The recent flap over Dubai Ports World taking over operations of six East Coast ports in the USA epitomizes a growing dilemma between patriotism and globalization. This globalization-territorial dilemma is occurring as a 36-year cyclical opposition of Saturn and Neptune forms. Saturn’s influence promotes structures such as national boundaries. Neptune’s influence has an opposite effect, blurring borders and dispersing Saturn’s tidy routines and systems. Saturn strives to bring order out of Neptune’s seeming chaos. Neptune erodes Saturn’s rigidities.
We humans are as territorial as other primates. When we buy real estate, we get a piece of land with carefully drawn boundaries between neighbors. National borders arose during the Neptune-Pluto conjunction of 1399 when European kingdoms and fiefdoms marked and mapped their turfs. Even in unmapped areas of our world, tribal boundaries have existed for millennia. Before Columbus, the indigenous peoples of the Americas lived as tribes and nations within known boundaries.
Equally as ingrained in our human nature is trade. They have something we want; we have something they want; we trade and both benefit. What’s different today is the role of global corporations acting as middlemen between trading partners.
Patriotism V. Profits
Americans are becoming aware that global corporations, owing allegiance to no nation, own and control economic assets—and elected legislators—within national borders. Dubai Ports World spent unknown millions to influence prominent politicians-turned-lobbyists; in effect, they bought the US government with US dollars earned from oil sales.
Global corporations are “citizens of a borderless world,” while most people are still citizens or a particular nation, province or state, and neighborhood. The cry goes up: “How can we Americans protect our borders against radical Muslim terrorists when multinational corporations ignore national borders?” The US government tacitly cooperates with companies seeking cheap labor by allowing the US-Mexican border to be porous. Congress seems so helpless to resist the will of big corporations that it violates its own laws.
This dilemma epitomizes the present Saturn-Neptune opposition. Saturn is a conservative seeking to maintain the status quo; Neptune is as amorphous and far ranging as ocean currents and the winds that carry dust from one continent to another.
The development of global corporations over the past 500 years has been marked by outer planet cycles (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), especially Neptune-Pluto conjunctions, and Saturn-Neptune conjunctions and oppositions. To cite just two instances:
1) When American colonists declared independence from England in 1776, they also freed themselves from control by English corporations that extracted their wealth and dominated trade. After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country's founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society. Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end.(1)
This followed the Saturn-Neptune opposition of 1756-1757, and a Uranus-Pluto square, from Sagittarius to Neptune-ruled Pisces, as the French and Indian War morphed into rebellion by American colonists.
2) The birth of the modern corporation was an accidentally-on-purpose mistake made by a court clerk, J. C. Bancroft Davis, writing a "headnote" or summary of an obscure case designated Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific, on May 10, 1886. The headnote Davis wrote said, "The defendant corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a state to deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The Fourteenth Amendment was passed June 13, 1866 following the American Civil War. Its purpose was to provide equal legal protection to former slaves.(2)
This history-changing headnote was written during a conjunction of Neptune and Pluto, and a simultaneous square between Saturn and Uranus.
The World Trade Organization established the rules of today’s international trade. The WTO was officially signed into creation on January 1, 1995, replacing GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) which had been in existence since the end of World War II. A chart for the WTO’s signing shows the outermost planets in harmonious arrangement, indicating that it would benefit the world.
However, when combined with the USA’s natal chart for July 4, 1776 (no matter what time of that day is used) there are some difficult aspects formed which speak to the impact globalization is having on the USA. Neptune and Uranus are conjunct the US Pluto, opposite the US Mercury, ruler of trade. The US Uranus is caught in a T-square formed by Saturn and Jupiter.
And, indeed, international trade has proven detrimental to American workers, that roughly 80 percent of our population who hold down the jobs that produce the corporate profits that are now being invested abroad. The mission of corporations is to maximize profits, so they invest where labor is cheapest.
Until the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 1960s (which was in turn conjunct the US Neptune) the USA had built a prosperous middle class, protected by tariffs on imported goods. Thus protected, the USA was very much a self-contained economy, with most of the resources, know-how and labor needed to create the most dynamic and wealthiest economy on Earth. It was this protection and self-containment, however, which curtailed capital investments.
Big corporations launched a public relations campaign in the 1950s to promote the belief that “protectionism” is bad and “free trade” is good. The success of this campaign is now producing its harvest: the USA is no longer an industrial nation but has become the world’s consumer of industrial products produced in cheap labor markets, generating magnificent profits for global corporations.
The effect on the American public has been something like boiling a frog slowly. The public has gradually become aware of these effects over the past few decades. Now, with the DPW deal, it seems the frog is jumping out of the boiling water. Or, to switch metaphors, there is a new awareness that globalization is colliding with the primal, deeply-ingrained instinct of territorial integrity.
Pluto, meanwhile, has arrived back where it was 240-some years ago when American colonists became aware that they were being plundered by what were then a prototypical global corporation, the East India Trading Company. It was that company’s product that was rudely dumped into Boston Harbor in the now-famous “Boston Tea Party,” under a grand trine formed by Neptune, Uranus and Pluto.
Today’s most successful global corporation is Wal-Mart, although there are also hundreds of others networked with Wal-Mart, and/or generating magnificent profits independent of Wal-Mart, such as global oil companies importing from Arab countries, from whence came the perpetrators of the most horrendous attack on the USA, September 11, 2001. The attack was aimed at American-run global corporate domination, backed up by the US military. The military-industrial complex used to be “made in America” but now outsources to cheap foreign labor. How ironic is that!
Until the takeover of US East Coast ports by DPW, most Americans were impacted by the loss of jobs due to globalization, but were kept focused on fighting radical Muslim terrorists. That focus is now beginning to shift as we realize that borderless corporations have no stake in protecting any nation’s territorial integrity. Even more ironic is that the US military, funded by US taxpayers, protects global corporations.
Pluto Then and Now
Astrologically, this is happening as Pluto moves through the last 10 degrees of Sagittarius, where it was during the build-up to the American Revolution of 1776. Pluto’s sojourn through this area before the American Revolution coincided with the years following Columbus’ “discovery,” when priests and soldiers from Spain came to the New World to save souls and steal gold, inadvertently bringing history’s most horrendous germ warfare in the form of smallpox and other diseases, to which native Americans had no immunity.
Early migrants from Europe to American colonies were coming from a feudal system, the landed gentry and their servants and slaves. The American Revolution overthrew this autocratic system and sowed the seeds of democracy. Now, however, the landed gentry or yore has metamorphosed into a new aristocracy of merchant princes: global corporate executives. They dominate the modern world much as their precursors dominated medieval Europe.
|A rough estimate suggests that the 300 largest transnational corporations (TNCs) own or control at least one-quarter of the entire world's productive assets, worth about $5 trillion. TNCs' total annual sales are comparable to or greater than the yearly gross domestic product (GDP) of most countries (GDP is the total output of goods and services for final use by a nation's economy). Itochu Corporation's sales, for instance, exceed the gross domestic product of Austria, while those of Royal Dutch/Shell equal Iran's GDP. Together, the sales of Mitsui and General Motors are greater than the GDPs of Denmark, Portugal, and Turkey combined, and $50 billion more than all the GDPs of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa.(3)
1. Our Hidden History of Corporations in the United States, First published January 2001, reclaimdemoracy.org.
Modern Medieval Fiefdoms
In effect, global corporations have become the 21st Century’s medieval-like fiefdoms. The executives of these entities are really “citizens of the world.” Does this mean our primal territorial instinct will atrophy like a useless limb and we’ll all conform to the borderless corporate empire? Or will our primate nature compel us to resist, rebel, reestablish trade that accommodates our territorial integrity?
For the next two years, the Saturn-Neptune opposition will influence this question. It will be followed by a more aggressive atmosphere created by a Saturn-Uranus opposition, which in turn will be followed by an extraordinarily long Uranus-Pluto square, in turn creating a grand cross with the USA’s Sun-Saturn square, becoming most exact in 2014-2015. During this decade the USA will either become another neo-colony of the global corporate empire or reassert democracy and territorial integrity.
2. A Buddhist Critique of Transnational Corporations by David Loy, Faculty of International Studies, Bunkyo University, Chigasaki, Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org
3. A Brief History of Transnational Corporations, by Jed Greer and Kavaljit Singh, corpwatch 2000.