The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Perhaps the worst crime committed by the corporate oligarchs who now dominate our lives was their successful efforts to rewrite much of "history," and then use the mythology they created to brainwash us. The two most insidious and damaging of the myths they created were that unionization was bad for economies and that regulation was bad for economies. The facts are quite clear here, however. The 1960s marked the absolute zenith in the Western world for both unionization and regulation. Consequently, the 1960s also represented the all-time peak in our standard of living, and the all-time peak in the prosperity of our economies. Since that time (and during the rise of the oligarchs), they have pursued two goals with ruthless tenacity: union genocide and the abolition of all "regulation." Consequently, over the past 40 years we have seen our standard of living plummet across the Western world, while our ever more anemic economies drowned themselves in debt. This particular piece will focus on the irreparable economic damage which the oligarchs have caused with their myth of "over-regulation" -- and the era of deregulation they spawned. The examples of the failure of this policy are practically infinite, as "deregulation mania" has engulfed the tiny minds of our politicians and (supposed) "regulators" throughout the past four decades. One of the first (and most illuminating) examples of deregulation at work was the destruction of the global airlines industry. Because of the massive capital investments required in this sector as part of the continuing costs of doing business, the oligopoly model was a necessary evil in the airline industry. Smaller nations had a single (and often public) airline which represented their entire market, while the largest of markets (the U.S. ) had a handful of companies in its own airline oligopoly. During the 1960s, the airline industry represented a triumph of capitalism: an oligopoly model which was not inherently parasitic and/or self-destructive -- despite the fact that roughly four centuries of capitalist theory has taught us that monopolies and oligopolies are the ultimate evil.
How did the global economy avoid being victimized by the airlines oligopoly? Through a veritable straitjacket of regulation. Virtually every facet of the industry was tightly regulated -- in harmony with other markets -- with the result being a stable and modestly profitable industry. Then came deregulation. What has followed is four decades of bankruptcies, bailouts, and economic chaos. The absence of regulation resulted in the airline oligarchs doing what oligarchs always do: exterminate as much of the competition as possible -- and then collude with the survivors. "Customer service" has become an anachronism, as the parasitic oligarchs take as much as possible, while giving as little as they can in return. In short, four decades of deregulation has helped no one, not even the airlines themselves. Almost simultaneously with the deregulation of the airline industry came the deregulation of the trucking industry in North America (with our vast network of highways and supply chains). Same result: total destruction. Bankruptcies occurred across the trucking industry. The standard of living for truck drivers plummeted (along with safety standards) as "competition" forced the drivers to put in longer and longer hours, cut corners on maintenance, and do all the other things typical of unregulated industries. At this point however, the oligarchs became impatient with their sector-by-sector deregulation/destruction of the global economy, and so along came the euphemism of "free trade" soon replaced by the even more meaningless buzzword "globalization." To refer to the "economic theory" which supposedly justified this doctrine as "simplistic" would be much too charitable toward the global community of economists who barked their approval for it like a colony of trained seals. To boil this movement down to its essential components, it involved simply erasing all constraints on multinational corporations (i.e. oligarchs) while simultaneously erasing all protection for workers (primarily in the Western world). To this day, not only do these economic charlatans not understand why the economic demolition which followed did not improve the global economy, but these posers continue to insist that in fact it did improve the global economy. It takes a special brand of intellectual dishonesty to ignore the collapse in our standard of living, ignore the destruction of our environment, ignore the massive, structural unemployment endemic in the West, ignore the imminent bankrutpcy of most/all Western nations and proclaim globalization a "success" -- simply because the top 1% (and the corporations they own) became much, much, much wealthier.
recent survey in the Land of Deregulation (i.e. the U.S.) shows that even the business community no longer believes or supports the corporate mythology regarding the supposed menace of "over-regulation." When it comes to "killing jobs," even U.S. employers themselves concluded that "over-regulation" accounted for less than 5% of their job cuts, while "insufficient demand" (i.e. the economic destruction caused by four decades of deregulation and "globalization") was responsible for 95% of their layoffs. Similarly, less than one in five small business owners (the backbone of every economy) cited government regulation as a "problem." Indeed, two of the hallmarks of adequate regulation are stability and certainty. Meanwhile, we consistently have to listen to the heads of large corporations whining that the reason they are not doing more hiring is because of "instability" and "uncertainty" -- the inevitable result of all deregulation. If there was still any residual uncertainty in anyone's mind about the absolute need for comprehensive regulation of business (especially "big business"), along with the rigorous enforcement of any/all such regulations, then such doubt has been permanently eliminated by the serial economic atrocities committed by Wall Street. In the late 1990s, the Clinton regime hacked away the "lynchpin" of financial regulation in the U.S.: the Glass-Steagall Act. It was a law put in place immediately after the last major era of insanely reckless gambling by American financial oligarchs (the "Roaring Twenties") and the Great Depression which followed. And for the next six decades it kept these compulsive gamblers more or less under control, and their sector (relatively) stable. In little more than a decade following the abolition of that safeguard, the Wall Street banksters had "blown up" their own sector in the largest financial failure in the history of the world (by a factor of at least 100), and consequently caused a near-total collapse of the global economy. With morally bankrupt Western leaders not only paying off $trillions in their gambling losses, but still refusing to regulate these financial psychopaths, Wall Street then proceeded to immediately launch a campaign of economic terrorism against European debt markets (via the fraudulent manipulation of credit default swaps). This has already resulted in the obvious bankrupting of one of these nations (Greece) with the rest of these debt-saturated dominoes (and their masochistic "leaders") doing little more than standing around waiting for the Wall Street terrorists to knock the next one over.
If all this evil isn't enough to sicken readers already, it gets worse. After these predatory oligarchs have already destroyed Western economies through their campaign of deregulation, these amoral predators now have the audacity to
attempt to argue that the only thing which can "save us" is even more deregulation. Such anti-logic should not surprise us. We need only look at the incompetent traitors whom our suicidal electorates have chosen to govern us. Yet again we are listening to these consummate idiots claiming that they are about to "bail out" a collection of insolvent economies who engaged in too much "money" printing and too much debt creation -- by printing more "money" and creating more debt. The complete and absolute betrayal of the "other 99%" by our political "leaders," business oligarchs, and the corporate propaganda machine has in one sense made our lives simpler. Anything/everything these entities tell us is "good for us" we must automatically reject, while any policies or doctrines which they shun we need to embrace. Politicians, oligarchs, and media talking-heads are unanimous in their hatred of regulation. Therefore, we must embark on the most ambitious era of re-regulation in all of history.