Foucault once described governmentality in the sense of power not only in terms of hierarchical, top-down power of the state. He widens our understanding of power to also include the forms of social control in disciplinary institutions (schools, hospitals, psychiatric institutions, etc.), as well as the forms of knowledge. Power can manifest itself positively by producing knowledge and certain discourses that get internalised by individuals and guide the behaviour of populations. This leads to more efficient forms of social control, as knowledge enables individuals to govern themselves. In recent years this sense has extended into the global arena.
Global governance as a term has been bandied about by academics and policy makers in think tanks across the world for years. Global Governance or world governance is a movement towards political integration of transnational actors aimed at negotiating responses to problems that affect more than one state or region. It tends to involve institutionalization. These institutions of global governance – the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the World Bank, etc. – tend to have limited or demarcated power to enforce compliance. The modern question of world governance exists in the context of globalization and globalizing regimes of power: politically, economically and culturally. In response to the acceleration of interdependence on a worldwide scale, both between human societies and between humankind and the biosphere, the term “global governance” may also be used to name the process of designating laws, rules, or regulations intended for a global scale.
Such Internationalist Institutions as the Council of Foreign Affairs have long advocated such a system of global governance: see Global Governance Monitor (run by the CFR). Also their agenda and top challenges: Report Card on International Cooperation. Even such elite universities as Yale have detailed programs and agendas: see YaleGlobal Online. To dissuade those who believe that global governance means a One World Government such centers and think tanks like Yale will tell us:
Management of transnational issues through voluntary international cooperation has come to be referred as Global Governance. The term sounds like global government, but it is really the opposite, as it refers to management of the transnational challenges in the absence of a world government. Neither transnational challenges, nor attempts to manage them are new. We have had things like the Rhodian Law of the Sea, which provided a framework to govern maritime losses. The Hawala system has worked over a thousand years through the proactive participation of countless actors across South Asia, Middle East and the Mediterranean. The Hanseatic League provided an early glimpse of true multilateralism. Nevertheless, the depth and breath of current international cooperation around transnational issues is unprecedented. (here)
As you can see this will be global government through the use of other means: World Court, UN Policing, Legal, Economic, and other means. What is happening in EU is an experiment in such governance through legal and economic means rather than political. One that binds all countries in a network of relations based on mutual and multilateral dependence.
As we learn from the UN web site Global Governance is a priority of their agendas:
The UN system promotes good governance through many avenues. The UN Development Programme (UNDP), for example, actively support national processes of democratic transition. In the process, it focuses on providing policy advice and technical support and strengthening the capacity of institutions and individuals. It engages in advocacy and communications, supports public information campaigns, and promotes and brokers dialogue. It also facilitates “knowledge networking” and the sharing of good practices.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) promotes good governance through its programmes of lending and technical assistance. Its approach to combating corruption emphasizes prevention, through measures that strengthen governance. The IMF encourages member countries to improve accountability by enhancing transparency in policies, in line with internationally recognized standards and codes. In its work with poor countries, the IMF emphasizes adequate systems for tracking public expenditures relating to poverty reduction. In its regular consultations with its members, the IMF also provides policy advice on governance-related issues.
The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), established in 2005, supports projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes. The bulk of its funds go to local civil society organizations, both in the transition and consolidation phases of democratization. In these ways, it complements the UN’s work with governments to strengthen democratic governance worldwide.
The United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) was created to set up an internet-based network to link regional and national public administration institutions. Its facilitates the exchange of information and experience, as well as training in the area of public sector policy and management. Its long-term goal is to build the capacity of these regional and national institutions, with the aim of improving public administration overall.
Through such measures as these, the promotion of good governance now runs like a thread through all UN system activities.
As one report from the UN describes it (see here: pdf):
As the world becomes more interdependent, global governance, including global economic governance and the governance of the global commons, is increasingly relevant for achieving sustainable development. Deepening economic globalization, and increasing migration, trade and capital flows, and climate change and increased activities in the global commons – those resource domains that do not fall within the jurisdiction of any one particular country, and to which all nations have access – make individual States more susceptible to policies adopted by others. Therefore, increased coherence, coordination and collective decision-making at the global level, grounded in international human rights standards and guided by the human rights commitments of the international community, are necessary. Yet, government policies and international arrangements for collective decision making have not kept pace with these changes.
What a beautiful world the elite present us, a world at once green and sustainable, governable, bound together in institutions of coherence, coordination and collective decision-making at the global level, with human rights commitments of the international community. All just jolly good old people trying to get a long. Right? Wrong… This is the way the world becomes totally enslaved. An economics of control and surveillance, a realm of conformity and compliance, regulated and complete dependent on the regime of death based as it is on a Legal system of International Courts, Economics, and Military compliance through an International military and regulatory Financial system. They’ve even begun to think of a new con: Universal Social Protection. All for you benefit. Such good governance: don’t you see. lol Some of this was already documented by Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism as far as many Third-World countries where the experimental stages of this system were first enacted in South America and other parts of the world. William Blum would document the covert operations and black ops of the American Crime Machine in Killing Hope: U.S. and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II. People like Michael Swanson would document the earlier stages in The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963. For a current rendition one can read Pepe Escobar’s Empire of Chaos: The Roving Eye Collection. Other exposes like Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America by Charles H. Ferguson show the corporate and banking side of corruption. Along with Matt Tabbi’s The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.
One of the better histories of the banking corruption is Nomi Prin’s All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power in which she culled her expose from the original presidential archival documents, to deliver an explosive account of the hundred-year interdependence between the White House and Wall Street that transcends a simple analysis of money driving politics—or greed driving bankers.
Prins ushers us into the intimate world of exclusive clubs, vacation spots, and Ivy League universities that binds presidents and financiers. She unravels the multi-generational blood, intermarriage, and protégé relationships that have confined national influence to a privileged cluster of people. These families and individuals recycle their power through elected office and private channels in Washington, DC.
All the Presidents’ Bankers sheds new light on pivotal historic events—such as why, after the Panic of 1907, America’s dominant bankers convened to fashion the Federal Reserve System; how J. P. Morgan’s ambitions motivated President Wilson during World War I; how Chase and National City Bank chairmen worked secretly with President Roosevelt to rescue capitalism during the Great Depression while J.P. Morgan Jr. invited Roosevelt’s son yachting; and how American financiers collaborated with President Truman to construct the World Bank and IMF after World War II.
Prins divulges how, through the Cold War and Vietnam era, presidents and bankers pushed America’s superpower status and expansion abroad, while promoting broadly democratic values and social welfare at home. But from the 1970s, Wall Street’s rush to secure Middle East oil profits altered the nature of political-financial alliances. Bankers’ profit motive trumped heritage and allegiance to public service, while presidents lost control over the economy—as was dramatically evident in the financial crisis of 2008.
This unprecedented history of American power illuminates how the same financiers retained their authoritative position through history, swaying presidents regardless of party affiliation. All the Presidents’ Bankers explores the alarming global repercussions of a system lacking barriers between public office and private power. Prins leaves us with an ominous choice: either we break the alliances of the power elite, or they will break us.
World Bank and others
The World Bank even set up a Commission on Global Poverty: “We want to hold the yardstick constant for measuring extreme poverty till 2030, our target year for bringing extreme and chronic poverty to an end, “ says Basu who will travel to Europe this week for the Commission’s inaugural meeting. Yet, we must ask: What does this actually mean “end” chronic poverty? Repeat offenders, countries and populaces that continually “chronically” fall back into poverty? Is this actually a way to help this Bank and others to dispose of these chronic abusers of poverty? Is this what this means? The poor have become nothing but a metric equation, a “constant for measuring extreme poverty”, etc. in a cold mathematical system that doesn’t care about the human suffering, but only about the profit their going to be losing from these nations of repeating offenders of the poor.
Universal Social Protection
Of late such things as a new world-wide safety net and social security system of as the World-Bank tells it a “Universal Social Protection” system to “ensure that no one is left behind” is in the offing: see here.
On June 30, 2015, World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim and International Labor Organization’s Director-General Guy Ryder co-launched a joint plan of action on Universal Social Protection to ensure that no one is left behind.
The Heads of the two organizations share the understanding that ‘universal social protection’ refers to the integrated set of policies designed to ensure income security and support to all people across the life cycle – paying particular attention to the poor and the vulnerable. Dr. Kim and Mr. Ryder emphasized that anyone who needs social protection should be able to access it. Social protection systems, including social protection floors, figure prominently in the Post 2015 Development Agenda, among the SDGs. Social protection policies also feature in goals to achieve gender equality and to reduce income inequality. The WBG-ILO joint vision reinforces this universal aspiration, to be applicable to all countries regardless of income level, and the joint program of action aims to increase the number of countries adopting Universal Social Protection, supporting countries to design and implement universal and sustainable social protection systems.
Yet, whose income security are they referring too? The elites? Who are they actually protecting in this social protection? The elites in these various countries they deem worth protecting?
World Currency News
Recently China has called for a new World Currency to be established (ABC News):
China is calling for a global currency to replace the dominant dollar, showing a growing assertiveness on revamping the world economy ahead of next week’s London summit on the financial crisis.
The surprise proposal by Beijing’s central bank governor reflects unease about its vast holdings of U.S. government bonds and adds to Chinese pressure to overhaul a global financial system dominated by the dollar and Western governments. Both the United States and the European Union brushed off the idea.
The world economic crisis shows the “inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system,” Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan said in an essay released Monday by the bank. He recommended creating a currency made up of a basket of global currencies and controlled by the International Monetary Fund and said it would help “to achieve the objective of safeguarding global economic and financial stability.”
Funny how Justin Yifu Lin former Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank from June 2008 to June 1, 2012 whose latest book also promoted this very idea in Against the Consensus: Reflections on the Great Recession.
In short, by giving up the right to print their own money, governments stand to lose less and less. And they might even need the discipline imposed by an outside monetary policy authority. A country dependent on a single natural resource — say, oil — is tempted to spend when the price of that resource is high; knowing that devaluation will be unavailable when it falls will make such a country accumulate windfall revenues in a rainy-day fund instead.
If the world used the same currency, the problems inadvertently caused by the euro wouldn’t be replicated. German banks were too willing to lend to projects in the European periphery because they felt they could trust members of the same exclusive currency club and because the euro made investing in Europe almost frictionless, an advantage the rest of the world didn’t have. The one world, one currency club would make friction disappear.
Looks like in the background a subtle network of information and propaganda is being promoted by the elite media and systems toward global governance through establishment of Transnational Courts and Legal Systems, Welfare and Social Security Systems, and Economic and Financial Monetary Currency and Governance. If this is being touted in mainstream news one can suspect that the propaganda is truly moving us closer and closer toward such things. In fact many suspect that the issue of Austerity is to actually force this issue, that what the world seeks is a monetary collapse so that it can transition toward global governance and participation without the need for war but through world-wide reform and restructuring due to such collapse. This would allow the world to abolish debt while at the same time imposing a world-wide set of regulations and governance that would bind all participating countries into an economic and legal zone controlled by the dictates of an elite multilateral system. Is this truly where we are heading?
The Plutocracy: Control and Surveillance
As one tracker of the World’s upper 1% states it: “In our increasingly complex economy, the real Book of Gold is a degree from an elite university, and those are increasingly the province of the global super-elite. Indeed, statistics have shown that graduating from college is more closely linked to having wealthy parents than it is to high test scores in high school: class matters more than going to class.”1 While at the same time the oligarchs who prosper in extractive emerging market regimes don’t need to worry too much that repression at home is cutting them off from the innovation that democracies are better at nurturing. Communist Chinese princelings can import technology from the West; Russian oligarchs can invest directly in Silicon Valley’s hottest start-ups. And all of them can buy second homes in Manhattan and Kensington and villas on the Côte d’Azur and send their children to British boarding schools and American Ivy League universities. (p. 285)
The crucial concepts that guide most elite academic thinking and the elites themselves according to Nikolas Rose is that of inclusion and exclusion: the two crucial elements of modern control systems.2 Drawing on the work of Deleuze and Guattari, Haggerty and Ericson use the phrase “surveillant assemblage” to describe this alliance. The assemblage enables a kind of rhizomatic expansion of surveillance. Individuals and social groups who are exempt from surveillance are increasingly included within the organs of the assemblage. More elements of life are absorbed into the processes of surveillance and, as a result, surveillance considerably intensifies? The emergence of the surveillant assemblage means that death, along with life, is increasingly defined within a complex institutional network. work. While the assemblage captures the fields of life, it simultaneously reconstructs constructs the possibilities of death. The assemblage necessarily excludes the alternative definitions of life and death from its territories. (ibid. KL 3292)
The strong and pervasive cooperation between different institutions creates a cumulative surveillance effect in society. Surveillance capacities of institutions are multiplied when a new institution is embraced by the assemblage. Deleuze examines this trend by comparing the historical context of what Foucault refers to as “the disciplinary society” with what he calls “the society of control.” The disciplinary society, according to Deleuze, consists of enclosures that have their own rules and fields of operation. The society of control, on the other hand, uses open mechanisms that continuously change their forms. Individuals in the disciplinary society end with one organization and start with another. This is why, Deleuze asserts, disciplinary individuals produce discontinuously. Since each organization is the manifestation of “one and the same modulation,” individuals never finish anything in the society of control and they produce continuously within a network. Control is short term yet continuous in the society of control with rapid turnover rates. Discipline, on the other hand, is long term, infinite, and discontinuous.’ (ibid. KL 3296)
Necropolitics and the Economics of exclusion
The analyses of Foucault, Deleuze, and Hardt and Negri offer clarifications on the biopolitical character of contemporary surveillance mechanisms. Though they are subtle, the traces of necropolitical power can be seen in these clarifications. In the disciplinary phase, death is defined within enclosures and obtains definite meanings. The possibilities of death constructed within disciplinary enclosures are discontinuous. In the society of control, these possibilities are gradually constructed in a wider network of control mechanisms. nisms. As control does, control mechanisms spread across society. At this stage, death does not have definite meanings-it is uncertain and open; it is never finished or complete; it is beyond limits. In a way, death becomes biopolitical, political, and the boundaries between life and death blur. As life is subjected to continuous surveillance in the society of control, death is also rendered as the object of continuous surveillance. Death productivities may sometimes be more threatening to the existing regimes of the country than life productivities. Diffuse life-productive forces immediately produce diffuse death possibilities that are a big concern for the existing regimes. The continuation of a regime is firmly dependent on the maximization of life-productive capacities and the minimization of death-productive possibilities as defined by the regime itself. (ibid. KL 3307)
Death-productivity is a counter-life-productive activity that potentially threatens the life-related discourses courses and practices of existing regimes in a given life-production context. This activity can be economic, cultural, religious, or ethnic in nature. This is to say that a life-production regime is simultaneously a death-production regime. What is happening in the EU is a prelude to the global governance system that will be based on a fully implemented Necropolitics that establishes those who will be included in the political system, and those who will be excluded, disposed, and laid waste through various necrosystemic techniques. What is observed in the half-century-long immigration history is the gradual expansion and intensification of both biopolitical cal and necropolitical surveillance on a global scale. There currently seems to be a tendency toward the use of more necropolitical strategies under the ascendant discourse course of risk. Along with the expansion and intensification of surveillance, discontinuous, discrete, and closed meanings of death, as well as of life, give way to continuous, combined, and open constructions of life and death. (ibid. KL 3493)
As Zygmunt Bauman commented on government handling of hurricane Katrina in the US said disturbingly:
A blood-curdling thought: did not Katrina help, even if inadvertently, the desperate efforts of the ailing disposal industry of wasted humans, struggling to cope with the social consequences of the globalization of the production of a ‘redundant population’ on a crowded (and from the waste-disposal industry’s viewpoint, overcrowded) planet? Was not that help one of the reasons why the need to dispatch troops to the afflicted area was not strongly felt until social order was broken and the prospect of social unrest came close? Which of the ‘early warning systems’ signaled that need to deploy the National Guard? A demeaning, blood-curdling thought indeed; one would dearly wish to dismiss it as unwarranted or downright fanciful, if only the sequence of events had made it less credible than it was …3
Can we see the stubborn inaction of local State and national Federal agencies inability to act a sign of this necropolitics of exclusion? Can we see this happening in many of the genocidal aspects in Africa, India, and other nations? As Bauman argues: “I am sure, however, that the explosive compound of growing social inequality and the rising volume of human suffering relegated to the status of ‘collaterality’ (marginality, externality, disposability, not a legitimate part of the political agenda) has all the markings of being potentially the most disastrous among the many problems humanity may be forced to confront, deal with and resolve in the current century.” (KL 198)
As Kevin Bales in Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy will tell us there is a new kind of economic slavery world-wide: This is the new slavery, which focuses on big profits and cheap lives. It is not about owning people in the traditional sense of the old slavery, but about controlling them completely. People become completely disposable tools for making money.4 Explaining what this means he says:
In spite of this difference between the new and the old slavery, I think everyone would agree that what I am talking about is slavery: the total control of one person by another for the purpose of economic exploitation. Modern slavery hides behind different masks, using clever lawyers and legal smoke screens, but when we strip away the lies, we find someone controlled by violence and denied all of their personal freedom to make money for someone else. As I traveled around the world to study the new slavery, I looked behind the legal masks and I saw people in chains. Of course, many people think there is no such thing as slavery anymore, and I was one of those people just a few years ago. (KL 597)
As Saskia Sassen will tell it the one’s behind this are themselves anonymous elite forces who hide behind the subterfuge of economic analysis and governmental banking controls, legal systems of lawyers and local officials – bribed and quiescent, duplicitous with the dark side of economics, etc. :
Western governments, central bankers, the IMF, and kindred international institutions now speak of the need to reduce excess government debt, excess social welfare programs, excess regulation. This is the language of today’s key order-making institutions in the West and increasingly elsewhere. It carries the implicit promise that if we could reduce these excesses we would get back to normal, back to the easier days of the postwar era. But this promise disguises the extent to which that world is truly gone— and the extent to which, whatever national governments might say, too many corporate economic actors do not want it back. They want a world in which governments spend far less on social services or on the needs of neighborhood economies or small firms, and much more on the deregulations and infrastructures that corporate economic sectors want.5
Continuing she tells us point blank that there is one organizing proposition across all these diverse strands: since the 1980s, there has been a strengthening of dynamics that expel people from the economy and from society, and these dynamics are now hardwired into the normal functioning of these spheres. The “long-term unemployed” and small business bankruptcies in each Greece, Italy, and India are not the same as the “excess suicides” in each country. The emigration of Spain’s middle-class citizens because they have been expelled from the prosperity zone of their country’s economy is not the same event as smallholder farmers migrating to urban slums because they have been expelled from their land. (Sassen, KL 983)
The Necropolitics according to Henry Giroux and Brad Evans is a spectacle of violence that represents more than the public enactment and witnessing of human violation. It points to a highly mediated regime of suffering and misery, which brings together the discursive and the aesthetic such that the per formative nature of the imagery functions in a politically contrived way. In the process of occluding and depoliticizing complex narratives of any given situation, it assaults our senses in order to hide things in plain sight. The spectacle works by turning human suffering into a spectacle, framing and editing the realities of violence, and in doing so renders some lives meaningful while dismissing others as disposable. It operates through a hidden structure of politics that colonizes the imagination, denies critical engagement, and preemptively represses alternative narratives. The spectacle harvests and sells our attention, while denying us the ability for properly engaged political reflection. It engages agency as a pedagogical practice in order to destroy its capacity for self-determination, autonomy, and self-reflection. It works precisely at the level of subjectivity by manipulating our desires such that we become cultured to consume and enjoy productions of violence, becoming entertained by the ways in which it is packaged, which divorce domination and suffering from ethical considerations, historical understanding and political contextualization. The spectacle immerses us, encouraging us to experience violence as pleasure such that we become positively invested in its occurrence, while attempting to render us incapable of either challenging the actual atrocities being perpetrated by the same system or steering our collective future in a different direction.6
The world has become a regime of death, a thantopic civilization based on a necropolitics that seeks to dispose and exclude those deemed by the elite from the very possibility of life and land. We are living on the edge of a great holocaust of human civilization and seem unable to plainly see what is in front of our eyes. Some will term this conspiracy theory, yet the above quotes are from reputable academic scholars and actual elites. Can they be openly mocking our demise? Is this the way the world ends? Are we all becoming partisans of a World-Wide prison system? As Sassen states it on the privatization of the Prison Complex:
Profit-driven private prisons are not the same as government prisons. Strictly speaking, the latter are part of a government’s larger obligation to protect its citizens from genuinely dangerous individuals. Since it is meant to be a public good financed through citizens’ taxes, the goal of a government prison is to imprison those who are a danger and only for as long as is necessary: citizens’ taxes should not be used on frivolous imprisonment and unnecessarily long terms (though in practice, the right balance among these imperatives— protecting citizens and using citizens’ taxes wisely— is rarely fully achieved). When prisons become a corporate business whose logic is not unlike the logic of a motel owner— fill those beds— the goals are opposite from those of government prisons: to imprison more people and to keep them there for longer periods. … the proliferation of private for-profit prisons has coincided with far longer sentences for trivial acts and a further increase in the rate of incarceration. There are decision makers at each step of the process, but they are caught in a sticky web of systemic logics. Finally, the profits of private prisons are represented as a positive addition to a country’s GDP even as they are a government cost; in contrast, government-run prisons are only represented as government debt. (ibid. KL 1017)
Are countries under Austerity not in a prison complex of their own? Is this new economy not only based on Death but also earning profits on incarceration of its citizens? What kind of a world are we living in?
1. Freeland, Chrystia (2012-10-11). Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (p. 283). Penguin Press HC, The. Kindle Edition.
2. Patricia Ticineto Clough;Craig Willse. Beyond Biopolitics: Essays on the Governance of Life and Death (Kindle Location 3281). Kindle Edition.
3. Bauman, Zygmunt (2013-04-18). Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age (Kindle Locations 168-174). Wiley. Kindle Edition.
4. Bales, Kevin (2012-04-23). Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy (Kindle Locations 570-571). University of California Press. Kindle Edition.
5. (2014-05-05). Expulsions (Kindle Locations 2883-2889). Harvard University Press. Kindle Edition.
6. Giroux, Henry A.; Evans, Brad (2015-06-22). Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle (City Lights Open Media) (Kindle Locations 624-636). City Lights Publishers. Kindle Edition.