Sunday, April 1, 2012

Can BRICS Tear Down a Wall?

Five Challengers of the Neoliberal Jackboot

As Mr. Prashad points out, the recent "BRICS" conference (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) was woefully under-reported in the USA. If you just simply view American corporate "news" as a propaganda and advertising machine, this is no surprise. One of the constant themes pounded into American heads on a daily basis is "there is no alternative". Needless to say, a conference of nations trying to form an alternative can't be reported on within that larger, constant message.

Such mischief has finally enraged the BRICS states. They have thrown their support behind the UNCTAD round, and have pledged to work in a united fashion to contest the North’s protectionist policies regarding its agriculture, to push for reform of the financial system, and to create an autonomous development platform for the South. To the point about the financial reform, the Delhi Declaration pointed out, “It is critical for advanced economies to adopt responsible macroeconomic and financial policies, avoid creating excessive global liquidity and undertake structural reforms to lift growth that create jobs.” A majority of the world’s workers are now in vulnerable employment or in the informal economy. Austerity programs make life harder for these workers, who are often made to carry the burdens for family members who lose formal sector employment. Austerity might create GDP but it will not create jobs.

Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff told the press that the monetary policy of the North “brings enormous trade advantages to developed countries, and results in unfair obstacles to other countries.” To counteract this, there is now a move to create economic linkages outside those of the dollar-denominated financial system dominated by the North. The BRICS states created a new credit facility in local currencies, so that BRICS states and others can now trade with each other without recourse to the dollar or other such “international” currencies. This reduces the transaction costs for intra-BRICS trade as well as threatens the dollar from its pedestal as the main currency of international trade.

The BRICS states directed their finance ministries to research the possibility of the creation of a new development bank, a Bank of the South (a BRICS version of the South American Banco Sur, founded in 2009 with an initial capital outlay of $20 billion, to supplant the hegemony of the World Bank and the IMF). The new BRICS bank, it is hoped, will mobilize resources for infrastructure and development in the BRICS states and in other developing countries. If it were influenced by the Banco Sur, the BRICS bank could be a practical venue for the creation of a new institutional foundation outside neoliberalism.

This is of course how empires fall. They overreach. The powerful men who surround the King only think of their own personal enrichment, and in doing so force the empire to act against its own best interests and instead only serve the interests of the powerful.

Twenty years ago, no one could have imagined a bloc of Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa and most of the "Global South" joining together. American policies have forced this. When America became a sole superpower, and then sought to abuse that power by forcing the entire world into economic subservience at the threat of endless wars, America created BRICS. If not BRICS, then there'd be some other gathering together of the nations of the world to try to create a bloc that could challenge or at least withstand Washingon's might. The fact that its necessary for their survival means that it must exist. Perhaps the only surprise is how long its taken to come together.

This is how empires fall. And, of course, the fall of the empire, and the BRICS in the wall that lead to that collapse, will be woefully under-reported in the official organs of the empire. Don't count on the Czar to tell you about the revolution. The good news is that word will get around. Its there if you look for it. Even if they make the internet illegal, or so restricted to corporate selling sites as to be worthless, look around, the word will be out there. Maybe printed by some samzidat press and secretly passed around as mimeograph copies to activists willing to take a risk to know a little truth. But, the truth will be out there.

These days, you have to look for the truth. Its out there. It always will be out there. Just remember that, and don't forget to look. You just got to poke around. Don't forget to poke the link above and read a fuller account of the BRICS conference and movement.

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