The Depression resulted in the New Deal and in policies that promoted economic regulation, governmental financial manipulation, and the extensive application of fiscal policy. In addition, both the Depression and World War II led to the creation of organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The 1960’s was a pivotal decade in this period and in the shift from neoclassic to Keynesian economics…under Kennedy and Johnson…perhaps the most important single influence was one man, Robert McNamara.
Kennedy appointed him Secretary of Defense…McNamara became a strong advocate of a Keynesian approach to government, using mathematical models and statistical approaches to determine troop levels, allocation of funds, and other strategies in Vietnam. His advocacy of “aggressive leadership” became a hallmark not only of government managers but also of corporate executives. It formed the basis of a new philosophical approach to teaching management at the nation’s top business schools, and it ultimately led to a new breed of CEOs who would spearhead the rush to global empire.
McNamara…was…president of the World Bank, a job he accepted soon after leaving his post as Secretary of Defense…he symbolized what was popularly known as the military-industrial-complex. He had held the top position in a major corporation, in a government cabinet, and now at the most powerful bank in the world…an apparent breach in the separation of powers…
I see now that Robert McNamara’s greatest and most sinister contribution to history was to jockey the World Bank into becoming an agent of global empire on a scale never before witnessed. He also set a precedent. His ability to bridge the gaps between the primary components of the corporatocracy would be fine-tuned by his successors. For instance, George Shultz was Secretary of the Treasury and chairman of the Council on Economic Policy under Nixon, served as Bechtel president, and then became Secretary of State under Reagan. Caspar Weinberger was a Bechtel vice president and general council, and later the Secretary of Defense under Reagan. Richard Helms was Johnson’s CIA director and then became ambassador to Iran under Nixon. Richard Cheney served as Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush, as Halliburton president, and as U.S. vice president to George W. Bush. Even a president of the United States, George H.W. Bush, began as founder of Zapata Petroleum Corp, served as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under presidents Nixon and Ford, and was Ford’s CIA director.