Saskia Sassen, professor of sociology at Columbia University, New York, visiting professor at the London School of Economics, author of "The Global City"
The radical impoverishment of countries like Greec and Spain is not only about social inequality, says Sassen, but about expulsion. More and more people who are not needed any more in the economy are systematically expelled from the system. In the US a large part of the population is absorbed by the prison system. In order to attract investors and to gloss over reality, the edges of the system are redefined. Many peple are not counted any more, as for example long time unemployed persons, dispappearing from statistics. Financial markets, penetrating new areas of society, play a key role in this process, according to Sassen.
Another form of expulsion is land grabbing. States and corporations are buying up huge chunks of land in Africa, Asia and Latin America – about 200 million hectars so far. Especially the cultivation of agrofuels expells people from their land and creates monocultures. In the long run, more and more areas are converted into dead land. Among the biggest buyers are banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan as well as Hedge Funds.
Since the outbreak of the financial crisis, about 30 milllion Americans have been evicted from their homes due to foreclosures. And foreclosures are still going on. Many of those evicted become homeless, living in tent cities or slag cities. The root of this crisis is the inflation of financial markets, moving 14 times the amount of global GDP – money that has no real countervalue. In order to give an appearance of real value to their financial products, investment banks have pushed poor people into mortgages they could not afford – with dire consequences. These products have spread also in Europe, in Hungary already one million people have been evicted due to foreclosures.
The creation of a surveillance state is also a form of expulsion, according to Sassen, as citizens are expelled from their civil rights. However, the surveillance system is extremely ineffective when it comes to the persecution of terrorists. Recently, a secret department of the NSA has been disclosed with 4.000 employees who are to surveil other NSA personel. The main profiteer from this absurd system is the surveillance industry. The US is not yet a fascist state, says Sassen, but there is a number of „predatory formations“ which might be put together to a „turnkey state“.