Technological Advances and the Great Recession


A big deal of fixes has being tried and many have failed until now in order to restore the global economy to its previous growth, or at least to prevent further downslide. Nevertheless, few people stop to wonder and figure out what may be the causes of the current mess the global economy is facing. Causes, it’s basic to diagnosis and possible remedies. That happens in medicine but also in economics. Politicians work for corporations one way or the other and we (all of us) are inclined to think in a very tiny small scale: from local to regional, to national and the latest priority is to think globally about any sort of problems we face. And here I believe starts the problems: local politicians will not think globally while this crisis is global and the causes are not only a bunch of smart asses in Wall Street or the City of London who brought it about. No, it was the near light speed technological advances that produced the means to such a crisis reach these proportions.

Wall Street

Wall Mean Street


Big deeds transformed in catastrophic changes. The U.S. ignorant elite and its artificial system of values have broken the balance that was their own source of power: created money out of thin air and sold to themselves, the whole world and to the Chinese. The A.I.G. failure had to be solved otherwise would be a real “meltdown of the system” simply because the Chinese could see it as a declaration of war on their trust in the American values, read it as the “Dollar” itself and dump it in favor of its own currency sinking the U.S. and Europe in a depression that 1929 would appear a nice time. It would be real time selling orders to obedient servers instead of human brokers. Selling “values” that only exist in the book, better said, in bits and bytes.

Beside the fact of the fraudulent behavior of the big financial markets all over the place, technology and digital production has shifted the balance in values, production of values and reproduction of wealth. Globally without exceptions. Banking and brokerage are now I.T. programs and are widespread used to the mid to upper classes.

Silicon Valley

The map of the gold mine

The Western countries produce high-end technology innovation but at such a high price that the rest of the world is not willing to pay for it but is applying the oldest rule of humanity since the discovery of fire: to steal what you do not have and use it for your own benefit. India started being a Call Center depository for the Anglo-Saxon world and today has a huge technological park in development. Silicon Valley is full of Indians who “work” there. But when the big money in India calls them back usually they do go back. How come that? In order to earn pennies instead of dollars per hour for highly skilled work? My guess is that the causes are more profound them that. And then we have to deal with a phenomenal brain power called Russia and the old Soviet satellites. What about them? Armies of engineers and math scientists formed and updated continuously on the top of the line of digital production, theft and piracy (considering the still valid rules of copyright). There are assessments of Western secret services that rank the number of industrial spies from Russia, India and China in the West today above any number ever during the cold war. Because those are the hot processors, high speed connections re-routing the center of gravity of the production of wealth in the making. Nobody is willing to lose a minute in the fast paced new world of the digital replication.

The rest of the world will infringe copyright in every single way it can. China copies absolutely everything its commanders decide is strategic to their country and contaminates the environment without a single flaw in its consciousness simply because they have to reach where the West reached too many years before. Brazil offers raw material to the Chinese who use it to produce goods for the whole world. It also feeds them even if for that the Amazon basin will have to disappear. In the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and other peripheral countries few, very few people care about copyright laws, environment destruction and climate change. They want the “good life” Hollywood served them in the screens for a whole century (copyright protected) and they could only dream of it. Now, they can grab a piece for themselves and as humans, will steal and kill for that torch of fire that will cook the hunted veal as in the pre-history.
When Wall Street greedy men defrauded the trust in the financial system, they did it out of greed of course, but also out of ignorance without seeing far enough, not so far really, that their system is never ever again to be trusted. People talk about the destruction of the Euro and the end of the Dollar as reference currency. But have you heard anyone talking about the end of the Rubble, the Yuan or the Brazilian Real lately? Let me know where if you did, please!

Karl Marx was wrong in too many things but so was Thomas Jefferson (slaves’ owner for example) but he has said something irrefutable: “change the means of production and you change the ways of relationships.” And that is what happened: the high-end technology and the Information Society liberated forces that permeated the whole human society, from Patagonia to Bhutan, passing by England, Bombay and Jakarta. Mass media is strong still but the great infusion of free information brought about thru digital connections has made an impact that is still early to predict but certainly inevitable to occur. Washington D.C. cannot order the bombardment of Beijing because it infringes copyright materials, neither with Russia or India. A boycott against Brazil would meet an ex-guerrilla woman president that would not doubt to halt the exports exploding commodities prices and to search protection with China and Russia if need be. The “empire” is deadly sick and under internal convulsions. The silly right-wingers in the U.S. believe that the crisis will go away, somehow, when they grab the power again. I’m afraid it won’t and the world as we knew before this crisis will never return to be what it was.

Chinese Dragon after US bombardment

Parallel worlds (virtual and real) have emerged alongside governments and corporations that can be challenged by rivals in order to gain weight in the economical shift and are bound to do so. The new division is more likely to be: “I will take what I need and you cannot stop me at all”. The original “owners” surrendering under the evidence of fatality. First World unemployment is to remain high because a huge mass of laborers are not necessary anymore: machinery is highly efficient, automated and don’t complain. Emerging countries will continue to grow in spite of threat of the IMF that it is another “bubble”. It’s not! They have people, billions to serve and work cheap under inhuman conditions. As far their commanders and bosses allow some circus at the end of the day (entertainment “pirated” from the U.S. for instance); some days a year of vacation and meat, vitamins and everyday starch ration for basic energy they will continue to move on. The poor don’t care for the environment neither for international agreements on whatever subject, they care for food and expect the little pleasures that sort of development is making available to them. The rest is still to be written…

What is the price of his head?

And it is being written as I write: Wikileaks from Assange is wracking the American diplomatic world… That would not be possible without the new technologies in place. And by the way, everybody spies everybody; it’s a game from pre-historical roots. What is the big deal then?

But now WikiLeaks plans to release a U.S. bank’s documents
and that will be really dangerous trend to set. Too many disaffection and plenty of “vendetta’s” will start and nothing will be the same again.

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Brazil, capitalism managed by Marxists: a history of success


In December 2003, almost one year after the labor leader Lula da Silva had reached the Presidency of Brazil I was in the V.I.P area of Sao Paulo’s Airport and I met a very cultivated man who worked in a high rank position in a Brazilian bank, owned by one of the most tradition old money families of the country and we had a nice conversation given that both flights were delayed. Typically Brazilian airport sign: delayed or cancelled.

As the conversation went on, he felt more at easy after knowing that I didn’t live there and start to speak the secrets from the guts of the new regime. Yeah, in reality a new “regime” was in the making and I knew from my student’s activist time the players, the new rulers very well: formed in the schools of Moscow, Beijing and lately in Tirana (yes, old communist Albania). Now they were the government of one of the biggest and richest countries on the planet with the most cynical, cruel and frivolous bourgeoisie I know in the world. How the country was supposed to function given the huge class gap between the poor, middle class and the rich? According to this brand new source I met the deal was done in the beginning of 2002 between the Worker’s Party (Lula’s party), the FEBRABAN (Brazilian Bank Federation) and FIESP (the powerful industrials union of Sao Paulo). Lula pledged allegiance to the establishment.

The deal was that that as long as the Worker’s Party did not move with the basics of the model: private property, banking system and the Justice (a mockery of justice itself) and Parliamentarian structure (a huge pocket of corrupted representatives) and refrain the worker’s labor unions (all them under his parties control) from more aggressive positions against the dominant class, and they would not prevent the very possible election of “the guy” as Obama referred to Lula in a recent meeting in Washington.

Real x Dollar

Real x Dollar


The “guy” was elected and inherited a brutal crisis from his predecessor but that crisis was mainly the overlap of 2001’s recession which spilled into 2002 and the banking system (national and international) did not lose the opportunity to profit from the uncertainty of the new government and speculated heavily against the real (local currency) and the stock markets. That brought them a gigantic profit as never before. The real had reached 4 to 1 US dollar. Today, ending 2010, it struggles to not go lower than 1.50 real/dollar.

Strikes were over, the “farmer’s without land” movement was appeased by some government innocuous and false promises, and mainly Lula started to elaborate a huge alliance with the opposition parties in order to have majority in the Congress and be able to govern. He didn’t touch the privatizations done by the former president neither the profit remittance of the multinationals. He bought with money thru a complicated embezzlement scheme managed by his old time companion José Dirceu, who managed the feared “Casa Civil” the necessary support in Congressmen votes. Vote by vote, billions of dollars changed hands and so the country started to “stabilize”. The Minister of the “Casa Civil” is a sort of unofficial prime minister who concentrates an enormous power in his/her hands. He gathered the majority of Congress deputies from a myriad of parties ranging from ideological peers to life time right-wingers enemies. Capitalism’s magic with a Marxist touch applied to it.

As a whistleblower brought down the scheme almost all the Ministries (all occupied by old time communists and right-wing “partners of the bribery scheme), Dilma Rousseff, elected 11/01/2010 President of the country, assumed the post of Minister of “Casa Civil” and commanded from there her way up. Plenty of corruption is administered directly inside that Ministry. All other Ministries are subordinated to the “Casa Civil”. Dilma Rousseff also comes from a terrible past of totalitarian ideology and guerrilla warfare. But who cares? Certainly not the bankers and industrials let alone the dispossessed.

Bolsa Familia

Bolsa Familia


“As never before in the history of this country…” became a popular joke because Lula used this phrase 8 out of 10 times when discoursing thru the country. He perfected a scheme of high carbs, high cholesterol and a minimum of vitamins and proteins called “Bolsa Familia”: basic ration diet distributed to 11 million families all over the country. In the miserable areas of the North and Northeast he became second to God, in some areas ranking above Jesus himself. Never before in the history of that country, had a government given out plain, disgusting rations to the poor. Never before in the history of that country had profits been so high that the 2008 crisis merely missed the country in the world map. Obama should have spent more time with that illiterate politician in order to learn how to do little and seem to do too much at the same time.
Communist Flag

Communist Flag


Corruption, disguised party control of all regulatory agencies, freedom of enterprise combined with generous subsidies to the rich and bread crumbs to the poor plus a shift in the defining standards of what is the middle class who was terribly crushed in the meantime made the dominance of the elite of the old communists the most popular government of Brazilian history and that makes me wonder. Brazil is a salvage capitalist country governed by Marxists in democratic outfits. China is a communist country governed by technocrats formed in the best schools in the Capitalist West and both countries share in common a terrific economic growth, corruption, social unfairness and divisions, crisis become a foreign concept in both lands. Meanwhile, in the USA an intellectual president (but a bad politician)and a highly self-confident educated class lost 11/02/2010 elections to the corrupted Republicans and Europe is held hostage of economical paralysis although it is governed by a highly illustrated capitalist elite. What is wrong with this big picture?
Lula Ahmadinejad

Lula Ahmadinejad


Anyway, Dilma Rousseff was elected the first female president of Brazil (macho land where macho men dress-up in women’s clothes during carnival and behave more gaily than gays); she has never held a single political elected office; she is educated but believes firmly that only the party can guide “the people”; she is Lula’s puppet and will have some problems: Lula is a friend of Ahmadinejad (Iran’s President) and Brazil has established cooperation agreements with that country that execute women.
Lula and Dilma

Lula and Dilma

Will she bow to her old boss (Lula) and dress a Niqab veil covering her proud liberated woman’s face to receive Ahmadinejad in his next visit to Brazilian soil? She went on her whole life defending the right of women’s choice and denied in order to get religious votes… Pragmatism and dogmas. Maybe that is the exit to the current crisis nevertheless the real dose of cynicism to be applied remains a mystery few have mastered.