Posts Tagged ‘Winners and losers’

Brexit: the revolt of the losers

June 28, 2016

The dominant neoliberal economy sorts people into winners and losers.  Brexit is a revolt of the losers.

The winners are the credentialed professionals, the cosmopolitan, the affluent.  The losers are the uncredentialed, the provincial, the working class.

Losers are revolting across the Western world, from the USA to Poland, and their revolt mostly takes the form of nationalism.

The reason the revolt takes the form of nationalism is that the world’s most important international institutions—the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank—are under the control of a global financial elite that does not represent their interests.

17149339-Abstract-word-cloud-for-Neoliberalism-with-related-tags-and-terms-Stock-PhotoI don’t fully understand the decision-making process in the European Union, but looking at its web site, my impression is that public debate is not a part of it.

The only vehicles for exercising democratic control, at the present moment in history, is through democratic national governments.  I am in favor of international cooperation, and I don’t know how I would have voted on Brexit if I had been British, but I certainly can understand Britons who don’t want to be at the mercy of foreign bureaucrats and the London governmental, banking and intellectual elite.

Democratic nationalism is the only form that democracy can take until there is a radical restructuring of international institutions.  Without a strong progressive democratic movement, the only alternative to neo-liberal globalization is right-wing anti-democratic populism as represented by Donald Trump, the United Kingdom Independence Party, Marine le Pen’s National Front in France, Greece’s Golden Dawn and others.

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The difference between winners and losers

January 4, 2011

Dr. Eric Berne, the psychiatrist who wrote Games People Play and founded the Transactional Analysis school of therapy, defined winners and losers as personality types.

The winner’s goal is victory; the loser’s goal is to avoid defeat.  The winner has a clear goal, takes the initiative, and looks on any temporary defeat as a milestone on the road to victory.  The loser lacks a clear goal, is reactive and looks on any temporary victory as a postponement of eventual defeat.

My question is: Does the U.S. government have any goal in Afghanistan except to avoid defeat?

Long ago I favored U.S. intervention in Vietnam because I saw it as part of the global dual between the United States and the totalitarian Soviet Union, in which North Vietnam and the Viet Cong were instruments of Soviet power.  But at some point it became clear to me that, as Daniel Ellsberg put it, the U.S. government’s only policy was to prevent the fall of South Vietnam until after the next election.

I favored the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan because I saw it as the only way to get at the criminals who murdered thousands of Americans the 9/11 attacks.  But this goal seems to have slipped away, and now the only purpose of the continued U.S. presence seems to be to avoid admitting defeat.

I am not a pacifist.  I accept that war is sometimes necessary.  But it is morally wrong to send patriotic young American men and women to risk being killed or maimed, and to unavoidably kill or main tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of noncombatant civilians who have as much inherent right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as you and me, when the main purpose is to to enable people in power to avoid admitting they made a mistake.

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