Wikileaks: The Hard Lesson So Far
“Financial asphyxiation” or some synonym is going to be a buzz word that will be popular with politicians (silently) and activists (openly) in future… I guess. Why? I will briefly and emphatically state that the core message and implication of the Wikileaks saga so far is. If you act against the interests of the owners of global and national political economies, legal or otherwise, they will annihilate your efforts through the mechanical ostracism via financial institutions. This is the story and anything else is neither secondary nor tertiary but at best quatenary.
In our world, fund-raising is paramount to fund the efforts of both those for and against the visible and invisible agendas of political economies. The big stick is no longer smear campaigns, assassination, imprisonment or intimidation etc. Even though such tactics may come in handy where necessary and possible. It is now “financial asphyxiation”. Exceedingly convenient, clinically efficient, democratic, legal, bloodless, morally indeterminate, politically expedient, economically omnipotent, ideologically costless. Financial asphyxiation is the new tool of maintaining the status quo. The practice will create costs that will enforce severe conditions of helplessness and incapacity on its targets. What an incredible innovation of institutions.
Put in economic terms, Institutionalist thinkers will have a quite a challenge reconciling this mean innovation. Conversely, New Institutionalists will be congratulating themselves for a job very well done. When you raise transaction costs high enough, it forces organisations into extinction or at least reduces their efficiency by a large margin. The transaction costs of activism are going to very high from now on. But so is the cost of lobbying and politics because activists have an overwhelming incentive to reduce the transaction costs of running the entities they organise. And will inevitably have to evolve capabilities to remain in the game. Or become extinct; that is the price. We shall see.
In our globally connected and financially over-determined world, the days of “S/he who pays the piper calls the tune” have been radically been supplanted by “S/he who facilitates the payment of the piper calls the tune”. Such is the fate of Wikileaks.
This Post Has 7 Comments
This is very interesting. The New Oppression is well-born. When will it die?
Wow! What can I say? The going is really going to get tough just as everyone was beginning to believe that the internet will bring freedom all. Some thing enabling will come up and restore our entitlement to freedom if financial choking wins the information game. Fingers crossed.
Grimot! Nice one.
Hi, yes this is a very interesting post, financial asphyxiation it is, and not just for information, the education system immediately springs to mind too; same thing, financial asphyxiation. Trouble for the perpetrators of this though is that many can see through it and don’t like it to say the least. Ruining socially necessary institutions and using the monetary system to do so is an act of betrayal and a disservice to humanity.
Has wikileaks gone to sleep already or is this a New Year of seals? I read today that bankers Goldman Sachs have invested in Facebook shares to the tune of $450 million with $1.5 billion to come. Outstanding business, benumbing fears of another bubble created, massive bailouts on standby and vast opportunities for financial asphyxiation. Welcome to 2011!
I think facebook and twitter have done a much better job than wikileaks. Look at the revolutions in the Middle East for example. It the focus on the oppressed not the oppressor that brings about change. Wikileaks was a diversion that failed woefully.
@Ken: Your point is well taken. I do believe that wikileaks for whatever it is worth did create a global leap of awareness (regardless of the intention behind it) about bad governance that has fed the movements Middle East and other protests in the world. I would say wikileaks was more a trigger and Facebook / Twitter more the medium.