The debate between those who view climate change as due to
human activity, and the minority who blame it on god, fails to name a cause
other than �us.�
While greed, waste, rapacious use of resources and other
euphemisms for capitalism are mentioned, seldom is heard that discouraging
word. But whether we apply the label or not, it is clear that the burdens
placed on nature, in all its forms, are pressing especially hard because of
what is called the global economy. Its precarious structure is creating
enormous stress on the foundation for humanity�s future.
In fact, the pressure on people may be nearing that forced
on the Honeybee, which is vanishing at alarming rates and for some of the same
reasons that threaten humans. Economic crimes against nature are creating
massive strains on all environments, and all creatures great and small which
depend on them. Commonly dubbed a globalization that spreads new wealth and
democracy wherever it goes, the blight on environments is really nothing but
dirty old industrial capitalism in modern dress.
The Honeybees are devolving under the perversions of
corporate agribusiness, which has been breeding them in unnatural forms so as
to create larger crops of food products. Under the domain of capital the noun,
product, is far more important than the modifier, food. Whether it is clothing,
housing, medical care, or manufactured consumer desires, under the rules of
market capital, sale of the product is more important than its use, if any.
That is the substance of this cause and effect system: It causes social loss,
to effect private profit.
Capitalism produces subjects conditioned to be individually
responsible for their survival, and social formations separated by ethnic,
racial or religious categories. Balkanized groups with identities they are
socialized to accept are fine, as long as they compete for what are supposedly
scarce resources. They must never see themselves as a social organism that
might function best if they cooperated, as citizens in an abundant and
democratic political economy. Rather, the private shopper is the public
mechanism, trained to buy all the things necessary to make it a successful
individual, even though success is denied most members of an alienated consumer
Isolating people guarantees that even if they are materially
secure they will remain anxiously stressed, for the marketing of items to
artificially create mental peace that might be real in a less alienating
environment. We thus have millions with physical security who still pursue a
psychological state labeled personal self-esteem. They purchase drugs,
therapies, exercise programs and other psycho-commodities in order to feel
genuine and satisfied, primarily because they are denied a social union that
might mean less tension and more balance in their lives.
In the real world, material survival is far more important
than psychological esteem, but billions cannot afford the first so that
millions can try to purchase the second. Global and national research show the
same results: The gap between the richest and poorest human beings is wider
than ever, and the number of impoverished is growing. Worldwide, billions live
below the poverty line, while in the richest countries millions suffer
destitution in societies that spend hundreds of billions on weapons, and tens
of billions on pets. This is not because of a demon ruling a country or a
corporation, nor is it thoughtless individuals unconcerned about their fellow
humans. It is the proper functioning of a system which works best when it
enriches some at the expense of most.
Propaganda has long had it that producing goods and services
exclusively for sale at a market and mainly to accrue private profit, is the most
natural way to organize societies and distribute their productive wealth. And
it is as natural as a mother charging her infant for breast feeding. Making
such perverse antisocial-ism seem natural was easier in the past, but present
conditions are so bad that even the most committed marketeers can see survival
problems for humanity. Not an individual, an identity group, a national or
religious subdivision of people is threatened, but the human race itself.
The Honeybee is helpless under the domain of capitalist
economics, but if we continue treating this system as some form of cosmic power
beyond our control, we may well face the same fate as the Honeybee.
It would be simplistic to claim that all problems are caused
by capitalism; the truth is that only most problems are caused by capitalism.
The sooner we stop identifying satanic villains as the causes of war, hunger
and depression, or angelic heroes as the reasons for peace, a full belly and
happiness, the sooner we may learn to transform our political economy. Once we
end the production and provision of food, clothing and shelter simply to create
full bank accounts for thousands of stockholders, we will end the hideous
reality of creating empty stomachs for hundreds of thousands of human beings in
In a world where some diet because they eat so much, while
others die because they eat so little, it isn�t because of the awesome,
invisible power of the universe, nor the militarily visible power of an
individual leader. It is the minority controlled, majority sustained system of
capitalism, and it must be changed for humanity to have a future. That majority
needs to act in its own interests, which means more than replacing leaders at
the top. It calls for transformation from the bottom, where most of us really
live, and it has to deal with what we produce, for what purposes, and how we
see to its distribution.
Honeybees cannot take control of their economy or their
future, but humans can. And we�d better learn to do both, and even more, or we
may soon have neither. Or even less.
Copyright � 2007
Frank Scott. All rights reserved.
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Scott writes political commentary which appears in the Coastal Post, a monthly
publication from Marin County, California, and on numerous web sites, and
on his shared blog at legalienate.blogspot.com.
Contact him at email@example.com.