What is a charter city?

Known by a variety of misleading names (free ports, free enterprise zones, special economic zones) charter cities are sections of a country handed to corporate entities that are excused obligations to law, regulations and democratic accountability.

In charter cities the following are at the whim of their “owners.”

  • Workers’ rights (rates of pay, working conditions, hours of work, sick pay)
  • Health and safety regulations
  • A place to live
  • Access to legal redress (for example, for unpaid wages or for assault by corporate militia)
  • Right to vote (for local administration)
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Human rights
  • Free speech
  • Right to protest

In a charter city landowners and businesses pay no tax.  No corporation tax, no import tax, no value added tax.

A charter city is an ultimate operating model of capitalist exploitation.  It is the epitome of libertarian economics.

For wealthiest and most exploitative capitalists a hindrance to satisfying their greed is that governments need to be wary of opinions and desires of their populations, particularly in democracies.  People demand amenities that can include adequate healthcare, education, housing and wages as well as free speech, the right to protest, and access to legal assistance and justice; they want to be paid reasonably and have income security, they want somewhere decent to live without extortionate cost, they want the necessities of life to be affordable, etc.  Governments cannot do everything the extreme exploiters want them to do.  

Charter cities erase the problem of democratic accountability.  Any concerns about public opinion, voters’ opinions, are absent.  Charter cities erase the problem of abiding by the law.  They erase the problem of legal action to redress wrongdoing.  They erase the problem of exploitation being lessened by human rights.  Bereft of those concerns, they are an orgy of corporate fascism.

Every capitalist government has protections for cross-border trade as a nod toward protecting jobs and income of their populations.  Charter cities are connected by tariff-free, tax-free, law-free, regulation-free trade.  Free from democratic accountability there are no have barriers to ultra exploitative cross border trade.

In USA and UK in 1980s sustained destruction of governments’ social responsibility coupled with theft of public services was followed by capture of public services in Russia by criminals after the the end of USSR.  Both events caused a huge redistribution of wealth in favour of a few international businesses. 

“Ownership” of public services, and public land, is targetted by wealth gatherers due to the impossibility of people avoiding use of the services.  Their income persists because public services are, by definition, a necessity.  

Exploiters were buoyed by the success of wealth concentration at that time, particularly wealth resulting from theft of vital public services, but they were still obstructed by democratic accountability.  They wanted to take another step toward total control of all wealth.

The concept of charter cities was a dream of extremists for decades but became an aim in the late 1990s.  Baker Street Herald’s The Tabula Rasa – A Clean Slate is an excellent account of who, what, why and how the idea of charter cities developed, from conception through to actualisation, including details of the main protagonists.  

The charter city community is not just a few greedy capitalists with money to spare for influence; it is an industry of persuasion, coercion, propaganda and misrepresentation by focussed assiduous libertarians at overtly influential think-tanks and faux colleges funded by extremely wealthy business people.  It is international, or stateless.  It considers itself post-state.  It is capable of ensuring government policy follows a path that is exactly what extreme exploiters want; it is capable of strong-arming governments into giving up land to speculators and thieves.  Its aim is cancellation of the nation state.

Protagonists in charter city conception and creation are embedded in think-tanks and lobby groups and are in advisory roles for governments.  However, the boundaries between government and think-tanks, and between governments and corporate activists, evaporated over the last four decades.  Today, particularly in UK, there is no distinction between a lobbyist or think-tank member and a politician in government.  Most cabinet members in Tory government are corporate and/or think-tank plants; some were founders of think-tanks.

Kwasi Kwarteng, Liz Truss, Dominic Raab, Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman and Jacob Rees-Mogg (and former Tory MEP and current UK Board Of Trade member Daniel Hannan) are among senior Tory politicians whose objectives are as far away from democratic accountability as it is possible to be and who played and play an active role in pursuing a system of government that not only supports charter cities but, ultimately, want the UK to become a charter territory.

Brexit was devised (many years ahead of the 2016 referendum), developed, promoted and directed by the same activists who seek imposition of charter cities, and was conceived as a tool to adjust governance away from democratic accountability and in favour of corporate control.  With an extremist libertarian Tory government in power (at least until 2024) and all EU laws and regulations eschewed (on workers’ rights, heath and safety, food regulations, access to justice. etc.), there is little to brake the progress toward a system of governance entirely, without any deviation, acting for exploiters.

The dismissal of maritime staff by P&O last week (March 17th 2022) was possible due to legal status of UK ports.  No employment law was adhered to for the sackings nor for the terms of employment of staff hired to replace those dismissed.  The owner of P&O, DP World, is an “owner” of charter cities.  The appalling actions against workers by P&O are an example of the operating process of charter cities. 

Everything that DP World did was with full support, agreement and prior knowledge of Tory government.

Shanker Singham, a product of wealth concentrators’ training school St. Paul’s School, has a thirty year history of assisting handover of public wealth to exploiters.  His achievements include advice on privatisation of fuel supply in UK, legal manipulations in Russia after end of USSR to enable criminals to steal public services and amass huge wealth, direction of undemocratic governments in South and Central America to give away their countries’ wealth to USA corporations, and in-house adviser (director) of Tory decisions on Brexit.

Singham is a designer of the concept of charter cities, a developer of how they exist, and a manipulator of governments to establish charter cities via a variety of legal tricks and financial bribery and blackmail.

In interviews and presentations to libertarian foghorn outlets, he explained – that is, he presented fallacious arguments – why he thinks charter cities are a marvellous idea and how easy they are to start.  The two blogs below include line-by-line analysis of his expositions from two interviews.  They include links to audio of the interviews.

Interview with Seastanding Institute: Shanker Singham in his own words: Part 1
Interview with Edgington Post (with Eric Brimen): Shanker Singham in his own words: Part 2

It is useful to listen to the interviews to hear how, via a matter-of-fact tone of voice, Singham elucidated coldly his warped vision with repetition of mendacious analysis and conclusions.  He and other contributors spoke as if detached from most of the population of the world.  

SinghamBBC
Shanker Singham enjoying a platform on BBC

Charter cities exist.  The Tory government is part of their development and imposition.  Most UK newspapers, TV and radio channels are either ignorant or complicit, or both.  The media and political reaction to the behaviour of DP World and P&O was critical but it failed resolutely to acknowledge how and why they were able to do what they did.  

Popular criticisms of the Tories, though valid, are tame compared to what they have planned.  There is no point appealing to justice, democratic responsibilities or social responsibilities when addressing Tories.  Liberals in UK are self-neutered blinkered ignoramuses.

The current capitalist epoch is a disturbing endgame.  Fifty percent rises in home fuel bills, twenty ambulances queueing at A&E departments, one hundred lorries queueing at Dover, no right to protest, vicious welfare policy toward people with disabilities, right to vote eroded via voter ID plans, direct interference by government in political education in schools, cancellation of citizenship without legal defence, the right of military intelligence to murder without consequence, and more, are just opening salvos.  Charter territories are much worse.

What is a charter city?

Shanker Singham in his own words: Part 2

Shanker Singham is a key protagonist in the theory, creation, promotion and enablement of charter cities.

Please look at Baker Street Herald website for thorough analysis of and concise information on charter cities.

On 11th July 2015 he and Eric Brimen were interviewed by Edgington Post.   Brimen is CEO of NeWay Capital.  Listen to the interview here: Singham on charter cities, part 2

Analysis of Singham’s exposition of his work
At the start of the interview with Edgington Post Singham described himself as representing Babson Global and said “we create the operating systems for these zones.  We negotiate with governments.”

An experienced career criminal recited his curriculum vitae of criminal accomplishments, each of which handed more unearned wealth to the wealthiest and made everyone else a renter of their lives.

I was very involved in the privatisations in the former Soviet Union and in the transformation in Latin America.”  
We have had a participating role in moving countries from communism into free-market capitalism.”

Singham’s abject lack of concern for the victims of his experiments with people’s lives was clear.  He said “we’ve learnt a lot of lessons in that process” over his (then) twenty-five year career of imposing free-racketeering on countries.  He meant lessons in how best to exploit with low risk for the exploiter.

His focus, his targets, are always “developing countries and emerging markets” because such countries are less able to withstand pressure, economic or violent, from outside their borders.  Devastating economic sanctions accompanied by violent coups, both engineered by free-racketeers, featured (and still do) throughout South and Central America, Africa and Asia for several decades in countries where the public voted for a socialist government.

Singham congratulated himself on his work over a quarter of a century (in “developing countries“) and said “property rights protection was somewhat done.”  By “property rights” Singham didn’t mean ownership of a house by a family.  He meant exploiters “owning” necessities of life – public services – and “owning” land.  He meant the right to exploit and to reduce the majority of the people to renters of their lives.

Proudly, he proclaimed “we did privatisation laws in many, many countries.”  The privatisation god dictating to entire countries how they should enslave themselves to free-racketeering.  

He added that “open trade was somewhat done.  We integrated a lot of countries into the global trading system.”  “Integrated” is an example of a word not used banally; it has an aggressive and destructive definition.  Countries were coerced into signing away their wealth to international exploiters.

Singham’s “somewhat” success dissatisfied him because “crony capitalists” had popped up to his surprise.  Although such capitalists exist, they are called just “capitalists.”  They are a by-product, intentionally, of Singham’s changes to “ownership” and “trade.”  His invented otherness of them is merely a ruse to offer false proof of a need for further destruction of society and of democracy.

Accompanied by audible chirps of impressed agreement from the interviewer, Signham’s excitement level rose as he headed toward his concocted pre-prepared conclusion that charter cities are a solution and a necessity.  “We realised that knocking our heads against the brick wall of doing national reform wasn’t working.  We needed to find an alternative delivery mechanism for reform.”  

He explained exactly what he meant by “property rights protection.”  He noted that in recent decades in many “developing countries” new cities (not necessarily charter cities) were built where previously no city or town existed.  There are fewer new cities in “developed” countries because enough cities and large towns already exist.  New cities need a lot of land.  He understands land as commodity.  It is his only perception of land.  He does not understand land as belonging to everyone – public land; he does not understand land as belonging to no-one; he does not understand the rights of indigenous people to live on land as their ancestors did.  He sees land as something to steal and to declare as property.  He thinks land is there to be grabbed as an “investment.”

His political stance on land is ultra-imperialist, ultra-colonialist and is diametrically opposed to any humane perception of what land is and what the relationship should be between people and land.  He enjoys sticking the flag of corporatism into land, backed by an army of criminal pseudo-legalities and by an army of soldiers if needed.

He said “there is land in these emerging countries and developing markets that is being use to create these new cities [not charter cities]” and he knew he and his colleagues could enrich themselves and their employers.  After re-elucidating his con-trick about governments wanting to “reform” but being held back by “crony capitalists” he said

The reason with we are working with NeWay is the initial stages of this [setting up charter cities] require the land aggregation process and investment in land.”

Again, Singham’s choice of words is not banal. 

Aggregation” of land means theft accompanied by threats of financial penalties if theft stopped.
Investment” in land means unearned huge profits by selling stolen land or by charging rent.

He stated that buyers of land “can invest for a relatively low risk.”  His proof of this was his explanation of the process of a charter city being agreed with a government.

What we’re saying to a government is sign a letter of intent with us to negotiate, to look at the possibility of an enterprise city.  You’re not committing to a city at all, you are committing to the notion of looking at a regulatory autonomous zone that a free-market, economically freedom-based regulatory system.  If we can do that then we sign a regulatory framework agreement with the government which takes about six months.”

The time-scale coupled with the staged process of creation means, according to Singham, that

we can go to the people interested in investing in the land.  At each of the stages of development [of the charter city] the land is automatically revalued.  So, from an investor’s standpoint, there’s very little risk in investing in the land because you are getting a hard asset that has very low value right now [at the beginning] because there’s very little economic activity and that is constantly being revalued.  There are multiple exit points.”

His description of “an investor’s standpoint” revealed Singham’s embedded philosophy.  It showed how his view of land, of people’s relationship with land, and of the existence of mankind is divorced completely from any reasoned, human, moral and ethical view. 

Public land means everyone owns it and no-one owns it.  It is just there.  In most of the world, most land is not owned.  It is just there.  For indigenous people, in, say, Australia, Canada, Bolivia or Honduras, there is a strong relationship between land and the people.  In countries where Singham wants to create his charter cities, so much of the land just exists.  He cannot abide that.  He sees land, wild and undeveloped, and sees free money.  Offer a paltry sum to a government, via coercion and threats, grab the land and then use it as a source of income in perpetuity.  The “ownership” of land that he demands is based on exclusion and extortion; the people are excluded and they are charged for its use.

Singham is a gofer for a small elite of wealth concentrators.  People are there to be used and exploited.  The poorer the people are, the less power they have, the more keen he and his associates are to exploit them.

After hearing how thrilled Singham was to talk about theft of land, destruction of democracy and enablement of exploitation, the interviewer declared

this is what every rich person wants for their life.  They want to change the world.  This [charter cities] could be the opportunity to create a petri dish and see if it works.”

Edgington Post’s other interviewees included libertarian extremists Grover Norquist and Peter St. Onge.  The platform exists to promote extremist economics and all its con-tricks.  The interviewer’s comment about intent of “rich” people was obviously false.  Most “rich” people want to maintain their wealth and increase it.  If “they want to change the world” it would be for their benefit.

A common ruse by some of the wealthiest people is to recast themselves as “philanthropists” and/or activist campaigners.  Broadcaster and comedian Lee Camp described such philanthropists as “someone who uses 1/100th of the insane wealth they accumulated by exploiting workers, polluting the environment, and avoiding taxes in order to manufacture photo opportunities with people and places that were destroyed by their greed.

Recently, morally worthless entities like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk sought to direct opinion of them by pretending to be of benefit to mankind.  Clear flaws in their attempts to be recognised as useful include the money they claim they wish to use being significantly less than profits obtained via exploitation, and the fact that there is no reason whatsoever for them to assume they have sufficient knowledge or intelligence to able to make decisions about what is best for society.

The “petri dish” remark affirmed the gambler’s psyche of charter cities enthusiasts.  It is an experiment with people’s lives, livelihoods and homes but for “investors” it is “low risk” with “multiple exit points.”

Brimen interjected saying “we think capital is an extension of self.  By investing in causes you believe in you can massive returns on investment while promoting a world you want to live into that your children and your grandchildren can inherit.”  His use of language is important. 

People who have made the world better by their inventions or hard work, including advances in medical care, food production, energy supply, technology, should not be prevented from benefitting personally from that.  But, for charter cities, the “investors” are not benefitting society at all and every cent or penny that they accrue is attained via exploitation.  Brimen spoke of “massive” profits.

Singham compared “the American dream” to “most of the rest of the world” where he said “people live in crony capitalist environments.”  The “American dream” was and is a fraudulent soundbite invented to justify policies of exploitation and to justify lack of society.  Gap between wealthiest and poorest in USA is enormous.  It is the only democratic country where access to healthcare is entirely dependent on ability to pay.  The biggest earners in USA history – oil extraction and food production – were acquired via theft of land.  Tax avoidance in USA is rampant; corruption in levels of government is rampant; the arms industry is a trillion dollar fleecing of the American people.  The “American dream” was a dream of criminals and a nightmare for most people.

The beneficiaries of “the American dream” are the same as Singham’s “crony capitalists.”  He differentiated because that fitted the con sell of “the American dream” to people and governments elsewhere.  He said in many countries there are “no opportunities, no prosperity and no jobs.”  What he omitted to explain is that, for many countries around the world, lack of opportunity to a good life is due primarily to USA-based businesses exploiting people in other countries.  The small percentage of people who benefit from “the American dream” are the same people who benefit from cross-border exploitation via ownership of land, businesses and public services.  Furthering that exploitation is precisely the aim of charter cities.

He described his “system” as “removing the roadblocks” that prevent people from being successful.  He said the offer to countries (governments) from him and his associates is to have a “mini-Singapore” in their country.  In countries where land is “owned” by international syndicates, where public services are “owned” by international syndicates, where international financial institutions collect protection money (“debt” payments), where politicians are paid off to act on behalf of international syndicates, where continuous threat of murderous violence by international armies exists as a deterrent against the people voting for a socialist government, and where continuous threats of money theft by international financial institutions exists as a deterrent against the people voting for a socialist government, the majority of people are prevented from being successful, and Singham’s land theft for his charter cities would exacerbate the impossibility of success for most people.

Singham stated a list of governments with whom he claimed he was negotiating and the interviewer responded by bemoaning the fact that USA wasn’t included.  The latter suggested a hypothetical location for a charter city could be along the Texas-Mexico border.  He asked

really, we can’t give up this stuff?  Much of it is nothing land, right?”

In that offhand remark, laced with a bastard’s smirk, the interviewer provided a precis of libertarian ethos.  As noted above, libertarians cannot conceive land as just being there, ownerless.  They refuse to consider or accept public ownership of land.  They are wilfully ignorant of the human connection between land and indigenous people.  They are hard-blinkered parasites, thieves, con artists; they are the antithesis of humanity.  They see land, beautiful, wild, undamaged land, and see only an opportunity to grab it, evict residents, put up barriers, and then rent the land back at extortionate prices.  

Singham said he has plans in USA territory Puerto Rico to which the interviewer, through his laughter, said “they need help.”  A natural disaster devastated Puerto Rico.  USA governments refused to assist adequately.  Ongoing severe problems there attract salivating disaster capitalists and extreme exploiters.

For charter cities to try to assuage the relentless gluttony of their “investors” the cities must crush all competition, particularly the nearest.  Singham said Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong had been very successful because “they have been massively different from the surrounding region.”  The “success,” enjoyed by a small elite in each location, of a charter city, and its attractiveness to “investors,” is dependent upon “the surrounding region” being unsuccessful, including the country from which the land was stolen for the charter city.

The assertion that “we want our zones to be massively different from surrounding regions in emerging markets, that’s what creates the investor proposition” emphasised the contempt toward the countries in which charter cities will be placed and the disdain for the people who live there.

It’s harder to do that [the massive difference] in advanced developed countries” was not just a statement about such countries being, in some sense, wealthier than “emerging markets” countries.  Singham and colleagues know that the latter countries’ governments can much more easily be lent upon to follow instructions due to “debt” “owed” to corporate entities and financial institutions and due to the constant, sometimes hidden, sometimes not, threat of an excuse for military invasion from USA and allies if the governments pursue policies that favour their own citizens over international corporate interests.

A country can, if a spectacularly bad decision is made, recede from “advanced developed” to equivalent to “emerging.”  Wilful destruction can create a scenario where society veers toward collapse, trade is made extremely cumbersome, public services are directed toward self-annihilation, and democracy is eschewed; Singham and his associates’ contribution to the design of Brexit is not insignificant.

The interviewer described the start point for a charter city as akin to building a new tourist resort in the sense that the resort might be built “in the middle of nowhere.”  In a bleak way he was partially right.  Tourist resorts are often built in previously remote unspoilt areas, from scratch.  Benefits for local people vary but often there is little benefit.  For charter cities there is no benefit to local people.

He declared

capitalism can take a worthless rock and turn it into the most profitable city in the world.”

That assertion was steeped in every facet of extreme anti-humanity exploitation.

1. He sees a “worthless rock.”  He doesn’t see a piece of planet earth.  He doesn’t see a habitat for wildlife.  He doesn’t see or care about desolate beauty, about wild untainted land.  He cannot conceive of the existence of something that is intrinsic, that just is.

2. The “worthless rock” might be home to people.  People may live there and their descendants may have lived there for centuries or millennia.  The relationship between the people and the land might be deeply ingrained in their entire history and culture.  He doesn’t want to know about that.  He considers himself to be a separate species, to be an employee of overlords who remove people who are in their way.

3. Who owns the “worthless rock?”  No-one and everyone.  Simultaneously, it is publicly-owned and ownerless.  So, he steals it, from everyone, but, as far he convinces himself, he steals it from no-one.  According to rules of exploitative capitalism, it is a victimless crime.

As an aside the interviewer said “I don’t know exactly where Hong Kong is.”

He doesn’t need to know where charter city locations are.  He doesn’t care.  They are somewhere else.  They are places and people to be exploited.  New colonialism.  Columbus and Drake had no idea where they were going or where they were when they arrived; they just went in search of places to pillage on behalf of their kings and queens.  Charter cities developers steal places on behalf of their corporate monarchs.

Singham preached his philosophy.  “Our job is to create the opportunities [for the private sector] and sell them.”  He stressed that charter city plans do not make any assumptions about whether the location they stole might be suitable for privateers (other than preference for a coastline); he and his associates “create” something attractive to “investors.”  His arrogance about his capabilities is a facet of being a new colonialist: It stems from ingrained perspective of looking down on the world.  That arrogance is, of course, a performance.

The key reason why he can eschew assumptions about whether a charter city suits investors is that if it is heading to failure he can just walk away with no loss and leave damaged land and a half-built city behind him.

On attractiveness of a charter city to investors he said if they are convinced that “a better regulatory environment exists” – that is, regulations that acutely favour exploitation with no risk – and that “the host government won’t interfere in the project in the future” – that is, future governments will support extreme exploitation in favour of the wealthiest – then “capital will flow.”

Singham summed up neatly the intrinsic cowardice in capitalism and investment.  “Capital will flow” if law is skewed wholly in favour of those with capital and if elected governments cannot interfere.  “Capital will flow” if there is a guarantee that it will multiply by several factors; “capital will flow” if there is no risk.

He used the phrase “capital will flow” to imply a positive action.  His outlook on humanity is that people should rejoice that a capitalist’s ill-gotten gains are “flowing” when all that capitalist is doing is using wealth to beget wealth from the hard work of others.

Trillions of dollars is out there looking for this kind of opportunity.”

The soundbite above is one his favourites.  It is a statement so detached from reality that it almost proves the multiverse theory.

Does Singham’s “trillions of dollars” exist?  If they exist, where are they?  Is it money listed as being held in bank accounts?  If so, it is money generated (paid) by consumers and renters as profit for capitalists; it is money created by hard work of employees; it is money that avoided taxation – most of the money is held in tax haven accounts; it is money that should not belong to those who claim it as theirs.

But, do the “trillions” exist?  Capitalist “investment” is usually made-up money, created out of thin air by financial institutions and given to “investors.”

If the holders of “trillions of dollars” or the creators of “trillions of dollars” had any interest in alleviating poverty, as Singham claimed he does, they could try to do so by building infrastructure including employment.  But, contrary to Singham’s marketing blurb, that is not the intent of charter cities.  Stolen land, no risk “investment,” exploiter-friendly “regulatory environment” and neutered “host” government combine to set up a wealth-begetting-wealth factory.

The interviewer was disappointed that Honduran Supreme Court “scuttled” the charter city on Roatán Island. It must be annoying when law stops criminality.  (Further charter city developments on the island occurred over the next few years – see Baker Street Herald.  Six years after this interview Honduran people elected a socialist government.)

He asked Brimen “what kind of capital would it take to turn barren land into a capitalist-based city?”  His examples of “barren land” included a “forest” and a “desert.”  Brimen said he needed enough capital to turn a “nothingness” into “titled land.”  He said his company’s capital is used to buy the land and acquire contracts (for planning permission, etc.).  A translation is Brimen’s company uses a combination of bribes and coercion to persuade a government to give away land and pays legal teams to concoct contracts.  There is no difference between his behaviour and that of large criminal cartels.  It is the same process used throughout colonial history all over the world.

The interviewer revealed his rancid libertarianism when, in an aside about the development of New York city, he accused “unions” of stifling growth.  What he meant was that organised labour had dared to demand higher wages for their labour for someone else’s wealth and better working conditions particularly in regard to safety.  Everything is viewed by the three participants in the interview from the perspective of wealth concentration and everyone else is considered a hindrance.  The alignment with organised crime philosophy is total.

Singham listed his professional achievements – assisting theft of public services in UK, assisting oligarchs’ theft of public services in Russia after the end of USSR, and assisting non-democratic authoritarian governments in South and Central America to concentrate wealth away from the public – and said

I’ve developed over that twenty-five years a set of skills and experiences that is perfectly aligned and perfectly placed to create these kinds of zones and to create the regulatory autonomy and the economic systems and legal system that will generate economic activity.”

His self-aggrandisement was accurate.  He had developed those skills and he had developed the financial and political connections needed to be able to proceed with his charter cities.  He knows how to manipulate and direct governments, he knows how to structure laws and contracts that ensure concentration of wealth dominates any other outcome, he knows how to present his aims as opposite to what they are, and he knows that wealth gatherers’ focus should always be on public services and necessary services because the public cannot avoid paying for them.

He described what he is doing as “taking away the roadblocks that are encapsulated in economic distortions that are the carrier for crony capitalism.”

These zones are designed to deal with economic distortions around the world.  Most countries are massively distorted.  We are leaving 1100% GDP growth on the table in exchange.  We are in a period of incredibly stalled growth that we should not be in, because of distortions.”

Singham’s “crony capitalists” are an invention.  Capitalists are capitalists.

His “distortions” include actions taken by some governments to limit exploitation within the context of a capitalist system.

It is true that productivity around the world is less than it could be but that is because capitalism encourages waste, of time and resources, and because it is designed to concentrate wealth not to assist mankind.

A balanced assessment of how the capitalist systems fails could include similar language to Singham’s in the quote above, but the solution is not greater, deeper, more focussed, libertarian exploitation.  His twenty-five years of experience enhanced his conman’s manipulation of language.

On finding the workforce for the charter cities the interviewer said people will be “dying for work” because charter cities will be in “less prosperous” countries.  He placed odd emphasis on “dying.”  He invented the phrase “fourth world countries” and said “these people will do anything to get the job.”

Desperate people, starving with dilapidated homes, will “do anything to get the job” and they are an exploiter’s dream.  Workers in “developed” countries have employment laws, health and safety laws, and unions; the workers for the charter cities will have none of that.

On “investors” for charter cities Singham said “foreign investors” will build factories and plants, and domestic businesses will have “lower operating costs.”  He described a category of people he called entrepreneurs, “walking around with an idea in their heads,” without access to capital who, apparently, had not enacted their ideas because of “inflexible labour markets.”

In reality, the people who will “do anything to get the job” will build the factories and plants, “lower operating costs” are due to low wages, no job security, no employment law, no health and safety law and no taxation of profits, and the “entrepreneurs” are gamblers who want to grab profit for themselves on others’ work and to do so without risk.

Brimen was asked about “the money it takes to make this project happen.”  He said it’s “structured as a traditional venture capital fund.”  He explained that means “accredited” investors, a definition based solely on how much net worth and how much predicted annual income they have, pay his company so it can arrange theft of land and manipulation of law; their profits will be paid later: “Return on investment will be very significant.”

In summary, in their own words (Singham and Brimen), charter cities are a system for wealth begetting wealth for no effort by “investors” attained by “flexible labour markets” of people who will “do anything to get the job” on land that is “barren land” or a “worthless rock.”

Shanker Singham in his own words: Part 2

Shanker Singham in his own words: Part 1

Shanker Singham is a key protagonist in theory, creation, promotion and enablement of charter cities.

Charter cities are corporate-administered states within states.  Therein, laws to protect workers’ rights, health and safety, tenant’s rights, the right to protest, access to justice and free speech do not exist.  Corporation tax and import tax for “owners” of land and businesses are non-existent.  Charter cities are, simultaneously, the most modern form of capitalism, a final expression of its pending demise, and a return to feudalism.  It is corporate fascism.

Please look at Baker Street Herald website for thorough analysis of and concise information on charter cities.

Singham was interviewed by Seastanding Institute on 20th March 2015.  The interview revealed the con-tricks he uses to promote spurious necessity for charter cities and shows how much he is opposed to democratic governance.  His ingrained arrogance, inculcated at St. Paul’s School, meant he spoke freely and coldly about charter cities with no apparent cognizance of the glaring contradictions, absurdities, obstacles to logic, and downright lies.  He is a very well-trained conman.

Listen to the interview here: Singham on charter cities, part 1

Analysis of Singham’s exposition of his work
Singham was introduced in the interview as someone dedicated to fighting worldwide poverty, grotesque flattery that he accepted eagerly.  After obvious (and accurate) remarks about the number of people who live in desperate poverty he stated, without pause or caveat,

there has been no more powerful force for lifting people out of poverty than three things: property rights protection, competition, open trade.” 

His assertion was demonstrably and obviously not only false but opposite to reality.  Poverty, wherever it exists, is a consequence of political decisions.  On continents where corporate imperialists seek to impose charter cities – predominantly Asia, Africa and Central America – poverty is a direct consequence of ownership of private property, especially land, of competition by large businesses to maximise profits leading to annihilation of workers’ rights, theft of public infrastructure and destruction of habitats, and of cross-border trade where lower wages in one country increase profits for wealthy elite in another country.

Singham’s entire presentation of the necessity and the applicability of charter cities is prefaced and pre-proven by the knavish anti-truth quoted above.

He claimed China’s reduction of poverty was due to “opening up on trade” but omitted the fact that the structure of China’s economy and its distribution of wealth is far removed from free-racketeering libertarian philosophy that Singham supports.

The interviewer called enterprise or charter cities “legal startups.”  That was correct.  Charter cities depend on deletion of constitutions, legal processes, justice and democracy. 

Singham pretended to challenge that description: “They are not entirely legal startups.  A host government agrees with a developer to create a zone that has some degree of regulatory autonomy, and agrees a regulatory framework.”  That is, he denied something was something and then showed how it was that something.  Given that, in Singham’s words, the charter cities are likely to be in “developing” countries, it is very likely the governments of the countries will have large fiscal “debts” “owed” to international banks and that a lot of land in the countries will be “owned” by international businesses, and it follows that the governments will not be in a strong negotiating position with the charter cities’ “developers” and so any “regulatory framework” will benefit charter cities’ owners and not the people of the countries.

He stated unequivocally that the “regulatory framework” will be “governed by three primary principles:

  • Property rights protection
  • Competitive markets
  • An open trading environment

That is, three principles that are designed not to alleviate poverty and, indeed, are dependent on the existence of poverty. 

By demanding such principles as a prerequisite for a charter city, Singham demanded countries adopt a specific libertarian economic model regardless of the wishes of the people of the countries.  Blatant destruction of democracy in favour of racketeerianism: Corporate fascism.

Singham emphasised the importance of the second principle in “attracting investment.”  He mentioned that many of the wealthy business-owning characters he’d met while working as a trade lawyer were most interested in a “level playing field for competition.”  The “level playing field” means the ability to exploit and to maximise their profits without hindrance of laws and rights related to workers’ salaries, working conditions, health and safety, legal redress, tenants’ rights, free speech, protest, industrial action and human rights.

His invented justification of “legal autonomy” of charter cities was his claim that in many “developing countries” governments are beholden to a relatively small number of businesses and landowners, what Singham called “crony capitalists” whom he depicted as barriers to progress.  There are several clear flaws in his argument, which was essentially fraudulent.  Firstly, the problem is capitalism not the identity of certain capitalists; secondly, if a country has a socialist government then such “crony capitalists” cannot operate in the way Singham described but, of course, he did not examine the validity of people voting for a socialist government; thirdly, his solution was just different capitalists who conduct their exploitation across borders rather than internally; fourthly, his stance was screamingly imperialist and stank of old colonialism.

The imperialist facet of charter cities is intrinsic.  A subtle change from old imperialism is that the competing potential invaders, land-grabbers and thieves will be international businesses and their financial backers rather than European governments of previous centuries.  In the nineteenth century the world was divided into territories “owned” by UK, France, Spain, Portugal etc.; charter cities will change that to territories “owned” by Koch, Goldman Sachs, Amazon, Serco, DP World, Palantir, etc.

Singham claimed charter cities will “favour new businesses” over “oligarchs.”  That comment was just another part of false marketing. 

  • He is not opposed to oligarchs: He was deeply impressed and inspired by post-USSR oligarchs and he helped them to steal public service infrastructure from the Russian people. 
  • Charter cities will favour businesses with the most wealth and those that are able to exploit and profiteer the quickest and with the least conscience.  Whether “new” or otherwise, the beneficiaries will not differ in practices, intent and effect from “oligarchs” or “crony capitalists.” 
  • In almost all of the countries targetted for charter cities, exploitation and regressive business practices are by subsidiaries of or partners of large international businesses, not by local oligarchs or “crony capitalists.” 

Performatively, the interviewer lauded Singham for “working on privatisation of the laws for competition” in Russia immediately after the end of USSR, in “Eastern Europe and later in Latin America.”  “It sounds like you were really on the frontlines creating legal structures when these highly controlled economies opened up their markets.”  In response Singham listed some of his key roles in inventing warped legal structures and manipulating law to favour and enhance extreme exploitation and concentration of wealth.

  • My career started with privatisation of the UK electricity industry.”
  • We did a lot of the privatisation laws and competition laws [in Russia and Eastern Europe].”
  • In the early nineties I went to Latin America and did much the same thing there after the Apertura – [partial privatisation of Venezuela’s oil industry].”

Two cogs in the libertarian wheel, a presenter and a practitioner, conversed casually about the corporatisation of public services, of the handover of public property to racketeers, of the bypass of democracy, of theft on a scale of billions of whichever currency was relevant. 

Their phraseology was constructed to deceive.

Highly controlled economies” meant countries wherein governments acted in the interest of the people and where profits were used for the public’s benefit.
Opened up their markets” meant gifting public property and infrastructure to exploiters.
Privatisation of the UK electricity industry” meant stealing a vital public service from the public and handing it to offshore financial institutions leading to grotesque continuous rises in costs such that electricity prices for consumers – that is, everybody in UK – are now factors greater than costs of electricity elsewhere in Europe.
Privatisation laws and competition laws” meant removing the ability of democratically elected governments to act against theft of public infrastructure and against fleecing of the public.

Singham’s short recital of his CV was a preamble to another spectacular display of wilful charlatanism.  He claimed that

the chief lesson I learned from this whole experience [assisting corporate takeover of public property and infrastructure alongside reduction of democratic accountability] was that we had all made an assumption when we engaged in these processes that merely opening up the border and opening up trade would lead automatically to competitive markets inside the border and that assumption proved not to hold true.”

That sentence was a straightforward unambiguous lie.  Singham and his colleagues made no assumption that what they facilitated would “lead automatically to competitive markets inside the border” – they assisted handover of public infrastructure to racketeers who, by financial necessity (tax-dodging), were effectively stateless and whose financial clout prohibited competition from any other business.  They had not “merely opened up the border and opened up trade” – Singham’s “legal structures” expunged the power of governments to control corporate exploitation.

He continued his con by saying that “it was the lack of competition inside the border that led to the entrenchment of rent-seeking elites in Latin America.”  Huge amounts of money was being lost” because of “distortions in these markets.”

His audacity to complain about something that he helped to devise was matched by his fake ignorance that such a scenario would ensue.  He declared a supposed lack of confidence in his understanding of how capitalism operates, of who or what prevails and of who loses.

Singhams’ “elites,” “oligarchs” and “crony capitalists” exist; they are called capitalists, landowners, property owners, business owners.  Changes to international trade law in a country, changes that are designed to add to wealth of capitalists, will create his bogeymen and feed them. 

Typical of the methodology of libertarians Singham sought to use something he created as a reason to take the next step toward corporate elite fascism.  After having despaired over the existence of obstacles to free trade and of distorters of the market, he offered his solution:

This is how I came to the idea of the Enterprise City.”

Singham’s view of the world and of humanity is bound tightly within a perspective informed exclusively by extremist free market ideology.  Any government of any country that seeks to work on behalf of the people of that country, that seeks equality, equity, real opportunity, and a good life for its people is a government, for Singham, that is in dire need of “reform.”  Free trade between a socialist country and a capitalist country is difficult because of how the latter acts but free trade between two socialist countries is mutually beneficial.  Singham helped to impose free trade on countries without any consideration of mutual benefit, because he is as ardent a capitalist as it is possible to be, and his bogeymen rose to the fore with ease as they would inevitably do so.  His next phase, allegedly but not really a counter to their rise, was to extract pieces of a country from the land and adjoin them to a stateless entity beyond government, beyond accountability and beyond humanity. 

One of the main foundations of Singham’s argument to support necessity of charter cities is the inbuilt failure of capitalism to work in practice.  He uses the actual visible and affecting consequences of capitalism’s features, features including constant competition causing constant drive for higher profits that in turn causes constant cost cutting (wage depreciation and quality of product reduction) accompanied by costs to consumers way beyond real costs, as his reason to go further toward corporate control.  It’s a neat trick.

In the interview Singham underlined that charter cities must have the “right regulatory environment.”  What he meant was that they must have no regulations.  The interviewer asked that if “humanity was free of regulatory distortions” or “unleashed” would we live in a “world incalculably more wealthy?”  He meant such “distortions” as prevention of price gouging, safety of products, health and safety regulations, contributions to provision of healthcare, fire service and police service, workers’ rights, legal redress, support for people who are ill, injured or disabled, protection for people against racism and prejudices, etc.  His was an extreme expression of libertarian philosophy infused with deeply embedded antipathy toward humanity.  When he suggested a “world incalculably more wealthy” he meant a very small percentage of the population. 

Singham responded to the question with “yes, I think that’s right.”  However, he clarified that when he spoke about regulatory restrictions he meant “the entire legal, economic and governance framework” and asked “is that, taken in its totality, delivering open trade, competitive markets and property rights protection?”  Singham views governance – democracy – as an obstacle to the greed of corporations.

He queried whether it (legal, economic and governance framework) is “protecting economic freedom” but equated “economic freedom” with “property rights.”  Singham’s obsession with “property” is ingrained.  His expensive alma meter inculcated a belief system that placed ownership above everything else in life.

Do you have a framework that drives competition on the merits where competition on the merits is the organising principle?” he asked.  He knew the nature of capitalists is to compete regardless of, and often in opposition to, merits; his purported (and knowingly fraudulent) vision is of a capitalist utopia that is unattainable because of how the intrinsic characteristics of capitalism manifest themselves.

Singham’s career focussed on the practicalities of enabling removal of elected governments’ power but his conman’s patter developed as a side hustle so he could convince politicians, conservative activists, commentators and journalists of spurious validity to his plans and achievements.  He never seeks to convince the public; he leaves that to politicians and media who translate his rhetoric into catchy mendacious slogans and aims.  Singham doesn’t give a damn what the public think.

As part of an answer to his own question he said that governments never consider the “cost to the markets” of regulatory constraints.  Regulators should never consider their effects on “cost to the markets” whatever that means.  If a business cannot operate within a regulatory framework then it is not fit to exist as a business.  Echoing standard far-right misrepresentation Singham claimed regulatory systems tended to regulate for the sake of it rather than for good reasons. 

Another question from Singham, regarding regulatory changes, was “what is the cost to the ordinary competition market?  How much wealth are we going to be destroying?”  His unbendable loyalty is to marketeers’ profits but, early in his adult life, he convinced himself, aided by his education, to coalesce the demands of the market with life itself.  For Singham, ultra competitive business markets are completely synonymous with man’s existence. 

He tried to distance regulatory bodies from “legislators” – governments.  All regulatory bodies are created, and can be removed, by governments.  Their independence is often illusory; if it is not so then they can still be directed or corrected by governments.  Singham knew this but it was convenient for his argument for him to cast regulatory bodies as separate entities, separate both from government and from the people.  His rhetoric drifted into absurdist conspiracy theory “deep state” far-right territory.

The paragraphs immediately above recounted the voluminous dishonesty and deceit that led Singham into his conclusion of the need for charter cities.  He knows they are a scam and a rejection of democracy and of society.  He required a prequel to be able to present them as a conclusion rather than as hypothesis.  The ease of debunkment would not worry him; his audience for his patter includes politicians and client journalists who do not need to be convinced, they need only to have the con explained for them to regurgitate compliantly.

For charter cities, Singham claimed there would be a process that determines whether or not regulations aid or suppress competitive marketeering although he randomly equated the desires of profiteers with the preferences of the public.  The utterly ridiculous transposition of racketeers’ greed for unlimited profits with the best interests of the public was another piece of libertarian drivel that Singham tossed out casually as supposedly axiomatic. 

Sufficient confidence to trot out simplistic lies and to array them in a pseudo-logic argument is confidence that is part of the curriculums at the most expensive private schools in UK.  Eton, St. Paul’s and others pride themselves on their success of producing gift-of-the-gab shysters – David Cameron, George Osborne, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Douglas Murray, Matthew Elliott, Shanker Singham, Jonathan Sumption, Kwasi Kwarteng, Alexander Nix – who are trained to believe in their intellectual and moral superiority and in the arts of manipulation, obfuscation and deception, with no pause of thought given to consideration of veracity.  Technique and style of Singham’s expositions of how and why he believes in charter cities were learnt in the classroom.

He stated that in charter cities “we are looking for a regulatory framework that enforces that process [competitive markets and property rights protection] to occur” and said “we believe” that will “secure the goal of maximising welfare gains across the whole economic system.”  What he meant by “whole economic system” is not precise but, again, he made competition and property protection synonymous with the best option for everyone.  His proof of the usefulness of charter cities was dependent on the validity of false axioms.

When asked why governments should or would agree to “hosting” charter cities Singham cited “explanations” governments had received from the World Bank (WB), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  The word “explanations” should be replaced by instructions.  WB, WTO and IMF are vital tools of capitalism.  Via crafty combination of financial assistance, loaded with caveats and in the form of debt and financial penalties, the three organisations guide governments toward adherence to the demands and whims of the free market.  All three are products of the imagination of capitalism; none is indispensable.  In a just world all three would be crushed and eradicated.  However, in Singham’s world capitalism is as natural and as unavoidable as breathing.

The “explanations” from the triumvirate mean countries “know what to do” to “reform their economies.”  Always, whenever capitalists say “reform” they mean bend toward feeding the wealthiest.  Singham said countries’ governments’ “own people” are telling them what to do because they don’t have access to “capital” and “the cost of energy is too high.”  By “own people” he meant capitalists.

Claiming to elucidate the conclusions of governments, Singham said they are obstructed by internal interests that are “politically powerful” and who “block reform.”  This description is an invention by him and it reveals his contempt for democracy and his refusal to accept the existence of integrity in democracy.  He also showed his low opinion of countries outside of Europe and North America.

His invention of vested interests was designed to provide an excuse to dispense with democracy and hand power and law to business.  Because of his invented obstruction “we know that as a political matter we cannot enact the reform we want to enact” and so he concludes that his “regulatory framework” described above is necessary.

He admitted that

our goal with enterprise cities is to have that spread around the country as a whole.”

That is a clear statement that Singham’s ultimate goal is complete abandonment of democracy.  He desires the end of governments and of the public’s right to decide how they are governed.  It is an admission that capitalism’s problematic relationship with democracy is beyond repair.  For the exploiters and racketeers to able to continue to fleece everyone else, the right of the public to choose who governs must be removed.  He advocates pure, unambiguous corporate fascism.

The interviewer posed an interesting question, based more in imagination than his (misdiagnosed) example of Hong Kong moving back from independence to being part of China, and asked “what if you set up these enterprise cities and a few generations from now the nation says ‘we’re changing the rules; we own this city now’ ”  Singham responded by saying “what the ‘investor’ [in an enterprise city] needs to know is that the regulatory system is set and that the host government will not change it in the future.”

Again, he dismissed democracy completely.  If the people of the country vote for a government whose manifesto commitment includes the end of charter cities in the country then that is what the people will expect to happen, but Singham wants that option to be unavailable.  Permanent fascism.

He used Hong Kong as an example of how a “regulatory framework” enshrined in law prior to the city’s return to China allowed it to continue to exist as a free market region beholden to corporate interests after UK’s ninety-nine year lease had expired despite China having an entirely different political system.  He claimed it could continue as such because it succeeded in the terms of its intent.  However, his assertion that a law agreed previously protects the “regulatory framework” was unconvincing.  The Chinese government could just change the law, or ignore it.  He repeated the existence of an agreed law several times but did not explain what would stop China from altering the entire structure of governance of Hong Kong.

There are key differences between China and other countries where Singham would like to see charter cities.  Most importantly, China is not a democratic country.  A consequence of that is there is a different relationship between the government and the justice system than there is in democratic countries.  Also, the public cannot make substantial changes to the government via an election.

His example of China, whether Hong Kong or SEZs, was a false example of his ideological concept of a charter city.  Singham’s targets are countries that can be manipulated by international financial pressure, not China.

He said WB can be an arbitrator in disputes between elected governments and charter cities, and said there would need to be “an international mechanism of some kind” to ensure that if a democratically elected government were to “do something bad” (act in the interests of the public’s needs) that “would damage the fabric of the enterprise zone” (favour the lives and livelihoods of the public over corporate profits) then “there would significant legal liabilities.”

International mechanisms” means pressure on governments to act in favour of exploiters rather than in favour of their public.  “Significant legal liabilities” means sanctions, seizure of assets and trade tariffs, targetted at governments that favour democracy over corporate fascism.  An example of how such penalties would operate was the theft of Venezuelan assets by USA, UK and others, including gold and money due for oil sales, when the Venezuelan government stopped an anti-democratic coup by USA oil industry-backed grifter Juan Guaido.  Singham’s occupation is a trade lawyer, specifically working for international businesses to help them destroy democratic commitments of governments.

The interviewer asked Singham about his “requirements” for the establishment of charter cities.

1. By “committed developer” he meant a developer who was aware of the need for a “regulatory framework.”  He said, without that framework, “distortions” (government decisions to protect the public) would create a “dysfunctional slum-like place.”  It wasn’t clear if his fear of such an acute failure was based on how he thinks capitalism fails or how he thinks other political systems (e.g socialism) fail.

2. The adjectives used in “external infrastructure connecting enterprise city to host country” displayed evidence of Singham’s intent for charter cities to be beyond the control of an elected government.  The “host” country is merely a geographical connection.  Land is stolen from the people of a country, and their labour stolen as well, and handed to corporate control.

He wants subservience to corporatism to extend beyond the boundaries of the charter city into the rest of the country.  As an example of “connecting external infrastructure” he said the cost of telecoms provision to the charter city from an “external” provider shouldn’t be “massively anticompetitive.”

He emphasised that “the name of the game is keeping costs down” for the charter city and “we want pro-competitive connection of all external aspects of the structure into the external system” and all of that will be “written into the regulatory framework.”

There is no limit to how much power and how much money the owners of charter cities desire.  Singham’s “regulatory framework,” going beyond the cities’ boundaries into the “host countries,” is an enforced suicide note for democracy and an eternal ransom paid to permanently insatiate exploiters.

3. The interviewer suggested that a third “requirement” for the establishment of charter cities is admission by “host nation” that “it needs improvement,” and he asked Singham if “wealthy” countries will be “open to enterprise cities.”  The former understood that less “wealthy” countries are the main targets of the charter city enthusiasts because governments of such countries can be more easily forced by international organisations (WB, IMF, WTO) to do what they are told to do, and to submit to corporate repression.

Singham seemed confident that any country could potentially agree to charter cities. 

The countries most likely to do this [charter city creation] are the ones who know what they need to do in terms of domestic national reform, have tried to do some of it and have run up against the obstacles – vested interests, elites, beneficiaries of distortion.  They know what they have to do to generate jobs and economic development; they tried to do it and they failed at a national level.  Therefore, they are looking at the enterprise city as an alternative delivery mechanism for reform.”

His summary above repeated the themes of his con: Failed capitalism in a country to be “reformed” and replaced by more ruthless capitalism; the depiction of the elements of capitalism – Sangham’s “elites” – as uncontrollable by democracy or political system; extremist exploiters bestowing gifts of jobs on the public.

It’s an ugly con.  Ugly in practice and ugly in its disdain for logic and for honesty.  Singham’s training in his youth, at St. Paul’s School and at economic finishing schools, infested him with ineluctable modality of the unreasonable.

He admitted, brazenly, that charter cities are unlikely to happen in an “advanced developed market” because

the attraction of investment, the big gains, are going to come from the delta, the difference, between a regulatory environment inside the [charter] city and a regulatory environment in the rest of the country.  That’s what going to attract capital and the region.” 

As he explained, the appeal of charter cities to “investors,” otherwise known as disaster capitalists, is that they will have no threat to their profiteering from law or from democracy, and the rules for them will be opposite to the rules for the “host” country.  Blatant unashamed, unhidden racketeering.

He claimed that the “delta, the difference” was why Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai were “very successful.”  The three places he mentioned are different in many ways but a similarity is a stark gap between the richest and the poorest people in each place.  Each has provided a strong example of wealth begetting wealth for the already wealthy.  Also, none has democracy.

Singham and the interviewer mentioned healthcare in the USA as an alleged example of “anticompetitiveness” preventing better healthcare and hindering medical research.  Neither noted the extortionate cost of healthcare for the public, costs that send hundreds of thousands of people into bankruptcy every year, and they avoided the fact that the USA healthcare system means if you cannot pay then you die.

The state of USA healthcare is one if the most disgusting examples of capitalist extortion in the world.  Singham knows exactly how inhumane it is but he uses it as a false reason to promote a different strand of exploitation via charter cities.  His claim was that charter cities would, via their “regulatory frameworks,” allow greater “competition” in medical research.  He was being dishonest in two ways: Firstly, quality of medical research is not the problem in USA, the problem is the ginormous profits for the medical industry at the costs of people’s lives and livelihoods; secondly, “competition” in charter cities will be won by the wealthiest conglomerates.

A theme propagated by cheerleaders for charter cities is the invented assertion that they will enable “new technology” more than current capitalist systems.  There is no logical reason to assume that is the case.  Research is expensive and all capitalists prefer income to be hoarded by themselves rather than to be a contribution to the betterment of society. 

Singham’s appeal to the benefit of research and new technology is a ruse.  He knows better research and continuous new technologies are necessary and he uses that fact, as a random juxtaposition with no real connection, to promote charter cities.  

The interviewer concluded by saying he hoped Singham “can write the legislation for as many enterprise cities and for as many countries as possible.”  Utter disdain for democracy.

His interview with Seastanding provided a summary of Singham’s strategy for presentation of a need for charter cities and it emphasised strong focus on erasure of democracy.  It sounded utterly illusory, born of criminal fantasy and devastating for the majority of people.  Calm evil was the tone of content and of verbosity. 

Shanker Singham in his own words: Part 1

War, sanctions and gas prices

True to their philosophy, capitalist governments perceived Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February (2022) as an opportunity to ramp up contributions to the welfare state for the arms industry. 

They handed weaponry to Ukrainian government that will need to be replaced at the public’s expense in the supplying countries and they turned the knob up to eleven on amplification for greater spending on “defence.”  

In addition to channelling public money to the never-satiated hunger of the arms industry capitalist governments and their cheerleaders said their economic sanctions against Russia will lead to financial consequences in the countries applying the sanctions, and the same governments said they will not purchase Russian gas with the caveat that fuel costs would then rise.

Fuel prices rise because made-up businesses in supply chains are enabled by governments to raise prices to whatever level they want.  Other price rises (as an alleged consequence of sanctions against Russia) are similarly due to greed of vendors and associated businesses.  War in Ukraine is not the cause of price rises.

AmberRudd
Centrica Director Amber Rudd

As soon as the war in Ukraine began politicians and servant journalists [1] in capitalist countries predicted price rises for daily necessities and they made sure to exclaim that the conflict was to blame.  Their assertions were a nod of the head to price gougers to proceed as they wished, and a dismissive single finger to the public to not complain.

Tactics used to promote price rises include photographs of Ukrainian victims of Russia’s assault.  This tactic was exemplified by former President of the European Council Donald Tusk who released a short statement – “just don’t tell her please that tougher sanctions would be too expensive for Europe!” – alongside a photograph of a young Ukrainian holding a gun while sitting in a bombed building, and by Daniel Korski, former adviser to David Cameron when the latter was prime minister, who said I will gladly pay more for my energy bills for the sake of this baby” accompanied by a photograph of a baby being carried by a soldier near a destroyed bridge.  

For the people of Ukraine war is death, destruction and flight from their homes. 

For the capitalist class in other countries it is another opportunity to make money.

In Russia, NATO countries and elsewhere war remains, as it has done for centuries, the preferred and most lucrative means of fleecing the public for the benefit of the few.

Note: [1] servant journalist n. Journalist whose job is to assist politicians (or alleged VIPs or large corporations) in propagating propaganda

Recommended reading
Professor of accounting practice Richard Murphy explains how current huge rises in fuel costs to customers in UK have no justification and exist to increase profits of shareholders and speculators: Richard Murphy
Luke Savage on fuel rises in USA: Luke Savage

War, sanctions and gas prices

Tories: NHS will be free at point of delivery

Like all great inventions language is a wonderful tool to elevate mankind while simultaneously a weapon for reprobates and swindlers.  Since the first word was spoken orators have informed and educated, and also misinformed and deceived; since the first word was written essayists have done similarly.

Politicians, often, prefer a criminal’s weapon to humanity’s tool.

A repeated mantra of the extremely dishonest Tory government and its enablers in media and at think-tanks is

NHS will be free at point of delivery.” 

They say it whenever anyone states Tory intent to privatise NHS.  Their use of the phrase is purposeful use of language as trickery, obfuscation and deceit.

What Tories mean by the phrase is that if, for example, someone has cancer, or suffers a heart attack, or needs a new hip, or is severely injured in an accident, or has hearing or sight that is declining, or any disease, injury or organ failure that needs treatment then, yes, there is no charge but the ambulance might take three hours to arrive and then be stuck in a queue at A&E for several hours, or cancer treatment is available but not for two years, or treatments for other conditions or diseases are available but not for five years, and the wait, whether measured in hours or years, hastens death or development of a disease beyond a point where it is treatable.

That is what is happening today. 

Systemic destruction of NHS by Tory government is killing people every day.  However, it is “free at point of delivery.” 

Grotesque manipulation of language is used to deny privatisation (destruction) of NHS.  If vital services, whose existence and capabilities are a matter of life and death, are ruined deliberately to make them ineffective and to persuade (force) people (who can afford it) to use privateer healthcare instead then that is privatisation of healthcare.  Tories claim, with knowing acute mendacity, NHS is “not being privatised” but the reality is that supply of healthcare is being privatised.

Banker Sajid Javid, current Tory Health Secretary, released a statement on March 6th (2022) wherein he dipped into the bag of libertarian contortions of language and pulled out 

we will enshrine a ‘Right to Choose’ – giving NHS patients more options for the treatment they need.”

If we first take the underlined phrases at face value then his comments seem demented.  If a patient requires necessary treatment why would a “right to choose” or “more options” be useful?  A patient wants the best option and trusts a doctor to know what that is.

Via criminal fiddling of words Javid used positive-sounding phrases to imply a very different set-up to his intent. 

In an article for Murdoch’s Times Caroline Wheeler and Javid shared a cacophony of misrepresentation, misdirection, cons and lies.  Wheeler’s role was to help Javid with misinformation and marketing of his swindle.  

She mentioned the appalling delays for patients who need operations and “lack of NHS capacity and staff shortages.”  She noted that “6.1 million people were waiting for routine hospital treatment in December 2021” and “waiting list targets to treat most patients within 18 weeks have not been met since February 2016” but nowhere in her article did she blame or criticise Tory governments since 2010 for the problems.  She presented Javid as someone offering solutions to a problem.  She went beyond client journalism to servant journalism.

[With] the proposals Javid will follow Tony Blair, who put patient choice at the heart of his attempt to tackle waiting lists when he was prime minister in the late nineties.”

The phrase “patient choice” can be spoken only by someone whose interaction with truth and logic is fatal for them.

Everybody in UK knows that some operations are available sooner in private healthcare than NHS and they know that there are medical procedures that are not available at NHS.  If that were not the case then there would be no point to private healthcare in UK.  That is, everybody knows the private option exists.  Most people choose not to take that option.  Most people cannot afford to.

But, Javid’s deception depends on a presentation that imagines a world where patients, the public, are unaware of private healthcare.  Wheeler was given a copy of a speech by him.  She quoted him saying 

The NHS constitution says already that you as a patient have the right to ask for an alternative provider for your treatment.  In practice no one really gets that right.  It’s not really focused on — and even if an individual wanted to exercise that right at the moment it’s just left up to them to do all the homework and they’re not really supported in that decision.  For me that’s not acceptable.  I want to enshrine that right so that every patient of the NHS, once they’ve been diagnosed and they need a certain treatment, they are given options, they have a choice.  It could be that they stick with their local provider, it could be maybe another NHS provider.  And if it is another NHS provider, let’s say they have to travel for that, they should be supported in their travel costs, maybe accommodation costs, including maybe for someone to go with them to support them. Or it could be an independent provider in the independent sector.  The point is that people should have that choice and it should be made easy for them to exercise that right.”

Hacking through Javid’s manipulation of language – “enshrine that right,” “they have a choice,” “independent provider in the independent sector” – revealed the real purpose: Persuade patients to go private.

The “right to choose” is worse than a false choice.  It is use of NHS staff time to promote private healthcare to patients combined with pressurising patients to “choose” the private option by implying that, otherwise, their health or their life could be in danger.

He added that the “option” for patients to choose private healthcare “will help significantly with the elective backlog.”  The “backlog” is entirely a consequence of deliberate destruction of NHS by Tory government.

Wheeler’s adherence to Tory misinformation permeated her comments in between quotes from Javid.  She said there are “billions of pounds of new money to reduce waits.”  That line has the same relationship with truth as Tories’ claim of forty new hospitals.

In his statement Javid said “this week I will be setting out my vision for modernisation and reform of our health service.”  Whenever a Tory uses the word “reform” related to a vital public service it is analogous to a gangster leaving a horse’s severed head in someone’s bed.  Wheeler quoted him using another nonsense phrase – “efficiency performance” – as he claimed he wanted to determine why some NHS trusts “perform” better than others.

The focus is what I call efficiency performance and is around how can we take the very best of the NHS, the trusts that are the most efficient, and replicate that across England.”

Javid is a banker.  He is a banker without morals.  His intent is to nudge people toward private healthcare.  Enhancing healthcare industry’s profits is his only aim.

Free at the point of delivery is meaningless if the NHS has been annihilated on purpose by Tories.  They know what they are doing when they use the phrase.  

With Javid’s plans not only will patients suffer even more but also they will be under pressure to go private: “Pay huge sums of money to these Tory donors registered in tax havens or else you might DIE.”  That is the Javid’s message.

Tories: NHS will be free at point of delivery

Brexit racketeers return with a sequel: Net zero referendum

Having achieved their aim, all the protagonists of Brexit are at it again.

Key facets of Brexit:

  1. Brexit was devised and planned as a tool to concentrate wealth
  2. Promotion of Brexit began years in advance of the 2016 referendum
  3. Brexit campaign was funded primarily by dark money
  4. Russian government was very supportive of Brexit campaign
  5. Brexit campaign propaganda was targetted at working-class voters
  6. Brexit was a lucrative grift for anti-society con artists

Departure from EU’s checks and balances, coupled with a large Tory majority in parliament gained via Brexit propaganda, means the annihilation of democratic accountability, right to vote, legal redress, liberty, human rights, workers’ rights, tenants’ rights, NHS and freedom to protest, and it means the imposition of strictly controlled education, price gouging for necessary public services, permanent individual indebtedness, extortionate price rises and incarceration for political acts.

Brexit beneficiaries are the wealthiest and the most corrupt.

Brexit achieved what its designers sought.

Having achieved their aim, all the protagonists of Brexit are at it again.

Net zero referendum
Effective action against climate change affects profits of fossil fuel and agribusiness industries.  Both industries, and their financial industry associates, are determined to stifle any attempts by governments to enact policies that help to slow down man-made climate change.

One general international climate-friendly proposal is to attain net-zero carbon emissions: To ensure carbon emissions worldwide are not greater than carbon absorbed naturally.

The Brexit mob pounced on this proposal.

The structure, mode of operation, strategy and tactics of their campaign against net-zero mimic those of the Brexit campaign.  Nyet-zero (‘nyet’ is Russian for ‘no’) or, in Russian characters, HeT-zero, has key facets that are similar to Brexit campaign’s facets.

  1. HeT-zero is devised and planned as a tool to maintain and increase wealth of fossil fuel and agribusiness industries
  2. Promotion of HeT-zero focuses on demands for a referendum
  3. HeT-zero campaign is funded primarily by dark money
  4. Russian government is very supportive of HeT-zero campaign
  5. HeT-zero campaign propaganda is targetted at working-class voters
  6. HeT-zero is a lucrative grift for anti-society con artists

HeT-zero campaign is centred on a referendum because it allows the campaigners to present their stance (completely fraudulently) as an appeal to democracy.  They cannot argue rationally or factually against net-zero.  Reality is their enemy.  If they paint their opponents as anti-democratic then they can sidestep informative discussion and make any debate a debate about the right to have a referendum.

If a referendum is set then, just like in the Brexiteers’ campaign, HeT-zeroists will focus on simple and utterly false statements with copious repetition, and will use messaging that pretends to address issues that people face, particularly economic issues.

In an interview in 2016 a couple of weeks ahead of the EU referendum Vote Leave’s founder Matthew Elliott said “the trick for the Vote Leave campaign, then, is to take all of those concerns [of voters] and turn them into short, consistent messages that we can use.”  The same strategy drives the HeT-zero campaign.

Piggy-backing on voters’ concerns: ‘Power Not Poverty’
Fuel prices have risen hugely this year.  Some monthly bills for households have more than doubled.  Many people on low income or Universal Credit (or both) have monthly fuel bills that are greater than their monthly income.  These rises are due directly to Tory government policy that enables privatised energy suppliers to charge whatever they want while their profits are huge and increasing exponentially.  The fuel bill rises this year are a demonstration of extreme conservatism wherein a necessary public service – fuel supply for heating – exists as an enormous cash cow for racketeers while elderly people die from cold and families are made homeless.  

HeT-zeroists are using the fuel bill rises as a means to promote their demands for a referendum.  They claim net-zero will increase fuel bills and they juxtapose that claim alongside comments about current fuel costs. 

Using the template of libertarian deception a tool was created in February (2022) to host HeT-zeroists’ propaganda called Vote Power Not Poverty (VPNP).  Alongside comments on current fuel bill rises mixed deceptively with claims of net-zero’s effect on bills, VPNP uses the same charlatans’ phrase book as every other dark money funded lobby group.  It described itself as “cross party” with no evidence that anyone not associated with The Brexit Party/Reform UK is involved, and said it is a “grassroots” campaign, a lie that is the exact opposite of the truth.

The launch of VPNP was cheered by a predictable set of professional libertarians working their grifts.  Julia-Hartley Brewer, Isabel Oakeshott and Toby Young were among the usual disreputable suspects.  They may or may not believe what they say but they know that latching onto VPNP’s campaign will bring in the TV and radio appearances and the newspaper columns, all of which include a fee, and some random donations from corporate interests that favour HeT-zero.

It is not difficult to know the source of VPNP’s funding given its excited promotion of shale gas.  

The good news is that we have a real treasure under our feet, called shale gas!  We, the people, own this treasure.”

(Note: I lower-cased some initial letters in this quote as a few letters were ungrammatically upper-cased in a Trumpian style.)

The second sentence quoted above is an accurate description but public ownership evaporates rapidly when Tories start brokering contracts and, suddenly, what was publicly owned becomes privately “owned” and for the benefit of the wealthiest.  Privateering is precisely the political aim of the libertarians who are VPNP but, in typical libertarian fashion, they pretend to support the opposite aim.

Pretending to be advocates of a political aim to get votes but actually working toward the complete opposite was an overwhelming feature of Brexit propaganda.  An example was the comment about more money for NHS written on the side of the Boris bus.  Brexiteers intend to destroy NHS.

To emphasise the similarity of the Brexit and HeT-zero campaigns VPNP’s blurb included the line “put British people back in control of their own energy future.”

VPNP had one event planned in March that it depicted in promotional flyers as a “rally” at “University of Bolton Stadium,” the home of Bolton Wanderers FC.  However, according to the club, the VPNP event would have been at the stadium’s hotel, Bolton Whites Hotel.  Like most hotels, it has conference rooms ranging in size from large to medium to small.  The con in the promotion was typical of intrinsic deception in libertarian communication.

Bolton Wanderers cancelled the event when they ascertained the identities of the speakers: Richard Tice, Nigel Farage and Dominique Samuels.

Former The Brexit Party MEP Tice created a commercial property company during the recession in early 1990s and followed that with ownership of a debt advisory consultancy.  He wrote an article for right-wing think-tank Reform praising academies over state schools – he was trustee of a group of academies and private schools.  He is CEO and partner in Quidnet Capital that boasts it “is based in the [tax haven] Channel Islands and allows for the portfolio to become an accessible investment instrument, with high income and strong capital accumulation.”

Former The Brexit Party MEP and seven times failed parliamentary election candidate Farage is an associate of Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Marine Le Pen, he spoke at an AfD rally in Germany and he uses racism as a tool of division and distraction constantly and has been a racist since he was young.  On the future of NHS he said “I think we are going to have to move to an insurance-based system of healthcare.  I would feel more comfortable that my money would return value if I was able to do that through the market place of an insurance company.”  It wasn’t clear what he meant by “my money” because he registers his businesses, including all his income as a freelance speaker and broadcaster, in a tax haven.

Former member of Turning Point UK Samuels is president of Orthodox Conservatives, a sectarian lobby group whose contributors’ opinions include “education must be based on Christian religious morality which is the base for all legal and political morality in the modern world,” “values of Britain, in the mire of unhinged multiculturalism, have become largely diluted and misunderstood” and, on the subject of foreign aid, “the practice of bed [mosquito] nets itself is good, but simply donating them to uneducated subsistence farmers did little to ameliorate suffering.”

TiceFarage
Richard Tice (left) and Nigel Farage

Ticket price for the event was £5.50.  Political “rallies” are usually free admittance because the objective is to spread the word.  Grifting libertarianism is different.  There were also £100.00 VIP tickets including “access to [ironically named] green room.” 

The choice of location – Bolton – was another libertarian lobby group/think-tank tactic of targetting working-class towns, often in the north of England.

Update (17th March): The event in Bolton was rescheduled for the 3D Centre on March 26th.  Similar to the booking at Bolton Wanderers, the host of the event was not informed of the details of the event nor of the identity of speakers.  In addition to the three people named above, broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer and Labour MP Graham Stringer were due to speak.

Hartley-Brewer is a presenter on talkRADIO.  Her single unvarying style of communication is repetition of ludicrous assertions on a variety of topics as a ruse to provoke reactions that, via phone-ins and publicity, assist the station’s income.  Far-right libertarian drivel is her chosen political position.  She has no qualms of how offensive, abusive or dishonest her comments are.

Stringer is a keen supporter of fracking.  He is a trustee of Global Warming Policy Foundation, a libertarian think-tank that is extremely secretive about its funding.

Update (18th March): The event in Bolton was cancelled.

Having achieved their aim, all the protagonists of Brexit are at it again.

Recommended reading
Peter Geoghegan: The Brexit dark money lobby has a new target
Tim Fenton: Nigel Farage Campaign Rally ISN’T

Brexit racketeers return with a sequel: Net zero referendum

BDS: Daniel Korski

Former Special Adviser to David Cameron when the latter was prime minister Daniel Korski has many jobs one of which is cheerleader for Tory ministers.  He is keen to publish his admiration for the nonsense and destruction performed by all the tōraidhe.  It matters not how inept, laughable, dishonest, lazy or maleficent any member of Johnson’s cabinet behaved.  Any and all receive a cheery published message of support and praise from Korski written in a forced unnatural style.

Even libertarian incognizant Liz Truss, who spent most of 2021 signing disastrous one-sided international trade deals in Britain’s disservice, was a recipient of his kind words.  His assessment of her pre-war visit to Moscow to speak at Sergei Lavrov differed from the consensus view on her performance.

I’m not sure I get all the hot takes on the Truss/Lavrov meeting.  It looks to me like the British Foreign Secretary was clear, denounced Russia’s illegal behaviour, defended the freedom of European states and that the Russian foreign minister, true to form, was rude and bullying.”

Truss was performing but her performance was to play the role of a behatted fool.  Korski’s perspective was equally, and more ridiculously, performative.  “Hot takes” and “it looks to me” point to a decline in the standard of education at Cambridge University.

To be fair, he has a valid reason to clap and cheer whenever a Tory minister does a turn.  Government contracts are lucrative, none more so than in the health industry.  In 2018 Korski was one of the original members of former Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s Health Advisory Board; one of his current businesses is “a leading European government-focused technology company.”  

His political position is extreme capitalism.  Like all committed economic libertarians he sees how the system fails and his alleged solution is to go deeper, harder, more recklessly, more viciously and more divisively.  A chain of think-tank circle-jerking involving saboteur of society Daniel Hannan and Centre For Policy Studies’ Robert Colville included Korski suggesting self-proclaimed assassin of NHS Oliver Letwin should be responsible for using Brexit as a tool (its real intent) to “deregulate” (destroy) the remaining protections, regulations and laws that dampen extreme exploitation in Britain.

He has preferences regarding who should be allowed to emigrate to UK.  Speaking about people moving to UK from Hong Kong he said seventy percent have an advanced degree, and the majority are married with children.  A great migration which should settle well.”

Unlike many arch libertarian wreckers Korski could not be accused of inconsistency.  Recently (end of February 2022), in response to a military attack by one country on another including missile attacks and an invasion, he wrote an article for Council On Geostrategy and published several statements elsewhere on boycotts, divestment and sanctioning wherein, to his credit, he maintained a clear unambiguous unwavering political position.

In his Geostrategy piece published on February 23rd he said 

It is time to disconnect from the global economy.  Sanctions have been unveiled but UK, US and EU need to go further.  The West needs to introduce a ban on owning or trading debt (sovereign or major corporate) even on secondary markets.  Then the main banks need to be cut off from clearing or currency markets and removal from the SWIFT payment system. 

Trade needs to be reviewed in total from sponsorship of sports events like Champions League to the right of other state-controlled firms to operate in the UK, US and Europe.  Access to key products required for industry need to be curtailed – such as microchips but also access to Google’s Android operating system, Apple’s stores and AWS cloud services.

People linked to the governing administration need to have their assets examined and, if necessary, frozen.  Anyone working for state-controlled entities should be compelled to resign or liable for prosecution; their work enables a foe.”

His words were clear support for a boycott of goods and services, divestment from businesses and sanctions against a government.  He promoted his article by saying the perpetrator “must be decoupled from the global economy.”

In his statements published in the last week of February and early March he reiterated his demands for strong BDS action.  

In a comment aimed at football administrators UEFA he asked for divestment from a gas company – “if you’re taking money from them you’re complicit in war” – and he said a cycling team should be banned from international competition.

He asked that international phone networks and internet search engines be made unavailable to people: “Google, Apple and Samsung should pull out.  No-one to use search or buy smartphones.”

Referring to a list of wealthy business people who knew the government he demanded that everyone on the list should be “sanctioned,” demanded that all their property in UK should be “expropriated” and proposed that the “proceeds of the sale” should be used for “rebuilding” the bombed country, and he said the Central Bank should be blocked by USA, Europe and Japan to “crash” the economy.

A neat summary of all Korski’s demands filled another statement: “If you tour there, play sports there, sell their art, fly there, eat their food, use their energy, offer them services, work for a state-linked firm – you’re backing an illegal war against an innocent country and its civilian population.  Look in the mirror.”

His keenness for a boycott and for divestment was expressed clearly when he described anyone who has “investments, relationship or business with a state entity co-owned by or supportive of the state” as “full of shit.”

No-one could doubt his sincerity.  In the week that Tory MP Robert Jenrick’s amendment was passed in parliament that curtails democratically elected councils from making decisions regarding investment of pension funds paid by public sector employees, and was described by Jenrick as “anti-BDS,” Tory cheerleader Korski was unashamedly, persistently and strongly promoting boycotts, divestment and sanctions.

DanielKorski
Daniel Korski

In addition to his strong support for BDS he wants military assistance for the people under attack.  He asked whether a no-fly zone is “feasible” and if it would be “worth the risk” of a “larger conflict.”  (Many military analysts stated that a no-fly zone would heighten the possibility of a nuclear conflict because the perpetrating country has nuclear weapons.)

Note: All of Daniel Korski’s comments quoted above referred to and were responses to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Recommended reading: Johnny Vedmore for Unlimited Hangout

BDS: Daniel Korski