Archive for economics

Globalization: Killed By Coronavirus?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 10, 2020 by jtoddring

Globalization was already a dying ideology and socio-economic-political order, program, or pattern, by 1999, twenty years ago. The defeat of the MAI and the Seattle World Trade Talks made that clear. As economic analyst Max Keiser has said, de-dollarization and de-globalization are two of the major on-going patterns or trends  world-wide. This was well underway before the latest virus hysteria, but the fear-mongering and draconian responses, especially in China, and now also Italy (both authoritarian regimes) has certainly accelerated the trend toward the end of globalization.

JTR,

March 10, 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

 

 

Economic Inequality: It’s Far Worse Than You Think – Scientific American

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2016 by jtoddring

The great divide between our beliefs, our ideals, and reality

Source: Economic Inequality: It’s Far Worse Than You Think – Scientific American

 

I don’t normally post anything on my blog other than my own original articles and essays, but sometimes a rare article or video is just too important to pass up, and needs to be highlighted. This is one of them.

And once you’ve finished that short, pithy piece, here are a few more I would urge everyone to read:

 

 

Davos’ Blind Eye: How the Rich Eat the Poor and the World

https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/the-davos-blind-eye-how-the-rich-eat-the-poor-and-the-world

 

“The pitchforks are coming . . . for us Plutocrats” – Nick Hanauer, Politico Magazine, 6/26/2014

 

Prospects For America: Sanders vs Civil War,
By J. Todd Ring, February 15, 2016

https://jtoddring.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/prospects-for-america-sanders-vs-civil-war/

 

Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium – Volume One:

Introductory Essays in Political-Economy, Social Analysis and the State of the World

By J. Todd Ring

http://www.amazon.com/Enlightened-Democracy-Millennium-Introductory-Political-Economy/dp/1481074776/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455111715&sr=1-1&keywords=ring+enlightened+democracy

 

Neoliberalism, the Shock Doctrine and Disaster Capitalism

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2015 by jtoddring

Normally I post only essays that I have written on my blog, but this deserves to be an exception to the rule. This is a true Must-Watch. But before watching the video below, please take a few minutes to read my own analysis of neoliberalism, and what it means for humanity and the earth.

Naomi Klein clarifies the history of neoliberalism and the current state of the world in a few short minutes.

100,000 protests a year in China now, protests across Europe and North America, rising popular discontent with growing inequality and poverty, increasing cuts to social programs, and neoliberal austerity measures…. What is happening, and why? Watch the video below. But first, read this.

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In a nutshell, neoliberalism is the reigning global ideological orthodoxy which puts corporate profits, and corporate powers, above people, the environment, and also democracy. It is a disaster for everyone but the super-rich global investor class. It needs to be rejected, firmly and categorically, as many nations have begun to do. But first, it needs to be understood. Most people do not yet understand it, and they need to, because they are being devoured by it, and their countries and world are being devoured by it.

The advocates of the new global ideological hegemony of neoliberalism claim that it lowers debts and deficits, creates strong economies, and all boats rise on the rising tide – the traditional trickle down theory. But the reality is precisely the opposite.

Neoliberalism has created economic chaos and instability, bubbles and crashes, wild speculation, the virtual gutting of main street, bloated debts, full-scale corporate welfare, and bankrupting “bailouts” and “stimulus” packages, which are giant acts of theft from the public purse, and gigantic gifts to the robber baron class of the corporate raiders, while the people struggle and are forced to face “austerity measures”.

Neoliberalism means gigantic tax breaks and public subsidies for large corporations and the rich, with austerity programs for the other 99% of the people, as health care, education, and other programs which help the people, are slashed and burned to the ground, ripping the safety net out from underneath them, and as a result, creating more desperate, and hence, more pliable and obedient workers, and the privatization of virtually everything, meaning, the corporate take-over of everything, while destroying the economy, plundering the treasuries and the nations of the world, creating soaring unemployment, poverty and inequality, an explosion of slums, the return of walled communities, just as in the medieval era, and creating ecological disaster as well as rising social instability; and all the while, deregulating big business, and giving the corporations and the super-rich the freedom to do whatever they like, and to be above the law – but, with increasingly draconian and often literally fascist means of repression for the people, in order to keep the people under control during the increasingly precarious, poor and insecure conditions under which they are forced to live.

It is true that neoliberalism has created a large middle class in China, India and Latin America, but it has done so at tremendous cost. Firstly, there is tremendous devastation to the environment from this economic model, and the way in which wealth is being created – all questions of the distribution of wealth aside.

Secondly, it has spread the social disease of materialism and consumerism to enlist more people around the world into its ranks. The culture and lifestyle of materialism and consumerism is not sustainable for North America and Europe, and it is not sustainable anywhere else in the world. We have to be absolutely clear about that.

Secondly, while corporate-driven neoliberalism is sowing environmental cataclysm, it is also sowing wild, historically unprecedented, and rapidly growing inequality. Yes, there is now a large middle class in China, India, Latin America, parts of Africa, and much of Asia and Eastern Europe, but most of the wealth being generated under the neolibeal model is going to the top 1% – exactly as it was intended to do – while the bottom 80-90% of the people live in increasing insecurity, or are actively being pushed down, further into poverty.

So the entire economic and political model is a social, environmental, and economic disaster, with only the super-rich, and to some small extent, in some places, a small percentage of the people who are the affluent middle class, who benefit.

Meanwhile, the very policies of neoliberalism have created a flight of production and profits out of the richest nations in North America and Europe, as manufacturing is sent to low-wage, low-regulation regions. This has led to soaring unemployment, poverty and inequality in North America and Europe, and a virtual elimination, or evisceration, of the middle class on two continents. And the people in these countries are understandably very angry about this, and social unrest is rising rapidly, and coming to a boiling point.

Worst of all, neoliberalism is accelerating the corporate take-over of democracy, and the destruction of democracy, as large corporations grant themselves, through their political proxies and lapdogs, powers that supersede, transcend, and effectively over-rule and nullify, the powers of parliaments and democratically elected governments.

Neoliberalism is, in short, the creation, not just of extreme inequality, along with social and economic chaos and instability, and extreme environmental devastation, but also, the creation of a new empire, and a new oligarchy. The pharaohs would be envious of the stratospheric wealth and powers of the new oligarchs: the de facto world government of the billionaire class. But we should be very concerned, because democracy and freedom are being destroyed. If for no other reason, this is sufficient reason to reject neoliberalism entirely.

Neoliberalism is essentially a rape and pillage economic model that leads us into neo-feudal corporate rule, or corporatism, which, as Mussolini said, is the proper name for fascism. Something has to give. This program, agenda, orthodoxy or ideology – this game plan that has been foisted upon the people of the earth by the corporate elite, and which benefits only the corporate elite, has to be jettisoned, and now.

*

Money and wealth are being sucked up and siphoned off by a global rentier class, the billionaire elite; and the 99% of humanity who are not among the wealthy elite are suffering under this current corporatist, neoliberal agenda – which, as Chomsky has said, essentially means “profits over people”. Meanwhile, the economy is getting more and more unstable, while debts are reaching crisis levels, and the whole order is set to implode and collapse, like a house of cards – for reasons of growing social, economic, and also ecological instability.

The neoliberal model is now in crisis because of its disastrous effects on the majority of the people, as well as the environment, democracy, and also the economy. The model was forced on Chile, under the dictator Pinochet, and even Pinochet had to abandon it, because it destroyed the economy, as Greg Palast makes clear.

In Argentina, the model was applied, as it was forced on the world, and the model also failed, as it has failed everywhere it has been imposed. In the ’90’s Argentina was following the rules, obeying the IMF, and adhering to the “Washington Consensus” of Friedmanite, Chicago School of Economics, neoliberal doctrine, and Argentina was held up as the poster child of success under that model. But 60% of the people fell into poverty, capital flight was enormous, and finally, the economy collapsed – precisely due to the neoliberal orthodoxy. So the people toppled five presidents in three weeks, and threw the neoliberals from power. Now Argentina has begun to recover economically, because it has rejected neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism is the ideology of corporate globalization, to put it succinctly. For most people today, that is enough to reject it, because, as polls have shown, the people are overwhelmingly opposed to it. A recent poll in Canada revealed that 70% of Canadians believe that corporate globalization has been bad for the country and the people. The corporate elite know that their program is wildly unpopular. that is why the “trade deals” – which in truth are corporate rights agreements – are discussed and signed in private, and in secret.

The crisis of legitimacy for the reigning business and political elite grows daily, and is rapidly nearing a tipping point, when the system will simply collapse, because the people have rejected it – just as they rejected the command and control economy and the entire social structure of the Soviet Union. But the fight is not over yet, and we should be anything but complacent.

The key reason why neoliberalism, or corporate globalization, must be rejected, among many other reasons, is that it is a direct assault on democracy by the corporate powers. As the great British Parliamentarian, Tony Benn said, “The big question today is, “Will globalization allow democracy to survive?”” We cannot afford to be complacent about that question, or to take a “wait and see” attitude.

Democracy is under full frontal attack by what Thomas Jefferson called, “The new moneyed aristocracy”. Complacency is not a luxury that we can afford.

Watch this short video by Canadian journalist and author, Naomi Klein, then see my youtube channel for more insightful videos. Look for the playlists: Must-watch, and, Economics In The Real World.

J. Todd Ring,
October 17, 2015

Corporatism, capitalism and real alternatives: On the power to choose our destiny

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2014 by jtoddring

Corporatism is simply a more virulent form of capitalism – or a late stage of capitalism: it is what happens when capitalism is left unchecked, to run its own course. First comes the tendency towards ever-increasing concentrations of money, resources and economic power under a capitalist economy, as Marx rightly predicted; then comes crony capitalism, as politicians are corrupted by big money interests; then comes the merger of business and the state, which is corporatism, and which is the very definition of fascism, as Mussolini himself said, which is the final culmination of unchecked capitalism, as the business elite or oligarchs simply co-opt or take over the government and the state, turning the capitalist economy and nominally democratic societies into a neo-feudal order of brutal and anti-democratic, tyrannical oligarchy, or rule by the business elite.

This latter stage of capitalism, by the way, the merger of business and the state, or the birth of corporate fascism, is what we are now entering, and that will be our dreadful fate if we do not act to change it, and now.

In either case, it is fair to say that either capitalism or corporatism are bad ideas; and yes, there are not only theoretically possible alternatives, but proven alternatives that offer far better results in terms of human well-being, actual functioning democracy, economic prosperity and stability, real freedom, empowerment of the people, justice, equality, peace and environmental sanity.

One example is the Mondragon co-op, which is a network, federation, or co-op of co-ops, where the workers own the businesses directly – not the state, under the control of mandarins, bureaucrats or political elites, and not corporate oligarchs or shareholder elites, but the workers directly, at the local level – and where the workers elect their managers and directors at an annual general meeting, and decide democratically what will be produced and how, and where the profits and revenues will be allocated. It’s not a perfect system, but it is vastly superior by every reasonable standard or measure, to any form of capitalism or corporatism, and it is vastly superior to what we have now.

Is there an alternative to capitalism? Of course there is. In fact, there are a number of alternatives which are not only theoretically possible, but already proven. The Mondragon Co-op has proven one successful alternative to an economy and a society run essentially by and for the rich.

And as an aside, if anyone wants to know what left libertarianism, or libertarian socialism, means or might look like, here is one version or example of it – Mondragon. And it has not only worked, but thrived, for over fifty years now.

We do not have to be daft. We can simply lift our heads and look around. Yes, there alternatives. Are they perfect? Not likely. Are they better than the system or regime we currently live under? Unquestionably, and by a wide margin.

But before anyone gets their knickers in a knot because we have gone too far in challenging the ruling orthodoxy and presumptions of our time, let us say that we have perhaps gotten a bit ahead of ourselves in discussing alternatives to our currently reigning social order. The immediate challenge we face is the take-over by big business of politics, the global economy, the financial system, the media, and effectively, the world. You can be pro-capitalist if you like, although I would not recommend it; but if we are at all sane, if we have any idea as to what is going on, then we must, in all cases, oppose and resist and actively challenge the corporate take-over of human society.

Oligarchy is not freedom, and oligarchy is not democracy. The most immediate and urgent question facing human beings today, is whether we prefer freedom and democracy, or whether prefer rule by a global business elite, and a neo-feudal order. Everyone of sound mind should find this question easy to answer. The next question is, of course, what are we going to do about it.

The question is, whether we will drift along with the current trajectory, and be led, or rather, pushed and corralled, into a kind of neo-Dickensian, neo-feudal global corporatist order, where a handful of billionaires rule the world, the middle class is destroyed and liquidated, and the vast majority of the people are reduced to peasants, serfs or slaves, with a very bleak future in a very dark age; or whether the people will reclaim their power and change course, and make the world anew.

The power is in our hands to choose. But if we choose not to choose – that is, if the people continue to drift with the tide – then our choices will be made for us, and our future will be nothing short of a nightmare.

Stand now. The power is in our hands. And we most definitely do have alternatives to choose from. Only the ignorant and the deceitful will tell you otherwise.

J. Todd Ring,
April 29, 2014

– For more thoughts on this and other subjects, see my newly released book, Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium, available world-wide now on Amazon.com.

Hemp Revolution

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2014 by jtoddring

 

Hemp has enormous potential to help us build an ecologically sound society. It can replace most uses of tree-derived paper products and lumber, thus saving vast amounts of forests. It can eliminate and replace most uses of synthetic fibres, which are used in clothing, furniture, carpets and textiles, and virtually all uses of plastics, both of which are toxic, non-renewable and made from fossil fuels. And that is just the beginning.

And not only are products made from hemp renewable and environmentally sustainable, but they are also non-toxic. According to a recent article from TruthOut, “There are 80,000 chemicals used in commerce in the US, most of which have never been fully tested for long-term health effects. It is unacceptable that the public is being used as a guinea pig, argues Fred Guerin.” “It is time to stop allowing the chemical industry to use us all as uninformed and non-consenting research objects in its 75-year-old experiment.” (The Human Being As Unwitting Research Object For Industrial Chemistry, TruthOut, March 27, 2014)

We are swimming in a sea of toxic, synthetic chemicals, thanks mainly to pesticides, synthetic materials in virtually everything we use, and most of what we eat, and the petro-chemical industry that has foisted this toxic waste on us, calling it, “better living through chemistry.” It is not surprising, therefore, that cancer rates have skyrocketed, along with rates of autism, learning and behavioural disorders, mood disorders and degenerative diseases. We need to shift to non-toxic, safe, sustainable and renewable options, and hemp most definitely needs to be a major component of that shift.

I should say here, in case anyone is wondering, that I don’t smoke pot – just in case some are inclined to think that anyone who advocates for hemp must be chronically stoned. I am strongly in favour of legalization of marijuana, for the simple reason that prohibition doesn’t work – it doesn’t stop the flow of drugs and doesn’t reduce drug use, just as the prohibition of alcohol didn’t stop the flow of booze or reduce alcohol abuse: all prohibition does is to push up street prices, which benefit drug dealers, causing organized crime and gang activity, and the violence that comes from them, to soar. But in any event, anyone possessed of a basic common sense, and being informed of the pertinent facts, should be an advocate and supporter of industrial hemp, regardless of your views on the decriminalization of marijuana. But to continue…

Most of our clothes, our paper, our books and magazines, our furniture, our carpets and flooring, the building materials for our homes, factories, hospitals and schools, even the bodies and interiors of our cars, buses, boats and trains, can be made from hemp, and the difference this would make in terms of our ecological footprint would be monumental, and truly pivotal. And in the process, we will create new green businesses, a true, and truly massive economic stimulus program, and new ecological industry to provide jobs for all – and an enormous new, or newly rediscovered income stream for farmers, to keep family farms alive. Hemp offers a truly win-win situation, all around. And we still haven’t even mentioned many other benefits of hemp, including medical and health benefits – the hemp seeds in particular being an extremely healing, true super-food.

We should be creating a massive shift toward hemp production, hemp farming, and the use of hemp to replace tree-based wood and paper products, and fossil-fuel based synthetic fibres, laminates and plastics.

But of course, that would displease the big oil and petro-chemical companies, so first, we need to kick the corporate elite out of power and out of politics – then we can begin in earnest to make the changes which are needed in order to survive as a species, and to thrive.

Go organic, plant a garden, go off-grid, and grow some hemp. Let’s start industrial hemp grow-ops, along with organic farming co-ops, urban and rural housing co-ops, local green energy co-ops and other co-ops, around the world, and in every village, town, city, state and province, and let’s get this party started!

And dethrone the corporate elite – now!

JTR,
March 27, 2014

Bernie Madoff, Robin Hood and the present dark age

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 19, 2014 by jtoddring

Why is Bernie Madoff the only Wall St. criminal to face jail time? Because he robbed the 1%, and not the 99%.

Rob the rich, and you are attacked, reviled, vilified and quite possibly imprisoned as well, if not burned at the stake or publicly beheaded, drawn and quartered – and whether you are Bernie Madoff or Robin Hood makes no difference. But if you rob the poor and the middle class, rape the earth, despoil the commons and devastate the hopes of all future generations, in this late-stage capitalist-corporatist culture, you are lauded, and garlands are thrown ’round your neck. This is surely the dark age, and it is rapidly devouring itself. Stay tuned. This is not the end of the story.

JTR,
February 18, 2014