vultures eating their prey

The Wall Street-Treasury Complex as
Counterpart to the Military-Industrial Complex

By Norman D. Livergood

A vulture capitalist

     Capitalism is based on the private ownership of the means of production--the farms, factories and service industries. Capitalists make profits on their investments, instead of selling their labor power like the working class. The United States at present is primarily a capitalist economy, though some means of production are publicly owned.

     A nation with a capitalist economy can, under the proper leadership, facilitate democratic freedoms and create a high standard of living. However, with the kind of leadership the U.S. has suffered under for several decades, capitalism becomes a tyranny in which the moneyed class loots the nation, while the working class suffers lower wages, higher prices, decreased constitutional liberties, and chronic unemployment. This latter kind of exploitative economy is most accurately called "vulture capitalism," and we are seeing it now in full view with the fascistic tactics of the cabal.

Vulture Capitalist      The U.S. is a "consumer society" in which workers must buy and sell to live. Every part of life becomes a commodity, something to be bought and sold, whether it is a computer, the latest automobile, sporting or technological skills, sex, or our ability to work. In essence, capitalism is "generalised commodity production," the transforming of all life into a "thing," something to be owned or traded.

     Vulture capitalists call this commoditization of human life the "free-market-system" and force it on nations throughout the world. When this "system" fails, the vulture capitalists send in their carefully-selected Harvard economists to see that the nation's financial ruin is complete. In 2001, Argentina was the last in a long list of nations which have fallen prey to the ravages of vulture capitalism: currency-manipulation, asset-stripping, and factories and products sold at pennies on the dollar.

     There are important distinctions between the various types of capitalism:

     Vulture capitalism is a form of finance capitalism, a hydra-headed monster:

"For globalization to work, America can't be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is. The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonald-Douglas, the designer of the F-15, and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technology is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps."

Thomas Friedman, New York Times, March 28, 1999

     Friedman is a leading mouthpiece for U.S. imperialism. This editorial appeared four days after the start of the 1999 bombing war against Yugoslavia. Friedman makes it clear that the military-industrial complex is the indispensable "hidden fist" making imperialist globalization work.

     Throughout the world, workers are being systematically beaten down by vulture capitalism:

     Our federal and state governments have been taken over by people who are able to amass multi-million dollar election campaign funds. Either wealthy persons run for office themselves or they "buy" their own candidates. These elected officials then carry out the programs of those who put them into power.

      The most visible example of this was Enron's chairman, Ken Lay, giving $2 million dollars to the Bush campaign and then allowed by the Bush administration to manipulate the energy markets to make billions. Even when Enron went under, Ken Lay for a while still had his own private billions he'd taken from the company. Enron's 21,000 employees lost most of their retirement savings because their pension accounts were stuffed with now-worthless Enron stock, and many lost their jobs as well.

     If you are an American multinational corporation, such as GE, Chrysler, or Boeing, or if you are a savings & loan, bank, or financial institution, then the federal government will see that your losses are covered with American taxpayers' money.

     The American government will also see to it that an almost unlimited number of immigrants are allowed into the country, to keep wages at as low a level as possible. This policy of unrestricted immigration creates a very dangerous situation in America and Europe, aside from lowering wages.

Immigration Into the U.S. Was At An All-time High

     Immigration into the U.S. reached its peak in 1991, with 1,827,167 immigrants allowed in and has been steadily decreasing as the American economy has fallen into recession.

1991 1,827,167
1992 973,977
1993 904,292
1994 804,416
1995 720,461
1996 915,900
1997 798,378
1998 660,477

The Bush administration had planned to shift into a "war economy" so fewer immigrant workers would be needed. And now, with the Terrorist attack of 9/11/01, the immigration policies and procedures of the federal government have been shown to be fatally flawed. Not only did the federal government allow a flood of immigrant workers into the U.S. so the corporations would have low-wage workers, but the Immigration and Naturalization Service did not keep track of them--resulting in legal and illegal immigrants bombing the World Trade Center.

     The Immigration Act of 1990 exclusively assisted American multinational corporations, providing them an abundant supply of foreign workers willing to work for the lowest possible wages. The Act had been sold to the American public as being necessary because there was said to be a shortage of skilled workers in the science professions. On the contrary, between 1990 and 1993, according to the Bureau of Statistics, 146,000 engineering jobs disappeared, as employment fell from 1.862 million to 1.716 million.

As Donald Bartlett and James Steele show in their informative book, America: Who Stole the Dream?, "two new engineers were graduated from American universities for every job that opened up. And the unemployment rate for engineers doubled, rising from 2.1 percent to 4.1 percent. Yet during this period, the United States admitted nearly 190,000 engineers as immigrants or temporary workers."

     Vulture capitalism has taken many high-paying manufacturing jobs out of the United States, resulting in an eroded infrastructure, massive unemployment, high crime rates, and homelessness never before seen.

     Corporate profits reached a twenty-five year high in 1995 while the median wage earner's pay shrank in real terms, by one percent a year, every year from 1989 through 1995.

     While the sales income of the world's 500 largest multinational corporations have grown seven fold, worldwide employment in these global firms has remained virtually flat since the early 1970s, approximately 26 million people.

Where did all the extra profits go - certainly not to the workers?

     The average American's income decreases rapidly while the rich get richer.


Executive Annual Salary, 1996
General Electric Chairman
$39.8 million
Apple Computer
$23.3 million


Executive Annual Salary, 1995
Morton International
$25.9 million
DSC Communications
$23.8 million
Parametric Technology
$18.3 million
Wells Fargo Bank
$16.6 million
$15.7 million
Compaq Computer, Senior VP
$15.2 million

     Between 1980 and 1992, the top 1% in terms of share of the nation's income increased their share from 8% to 14%.      The next 9% only increased their share of the nation's income from 24% to 25%.      The bottom 90% (those making less than $65,000) saw their share of the nation's income decrease from 68% to 61%.

     The U.S. government, the "American" multinational corporations, and the American banks told the hapless U.S. voters that passing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would result in fabulous increases in our exports to Mexico. WRONG!!!

     While exports to Mexico have increased, from $41.5 billion in 1992 to $46.2 billion in 1995, an increase of 11.3%, imports from Mexico rose five times faster, going from $50.5 billion in 1992 to $62.4 billion in 1995, an increase of 54%.

     NAFTA has resulted in Mexican laborers being used up and spit out by a pitiless system whose only goal is profits. To get a clear picture of the misery and death caused by NAFTA in Mexico, read Charles Bowden's article, "While You Were Sleeping," Harper's, December, 1996, a story about Juarez photographers who expose the violent realities of free trade.

     It is at times like these that we should remember the admonition of some of our past Presidents, such as Eisenhower, who warned about the military-industrialist complex, and John F. Kennedy, who warned that American Presidents should not allow themselves to be unduly influenced by the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff.

What Can Be Done