The Dynamics of Power

excerpted from the book

The Elite Consensus

When Corporations Wield the Constitution

by George Draffan

POCLAD, 2003, paperback


journalist Ambrose Bierce'

Corporation: an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.

President Abraham Lincoln

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country... Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow; and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.

General Electric CEO Philip O. Reed

If small business goes, big business does not have any future except to become the economic arm of a totalitarian state.

U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission enforcement director Stanley Sporkin

Capitalism is the greatest thing going, but unchecked it is its own undoing.

Alexander Meikleohn Philosopher & Educator (1872-1964)

The 1st Amendment does not intend to guarantee men freedom to say what some private interest pays them to say for its own advantage. It intends only to make men free to say what, as citizens, they think.

George Draffan

Over the past 200 years, all over the world but especially in the United States, legal systems have been changed to accomplish two things: limit the legal liabilities of corporations, and give corporations the rights and protections of citizens [by extending] constitutional rights to corporations.

Richard L. Grossman and Ward Morehouse, co- founders of POCLAD

When the overwhelmingly white male voters of the thirteen states ratified the Constitution, the "rule of law" they adopted defined the majority of human beings in those states as property, or as invisible. Contrary to the democratic ideals unleashed by the American Revolution, the law in this newly-formed republic denied rights to women, African American slaves, indentured servants, Native peoples, and white males without property.

All these human beings were written out of "We the people."

Who represented their needs and aspirations? Not the men meeting behind closed doors in Philadelphia's Constitution Hall that hot summer of 1787. These men not only denied rights to the majority but also built barriers to democratic processes into their Constitution: indirect election of the president through the electoral college, indirect election of US senators by state legislators, a commerce clause, a contracts clause, an appointed Supreme Court as an eternal closed-door constitutional convention...

Richard L. Grossman and Ward Morehouse, co- founders of POCLAD

Since Southern slaveowners and northern men of property controlled the mechanisms of governance in the nation's early years, they saw no need to muscle up the corporation-a tool of kings with which they had direct experience. These men who were doing very well did not want rival ruling power controlled by others, like the East India Company, to arise in their midst. So their state legislators wrote corporate charters-and then state corporation laws-limiting how long corporations could exist and limiting their real property and capital holdings. Laws in all states specified corporate purpose, banned corporations from owning other corporations, preserved rights of minority shareholders, made directors and shareholders liable for corporate debts and harms, and barred corporate involvement in elections and lobbying.

The culture regarded corporations as subordinate to the sovereign people.

After the Civil War, however, the men setting out to industrialize this land with machines and workers without rights made the corporation their ruling institution.

caption under a New York Times Corporation photograph (1999)

Depression-Era Rules Undone. Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve Chairman, and Congressional leaders applauded President Clinton yesterday after he signed the Financial Services Modernization Act, which allows merging of banks, securities firms and insurers. It repeals parts of the Glass-Steagall Act.

In the past century, the limited liability corporation became the most powerful institution in the world, both politically and economically and increasingly on the cultural level as well. Corporations accumulate wealth and exercise power through alliances with other corporations and through relationships with local, national, and international government officials.

The World Trade Organization (WTO), with its explicit jurisdiction superceding national laws, has recently provided a focal point and raised the public's awareness of the concentration of political and economic power in the hands of fewer and fewer people. Multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, controlled by the richest nations, are privatizing the economies and restructuring the social policies of the rest of the world.

But the World Bank and the WTO are only the more visible institutions of corporate power. Government agencies charged with protecting public health and safety are run by executives on loan from the corporations that are supposed to be regulated. Corporate lobby groups write legislation and buy candidates for political office. Corporate-driven think tanks and educators enjoy the prestige of university appointments where corporate agendas are developed and disseminated. Corporate foundations decide which charities and which environmental groups will get funded. Investment bankers control more money than the World Bank, and their unregulated speculation in national currencies has plunged Latin America and Asia into financial crises. Governments have become "mere salesmen" promoting multinational corporations, which are the "muscle and brains" of the global economy.'

The true measure of corporate power is the ability of the owners and managers of corporations to unite to influence political agendas and to subvert national and international law.

Ninety percent of the 800 largest U.S. corporations are interlocked in a continuous network, with any one corporation within four steps of any other corporation in the network.'

Corporations and corporate foundations fund think tanks which formulate policies which will be favorable to business. Corporate attorneys draft legislation which will make those policies the law of the land. Corporate political action committees pay for the election campaigns of the politicians who ensure that such legislation becomes law, and lobbyists make sure the politicians stay bought. Corporate executives are appointed to lead the regulatory agencies which enforce (or dismantle) the laws that aren't favorable to business. National and multilateral trade and development agencies design and subsidize an international trading system dominated by the largest corporations. Governments and banks use public monies to subsidize and insure corporate investment.

The elite consensus rises above the competitive advantage of particular corporations, and is larger than any industry. What unites corporations and industry associations and the wealthy and powerful is a consensus to build and maintain power itself.

Corporate power is dependent on legal, economic, and political mechanisms, structures, and processes which follow a few basic rules:

* Privatize profits. Get as many subsidies as possible from labor, the public, and the environment. Get below-cost raw materials from the public domain. Let communities and governments pay for infrastructure. Lobby for tax breaks and tax credits. Privatize public resources and governmental services. The less visible the subsidies are, the better, but also support them with a constant repetition of the virtues of private enterprise, the rights of private property, and the equation of profits with happiness.

* Externalize costs. Underpay your employees, even if it means hiring children overseas to work twelve hours a day. Don't recycle your waste; don't clean it up if it's toxic; if you are caught, sue your insurance companies to make them pay. Minimize legal liability in general by claiming constitutional rights intended for natural persons.

* Control information. Acquire every outlet of the broadcast media, and merge their programs. Acquire independent publishers and bookstores, and standardize what they publish and sell. Write text books from a corporate point of view, and distribute them throughout the public school system. Pay the salaries of teachers and professors and social activists until they are no longer aware that they are censoring themselves for a living. Restrain free speech as much as possible. Forbid it on private property such as shopping malls. Forbid your employees to organize or to use the workplace as a venue for civic life. Make information about corporate operations and government decision making difficult to obtain. Worship expertise and confuse data with knowledge.

* Centralize political authority. Pay off injured employees and citizens to stay out of court, and make them agree to remain silent about the injury. If legal liability cannot be escaped, have it adjudicated in as high a court as possible. Do not appear in local or state courts if the case can be heard in federal court. Do not go to jury trial. If possible, preempt troublesome laws through the World Trade Organization, so that even national courts have less jurisdiction. Replace government and civic institutions with private corporations. Centralize economic authority. Acquire or destroy small businesses, cooperatives, and other alternatives. Make the surviving corporations as large as possible, not for economies of scale (which were optimized many decades ago), but for the sake of centralizing authority and eliminating competition. Have a handful of corporations dominate every industry, and have them control the allocation of resources and the means and the ends of production. Control prices. Remove profits from the community, and deposit them in offshore banks to escape taxes and potential liability.

* Remove all barriers to trade, regardless of whether they protect desirable industries, health and safety, human rights, or the environment. Expand management prerogative beyond the workplace, into the community, into the policymaking institutions, and across all jurisdictions. Make private property and the pursuit of profit the basis of all law and all social and economic policy. Create an economy where people have to pay currency for food, clothing, shelter, and culture. Commercialize the schools. Patent species. Make life pay.

Culture includes a society's usual ways of thinking, working, and living, as well as the largely unconscious beliefs and world views that make that way of life seem inevitable. Every society's beliefs, views, and customs become so embedded that its members come to believe that their own ways are not particular ways of acting, but simply follow natural and immutable laws.

The mass media, think tanks, public relations firms, and the education system deliver the corporate message into mainstream thinking. Lobbyists influence politicians. Think tanks and foundations influence teachers and students. Advertising influences consumers. The corporate construction of reality ridicules economic and political alternatives (public ownership, proportional representation) while promoting other views and choices (corporate financing of political campaigns, dependency on international trade) which come to seem inevitable.' As people cease to notice that some issues aren't discussed, their desires and beliefs are manipulated in an "engineering of consent," and eventually the entire society (including the powerless who would gain from political change) internalizes a truncated agenda which favors existing power relations.'

The profits of the mass media depend on corporate advertising. The mass media's main product is no longer news, much less critical discourse. The purpose of the media is to deliver advertisements to target audiences.

As media ownership has become concentrated in fewer and fewer corporations, its own vested role in corporate power has increased. Through mergers, the media oligopoly is down to a handful of megacorporations, including News Corporation, Viacom, Time Warner, Newhouse, General Electric, Westinghouse, Disney, Gannett, KnightRidder, Bertelsmann, and Elsevier.

The media industry now ranks (along with the energy industries, military contractors, airlines, and investment firms) among the leading lobbyists of the U.S. Congress... In return, Congress passed legislation quite profitable to the industry, ranging from the deregulation of ownership in multiple markets and media, to an array of tax breaks, to the giveaway of public broadcast spectrums.

Two-thirds of the world's advertising takes place in the United States.

Corporate executives are the largest single group represented on governing boards of colleges and universities.

Conservative, liberal, and libertarian philosophies can all serve the corporate agenda. For example, the conservative Heritage Foundation, the centrist Brookings Institution, and the libertarian Cato Institute are three of the major think tanks pushing corporate globalization. The top twenty conservative think tanks doubled their budgets between 1992. and 1997, and spent more than $1 billion in the 1990s. Five of the more influential organizations (Heritage, American Enterprise Institute, Brookings, Cato, and Institute for International Economics) had combined budgets of more than $77 million in 1995, compared to budgets totaling $19 million for eight liberal think tanks. Corporate think tanks are funded by ultra-conservative foundations such as john M. Olin, Scaife, Lilly, Carthage, and Coors. More socially-moderate but still pro-business foundations include Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, and Carnegie. Other conservative foundations include:

o Roe Foundation

o Charles G. Koch Foundation

o David H. Koch Foundation

o J. M. Foundation

o Castle Rock Foundation

o M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust

o Samuel Roberts Nobel Foundation

o John William Pope Foundation

o Earhart Foundation

o Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation

o Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

o Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation

o Lilly Endowment

o Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation

o Alec C. Walker Foundation

o Philip M. McKenna Foundation

o E.L. Wiegand Foundation

o Milliken Foundation

an article in the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

New dynamics are shaping public opinion in the United States. The new conservatism is dominating intellectual debate, because foundations committed to it understand that ideas and ideological commitment do count, and they are prepared to devote massive support to promote them.

Corporations dominate public policy making via lobbying, formal advisory committees, political campaign financing, and a constantly revolving door between business and government. Each of these mechanisms of influence is supposed to be regulated. U.S. laws require lobbying contracts and conflicts of interest to be disclosed. Other laws limit the amount of money individuals and corporations can donate to political campaigns. U.S. government officials are required to wait for a period of time before lobbying their former colleagues. But the laws that ostensibly limit political influence are ridden with loopholes, and have inadequate at best. Corporate power does more than influence the legal and political system-corporate power created the system we have today.

The monarchies of Europe gave corporate charters to multinational ventures. These chartered companies, in return for a percentage of the profit from their ventures, were given the authority to establish formal colonies, to write trade agreements and set up free trade zones, to seize competitors' ships, to maintain forts and armies, and to coin money. The companies levied taxes and ran the colonial courts, bribed local leaders with luxury goods and seats at the governors' table, and used slave labor to cut timber, dredge canals, and work the plantations. The colonial monopolies had enormous power, but legally their power was granted and withdrawn at the pleasure of the king.

Over the past 200 years, all over the world but especially in the United States, legal systems have been changed to accomplish two things: limit the legal liability of corporations, and give corporations the rights and protections of citizens. During the nineteenth century, U.S. state laws which required corporations to obtain a charter authorizing them to operate were replaced by general incorporation laws which simply require a form to be filled out and a registration fee to be paid. While this may seem more democratic (you no longer need to know the king to start a corporation), it also means that a legislature is not examining and defining each proposed incorporation.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the U.S. courts had declared that corporations were to be considered persons under the law - and then used this legal fiction of "personhood" to extend constitutional protections to corporations. The courts have ruled that corporate advertising and political campaign contributions are to be protected as free speech. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure has been used to thwart occupational health and safety inspections. The commerce clause of the constitution is interpreted by the courts to prohibit local and state governments from having regulations which might affect interstate commerce. Anti-monopoly laws have been interpreted to prohibit labor unions from going on strike, because a work stoppage would be a restraint on trade.

The legal liability of corporate executives has been limited, even in cases of negligence and fraud, and corporations seek "tort reform" which would limit the amount of money a corporation could be charged for injuring someone. The money spent to defend a corporation and its directors is tax-deductible. As a result of these laws and court rulings, corporations have more privileges and less liability than individuals. Negligence and fraud that would land an individual in jail are excused if the individual acted as a corporate executive. If corporate executives do happen to be held liable for some act, it is likely that the fine will be paid from the corporate treasury.

Beginning with the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887, a maze of regulatory agencies has been constructed to limit the agendas and outcomes of every political struggle to deal with the impacts of corporate power, from monopoly to pollution to unemployment and poverty. In the process, government has become a shield between corporations and the people, and direct challenges to corporate power are channeled into endless administrative "remedies" which have exhausted generations of activists.

Another result of the transformation of corporate law has been the destruction of the "free market" which corporate propagandists care constantly defending. A market is a self-correcting system which requires that the costs and benefits of economic activities are disclosed, that all parties are informed, are able to make rational choices, and will be held liable for their actions. None of these are the case. For example, food products contain toxic chemicals which are not disclosed, so people cannot choose whether to expose themselves. If someone does sue the manufacturer, it is unlikely that the true cost of the injury will be established, or that the corporation will be held liable. The corporate-dominated economic and legal system cannot provide the feedback and self-correction that would characterize a true market system.

The relationship most corporations and industry associations have with government is informal, in that their advice is unofficial, but governments also appoint formal advisory committees. Despite laws requiring them to represent a balance of society's views and interests, these committees are dominated by corporations and industry associations, and serve as a "major institutional method for linking private interests and private expertise to public authorities.

Eighty percent of the U.S. Presidential advisory commissions appointed between World War II and the early 1970s to deal with some aspect of foreign or military policy were headed by members of Council on Foreign Relations.

Members of advisory commissions are often former (or future) government officials. Former corporate executives commonly head regulatory agencies. When bureaucrats quit government service they are often hired by corporations, so many retired members and staff of Congress and government agencies lobby their former colleagues on behalf of their new employers. Corporate executives are not just lobbyists and bureaucrats - they serve as the heads of cabinets and ministries.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy appointed Dean Rusk, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, to be his Secretary of State. Ford Motor president Robert McNamara, who later served as the head of the World Bank, was Kennedy's Secretary of Defense. Investment banker C. Douglas Dillon was Kennedy's Secretary of the Treasury.

Ronald Reagan uniformly appointed "the consummate old boys of the country's political-corporate network." Before becoming U.S. President, Reagan himself had promoted nuclear power as a paid spokesman for General Electric. Reagan's cabinet was dominated by officers and directors of multinational corporations such as Bechtel and Pepsico, as well as from pro-corporate policy groups such as the Trilateral Commission, the Business Roundtable, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

At least 23 of President Bill Clinton's appointees were members of the Council on Foreign Relations, and nine of them, including his Secretaries of State, Defense, and Human and Health Services, were CFR directors. The revolving door has connected the Clinton Cabinet with major manufacturers (Lockheed Martin, Union Carbide, and Ford Motors), banks and investment firms (Goldman Sachs and Citigroup), corporate foundations and think tanks (Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Brookings Institution), and public relations firms (Hill & Knowlton and Timmons).

The dominance of the U.S. government by men with elite backgrounds is not new. According to a detailed study of Cabinet officers, diplomats, and Supreme Court Justices during the two hundred years, from 1780 to 1980, the overwhelming majority came from the highest ranks of personal wealth. More than three-fourths of the 205 Cabinet secretaries appointed between 1897 and 1972 were directors of corporations or came from corporate law firms - with no significant difference between Republican and Democratic appointees.

There are now 14,000 registered lobbyists in Washington D.C., and 150,000 public relations professionals throughout the country. In 1997, corporations spent $1.26 billion on lobbying Congress - $2.4 million for each member of Congress.

Most of the money spent on election campaigns in the United States comes from corporations... The entire political system is based on money-based bargaining, in which politicians see corporations as constituents and industries as clients.

Money has become so crucial to being elected to political office in the United States that one can without much hyperbole say that politicians are elected by dollars, not votes, and that their constituents are now corporations rather than people. Indeed, since 1976, the two U.S. Presidential candidates who raised the most money by the end of the year preceding the election have become the Democratic and Republican candidates. In effect, it is corporations and industry associations which determine the candidates who will run for office.

U.S. law prohibits corporations and labor unions from making contributions or expenditures to influence federal elections. The law also limits the amount an individual can give to a political candidate Ito $1,000 per election. So how can millions of dollars be given to political campaigns? Corporations, unions and other organizations, and individuals are allowed to give their money to Political Action Committees (PACs)... The current rules allow each PAC to give up to $5,000 to a candidate per election, and donate up to $15,000 to a national party committee per year - but a corporation may form any number of PACs.

An even larger loophole in the limits on money in politics is "soft money." Soft money was invented by a 1979 Federal Election Commission ruling which allowed direct corporate contributions and unlimited individual contributions to political parties as long as the money is not used to support a particular candidate by name. Soft money is often spent on "issue ads" which praise or criticize candidates, but do not use the words "vote for" or "vote against... Many corporations ... give hundreds of thousands of dollars [in soft money] to both parties, ensuring access no matter which party wins a given seat in the next elections.

"Bundled money" is another innovation to get around the legal limits on how much an individual or corporation may donate to a political candidate, in which a lobbyist or PAC gathers separate donations from a number of individuals and then "bundles" them together before delivery to the candidate.

Recent studies estimate that direct tax breaks and grants to corporations in the U.S. are worth more than $100 billion every year. Such studies are helpful in revealing some of the worst abuses of corporate subsidies - but they reveal only the tip of the iceberg, because they measure only direct subsidies... Corporate accountant Ralph Estes has credibly documented externalities of $ 2.5 trillion per year - 2 to 5 times greater than most estimates of direct budget subsidies.

When an industry is controlled by a handful of corporations, it is called an oligopoly - "a few sellers." When ostensible competitors conspire to fix prices, to allocate customers by dividing markets, or to pool their receipts in a way that reduces competition, it is called collusion. If a number of those restraints on free trade are agreed to by an oligopoly, the result is a cartel.

Periodic anti-monopoly action by government sheds light on the continuing concentration of industry, but does little else, and there has been a steady demise in enforcement over the twentieth century. Most industries are now controlled by a few major corporations.

Most stocks and bonds are now owned by other corporations, not by people.

Central banks accept deposits from and make loans to commercial banks; they also set interest rates and exchange currencies with the central banks of other nations. While they are ostensibly an instrument of government control over national financial systems, central banks are typically private entities whose members are corporate banks.

Central banks accept deposits from commercial banks, they lend money back to those banks as well as to governments, they print money, they set interest rates, and they transfer money and gold to and from other countries. The policies set by the central banks have a huge impact on economic growth, employment, wages, and income distribution. While they are often portrayed as official government agencies, the central banks are usually private corporations made up of and controlled by corporate banks. Most industrialized countries have central banks. In the U.S., the central bank is the Federal Reserve System.

Financial speculation has overtaken manufacturing and labor as the primary engine of the globalized economy.

In the past generation, the gap between rich and poor has increased, wages have fallen, unemployment and poverty have increased, and governments have lost the political will and the ability to direct development policy through social spending.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland was set up in the 1930s to be the central bank of the central banks; some of its functions have been taken over by the IMF.

The impact of "development financing" is often to increase debt rather than to facilitate development and to enrich multinational corporations rather than to build domestic industries... Nearly half of all World Bank financing goes directly to the multinational corporations that are the real beneficiaries of "foreign aid" and "development assistance."

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund began to tie loans to "structural adjustment" programs, which channeled more of the debtor country's financial and productive resources toward debt repayment.

Structural adjustment involves "economic stabilization" and "structural reforms." These typically involve some form of the following:

* The debtor nation is required to "liberalize" (increase) prices on basic goods such as food, consumer durables, tools and equipment, and energy.

* Public employees are laid off, and government services are reduced.

* The "labor market is liberalized" to reduce public spending and to attract foreign corporations. Wages are "indexed" (cut), cost of living adjustments are eliminated, and minimum wage legislation is phased out.

* The country's banking system is "deregulated." Low-interest loans to farmers and local businesses are phased out. Interest rates are raised, attracting "hot money" from foreign investors looking for quick profits. State banks are privatized, with the proceeds directed towards external debt service.

* Capital movement is "liberated," allowing foreign investors to move "hot" money in and out of the country with no regard for longterm productive investment. Foreign exchange (the ability to turn the domestic currency into dollars or other foreign currencies) is also "freed," allowing foreign corporations to repatriate (remove) profits. Southern elites who have stolen public funds, "dirty money" profits from illegal activities, and "black money" which has escaped taxation is also removed from the country-and usually deposited in Northern banks or offshore banking havens.

* Trade is "liberalized." Tariffs are eliminated, which reduces customs revenues (money from taxes on imported goods). Import quotas which protected local industries are eliminated, which opens the domestic economy to cheap imports from multinational corporations.

* Tax reform" such as sales taxes are instituted, which disproportionately impact the poor.

* Customary land rights are abolished; Land is parceled and sold (with the proceeds going to external debt payments). Land is soon concentrated into private hands, and farmers who formerly used the commons become landless seasonal workers for agribusinesses which grow food for export.

... Structural adjustments were originally imposed on an ad hoc basis upon individual nations when it appeared that they could not keep up with existing debt payments. By 1985, fifteen debtor nations had been subjected to SAPs, and by 1991, a quarter of the World Bank's total lending was tied to structural adjustment in 54 nations. As more of the "debtor" nations' dwindling resources went to debt service, new loans were simply used to repay previous loans, and the total debt of the low income nations more than quadrupled from $100 to $473 billion between 1980 and 1992. World Bank and IMF "reforms" continued, and by the mid-1990s, more than a hundred countries and 80 percent of the world's population had been "structurally adjusted." The average developing nation's debt payments were a third of its gross national product.

... When no more money or exports can be squeezed from the poor, selling state-owned companies to Northern corporations becomes an option... Once again, a handful of multinational corporations are the beneficiaries.

Structural adjustment proved to be such a useful tool for leveraging corporate power that it was time to make it a permanent part of the global economy, and that is just what the international trade treaties of the 1990s have done-codified the elements of structural adjustment into international law.

."Free trade agreements are not free, and are not primarily about trade. The major impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, the GATT Uruguay Round in 1995, and agreements under the World Trade Organization since 1995 is to force every country into full dependence on an unstable global economy dominated by Northern corporations and manipulated by "international" financial institutions interlocked with those corporations. Trade agreements have "liberalized markets" and "opened economies" by abolishing tariffs that protected domestic industries, removing financial controls that protected the public, and nullifying national and local environmental, health, and safety laws that protected people.

International trade encourages the "dumping" of goods overseas at less than cost. In order to eliminate competition, or to get rid of surplus production without destroying prices in the home country, multinational corporations (aided by their governments' agricultural and "foreign aid" policies) regularly dump grain, minerals, and other commodities at a fraction of their real cost... the effect is often to destroy local economies, ecological diversity, and social and economic diversity and self-sufficiency. NAFTA's opening of Mexico to cheap U.S. corn will force a million Mexican farmers off their land. The Mexican paper industry has been gutted by the enforced import of U.S. paper. "Capital" (corporations) and "financial markets" (investors) are freed to roam the earth unhindered while labor, consumers, and local businesses have to compete with subsidized multinational corporations.

Wars are fought to control strategic routes, to open markets, and to gain access to natural resources.

For the multinational corporations working alongside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), one of the most important rewards for the recent "pacification" of Bosnia-Herzegovina will be the construction of a trans-Balkan pipeline to bring oil from the Caspian Sea region to Europe.

William Ramsay, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy, Sanctions and Commodities

[Caspian oil is] crucial to the world energy balance over the next 25 years... there already exists a kind of outline of a new Silk Road running through the Caucasus and beyond the Caspian. We think oil and gas pipelines, roads, railways and fiber optics can make this 21st century Silk Road a superhighway linking Europe and Central Asia.

The corporate economy and the military are codependent, and the military has become an integral and permanent part of the global (and especially the U.S.) economy.

The U.S. government subsidizes corporations that sell weapons to foreign governments. Between 1990 and 1996, foreign weapons sales negotiated by U.S. corporations and by the U.S. government itself totaled $98 billion. In 1999, the federal government gave at least $7.6 billion in direct grants, subsidies, and tax breaks to corporations that exported weapons.

Elite Consensus

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