""The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson."
- U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a letter written Nov. 21, 1933 to Colonel E. Mandell House.
"We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine and other great
publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected the promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world-government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the National autodetermination practiced in past centuries"
--David Rockefeller in an address to a Trilateral Commission meeting in June of 1991
"Corporation, n., An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility."
- Ambrose Bierce
"There is one and only one responsibility of business - to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game."
- Milton Friedman
"Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone."
- John Maynard Keynes
"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed."
The future is calling. Are you listening?
The economy is in decline, once again, and it isn't just about cycles this time.
There are really 2 problems, one of them being skyrocketing deficits related to the Bush permanent war plan and coinciding reduced revenues due to tax cuts (primarily targeted to the already-wealthy) ... and while that is plenty bad enough, it is really just the tip of the iceberg.
A capitalist economy only works as long as it is growing; the foundation of capitalism is expansion and development. Expansion and development, as permanent features of an economy, seemed possible just a few years ago when we still (albeit stupidly) thought of the world, and it's resources, as being endless. But the world is shrinking so fast that we cannot even keep up with it ... and today we are all aware of how very finite the world - and its resources - are.
The problem, as usual, is that we haven't allowed this intellectual understanding to take hold in our mind-set, in our vision of the world, and we are still trying to carry on as if there were no limits to anything ... and thus we are in for a very rude awakening sometime very soon.
Like communism, capitalism is about to collapse, and as a culture we haven't even begun to think about what the alternatives might be. We are all so caught up in the belief that the collapse of communism was, by definition, a ringing endorsement of capitalism. But there is no logical reason for believing such nonsense at all.
"We" didn't defeat communism; it defeated itself. It was bound to die because the evolution of the world had eclipsed it.
What we need to "get" is that this same truth applies to capitalism. Both systems were built on a foundation of exploitation, of endlessly and thoughtlessly exploiting natural resources (both human ond no-human) and thus both systems were based on bankrupting us all in x number of generations. (Of course, the very fact that we view each other and the rest of the natural world in terms of "resources" is a problem in and of itslef, but that discussion is for another day and another place ... er, page.)
If you close your eyes and listen closely, you can hear the hooves of the horsemen as they grow closer and louder every momwnt. It is not too late, in relative terms, to make changes which can save some of us or most of us, but the longer we wait to begin even discussing those changes, acknowledging the need for radical and systemic change, the smaller the chances are of survival.
We are going to, for all intents and purposes, run out of fossil fuels and fresh water in a generation or so. Our ability to feed the human race is diminishing every day due to unsustainable agricultural practices and global warming and a host of other reasons ... and those are just the most glaring results of our "lifestyle".
We are running out of everything, but most of all we are running out of time.
In a finite world - like the one we live in - there can be no argument against this logic:
The more one person has, the less someone else has.
Take that a step further and it looks like this:
The more any one person has in excess of their needs, the less there is available to meet the basic needs of the rest.
The results of ignoring this basic law are a world in which, just for one example, at least one half of the human population lives on less than a dollar a day, without access to decent food and clean water and in which approxiamatley .1 % of the human population control the vast majority of the world resources and wealth.
I think I heard someone say "That can't be right!"
Well, it is correct, but I agree: It can NEVER be right!
One of the issues that needs more discussion revolves around the roles of competition and
cooperation in a workable, sustainable economy that provides economic equality. I believe that we need to revisit our love affair with the ideal of private property as well. These are controversial issues, no doubt - and more so in America than anywhere else - but I would ask and invite you to approach this topic with an open mind; let your heart speak to you; consider the possibility that this is the only way to "save the world"; or, at least, to save the human race (and, for you Quinn readers, no, this is not meant to imply that there is only one right way to live or even one right way to save the world, but rather that there is a general framework of sustainability that must be adhered to if we are going to stop our war against the rest of the natural world.
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