Among the inner circles of the American financial oligarchy, some think that North Korea is an existential threat to the hegemony of western capitalism that should be met with nothing but shunning, sanctions and military threats. However, others think the DPRK could be a huge money maker if allowed to open up and join the world economy.
The first historic summit between US President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea took place in the prosperous Asian city-state of Singapore. The city is also the home of one of the leading voices championing a possible entrepreneurial boom on the Korean Peninsula, legendary investor Jim Rogers.
Jim Rogers is currently the chairman of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests Inc. He explained to South Korean TV: “Important opportunities are coming in the Korean peninsula, and North Korea is going to be the most exciting country in the world for the next decade or two.” He went on to say: “North Korea today is where China was in 1981. North Korea is a copy. He has been opening up the country just as Deng Xiaoping did.”
In an appearance on FOX news, Rogers emphasized the fact that the population of the DPRK is highly educated, making them more highly skilled than other people throughout the developing world. Rogers is associated with Republican and libertarian circles and has admitted that the Austrian School, with its “hands off” approach, is closest to his view of how the state should handle the economy.
Despite his personal libertarian bent, Rogers seems to embrace the highly authoritarian government of his current country of residence. However, an old business partner of his seems to hold the opposite view, not just about Singapore, but about North Korea, Trump, and everything else.
Defenders of unregulated globalist capitalism often compare economic conditions in North Korea to those in South Korea as an argument for their policies. This is a completely fallacious argument, ignoring the actual history of how the Korean Peninsula has developed since 1945.
Defenders of free-market capitalism generally play on people’s ignorance with wild oversimplifications. For example, it is very common for critics of the Cuban government to point to the low quality of the refrigerator an average Cuban family owns. Anti-Communists will point to these refrigerators and declare that they are of much lower quality than the refrigerators possessed by those living in the United States.
Their argument is this: capitalism is better because the refrigerator possessed by the average American family is better than the refrigerator possessed by the average Cuban family.
However, anyone who has ever been to Latin America knows this argument is completely bunk. All throughout the region in places where free market capitalism reigns, there are millions and millions of people who do not have running water or electricity. Millions of Haitians, who live under US free market capitalism and in some cases eat dirt mixed with oil, have no refrigerator at all. In the jungles and mountains of Peru, Guatemala, and Honduras, there are millions of people who have never seen a flushing toilet in their lives, let alone a fully functioning refrigerator.
The Cuban system, in which employment and housing are guaranteed by the state, results in an overall living standard that is much higher than many people experience throughout the region under capitalism. The fact that Cuban refrigerators are of lower quality than those produced in the fully industrialized United States, is completely irrelevant.
The often referenced NASA photograph of the Korean Peninsula at night, with the south brightly lit up and the north dark, is equally fallacious. The idea that “communism” has made the north dark, and “free market capitalism” has made the south bright and prosperous is wildly inaccurate.
The Silicon Valley monopolist Mark Zuckerberg, who controls the social media empire known as “Facebook” finds himself in an increasingly tough spot. Certain forces within the western political establishment want him to exercise his power more ruthlessly, but he realizes this could lead to his ultimate downfall.
The printing press, first invented by Koreans, was cultivated in Europe for the purpose of maintaining the feudal order, primarily through its ideological vehicle, the Roman Catholic Church. Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press was used to print Bibles and indulgences. The new invention made the system in which Kings and Nobles ruled and owned the land based on divine right more functional.
For a brief period, the printing press remained in the hands of the Catholic Church. But it was only a matter of time before this monopoly was broken. Critics of the Catholic Church and the rising mercantile class soon got access to this technology and utilized it to oppose the feudal order. Soon, translations of the Bible were circulated, screeds criticizing the Vatican were distributed, and the Protestant Reformation swept through Europe. This began a long process that ultimately resulted in the overthrow of feudalism, and the rise of industrial capitalism in the western world, along with the liberal democratic political system.
To use stereotypically Marxian phraseology, by developing the printing press, the Catholic Church had “laid the seeds of its own destruction.” It is unlikely, however, that the Catholic officials who encouraged Gutenberg were aware of the ultimately suicidal implications of their actions. However, Mark Zuckerberg and other social media giants are most likely well aware of the historical precipice on which they are sitting. This self-awareness causes them to become increasingly nervous and inconsistent.
In the fall of 2017, as China announced its dramatic new regulations pushing electric cars, the price of lithium and cobalt went through the roof. The two minerals, essential in the production of batteries for ‘New Energy Vehicles’, were highly sought. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Australia and other countries that are source of rare minerals sped forward, expanding extraction to meet rising demand.
However, the price of these two prized commodities is now decreasing, amid a glutted market. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Cobalt prices have fallen more than 30% in 2019 to their lowest level in two years” and “a lithium price index published by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence dropped for the 10th consecutive month in January.”
Even though New Energy Vehicles have been selling at a much higher rate, with sales increasing by 64% in 2018, the demand for minerals has dropped. The trade war between the USA and China, with constant renegotiation and complicating factors, has made investors worried, and those who produce electric cars have put their purchases on hold, waiting with baited breathe to see what happens.
This comes after Lawrence Kudlow of the White House National Economic Council announced on December 3rd that it was rescinding Obama-era subsidies for the production of electric cars by American automakers.
Jeff Bezos, considered to be the richest man on earth in terms of measurable wealth, and Donald Trump, arguably the most powerful man on earth as President of the United States, are figuratively at each other’s throats. US media is abuzz with talk of genital photographs, blackmail allegations, sexual misconduct, and media bias. However, those who look deeper may see bigger differences and hidden rivalries at stake. Two hostile camps have emerged within the circles of American power.
Widespread Notions of a Shadowy Elite
The notion that wars, political unrest, and clashes within society are the result of disagreements among a shadowy elite is a theme that repeatedly surfaces in art, culture, and fringe political discourse in western countries.
On Feb. 2nd, 2019, Caleb Maupin spoke to a group of young people in New York City. His presentation gave an analysis of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire utilizing a socialist understanding of world history and economy.