A brief (but fundamental) return to Brexit

I voted ‘Remain’ because trans-national corporations (TNCs) are now bigger than nation states.

The more I think about it,

The Neoliberals had to wreck Europe!

Exxonmobil has a bigger turnover than Austria’s GDP. Also, TNCs are free from the dissent inherent in democracy. Shareholder revolts do not  yet seriously treaten this. But to make sure that they are in the driving seat when the ecological crunch comes, it will help if (nominally democratic) nation states are as divided as possible.

The neoliberals appear to have rendered the EU and UK Parliaments amenable to their agenda. Although Hillary Clinton was their preferred choice for the USA, Senate and Congress are complaisant.

After 70 years of economic growth, a brief recession was a slim pretext for austerity. But it was enough to persuade the main victims to blame the wrong offenders. It is not the EU we need to take back control from, but the TNCs.

In the polarized atmosphere, I doubt whether Donald Tusk’s ‘olive branch’ to the UK will change entrenched attitudes, but  my version of the ‘Remain’ case starts with the ecological crunch.

One of the best patronized spots on this blog is my Page on the Tragedy of the Commons. I used to link this, but no account I have seen grasps the core problem:

From time to time a species evolves able to exploit new resources. Humans are such a species. But the strategies to take maximum advantage of that new ability become disastrous when growth reaches limits. Due to the exponential principle, that moment will be reached not only suddenly, but unexpectedly soon.

However, the worst possible strategies remain firmly in place. They will normally be individualistic and aggressive as this approach will have enabled the winners to come out on top. The onset is sudden, but various human societies have been banging their heads against this ceiling for several centuries. Kate Raworth notwithstanding, growth remains unquestioned.

A useful line of research would be how amphibians and birds eventually emerged from this phase, as clearly both were ultimately successful. So there is hope for homo sapiens. Unlike us they could not simply develop new cultural patterns.

My Book Résumé (a Page in this blog) explains how one so-called primitive society developed strategies better suited to their new situation (It was as close as you could get to the Basic Income as was possible in a moneyless society). But we don’t know how long it took them. We do have the archaeologically excavated Easter Island as evidence of just how gruesome the transition must have been.

Why are the TNCs still banging all our heads against this ceiling? The short term answer is that the are the main beneficiaries – they are not the first to suffer the ecological damage which is already hitting many communities, or the potential mass extinction of corals. A longer term reason is that no one can afford to be at a disadvantage, so all must go on exploiting, and selling the products to the rest of us until complete co-operation can be assured.

Although I blame neoliberals, their traditional enemies are not making much of a fist at defeating them because too many ordinary people still have an aspirational ‘growth’ mind set. I merely repeat my plea to both sides: the basic Income will allow the rich to keep most of their riches, whilst guaranteeing the rest of us basic needs, enabling everyone to stop sawing off the ecological branch on which we are all sitting. But the TNCs, aka neoliberals, want to be the ones making decisions.

Which is why they had to wreck Europe.

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