Neoliberal globalization propelled by crony capitalism is facing hurdles, yet again. Unlike before though, the current crisis is quite generalized, permeating all sectors of the global economy. At the height of neoliberalism, i.e., at the turn of the century, the much touted ‘Dot Com’ bubble went bust! To rectify the situation, central banks purposely inflated the housing sector. Old people were told to refinance their homes (remember the mantra; housing prices always go up) with a very low teasing interest rate. For a while it looked as if capitalism had finally delivered paradise on earth! Unsurprisingly (to the critically inclined) as soon as interest rates start to go up, millions of borrowers couldn’t keep up with their mortgage payments and promptly lost their houses!
The ‘Housing bubble’ that burst in 2008 threatened to unwind capitalism as we know it. Again, to rectify the situation, the global status quo pumped massive liquidity, this time directly, since all the active economic actors were tapped out and rendered nonfunctional, including the banks, consumers, etc., etc. Since 2008, plenty of phony money (over USD 50 trillion) was pumped into the global system by the various central banks/governments to thwart off the collapse of the modern world’s economic regime. This massive liquidity that came with no cost, (zero percent interest rate) created one of the largest bubble ever! Arguably, we are currently wallowing in the midst of the largest economic bubble in the history of all humanity! After such unprecedented indulgence by central banks/governments, everything became a bubble; real estate (housing & commercial properties), stocks, bonds, antiques, paintings, works of art, etc., etc. This generalized phenomenon currently obtains all over the world!
Polarizing globalization, which is a byproduct of un-tempered, greed driven accumulation process (neoliberalism) is now hitting the wall, so to speak. We believe it is dangerously approaching its historical limits. Symptoms are all over. In the very poor of the global South, polarization is manifested as a continuum of instability, increasingly leading to fragile, failing and failed states. Africa has plenty of cases. In the semi-peripheries, those countries that are the in-betweens (between the rich and the poor) economic downturn punctuated by abrupt currency devaluation resulting in cost of living increase (for the absolute majority) is flaring xenophobia leading to irrational policies! In the world of the rich, a clear trajectory of pauperism and depression (amongst the sheeple=human mass), leading to the polarization of politics, has become a vivid reality.
Mass migration from the south to the north is accelerating. For some of the sheeple in the south, one way of escaping the punishing polarization is to just pack up and move north. Intense connectedness brought about, amongst other things, by globalized informatics, is making the journey north less intimidating. The South American sheeple seem to have joined this pilgrimage to anticipated affluence. Honduras has had ‘regime change’ few years back, instigated by the power that be. Thereafter came, a massively rigged election that brought a corrupt regime in power, which is bent on disfranchising the local sheeple. It is no coincidence we now have thousands of South Americans marching North, to the land of opportunity. As the dismemberment of Libya facilitated the migration of MENA’s sheeple (Middle East and North Africa) to Europe, ‘Regime Change’ in South America is also encouraging mass exodus to the promised lands of the Northern countries. It seems a ‘Regime of Migration’ (after all, migration is also change of domicile) is now in the offing, mostly as a reaction to the politics of ‘Regime Change’ and widespread polarization. The empire, particularly the hegemon, (once considered effectively an island, hence unreachable) must be a bit perplexed by this recent bold behavior of the southern sheeple. One cannot help but reflect: Is this what the Hindu’s call Karma?
It is obvious we are now living in a highly parasitic world that has very different value systems than the ones promised by capitalist modernity. When central banks take massive stakes in the global equity markets, (to protect the financially connected), when interest rates go negative, when junk bonds are considered premium, almost at par to sovereign bonds, when nature destroying overproduction is touted as growth, etc., etc., one is forced to resort to ancient wisdoms.