People live together because, at the minimum, there are rules & laws along with shared ethical principles that facilitate the normal functioning of societies. This assumption is in turn founded on the belief that facts & truth are the dominant (not the exclusive; that is why we have all sorts of crimes) operating principles behind almost all activities within societies; be it at the level of the individual, family, market, civil society or the state. When these lofty principles are relegated to mere nuisances or worse, instead of being the anchor for social harmony, cracks will start to form on the whole societal edifice. If these cracks are not treated in time and properly, they can end up destroying society itself. Today, global humanity finds itself in this unfortunate predicament!
How did it all start? For a start, we cannot be naive about our very innate nature, which is composed of both virtues and vices. History, if truth be told, is nothing more than the rendering of oscillations between these two extremes. At times, human vices can take over the commanding heights of societies, thereby creating structures/institutions to operationalize the broadly acknowledged vicious sentiments. Even in the beginning, it is such excessive greed of the market that necessitated the creation of its antithesis-the anti-market or the state, to use its modern name. For example, the market exchange of the 18th century condemned human life (African) as mere commodity to be exchanged for all and sundry; colored glass beads, colored garments, silk, guns, etc. Incidentally, the late investment bank, ‘Lehman Brothers’ was the major financier of this lucrative slave trade.
The reigning global oligarchs are once again trying to mimic the old model of accumulation, (primitive accumulation-slavery, colonialism, etc) by preparing and putting in place the required infrastructure, physical and institutional. But extreme greed cannot be sustained. Greed is a powerful negative sentiment that can be triggered swiftly and irrationally easily crushing virtues such as truth, etc, particularly as they pertain to the feeble individual. Collective Greed instigates all sorts of hideous crimes; wars, fraud, theft, destruction, environmental or otherwise, etc. Deceit and lies are only the velvet gloves amongst its varied arsenals. That is why we insist greedy people who are by and large psychopaths & sociopaths (insecure and lacking empathy) must be nowhere near the critical institutions of human societies that thrive to make collective livelihood harmonious and sustainable.
Nevertheless, the ambition of the narcissistic oligarchs will not be easy to implement wholesale in the 21st century, given the level of consciousness of the beast (the global human mass.) But try they will, accumulators have no qualm in denying humanity all its rights including its god-given life in order to possess and grab what they can! These hooligans in suits and their global institutions (investment banks, hedge funds, etc) have already taken over all the three organs of the modern states; the legislation, the executive and the judiciary. To painlessly subdue the global beast they have also managed to create and float all sorts of tricks/gimmicks across the globe, from the sublimely indoctrinating entertainments to kosher sounding think tanks!
Inconvenient truths that are finding their way into the market place are being branded mercilessly as pure lies. And the fabricated lies of crony capitalism are presented as the whole truth! In our Orwellian world, the captured states are daftly serving the interests of the greedy oligarchs, at the expense of the beast, thereby ushering plutocracy at the world scale. The situation has now reached a point of no return, particularly in the developed west. Plutocracy is when money/wealth runs governments. Mark our words; there will be a strong reaction against the emerging plutocracy and a resurgence of substantive (participatory and direct) democracy sooner than we think! We believe the ‘Arab Spring’ is only a precursor of things to come. In the mean time, the systematic distortion of reality, concocted by the powerful global oligarchs, continues unabated. Even the hard sciences have now joined the fray. See the articles on page 50. Crony capitalism is being rewarded for misrepresenting and lying about everything under the sun. Maybe under the sun everything is in its jurisdiction! See Monbiot’s article next column.
What the late Czech president and playwright once said about Sovietism might well be apt for the prevailing crony capitalism: “It is a monstrous, ramshackle, stinking machine, whose worst legacy was a spoiled moral environment.” Vaclav Havel. Good Day!