The Greatest Spectacle
The Superbowl has become Americas Consumption Fest, second only to Thanksgiving. The competition for Snarkiest Commercial is now a secular sacred event, our collective return to Mecca each year. I was bummed at the homophobic reaction to ads for Brokeback Mountain (though I should realize a testosterone crazed crowd is not a fair sample) and the blatantly racist remarks still prevelant when a less-than-eloquent black man, making a hundred times the average salary of the liberal-bourgeoise-redneck crowd assembled, said something 'ethnic" on TV. The latent angry-white-man spills out at the wierdest moments. Enough Kulturcritique.
In Edwin Williamson's History of Latin America he states: "The USA was concerned to consolidate it's spheres of influence and spread it's liberal democratic values abroad." In the next sentence, with no hint of irony:"US armaments, military training and economic aid for Latin America was exchanged for raw materials and geopolitical loyalty." Fair exchange? Liberal -democratic values? "Communist parties were banned or excluded from power." That would be the dictator model of democracy. Each time they mention "democratic credentials" read Washington Consensus, capital penetration, neoliberalism. Read Chicago School of Orthodox Straussian Economics. In that world "free-market" means State directed financial and technical assistance, militarization and CIA directed elections.Young proteges from this school such as Moises Naim from MIT and Miguel Rodriguez from Yale served as Development Directors in the failed Venezuelan Government of Perez. Their embrace of neoliberal "shock therapy" was the cause of the "Caracazo" riots of 89 and terrific bloodshed.
I wish I were intelligent enough to read and fully understand economists like Osvaldo Sunkel or Jose Antonio Ocampo but I can grasp the underlying meaning in their calls for "widening and deepening" democratic development in Latin America as well altering "the primary distribution of income through structural reforms." One such reform should be educating citizens in basic economics.