The Existential Crisis of Market Fundamentalism: From Socio-Environmental Dangers to Life-Valued Opportunities
“Fundamentalist movements in all faiths share certain characteristics. They reveal a deep disappointment and disenchantment with the modern experiment, which has not fulfilled all that it promised. They also express real fear. Every single fundamentalist movement that I have studied is convinced that the secular establishment is determined to wipe religion out. This is not always a paranoid reaction. We have seen that secularism has often been imposed very aggressively in the Muslim world. Fundamentalists look back to a “golden age” before the irruption of modernity for inspiration, but they are not atavistically returning to the Middle Ages. All are intrinsically modern movements and could have appeared at no time other than our own. All are innovative and often radical in their reinterpretation of religion. As such, fundamentalism is an essential part of the modern scene. Wherever modernity takes root, a fundamentalist movement is likely to rise up alongside it in conscious reaction. Fundamentalists will often express their discontent with a modern development by overstressing those elements in their tradition that militate against it.” – Karen Armstrong, Islam: A Short History
Many of us have been following closely the convulsions that have been spreading across the social and environmental spheres of our planetary host, and are convinced that there is a social cancer within our midst that is the root cause of all this social and environmental destructiveness and maladjustment. I submit that neoliberal economics and its policies is our modern-day religion that is now in its death throes due in no small part to a new-found awareness and a better understanding of 1) the limitations of our natural life-support and social life-developing systems, and 2) the role that a monopolistic bank-debt, compound interest-bearing, fiat-monetary system has played in sacrificing long-term sustainability and life-vitality on the altar of short-termisms.
The Ten Commandments of Market Theology
- Like religions of old, this new religion champions the view that there is no other God than their Market God (Mammon), as evidenced by their mantra: “There is No Alternative!”
- When society decided to come together to protect and defend their dignity and humanity, and the resilience, diversity and interconnectedness of all life within our social and planetary spheres in terms of social investments and environmental protective programs, we are reminded that we are making for ourselves false idols that is usurping the role and authority of their Market God.
- When we point out the errors of their neoliberal policies and how the assumptions are not based on reality as they fail to internalize the social and environmental costs, and their image of “economicus man” is more of a fantasy than a fact, we are called “communists” and “financial terrorists” for calling their Market God’s name in vain.
- When we question the policies of unelected officials who are not accountable to governments and by extension the people they serve, they remind us that we need to take time out to worship the diktats of their high priests when they make decisions in changing monetary and banking policies on those holy of holy days.
- We are taught that we should not question but honour the fathers and mothers of our failed neoliberal policies and should continue to honour their memories as great thinkers in all of our policies, despite the evidence to the contrary of their destructive and divisive ways.
- Furthermore, despite being indoctrinated that the invisible hand will work to bring out the best in society if everyone was allowed to maximise their self-interest, we have engaged in the mother of eco-genocidal projects unimaginable, in their attempt not to murder the false concept of “economicus man”. Economic hitmen, jackals, global surveillance, and perpetual wars and threat of wars have now become their saving grace.
- We are told that charity and philanthropy by our high-net worth individuals is the solution to our social and environmental world problems, and that privatization of our public assets is the solution to all of our sovereign-debt problems. They are thus encouraging us to commit what can be called the cardinal sin of financial adultery in their modern incarnation of public-private partnerships that threaten to undermine and fragment the wholesome fabric of our interconnected and interdependent social and planetary life.
- We steal life-resources and life-opportunities from present and future generations in the name of profit maximization, giving non-human entities like corporations more rights than their human counterparts and giving free speech a price debased on money value. They mastermined this theft by hijacking the sovereignty (and the democracy of its people which underpins it) through austerity and structural adjustment programs to maintain the financial health of the coffers of the money changers, the backers of this neoliberal religion.
- Interestingly, although they espouse the concepts of freedom and free speech and free association, these are only free in name only. The only freedom that is valued is the freedom to bear false witness against their neighbours and anyone who challenges their authenticity and legitimacy. They have used their corporate-backed media to disseminate falsehoods, and are even supported in their highest courts by decision after decision that states that there is no obligation under the constitution to be truthful in all of their deliberations. They can hold meetings behind closed doors and formalise and legitimise wrongdoings as it pertains to the health and safety of our social and planetary hosts, and they can adjudicate in private with impunity any decisions made without the due processes of transparency and accountability to the general public they are supposed to serve.
- And finally in their false narrative of removing barriers to trade and prosperity, they have set up roadblocks so that they cannot be caught with their pants down as they covet all of our life resources, in order to grow and continue to invade and metastasize.
It is no wonder that the agents of this new religion of market fundamentalism, in the guise of their neoconservative and neoliberal traditionalists, are forging links with other fundamentalist groups of our traditional religions, whether they be called Wahhabis, Zionists or Jihadists, to unleash wave after wave of not only physical terrorism under the guise of self-defence and pre-emptive attacks, but also financial terrorism through their austerity and structural adjustment policies to strengthen their power and privilege through our modern-day form of sovereign debt slavery.
From Crisis to Danger and Opportunity
As all existential crises carry great dangers, this existential crises we see emerging in our midst initially in slow motion, but now accelerating, is no different. They are unable to see the errors of their ways, and given vested interests that have profited off of this mayhem, they are going to bring out all of their armaments to secure and uphold this already failed identity. We are on the brink of a world war with weapons of mass ecogenocidal destruction never before imaginable, and like a bull in a China shop, in their attempt of self-preservation, may end up destroying everything that is worth fighting for. We are on the precipice of the globalisation of this mass destructiveness.
Although the stem-cells of this false narrative and doctrine is housed in the most powerful nation on earth, I am of the firm belief that this fundamentalist belief, is an aberration, and is not reflective of the greater than 99% of the people of that great nation and as a matter of fact of those around the world. All of us, irrespective of where and when we are born, in which culture or religion into which we blossom, want peace and ample opportunities to better ourselves and our nation and that of the next generation.
All of us have been hijacked and forced by diktats, treaties and proxy wars to pay homage to the Market God which truth and in fact is the real idol in our midst that we have been worshipping, with grave consequences to our social and planetary hosts. We need to start honouring our Mother Earth without whom we would not have been given this gift of life and none of us would have been able to survive and thrive up to this day.
Although great crises bring great danger, they also bring greater opportunities for a Great Change. What is now needed is a Global Truth and Reconciliation exercise that puts forth as its guiding light the path that traverses the Way of Life Integrity in all of our deliberations; where we now become Life-Grounded and Life-Rebased on the responsible stewardship of our Collective Life Capital; steered by our Life-Value compass; in making the provision and distribution of our Universal Human Life Necessities the anchor and cornerstone of what we can all agree on; and which should be the foundation and scaffolding of all of our social constructs, especially as it pertains to our Human Rights and our sense of Social Justice.
Uniting East and West in a New Life Vision
We are blessed and privileged to have had three prophets to guide us on this journey of life discovery, one from the East (Lao Tzu), another from the West (Jesus), and now a living soul (Prof John McMurtry) who has merged the Life Wisdom from both East and West and has opened up my mind’s eyes to the human potential of all that is life-disabling and life-enabling in this world. Our downfall has been our feasting on the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil without having any definite criteria or organizing principle to guide us. Ironically, there was from the beginning another tree in that mythical Garden of Eden which was the tree of life which was hidden in plain sight. The Yang of knowledge of good and evil and the Yin of Life-value are both Integral to achieving solidarity and the healing of our planetary and social hosts. Separating them only serves to bring out the Shadows and the worst of our human possibilities, and uniting and reintegrating them in the dialectic discourse of better understanding can only serve to bring out the best in us.
I am beginning to see the Lord’s Prayer in a new Taoist light, imbued through and through with feminine Yin Energy, where it can be reinterpreted as follows:
Our Mother (Holy Sophia), who art on Earth, Hallowed be thy Name;
Thy Kingdon Come, Thy Will Be Done, In our Society as it is in Nature;
Give us this day our daily life-needs,
and forgive us when we err in life and trespass on the provision of those life needs,
and lead us not into the temptation of doing nothing,
but deliver us from the evil of life-disabling activities of violence in all of its forms,
For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, For ever and ever;