Review: SAVAGE CAPITALISM AND THE MYTH OF DEMOCRACY–Latin America in the Third Millennium

5 Star, Atrocities & Genocide, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Civil Society, Country/Regional, Crime (Corporate), Crime (Government), Democracy, Economics, Education (General), Education (Universities), Environment (Problems), Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Read, Ground Truth, Moral Truth, Priceless Insights
January 5, 2010

Michael Hogan

I received this book as a gift from the author after I reviewed Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, and I am very glad to have accepted his offer. At 218 pages double-spaced it is a fast read and perhaps even more valuable for that–this is the book that every US CEO and professional having anything to do with Latin America should read. I do not mention politicians because they are all uniformly corrupt and have been castrated by the two-party tyranny. This book holds special meaning for teachers who wish to restore their role as speakers of truth rather than as cogs in the Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling.

The book opens with a spectacularly cogent list of the damages caused to Latin America by the USA:

1) Military interventions followed by abandonment (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti)

2) Undermining of the democratic process (Guatemala, Chile)

3) The rapacious “free trade” policies (everywhere)

4) Active interference and external pressxures in the electoral process (Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru)

5) Military buildups to intimidate the left, the students, and the reformists (Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay

6) The failure of the Catholic Church (in a region where 95% are Catholic) to fulfill its social mission because of conservative pressures (the author sees connections among Opus Dei in the USA and Latin America, and of course today we have the Germanic conservativism)

QUOTE page 7: “What is particularly sad about all of this is that teachers and professors, who have been charged with telling our children the truth, especially about such things that might affect their system of values, are as uninformed as everyone else.”

Among the core points the author makes:

+ Should not link economics and politics–demanding democracy at the same time as demanding liberalization of the economy to the permanent advantage of multinational corporations (known in the 1970's to be predatory and immoral) is a prescription for continued poverty.

+ Time to simplify the global economy and (my interpretation) do away with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as they both perpetuate predatory capitalism or what the author calls “savage capitalism.” See Confessions of an Economic Hit Man; The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism; and The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

+ Americans are “history deficient” and the first step in healing our Republic is to educate our public properly, not just children but adults as well, in both the truth of our history (see A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present and the history of others in THEIR eyes (Open Veins above)

+ US arms sales and US military and police training in Latin America are negative factors–they are introducing small arms that get into the criminal marketplace; and they are supporting regime repression of young people who see the injustice and seek to change their respective countries for the better from inside

+ The author is very thoughtful in discussing the sytemic long-term negatives of US looting of Latin America–we have been creating a cesspool that will have poverty, disease, migration, crime, terrorism and many other implications far down the road; at the same time we force a brain drain on these countries that lose the best and brightest and decay even further

+ I am surprised to learn for the first time that the Green Revolution in agriculture actually led to further concentration of wealth in that only larger farms were able to implement the combination of pesticide and seed advances, putting most small farmers out of business.

+ Over-all the author calls for a restoration of humanity in our policies, on understanding the demographic and moral implications of our “rational” policies that are actually detrimental to peace and prosperity overall. I recommend both Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West and Mapping the Moral Domain: A Contribution of Women's Thinking to Psychological Theory and Education.

Other pieces of the book that are each insightful gems include the need to legalize drugs and recognize the mutual benefits of immigration; the long-term implciations of the US creating gangs that return home and are a lost generation; the US anti-abortion policies that are institutionalized and further diminish local populations in their ability to heal and make progress; and of course the failure of the Catholic Church with was on the right track with liberation theology until the Church sold the people out to its banking interests.

The author concludes on a positive note, suggesting that US policy has been ignorant and militaristic and is now being firmly and broadly rejected across Latin American. The sun is setting on the US Empire, and it is setting first in Latin America.

There are lists of suggestions in this book, and many wonderful quotes, I strongly recommend the book for use in schools, chambers of commerce, and as required reading for anyone traveling to Latin America whether on business or in tourism. We must stop lying to ourselves–as I like to say at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog where all of my reviews can be accessed within any of 98 categories, “The truth at any cost reduces all other costs.”

One final quote and links:

QUOTE page 102. “We must first recognize the fraud that is perpetrated by corporate and governmental globalists who, while comfortably dealing with state terrorists from Saudi Arabia and Israel, reject the successful policies of Cuban agronomists, the equally successful experiments of Venezuelan economists, and the peaceful protests of Mexican farmers at Cancun.

See also Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025 and The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back.

Great book, righteous, informative, and helpful.

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