The Friedmanite Neoclassical Economic Belief System (FNEBS) now dominates the developed and developing world. It is taught across the globe in business schools and universities. It is the orthodox wisdom among the Self-Perpetuating Industrial, Financial, Media, Academic and Political Establishment (SPIFMAPE).
The SPIFMAPE is the shadowy presence in our economy which has the real power and resources to ensure its continued dominance. It includes those Industrialists corrupted by the pursuit of wealth, Financiers who pay the £billions of fraud fines as the necessary entry fee, the Media controllers who shape the news to their advantage, Academics who accept ‘research’ income for conformist enquiry and teaching, and those Politicians nurtured within the SPIFMAPE, warmly accepting the FNEBS, otherwise referred to as in the ‘Westminster bubble’.
Those who know the FNEBS appear to really believe in it; and those who don’t know it, accept it as a truth. However, J K Galbraith identified such matters as ‘institutional truths’: that is not a truth at all, but a downright lie that people must buy into if their careers are to progress within their chosen institution.
The FNEBS includes the familiar neoliberal ideology: free markets – open access, minimum regulation, minimised taxes and state involvement in the economy, the purpose of business being to maximise shareholder wealth. It is based on the mathematical models of neoclassical economics which necessarily exclude consideration of any moral values and bear no relation to the real world. It is Friedmanite in that it follows Milton Friedman’s injunction that corporate officials must seek to maximise shareholder wealth rather than profit. It is a belief because it is based on theory which can’t be verified and has been falsified millions of times. It is a system reacting with and destroying other systems on which economies, ecologies and species, even including humanity itself, depend.
The dominance of the FNEBS has resulted in the destruction of competition, the conversion of industrial entities with a wide range of objectives, into financial entities which dominate and fix markets and industries, seeking only to maximise shareholder wealth against the interests of all other entities.
In this globalised world, a nation state is unable on its own to reverse the impacts of the FNEBS. If it unilaterally imposed regulations to ensure sustainable operations, the result would merely be that the regulated operations would be out-competed by those not so regulated. Agreement to constrain the impacts of the FNEBS has therefore got to be international.
The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is just such an international agreement being made between the EU and US. Superficially, TTIP would harmonise and minimise regulatory requirements across the EU and US. However its real effect would be to seal in the power and benefits of the SPIFMAPE. TTIP would make international agreement on effective regulation of unsustainable activities, more or less impossible. It would grant companies (Industrial, Financial and Media) the power to sue governments if they attempted to restrict or regulate markets for the common good. TTIP would be the final victory of the SPIFMAPE over any alternative system. The only other possibility would be violent revolution. Humanity and our planet would be the losers.
That is why members of the SPIFMAPE are conducting ‘negotiations’ on TTIP as far as possible without public scrutiny. And it is why the Green Party and others are making as much noise about it as possible to ensure it is never enforced.