2013/06/25

The Imperium Curse

This text is strongly based on "The Finance Curse" article, published by Tax Justice Network. The original article shows that countries hosting oversized financial services can suffer big damages on their economic growth and development like oil-rich nations (the well-known resource curse), and often for similar reasons.
Our goal here is to illustrate another similar fate for countries relying upon imperialist ideology.

The most relevant part is the way citizens in UK have organized themselves into lobbying groups for better understanding the underlying problems around tax evasion, oversized financial services in their own country, and have sustained since years the debate on deep political reforms (in UK and elsewhere), with more and more success. 
It is my hope that U.S. citizens will continue to organize themselves into lobbying groups for understanding the underlying problem around the real current state of civil liberties, oversized military and intelligence services in their own country, and will be able to grow successfully the debate on deep political reforms. 

This counter-revolution in ideas will not save everybody but it could save the most, and that's why the quicker is the better.

The Imperium Curse

A "resource curse" affects certain mineral- and oil-rich nations damaging their economic growth and development. Many countries receiving large windfalls from their mineral resources fail to harness them for national development - and it can be even worse than that: many countries seem to be 'cursed' by their minerals in the form of higher poverty, more conflict, greater corruption, steeper inequality, greater authoritarianism and slower economic growth than their resource-poor peers.
The Finance Curse, a May 2013 e-book by Nicholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands, and John Christensen, Director of the Tax Justice Network, shows that countries hosting oversized financial services can suffer similar fates, and often for similar reasons. 
We have discussed in this text that an "Imperium Curse" is also existing for the U.S., and shown that a country hosting oversized military and intelligence services is suffering similar fates, and for similar reasons. 
Our work, complementing a number of other studies, argues that oversized military and intelligence sectors harm their host countries by, among other things:
  • weakening long term growth and social development;
  • acting like cuckoos crowding out productive, sustainable industrial sectors;
  • exaggerating and routinely overstating their social contribution to gain distorting government subsidies (a.k.a. military Keynesianism), lax democratic regulation and influence crucial political decisions;
  • playing a key role in creating a “spider's web” of (para-)military groups and secret prisons;
  • capturing whole political systems, leading to authoritarianism; and
  • generating and extracting unproductive and harmful economic ‘rents’ (the business sector collusion with powers known as a typical figure of fascism).
Every economy needs its defense forces, and for decades (neo-)conservative ideology generally held that bigger is better. But since the recent global war to terror emerged new research from Pr. Chalmers Johnson, Pr. Peter Scott Dale, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts or leaks from Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and many others, has shown that defense sector development is healthy only up to a point, after which it starts to turn bad and harm growth and democracy.
The Imperium Curse is summarised in the term "Country Capture" which involves both the political capture of military-dependent economies by military and intelligence services interests, plus the economic capture of whole economies as the defense sector crowds out other sectors. The studies shows not only that the gross 'contribution' of military and intelligence services that is widely reported in media articles (i.e. the 'national security' argument) is usually much smaller than advertised: but once the range of harms flowing from having oversized military and intelligence sectors is taken into account, the net 'contribution' is strongly negative.