October 18, 2010
Last weekend the European branch of the Trilateral Commission convened in Bucharest, ostensibly to discuss the West’s relationship with Russia and China and how to tackle the problems confronting the global economy.
Founded in 1973 following the initiative of David Rockefeller, the Trilateral Commission reunites the representatives of Big Oil, Big Tobacco and Big Finance with their facilitators from academia, media and government – from the US, Asia and Europe. Its stated aim is that of promoting dialogue between the business, intellectual and political elites of countries on the 3 continents. In reality, the Trilateral was intended as a vehicle for implementing the neoliberal trade and strategic agendas, thus making the world safe for old-line industries to climb their way back to large profits. Very influential worldwide, it is led by former EU commissioner Peter Sutherland, honorary chairman of both Goldman Sachs International and British Petroleum and so-called “father of globalisation”(a full list of past and present members is available on the Trilateral Commission’s site, www.trilateral.org).
In broad lines, the history and activity of the Trilateral coincide with the history and spread of neoliberalism and globalisation. The spectacular failure of the latter to ensure the progress and prosperity of the Western world will no doubt become – like the Trilateral as its organisational vehicle – the preferred object of study of forensic social scientists, in the years to come. Right now, however, what is important to grasp is that the Trilateral reunites the people primarily responsible for the financial crisis, sluggish or no growth and draconian austerity measures. The result of their activity could be seen in diminished paychecks and in large increases in the ranks of the unemployed, from the US to Romania. Priming the world for the three B’s to activate unhindered by borders, regulations, taxation and the like did not exactly lead to an improvement in our general standard of living, on the contrary. It would be interesting to see, therefore, what conceivable benefits, if any, Romania stands to derive from hosting the gathering.Florian Pantazi