Challenged from all sides, the US is losing its tight grip on international power, Noam Chomsky writes, as world public opinion becomes a second superpower
When we ask who rules the world? we commonly adopt the standard convention that the actors in world affairs are countries, principally the great powers, and we consider their decisions and the relations among them. That is not incorrect. But we would do well to keep in mind that this level of abstraction can also be highly misleading.
States, of course, have complex internal structures, and the choices and decisions of the political leadership are heavily influenced by internal concentrations of power, while the general population is oftens marginalized. That is true even for the more democratic societies, and plainly for others. We cannot gain a realistic understanding of who rules the world while dismissing the masters of humankind, as Adam Smith called them: in his day, the merchants and manufacturers of England; in ours, multinational conglomerates, huge financial institutions, retail empires and the like.
Still following Smith, it is also wise to attend to the vile maxim to which the masters of mankind are dedicated: All for ourselves and nothing for other people a doctrine known otherwise as bitter and incessant class war, often one-sided, much to the harm of the people of the home country and the world.
In the contemporary global order, the institutions of the masters hold enormous power , not only in the international arena but also within their home countries, on which they rely to protect their power and to provide economic support by a wide variety of means.
When we consider the role of the masters of humankind, we turn to such nation policy priorities of the moment as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the investor-rights agreements mislabeled free-trade agreements in propaganda and commentary. They are negotiated in secret, apart from the hundreds of corporate lawyers and lobbyists writing its most important details. The aim is to have them adopted in good Stalinist style with fast track procedures designed to block deliberation and allow only the choice of yes or no( hence yes ).
The decorators regularly do quite well , not amazingly. People are incidental, with the consequences one might anticipate.
The second superpower
The neoliberal programs of the past generation have concentrated wealth and power in far fewer hands while undermining functioning democracy, but they have aroused opposition as well, most prominently in Latin America but also in the centers of global power.
The European Union( EU ), one of the more promising growths of the post-world war II period, has been tottering because of the harsh effect of the policies of austerity during recession, condemned even by the economists of the International Monetary Fund( if not the IMFs political actors ).
Democracy has been undermined as decision-making shifted to the Brussels bureaucracy, with the northern banks casting their darknes over their proceedings.