Archive for collapse

The Greatest Depression Begins

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 6, 2020 by jtoddring

Goldman Sachs predicts a 34% contraction of economy in Q2 alone, after revising their estimate up ftom 24% – and they are the optimistic ones! This is bigger than the Great Depression, by the look of it. Thanks to fascist lockdown. It’s economic warfare: the elite vs the 99%. As both Adam Smith and George Carlin said, “They want it all.”

JTR,

April 5, 2020

Post-Script:

Smart moves: slash spending; save every penny; plant a garden; buy (physical) gold and silver, Bitcoins, solar panels and heritage organic seeds; build resilience in all levels and ways; build community; nourish body, spirit and mind; help one another: and get ready for revolution. This last round of looting and “creative destruction” by the disaster capitalists, the kleptocratic oligarchs, the corporate elite, will not be tolerated long.

See:

My essay, Global Geopolitics 2020

Trends Journal – always, and especially now

And the Kieser Report:

Chomsky On The Coronavirus: Perspective Is Urgently Needed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2020 by jtoddring

Chomsky clarifies the situation with the coronavirus, saying: it’s serious enough, but it represents not even a fraction of the biggest dangers we are facing, which are nuclear war, global warming, and the rising plague of neoliberal fascism.

(Exactly what I have been saying since January, and before.)

He began the interview by saying he is now haunted  (not by fear of germs, of course, but) by the same thing that haunted him when he was growing up in the 1930’s, which is the rising plague of fascism.

(Again, exactly as I have been saying, and trying to convey to a public lost in panic and hype.)

Note the central facts: global deaths from December 2019 to March 2020: coronavirus roughly 25,000, common flu 110,000, cancer 1.9 million, poverty and hunger 2.3 million, and obesity and poor diets killed even more.

Poverty and hunger – due to systemic economic injustice – along with pollution and cancer, and obesity and poor diets, as well as global crop failure and famine due to equally systemic ecological malfeasance, are by far the biggest health crises we face: not a virus that has 1/10th the mortality rate of the common flu.

Even more important to realize is this simple fact: Neoliberal fascism, which is being imposed as a solution to the health crisis, is both a distraction from the vastly bigger health crises, such as poverty and hunger, cancer and pollution, obesity and poor diets; and also represents a far greater danger than any virus could ever be.

We have lost all perspective. We had better regain it soon.

If our civilization collapses, it will not likely be due to any virus. Even the Bubonic Plague, which killed 30-50% of Europeans roughly 600 years ago, did not wipe out civilization, much less the human species. But either nuclear war or global warming can easily wipe out both – and one of the two most definitely will, if we do not act boldly, decisively and immediately.

Neoliberal fascism is the “solution” which the billionaire Davos elite and their political appendages and minions in government want to impose on humanity. It is not public health that is their concern, or saving human lives – they are quite fine with torture, mass murder for oil and other resources, and with an imposed economic apartheid and predatory economic imperialism which causes 25,000 people to die PER DAY from poverty and hunger. Their interest is in power and wealth. Do not be mistaken.

Further, if the truly fascist and predatory, sociopathic elite are not removed from power, we will most certainly see either nuclear war or ecological cataclysm: because they are addicted to their power games, to empire, and to obscene profits from the planet-killing fossil fuel industry.

The single greatest danger, therefore, is the continued rule of the global power elite. Let’s try to regain perspective. It is now a matter of democratic revolution, or a gulag society, followed by extinction and collapse – as I have been saying for over 30 years. And we are running out of time.

JTR,

March 31, 2020

 

Global Famine Approaches As Pollinators Die From Pesticides – But Virus Hysteria & Mass Distraction Reign

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2020 by jtoddring

Strolling just now, with my belle and my boy, enjoying the spring day, trying not to worry too much about the mass insanity which has gripped the people, as fear and panic are daily manufactured, and a virus that has 1% the death toll of the common flu is hyped as the next thing to the Black Plague – and fascist measures are deemed necessary and are everywhere justified, and accepted – I am delighted to see the first flowers of spring: first yellow crocuses, in a neighbour’s garden, then purple crocuses, in our own garden.

I say to my boy, we should clean out the flower beds now, before the flowers get any higher, or any more come up, so we don’t damage them by raking. But then I remember what we read last spring: that it is important for the insects to leave the cover of leaf debris on the ground until there have been a few days in a row above 10 degrees Celsius (don’t quote me – check that; but something like that), so that the insects can survive the cold; because, in turn, they are the first food for the birds in the spring.

That all made sense, for the sake of the birds, whose populations are collapsing, and the sake of the insects, whose populations are collapsing, and for the humans – us – whose populations are going to collapse, and soon, unless we stop destroying the ecosystems of the Earth, upon which we depend for our lives.

I then remembered that neonicitinide pesticides have been identified as the cause of the mass die-off and population collapse of insects world-wide. (It attacks the nervous systems, both of insects and of other species, including humans.) The mass global die-off of insects is in turn causing a mass die-off and collapse of bird species world-wide.

Additionally, the mass die-off and collapse of insect species includes the pollinator species – butterflies and bees, for example. And, as Einstein said, “If the bees die, humanity will die.”

Unless we immediately ban neonictinide pesticides, and stop the mass die-off of the bees, butterflies and other pollinators, we will experience global crop failure, global famine, and mass starvation, within two decades.

But nobody is talking about that now. Nobody is talking about our fossil fuel addiction needing to be halted immediately, or the pipeline protests that held the headlines across Canada before the virus hype took over and took over our attention.

Nobody is talking about the fact that the world’s scientific community announced in 2018 that we have until 2030 to get off of fossil fuels, or we will experience catastrophic results within 20 years.

Nobody is talking about the fact that the response to the coronavirus is wildly out of sync with the numbers, or that the draconian response is vastly more dangerous than the virus itself.

The US has had under 200 deaths from the coronavirus – compared to 20,000 per year from murder, 40,000 people dying a year from traffic accidents, 50,000 deaths by suicide per year, 80,000 deaths a year from the common flu, and 200,000 deaths per year from pharmaceutical drugs which were correctly taken and correctly prescribed (according to US government statistics).

What do facts matter when there is hysteria in the air? They matter nothing, it seems.

The deaths that will be caused by crashing the global economy will be far greater than the 7,000 deaths world-wide from the virus – which is just a sliver of the 650,000 deaths caused every year by the common flu. And the economic impact of the clearly fascist response, which will be catastrophic, is nothing compared to the dangers posed by fascism itself.

So, don’t worry about global economic collapse.

Don’t worry about pesticides causing cancer, autism, digestive disorders and fatal kidney failure to skyrocket.

Don’t worry about pesticides causing mass die-offs of pollinator species, leading to global crop failure, famine and mass starvation within 20 years.

Don’t worry about fossil fuel addiction causing cataclysmic results within 20 years.

No, focus on a virus that has a fraction of the death toll as bathtub drownings.

Madness has taken hold, while the real dangers are ignored.

This does not bode well.

The people need to question the media, the government, and the health authorities, far more than they do. Confidence, faith and trust in all of these is at record low levels, and continues to fall – but still, people are much too naive, unquestioning and uncritical.

Unless the people begin to question more, think more, and regain their ability to realistically assess risks and dangers – or even, to separate facts and reality from fiction and hyperbole – we are in truly grave danger.

The danger is real.

But the people are afraid for all the wrong reasons.

JTR,
March 20, 2020

Further reading – big picture analysis:

Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies
George Orwell, 1984
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, and Brave New World Revisited
Yevgeny Zamyatin, We
Jack London, Iron Heel
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine
David C. Korten, When Corporations Rule The World
Susan George, Shadow Sovereigns
John Pilger, The New Rulers Of The World
John Perkins, A Game As Old As Empire, and
The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman
C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite
Peter Phillips, Giants: The Global Power Elite
Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom
Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom
Bertrand Russell, Roads To Freedom
Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self
Ronald Wright, A Short History Of Progress

The Most Dangerous Epidemic Of All

Posted in activism, alternative, analysis, consciousness, corporate fascism, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2020 by jtoddring

 

Just over 100 deaths in the US from the coronavirus, and what is the government response? Fascist lockdown. The pattern is the same across the Western world, mirroring the police state which is China. Fascist lockdown. People are hysterical over a virus that kills fewer than bathtub drownings, motor vehicle accidents, air pollution, or MacDonalds – or the common flu. But they’re utterly complacent and obliging when their rights are stripped away, people are placed under mass house arrests, travel restrictions are invoked, and with restrictions on freedom of assembly, divide and conquer is the clear modus operandi, with the urgings to “social distancing”, while entire cities and nations are sealed off, closed down, and “quarantined”.

And no one is worried about the clear moves towards fascism – which, for anyone who has been paying attention, has been the undeniable trend since 9/11, 2001, when the “war on terrorism”, which everywhere has been a war on democracy, was officially launched, and the Western police state construction began.

Erich Fromm (echoing Aldous Huxley and others) was also right: people will take flight from reality if their reality becomes too unpleasant to them, or too painful – due for example to harsh economic conditions – among other, deeper reasons – and they will seek to escape, not only from reality, but also from freedom. Fascism is the result. (See Fromm’s classic of social psychology, Escape From Freedom, published in 1941, in the midst of WWII and the fight to defeat the Nazis and the first wave of fascism.)

Robert Bly was right. By the late 20th century, people in the modern Western world had not only been “dumbed down” by the mass media, advertising, the corporatization of the culture and society, paternalistic and increasingly authoritarian governments, entertainment addiction, mass distraction, materialism and consumerism, and the harmful effects of these on people’s psyches and intellects; but further, the majority had regressed to the state of adult children. And this is clearly, and sadly, the case.

Bly became wildly popular overnight with his book, Iron John. But when his later book, The Sibling Society, portrayed our society as a society of adolescents, suddenly he was dropped from all discourse, and disappeared, almost instantly, from popular culture, and from memory and mind.

People – a lot of people at least – don’t like the truth. The truth is often uncomfortable. Being comfortable is preferable.

Escapism, fantasy and denial are preferable to the truth. Comforting illusions are preferable to the truth. Almost anything is preferable to having to face the truth of our present reality. Apparently even fascism is preferable to having to face the truth, and having to deal with reality.

*

25 years ago I was at an international development conference in Holland. The topic for discussion at the conference was encapsulated in the conference title, which had a catchy, thought-provoking word-play in Dutch (which I am probably misspelling, going solely from memory, and my few words of Dutch): Minder Mensen Of Minder Wensen? Which translates as, fewer people, or fewer wants?

(See Views From the South, for an excellent overview of the central issues.)

The central question of the conference was and is the central question of international development issues, and global issues generally. It asks the question raised by Malthus, and reasserted by the Neo-Malthusians (such as Bill Gates and the Rockefellers, along with other powerful elites, and the Western elite in general). The question is this: Is the central problem in the world over-population, or over-consumption?

The international development community, with people and organizations from around the world, with quite literally hundreds if not thousands of years of combined experience and research behind them collectively, concluded in general agreement and consensus, that the answer was unquestionably the latter: over-consumption is the primary problem, as the figures show perfectly well, and conclusively, beyond all doubt.

By that time already, roughly 20% of the world’s population (mainly, but not exclusively, in North America, Europe and Japan) – the affluent 20% – had come to consume 80% of the world’s resources, and produce 60% of its pollution and waste. The over-consumption of the affluent, and the inequality and disparity of wealth globally, have only grown exponentially since then.

Over-consumption is the overwhelmingly central cause of our problems on Earth, with fossil fuel dependency and war coming a close second and third. Over-population will become a problem soon if left unchecked, but we will discuss the clear, and humane, answers to that, below. But in any case, we cannot be distracted from the conclusions which the facts demand: the richest few are consuming the planet. Period.

The findings of decades of efforts at international development and poverty relief have certain conclusive results. Among them, are this key finding, which everyone in the international development community knows to be a proven fact: Population growth quickly stops, and even reverses, when two criteria are met: a) poverty is eliminated; and b) women are educated and empowered. In the southern India state of Kerala, the twin objectives were met with decisive efforts, and population growth was halted in just a few years.

We now know without doubt, and have known for some decades now, that population growth can be stopped, and stopped quickly, and without harsh, inhuman, or draconian methods. The problem is, it requires a systems change: a sharing of wealth and power – and the elite do not want that.

So yes, population growth, if left unchecked, would certainly become a crippling global ecological problem. However, population growth can be halted very quickly, and reversed, by eliminating poverty and empowering women. The Western elite know these facts as well as the international development community. They simply don’t want to take this course of action.

That would mean sharing the wealth, and worse, the power. They don’t want that. They seem intent on fulfilling what Adam Smith called, “The vile maxim of the masters”, which, as he said, is, “All for us, none for anybody else.”

*

The elite want it all. They are not content to be rich and powerful. There seems to be no end to their greed. The richest three individuals in the US – Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates – now have more wealth than the poorest half of Americans. And they want more.

The richest eight people in the world now have more wealth than the poorest half of humanity. And the trend is accelerating, as inequality continues to soar. As the Canadian philosopher, John McMurtry has said, the super-rich are devouring the middle class, the poor, and the Earth.

We are being eaten alive. And yet, the elite still pose as our saviours, our only hope. Don’t believe the lie. The illusion must be wearing pretty thin by now.

So, sharing wealth and power is out of the question – depopulation is on the table, however, in the eyes of the elite.

And what is furthermore unquestionably on the table, and in play, is fascist lockdown.

As of early 2001, when the global poll of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, came back, the ruling plutocrats, the billionaire club at Davos, knew that they faced a global crisis of legitimacy which was deep, and growing, and would sweep them from power, just as a crisis of legitimacy dissolved and collapsed the Soviet Union like a house of cards – unless they took immediate decisive action.

That was early 2001. Nearly 20 years later, we now have a global surveillance and police state, while freedom and democracy are under full scale attack.

*

Facing the present deep and growing crisis of legitimacy, world “leaders” – or more neutrally put, elites – have three choices:

1. Respond to the people’s wishes, and compromise; and not be quite so greedy for privilege, wealth and power. This is the path of equity, compromise, and democracy. (A deeply unpopular choice among ruling elites, both historically and today.)

2. Get ready to abandon power, and to lose all power. (Elites seldom wish to lose power. Today’s global corporate empire is no different.)

3. Respond with intensified propaganda – and with a resort to force: prepare for lockdown, repression, and fascism.

The Western elite have made a clear choice. It has been made perfectly clear since 2001. And it becomes ever more stark with time – particularly now, in March of 2020, when the test run for full-fledged global corporate fascism is floated, or the final fascist lockdown has begun (at this point, it is uncertain as to which it is, but it is unquestionably one of the two).

The elite certainly do not want to lose power, or be swept from power by the global awakening of humanity that is occurring, along side the growing crisis of legitimacy for the ruling elite. They are in no mood to compromise, and they have repeatedly shown their contempt for democracy and freedom, and their preference for fascism and dictatorship, as US foreign policy spanning more than 100 years, for example, has shown. (See Chomsky and William Blum on the history of US and Western elites’ very strong, clear preference for fascism and dictators since WWII.)

Yielding power is out. Compromise is out. That means democracy is out.

What it means is, the elite are saying to the people, “Let them eat cake.”

Since losing power is out, and sharing power – which means equity, compromise and democracy – is out, that leaves only one choice: the choice of the elite has been made clear: it is fascism, and lockdown.

That is the context to what is happening now – but not even the “alternative media” seem to recognize it, and the people are asleep.

“What do you get for pretending the danger’s not real?

Meak and obedient you follow the leaders

Down well-trodden corridors

Into the valley of steel

What a surprise!

A look of terminal shock in your eyes!

Now things are really what they seem –

No, this is no bad dream”

– Pink Floyd, Sheep

*

Late 20th century and early 21st century modern society has become a society of mass addiction, as well as mass distraction, mass propaganda, mass illusion, and mass escape from reality, above all.

The opioid crisis is just the most obvious tip of the iceberg. When you look at the gamut of addictions, it becomes quite startling: drugs, alcohol, smoking, shopping, consumerism, materialism, status seeking, power addiction, video games, pornography, workaholism, social media addiction, internet addiction, entertainment addiction, media and infotainment addiction (“news” junkies – very similar to people who like to watch car accidents and train wrecks), sex addiction, compulsive eating, pharmacuetical addiction (sometimes necessary, or at least helpful, but often of dubious value)…the list goes on and on.

What drives this mass addiction is a mass, pandemic impulse to escape from reality. (It’s worst in the most “advanced” and “leading” industrial nations of North America and Europe, but it is spreading fast.) And the impulse to chronically and systematically escape from reality is an extremely dangerous impulse, if left unchecked – because reality always wins in the end: whether we face it, or not. We either deal with reality, or reality will deal with us.

Materialism has created a society that is filled with stress and hurry, worry and anxiety, alienation, loneliness, insecurity, inequality, tyranny and toil, meaninglessness, inner poverty, escapist addictions, numbness, and quiet despair. The response of the majority has been to increase ever further the fixation on material consumption, entertainment, distraction, and things. It is a viscous cycle, and there is no bottom to it. It leads to hollow minds, hollow hearts, hollow souls, social decay, decline, and collapse – but not before fascism and a new dark age takes hold, if we are foolish enough to allow this course to continue.

Ann Wilson Schaff remarked, in her book, When Society Becomes An Addict that the root of addiction is the will to escape from life, in order to escape life’s pain. It never works. The attempt to escape life, in order to escape life’s pain, results in an escape from love, intimacy, connectedness, aliveness, wholeness, integration, inner peace, joy, personal freedom and empowerment, meaning, satisfaction and fulfillment, as well as responsibility, adulthood, and reality. It results in alienation, loneliness, boredom, inner poverty, and a restless insatiable hunger for that mysterious something which is always missing. It results in perpetual distraction, self-delusion and escape from reality being the core compulsion. And that is a psychological, sociological, political, economic, and ecological disaster.

And the stakes keep getting higher, with every year of avoidance of reality. Hard core drinkers, drug addicts, gamblers and other users and addicts, come to know the pattern, and its costs. Its costs, sooner or later, become total self-degradation, self-emiseration, deepening dependency, various forms of slavery, decline, decay, numbness, deepening self-delusion, and finally, death.

Now, the core impulses of the majority, which used to be love, compassion, creative work of various kinds, from parenting to carpentry to art, to some other form of meaningful work, along with solidarity and mutual aid; have instead become comfort, the illusions of security, conformity, obedience, herd instinct, and sticking with the herd at all costs – even, and above all, in terms of shared beliefs, which generally means shared delusions.

Mass addiction to entertainment, and infotainment, mass compulsive distraction, mass avoidance of reality, and mass escape from reality, have become the true epidemics – and the most dangerous epidemics of all.

*

While the elite devour the poor, the middle class, and the Earth, at ever-increasing speeds, the mass of people live in denial of reality, escapism, and avoidance of the problems we face. This, by far, is the greatest of dangers. Nothing comes even close – not SARS, not Ebola, not swine flue, not bird flu, not H1-N1, not COVID-19, all of which are minuscule in death toll compared to the mass deaths from fast food, junk food, obesity, poor diets, poverty, hunger, war, traffic accidents, or even bathtub drownings.

If we care about human health, or human well-being, then we should start by facing reality. And the greatest dangers facing humanity, in the early 21st century, are these:

1. War, and the very real and growing threat of nuclear war

2. Ecological cataclysm, due, among other reasons, to our continued addiction to fossil fuels

3. Economic collapse, due to the games-playing of elites who have wildly destabilized the economy

4. Fascism – which, by the looks of things, is here, now.

What will allow these dangers to persist, and to go unmet, unresolved, or to bear bitter fruit, and horrible human suffering? Only denial and aversion to reality on the part of the people can allow the worst to come to fruition. When we face reality together, we can solve virtually any problem. But not until we face the problems squarely, and deal with them honestly and soberly.

The most dangerous epidemic of all, therefore, is the pandemic of denial.

Safety can never come through a denial and escape from reality, nor from lies, from illusions, or from self-deceit or self-delusion. That much is certain. When we have the courage to face the truth, then a greater well-being, health, safety, and aliveness and quality of life, can become possible. Not before.

While the global awakening of humanity is real, and is accelerating, it is also true that it is a minority of humanity, albeit a rapidly growing minority, which is waking up; while the majority remain stubbornly fixed upon denial and avoidance of reality, and ever more desperate efforts to chronically and permanently escape from reality.

The result of a chronic habit of escape from reality, is, of course, a narcissistic regression to an infantile state. This, tragically, and very dangerously, is the current trajectory of the majority. And nothing compares to the danger of this – not the coronavirus, not even the power games of the elite.

Only the wilful avoidance of reality can truly sink or destroy humanity. But the majority of the people seem intent on making that happen. If this does not change, and very, very soon, then dark times most definitely lie ahead.

The Western elite have repeatedly used crises to their advantage – regardless of whether they were natural or manufactured, exaggerated, fictitious or real – from 9/11, and the “war on terror” which instantly became a war on democracy, and a smokescreen for the global war to control oil and other resources, to the economic crisis of 2007-2010, and the trillions of dollars stolen by the elite from the people in the form of bailouts, “stimulus” packages and QE, as well as before and after these major turning point events. In the process of exploiting crises to their advantage, the elite have been destroying the economy, the middle class, democracy, constitutional rule, civil liberties, human rights, and freedom, as well as the planet, in their wake.

We must resist and refuse their claims as being our heroes and saviours. They are not. The elite have become what Hilary Clinton called, “super-predators”. We are being played. This is point number one to realize. Until the people realize this. We are in a truly dire state, and in far greater danger than any terrorist group, rogue state, hackers, petty thugs, or virus can ever pose.

I’ve always been far more interested in two things above all: helping people and other living beings on Earth, and working for social change; and the pursuit of the truth, as the primary tool in seeking to help others, and in working for positive change; much more than in any concern for what other people may think, or how they may react. As Thoreau said, above all, give me truth. Not everyone agrees with that sentiment, however; and mass distraction, and escape from reality, have become the norm.

Human beings are innately intelligent, as well as empathetic, and highly cooperative, as science has confirmed. (See Jeremy Rifkin, The Empathic Civilization, Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid, along with Rianne Eisler’s The Chalice And The Blade, and Murray Bookchin’s, The Ecology Of Freedom.) But we are also highly social in darker ways – seeking the comfort of group-affiliation, with conformity and obedience to authority, and the acceptance of commonly held “herd illusions”, as the dark results. Whether the former set of qualities comes to the fore, or the latter predominates, will determine the course of the next few years, and decades, as well as the fate of the Earth; and whether we live in a police state, in a new dark age, determined to destroy ourselves along with the Earth, or in a free and green society – and moreover, whether we continue to live at all.

JTR,
March 19, 2020

Post-Script:

Someone with a brain, a heart, and courage (remember the Wizard of Oz: these are good values!): Canadian philosopher John McMurtry, author of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism – which I have been meaning to read, and must read right away.

Here is a very short list of people worth listening to most thoughtfully, or reading – when almost everyone seems to have lost their minds, their capacity for clear or rational thought, or their ability to cut through the fog of propaganda, mass distraction and illusion, which have enveloped the world:

(a very incomplete list, of course: I am keeping it intentionally very short)

Noam Chomsky

John McMurtry

John Perkins

Naomi Klein

Gerald Celente

Joanna Macy

Vandana Shiva

Turn off “the news”. Get the facts. Read a well-chosen book. Forget the drivel, and the hysteria. Read. And question everything.

Tipping Point Is Near: It Is Now Revolution, Or Extinction & Slow Death

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 14, 2020 by jtoddring

“Another four years of Trump, we may be passed tipping point, literally. It may be terminal for the species.” 

 – Noam Chomsky 

As I keep saying, and have said for over three decades, for reasons of justice, freedom, democracy, averting the obvious trend towards global neo-feudal corporate oligarchy, and fascism, and for environmental reasons, which are increasingly dire, for the sake of the survival of the human species, we need a revolution. And by this hour, we need it now. 

It does not matter what the odds are. Odds do not enter into questions of moral imperatives, such as this clearly is. If you are walking by a river and you see a child drowning, you don’t ask what the odds are of saving her. You just jump in. Odds don’t matter.

If we are going to die, let us die with honour and with dignity, with courage and bravery, with compassion and with virtue. Let us die on our feet, fighting (non-violently, as Gandhi and King showed) to protect human beings and other living beings on Earth, and to heal this world, and bring about a better world and a better future for all. Let us not die slowly and in the shadows, whimpering and whining and cringing like beaten dogs. 

Let us stand, and let us stand for something, and not stand for nothing but cowardice and reality avoidance and sullen despair. We are better than that. We are men and women, not cattle, or mice, or sheep.

But we do not have to be pessimistic or resigned, in any case, or fatalistic in any way. What we know for certain is that inaction now will exponentially compound human suffering, many thousand-fold. We also know that action taken with courage and compassion is never wasted action. It always benefits others, oneself (since compassionate action is also enlightened self-interest, as well as being virtuous and kind), and it always benefits the world, or the broader community on Earth, which is our larger family.

Whether the benefit is small or large, action always matters. And moreover, millions of people taking small positive actions, can add up to something that is truly far greater than the sum of its parts. It can add up to revolutionary changes –  even, to a new renaissance, a rebirth.

Nobody believed the Wright Brothers could fly. For centuries nobody thought slavery or child labour would ever end, or even should. Many people, I am sure, thought the American and French Revolutions, before they happened, were impossible dreams.

In short, as Thomas Paine said, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

What are we waiting for?

Let us begin.

JTR,

March 14, 2020

 

See also, the excellent films:

Koyaniskaatsi

Baraka

The Corporation

Requiem For The American Dream

Revolution (Rob Stewart film)

Darkest Hour

V for Vendetta

300

And read Ronald Wright’s, A Short History Of Progress.

Here is Chomsky weighing in: the grand old dissident himself

The Collapse of Modern Civilization

Posted in activism, alternative, analysis, anthropology, books, Chomsky, class, climate change, collapse, common ground, consciousness, crash, crisis of democracy, democracy, ecological crisis, ecology, economic collapse, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, Eric Fromm, fascism, freedom, geopolitics, global warming, globalism, globalization, good news, history, imperialism, inspiration, must-read, neo-feudalism, neocon, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, peak oil, people's movements, philosophy, police state, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, politics of oil, post-carbon, reading, resources, science, social theory, sociology, spirituality, sustainability, the world's other superpower, Uncategorized, war on democracy with tags , , , , , , on March 12, 2020 by jtoddring

More than 150 years ago Thoreau commented, “Our sills are all rotten.” He was right. It is for that reason that Western, and Westernized, “modern” “civilization” is collapsing.

This could be cataclysmic, of course, (as in, an ecological holocaust), or relatively peaceful, (akin to the Maya abandoning their great cities and returning to rural village life). As a grand transformation, it could be more of a collapse, or more of a thoughtful and voluntary transition. So, the spectrum is between cataclysmic and relatively peaceful transition, depending on how we respond to the collapse that is already in progress and well under way.

We needn’t be pathetically fatalistic, it should be noted,  for that is self-neutering, self-disembowelling, and self-lobotomizing. But we do need to deal with reality. The slowmotion collapse of modern civilization is unfolding now.

At present, most nations are paying lip service to the growing, interconnected crises that we face. As a result, most nations and regions will likely experience the unfolding collapse and tectonic transition in cataclysmic ways, to varying degrees, unless radical action is taken en mass, and immediately.

Avoidance of reality never works well as a strategy for responding to change.

 

That does not mean that all is lost. We should, along with radical efforts at social change, and serious contingency planning, also look to the road ahead: to what comes after the transition, or collapse, as the case may be – and again, it will be more one or the other depending on the nation, region and community.

Thomas Kuhn’s, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, along with Stephen Toulmin’s Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity, among other important works, beginning with Thoreau’s, Walden, mark the beginning of the end of modernism – and they mark the beginning of post-modernism and the post-modern era. (Or whatever terms we come to settle on, after the dust settles.)

If the terms post-modernism and the post-modern era have any meaning at all, it is not in that pseudo-intellectual bog that is the incoherent and self-contradictory collection of thoughts in Western “philosophy” that have taken hostage of the minds of the Western intelligentsia for the past 50 years, and which is called “post-modernism”. No, it is here, in the deeper, more lucid critique of modernism, and the pseudo-scientific, quasi-religious ideology of modernism, and the social structures, institutions, power structures and systems of modernism which are built on this castle of sand, and which have dominated the world for the past 300 years, and which are collapsing now, thankfully.

And if we are to survive as a species, we will have to hasten their demise. 

Toulmin, Kuhn, Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Fromm, Kropotkin, Chomsky, Rifkin, Kroker, Orwell, Bookchin, Eisler, Joseph Campbell, Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, Allan Wallace, Joanna Macy, Vandana Shiva, Margaret Atwood, Ronald Wright, Jared Diamond, Wade Davis, Mathiew Stein, David Suzuki, and Helena Norberg-Hodge, Michael Hudson, Ellen Brown, Yanis Varoufakis, Naomi Wolf, Naomi Klein, Gregory Bateson, EF Schumacher, Morris Berman, and yes, Nagarjuna, Shankara, Meister Eckhart, Lao Tzu, La Boite, Socrates and Spinoza, are a few of the guiding lights who can help lead us into the post-carbon, possibly post-collapse, post-modern era, through the 21st century and beyond, with confidence, compassion, and clarity of mind.

And we will need every source of good guidance and light we can find.

Keep calm, and let the revolution, and rebuilding, begin.

We must remember, however, that there are two extremes to be avoided. One is passivity. The other is fascism. Both are “trending now”.

JTR,

March 12, 2020

 

Demystifying Economics – Or, Rescuing Humanity From Death By Shared Delusion, Part One

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2020 by jtoddring

To start with, it should be made clear that it is unwise, to say the least, to disparage mysticism. Mysticism, in the true sense, means to dive into, and deeply examine the mystery of being: it means, to cultivate a direct experience of the true nature of being and reality. It is a philosophical-ontological-epistemological investigation that is not content to rest with second hand opinions or mere conjecture, or the castles made of sand that are ideological constructs of ideation and philosophical speculation – an investigation into the nature of being and reality which is radically empirical, or in contrast to virtually every other approach, including the “scientific”, the only truly empirical approach. Direct contact with reality should appeal to us, not be something we scorn. Hence, mysticism should not be disparaged, but investigated, and plumbed. Which is to say, being should be investigated and plumbed. Mystification, however, is another matter entirely.

While mysticism, in its true sense, is a positive and direct investigation of the real; mystification is something altogether different. And mystification reigns in modern society – particularly in “the dismal science” (which is profoundly unscientific, and more medieval than it would ever dare to admit) which is the (pseudo-academic) field of economics.

Mystification means, of course, to obfuscate, to muddy, cloud, or confuse – whether intentionally or unintentionally. Mystification does not help us. Demystification does.

After three a half decades and fifty thousand hours of study, research and reflection in the areas of philosophy and politics, and the realms these are connected to – which are all realms: including science, world religions, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, mythology, ecology, and economics – I have begun to decrypt the puzzling palace in the sky which is known as “economics”.

I am not formally trained in economics, I hasten to say. And for those of us not formally trained in economics, economics can seem impenetrably baffling, cryptic, obscure, arcane, esoteric, filled with hopelessly vague jargon and jingo, and steeped in a veil of deep, thick, all-concealing fog. For those who are formally trained in economics, I would say, the fog is thicker still – for the training is one of indoctrination, rather than education; as is the norm in modern society, but only more so.

Why is economics so layered in fog? I propose that there are several reasons or causal factors involved:

1. The profession must guard the gates, lest too many join, and the price the high priests (“economists” and economics professors) can charge for their services, be reduced. This is common among many professions. And the mystification unintentionally created around the “discipline” is intended, however unintentionally, to keep out the riffraff, so that those working in the field can keep their prices for their services high. Lawyers, accountants, engineers, doctors, psychiatrists, stock brokers, investment managers and hedge fund managers….many befuddle themselves and others by unconsciously keeping to obscuring and counterproductive jargon and jingo, rather than speaking or writing in plain words. But as it has been said of physics, and science more broadly, and it applies to all fields: the measure of your understanding of the subject is whether you can express it in layman’s terms that a general audience can understand. Philosophers (I am embarrassed for my field to say it) are among the worst for this fault. And economists are no better. Their vagueness does not indicate extreme competence, much less genius; but more commonly, shared delusions, and profoundly sloppy thinking. But all this must be hidden, so that the ranks remain relatively closed and small, that is, elite, and thus the failings are hidden while the price tag of their services, however dubious, remains high. It’s a matter of artificial scarcity, public relations and marketing, in sum, which causes a large part of the obfuscation in the field – and obfuscation is its “profoundly abnormal norm”.

*

But there are other reasons for economics to be obscure. The subject matter is complex to begin with, and in reality. This is the case in many fields, including economics. If economics is the realm of human material interactions, with or without the use of currency or money as intermediaries, then it is naturally complex. Coming to clarity in such a field is therefore unsurprisingly challenging, as with most fields – but far from impossible, even without formal training; and especially so without formal training (like a poodle) and “education”, since the indoctrination factor is typically far less.

There are now seven billion human beings on Earth, roughly speaking, and trillions of other living creatures, all interacting within local, regional and global economies, within local, regional and global ecosystems, on a small, fragile, beautiful, life-giving planet that is home to almost infinitely intricate systems of interaction and interdependence.

Ecology is the broader study of this field of interaction. Sociology, anthropology, history and political-economy are subsets of this global field of interactions – among others, such as systems theory, chaos theory, physics, biology and psychology.

Political-economy in particular cannot be separated into separate fields of study – politics and economics – without both being lost in utter confusion. And nor can economics be separated from ecology, which is the greater system in which economics, as a subset, is embedded, without severe confusion, illusion, delusion, and disaster ensuing.

From this simple statement of facts we can conclude two further things, as a start:

2) Economics is going to be riddled with confusion, illusion and delusion if it is studied in isolation from the larger fields of political-economy, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and above all, ecology. Since this is how orthodox economics are practiced, we can see why orthodox economics is not only layered over with mystification – it makes no sense, because it truly makes no sense: it is steeped in delusion, arising from a radical disassociation from, and denial of reality. Economics is confusing because it is filled with confusion, quite simply – radical confusion, to the point of sheer delusion.

3) Further, since the interaction of seven billion people and trillions of other living beings within interlinked and interdependent local and global ecosystems makes for essentially incomprehensible systems complexity – for any supercomputer, cloud of supercomputers, or any human mind (the latter being, by the way, not just at present but probably forever, far superior in analytical and synthesis ability, not to mention categorically superior in value assessment, to any computer or hallowed AI).

Therefore, the study of economics, like the broader studies of political-economy, sociology, anthropology, history or ecology, must be approached with an ever-attentive balancing of both confidence and also humility. Hubris is our current downfall, in both the narrow sphere of economics, and in the broader spheres of hard and “soft” sciences and humanities, and in our general modern society.

That hubris will be corrected in one of two ways: either our civilization will collapse, under the weight of its orthodoxy and shared delusions, which is to say, under the weight of its hubris; or we will rediscover an open-minded sense of wonder and awe, as Einstein recommended, and with it, a kind of balancing of confidence, dignity, and yes, humility, which Renaissance society understood to be essential to a good society, or even a sane society, or a sane or decent life.

But at present, the pervasiveness of hubris in both economics and the broader society makes for widely shared delusions, and that means mystification, and dangerous levels of denial, and hence, a pervasive fog.

4) Neoclassical orthodox economics tells itself, and tells the world, that a) the orthodoxy is correct and true – like an unquestionable medieval religious doctrine, upheld and spoken by the mysterious high priests; and tells itself and the world that b) the global economic system of neoliberalism is beneficial to all human beings, or at least the great majority – and to all people in the long term; and tells itself and the world that c) the economic orthodoxy and global economic system are at least neutral in terms of the planet we live on, if not actively improving it.

(Note the legacy of John Locke, and the idea that nature and the wilderness have no value, until the forest is cut down and turned into lumber, or toilet paper, at which time it is redeemed and “improved”. Note also that neoliberal economic imperialism, or corporate globalization, follows the history of previous empires: “This is for your own good. We are on a civilizing mission. We are helping you.” No wonder Thoreau remarked, “If I knew someone was coming to help me, I would like to get as far away as possible.”)

All three assumptions, or holy dogma, are simply untrue, demonstrably false, and based on lies, illusions, delusion, and a radical dissociation from reality: economic orthodoxy is not based in reality and not sound; and the global neoliberal economic system is not aiding the great majority of the people, but looting and shackling them; and it is not neutral toward nature, or improving it, but looting and razing it. Unless one is a dedicated ideologue – or an orthodox economist, which is the same thing, as well as a secular fundamentalist – these things are becoming quite obvious, and undeniable.

The result is that economists have to lie to themselves systematically, and believe their own lies – which means, to delude themselves, and render themselves functionally insane. If they did not, they would have to, not only question neoclassical orthodox economics and neoliberalism, but reject the lot entirely.

Few are courageous enough, either morally or intellectually, to question or challenge their profession, their holy dogma, their society, or the hands that feed them – whether directly or indirectly. (Careerism, dedication to a paycheck over basic sanity, integrity, conscience or common sense, and unwavering obedience to authority, along with conformism, tend to rule the academy, and particularly the economics department, which couldn’t say “shit” if it had a mouthful, but would only smile and say, “Yes, master.”) Therefore, mystification is the inevitable result of an intellectual system, doctrine, and field which is based in lies, willful ignorance, denial and delusion.

There are many who will argue against the claims I have made here, of course. Most of them are economists, naturally, or members of the ruling business elite or their loyal servants in politics, academia and the media. And many will cite figures and statistics to back their dismissal of what I have asserted here – that the economic orthodoxy is based upon lies, delusion, self-serving rationalizations and self-deceit, and a radical denial and dissociation from reality. But we should remember, numbers, figures and statistics can be massaged, fudged, wildly distorted, or simply made up.

A forensic accountant who was interviewed by Canada’s public state media, the CBC, said that most of the books and economic reports issued by corporations belong in the fiction section.

“Creative accounting” is now the norm. Moreover, both big business and big government utilize highly fictional accounting and economic reporting practices. 2+2, we are supposed to believe, equals five.

Governments now routinely lie about employment rates and inflation rates, for example. Job creation figures are also more fiction than reality, considering precarious, low-wage “McJobs” are the mainstay of most “job creation” figures reported – jobs which no one can live on.

Employment rates don’t account for the growing and vast ranks of the working poor. And unemployment rates don’t count the growing underclass, a large percentage of which have given up on finding regular paid jobs.

And while official inflation rates run at 3% or lower, those official rates leave out giant increases in housing costs, rent, home heating, transportation, education and health care costs – these things are not considered essential to life, we are to suppose, so they are not counted into the official inflation numbers. Real inflation rates are typically closer to 6-9%.(See Gerald Celente, Trends Journal, and Shadow Stats.)

There has supposedly been an economic “recovery”. (Remember that I predicted the 2007-2010 economic crisis, when virtually everyone was saying things are just rosy.) The “recovery” has driven the stock market to new highs. But the stock market is now radically out of touch with the real economy.

What was done was to inject trillions of dollars of money-printing into creditor’s pockets – banks “too big to fail” and economic elites too big to jail – with the promise that it would trickle down. Well, the people have been lied to, swindled, and trickled on. The billionaires got richer, while poverty and inequality soared.

This was not a recovery. It was a blood-letting: the super-rich accelerated their devouring of the middle class, the merely affluent, the planet, and of course, the poor. In the process, the debt bubble, the asset bubbles, and “the everything bubble”, simply grew exponentially bigger. When it blows, as it will, it will be greater than the Great Depression. And “the recovery” has only made it so that the coming crash will be far bigger.

(Don’t wait until your money is worthless before diversifying, moving your money out of paper money, and building real resiliency, by the way.)

By some official figures, world poverty rates are falling. But, is being driven off the land and rural farms and into shantytowns and slums, to go from subsitence farming to desperately poor, precarious workers in cities, a decrease in poverty? In many cases, if not most, the opposite is true.

The newly urbanized poor, driven off the land and into the slums, in general have more income, yes, more precarious paper money, of ever more dubious value or worth; but their lives are more precarious, less secure, and in general, more impoverished, degraded and degrading – and more desperate, not less: exactly as with the land enclosure acts of Europe, generations ago, which was a feeding frenzy of the aristocracy, the elite, upon the peasantry, the great majority; which gave rise to what is called the industrial revolution, and “progress”.

God bless the robber baron parasites! They are our salvation!

Poverty is rising, and inequality is soaring, while precarious work and living conditions are becoming the norm for the overwhelming majority of people world-wide. This is progress? This is a rising tide lifting all boats? No, this is rape and pillage economics, economic imperialism, economic apartheid, or simple cannibalism of the middle class and poor, along with the planet, by the super-rich billionaire, plutocrat class – the rentier class.

Remember what Mark Twain said: “There are lies, there are damned lies – and then there are statistics.”

The fact is that neoclassical orthodox economics and neoliberalism represent a body of thought which is radically out of touch with reality, in radical denial of reality, and is radically delusional – at best, if not simply deceitful, and based upon lies. (In part, it is simply Machiavellian, but cannot admit it.) As a result, the pseudo-intellectual field of economics, and the actual real-world global economic system which it upholds and perennially defends, like guardian high priests, or deranged holy war paladins, is causing exponentially growing human suffering and ecological devastation, and will result soon in neofeudalism, crypto-fascism, and a new dark age, followed by the collapse of human civilization.

These are the facts that the majority of people, who are not economists, nor among the self-deceiving business, “intellectual” or political elite, are coming to perceive and to realize. In short, the people must trust their instincts more: the emperor truly does have no clothes – and the elite and their high priests are quite insane.

To puncture and rupture and pierce this bubble of shared delusion is thus a moral responsibility, not only of economists, but more importantly, of all thinking people – before we create, or allow to be created in our names, a global sweatshop, a global plantation, a global gulag, and a global fascist neofeudalism, that will make the Dark Ages look like a picnic; and will lead, in the end, and very soon, to the collapse of our civilization, in either nuclear war or ecological holocaust.

*

Awake now, people. The emperor has no clothes. The elite are robbing us blind, looting and pillaging the planet, and amassing vastly excessive powers, leading to both global fascism, and global collapse.

We must stop this madness now. Think, question, read, listen – and hear; then speak, and act.

As Thomas Paine said, “It is in our power to begin the world again.” Well, we simply must, or else perish, slowly and painfully, by result of our own hubris, or inability to question the high priests of the reigning orthodoxy of a delusional society that is clearly off the rails, and headed for disaster.

As the Canadian environmental scientist and geneticist, David Suzuki said, “Orthodox economics is a form of insanity.”

Well, the madness must end now.

JTR,
March 1, 2020

 

For further reading, talks, interviews, videos, and general clarification, in terms of economics narrowly, but critically, and other inseparably inter-related areas, see:

Max Keiser
Gerald Celente
Paul Craig Roberts
Matt Taibbi
Susan George
Michel Chossudovsky
Steve Keen
Ann Pettifor
Joseph Stiglitz
Yanis Varoufakis

And equally important, for critical context and perspective:

EF Schumacher
Gregory Bateson
Joanna Macy
Rianne Eisler
Murray Bookchin
Bertrand Russell
Peter Kropotkin
Marx (of course – because he was a brilliant sociologist,
despite being a terrible political philosopher)
David Suzuki
Jared Diamond
Ronald Wright
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Vandana Shiva
Naomi Klein
Jeremy Rifkin
Aldous Huxley
Alan Watts
Allan Wallace
David Bohm
Erich Fromm

And perhaps especially:

Michael Hudson
Ellen Brown
Daly & Cobb
John Perkins
John Ralston Saul

 

 

%d bloggers like this: