Michael Perelman: Globalization, “Free Trade,” and Food as a Strategic Weapon

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Yves here. Michael Perelman gave a wide-ranging talk in Ankara called the Anarchy of Globalization which focused on the local impact of globalization. The presentation was wideranging and included a discussion of the evolution of usage and theoretical concerns.

We’ve extracted a section below, on the role of “free trade” agreements and one of their not-widely-recognized side effects, that of weakening food security. The case study is Mexico.

By Michael Perelman, a professor of economics at California State University, Chico who also writes at Unsettling Economics

Judging by the official discourse about globalization, one might imagine that we are witnessing a natural evolution of free trade that benefits everybody touched by globalization, as in Thomas Friedman’s vision of the flat world. In truth, much of the pressure to intensify globalization does not necessarily come from market successes, but often comes from disappointment in market outcomes. Dissatisfied that markets were not providing sufficient profits, powerful states adopted a strategy of pressuring their weaker counterparts to join in so called free trade deals.

In fact, free trade is, at best, a secondary consideration of the trade agreements. For example, tariffs on trade between the U.S. and Europe are only 3.5 percent. A treaty to eliminate such tariffs would not be of great importance certainly one that would not involve strong diplomatic pressure and threats.

In contrast, free trade agreements put enormous emphasis on intellectual property agreements, which are antithetical to trade, in general, because they grant monopoly status, which allows suppliers to set their own price without competition. In this sense, intellectual property is a violation of sacred market principles, according to which the price of a good should be the cost of producing one more unit, what economists call “marginal costs.” Intellectual property, however, generally costs virtually nothing to reproduce. Because of this violation of free market principles inherent in intellectual property, libertarians including libertarian economists had long opposed patents and copyrights, although less so now that few libertarians are leery of excessive corporate powers. Free trade treaties’ treatment of intellectual property is more accurately described as a transfer of power, rather than a promotion of free trade. Such intellectual property agreements can threaten public health. For example, people in impoverished countries cannot afford the exorbitant costs of pharmaceuticals. Diseases that could be relatively easily contained have more room to spread.

Free trade treaties include investment dispute provisions, adjudicated by a tribunal made up of judges (generally with strong corporate ties). In other words, they have a better understanding of corporate interests rather than a typical body of law.

Under many such treaties, corporations have the right to expect a static regulatory framework. In other words, the tribunals can find new regulations illegal because a corporation could not have predicted them when it first began planning its investment. At the same time, corporations are free to change their corporate policies. There is a surge of cases in which corporations have sued under this provision. Even when a country’s preexisting regulations prevent an investment, such creating a toxic waste, the company can take the government before a tribunal. They almost always win such cases. And, yes, a panel of supposedly neutral judges actually permitted the toxic waste dump in question to go ahead.

In effect, this new legal structure elevates elevated to the status of an independent government, or perhaps even a higher status, in that corporations can limit what a government might do, while governments lose significant power to limit what a corporation might do.

Of course, a real free trade agreement, regarding what most people understand as free trade would be a very simple matter, consisting of a paragraph or two. Instead, such arrangements, supposedly made in the spirit of free trade, are actually thousands of pages of severe restrictions on public policy measures in the weaker countries that are pressured to accept these impositions. But free trade treaties even limit strong countries because political leaders want to free business from regulations. They may do so because it is in their interests rather than the people whom they supposedly represent.

For example, signatories of free trade agreements surrender their right to regulate imports of cigarettes or junk food, which might affect the health of their populations. The United States is particularly insistent in demanding that no country can prevent the marketing of genetically modified seeds or the crops that Monsanto and other suppliers want to sell around the world. These so called free trade agreements also regulate the regulation of virtually everything that an independent government might do. They demand that states adopt regulatory structures regarding intellectual property rights or finance that please the dominant powers.

Such demands should not be surprising because in the United States, free trade agreements are actually written by corporate interests. Congress has no say in their content. Representatives can only vote to accept or reject the treaties. The final product, which might be celebrated in board rooms across the United States, requires poor countries to abandon all sorts of legal rights, while exposing their economy to market forces that can overwhelm their fragile economics.

The proposed Trans Pacific Partnership also seems to have been crafted with geopolitical policy rather than trade in mind by bringing many nations into the United States’ orbit, while excluding China. The hope is that once the treaty is in place, China will want to join even though the country had no say in the drafting. Should that happen, then the Chinese government would lose most of its control over the economy. In the meantime, corporate interests are busy writing this so called free trade agreements in so much secrecy that even members of Congress are not permitted to read what was being proposed. Recently, after strong protests both in and out of Congress, the Obama administration finally opened a tiny window, allowing congressional representatives to read a single chapter of the agreement, while forbidding them to make any record of what they have read or even to discuss it with others. The public at large remains completely in the dark, except for a few parts that whistleblowers have leaked. But then again, secrecy is one of the great benefits of globalization.

The agreement has little to do with trade. Instead, it gives wide ranging rights to corporations, while prohibiting states from enforcing regulations of health and safety, finance, the environment, and virtually anything else that might inconvenience business. Member states that violate this treaty receive severe punishment.

The Obama administration is pressuring Congress to vote on the unread agreement without the option to offer any amendments. Meanwhile, domestic businesses interests are more than happy to see restrictions limiting the state’s power to regulate them. So much for free trade! unless the meaning of free trade is expanded to include the votes of compliant politicians who serve corporate interests.

If anarchy constitutes the absence of government, this aspect of globalization might seem to be a move toward a special kind of anarchy what may be called anarchism for the rich and powerful.

Within this globalized anarchy, weakened states are incapable of addressing serious global problems, which require globalized responses. The most obvious example would be climate change. Largely because of the resistance of domestic business from accepting any responsibility for climate change, states are paralyzed in the face of taking action. One area in which governments do cooperate is in joining together to oppose any regulations that might be useful in reducing climate change. The effectiveness of this cohesive bloc suggests how much good statewide achieve.

Of course, not all states sign on to this defense of inaction. For example, small island states, such as the Maldives, face existential risk from rising oceans submerging their nations. However, when the Maldives attempted to draw world attention to the danger it faced at the international conference on climate change, coincidentally, the government was suddenly overthrown: a different form of anarchy, suggesting that many states still exercise enormous power, but they cannot use that same power when it is not in the interests of even more powerful corporations.

In 1969, Charles Kindleberger presciently observed the rise of corporate power relative to the government within the context of international trade, predicting, “the nation state is just about through as an economic unit.”

More recently Wolfgang Reinicke went further, concluding: “Global corporate networks challenge a state’s internal sovereignty by altering the relationship between the private and public sectors. By inducing corporations to fuse national markets, globalization creates an economic geography that subsumes multiple political geographies. A government no longer has a monopoly of the legitimate power over the territory within which corporations operate, as the rising incidence of regulatory and tax arbitrage attests.”

Reinicke even suggested that this globalization was trending toward a form of anarchy. If anarchy constitutes the absence of government, this aspect of globalization might seem to be a move toward a special kind of anarchy what may be called anarchism for the rich and powerful.

In his “Politics as a Vocation,” Max Weber suggested a broader interpretation of this seeming anarchism. After citing Trotsky saying, “Every state is founded on force,” he went on to note, “The state is considered the sole source of the ‘right’ to use violence.” From Weber’s perspective, globalization is actually empowering the state.

The same progress in information technologies that that created a utopian belief in the possibility of worldwide democracy, facilitated the growth of globalization that made the new anarchy possible is also being used around the world to rapidly increase authoritarian powers, which now have the capacity to monitor virtually everything that ordinary people do. So, while one part of society enjoys the privacy that this new regime of secrecy provides, the rest of society has been rapidly losing what little remains of its privacy.

In effect, alongside the global redistribution of wealth and income, globalization also seems to be redistributing people’s rights. So far, I have been unable to detect any effective response to this troubling trend. What then, does free trade really mean?

Globalization of Food

Food, of course, has long been an integral part of the world of international politics. As far back as the beginning of historical records, belligerent countries have attempted to shut off food supplies for their enemies an early form of de globalization. The history of international food politics in the United States makes a fascinating study: with the recovery from the Great Depression, massively increased food demands needed for fighting the Second World War, together with enormous technical advances in food production in the postwar period, left the country saddled with substantial food surpluses. To dump the surpluses abroad, Congress enacted Public Law 480, which allowed countries to purchase food with their own currencies. At first, this policy displayed a humanitarian veneer, which seemed like a win win policy. Countries could get needed food and the cost of maintaining surpluses would diminish.

By 1957, Sen. Hubert Humphrey, later Vice President of the United States, let the cat out of the bag. Testifying before Congress about the program, Humphrey gloated: “I have heard … that people may become dependent on us for food. I know this is not supposed to be good news. To me that was good news, because before people can do anything they have got to eat. And if you are looking for a way to get people to lean on you and to be dependent on you, in terms of their cooperation with you, it seems to me that food dependence would be terrific.” Part of the attractiveness of this dependence was the high priority given to efforts to stamp out Communist influence, especially in Asia. PL 480 exports increased by roughly 40 percent during the Kennedy administration. George McGovern, then director of the Food for Peace program and a former bomber pilot during the Second World War, believed that food aid was “a far better weapon than a bomber in our competition with the Communists for influence in the developing world.”

A Mexican Laboratory

The experience of Mexico provides a striking example of the effect of this perverted form of free trade in food. In the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement (1986), heavily subsidized American agriculture, equipped with the most modern technology devastated Mexican agriculture, setting off a massive migration out of agriculture and out of Mexico.

Similarly, one can only wonder how much the Mexicans lost when the free trade agreement with the United States left Mexican consumers and farmers more dependent on relatively homogeneous, industrialized corn instead of the wide variety of indigenous corn that had been developed over centuries in Mexico. Ultimately, the homogeneity of a crop leaves it more vulnerable. A 1970 outbreak of corn leaf blight proved that point, by ravaging the U.S. corn harvest.

The loss of the heterogeneity of Mexican corn is another example of unintentional globalization. Because corn is such an important crop around the world, the plant’s loss of genetic diversity affects much of the rest of the world. Eventually, some pathogen will evolve a method to take advantage of some genetic weakness in a dominant strain of corn. Traditionally, corn breeders could themselves take advantage of the genetic heterogeneity of Mexican corn to find some particular strain that could fend off the pathogen. The inevitable homogenization of Mexican corn with the disappearance of small growers, who maintained the local strains, will deprive future generations of farmers of traditional methods of defense.

As mentioned earlier, a major priority of the free trade agreements that are currently being negotiated is a restriction on countries’ capacity to regulate the use of genetically modified organisms, either by restricting imports or preventing their farmers from planting such crops. Farmers also will be prohibited from replanting the GMO seeds they buy from the United States, something that resonates with Hubert Humphrey’s unpleasant celebration of dependence. Such policies mean that the world will become increasingly dependent on a handful of seed companies, which would displace the previously heterogeneous population of seeds. Such genetic homogenization of crops ultimately poses a threat to the world food supply.

While trade agreements limit the rights of nations, such as Mexico, to help their farmers, farmers in California receive highly subsidized water transfers to be able to plant cotton on arid land, which would otherwise be unsuitable for cotton. As a result, the Colorado River no longer reaches Mexico, which badly needs that river’s water. The resulting U.S. cotton harvest has managed to snuff out the demand for a good deal of African cotton production, thereby ensuring, or even increasing, poverty there.

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  1. John

    Most countries have oversized behind the border barriers to trade, including Europe. Economists always miss this because they follow one another without researching it themselves.

    Rather than call imported items from countries without signed FTA — a tariff — Europe imposes a VAT. This makes a huge difference on competitive pricing for small importers. Imported goods into Belgium get slapped a 21% VAT, customs handling charge, and fees assessed against the shipping costs. You have no idea how much you are getting assessed until the goods are released from customs. O, yea, and it varies between countries and changes between import times. Large companies get around this by putting a physical presence on the ground so they can get the VAT exemption. Small players don’t get this cozy deal.

    The US has never caught on the rest of world has an industrial policy in place to protect local players and to keep a level of sovereignty. Europe has successfully used the VAT scheme to have a trade surplus against the world. Americas zero tax mindset is concerned only with how very large multinationals fare during trade deals, while ignoring the repercussions to outsourced towns and communities. Europe collects very high import taxes to pay the bills.

    But never mind. The EC just published the once top secret TTIP framework yesterday. And yes. Its an investor protection agreement, just as everyone has feared. Surprisingly, the NGOs here in Europe have put on a full throated, sustained campaign against the ‘food safety’ aspects of TTIP while ignoring the potential impact of ISDS. Chalk it up as European holier than thou attitude towards the US and to prop up French farmers. Stealth bigotry is all it is.

    Europe is well on its way towards the race to the bottom.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Imported goods into Belgium get slapped a 21% VAT.’

      For goods from non-VAT countries (such as the US), doesn’t VAT on imported goods serve to level the playing field with Belgian-made products whose producers have paid VAT taxes at each stage of production?

    2. auskalo

      Don’t europeans pay more or less the same figure in € as the americans in $ for the same Apple thing? And Apple avoids paying taxes through Ireland and Luxembourg.

  2. 14226007

    In response to Unsettling Economics
    In any specific region one country will be more powerful than others. They will attempt to use their dominance to gain favourable trade and territory concession .It should come as no surprise that some of the world’s largest companies and their governments have in the last decades attempted to construct a neo liberal order by which their wishes can be imposed on all the worlds populations and through which inter-imperialist disputes can be resolved.
    In some cases, particularly in parts of Central Africa, the local ruling class are little more than the local agents of multinational industry or the major imperialist powers. Here the state exists almost completely in order to maintain a high level of exploitation on behalf of these powers. These countries may be formally self- governing but they are effectively a new form of colony where a local elite with no popular mandate has replaced the direct rule of the imperialist powers.
    Consequently, it is fair to ask: Is globalisation anarchy in disguise?

    1. Fool

      To the contrary, but by your logic, I would consider globalization then a broader — if not totalizing — feudalist stage.

  3. rijkswaanvijand

    “If anarchy constitutes the absence of government, this aspect of globalization might seem to be a move toward a special kind of anarchy what may be called anarchism for the rich and powerful.”
    Why are you so keen on using the term anarchy in such skewed manner?
    Anarchy does not constitute an absence of government, but an absence of power-differentials in social and economical space: an absence of class and thus of class interests in government.
    Probably the only viable alternative to modern society..

    The term neofeudalism is way more appropriate for indicating the instrumental ideology as well as its effects.

  4. cnchal

    Recently, after strong protests both in and out of Congress, the Obama administration finally opened a tiny window, allowing congressional representatives to read a single chapter of the agreement, while forbidding them to make any record of what they have read or even to discuss it with others.

    Another example of rampant government criminality. The financial criminals were grossly rewarded for destroying people’s lives, and it seems high level government is jealous, so it wants to destroy even more peoples lives.

    Secret trade agreements, that benefit large corporations in a completely lopsided manor are evil. Governments now are in the “business” of spreading misery, and the crime wave at the top rolls on and on.

    1. Susan the other

      And a case in point is Mexico right now. Only 2 weeks ago there was an errant (embarrassed) report about some “student demonstrations” but no interesting details. It turns out that the student demonstrations were in Guerrero, a province of Mexico’s feudal drug mafia in cahoots with the new/old administration. France24 Debate. The students were protesting a cut-off in funding to their free teachers schools (as far as I can tell with the blackout on info) and in the process of their demonstration, 30 (at least, probably many more) students were murdered and shoveled into a mass grave. Student protestors. This is being done in a country we have contracted with for “free trade” within our North American Free Trade Agreement. Nauseating. The whole situation is just human vomit. And only a month ago, most likely the profit from PEMEX was given away, depriving these teachers college students’ funding in Guerrero, (?). t The agreement to sell off significant interest in the proceeds from PEMEX to US multinationals, ergo profits that would have gone to such teachers colleges, was signed, sealed and delivered. Is my frontal lobe just sparking out today?

  5. David Lentini

    While I agree with many of Perelman’s points and concerns, his comments on intellectual property reflect a basic ignorance most economists have about IP and technology akin to their ingorance of banking.

    As I explained in detail here, patents are not monopolies per se since they do not confer any right of the patent holder to actually practice the patented invention. An invention is not the same thing as a good or service; it is a legal abstraction used to define an intellectual contribution. Since a good or service can—and often does—incorporate multiple inventions, often from different entities, several patents having different owners can cover a single good or service. (This typically leads to cross-licensing.) Since monopolies are defined in terms of goods and services, and not inventions, a patent cannot be a grant of a monopoly.

    Instead, as the antitrust laws and courts have held for decades, the issue of patents and monopolies turns on the question of abuse and market power, just like any other antitrust question. In some cases the use of patents has been found to be abusive (e.g., through tying agreements). In other cases, the patent holder’s market power is sufficiently weak as to amount to no monopolistic abuse.

    Perleman’s misunderstanding of patents and intellectual property is further illustrated when he fails to mention the rights of companies and individuals to hold trade secrets. Trade secrets confer many of the same economic advantages as patents, since they prevent competition by virtue of their secrecy. Therefore, under Perleman’s logic trade secrets are just as much of a menace as patents. (Just think of the value for the receipe for Coca Cola.) And trade secrets can last indefinitely! (Not everything can be reverse-engineered.) They can also be licensed like patents. Why no mention of them? Shouldn’t Perleman demand that the disclosre of all trade secrets, so that competition can be purely on price and not “sullied” by such unfair things as secret advantages.

    In fact, the whole point of the modern patenting system was to avoid the problem of trade secret-derived monopolies. A patent grant requires that the inventor explain how to make and use the invention, so that the public can learn about the invention and improve on it. Patent grants are also limited in time; eventually the public will have fee access to the invention and then market competition will be based largely on the factors that Perleman loves. (Think generic drugs.)

    Without the promise of some degree of exclusivity, inventors would be foreced to rely on secrecy, and the ability of the public to gain knowledge would be severly limited. In my career as a patent attorney, I’ve seen plenty of examples that confirm this principle. Under our captialist system, invention and market competition require private investments. But investors are chary of putting money into ventures that can be freely copied by others. Thus, the value of patents as a means of protecting successful investments.

    Of course, all of this can be absed by corrupted courts, patents offices, lawyers, and business persons. A properly functioning IP system requires a hugh degree of intellectual honesty. And this, in my view, is where the IP threat of the “free-trade” agreements lies. Patents often server quite well to protect small inventors and companies from being suffocated by large corporations. Many of the proposals in the free trade agreements would change IP laws in such a way as to favor deep-pocketed corporations in areas such as patent filing and litigation.

    We can’t stop the menace of free-trade agreements if we don’t understand the issues. Pereleman’s comments only show again how economsits create more smoke than heat, which only benefits our corporatists and oligarchs.

    1. PaulArt

      Yes and I studied patents, copyrights and trade secrets in detail as well. I think the point Perelman is making is not the these legal constructs are intrinsically wrong but that America and the American elite have bastardized the whole system for the benefit of a wealthy few. Surely Mr.Lawyer you know how Big Pharma manipulates the system to extend patents? You know how they tried to patent Turmeric and Basmati Rice and Eucalyptus?

      “…But investors are chary of putting money into ventures that can be freely copied by others.”

      Who gives a rats ass for your investors? Russia had a better space program than ours under communism. Nazi Germany had better rocket and nuclear scientists than our Capitalistic nonsense could produce. They were so good that as soon as WWII ended we went over there and imported a cartload of these guys who had once actively helped Hitler in his war effort. What a glorious victory for your capitalism, right?

      Oh and while we are talking about space, India recently put an explorer around Mars for $700 million. It was a Government funded program. What a win for Capitalism eh?

      Your argument rests on that hallowed and sacrosanct hyperbole that Capitalism carried out by investors make for a better product and society than other systems.

      Edison by the way was an idiot who could not understand AC until Nikola Tesla came by from Serbia to teach him some Electrical Engineering. Einstein was NOT a capitalist and was from socialist Europe and without him America would never have had nuclear power. These were men who were NOT products of a Capitalist system where there were systems of patents and copyrights and all that nonsense.
      While you are about it, please look up Steinmetz and his contribution to Electrical Engineering.

      Incidentally, what do lawyers actually do? I mean the best ones that charge $1300 per hour in those White Shoe firms. Watch some episodes of Guardian and learn what that great capitalist lawyer Burton Fallin actually does. He sits in the middle like a parasite between each corporate merger and buyout and injury lawsuit, shuffles paper and takes advantage of the Capitalists mistrust of each other and charges money for it. Corporate lawyers are nothing more than glorified Real Estate agents.

      Once in a while we come across a Southern Poverty Law Center or a Ralph Nader. That’s about it. The rest of you do not add much to the benefit of society other than bloated hubris and a legal phalanx that protects crooks, thieves and profiteers that the elite today have become.

    2. MaroonBulldog

      Copyright law is the form of intellectual property that most fosters and supports real monopolies in computer programs, monopolies that can be abused. That is what the Microsoft antitrust case was about. Even though it produced an illusory remedy, the case does stand for the proposition that Microsoft illegally monopolized the world market for computer operating systems running on Intel microprocessors. .
      In a technological world that runs on licensed software, I say that Michael Perelman may have a point about the abuse of intellectual property.

    3. TheCatSaid

      IP is a minefield containing lots of burned & dismembered bodies.

      The valuation of IP / intangible assets is one of the many cards played in M&A and other such games. For example, IP is typically overvalued on all sides, and the methods used to value technology that is not yet commercialized is particularly prone to flights of fancy.

      The way the IP system currently functions is different from how it is touted. Truly creative individuals & companies typically get swallowed up or exploited. Patenting costs are a black hole of cost for start-ups, forcing them into a position of looking for external source of funding. (VC, PE “sharks” abound.)

      All a patent gives is the right to sue a possible infringer. A small player (individual or company) is not in a financial position to take on an infringer, even when the small player is completely in the right. Patent lawyers & the patent law court processes are prohibitively expensive. Large companies will typically introduce repeated delays into the proceedings, effectively starving / bankrupting the smaller player, who–if they survive at all–will be forced into an agreement for peanuts.

      Patents are also a key factor in STOPPING commercialization. Large players typically buy up IP of smaller players not to develop the invention, but to keep potential competitors off the market. There are many fine technologies sitting on the shelf, so to speak, due to this practise.

      Many governments also have the right to automatically take control of any new technology they perceive to be of strategic interest (e.g., new energy technologies). This is one more way in which the IP system prevents forward movement in technologies that could do the world a lot of good.

      An intriguing movement towards transparency and sharing (that also respects and values inventors) is the Global Innovation Commons. An enormous amount of information is available there. For example, most technologies are patented only in a few countries (e.g., USA, Europe, Japan). That means the IP in question is available for anyone who wants to develop and sell it elsewhere. The Global Innovation Commons is one way of finding out about new technologies, where patents are in force (or not), where they have lapsed, etc.

      Anyone can access the Global Innovation Commons information, and anyone can also contribute information or add new projects through their website:

    1. Ben Johannson

      He’s working on a new book tentatively titled “The Matrix”, which I think should be out within the next year. Power, its abuses and the incompetence of those who wield it are prominent themes.

  6. Johan Telstad

    In this context, there is reason to point out that the seed vault on Svalbard is preserving indigenous seed varieties from around the world, so those genetics will at least not be lost.

  7. kevinearick

    Gravity, Time & Propulsion

    The solar system is an arbitrary, capricious and malicious gatekeeper, depending upon perspective. You land by adapting to the spacetime of landing, and take off by eliminating the noise. In the middle, you fry. Propulsion is a function of tuning; you need an appropriate instrument, and funny, you were born with one in your head.

    As you can see, gravity pits noise against noise, to produce time, in event horizons, out of chaos, which is relative. Space and time are inseparable relative to gravity. Humanism is what keeps humanity put; it sells itself short every time, assuming that the universe is beyond its comprehension, to maintain the artificial scarcity status quo.

    If you want to get anywhere, you have to filter the filter. The titration you are observing is like tuning the dial on a radio, microscope, telescope, whatever. What you see depends upon what you seek. Capacity, inductance and resistance are all relative. We are dialing out energy stupidity, so you might want to decide where you want to go before completion of titration.

    History is relative to the observer, and the majority never gets off the ground, because of its own false assumptions. It assumes it has no free will because it succumbed to gravity as an infant and walled off the decision as a given, to confirm itself, which can only have one result, being lost in its own time, which has its uses, a majority always examining the mistakes at the last gate when the next is opening.

    Financial repression is simply mean re-vision by another name. Let your autonomic system deal with the automatons, 10% of the time, and be on your way. From the perspective of the majority, which is artificially manufactured, as you can see from the noise in the comments relative to the observers, individual free will is random, you pop up here, there, and everywhere, but it’s the noise that’s random relative to the individual.

    What Putin knows, now that the Americans, the French, etc. have been lying to themselves for so long that they are dependent upon a collapsing economy, is that there is no net difference between capitalism and communism. No matter how many consumers you collect, they cannot produce a surplus. The only difference between them is income disparity over time, which is an accounting function.

    Redefine labor any way you like. All accounting systems drag the economy into a black hole. Do your job and only work with others that do the same. Government is an accountant. Eliminate the make-work, wherever you want to go. Critters determined to believe a myth will ignore opportunity every time, in a relative perception of winning and losing. Prepare, recognize, and make the gate, with position, discernment and perspective.

    Only you know where you want to go; what you do with the education is up to you. The Internet is a derivative of derivatives, and the gate is closing, which means that another is opening.

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