THE NEW ECONOMY AND ITS CHALLENGES

According to non conventional or ‘outside the box’ articulators of social thoughts, the ‘new economy’ that must necessarily come into global being (if humans want to retain their residence on the blue planet), must incorporate the following tenets. ‘It must be an emerging system of values, practices, institutions, policies and laws that support an economy designed to maximize current well being and social justice without sacrificing the natural world or the resources available to future generations.’ See articles from the ‘New Economy Foundation’ next column, page 50 and 51. Though this statement is obvious and rational to laypeople, it is quite difficult for entrenched elites (of whatever shed) to take in, as its endorsement inevitably disrupts existing global setups from which they profit immensely.   What does endorsing this principle mean at the ground level? For a start, it means adopting a more cooperative approach to collective social existence based on intrinsic human values. Naturally this contrasts with the existing logic of capital, the dominant operating principle of the prevailing world system. As is well known, the alpha and omega of capital is incessant accumulation. Its perverse pervasiveness has, to a large extent, circumscribed collective life.  Instances are when a physician’s interest is to accumulate rather than help patients, or when a politico’s interest is amassing rather than serving people or a judge’s ambition is criminal grabbing by delivering injustice, etc. Existing societies (developing/developed) have refined this essentially economic principle (accumulation), to a grotesque life (social) form, which greedily externalizes costs (to the detriment of the natural environment) as well as polarize existence inside and between nations. The new economy suggests humanity must stop discounting future life, (as the prevailing economic model dictates) and start valorizing it instead!
Why is it so difficult to bring sanity to existing global economy, political governance, etc.? By and large, it is because those who wield real power are those who accrued immense benefits (throughout the ages) from the prevailing order, hence don’t want to relinquish their privileged positions on the account of ‘flimsy excuses’ such as; helping out fellow humans or Mother Nature. In this calculus of theirs, sustainability is not an issue to worry about, since (they reckon) they will be long gone when the stuff really starts hitting the fan! This reminds us of an old Ethiopian saying: ‘Once I am no more, I don’t care if the grass grows or not, said the donkey!’ This logic of the donkey is akin to what the global status quo bases its operating principles on! Who should rescue/salvage the situation? Because those in power are substantially captured by the donkey’s logic, they (and surrogates) certainly cannot be the ones to bring about fundamental change to the prevailing unsustainable global existence. Others more pro-life must come to the fore. Enter the new superpower, global civil society! We have been saying ad nauseum, global civil society is probably the only significant agent of social transformation that is still not fully captured by the prevailing destructive economic model, hence promises to have the potential to freely interrogate existing excesses. Deconstructing the logic of the donkey/capital is an essential prerequisite for initiating the building up of contemplated transformations on a global scale.
The general beast (human mass) is not known for its knowledge, foresight or inquisitiveness and as a result, tends to fall prey to the machination/indoctrination of dominant interests in any given world system. Historically the undifferentiated mass has not been the vanguard of change. What it consistently was/is and hopefully will remain to be, is the ultimate reservoir of collective human “Conscience”; with a capital C. Without it, Homo Sapiens are no different from any other instinct-driven animals of our world. Ironically it is only the collective beast that persistently and instinctively displays unadulterated ‘conscience’, unlike its counterpart the doctor Frankenstein elites of WMD genre. It has always been the elites (almost without exception) that have taken the role of leadership on behalf of the beast, for better or worse! As a current illustration of this ‘better or worse’ situation, compare and contrast the going-ons in South America (available leadership) and North Africa/Middle East (absent leadership.)
Unfortunately, the global beast can also be subdued (rather easily), so long as it is supplied with its regular forage and sufficient entertainment. This keeps it in its (somewhat) comfortable but humdrum place. If we are not careful, the prevailing and highly indoctrinated beast will be more than willing to start rampaging all over the world, on behalf and under the strict guidance of the system’s bosses, including a move against the ‘new economy’. One such example is when poor and uninsured Americans holler against the idea of universal health care, etc. Human history is replete with such happenstances. The collective beast on its own doesn’t have much of a memory, institutional or otherwise and can easily get aroused to indulge, yet again, in all sorts of atrocities when the right demagogue appears on the scene; remember WWII? It is the collective elites of the various countries that initiated the terrible war, but ultimately it was the beast that had to be slaughtered to keep the game going. Usually it is only when the criminal abomination reaches a certain frightening level, the beast starts to revert to its Conscience self! By then the brutes might be done with their criminal project and concoct yet another mission, to assure their privileged place in the existing world. For example in WWII and on the Eastern front alone, over 6 million members of the USSR’s beast were decimated, to say nothing about other beasts from other countries.
Here is what the master of deceit/indoctrination/propaganda had to say about the beast. It is not for no reason this authority in the ‘engineering of consent’ was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century: “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it.” Edward Bernays. Good Day!