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The Capitalist Trojan Horse and Its Tenets

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Wealth, Values, Culture & Education

Part of the book series: Diversity and Inclusion Research ((DIRE))

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Abstract

This chapter is an analysis of the latest renditions of capitalism including neoliberalism, surveillance techno-feudalism, and green growth. Neoliberalism is scrutinised in more detail both as it is the basis on which the other two variants have developed and as its edicts have compelled social and environmental damages torpedoing the wealth of humanity. Capitalism is metaphorically compared to the Trojan Horse epic as the two plots are similar in their objectives. Recognising the difference between neoliberalism, techno-feudalism, and green capitalism, this chapter adapts the concept of "Happy Capitalism" as an overarching terminology to refer to all three recent types of capitalism while also providing examples for each. It is argued that the Happy Capitalism has transformed social concepts such as freedom to attain its economic and marketing objectives. It has promised progress and wealth through misleading ideas of big pie and lifting tide and more recently through green investments and financing while skilfully concealing its negative social and environmental impacts and externalities as well as decades of extractive and linear economic activity. Discussions in this chapter reveal the enduring fabrication of societal and economic inequalities, poverty, and vulnerabilities both in the developing and the developed world as the Happy Capitalism has assumed a global position in the contemporary world system. This chapter aims to depict a few of the main tenets of the Happy Capitalist social contract which have been normalised and internalised by the masses hence shaping social realities across the world.

Any situation in which some men prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence…to alienate humans from their decision making is to change them into objects.

Paulo Freire

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A conference organised in Paris gathering intellectuals and some of the most liberal thinkers of the time together. It led to creation of the neoliberal institution Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) in Switzerland in 1947 by Friedrich Von Hayek (an economist participating in the Lippmann event in Paris). Current President of MPS is Linda Whetstone.

  2. 2.

    Lippmann was an American journalist and political commentator (1889–1974). One of his most famous works is a book called Public Opinion. It explores the ways media and propaganda can manipulate and manufacture consent.

  3. 3.

    German economist (1889–1967) who was an advocate of ethical socialism in Germany and the USA.

  4. 4.

    On their website www.mises.org, it is explained that the institute has been founded in 1982, and it seeks “a free-market capitalist economy and a private-property order that rejects taxation, monetary debasement, and a coercive state monopoly of protective services”.

  5. 5.

    Pinochet (1915–2006) was a military dictator who seized power through a US-backed military coup d’état against the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende who was the first Marxist and liberal democrat president in Latin America. The atrocities of human violation during Pinochet – the public demonstration of which happened in 1973 in Santiago’s Stadium where thousands of artists and activists were tortures and killed were eventually documented in The Retting Commission Report (1991). The report order was issued by President Patricio Aylwin (Christian Democrat) and a Supreme Decree No. 355 as he marginally won presidential election over Pinochet in 1989. The Retting Commission documented 3428 cases of disappearance, killing, torture, and kidnapping executed by Pinochet’s National Intelligence Directorate (DINA); the report was ordered by the United States Institute of Peace and by the National Commission of Truth and Reconciliation. The report is available on the website of the United States Institute for Peace at: https://www.usip.org/publications/1990/05/truth-commission-chile-90

  6. 6.

    Chilean politician, president of Chile (2006–2010) and (2014–2018), she has been nominated as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR since 2018).

  7. 7.

    Bretton Woods Conference gathered 44 allied nations at Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods.

  8. 8.

    The term Washington Consensus was coined by the British economist John Harold Williamson (1937–2021). The Consensus includes ten economic policy prescriptions that were agreed among the IMF, WB, and the US Department of the Treasury. It prescribed reconstruction of a new economic world through a market fundamentalist doctrine through (1) free market deregulations, (2) avoidance of large fiscal deficits relative to GDP, (3) tax reforms, (4) competitive exchange rates, (5) market-determined interest rates; (6) liberalisation of trade and investment, (7) privatisation of state enterprises, (8) liberalisation of local markets, (9) foreign direct investment liberalisation, and (10) legal security for property rights.

  9. 9.

    Similar ideas to those in the Washington Consensus, both IMF and WB demand deregulation, privatisation, structural fiscal adjustments, and free market strategies as conditions for providing loans. For more info on SAP refer to: Weaver, J.H., (1995), What is Structural Adjustment? In D.M., Schydlowsky, Structural Adjustments: Retrospect and Prospect (pp. 3–21).

  10. 10.

    With the same objectives of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATTS), GAT was created in 1995 following the Uruguay Round which led to the creation of the WTO in Geneva.

  11. 11.

    The use of term “seal” is intentional here. Seals are high-ranked trained military members of the US army who embody army’s ideals of loyalty, perseverance, zeal, determination, achievement, and fortitude. I believe both IMF and World Bank have worked as neoliberal seals in the world rigorously implementing the Washington Consensus despite all the negative impacts both organisations have created with their interventions particularly where their loans and money have been transferred to authoritarian regimes in a total lack of political but also social and environmental justice conditionality.

  12. 12.

    I have translated the title and the quotation from the original text in French.

  13. 13.

    A University of Virginia Institute which explains its mission is “to create a network of closely interacting basic, translational, data and clinical neuroscientists at multiple schools at UVA to address key problems in neuroscience for the benefit of the society”. Refer to https://braininstitute.virginia.edu/about/mission

  14. 14.

    In the recent decade, OECD has created a profiling survey called Study on Social and Emotional Skills. It seeks to understand “how social and emotional skills develop across childhood and adolescence; how these skills develop across different cultural and educational settings; what policies and practices foster these skills, when and under what conditions such policies and practices shall be applied to best support students”. See their webpage: https://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/social-emotional-skills-study/about/

  15. 15.

    See https://www.forbes.com/billionaires/

  16. 16.

    As a connotation to the famous US prison Alcatraz which is on an island.

  17. 17.

    See the latest development on the case at: https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/178

  18. 18.

    Refer to: https://about.fb.com/news/2018/11/myanmar-hria/

  19. 19.

    The original French book title is La Croissance verte contre la nature: Critique de l’écologie marchande.

  20. 20.

    Planetary boundaries is a concept introduced in 2009 by the Stockholm Resilience Centre. It is a scientific framework that demonstrates the impacts of industrialisation on environment and depicts the extent to which boundaries (points of no return) have been overpassed. For further information refer to: https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/planetary-boundaries/the-nine-planetary-boundaries.html

  21. 21.

    For further information and participation, see: https://earthmicrobiome.org/

  22. 22.

    American political and feminist activist arrested in the 1970s during the black Movement. She is a professor in USA, University of California, Santa Cruz.

  23. 23.

    French feminist and philosopher who – against the fundamentalist Catholicism in France – obtained the right to abortion for women in the 1970s; women’s right to their bodies is still denied in many countries.

  24. 24.

    The list includes the largest economies in the world based on the market value of their annual final goods and services (not counting for cost of living but including inflation rates). The ten countries are in order: the USA, China, Japan, Germany, the UK, India, France, Italy, Canada, and South Korea. For more information refer to: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2021/03/23/world-economic-outlook-april-2021

  25. 25.

    The title of her book in French is Les irremplaçables. It was published by Gallimard in 2015.

  26. 26.

    Martin and Martin-Granel (2006) explain that the term was used to divide people inside and outside a city or country, for instance, by Homer in the Odyssey (Canto I, versus 194 and 230) and in his Iliad (Canto XXIV, verse 262), and by Plato (Apology, Chapter I, paragraph 38), Xenophon. The first medical use of the term is by Hippocrates as a medical term and as the title of one of his famous treaties.

  27. 27.

    Organisation for security and cooperation in Europe.

  28. 28.

    In French the title of the book is Adieu ma honte, written with Eleonore Gurrey, published by Fayard.

  29. 29.

    Founder and Director, Growth Lab, Harvard University.

  30. 30.

    The same concept is reiterated by the Iranian poet, Sohrab Sepehri (1928–1980). The Poem reads: I saw a donkey carrying words, a train carrying religion and it moved so heavily, and the other carrying politics and it was so empty….I saw, but, a donkey who’d comprehend the grass, in the fields I listened to the advice of a cow, I saw a museum far away from nature, a mosque away from water, and a jar filled with questions….

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Torabian, J.E. (2022). The Capitalist Trojan Horse and Its Tenets. In: Wealth, Values, Culture & Education. Diversity and Inclusion Research. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-92893-3_3

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