I remember years ago watching science fiction movies that predicted the corporate takeover of government (the original Rollerball), the complete corruption of the capitalist system (Robocop), the suppression of innovation by those in power (Total Recall), and a total environmental collapse (Soylent Green).
We were warned.
I remember a decade ago, a friend of mine often saying; “Hard times are coming.”
I remember three decades ago, everyone I knew agreeing that if we didn't do something about the environment, things would be really tough for our grandchildren.
Deep down, we have known for some time that something is wrong with our system – and that things are getting worse.
But we played along. As long as the money kept coming in, as long as we kept getting paid; nobody cared to rock the boat – even if it was slowly sinking.
And now; we are on the verge of losing our democracy, our incomes, our social safety nets, and the environment we ultimately all depend on.
A more recent science fiction movie (The Road) has warned us that money has no value if there is nothing left to buy – and that no one will be spared if the system collapses.
It is imperative that we fix things.
What we have been erroneously programed (by corporate owned mass media) to call “free market capitalism” has only made things worse – on many levels. In fact, what is called “free market capitalism” has actually been a back-door tool for exploitation, corruption, innovation suppression, and a monopolistic takeover by the greedy among the super-rich that will leave the rest of us desperately poor and overcharged for what used to be the commons (free). However, even all of this might be something the world might be able to tolerate if it were not for the obvious fact that we continue to push ever closer to a total environmental collapse.
The fatal flaw of capitalism is in the details.
The fatal flaw of capitalism is in the accounting.
The holy grail of capitalism, the “bottom line,” is not really the bottom line. What the bottom line is supposed to be is a thorough assessment of the costs and benefits of some endeavor. But it isn't. It's just a number on a sheet of paper. And that number often just actually represents what one can steal. Because, as every good accountant knows, a whole lot of information gets left out. Accountants call these ignored issues “externalities” – the costs to society and the environment that don't get counted on their profit and loss statements. For example; the environmental nightmare that is a result of mining tar sands in Canada is nowhere to be found on any paperwork relating to the bottom line.
The “bottom line” is a lie. It is a lie perpetrated by those who don't want to consider all of the costs. In the real world, the “bottom line” is often literally what they can get away with.
Which leaves the rest of us to pay the real costs.
Which leaves future generations to pay the real costs.
Which leaves the environment to pay the real costs.
This is how a pyramid scheme plays out.
Which means that our present form of capitalism is actually a form of officially sanctioned theft – a free-for-all for those in power. The unwritten goal is to take as much as you can, for as long as you can, until there is no more to take – and then the whole system collapses.
Our whole world economy is essentially a Ponzi scheme.
We have lied to ourselves. Some smart (but not wise) capitalists have written up some equations and some economic “theories” to give us a sense of arrogance about our ignorance of the real world. And we have been willing to believe the expedient – to get us what we wanted in the short run. But the short run is over. And if we don't face the reality of our limits very soon, it will all come crashing down upon us.
What we need is a more accurate way of seeing our predicament. What we need is a new, more realistic, real-world definition for the term “bottom line.” I recommend calling it a “real-world bottom line.”
If we could assess our actions with real-world considerations, we might not make so many blatantly ignorant mistakes in the name of selfish short-sighted “making a killing” blind greed.
But this won't happen until we make fundamental changes to our governmental systems.
What our governments need is an infusion of common sense. What our governments need is to get rid of the inherently designed favoritism to those who actually run our governments. That's right. Every government so far has been designed to favor the designers. And over time, whatever rights and protections guaranteed to the citizens get whittled away by those favored.
We need to accept the obvious fact that our economic system in not the ultimate. We need to remember that the governmental system of the United States of America was designed by a rich, white gentry. When the Constitution was drawn up; there were no Indians there, there were no blacks there, there were no women there, and there were no poor people there.
To claim that, from the very beginning; our nation was designed to favor a certain section of the population... just should be obvious.
…But hey; it was better than having a king.
It was way better than having a king.
The people who wrote the Constitution are my favorite heroes. They have created something extraordinary.
But we can build upon their work. We can do even better.
What this country needs is more democracy.
Politicians can be blackmailed.
Politicians can be intimidated to work back room deals.
Politicians can be paid off.
Ultimately, politicians and bureaucrats are the key to undermining common sense.
Individuals can be manipulated.
It is a whole lot tougher to manipulate everyone.
Just look around. There are so many things our government is doing that we, the people, never would have voted for.
Recently, we have witnessed a world-wide class war – implemented in the name of “austerity.” These austerity measures have only served to hurt the overall economies of those cut. But the filthy rich are getting even richer. This is a sign. We are being robbed.
Even the less informed among us have figured out that the economic crisis that created the impetus for gutting all the benefits to paying taxes was caused by the greedy among the rich (mega-bankers) gambling with our savings... And did they have to suffer the consequences of a free-market economy? No, of course not. And they won't have to next time either. This is what a hopelessly corrupt economic system looks like.
These greedy, self-centered, cold-hearted, un-American destroyers of democracy want to be king. That's what they want. They want us to go back to having kings. It's not good enough to be above the law. They want to be the law. They not only want to do anything they please, they want be able to force you to do it too... They don't just want to be filthy rich, they want all the money. All of it.
They want to be king.
And like back in the days of Washington and Jefferson, it may take a revolution to stop them. Only this time, it isn't just about freedom and liberty, it's about the quality of life on our planet – and it's quite possibly about the ultimate survival of our species.