The capitalists and their administrators understand that capitalism needs immigrant labor. They actively seek and demand the "free" flow of capital across borders and around the world. They call it the "free market." But if capital can travel anywhere and flow freely from nation to nation, breaking down borders, why can't labor? Why should the outflow of capital be "free" and the inflow of labor be criminilized?–Monica Ruiz in the May 2006 edition of Socialism & Liberation.

Ruiz makes some great points in her latest article for Socialism and Liberation. What is often not discussed in the immigration debate is the double standard between capital and labor. The deregulation of capital that began with Nixon's declarion of bankruptcy in the 1970s has led to an immense flow of capital around the world. The figures are hard to pin down but estimates are that about a trillion dollars a day moves around the world through speculation. Prior to deregulation about 95% of the money was being invested into the real economy, to buy machines, upgrades, things of that nature; only about 5% of the capital flow was speculative. Since deregulation those numbers have inversed and now about 95% of capital flow is purely speculative, only about 5% of it going to real investment. Along with this change the amount of money flowing around the world has skyrocketed.

This causes very real problems for democracy around the world. It was recognized at Brettonwoods during post war planning that deregulated capital could become the defacto parliment, undermining any real move towards democracy. It's not just the millions of dollars of taxpayer money that is spent around the world to oppose popular leaders like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela either.

Subversion of democracy by concentrations of private power is, of course, familiar: mainstream commentators casually observe that "business is in complete control of the machinery of government" (Robert Reich,) echoing Woodrow Wilson's observation, days before he took office, that "the masters of the government of the United States are the combined capitalists and manufacturers of the United States." America's leading twentieth-century social philosopher, John Dewey, concluded that "politics is the shadow cast on society by big business" and will remain so as long as power resides in "business for private profite through private control of banking, land, industry, reinforced by command of the press, press agents and other means of publicity and propaganda." Accordingly, reforms will not suffice. Fundamental social change is necessary to bring meaningful democracy. (Noam Chomsky Failed States, p. 206)

Our democratic forms have lost their substance. Big business pulls the strings of the puppet show we call elections. Meanwhile, behind closed doors, they articulate the needed legislation to the legislatures. None of these problems–loss of democracy and immigration problems–will ever be addressed as long as we ignore the economic disparity and exploitation that lie at the center of our capitalist system.


Published in: on May 19, 2006 at 1:40 am  Leave a Comment  

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