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Forum Post: chomsky on the virtual senate

Posted 2 years ago on Aug. 27, 2012, 6:12 p.m. EST by flip (6899)
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QUESTION: In a text of yours you say that the world is ruled by a "virtual senate". Can you tell me something more about this?

CHOMSKY: The term is not mine. I am borrowing it from the professional literature on international economics. The "virtual senate" consists of investors and lenders. They can effectively decide social and economic policy by capital flight, attacks on currency that undermine the economy, and other means that have been provided by the neoliberal framework of the past thirty years. You can see it in Brazil right now. The "virtual senate" wants assurances that the neoliberal policies of the Cardoso government, from which foreign investors and domestic elites greatly benefit, will not be changed. As soon as international investors, lenders, banks, the IMF, domestic wealth, and so on, recognized that Lula might win the elections, they reacted with attacks on the currency, capital flight, and other means to place the country in a stranglehold and prevent the will of the majority from being implemented. When they regained confidence that Lula would not be able to depart fundamentally from the international neoliberal regime, they relaxed and welcomed him. As they put it, Lula reassured people that he would keep Brazil safe. That specific use of language has two faces: if he keeps it safe for the financial investors, will he keep it safe for the Brazilians? Governments face what economists call a "dual constituency": voters, and the "virtual senate." Lula promised his country that he will keep Brazil safe for the population, but the IMF wants to keep it safe for its own constituency: the "virtual senate." They will act so that the money comes right after the elections and only if Lula keeps up with creditors. This is the effect of financial liberalization and other measures that have established the "virtual senate" as the dominant force in determining social and economic policy within a country. It means the population doesn't have control of the decisions taken by his own country. One consequence of liberalization of capital is rather clear: it undercuts democracy.



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[-] 2 points by jph (2652) 2 years ago

true dat,. the bankster oligarchs run sht! They will only LET the people make choices that do not interfere with their wealth extraction and resource control schemes. As long as this is true democracy is utterly meaningless.

[-] 1 points by flip (6899) 2 years ago

we get to ratify choices made by the power elite - sometimes

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

oddly the creditors money is also virtual

[-] 1 points by flip (6899) 2 years ago

well that is a big question but their power is not - maybe it is since if we say no they are done. have you read "debt the first 5000 years" - really interesting about money and debt

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago


virtual money is the basis of their power

[-] 2 points by jph (2652) 2 years ago

yes it is hard not to be massively wealthy when you can lend out money you don't actually have,. and get to collect the endless interest on that,. .

[-] 1 points by flip (6899) 2 years ago

but i think all money is virtual - how about gold on the titanic

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

doesn't rust

[-] 2 points by flip (6899) 2 years ago

i would rather have a lifeboat - you can keep the pretty metal

[-] 0 points by mayda (57) 2 years ago

did you send this to richard???? he needs to see it!

[-] 0 points by flip (6899) 2 years ago

yes i did