The Asian American Century: A Brief Historiography of Imperialism, Neoliberalism, and the Creation of Modern Asian America in the 20th Century – Part 4

Part 4 of 5 (10 min read time)

Written by Albert Joon-Ho Hur

[Edited by J]


CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME (CREAM), DOLLAR DOLLAR BILLS Y’ALL

The same year that Pinochet and his Chicago gang were pulling off their miraculous heist in Chile, the world was hit by an oil crisis⁸¹.  Or rather, the imperialist nations were hit by an oil crisis.  In October of 1973, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries slapped an oil embargo on the U.S., UK, Canada (three of the Five Eyes), the Netherlands (colonizers), Portugal (slavers), Rhodesia and South Africa (colonies), and Japan (wannabes).  This was punishment for their involvement in the Yom Kippur War⁸² and their backing of Israel against a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria.  The war had been launched in order to recover the territories, including the Gaza Strip and West Bank, that Israel had stolen during the Six-Day War⁸³ in 1967 — the War of Criminal Imperialist Aggression against the Arab Race, backed once again by the imperialist U.S. and UK.  The consequences of our intervention and meddling had profoundly catastrophic repercussions for America domestically.

As the price of oil spiked due to the embargo, it caused pernicious, devastating consequences. High inflation due to higher gas prices drove the prices of everything else higher and caused slow economic growth and recession, known as “stagflation”⁸⁴, which gripped the U.S. and UK for over a decade.  It also caused a theoretical crisis among egghead economists regarding the role of central banks such as the Federal Reserve.  

The prevailing economic theory at the time, known as Keynesianism⁸⁵, held that there was an inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment.  If inflation went up, unemployment would go down, since inflation is caused by an increase in demand and prices (or so the theory goes), and the additional revenue for the firm would be used to expand and hire more workers.  If the economy slowed down and prices and demand fell, then unemployment would rise as firms contracted and laid off workers, and inflation would fall. Therefore, when faced with an economic slowdown and rising unemployment, the role of the central bank is to print more money and circulate more dollars throughout the economy in order to help induce inflation.  This would lead to an increase in demand and prices, which the rather simplistic Keynesian models suggested would lead businesses to expand and hire more workers.

Of course, the absurdity of these models being applied in such a black and white fashion to the stagflation crisis of the 70s is clear to us in hindsight: high inflation = low unemployment = good; low inflation = high unemployment = have the Fed print more money to cause inflation (“expansionary monetary policy”).  Keynesianism did not take into account something known as a sudden “cost-push inflation”⁸⁶ in production inputs such as oil — inflation that is independent of an increase in demand and prices — as a slap on the wrist by Arab countries for white supremacist intervention and imperialism in their home.  According to Keynesian models, all inflation is inflation, regardless of context (what is with this “colorblind” ideology towards monetary theory?).

The spike of gas prices put the U.S. economy into a recession in 1974⁸⁷, leading to high unemployment and massive inflation of prices due to the cost of oil, which topped $100 per barrel (in 2016 dollars) in December of 1979⁸⁸.  Prices peaked at $117.71 the following April in 1980, the year when the U.S. elected white supremacist imperialist frontman and face of the true Evil Empire himself, Ronald Reagan.  The eggheads started printing more dollars under the direction of President Nixon (who famously said, “We’ll take inflation if necessary, but we can’t take unemployment”⁸⁹) hoping to increase prices and demand, which would theoretically lead to businesses hiring more people (the so-called “demand-pull”⁹⁰).  Instead, businesses engaged in destructive wage-price spirals⁹¹, passing the higher cost of wages forced on them by labor unions on to consumers and refusing to hire new workers.  From 1965 to 1980, annual increases in consumer prices jumped from 1.6% to 13.5%⁹².  Everything cost more, people were unemployed, and the racists in the country were at unrest and agitated by the new civil rights gained by racial minorities under Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society.

It was against this backdrop that the ideology of neoliberalism, which had first been practically piloted in Chile in 1973, came to gain ascendancy.  White supremacist businessmen and racists, along with their intellectual vanguard at the Mont Pelerin Society, began peddling and diffusing its program of anti-government (in order to allow monopolies to dominate the economy), anti-union (which businessmen blamed for their own behavior of increasing prices and refusing to hire workers, abdicating all personal responsibility), and subtly racist policies (“the free market” being an updated iteration of the freedom of “states’ rights” and signifying a rollback of federal and state civil rights legislation) to the white American public.  Whites were now in full revolt, feeling both “status” and “economic” anxiety towards the rising tide of Black, Brown, Yellow, and Red people, along with the social and economic advances of white women within their own borders. Stagflation raged everywhere.

In 1976, Milton Friedman, under whose tutelage the Chicago mob had learned how to loot and burn Chile to the ground, was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on monetary theory, signifying widespread Anglo-American acceptance for the ideology and its policy programs.  Friedman also believed in a “colorblind” ideology towards inflation, stating that “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.”⁹³   This conveniently covered up the fact that Western capital markets and the cost of goods have long been a direct outgrowth of white supremacist imperialism and its continuous actions globally to assert dominance, which is often dressed up in the bland phrase “political economy”⁹⁴.  His conceptualization was that prices could never increase without an increase in money supply, completely ignoring the role of higher gas prices in pushing consumer prices higher as producers pass along costs, and that to combat inflation in the 70s, the Federal Reserve should instead constrict the printing of dollars (in other words, take a less active management role in the economy).  The fact that this was just another anti-government con — and Friedman a grifter propped up by the agendas of the white supremacist industrial-military complex and the CIA — was proven in 1979, when the Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker put this newfound monetarist theory into practice. Interest rates promptly spiked to double-digit levels and reduced inflation as predicted, while also sending the economy into another recession from 1981 to 1982, the worst of the postwar period, wracking the entire country⁹⁵.  Just like Chile, America had been destabilized and was now ripe for neo-colonization of its newly emancipated racial minorities, equally paid white women, and the white proletariat and poor who had gained most under The New Deal.

It is a testament to how radically white supremacist rightist the United States of America is as a country that the nominally “leftist” Democratic Party was also dominated by the right-wing, racist ideology of neoliberalism amongst its white elites, despite its clear empirical failure as an economic theory for guiding monetary policy.  In 1982, Esquire ran a cover story titled “The Neoliberal Club”⁹⁶, and included the ruling elites of the Democratic Party, including Bill Clinton and Al Gore.  One year later, Charles Peters, the lawyer and journalist who founded Washington Monthly, published “A Neoliberal’s Manifesto”⁹⁷, defining neoliberals as those that were “mostly liberal” (hah, explain Reagan and the Republican Party, then!) but who no longer “automatically favor unions and big government” (civil rights for workers, minorities, and white women or the poor) or “oppose the military and big business” (i.e., “we’ve sold out to the white supremacist military-industrial complex for big Chilean paydays”).

The bomb had been set, and the explosion was the 80s and 90s.


THE REAL EVIL EMPIRE

In 1981, Ronald Reagan, that California cowboy and infamously terrible Hollywood actor, somehow mysteriously rose into power and became the Leader of the “Free World” (Anglo-American World).  Historiographers are often befuddled or amused by Ronald Reagan. How did an undistinguished actor with no background in politics (interesting trivia: he was born the year the first studio opened in Hollywood), very few recognizable talents, and an infantile imagination (“Star Wars”?) somehow come to occupy the World’s Loneliest Office?  Well, if you really want to understand human affairs, you should study behaviors. A much fuller picture emerges once you truly look at what Reagan accomplished as soon as he took office on the back of a coalition of neo-rightist imperialists (neoconservatives), Southern Christian fundamentalist racists (the Moral Majority) and racists in the Midwest, and white supremacist businessmen, military researchers, and police unions.

Upon assuming office, President Reagan immediately began implementing the Chilean protocols that had been established after the overthrow of Allende in 1973.  Neoliberal front organizations like the Mont Pelerin Society and other rightist “think tanks”, like the Heritage⁹⁸ Foundation and Cato Institute⁹⁹ that had sprung up in the 70s following the CIA-backed coup and destabilization efforts in Latin America, played key roles in his administration.  The Heritage Foundation’s Guide to Public Policy Experts contained information on more than 2,000 policy specialists and 400 institutions around the world (cronies and patsies).¹⁰⁰  All were like the Chicago Boys, having been trained in the methods of neo-colonization and standing at the ready to “assist” Washington and policymakers across the country.

In 1983, Ronald Reagan founded the National Endowment of Democracy¹⁰¹ (NED), an international vehicle for white supremacist, neo-rightist imperialists that criminally intervenes in elections all over the globe.  NED operates by backing local opposition, offering bribes, and fomenting ideological division under the guise of “spreading democracy”¹⁰², all as part of a sustained campaign to topple countries with unfriendly governments, ruin economies, and pave the way for the IMF to enter and perform their patented “structural adjustments”.  The IMF did this all throughout the 80s and 90s in Latin America after Chile, Haiti and Africa, and finally, Asia, in order to re-colonize and re-enslave the entire planet to the Anglo-American Order after anti-colonization and independence movements in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.  The end goal?  To crack open the markets of developing countries and extract resources to fuel their global imperialist war machine: NATO and the Five Eyes.  They called this process the “Washington Consensus”¹⁰³, meaning that both the Democratic and the Republican elite within their respective parties supported this.  The American people themselves did not escape the shock treatment.

The 80s and 90s saw a corporate boom as Reagan cracked down on labor movements while hysterically and hypocritically posturing himself as a workers’ rights advocate for his stint in the Screen Actors’ Guild.  Financial and business regulations were rolled back, and civil rights legislation was eroded and enforcement lapsed. This resulted in the “merger mania”¹⁰⁴ of the late 80s and 90s that led directly to the elevation and rise of Goldman Sachs and Jewish American corporate M&A lawyers¹⁰⁵, who had previously been ghettoized by white-shoe Anglo-Protestant firms.  They needed somebody to handle the administration and paperwork of all this looting — after all, this was the transition from the “manufacturing” to the “servicing” economy.  And servicing is right!

Market power was consolidated at exponential degrees by white supremacist industrialists and capitalists.  Labor power was dissolved, and businessmen stopped giving workers raises. Since the early 1970s, the hourly inflation-adjusted wages received by the typical worker have barely budged¹⁰⁶, growing at a whopping rate of only 0.2% per year¹⁰⁷, yet Gross Domestic Product continues to grow.  As more and more people work and produce more and more product while their wages are held flat year over year, or are underpaid due to gender and racial discrimination¹⁰⁸, who’s doing all the eating?  Income inequality skyrocketed, and it has not stopped since.

By the 1990s, “merger mania” was in full swing in Corporate America.  Wall Street became a power center of its own and began engaging in regulatory capture, and even American neo-imperialist journalist Michael Lind was screaming about the “Brazilianization of America” while describing the looting taking place.  In his 1995 book, The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth Revolution, he talked about how the neoliberal program transferred all wealth and power into the hands of the white supremacist imperialists, the industrialists, and the white-collar administrators and overseers of their transnational financial empires.  They then withdrew into an artificially constructed physical world they created of “private neighborhoods, private schools, private police, private health care, and even private roads, walled off from the spreading squalor beyond.  Like a Latin American oligarchy, the rich and well-connected members of the (White) overclass can flourish in a decadent America with Third World levels of inequality and crime.”¹⁰⁹   (You mean, like the Latin American oligarchy we piloted in Chile?)  Perhaps we could call the 80s and 90s the “American Miracle”, the miracle being how imperialists and industrialists were allowed to get away with it by crooks and liars, all while being cheered on by racists and Christian fundamentalist white supremacists.

Meanwhile, throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, the minority rights activist movements and women’s rights movements were co-opted by “philanthropic” organizations like that CIA front, the Ford Foundation¹¹⁰.  Leadership was quietly replaced by more “business-minded” and “entrepreneurial” individuals (sellouts), and original movement leaders were either assassinated, blacklisted, or given sinecures in academia or politics in return for keeping their mouths shut.  This also happened to the Asian American Movement¹¹¹.  They were redirected away from any sort of agitations or demonstrations against the social hubs of power (the government, the corporations, the universities and academies, or the military) and any pushes for legislative equality or federal enforcement of civil rights.  Instead, they were groomed and pushed towards begging for money from white supremacist imperialist or industrialist front organizations, forwarding chain letters and later e-mails, and focusing on legislative minutiae instead of taking any hard stances against or attempting to seize power.  

This was a radical departure from the previous era.  In the early 1970s, as liberation movements were happening worldwide and following the Civil Rights Movement and LBJ’s Great Society, Labor Secretary George P. Schultz demanded that anti-Black construction unions allow a certain number of Black people into unions¹¹², a concession which the Department of Labor enforced across the country.  In 1973, a federal judge created one of the first mandated quotas when he ruled that half of the Bridgeport, Connecticut Police Department’s new employees had to be either Black or Puerto Rican¹¹³.  Yet the neoliberalization of America meant that by the 80s, 90s, and now the 2000s, anti-racism activism and anti-imperialist organizations and activities had largely been reduced to large NGOs incorporated into the white supremacist donor web of neoliberal imperialist institutions, which preached sympathy for the oppressed and not policy, enforcement, or revolutionary solutions.  

All leftist ideology and activity were suppressed. Instead of educating its members or promoting liberation, these organizations trained them to ask for donations by jockeying with other oppressed groups. Now they staged minstrel shows of ethnic and gender tragedy (so-called “Oppression Olympics”) for pieces of silver and polite applause from wealthy white supremacists, rather than engaging in any substantive pushes for equality enforced by the government, and definitely not any revolutionary activities aimed at liberation (the leftist term for government overthrow).  The identity politics of the New Left¹¹⁴ coalition of Yellow, Brown, Black, and Red people and white feminists of the 60s and 70s had been corrupted and indoctrinated into neoliberal ideology, which teaches us to believe in the “free market solution” towards social change: begging powerful and rich white supremacist men in metaphorical top hats and monocles to treat us better by appealing to their moral sensibilities and wallet, rather than using the government or physical violence to force them to do so.

White supremacist business and finance capital, so-called “soft power”, had accomplished what all the hard weaponry of the American armies and navies and air forces could not in 1973 in Indochina, with ample assistance from the spies and spooks and shady politicians looking to enrich themselves.  They had re-colonized the entire planet, broken the Yellow Power Movement, reduced Asian Americans to peddling “Model Minority” propaganda and preaching freedom from “illiberal Oriental patriarchy” to white audiences and neo-colonized Asians at home and abroad. They consolidated all power in their home countries, reduced the developing world to ashes and bondage through “structural adjustments”¹¹⁵ to enrich themselves and re-enthrall humanity, and used the same methods to crack down on their own white working poor, white women, and racial minority populations after the violent domestic uprisings and student rebellions in the 60s and 70s and foreign uprisings against Pax Americana abroad.  Foreign policy is domestic policy, and domestic policy is foreign.

As the 20th century entered into the last decade, the predatory eyes of American neoliberals and imperialists were set on Asia, just as they had been in the first.

(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 5)


Endnotes:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur_War
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2018/05/10/back-in-the-old-days-this-was-called-stagflation/#66b4fe6aeeb0
  5. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/k/keynesianeconomics.asp
  6. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/costpushinflation.asp
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973–75_recession
  8. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/08/1970-stagflation.asp
  9. https://mises.org/library/fed-and-politics
  10. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/demandpullinflation.asp
  11. https://www.econlib.org/archives/2016/12/what_caused_the_1.html
  12. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-wage-price-spiral-breaks-down/2015/09/02/f1763c88-5186-11e5-9812-92d5948a40f8_story.html
  13. https://www.bis.org/publ/bppdf/bispap77e.pdf
  14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_economy
  15. https://www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/recession_of_1981_82
  16. http://archive.esquire.com/issue/19820201
  17. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1982/09/05/a-neo-liberals-manifesto/21cf41ca-e60e-404e-9a66-124592c9f70d/?utm_term=.60f6967cab47
  18. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/09/the-fall-of-the-heritage-foundation-and-the-death-of-republican-ideas/279955/
  19. https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Cato_Institute
  20. Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics by Daniel Stedman Jones (2012)
  21. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Endowment_for_Democracy
  22. https://grayzoneproject.com/2018/08/20/inside-americas-meddling-machine-the-us-funded-group-that-interferes-in-elections-around-the-globe/
  23. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271937169_The_Washington_Consensus_revisited_A_new_structural_economics_perspective
  24. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merger_mania
  25. https://zodml.org/sites/default/files/%5BBrett_Cole%5D_MA_Titans_The_Pioneers_Who_Shaped_W_0.pdf
  26. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/07/for-most-us-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/
  27. https://hbr.org/2017/10/why-wages-arent-growing-in-america
  28. https://www.epi.org/blog/asian-american-income/
  29. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Next_American_Nation
  30. http://collectiveliberation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Smith_Intro_Revolution_Will_Not_Be_Funded.pdf
  31. https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1135&context=aalj
  32. http://articles.latimes.com/1995-06-18/business/fi-14505_1_affirmative-action
  33. https://www.nytimes.com/1973/01/31/archives/judge-sets-a-minority-quota-for-bridgeport-police-orders-exams.html
  34. https://www.britannica.com/topic/New-Left
  35. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/radhika-balakrishnan/making-the-international_b_549976.html

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