinochet regime. Back in 1970, before the presidential elections, neither the Richard Nixon administration, nor the current Chilean government, nor U.S. companies with businesses in Chile such as the Anaconda Copper Mining Company or the International Telephone & Telegraph, wished to see an Allende presidency because of his alleged communist sympathies. Threatened by the nationalized acts of Salvador Allende, the two major U.S companies, the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and the International Telephone & Telegraph expressed their dissatisfaction for the Allende government through the Nixon administration. Henry Kissinger was the national security advisor to Richard Nixon. According to declassified files from the CIA, Kissinger met with high-level officials to discuss the future of Chile that depended on the 1970 elections. The elections represented the potential for important economic relations to collapse or continue. After the complaints of the U.S companies that had economic interests in Chile, Richard Nixon was left with two choices: political maneuvering or brute force. He chose the first option. Based on the declassified notes that were given from Richard Nixon to Richard Helms the director of CIA, there were direct orders to “make the Chilean economy scream” during the Allende presidency by conducting a campaign to create a deep inflation crisis, funding opposition leaders and encouraging the Chilean military to overthrow Allende. In the end, the U.S achieved its goal and Salvador Allende was overthrown and a more American friendly government was installed. From that point, the neoliberal policies were implemented and Chile was used as an experimental country for radical economic reforms.

The Role of the Chicago Boys

These economic reforms were imposed by a group of Chilean economists known as The Chicago Boys. They were all educated at the Department of Economics of the University of Chicago under the guidance of the neoliberal economist Milton Friedman. Friedrich Hayek was also a member of the Chicago Boys helping them implement his neoliberal ideas. After the coup in 1973, many of them returned to Chile and were appointed in high government positions by Augusto Pinochet as economic advisors. They are credited with transforming the economy of Chile into the best performing economies in Latin America and into one of the most business-friendly in the world. However, there is also a lot of criticism against them. Some economists, such as the Indian economist and philosopher Amartya Jumar Sen have argued that their policies did not provide any help to the population of Chile but were intended to serve the interests of U.S companies in Chile and Latina America.

The neoliberal reforms of the Chicago Boys can be divided into two phases. The first phase expanded from 1973 until 1982 and has been described by the author Naomi Klein as the Shock Therapy period. At this phase, most of the radical reforms were implemented. The Chicago Boys adopted a laissez-faire economic system, where transactions between private parties did not have any economic intervention from the state (regulations and subsidies). They promoted the idea of a free, neoliberal market in contrast to the centrally-planned economy and nationalization plans that were advocated by Salvador Allende. As a result, Chile was transformed into a liberal and world-integrated economy. Besides that, businesses were re-privatized, price controls were abolished and the capital flows were deregulated. Their main objective was to lower the inflation rates at the expense of a sharp recession. They met their objective as they managed to lower the inflation rate from 508.1% in 1973, to 20.7% in 1982. The economy expanded for a while from 1977 up until 1980. Milton Friedman described this reorientation of the Chilean economy as the Miracle of Chile in 1982. In an interview back in 2000, Milton Friedman said:

 “The Chilean economy did very well, but more importantly, in the end, the central government, the military junta was replaced by a democratic society. So the really important thing about the Chilean business is that free markets did work their way in bringing about a free society”. Milton Friedman.

However, his remarks regarding the Chilean economy did not represent the reality of a miracle. From 1975 up until 1980, the economic growth rate was below the potential growth rate of Chile (Ffrench-Davis, 2002). In the early 1980s, Latin America was hit with a devastating debt crisis that paralyzed all the Latin American countries. Chile was hit the hardest with a GDP decline by 14% in comparison to other Latin American countries that had a GDP decline by 3.2%. This debt crisis led to a bank run which led to the devastating economic crisis of 1982. It was clear that the economic shock therapy did not work, and the miracle that Friedman was cheering for was not that real after all.

The second phase of the neoliberal reforms is described as Pragmatic Neoliberalism that expanded from 1982 up until the end of the dictatorship in 1990. With the ongoing crisis, the Chicago Boys’ radical economic rhetoric was replaced by a pragmatic approach. The new economists had to apply pragmatic measures to reverse the situation. They socialized two major Chilean banks and seven more that were at the edge of collapse. The Central bank of Chile socialized much of the foreign debt. Many critics of this policy compared these actions with the presidency of Salvador Allende. However, this pragmatic policy brought economic growth, questioning the radical methods of the Chicago Boys. The GDP growth went higher after the 1982 crisis and continued to surpass other economies in Latin America. The Chilean economist Ricardo Ffrench-Davis has a critical evaluation of the situation:

“The unnecessary radicalism of the shock therapy in the 1970s caused mass unemployment, purchasing power losses, extreme inequalities in the distribution of income, and severe socio-economic damage. The 1982 crisis as well as the success of the pragmatic economic policy after 1982, proves that the 1973–1981 radical economic policy of the Chicago boys harmed the Chilean economy” Ricardo Ffrench-Davis.

The Dark Side of Economic Liberalization

The history of neoliberalism in Chile is not just about economic reforms. Unfortunately, it is also a history of state terrorism and human rights violations by the Pinochet regime. The forced economic reforms and the intervention from the U.S allowed Augusto Pinochet to promote his state terrorism towards the people of Chile. According to a 2004 report from the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture or Valech Commission, the number of victims of human rights violations accounts for around 30.000 people that were tortured while at least 2.500 were executed. Also, almost 200.000 people were forced to exile while many people experienced illegal detaining from the regime forces. Prisoners of the regime were exposed to different methods of torture, like electric shocks, waterboarding, beatings, and sexual abuse. The central instrument of terror was the disappearing subversives, where people were disappeared by the Pinochet regime. People that were considered leftists, socialists, or communists were the main target. In addition to the horrors, Pinochet was infamous for detaining people and throwing them out of helicopters. Around 1300 people disappeared, and still even today hundreds of them are yet to be found. The systematic suppression of any political ideology that went against the regime was described by historian Steve J. Stern as political genocide, as a systematic project aiming to destroy an entire way of doing and understanding politics and governance (Stern, 2010). The regime was extremely brutal to leftists and often portrayed them as the enemies of the state. The fake portrayal of leftists as dangerous revolutionaries resulted in the legitimization of the Pinochet regime. For seventeen years, Augusto Pinochet with the support of the U.S managed to use effective brainwashing propaganda to portray leftists as criminals and as the enemies of Chile. Unfortunately, Augusto Pinochet was never formally convicted for his crimes against humanity, as he died in 2006 before he was tried. Today the portraits of the victims of the brutality of Augusto Pinochet and the people that disappeared and still haven’t been found are displayed in the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, in Santiago Chile.

The Long Road of Democracy 

In 1990, when the regime fell and democracy was restored, the people of Chile were promised that this time the economic reforms will benefit the people. The citizens of Chile believed their government and waited patiently for a more equal distribution of the wealth of Chile. Thirty years later, Chile is in flames, and it seems that the neoliberal model has once again failed the people of Chile. On October 18, 2019, the largest and most extensive citizen mobilizations took place in Santiago, the capital of Chile. The mobilization began when the President of Chile Sebastián Piñera, announced that the fare for a metro ticket in Santiago would rise from 800 Chilean Pesos to 830 (USD 1.15). The news hit Chilean people, and they took to the streets to protest against the decision. “This is not just about 30 pesos, it is about the last 30 years,” said an angry protester. Thousands of protests share the same view. For the last thirty years, while Chile’s GDP has grown, making the country the wealthiest in South America, people wonder why the situation in the country remains the same. In a country where the minimum wage of at least 70% of the population barely reaches USD 700 and where it is estimated that almost 36% of the population in the cities lives in poverty, people question their government and the implementation of neoliberal policies. While the wealth is growing for the large corporations and foreign companies with interests in Chile, protesters come to realize that neoliberalism was born and will die in Chile.

The history and the progress of neoliberalism in Chile is a controversial concept. Many economists praise the efforts of the Chicago Boys and follow the same rhetoric as Milton Friedman, calling for a Miracle in Chile. However, thousands of people that suffered under the regime of Augusto Pinochet, people that lost their jobs and their land due to privatization processes, people that could not feed their families, victims of the brutal state terrorism, and families that still have not found their relatives after so many years, strongly disagree with the opinions of a few privileged economists that see people as statistics and not human beings. In reality, there is no miracle in Chile. While the country is wealthy, the people are poor and social unrest is rising in the country. Neoliberalism in Chile was born on a dark October day in 1973, on the back of a ruthless dictator and bureaucratic economists, and it died on a stormy October day in 2020, filled with rage, frustration, and disappointment. The future lies in the hands of the Chilean people.

Bachelor's Degree in International Relations & Political Science. Columnist focusing on Global Affairs

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Should there be any censorship? (NO -NONE!)

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Conservatives say yes, there should be censorship, because otherwise what they feel is repulsive can become spread: they fear its spread and are convinced that censorship (by people who believe as they do) must be imposed. That’s NOT democracy.

Liberals agree with conservatives on this question, though they want different people to be doing the censoring, because some of their beliefs are different from conservatives’ beliefs. (Anyone who thinks that liberals — Democrats in the U.S. — aren’t ardent for censoring, should explain how that can be so, since overwhelmingly the political money donated by executives and other employees of the gossip-grapevine, Twitter, has gone to Democrats, and those employees decided to censor-out from their site the damning evidence against the Biden family — Joe, Hunter, and James — that the Republican Party’s N.Y. Post had published on 15 October 2020 under the headline “Emails reveal how Hunter Biden tried to cash in big on behalf of family with Chinese firm”. (Maybe Trump would have won that election if this report of the Biden family’s corruptness had been spread and discussed instead of squelched as ‘Russian disinformation’, as was done.) Then, the Democratic Party’s Politico ‘news’-site headlined on 19 October 2020, “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say” and buried two-thirds of the way down the key passage (which had been in the top third of the document), in these Deep-State operatives’ letter, the passage which included the fact “that we do not know if the emails [from Hunter Biden’s laptop computer], provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement.” The signers said there that they were signing ONLY to having “suspicions” that this had happened — but Politico suppressed that most crucial of all the allegations in the document. Also: Glenn Greenwald was forced out of the Democratic Party billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s “The Intercept” ‘news’-site on 29 October 2020 for submitting a news-report titled “THE REAL SCANDAL: U.S. MEDIA USES FALSEHOODS TO DEFEND JOE BIDEN FROM HUNTER’S EMAILS”. And, furthermore, the Democratic Party’s Washington Post headlined on 1 November 2020 the lie that “For Russia, Biden is the foe they know. The Kremlin is studying old playbooks.” As Greenwald subsequently pointed out, “Twitter’s ‘foreign govt hacking’ pretext for censoring was a lie, and they knew it.”) So, regarding censorship, conservatives and liberals are effectively the same but protect different lies and liars. The two groups believe and protect two different, competing, myths. That’s NOT a democracy. It’s rule by billionaires (who control those politicians and media), NOT by the public.

Libertarians say no, because anything that limits a person’s freedom is condemned by them on principle — they even are sometimes called “anarchists” because no principled line (no clear distinction) exists separating libertarians from anarchists (persons who oppose ALL government). HOWEVER, libertarians (even self-declared anarchists) disagree with one-another about whether the private sector, including corporations (such as Twitter), have a right to censor: some say yes, it’s part of their (the private sector’s) freedom; but some say no, no entity has a right to censor, because that limits another person’s freedom. Some say that ONLY parents have a right to censor what their children receive. CONSEQUENTLY: Libertarians don’t ACTUALLY have any clear and principle-based position, for or against censorship. Libertarianism provides no answer to this question — other than the myth that they are committed to everyone’s “freedom.” Libertarianism is a nullity, a nothing, on censorship: neither for it nor against it. It allows rule by billionaires (whose agents fool the public), and no democracy would.

Progressives say no: Nothing can possibly justify censorship of anything, except of demonstrable (provable) falsehoods. This means that, if a court of law cannot reasonably disprove an allegation, then the public must be able to consider the evidence both for and against it. Neither the Government nor any other entity has a right to prevent the public from considering and debating any allegation. A progressive is devoted to science, and science is based upon this same principle — ANY possible truth must be considered by the public. (A provably false statement cannot possibly be true.) Progressives can differ with one-another in allocating criminal versus civil liability for the spreading of allegations that are provably false; but, they are united in opposing ANY liability for the spreading of truths. The ONLY exception to this is that if the nation is legally at war and under “martial law,” then its Government has a right to censor, (or “classify”) allegations in order to protect the nation’s sovereignty against the legally declared “enemy.” That is the ONLY exception to the progressives’ principle that NO possibly true statement should EVER be censored by ANYONE. Progressivism — the ideology of science — advocates clearly for democracy, NOT for any aristocracy.

Here’s how the ideology of science functions — and why it needs to be applied in order for Government to serve the public’s interest instead of merely some fake ‘national interest’: On 2 August 2022, the pro-science magazine Current Affairs headlined “Why the Chair of the Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission Thinks The US Government Is Preventing a Real Investigation Into the Pandemic” and interviewed Jeffrey Sachs, who explained:

So you saw a narrative being created. And the scientists are not acting like scientists. Because when you’re acting like a scientist, you’re pursuing alternative hypotheses. And the scientists just wrote recently an op-ed saying the only evidence that this came out of a lab that’s been put forward is that it came in a city, Wuhan, where an institute was located. Well, that’s a lie. That is not the only coincidence that leads to this theory [He should have said “hypothesis” there]. What leads to this alternative hypothesis is the detailed research program the NIH funded that was underway in the years leading up to the outbreak. So I see the scientists absolutely trying to create a narrative and take our eyes off of another issue.

That’s the politicization of science, the corruption of science. Sachs documented their obfuscations and evasions — the censorship that has been occurring, which has been preventing the necessary research to identify how the covid-19 virus was created.

That’s a typical scientific example.

Glenn Greenwald is a progressive, and his position regarding the twitter censorship scandal that the billionaire Elon Musk released to the public on December 3rd after buying twitter corporation and firing its censors, said that “The sleazy, pro-censorship pack of liberal employees of media corporations united last night to attack @mtaibbi — as they do to any journalist who breaks a real story about real power centers — and, because they were so desperate to discredit it, showed what they are.” What they are, in America, is NOT democrats: The “Democrats” aren’t any more democratic than America’s Republicans (conservatives) are.

On 8 May 2022, I headlined and called public attention to “A crushingly powerful legal case against censorship has now been presented.” Linking to and quoting from the court-ducument, it seems to me to be an open-and-shut case for a decision against “the Biden Administration’s open and explicit censorship programs. Having threatened and cajoled social-media platforms for years to censor viewpoints and speakers disfavored by the Left [referring obliquely there to the Democratic Party], senior government officials in the Executive Branch have moved into a phase of open collusion with social-media companies to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social-media platforms.”

On 3 December 2022, former President Trump disqualified himself from any further political consideration by patriotic Americans, by his advocating to terminate the U.S. Constitution if necessary in order to declare himself to have won the 2020 election. CNN and other mainstream ‘news’-sources that don’t link to their primary sources, because they don’t want their readers to be able easily to see and inspect for themselves what they actually say — what the actual evidence is — refused to link to Trump’s actual statement, but instead linked to anything else. For example, the Washington Post headlined about Trump’s statement, “White House rebukes Trump’s suggestion to suspend Constitution over 2020 election” (an intentionally indirect headline, which refused even to call attention to the fact that the former President was now urging cancellation of the U.S. Constitution, such as would a headline like “Trump Urges Termination of U.S. Constitution”). Their ‘news-report’ provided no link to Trump’s statement, which it supposedly was about. Lots of people pay subscriptions to read such trashy ‘news’-reporting. Anyway, here was Trump’s full and actual statement:

https://truthsocial.com/@realDonaldTrump/posts/109449803240069864

https://archive.ph/G8lqx

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great “Founders” did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!

Dec 03, 2022, 12:44 PM

He thinks that his being declared the 2020 winner is more important to America than America’s Constitution is.

Without the Constitution to serve as a basis for the nation’s laws, the ONLY available basis for the Government is dictatorship: even the possibility of a democracy no longer then exists. Trump is so petty that, in his view, restoring him to the White House is more important than his country having even a possibility of becoming a democracy. Unless the American people are complete idiots, Trump has now lost any possibility he might have had to return to the White House — or to any other political post. His statement there is the most outrageous and anti-democratic that any former U.S. Government official has ever publicly made. It should not be censored (including refusing to link to it); it should be widely debated in America’s public square. Perhaps America’s billionaires feel nervous about making the public aware of just how deepseated dictatorship now is in this country. It’s merely their banana republic, now. In fact, it not only is NOT now a democracy but instead a dictatorship — an aristocracy instead of a democracy — but it is even a police state.

America’s billionaires control their Government, and if they terminated their censorship instead of perverting or eliminating the U.S. Constitution as their agents have been and are doing, then it would no longer be their country — it would become, again, ours. That would terrify them, all the more so as we have been along this global-imperialist path, the MIC (military-industrial complex), now, ever since it became imposed, on 25 July 1945. And the farther that goes, the closer a second American revolution will become, but this time to remove from power not Britain’s aristocracy, but America’s own.

That’s why we have censorship in America. There is no other reason. There is no actual national-security reason, nor any other. It’s all a fraud. They need to protect and spread their lies (especially against ‘enemy nations’). It is now so deep that it cannot be exposed as it actually is, without producing a revolution — not Constitution-change, but regime-change, back to what (prior to 1945) was a Constitutional democratic republic. Ending the empire is the only way back to becoming, again, the Constitutional democracy that preceded 25 July 1945 in America. It is the only way to end the censorship, and the dictatorship, by and on behalf of the aristocracy — the Deep State.

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John D. and Henry: A Marriage of Convenience

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After oil had been discovered in Pennsylvania in 1859, a canny businessman realized its potential and began buying up the oil fields.  John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil eventually owned almost all until trust busters broke up his Standard Oil Trust.

Meanwhile a clever inventor was interested in bringing the automobile, heretofore a rich man’s toy, to the common man.  So it was that Henry Ford’s production line showed the world how it could be done.  Of course, the automobile of the day, coughing and sputtering, might have had a similar effect on the people but it brought independent transportation and its convenience to the middle class.  And John D. Rockefeller’s oil fueled it.

Between John D. and Henry and others like them in Europe and elsewhere, our poor planet became a warming greenhouse as the gases generated by these cars, and industrialization in general, rose to the atmosphere — the effects of which few if any had foreseen then.     

People in the early days were to invent steam cars and electric cars also but the convenience of refueling at John D.’s gasoline stations left them trailing in the dust of Henry Ford’s now lovingly named Tin Lizzie.

The Second World War saw the use of oil and its derivatives in cars, trucks, airplanes, ships and just about anything that could move.  Oil became a strategic commodity defended and fought for — without oil, armies came to a standstill.  Romania fueled the axis powers and thus became a target for the allies.  The war in North Africa became a struggle for control of the Suez Canal and access to oil from the Middle East.  The British controlled it; the Germans failed to wrest it. 

If John D. (1939) and Henry (1947) had passed away, their companies were thriving, enriched further by the demands of war.  Europe might be in shreds but America was whole and ready to supply its needs.

It was a time of peace, and America to Europeans was a land of milk and honey.  Hard work was behind it though, and nothing displayed the rewards of this toil than an automobile in the driveway — the flashier the better.  As Americans became richer, the cars became more luxurious and more convenient to drive:  automatic transmission, power-assisted brakes and steering, windows moving up and down at the touch of a button, as could the soft top on convertibles and so on. 

The huge cars birthed a new name:  gas guzzler.  Both Detroit producing the cars and the oil companies supplying the fuel became richer.  Greenhouse gases increased and could only go one way … up … coining new expressions like global warming.  Greenhouse is apt, for the sun’s rays come through but the heat generated cannot escape as easily as it would without the gas shield.      

Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, focusing on the use of pesticides and the subsequent harm to the environment, brought environmental damage to the attention of the world.  It did not take long to draw scrutiny also to vehicles blowing greenhouse gases out of the exhaust pipe.  The love affair with the automobile was coming to an end. 

But in a society built around it, reducing usage will take a while for the auto has become a necessity. 

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Who Rules America: How Money Dominates Politics

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According to the available data, the United States Chamber of Commerce spent approximately 831 million dollars on lobbying between the years 1998 and 2012, while the American Medical Association spent 269 million dollars, General Electric spent 268 million dollars, and pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent 219 million dollars. They make financial investments and provide support to their candidates, the majority of whom are elected to represent them in the United States Congress and vote by their agenda.

In Washington, power is technically distributed among three branches: the executive branch, which includes the White House; the judicial branch, which includes the Supreme Court; and the legislative branch, which includes Congress (senate and house of Representatives). The formal system of checks and balances that are designed to keep the democratic process moving in the right direction is described here. It is the political appointees that serve as judges, and there are nine of them on the Supreme Court, which is the court that has the authority. A hundred people make up the Senate, while 435 people serve in the House of Representatives.

Members of watchdog organizations who specialize in researching and analyzing hidden forces at work behind the scenes conclude that the role of the corporates of industry, which ranges from bringing legislative pieces into the house to get the law passed to implementing it, must be investigated. There is a corporate presence throughout the whole process of passing the law. Congressmen did not challenge it because they too are a product of the system, and as a result, they have an innate bias that favors a certain aesthetic. They have achieved success inside the system, and those who question them must engage in intense conflict to consolidate their authority.

Sheila Krunholtz, the director of the center for responsive politics, dispels the common misconception that the members of congress and policymakers control the levers of power. In reality, the donor and patrons of these people are controlling the strings of these politicians and the policymakers, as Krunholtz explains.

Financial institution is the most significant investor in the political parties, followed by the real estate giants as the second most significant investor. Politicians who want to run for the position need to swear that they would pursue policies that are favorable to the banking and real estate industries before they will be allowed to do so. The money that is spent in politics is not simply used to support candidates; it is also used to pay for lobbying. In 2011, 12,654 lobbyists spent a total of 3.32 billion dollars trying to influence politicians, agencies, and regulators. This includes pro-Israel and pro-military sentiments, which have a significant amount of influence. The informal network of those who control America is also a major influence on the formation of its foreign policy.

One kind of material power in the country is political, and the other is economic. The country has both sorts of material power. The power of the people and the power of the economy are always at odds with one another. If we ask the people of the United States how their government is doing its job, they will tell us that it is not doing its job, and they will also say that the voters are not in control. When asked who controls the United States of America, one of the country’s senators said, “An elite group of individuals who operate in a stratosphere worldwide and are beyond the constitution and reach of the government.” They have a vast number of available resources.

This is another danger to democracy since it makes it more difficult for average people to get their concerns heard. The donor of the funds desires a policy that is favorable to their company rather than the general public, and it is expected that politicians and congressmen would vote in their favor. The people and the political system are becoming more and more subject to the dominance of the strong hand of the economic system.

American politics are hijacked and it is being dominated by individuals who are ready to pay millions of dollars to elect or reject particular politicians. There is corporate plutocracy and the rules in Washington are established by the corporate lobbyist working on objectives to safeguard the greatest business interests in the nation. Money and special interest take control the American politics. Tiny elites of 100 contributors have contributed the 77% of the money that’s simply 1% of donors contribute 64% of the money. People who are donating most of their money to the political campaign. They are very powerful persons and expect something in exchange for their funding. They are incredibly astute business individuals who have earned a lot of money and they do not make investments without desiring an investment.

One America is a democracy where leaders are elected by the people per the Constitution, but the other is dominated by a secret society that influences the media, the economy, the government, and major companies. They had control of the investigative apparatus and the press. They may serve as a template for how the public perceives politicians in the United States. G. William Demoff’s “Who Rules America” is a well-researched book that explains how the government today is controlled by strong elite forces outside of the government.

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