Neoliberalism on Trial: The Totalitarian Corporate Monopoly
By lucas@endneoliberalism On 19 Nov, 2015 At 10:22 AM | Categorized As Neoliberalism on Trial | With 0 Comments

End Neoliberalism The Corporate Monopoly

Neoliberalism on Trial exposes how military interventions and IMF programs destroyed local industries worldwide, while providing multinational corporations with monopolies over resources, people, and markets. The purpose of Neoliberalism on Trial is to bring to bear the harmful communist-derived ideals that underpin the Neoliberal era, and to reveal how the disrespect for sovereign countries is systematically destroying all possibilities for founding a sustainable and peaceful global economy; one that can only be based on decentralized, diverse, and competitive markets.


The tactics and tools used to mislead Americans and the world into the Iraq invasion have been implemented before in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and parts of East Asia. Along with IMF interventions, these military interventions are responsible for the destruction of over 160 economies, and the centralization of wealth in the hands of the group that has unofficially come to be known as the “One Percent”.

Starting in the 1950′s, red scare propaganda granted the US government and the CIA unlimited powers to attack other countries, either directly via invasion, or, more commonly, indirectly by emplacing brutal dictators with democratically elected governments at their disposal. Incidentally, the United States anticipated the USSR in the expansion of a heavily monopolized global economy through the use of totalitarian force. (Read More: A History o Military Coups to Depose of Democratically Elected Governments).

Capitalism is blamed the fast-paced linear economy that is destroying human and natural resources for the benefit of the 1%, with unintended consequences to freedom and progress. Neoliberalism is not capitalism. The Neoliberal agenda pushed by the Trilateral Commission (IMF, World Bank, and WTO) advocates market friendly policies such as privatization, market liberalization, and deregulation, but these policies were implemented through totalitarian regimes that resulted in a monopoly to the 1%. (Read More: A History of IMF Interventions).

The resistance to capitalism became especially evident in the early 2000’s in countries such as Argentina and Venezuela that experienced the impacts of US dictators and IMF programs and governance took a 180 degree turn from the extreme right to the extreme left. The resistance to capitalism also became evident in the United States after the 2008 recession occurred as a result of decades of financial deregulation and market liberalization looted its manufacturing engine to make way for cheap imports from abroad.

Neoliberal and Communist regimes share the similarity that they monopolize the market through force. Even the United States has experienced the destructive effects of Neoliberalism to economic sustainability and democracy alike. The increasing levels of extreme poverty and violence in the United States during a period of rampant economic growth enjoyed only by 1% of the population and made possible only by significant government spending shows that the monopolistic characteristics of Neoliberal era created the same economic inefficiencies as communist USSR.

With so much ideological nonsense  being promoted during election times to polarize people into extremes, the benefits of capitalism to efficiency and innovation are occluded, as well as we lose sight of the ways in which government can catalyze innovation through Economic Development programs and investments in innovation and sustainability. The government also plays a big role in innovation, and every innovative technology known today came out of a government-supported accelerator or direct funding support, as described by world-renowned Economist Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) in The Entrepreneurial State.

 The Totalitarian Corporate Monopoly

David C. Korten argues in When Corporations Rule the World that “when five firms control more than half of the global market, that market is considered to be highly monopolistic.” Korten draws particular attention to an article in the Economist which elaborates on the concentration of the world’s top five firms in twelve industries:  in consumer durables, the top five firms control nearly 70 percent of the entire world market in their industry.  Five firms control more than 50 percent of the global market in automotive, airline, aerospace, electronic components, electrical and electronics, and steel industries.  Lastly, five firms control more than 40 percent of sales in the oil, personal computers, and media industries.[iii] Market concentration is also high in the agricultural sector. As Anil Netto exposes, “Syngenta, Bayer, Monsanto, BASF, Dow and DuPont together control 85 percent of the annual pesticide market valued at 30 billion US dollars.  Three companies (Cargill, Archer Daniels and Bunge) control nearly 90 per cent of global grain trade while DuPont and Monsanto dominate the global seed market.”[iv]

The article in question was published in 1993, before the world experienced the second big wave of mergers and acquisitions, characterized by cross-border mergers and acquisitions that “accelerated after 1996 and reached a peak of $828 billion in 2000.” [v] In 2011, a study released by the University of Zurich, which involved the creation of a web of ownership and integration encompassing all 43,060 transnational corporations worldwide, found that 1,318 companies were at the heart of the global economy, 147 of which comprised a ‘super entity’, in control of 40 per cent of the world’s wealth[vi]. A prime exemplary of this ‘super entity’ is Walmart, Procter & Gamble’s biggest customer: following the merger between P&G and Gillette, Walmart and P&G have become the most prominent distributors of the vast majority of our goods[vii].

In an attempt to voice the efficiencies of specialization and economies of scale, several economists tend to refer to David Ricardo’s comparative advantage theory; however, the size of current corporations and their total control of the global market is far from what Ricardo envisioned. Trade between businesses in different nations is inexistent in a world where nations are forced to specialize in areas that serve the interests of a few multinational corporations. In many instances, it is not even multinational corporations specializing and controlling a specific market (e.g., automobiles, cosmetics, energy, or media); rather, it is a case of a few conglomerates controlling a portfolio of entire industries.

Unilever owns more than 1,000 brand names worldwide in foods, beverages, cleaning agents, and personal care. Its main competitor, Procter & Gamble, owns 50 Leadership Brands that represent 90% of P&G sales in pet foods, cleaning agents and personal care, while Nestle owns approximately 6000 brands in beverages, food, pet products, and pharmaceuticals. Other examples include Siemens, 3M, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, and General Electric, these latter two of which stand as the perfect definition of a mega-conglomerate. The Japanese conglomerate participates in mining, shipbuilding, telecom, financial services, insurance, electronics, automotive, construction, heavy industries, oil and gas, real estate, foods and beverages, chemicals, and aviation among others. GE participates in water, energy (oil, gas, nuclear, and solar), financial services, healthcare, electrics, aviation, rail, and software and lighting. GE even owns one of the largest media company in the world, NBC Universal Media, which the company recently divested into a partnership with Comcast, now owner of 51% of NBC Universal, with GE in ownership over the remaining 49%.

The integration between industrial conglomerates and media conglomerates deserves more attention than the scope of this book allows for, but it is nevertheless clear how Neoliberalism has allowed the One Percent to manipulate both supply and demand in a highly communist fashion. Back in 1983, about 50 corporations dominated U.S. media. Today, six corporations (GE, Time Warner, Viacom, CBS, Newscorp, and Disney) control 90% of the media in the United States[viii].  Many of these belong to the eight global giants (AOL Time Warner, Disney, Fox News, Viacom, Seagram, General Electric, Sony, and Bertelsmann), which together own more than 70% of the global market, according to Robert Waterman McChesney,  a University of Illinois professor and leading voice on mass media and communication. In particular, AOL, Time Warner, Disney, and Fox News own more than 50% of the combined total of the eight companies[ix].

In Impeach The President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney, the question is raised of how the media transmitted the lies of the Bush administration that led the country into the illegal invasion of Iraq, and this in total absence of even the most basic journalist criticism and scrutiny. One of their key findings involves a Sonoma State University study which reveals that only 118 people comprise the entire membership of the 10 major media corporations – which people, in turn, sit on the corporate boards of 288 national and international corporations. The study also reveals that four of the top ten media corporations in the U.S. have GDG-DoD contractors on their boards of directors: namely, William Kennard from New York Times and Carlyle Group, Douglas Warner III from GE (NBC) and Bechtel, John Bryson from Disney (ABC) and Boeing, Alwyn Lewis from Disney (ABC) and Halliburton, and Douglas McCorkindale from Gannett and Lockheed Martin[x]. As we will see in Chapter 7, the revolving door between government and the conglomerates is also very high.

The fanciful right-wing pundit claim that Neoliberalism provides choice is absurd and laughable, especially considering that the largest 200 multinational corporations constitute the sole economic players  and that the monopoly they’ve artificially erected has allowed them to abuse natural and human resources at alarming rates, depleting these resources en masse throughout the world, shipping them to sweatshops in Free-Trade Zones, transporting the final products to the shelves of big superstores, and finally discarding them in impressionably short periods of time. Neoliberalism, at the far right, and Communism, at the far left, are as totalitarian as they are economically inefficient. They both constitute centralized systems of production that subject resources and people to the interests of the One Percent by means of force. The richest 200 corporations could not exist as they do today without the use of dictatorial repression and IMF programs.

 Monopoly in the Food Industry

The food industry deserves special attention because nowhere has Neoliberalism failed the world as much as with the expansion of the global food monopoly fueled by dictatorship and IMF programs. A bulletin by the International Forum on Globalization shows that “80 percent of all malnourished children in the developing world live in countries where farmers have been forced to shift from food production for local consumption to the production of crops for export to the industrialized world.”[i]

A detailed report by The Guardian shows that “Four companies, ADM, Bunge, Cargill and (Louis) Dreyfus, account for between 75% and 90% of the global grain trade. Furthermore, Cargill, ADM, and Bunge have strategic alliances and joint ventures with the seed and agrochemical companies that dominate the agricultural inputs part of the global food system. In seeds four firms, Monsanto , Dupont, Syngenta  and Limagrain,  account for over 50% of global seed sales. In agrochemicals, six firms, DuPont, Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, Bayer and BASF, control 75% of the market.”[ii]

Some of these multinational organizations are also highly integrated with businesses that turn grains extracted from poor countries into meats. A detailed report by The Grist shows that “the top four companies, including Cargill, control 90 percent of all beef processing in the United States. In the case of pork, four companies control 70 percent of the processing, while for poultry it’s nearly 60 percent”[iii] Back in 1980, the largest four meatpackers only controlled 28 percent of the market![iv] [A1]

This monopoly is not exclusive to the meat industry or the United States.  Four companies control 89 percent of the production of breakfast cereal[v]. The World Bank estimated in 2008 that only four firms account for nearly half of the coffee roasting and trading industries. For tea, three companies control over 80 per cent of global distribution.[vi] Just north of the border, ADM, Cargill and Conagra are behind the slaughtering of three fourths of Canadian beef[vii]. Given global trends and that Cargill alone produces 50% of all Mac Donald’s “chicken” products in Europe, it is likely that a large monopoly exists in Europe as well.

Concentration in fruits and vegetables has not reached monopolistic levels, but it is increasing at an exponential pace due to Neoliberal forces: “The import share of U.S. vegetable consumption doubled from 7 percent in 1990 to 14 percent in 2005. Fruit imports (excluding bananas) have also doubled, rising from 12 percent in 1992-1994 to 24 percent in 2002-2004”.[viii] The rates are much higher in specific sectors; for example, a study by Food & Water Watch shows that “the volume of imported processed tomatoes tripled from 1993 to 2007”[ix], while the imported share of domestic consumption of a dozen processed produce crops more than doubled from 4.9 percent in 1993 to 12.3 percent in 2007.[x]

These rates will continue to increase as Neoliberalism pushes down prices artificially and violently, forcing local farmers in the United States out of business and consolidating the market further in the hands of multinational corporations. Although it is not yet the produce itself that suffers from market concentration, more and more farmers are forced to move from devastated regions in Latin America to pick fruits and vegetables in the United States.It is estimated that 70 percent of U.S. farmworkers today are undocumented[xi].

A monopoly, as explained by market advocates, uses resources inefficiently from production to market, profiting a small group of people, abusing the consumer, and creating a large opportunity cost by destroying valuable resources that could be used for other activities and generations to come. These large agri-businesses require a great input of energy and destroy forests, rivers, and lakes throughout every marketing channel. The system is so inefficient that it throws away 50% of all food that is produced worldwide[xii].  The same food industry that starves poor people abroad profits from providing low quality, even dangerous foods at home. The United States has an obesity epidemic whereas a third of U.S. adults are obese and that number will increase to 42 percent by 2030, according to experts.[xiii] As economist Raj Patel writes in his bestseller Stuffed and Starved  “when the number of companies controlling the gateways from farmers to consumers is small, this gives them market power both over the people who grow the food and the people who eat it.”[xiv]

Today, 400,000 people per year die from obesity related issues in the United States alone.  Put that number into perspective and compare the US government response when it comes to fighting terrorist groups responsible for the deaths of 4,000 in 2001.

The following sections explain how the military dictators and IMF programs implemented since the early 1950′s created the Neoliberal corporate monopoly.

[i]Anderson, Sarah and Cavanagh, John. Top 200: The Rise of Global Corporate Power. 2000. Corporate Watch. Global Policy Forum.

[ii] Ibid

[iii] Korten, David C. When Corporations Rule the World. Second Edition. 2001. A copublication of Kumarian Press Inc. and Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

[iv] Netto, Anil. GMO Seeds: ‘MNCs Gaining Total Control Over Farming’. December 12, 2007. IPS News. Global research.

[v]Evenett, Simon. The Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions Wave of the Late 1990’s. February 2004. University of Chicago Press. NAtional Bureau of Economic Research.

[vi] Stefania Vitali, James B. Glattfelder, Stefano Battiston. The Network of Global Corporate Control. Public Library of Science. 26 October 2011 

[vii] Fishman, Charles. The Wal-Mart Effect. How the World’s Most Powerful Company Really Works – and How It’s Transforming the American Economy. 2006. Pinguin Press.

[ix] Robert McChesney. Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious times. (History of Communication). University of Illinois Press; Second Edition edition (August 23, 1999)

[x] Peter Phillips, Denis Loo. Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney. Seven Stories Press (October 3, 2006)

[xi] Hawken, Paul; Lovins, Amory; Lovins .Hunter. Natural Capitalism. 1999. Little Brown, & Company.

[xii]Shah, Anup. Poverty Facts and Stats. September 10, 2010. Global Issues

[i] Svampa, Maristella. La Tierra Para El Que La Revienta. Critica Digital. September 2009

[ii] Salazar, Milagros. Peru: Beggar on a Throne of Gold. Inter Press Service. August 2006.

[iii] Argentina: Land of Opportunities. The Mining Journal Online. August 2012

[iv]  Fiebre Minera. Article by Rumbos Magazine. June 2009

[v] [v] Svampa, Maristella. La Tierra Para El Que La Revienta. Critica Digital. September 2009

[vi] Diaz-Molaro, Lucas. Neoliberalism Expanding in Argentina: Largest Producer of Monsanto’s Soy (Video). End Neoliberalism News.

[vii] Miro, Jordi. Latin America Mining Boom Clashes with Conservation. February 2012

[viii] Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): A Land of Extremes. World Relief.

[ix] Benitez, Ines. Two Children May Have Died For You To Have Your Mobile Phone. Inter Press Service. September 12, 2012.

[x] Wallis, William. Mahtani, Dino. Cocoa Exports “Fund” Ivory Coast Conflict. The Financial Times. June 7, 2007.

[xi]Tockman, Jason. “The IMF: Funding Deforestation”, American Lands Alliance, November 2001

[xii] Howden, Daniel. African Forest Under Threat From Sugar Can Plantation. The Independent UK July 10, 2007.

[xiii] Knight Danielle and Aslam, Abid. Brazil’s Bail-out is a Time Bomb. Third World Network.

[xiv] Miarom, Betel. Chad President Orders Chevron, Petronas to Leave. August 26th. 2006. Reuters.

[xv] La Dama de Hielo. Critica De La Argentina. November 14, 2008.

[xvi] Barbier, Chrystelle and Legrand, Christine. Water Or Gold? Locals Across South America Protest Multinational Mining Projects. Le Monde/Worldcrunch. March 11, 2012.

[xvii] Environmental Investigation Agency. System Failure, The UK‘s harmful trade in electronic waste. May 2011.

[xviii] Labous, Jane. UN Concerned About West Africa’s E-Waste Problem. Voice of America. February 13, 2012.

[xix]United Nations Environment Programme. ‘Recycling – from E-Waste to Resources’. February 2010.

[i] John Cavanagh, Carol Welch and Simon Retallack. The IMF Formula: Prescription for Poverty. IFG Bulletin, 2001, Volume 1, Issue 3, International Forum on Globalization. 

[ii] The global food crisis: ABCD of food – how the multinationals dominate trade. The Guardian. June 2011. UK. 

[iii] Laskawy, Tom. Killing the competition: Meat industry reform takes a blow. Nov 2011.

[iv] Concentration in the Food Industry. CorpWatch. 2013

[v] Harkin, Tom. Economic Concentration and Structural Chang In the Food and Agriculture Sector: Trends, Consequences and Policy Options. Prepared by the Democratic Staff of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. United States Senate. October 29, 2004

[vi] Ghosh, Jayati. Concentration in Global Food Markets. February 14th. 2012.

[vii] William D. Heffernan, Ph. D. THE INFLUENCE OF THE BIG THREE  - ADM, CARGILL AND CONAGRA. University of Missouri Columbia, June 9-11, 1999

[viii]Philpott, Tom. How globalization is smothering U.S. fruit and vegetable farms. The Grist. August 2007.

[ix]Rural Communities Pay Price for Consolidation, Globalization in California’s Processed Fruit & Vegetable Sector. Food Watch

[x] Ibid

[xi] Philpott, Tom. How globalization is smothering U.S. fruit and vegetable farms. The Grist. August 2007.

[xii] Agence France-Presse. Report: Half of all food is thrown away. January 2013. The raw Story.

[xiii] Neergaard Lauran. No end to US obesity epidemic, forecast shows. AP. July 2012.

[xiv] Patel, Raj. Stuffed and Starved. Harpercollins. Canada (March 2, 2009)


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