Sunday, March 23, 2008

What Is To Be Done?

I love Earth. It's such a precious jewel of a planet, spinning along in the vast emptiness of space. Up close and personal, it's just as beautiful, with oceans, mountains and forests,waterfalls, ocelots, tropical fish, eagles, coral reefs, redwoods. There's really no end to its beauty. It supports boundless life, yet the powers of its volcanoes, hurricanes and rivers are awesome also.

Humans are pretty amazing also. Beautiful bags of mostly water, we are capable of love and kindness and great engineering feats. We evolved on this planet to be able to survive on what it gives us, but then we learned to take the raw materials of Earth and create more.

And now we come to this. Our love of shiny objects and clever gadgets is about to destroy all that has evolved with us. Of course, the history of Earth involves previous mass extinctions, and some amazing creatures are no longer with us, and new forms of life will evolve that can eat plastic and survive high temperatures, but I still fell it's wrong to destroy our fellow beings out of greed.

Before we learned to farm, it seems that humans got along better. There may have been territory fights, but with nothing to steal, and no point in having slaves, they were just skirmishes. Once some learned to farm and save food, others learned to raid and loot. Once we learned to make stuff, money was invented to help trade. And those willing to cheat, lie, steal and kill became rulers of those who just wanted to get along.

Now we have evolved to a point where we no longer remember that humans used to be able to fend for themselves on this planet. Most of us have jobs that give us money that we exchange for food, goods and services. This seems normal to us. We no longer remember that we labor to create value that is sold by the owners of the corporations we work for.

Americans now believe that corporations exist to bless us with jobs, if we're good, obedient and educated. Americans believe that the unemployed are unworthy. Americans believe that we must placate the corporate gods with sacrifices of taxes and wage givebacks. Americans believe that corporations must be allowed to loot our natural resources, pollute our air, soil and water, make weapons of mass destruction, and use the US military to open new markets. If we don't gladly allow Earth to be raped and looted, and our fellow humans in other countries murdered, the corporate gods will be angry, and take away jobs, and we will be unable to feed ourselves. There is now no crime for which the corporations will be held accountable, for they give us jobs and money, and we believe that they keep us alive.

But we are able to survive without corporations. They are artificial beings, originally invented to allow people with ideas and no money to produce new products, by allowing those with money and no ideas to invest, and those with no money and no ideas to work in the production line. They could be dissolved if they didn't serve the public interest. But now Americans consider the corporate interest to be the public interest. There is no virtue that exists that is considered to be more important than profits.

The artificial item of value that is money now has overtaken the American economy. We no longer produce items for use. 20% of our GNP (according to Kevin Phillips in American Theocracy) is now in the FIRE sector. Finance, insurance and real estate. In other words, speculating with land and money. Nothing of value is produced. Other Americans work in retail,selling stuff; in prisons, guarding the unemployed who ran afoul of the law; and in making weapons of mass destruction.

So what happens when the vast artifice of our economy that is being held together with fake money comes crashing down? Do we turn on each other, fighting for scraps? Or do we band together, and learn again to cooperate with each other and the Earth to provide ourselves with the basics, food, water, shelter, and companionship? Can we learn again that labor means that we make something of value, and that when it's made, we can stop and congratulate ourselves? Work isn't something you do for 8 hours, whether it takes that long or not. It isn't producing more than anyone needs, because your 8 hours isn't up. Work isn't something just for the privileged, it is to be shared among all. Many hands make light work. Why is it that we have people working 12 hour jobs, and others unemployed? Check out the side of my blog. "As long as one working man seeks employment, and is unable to obtain it, the hours of labor are too long". That was written when people still remembered what work was for.

Let's remember again.


paranoid said...

Could you clarify how Phillips comes up with 80%? Table 650 "Gross Domestic Product by Selected Industries and State" in the Statistical Abstract of the United States puts it way lower than that.

Greener Than Thou said...

Sorry about that. It wasn't Phillips. It was my poor memory of a book I read last year. When I went back to pinpoint where he said it, I couldn't find it, so I changed the posting. Thanks for pointing out my mistake.

Anonymous said...

wonderful greener than thou. back to doing what we should be doing, being simply creative beings.thanks

lichen said...

I remember; and I'm reaching for that other world, where we have life-centered communities that have footprintless, kind ways of living with each other on this planet.