Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bush's Retreat from Empiricism and Global Poverty

We will actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world.
--George W. Bush, National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 17, 2002

One year prior to the September 11 attacks, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency predicted increased religious extremism and violence as a result of increasing economic inequality due to globalization, warning that:

the rising tide of the global economy will create many economic winners, but it will not lift all boats...[It will] spawn conflicts at home and abroad, ensuring an even wider gap between regional winners and losers than exists today...Regions, countries, and groups feeling left behind will face deepening economic stagnation, political instability, and cultural alienation. They will foster political, ethnic, ideological, and religious extremism, along with the violence that often accompanies it.
CIA, Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue about the Future with Nongovernmental Experts, December 2000

Surely one of the central exhibits for the case that the Bush administration participates in a retreat from empiricism would be its relentless promotion of neoliberalism and its militarist cousin, neoconservatism, on the demonstrably false premise that free trade and deregulation inevitably promote the common good, counterfactually and sanctimoniously claiming that globalization raises the living standards of the poor across the world when nearly every known historical case demands precisely the opposite conclusion.(Because there are so many economists who cook the books, this sadly takes us back to competing theories producing different facts. This also means that Thomas Friedman and George W. Bush promote the problem as the solution.)

The last twenty years of world history demonstrate precisely the reverse in over seventy separate national economies, yet it is still an article of "centrist" faith that opposition to the neoliberalism that impoverishes the world further everyday demonstrates a callous indifference to the interests of the poor. It is difficult to think of a more paradigmatic case of the retreat from empiricism.

Michel Chossudovsky,Global Poverty in the Late Twentieth Century

Susan George,Global Poverty or Global Justice?

Hat tip to Antonia Juhasz, The Bush Agenda