Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The TNCs Web of Control: excerpt 4

the Global Workplace [3] is a network of factories, workshops, law offices, hospitals, restaurants, and all sorts of other places where goods are produced, information is processed, and services of every description are rendered - everything from cigarettes to cars contains materials from dozens of countries pieced together in a globally integrated assembly line driven by the logic of the bottom line - data processors, law offices, advertising agencies and insurance companies have become global assembly lines of a different sort - a worldwide labour market for creative merchandising ideas, computer knowledge, patient fingers, managerial know-how, and every other marketable skill co-exists with a global labour pool in which more and more of us, from the chief executive officer to the wastebasket emptier, are swimming - hundreds of millions more of the world's uprooted and dispossessed are desperate to jump in.

the Global Financial Network [4] is a constantly changing maze of currency transactions, global securities, MasterCards, euro yen swaps, and an ever more innovative array of speculative devices for repackaging and reselling money - this network is much closer to a chain of gambling casinos than to the dull gray banks of yesteryear - 24 hours a day, trillions of dollars flow through the world's major foreign-exchange markets as bits of data travelling at split-second speed - no more than 10% of this staggering sum has anything to do with trade in goods and services - international traffic in money has become an end in itself, a highly profitable game - John Maynard Keynes, who had intimations of how technology might one day be harnessed in the service of non-recreational gambling, predicted the rise of this "casino economy", as he called it - yet as banking activities have become more global and more speculative, the credit needs of billions of people and millions of small businesses are not met.

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