“All across the nation, there’s a whole generation with a new explanation,” the pop balladeer told us.
Indeed, wild utopian ideas were not confined to San Francisco.
In Washington D.C. on July 20, 1967 the Joint Economic Committee of Congress held a hearing on the future of U.S. foreign trade Policy. The hearing is memorialized in the Congressional Record and it is there we find a plan for reorganizing society as radical as any inspired by lysergic acid diethylamide in a Haight-Ashbury commune.
For it is there, in those drab pages, that we find a concise and coherent explication of the ideology of globalism.
Think of it as the day Congress turned on to globalism.
(Credit to Matt Stoller for originally exhuming this Rosetta Stone of globalism.)
We see that so-called “free-trade agreements” were never really about trade between nations. We see that the goal of U.S. “trade” policy was the erosion of independent nation-states and the vesting of power in supranational authorities.
We see a distinct lack of pushback from any of those present, the clearest evidence yet of the existence of a “uniparty” whose consensus agenda has ruled all subsequent administrations, Republican and Democrat alike, until the arrival of President Donald J. Trump.
The first witness we hear from is George Ball, a globalist of the first order. He occupied himself on Wall Street when he wasn’t in the State Department under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson.
In his moment of candor before the committee, Ball sounds something like a James Bond supervillain sharing his plan for world domination.
Ball unabashedly lays out a vision of the world managed by globe-straddling technocrats. It is for the greater good of humanity, he says, that we must dispense with “individual national governments.” Much of what he said five decades ago has come to pass, even before Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sergey Brin came on the scene.
Enough prelude. Ball is capable of speaking for himself, so let’s go to the Congressional Record. Take it away, George:
[T]he widespread development of the multinational corporation is one of our major accomplishments . . . Today a corporate management in Detroit or New York or London or Dusseldorf may decide that it can best serve the market of country Z by combining the resources of country X with labor and plan facilities in country Y—and it may alter that decision six months from now . . .
But to fulfill its full potential, the multinational corporation must be able to operate with little regard for national boundaries—or, in other words, for restrictions imposed by individual national governments.
To achieve such a free trading environment we must do far more than merely reduce or eliminate tariffs. We must move in the direction of common fiscal concepts, a common monetary policy, and common ideas of commercial responsibility. Already the economically advanced nations have made some progress in all of these areas through such agencies as the OECD and the committees it has sponsored, the Group of Ten, and the IMF, but we still have a long way to go . . . [W]hat we seek at the end of the voyage is the full realization of the benefits of a world economy.
Implied in this, of course, is a considerable erosion of the rigid concepts of national sovereignty, but that erosion is taking place every day as national economies grow increasingly interdependent, and I think it desirable that this process be consciously continued. . . . [I]t seems beyond question that modern business—sustained and reinforced by modern technology—has outgrown the constrictive limits of the antiquated political structures in which most of the world is organized, . . . the present crazy quilt of small national states. And meanwhile, commercial, monetary, and antitrust policies—and even the domiciliary supervision of earth-straddling corporations—will have to be increasingly entrusted to supranational institutions . . .
[B]usiness decisions are frustrated by a multiplicity of different restrictions by relatively small nation states that are based on parochial considerations, reflect no common philosophy, and are keyed to no common goal.
There it is—the ideology of globalism explained in its entirety.
Sovereign nations and borders are an antique “crazy quilt.” The will of citizens expressed through their elected representatives are merely narrow, “parochial considerations.” “Earth-straddling corporations” deploying modern technology will replace nations as the organizing principle for society. Economic policy should be run at the international level by outfits such as the World Trade Organization, G20, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the European Central Bank, and so on. “Supranational” authorities, not national governments that answer to their citizens, will provide sufficient oversight.
Ball went on to laud the European Union, then known as the Common Market, for providing a roadmap to his ideal world without nation-states. The economic integration he envisioned would give unelected global technocrats, not national governments answerable to voters, the important decision-making power.
If this were a James Bond film, Ball would have then activated a needlessly complicated death trap after revealing his diabolical plan.
But this being Washington and not Hollywood, instead of unleashing a congregation of alligators, Ball unleashed David Rockefeller, the high priest of the eastern establishment.
Rockefeller made the case for merging North American economies (anticipating NAFTA), eliminating non-tariff barriers (a fancy term for national standards and borders), and, at the prompting of an Illinois congressman named Donald Rumsfeld, advocated giving the president more power so Congress can’t get in the way. Rumsfeld would go on to serve in the Nixon and Ford Administrations and was President Reagan’s special envoy to the Middle East. He capped his career by presiding over the disastrous Iraq war as George W. Bush’s secretary of defense.
Much of what Ball and Rockefeller touted in 1967 has been baked into the so-called “free trade” agreements subsequent administrations negotiated. These agreements were sold to Congress and the public as simple instruments for reducing tariffs.
As we learn from this ur-text, the true purpose of these agreements was to kneecap if not eliminate sovereign national governments and transfer power to “supranational institutions.”
That is globalism in a nutshell.
Though some say globalism is just a conspiracy theory, we know it is real. It’s right there, explained in the Congressional Record.
A half century ago.
And there’s the flaw.
George Ball’s plan is of an era when power was centralized, concentrated in the hands of the few who had access to mainframe computers and levers of power were in large corporate, academic, and governmental institutions.
It’s understandable how the “best and the brightest,” Ball among them, expected the trend toward centralization to continue and sought to accelerate it by concentrating power and decision-making in transnational authorities with global reach.
But over the intervening decades, technological advances have had a de-centralizing influence, moving power away from larger organizations toward smaller ones. The giant blast furnaces of the Homestead Steel Works have been replaced by mini-mills; the star-making machinery of the Hollywood studio system by YouTube and Netflix; movie palaces by multiplex theaters followed by on-demand delivery and home theaters; uniform mass production runs by individual customized orders; three networks by a billion personal news feeds.
Yet despite all this, the globalist model persists as a totemic object of fascination for our elites, an artifact of a previous era like the scraggly grey ponytail on a balding baby boomer.
Fifty years ago, George Ball told Congress nation-states were antiquated and should be scrapped. It turns out globalism is the anachronism.
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