CSC-2 | Chapter 1 | Decoding the Cancer System and its Resolution (1)

Decoding the Cancer System and its Resolution

The cancer stage of capitalism is not a metaphor. It is a diagnosis of the global economic disorder as carcinogenic in all the hallmark characteristics of this disease.1

Ever more indicators show the life-system collapse at the social level of life-organization, from vast new lifeless lands and waters to wastes without end and spreading false foods and toxins. In one new window in on the disorder, Frances Moore Lappe reports, ‘scientists report from 55 to 87% of energy in the U.S. is wasted. Roughly 40% of food in the U.S. is waste, and … 40% of what the U.S. eats is empty calories.’2

Yet even where the deadly symptoms are seen, their underlying common cause is neither recognized nor responded to. We are increasingly aware of the everyday signs – that corporate cigarettes cause lung and other cancers, that transnational junk foods cause obesity, that body-care products are laced with carcinogens, and that non-infectious diseases are now epidemic across the world. But connection to their macro-economic causal mechanism is blocked out.

The purpose of this investigation is to lay bare the common cause driving all the degenerate trends and the public pathways of recovery from it. The global frame of our condition reaches across East and West, but the system-wide disorder is nowhere decoded in public discourses and expert studies. The thinking world outside G-20 state rule has now awoken to the ‘neo-liberal disaster’. But the depth and meaning of the underlying sickness is not yet comprehended.


Has China under the Communist Party escaped the Great Sickness? It is governed by social plan, not private banks and foreign corporations, and its gross domestic product (GDP) has moved at a blazing pace to lead Japan, the US and the European Union. Yet China has also led the world in large-scale destruction to life-systems and repression of human-life rights. While it is the ‘most competitive’ of nations in low money costs and productive volumes – the alpha and omega of the industrialization model – it is further down the road of devastating the most basic life-functions and enjoyments of being alive as human – fresh air to breathe, biodiverse surroundings, rewarding work, and life-space for individuated being.

This is not a paradox. China’s staggering growth figures, gigantism and money-stocks now sweep across continents leading the global race downwards to no life-standards at all. The life-blind machine model of modern economics is now totalized by China beyond all past scales.3

The thanatic convergence of East and West is, however, not defined or resisted. On the contrary, ever more of the human life-protections of the past won by worker unions, civil struggles and environmental consciousness are erased to ‘globally compete’ including the collective agencies of them. Underneath the supporting soils, forests, oceans, rivers, and life habitats are cumulatively dismantled and polluted to convert into more dominant money-sequences as the ruling goal of the global system. Ever larger-scaled invasion, mining, depletion, destruction, wastes, and pollution move deeper and wider through the planetary life-host. Earth-spanning transnational corporations advance in their rule of governments and technological powers of destruction at once. The West maximizes private money-capital flows as end in itself. China maximizes gross money-value product at lower costs. Both override all human and ecological life-requirements.

Turning Tibet and the Three Gorges Dam into resources for more product with no life-standards and suppression of hundreds of popular uprisings a day advances from strength to strength in China. Slashing of the social life-support systems to feed private transnational banks and corporations towards one economic collapse after another leads the West. In both, social evolution itself is reversed. In both, externalization of all costs of life-destruction is built in. The West’s centuries of industrial-worker and civil struggles and evolving concern for the environment have been systematically demolished. China’s once guaranteed food staples for all, equality, free health clinics and people’s bicycles have been abolished. Beneath civil and ecological life-crises across domains, there are ever diminishing means and security to labour, environment, human rights, and biodiversity, and ever more to multiplying transnational money-sequences with no committed life-function.

A onetime shock-treatment manager, Jeffery Sachs, now recognizes from his ‘clinical economics’ that we must look for ‘the unknown underlying disease’.4 Yet the nature and depth of the disease is only vaguely conceived – lack of ‘civic virtue’ and ‘economic fairness’. Yet even Wall Street money moguls bleeding the world claim both. Without principled criteria, moral categories mask the problem. The ‘disease’ remains unrecognized. Yet that ‘something has gone terribly wrong’ – Sachs’ words to Occupy Wall Street protestors – are felt across the world. What exactly is it that has gone wrong? The answer to this question takes us far deeper than any official voice or expert has yet dared to say.

Explanatory Model versus Metaphor

The ‘cancer stage of capitalism’ has been widely misunderstood as a ‘metaphor’, including by the marketers of this book’s first edition. It is not a metaphor, but an explanatory model. A metaphor identifies a likeness, as in ‘he is a lion in battle’. But like any metaphor, it fails to explain beyond the image: it blinkers out the weaponry, skills, and strategy that the man has but not the lion.

In contrast, the cancer model of capitalism is an explanatory model. All of the hallmark characteristics of cancer invasion apply. As we see in depth ahead, the pattern is first recognized in deregulated transnational money-sequences which multiply with no life-function and attack the productive life of societies at every level. A scientific process of elimination leaves it as the sole unifying diagnosis of all the symptoms. The diagnosis is then tested across all the crises of organic, social and ecological systems for significant exceptions. Direction of increase or decrease of the depredation, successful response or not, is tracked across 25 years. The diagnosis is confirmed again and again with no counter-evidence to it, but only denial. Because the ruling paradigm of understanding has no life-coordinates, it so cannot see the deadly system disorder.

A reader might retort with the sage words of Susan Sontag who says that ‘the use of cancer in political discourse encourages fatalism and … it could be argued that the cancer metaphors are implicitly genocidal’.5 She is right so far as the metaphor is a slogan of system fascists seeking to eradicate opposition, as in Latin America where death-squads of ruling oligarchies used this Orwellian figure for decades. Diagnosis here does the opposite. Its analysis demands social change, repudiates fatalism, and exposes genocide as a leading edge of the cancer system.

How Global System Images Reverse Reality

Yet cancer is unspeakable even when the disease becomes undeniable. So leaders and journalists call it a ‘financial contagion’. This has become a stock mantra to describe economic collapses in the global corporate global system from Latin America to Asia to Europe over more than 15 years. As the private conglomerate money-sequence cancer devastates one region and continent after another, ‘contagion’ is the choral slogan substituting for explanation. In fact, the collapse invariably originates in private, self-multiplying and non-committed money-sequences racing through societies in their new deregulated freedom. Foreign money-sequence attacks on sovereign currencies, high foreign-bank compounding debt, and speculative property or other bubbles all share one underlying common pattern – turning private money into more money in exponential self-multiplications with no life-function and a money-demand haemorrhaging in and out of host economies destabilizing them towards collapse. The raiding conglomerate money-sequences make a killing expropriating billions of dollars a day for their private money-sequences called ‘investors’ – impossible under prior capital controls – but the lives of whole societies and tens of millions of people pay the price in mass disemployment, social system dismantling, and foreign expropriation.

Yet every such crisis has been made mandatory to allow under ‘free capital and commodity flows’.6 ‘Contagion’ reverses the meaning. It shifts diagnosis from the structural problem of the system to the victim societies themselves. They lose up to 24 million jobs as in South-East Asia in 1997–98, their public sectors are stripped, their most lucrative assets are sold off at fire-sale prices, their home markets and production systems are converted to foreign corporate control, and domestic life-requirements at every level are overridden.7 Yet with the ‘contagion’ model, it is the victims spreading the disease among each other that is the reverse explanation. The life-blind private conglomerate money-sequences precipitating every step of their collapse across nations are thus blocked out of view, absolved and, indeed, made a panacea of ‘more foreign investment’. No distinction is ever made between destructive and productive capital sequences. ‘Contagion’ conceals every moment of the cancer system at work.

‘They were spending beyond their means’ becomes the next image of reverse explanation. In fact, it is always the self-multiplying money-sequences spending money they do not have in up to 100:1 leveraging that destabilizes, indebts and dispossesses these societies and the majority of the world. The process is led and enabled by private transnational banks in on- and off-accounting systems. From the beginning of the cancer system mutations, private banks were allowed ‘fractional reserves’ of a 25:1 ratio to legal tender – bad enough. But even that was eliminated down to zero legal tender as an ‘unfair tax against banks’ – as it was called in Canada which silently abolished reserves held by government before the prototype 1988 ‘Free Trade Agreement’ (FTA). The FTA in turn replaced all limits on transnational corporate raiding of domestic markets and resources with unilateral sovereign rights of foreign corporations, including banks. No practice more exemplifies ‘spending beyond your means’ than these banks’ with zero money-reserve requirements debt-lending and speculating with endlessly more money than they have. And no ‘entitlement programme’ comes close to the thousands of pages of rights for transnational corporations alone in ‘free trade’ agreements.

As always, however, the blame for ‘spending beyond your means’ – as all else in this system – is projected onto the victims. And as always ‘entitlement programmes’ are projected onto social sectors of life-security rather than the while global-corporate money-sequence rights which overwhelm them. Yet the supra-Orwellian reversals of fact are not noticed. Only a few lead analysts penetrate, in particular, the private bank hijacking of government’s constitutional money-and-credit issue to speculate and debt-enslave others at endless costs for them and equally endless growing riches of the big banks.8 It is the most thickly obfuscated secret of the era. Social immune recognition is still non-existent in official culture – even after 2008 when the multi-trillion dollar black hole fraudulently created by Wall Street has ever since been filled with public money with one economy and society after another plunging into depression and ruin from the knock-on effects – with now the European Union itself attacked by the very private banks siphoning the public money and bond-attacking and demanding higher rates from the most indebted countries: while at same time not lending the money out again but speculating for faster returns with no productive function, in fact overriding any life-serving investment whatever.9

Least of all is this a ‘contagion’ among the victim societies. Most of all it is an ‘entitlement’ beyond imagination for the primary money party. And ‘spending beyond means’ is the very axis of the money-sequence system which has bled societies dry and continues to do so by the very same covert method – multiplying money demand from thin air to predate social life-organizations to ruin across the world. The underlying cancer properties of the system remain undecoded even as its uncontrolled compounding circuits have consumed the lifeblood of societies again and again across continents, and ever more into the US-EU powerhouse societies themselves. That the mounting trillions of public dollars poured into the problem is used not to bail out the victim societies at all but only the big banks themselves is still a public secret and undecoded in system principles. Reverse images are always how the cancer system masks itself and how it proliferates beneath detection. The primary structure of the reverse-deception is to project onto its victims the responsibility for their dispossession.

The Primary Growth Circuit of the Money-Sequence Cancer System

The inner logic is very simple. The people must pay for the money-sequence cancer growth, and so more public wealth and individual savings must be taken away to do so. The principal mechanism is debt multiplication of governments and individuals managed by private banks’ issuing long-term compounding debts without the money to back the loans. Governments alone back the private banks which have not the money to do so if there is a run on the banks or failed speculations where the bank paper becomes market worthless, as in 2008.10

At bottom, governments lend to themselves through the compound-interest take and terms of the big banks which have endless levers of finance to sustain and increase their take – for example, bankrolling presidential campaigns and receiving deregulation and bailouts in return. In this way, the ‘financial industry’ has doubled its share of corporate profits over 20 years, received over $20 trillion of public wealth across borders since 2008, and made bigger profits after the economic collapse it caused than before – with public sectors and publics not only paying the bills, but stripped to pay the private banks and bondholders still holding and compounding their debts.11 At this point the profligacy of the victim societies is blamed for millions of their people having to lose their jobs and livelihoods, their social life-support systems, and their prize public assets to pay the out-of-control debts that have resulted. When bailout ‘rescues’ come, however, it is only the big private banks and bondholders which get the infusions of public wealth.12

The banks, financiers and investors – read financial speculators across borders with no regulators – go on doing ever more of this crisis after crisis. The pattern of Western public authorities in response is invariant – to maximally enable this transnational money-sequencing to more with no life-function, and to demand ever less for public use and social and ecological life support systems, with the IMF as enforcer of the global circuits of life-system deprivation.13 In this way the debts owed to and speculations by the private financial corporations and syndicates keep growing even after they have melted the system down in 2008 by fraudulent binges of spending, debt-lending and speculating by money-sequences multiplied countless times beyond the legal tender they have. Thus in 2012, leveraged-fund casino-betting on the currencies of Greece, Spain, and Italy with money that does not exist except by private banking paper continued to feed on and ruin these societies with no whisper of disallowance by the European Union or its Central Bank, itself under Wall Street direction.14

Further locking in of nations by the EU bankocracy has been prescribed by a law that central banks must be not only unaccountable to governments, but inaccessible to requests for financial assistance in public policy formation. This is called ‘central bank independence’ – decoded, the displacement of sovereign legislatures’ control over fiscal and monetary policies by big banks in which the central banks are in a revolving door relationship with Wall Street and company.15

This mutant historical reversal of responsible government to serve autonomous money-sequencing adopts a mask. It misapplies the sacrosanct idea of ‘the independence of judiciary’ to its central bank creatures to override sovereign government itself.

Who is to resist? All of these historic societies had their heads of state removed at the end of 2011 over a week, two without election, and two replaced by former Goldman Sachs executives who were part of – by 2010 – the $12.3-trillion hijack from the American public to bail out the fraudulent banking system.16 How could the dots not be joined? Why did no elected party or politician or media of record call for the constitutional and demonstrably necessary transition to a public banking system to reclaim government’s sovereign responsibility for the integrity of currency and credit issue in the public interest rather than the ruin of all of them? How could the proved fraudulent, incompetent and society-destructive private financial casino continue in charge of the very economic lifeblood of modern nations?17

As in any cancer system, the life-host is increasingly plundered, but the cancer is masked from immune recognition or response. In the world’s most ancient Western society, Greece, for example, ‘unemployment once among the lowest in Europe is 21 per cent (46 per cent for youth 18–25), industry has all but collapsed, and nationwide hundreds of small businesses close – [with] yet more wage, pension and job cuts’.18 No matter how ruined Europe’s oldest societies are made by the private bank-casino system still haemorrhaging out their wealth from the effects of the system’s global failure and fraud from the centre, still the endless bleeding out of their aggregate demand, their future wealth and their possibility of recovery continues full speed. The Depression unemployment figures of Spain and Portugal are much the same as Greece’s; Italy follows in suit not far behind in stripping of life-serving programmes and financialized productive downturn; France, which pays more on debt-servicing than education, is being ‘downgraded’ by private rating corporations; all states are held in terror of still higher compound interest charges from the private banks and bond-dealers whose manufactured currency is backed only by states themselves; and the spirals down of productive output and social and ecological life-support systems continue worldwide.

Even Germany whose bankers have led the assault of sucking demand out of the European economy – decoded, depriving people of the money to live – loses its own productive markets by the borderless system of foreign private financial predation seeking only more money-sequence growth for itself whatever the ruinous effects on human life and societies. This is the genetic code of the cancer system. It is led by transnational private banks which issue national and personal debt by money-creating powers transferred to them by governments and deposited by citizens, and then leveraged to up to 100:1 ratios of debt-service demands.19 The money demanded back is money the banks did not themselves have to begin with. But the carcinogenic sequence of unproductive self-multiplication is made an absolute obligation to pay the transnational banks backed by IMF financial embargo. All the while, to imagine default on the growing debts invokes apocalyptic scenes of ‘catastrophe’ and ‘the end of Europe’.

The Public Investment Alternative Known to Work

The entire private temple of money-sequence cards seeking to be ever more has, however, a well known government alternative to defend the life of societies rather than join in eating them alive on behalf of the private transnational banks.20 One need not refer here to how nations loaned to themselves and spent themselves productively into prosperity across the world during and after the 1939–45 war. Nor need one point out that is how Abraham Lincoln’s government got past the New York bankers’ 17–26 per cent interest demands to fund and defend the Union; or how German Landesbanks and North Dakota have successfully managed a public-banking and debt system with superior results for many decades.21 Consider the parallel case of Argentina in 2002, a society visibly dying into chaos and misery under monstrous foreign debt – about the size of Greece’s. It repudiated the debt and never looked back in regaining its life from the cancer system. It recovered only when the foreign money-sequences with no life-function were no longer permitted to hijack its social life organization to grow and multiply their parasitic compound-interest debt services destroying the economy and social life organization itself.

From 2002 to 2011, Argentina chalked up the fastest growth in the Western hemisphere (94 per cent in nine years), reduced poverty and extreme poverty by two-thirds, and reduced inequality by half with a thriving productive economy going from one strength to the next.22 The rest of Latin America has similarly woken up – Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay and even Colombia, not to mention the Caribbean including Cuba, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Honduras’ elected government too joined the turn away from transnational money-sequence control to ‘recover the human condition of our societies’ by community development – that is, until the once-standard US-supported military coup and death-squads returned the country to the past.23

In all, the underlying pattern of recovery is always by civil development led by governments and public sectors, the topic of the final chapter of this study. Specifically in the Latin American transformation since 2002, reoccupation of the economy by democratic public plan, productive spending and social life-support systems specially geared to uplift the poor have been the resolution to enable society’s life-organization to recover from the cancer system. The cancer system is officially called ‘neo-liberalism’, but conference posters and leaders say what it is in person. The spectacular results of life recovery by economic organization for life rather than money-sequences is the great unseen change since the first edition of this book – along with, conversely, the deepening cancer slide of the Western world.

Despite the writing on the wall, Western media and journals of record never report successes of the public banking and investment route as the spectacles of collapsing economies under private banks increase. The corporate media prefer fact-disconnected images of ‘dictator Hugo Chavez’ for ad hominem diversion. The underlying law is to select for what invalidates public investment and control of resources. Still the facts remain that Venezuela’s elected governments since 1998 have used Venezuela’s national oil wealth formerly predated by transnational corporate oil corporations to multiply investment in health, education, housing, food and equality (now the lowest inequality index in Latin America), reduced poverty rates by more than half and cut extreme poverty by over 70 per cent, instituted 100,000 worker co-operatives, and pioneered cooperative international trade and financing across the continent.24

Ecuador, like Argentina a neo-liberal basket case from US-led IMF solutions, turned in 2007 to a public-led recovery. The new government led by Rafael Correa used referenda to support major public-sector initiatives in the face of private financial and corporate powers. Banana republic no more, the new government renegotiated oil contracts with the foreign majors, raising the public’s share of revenues on its natural resources from 13 per cent to 87 per cent in 2010.25 The oil companies’ threats to leave dissolved into 9 of 16 staying under the new terms, and the rest nationalized. Direct taxes on corporations rose and were enforced, raising even more new public money than reclamation of the public interest in its oil resources. Social spending doubled to the second highest rate in Latin America to enable real progress towards the goals of free public health care, free education at all levels, and public housing. A Yasuni initiative to keep the oil in the ground to preserve the first people and the Amazon became policy with a 700,000-hectare bio-reserve instituted over immense oil reserves, a ‘leave it in the ground’ policy leading the world and relying on foreign contributions and eco-tourist alternative. Bolivia in 2006 led by Evo Morales straight-out nationalized rich natural gas reserves with the government declaring ‘ownership, possession and absolute control’. Ecuador has also instituted a minimum-wage rise, enforcement of social security provision for all workers, enlargement of public banking operations for small business, and discontinuance of one-sided corporate rights trade agreements.

In every new policy initiative and law across Latin America, there is a unifying logic of recovery – public reclamation of the economy to serve the known needs of its people and their life-conditions. Eleven nations in Latin America have now made the turn, Brazil the most famously successful in both productive achievement and poverty reduction – the latter largely achieved by a guaranteed income to poor mothers showing record of their children’s enrolment in school and health clinics. The mineral-rich Amazon remains under immense stress, the biggest danger, but a turn has occurred to make its preservation a major government and electoral issue even if insufficient to stop the tropical rainforest ecocide driven everywhere by the global money-sequence system to more with no life-standards. Still Latin America’s public reclamation of the economy is much ahead of the North American norm of resource exploitation – for example, Canada’s giveaway tar-sands, the rising major point source of carbon pollution and ecological destruction in the world with near the lowest public revenues.

Meanwhile the US and Europe have been going into reverse in social and economic life-support systems to transfer ever more public wealth to private banks and corporations as their economies sink into deepening depression and loss of aggregate demand. Because private money-sequences and commodities are a priori blind to life-necessities and the common life-interest, only the public economy can in principle fund and organize for either. So as it is everywhere stripped back instead, the outcomes are predictable. Those countries together reclaiming their resources and building their public economy recover. Those countries together going in the opposite direction are bound to the progressively degenerate trends diagnosed ahead.

What is most striking is that the demonstrable system disorder and the nature of its cure are blocked out of the dominant culture top to bottom across borders. In policy practice, the money-sequence cancer with no function but multiplying itself is only subsidized further in invading social and ecological life-organization with ever more general life-insecurity and decline on all planes. The logic of recovery is almost as unspeakable as the cancer system itself.


Cancer is much investigated at the level of individual life-hosts, but the system causal mechanism is once again blinkered out. Yet it has recently become recognized that cancer is a disease epidemic occurring only in the capitalist era. The long-suppressed fact is hardly yet discussed, but as the definitive 2010 generic study by a research oncologist, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer reports, only one case of the 49 diseases reported in ancient Egyptian manuscripts is cancer. More significantly, it is non-existent in medical records for the next 2,000 years.26 In contrast, disease epidemics and plagues like smallpox and tuberculosis are all historically reported in detail. Cancer traces found are only ‘fleetingly rare’.

Like everyone else, Dr Mukherjee avoids the entailment that cancer is therefore is a capitalist disease epidemic. Why is this momentous fact not connected into the research and discourses on cancer? No disease has so shattered so many lives so terribly in its systemic eating away the life-functions of its tens of millions of victims. Yet its system cause has been repressed since its discovery. The next chapter, The Ancient Taboo, explains how true ideas which contradict a social order’s idea of itself as good are rarely spoken through the history of humanity across cultures. The capitalist disease of cancer is such an idea. And the correlations of macro cancer and non-infectious diseases including cancer still escalate further. The cancer stage of capitalism seems more difficult to face in this era than scientific evidence against the earth at the centre of the universe in the last.

Yet long before the first edition of this work, scientific research over 40 years had increasingly shown that almost all cases of cancer proceed from capitalist-manufactured carcinogens. All non-infectious diseases – including lately obesity and depression – are directly correlated with and express the same common cause. The incontestable pattern of the research to date is that almost all cancers are caused by producing and selling specific capitalist commodities whose consumption and profits across the globe steeply grow. Non-communicable diseases of other kinds further follow in the same correlation. But the generic cause-effect pattern remains taboo to name.27

While the self-multiplying money-to-more-money-sequences with no life-function are carcinogenic in their nature, they take many years to bypass reproduction inhibitors and immune suppressors even at the cellular level. Yet once the cancer has become aggressively invasive, the rapidly growing cancer is blocked out by the life-host at every turn on the social as well as individual plane. That is how the cancer system spreads, masking itself every move at both levels. Uncontrolled money-sequence multiplication and invasive growth into organic, social and ecological life-hosts is undeniable once the dots are joined. But joining the dots at the social level of life-organization is heretical within official culture, and so political will is paralysed. The taboo against knowing what is wrong with the accepted surrounding rule of daily life is ancient, but in this case is globally fatal.

Tracking the Cause of the Cancers We Already Know

Cancer research has long focused on oncogenesis within the individual life-host. Thus the products and processes of the wider system of life-reproduction are blinkered out until scientific connections cannot be denied. But even when the known cancer-causing agents are identified, they are not causally related back to the private corporate money-sequences mass producing and selling all of them. This is why that ‘the cause of cancer cannot be found’. The ruling economic system selecting for every known carcinogenic product and process is always blocked out.

What is now finally recognized is that the initiating cause of the cancer epidemic lies outside the individual victims. Inherited genetic explanations are not promoted as they were in the past because no more than 2–5 per cent correlation is found. Yet because genetic understanding necessarily blinkers out the surrounding system, it has very popular to the great majority, including cancer researchers, who presuppose it as fish do the sea. The new field of epigenetics overcomes the dichotomy because it relates environmental-social conditions to genetic inheritance in a dynamic mix, as this study does.28 In the case of cancer, cells mutate by the stresses of social determinants which are specific to capitalist money-sequencing. Genes help to explain different rates of vulnerability of cancer victims, not the direct structure of determination. As the evidence keeps showing without diagnostic detection of its pattern, cancers are dominantly caused by persistent capitalist commodity and stress inputs into victim organisms. The italicized assertion is now undeniable in fact, but not stated in principled form beyond this investigation. Rather, the victims continue to be blamed if they can be – for example, people addicted to cigarettes as their consumer choice.

The words ‘commodity’ and ‘corporation’ are, in fact, never spoken in career science. The most notorious cause of cancer – and heart disease – is the transnational corporate commodity of cigarettes, even if people do not smoke them. The connection between cigarette smoke and cancer is public fact after 40 years of denial still going on from transnational corporate manufacturers. But even then scientists still call the carcinogenic cocktail ‘tobacco’. In fact, ‘tobacco’ is a toxin-filled cigarette commodity with poisonous additives operating in synergy to addict smokers. Its globally profitable construction not only leads to cancer, but numerous other diseases of the circulatory system. Its US-led and highly addictive transnational corporate commodity is on the way to killing 100 million people in this century, as the long lead scientist in this area, Oxford’s Richard Peto, authoritatively reports.29

Following the same trajectory of exponential increase in disease incidence, transnational corporate junk foods have now become even more pervasive. They feature sugar, salt and fats in tasty and addictive concoctions that have finally been connected to other new non-infectious disease epidemics. They have not yet peaked in volumes and velocities of inputting disease in predictable ratios, but in 2002 the US Surgeon-General was already warning that they ‘may soon cause as much preventable disease and death as cigarette smoking’.30 They now are. Yet what the physical science does not report here is that ever more of both junk foods and cigarettes – not to mention cosmetics – are pushed on the world by corporate trade diktats, armies of corporate lobbyists, and the deliberate deadly addiction of hundreds of millions of people, going on billions, in predictable horrific diseases and deaths.31 This now intentional causation of deadly addiction in countless hundreds of millions of persons to deadly disease-causing substances by exact commodity constructions is the reason that even public awareness does not stop the growing plague. Addiction is the inner motivator of the cancer system. But it too is not connected to its causal mechanism – the private corporate money-sequences scientifically selecting for it in their own addictive greed for ever more, the innermost wheel of the disorder.

The driver of transnational corporate money-sequences behind the globalization of commodity-caused diseases is thus very clear, but still blocked out. The blocks against recognition are many-layered and together form the social immune incompetence which has allowed the cancer system to run free. At the socio-political level, once ‘global free trade’ became dominant, oligopolist corporate rights to circulate disease-causing commodities through other societies’ markets became dominant too. For example, US trade coercion ‘pried open markets in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and China for American cigarettes’ – multiplying their sales and profits as North American sales dropped from public awareness led by critics and governments in the face of corporate denial.32 The mass disease and death rates from these commodity invasions from the 1990s are, as Peto predicts from current trends, over 100 million people this century. But the US Trade Representative operates by mandate of the transnational money-sequences of corporate mass producers like Philip Morris. Nothing else factors in. Free promotion and advertising of cigarettes were and remain demanded as a condition of these Asian countries’ access to US markets. Thus cigarette-smoke consumption was made to rise dramatically by pervasive sports, entertainment and icon events and appeals to gender equality among younger women and machismo among young men as product addictors. Within five years, sales of the cigarette commodity were 600 per cent higher. Before, state-owned cigarette producers did no advertising, made untasty cigarettes, and only older men in the main smoked them. Now Beijing itself partners with the transnational corporations to market the cigarettes for a share of the multiplying money-sequences. The US trade boss who led this invasion (Clayton Yeutter) said after he became Secretary of Agriculture, ‘I just saw the figures on tobacco exports here a few days ago and, my, have they turned out to be a marvelous success story.’ Tens of millions of new horribly diseased people suffering to death is automatically bracketed out. This is the nature of the cancer system. The money-sequence code governs every step – to maximally increase private money-sequence returns to corporate stockholders. The corollary follows – to override all public protections, regulations and cultural norms which are barriers to mass addiction and sales. Again the predictable tens of millions of people’s future lives suffering disease and death are automatically overridden by the money-sequence growth programme. ‘I feel the most shameful thing this country did was to export disease, disability and death by selling our cigarettes to the world’, said former Surgeon-General C. Everett Koop in response. ‘What the companies did was shocking, but even more appalling was the fact that our own government helped make it possible.’ Yet, predictably from cancer-system diagnosis, no-one piloting the money-sequence growth metastases saw a problem. When Yeutter visited the Japanese Health Ministry in the mid-1980s, they said, ‘We will never be able to pay the medical bill.’ He responded to the Washington Post, ‘I had no idea what they were talking about.’ Others said they ‘had no choice’. Senator Al Gore was part of the transnational metastasis of the mass-cancer commodity. Within months billions were being made from it in the ruling money-sequences. A Japanese government representative said it was ‘blood offering’. Sandra Kristoff, assistant trade representative who had negotiated the agreements, scoffed to the question of choosing not to export mass death and disease: you might as well ‘ban trade in cholesterol-laden cookies’.33 The money-sequence code locks people into the cancer system – a major topic ahead. What all comments and reports show here, but none takes to the level of system causation, is that the disorder regulating every step of the invasion of new mass disease and homicide was presupposed by everyone involved as normal and indeed praiseworthy. One life-standard in international trade agreements against disease-causing commodities could have prevented it all. But the exclusion of all life-standards in its multiplying growth is what defines the cancer system.

In straightforward factual overview, then, exponentially multiplying deadly disease inputs are sold for spreading sales and profit by the contemporary capitalist system. On the psychological level, the money-sequences to more ad infinitum are themselves the addiction behind the diseases of the system’s addictive products. The continuing steep growth of homicidal and pathogenic effects is already the driving cause of over 60 per cent of the world’s deaths and diseases.34 Both the money-sequence code and its motivation, however, compel beneath comprehension. Thus ever more addictive and disease-causing commodities are globally sold whatever the life-costs, sufferings and deaths – the shadow meaning of the ‘global free market’. Yet the underlying common cause of the world’s greatest cause of disease and death – and all the degenerate trends diagnosed ahead – remains blinkered out.

The Frame of Meaning: Full-Spectrum System Attack on Life-Organization

The global money-sequence system is in fact designed to operate without any controls possible – essentially by transnational corporate treaty mechanisms beginning with the 1988 Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (later the North America Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA) and the WTO (World Trade Organization, modelled on the NAFTA and still in extension). In Trade Barriers to the Public Good, for example, A.C. Michalos offers a documented microcosm of the system through a successful $201 million NAFTA corporate lawsuit against life-protective law which demonstrates what is called a ‘free trade agreement’ is intentionally structured to override human and environmental life-protection as well as community rights to privilege private transnational investors: that is, in terms of system diagnosis, a mutated freedom for private corporate money-sequences to circulate money capital and commodities across all borders with no life-regulators or inhibition by mass life-destructive effects.35 This is the cancer system.

It is not money-sequencing cigarettes, junk foods or – as Michalos analyses – neurotoxin in a corporate gasoline additive that overrides federal law against its mass promotion and sale. The ever-increasing circulation of disease and death overriding life-requirements as ‘trade restrictive’ is a full spectrum of degenerate trends. Besides ever more mass-marketed cigarette, junk food and cosmetic commodities, there are oil-guzzling machines of roads, waters and wars which are addictive in a way not medically tracked, and directly kill and maim even more tens of millions. The mass disease, suffering and death is preventable, but only grows.

Yet connected system causation remains beyond thinking through. Instead, an opposite assumption of the system’s infallible beneficence rules. Ever more invasive conglomerate money-sequences produce rising human and ecological death across the world, but with no corrective response. Rather, ‘more growth’ is called for to maximize it further – demanding ever more public resources to grow private transnational money-sequencing faster and wider through organic, social and ecological life-hosts. It is useful to frame the diagnostic meaning across planetary life-organization. Massive money-demand becoming maximally more in self-multiplication is to the global system cancer and its life-hosts as proliferating cancer cell invasions and metastases are to individual victims. Both multiply out of control. Neither have any committed life-function. Both invade and spread by predating and despoiling host resources. And the key to succumbing on either level is immune-system failure to recognize it.

Again we may track the stress pathway of the mass-manufactured and transnationally marketed cigarette commodity about which most is known in its attack on the life-host. It is titrated with deadly toxins to be continually smoked through the lips, down the oesophagus into the lungs, in endless repetitions through the life-system. Now known to have the same poisons as car exhaust, bug sprays, rat poison, paint cleaner, and car batteries and calculated to be as addictively desirable to arousal and taste as can be laboratorily contrived, the cigarette commodity is circulated as widely as possible for one ultimately regulating goal – to maximally grow private corporate money-sequences across all borders. The major icon is deeply breathing its toxic-brew smoke to form disease pathways beginning with loss of cardiovascular capacity. All organic organs and surfaces thus stressed are vulnerable to cancer’s prolonged oncogenesis – the lungs, the lips, the throat, the tongue, the oesophagus, with the next generations in particular targeted to grow global sales. Here as elsewhere, compounding money-sequence growth for private money investors is the driver of the pathogenic growth mechanism on both levels.

Every other disease-and-death-causing commodity follows the same macro-causal pattern. Whether junk foods, toxic and beverages, carcinogenic cosmetics, sedentary violence entertainments, or killing machines, each mass manufacture is a middle term to become more private money for private money-sequencers to infinitely more. If consumables sell better as disease causing, then that is what manufactured as ‘what people want’ – that is, once they have been sugar-salt-fat-toxin-caffeine addicted in accord with pervasive mass promotion. Freedom means no life-standards. Instead an ‘invisible hand’ automatically optimizes the public good. An immanent Market God regulates in place of the otherworldly God of old.36 If ruinous inequality, ecocide and non-communicable diseases of every kind are consequences, then that is a problem of ‘externalities’.

Understanding Causation Against Disease Masking

That the primary cause of cancers at the cellular level is a cancer system at the macro social level is demonstrable, but unthinkable within the ruling framework of meaning. The blinkers against diagnosis begin with habituated prejudice for the way things are, but are compounded by pervasive conditioning of perceptions, systemic denial, fact suppression, strategic lawsuits against public protest, lobby control and bullying of governments at every level, financing of elections and attack ads, and – at the second-order level – media and academic silence on the connected disorder. The result is an unseen cancer system operating at myriad levels without recognition. The only resolution in the history of the rule-making animal – civil authority resetting the rules to protect life – has itself been forbidden as against individual freedom. Any legislation reducing ‘profit opportunity’ is banned as ‘expropriation’.

On the second-order level of scientific observation itself, the cause-effect relationship is questioned wherever corporate products or processes are found to cause major harm whether by cigarettes or climate destabilization. Again we need a sword of precision to cut through the knots of manufactured confusion. A cause is a non-redundant member of a set of jointly sufficient conditions. For simple example, the cause of your swollen lip is the prior physical impact on it – the non-redundant condition of your normal life before the swollen lip. The same applies to the cigarette commodity. ‘I became short of breath because I started smoking’ is a well-known and undoubted example. Yet ‘correlation’ cannot be equated with ‘cause’, insisted the business geneticist Clarence Little in 1954 with much industry applause and funding.37 Cancer researcher Dr Evarts Graham smartly replied to Little, with no effect on the industry: ‘A causal relationship between heavy cigarette smoking and cancer of the lung is stronger than the efficacy of vaccination against smallpox, which is only statistical.’38

That is, the toxic smoke directly enters the lungs, and unlike milk its consumption correlates with cancer invasion. Its stressor is directly linked to the cancer and is the condition distinguishing cancer victims from non-victims. The generic cause-effect connection between the capitalist system and cancer demonstrated here is the same in principle with the non-redundant condition at the social-system level. No other system of social organization has had cancer epidemics, nor other non-infectious disease epidemics like obesity and depression. This is a more difficult principle of cause-effect to understand because it requires thinking beyond presumption of the way things are as the way they must be. Such inertial assumption is typical across cultures caught in the global neo-liberal free-fall, and prevents immune recognition of system disorder. Indeed the causal linkage of the mutant global system to epidemic diseases and economic and environmental collapses calls into question the reigning belief system dinned into personal identity itself. This is another block against recognition of the system cancer by even those victimized by it, and why it still advances without social immune response.

Recognizing the System Disease as Taboo

Disconnection of disease epidemics from the social-system determining them is an ancient blind-spot. Science has not cured it because it too presupposes the social system within which it functions. This is why the system determinants of malignant cancers and other new non-infectious diseases are not recognized as such, and the diseases themselves are further exploited as new marketing sites. Cancer has indeed become a very big business of hi-tech manufactures and private profit interventions. By focus only on individual cancer from which profit can be made, the social-system cause is blocked out with further motive. High-growth corporate money-sequences thus grow from repression of the causal mechanism and new demand for further commodities to deal with the new illnesses.39 The same is true of all the non-communicable diseases specific to capitalism like chronic respiratory ailments, depression, and attention disorder which become epidemic only to spread the money-sequencing growth further.

One general fact is unspeakable – that cancer and other non-infectious diseases are driven by deregulated global capitalism itself. Recent US-British research studies published recognition of the cancer-capitalism connection after finding only one case of the disease in the investigation of hundreds of mummified bodies and no references to cancer in literary evidence since. They pointed in particular to childhood cancer to show that the rise is not due to people living longer. The research concludes: ‘The important thing about our study is that it gives a historical perspective to this disease. We can make very clear statements on the cancer rates in societies because we have a full overview. We have looked at millennia, not one hundred years, and have masses of data.’40 Here as well the term ‘capitalist’ is avoided. The reply might be that the Soviet Union and China have cancer too. But this reply depends on showing these systems produced this disease independent of following the capitalist model – as, for example, the government of China has in collaboration with US cigarette and junk food corporations. Epidemically fatal and torturous disease of every non-infectious kind show the correlation with capitalist money-sequencing more decisively. Obesity and obesity diseases – like diabetes – before rare are now global epidemics, and they rise in correlation to the mass transnational junk foods circulated across borders in ever more volumes, varieties and transcultural penetration. More generally, toxic commodities and their wastes in free circulation through the world’s societies produce other harms and disorders at all levels of life-organization. They infiltrate life-hosts at every level down to the invisible and irreducible pesticide residues penetrating the vascular systems of plants, poisoning bee-pollinator reproduction, and thereby threatening human food supplies.41 As the new diseases, poisonings and destabilizations spread through global life-hosts on all planes, the quintessential ‘emperor of disease’ of the cancer system itself escalates in incidence. In France for example, which has the most thorough national statistics available, its official figures report an 89 per cent increase of cancer incidence between 1980 and 2005.42 Even as science understands and intervenes in these escalating ravages of cancer at the individual level, the wider system cause remains taboo to name. Yet in every case and at every level, the ultimate causal mechanism is a system of maximizing self-multiplying money-demand with no life-function, freed of past regulators and barriers to disaggregate, deplete and input into life-systems on all planes in any way that grows private money-sequences to more. The wider system disorder has no immune response until it is recognized, but detection faces blocks at all nodes. When lung cancer morbidity rose nearly 15-fold in two decades in Britain, the Ministry of Health in 1947 asked the Medical Research Council to call a special conference of medical scientists and experts to consider the cause. The result was that the experts blamed the ‘influenza, the fog, lack of sunshine, X-rays, road tar, the common cold’ – ‘everything except cigarette smoke’.43 Even though it was known that ‘urban’ environments were where cigarette smoking was the highest, had much higher rates of cancer incidence and ‘villages’ were ‘where smoking was lowest’, still the connection could not be drawn. In short, the connection between dominant products and processes of capitalism and the non-communicable diseases and deaths they cause in still rising global incidence has been suppressed over many decades – including by independent critical science. Even before the PR machines go into operation, everyday phenomena are automatically discounted as a problem however life-destructive they are, a deep theme of this study.

More Deadly as a Causal Mechanism than the Bubonic Plague

While one can stop the bubonic plague by stopping communication of the naturally arising infector (yersinia pestis), the same does not hold for cancer and other non-infectious diseases which continue to spike upwards in humans, and even more so in the rest of the living world.

Their primary cause – determinants originating in the capitalist system’s commodity processes and products – is invisible to a microscope and to science confined to individual life-hosts. In the case of cancer, the individual disease eerily imitates its macro-causal mechanism of free money-sequence multiplication. It grows into all the host’s life-functions, appropriating its nutriments, and spreads by the sole drive of multiplying its own sequences to more. The deepest pattern of all is, however, not decoded. The money-sequence code of self-maximizing proliferation with no barriers to its growth across and through life-systems at all levels is the macro correlative and causal mechanism behind the inputs causing organic cancer and other non-infectious diseases.

At the cellular level of mutation, the unregulatedly multiplying, distorted, bloated cancer cells and conglomerates are still normally dispelled and brought back into line with life body function except for the rising tens of millions of victims. The wondrously evolved immune system usually works even with all the mutations and stressor inputs from the wider system of social reproduction. The social immune system is, however, a much less perfected process than the cellular one. It is formed by changing rule constructions, not by genes evolutionarily tested over millions of years. Thus even now when all the steps are known whereby manufacture and sale of toxic commodities and processes cause the globalizing cancer epidemic, the system cause is not identified. Instead the onus is put on individuals to avoid the deliberately addictive mass-marketed substances circulating within global society in ever rising quantities of known disease causation. But this only works if the victims know and can escape the addictive claw-holds – a minority in both cases. Social immune response to inhibit the pervasively marketed commodities causing mass diseases is the reliable remedy, but it is outlawed by trade-treaty prohibition. Result: the cancer stage of capitalism grows without its primary causal mechanism recognized, responded to or prevented.

The cause-effect thinking that has led to every scientific discovery and moral progress of modern humanity over 400 years is suspended at the primary level of causal mechanism. While the mutant system producing global disease epidemics is far more fatal in numbers than the Black Death, it is not ring-fenced or prevented. On the contrary, the same causal mechanism attacks one people after another at the level of social life-organization too by out-of-control money-sequences without legal tender to back them. Ever more unregulated zones, public assistance, tax reductions, protections of their freedoms, privatizations of public services, and armed invasions of other societies are granted by captive corporate states to grow them further as means of life-production and provision are themselves systematically degraded and gambled across cultures.

Junk Food Claws and Other Deprivations of Life-Means in Globalizing Metastasis

With the other main cause of malignant cancer and other diseases in contemporary capitalist societies, ‘junk foods’, World Health Organization (WHO) and government attempts to inform the public have been variously defunded or repressed – even at the level of school lunches where, for example, corporate pizzas are claimed to contain required vegetable portions in their tomato paste. Here too the same common cause is at work – transnational corporate money-sequencing against universal human life-requirements – in this case, setting a ‘fast track of children to disability, heart attack and obesity’.44 As with cigarettes or violence entertainments and homicidal weapons, the common cause of them and their harms remains unnamed. In the lucid and law-like formulation of Lappé on foods, ‘the more processed the food, the less nutrition but the more profit it offers, and the more fat, salt and sugar it contains. A consequence now is that more than 40 percent of the calories U.S. children eat are nutritionally empty.’45

The corporate junk intakes are also addictive – thereby growing the free money-sequencing into further expanding zones of life-incapacitation and disease of the next generation on a wider scale than cigarettes. At the same time, the junk foods are massively subsidized in, for example, corn-fructose / sugar content while the same corporate lobbies, Lappé observes, have ‘defeated increases in the minimum wage so that in recent decades it has lost a quarter of its value’.

In the wider system dispossession of life-means as macro pattern, ‘the average American added the equivalent of an extra month of work each year – with one to two hours less sleep per night’, with accompanying stress and ill-being leading to increase non-communicable diseases, for example, depression and life-energy loss.46 But no life-requirement regulation or even coordinate is tolerated in the ruling system. As health scientist José Carlos Escudero observes, ‘The WHO is currently underfinanced and faces constant restrictions on its ability to speak out about certain subjects which affect very powerful lobbies (whose most vocal defender is usually the US delegation).’47

Wherever we look to universal human life-needs and their satisfaction, we find more degeneration and dispossession at the same time as Nature is plundered and polluted at micro and macro levels. But the dots are not joined into causal meaning or system pattern. The conglomerate money-sequence invasion reigns increasingly supreme in its global occupation and cumulative destruction of organic, social and ecological life-hosts while formation of social immune response is attacked or disabled where it emerges.


‘Freedom to choose what to consume’ is the overarching populist mantra. ‘Let people decide what they want to spend money on, not big government’ is the political doctrine. Yet while mass production and marketing of addictive commodities known to cause mass disease and death is justified in sweeping affirmation of liberty of individual choice, consumption and sale of herbal cannabis lands millions of poor individuals into cages ruining their and their families’ already dispossessed lives. The anomaly is widely perceived, but tolerated for the same reason. Freedom is equated to the cancer system itself.

Thus ‘the war against drugs’ in fact creates the profitable markets for them. Global production and marketing of toxic and junk commodities goes on producing more non-communicable disease epidemics with no intervention tolerated. And every step is led by one system driver across criminal and legal domains – sequencing money to more money for private money controllers in ever greater volumes and velocities of growth with no ordering function but to multiply by every possible site for invasion and occupation. While the transnational hard-narcotics trades, the bribery-filled markets in weapons of mass destruction, the mass sale of children into prostitution are all officially abhorred, they in fact merely extend ‘global free trade’ into ‘dynamic growth areas’ of the cancer system.

Yet humanity is distinguished by reasoning powers and scientific inquiry that are rarely kept under in the long term. Sciences laboriously recognize the micro correlations. Thus despite all the efforts of powerful corporate lobbies and their retinues to deny them, some cellular determinants of disease input from outside the organism become known in embryonic social-immune recognition. This is the turning point, it seems. Yet even as it becomes recognized that approximately 70 per cent of cancers are caused by ‘tobacco smoke’ and ‘poor diet’ endlessly invading the organs involved, no medical institution traces the connections back to their macro-causal mechanism. Rather, social immune response stays within the terms of the corporate money-sequence system, and the greatest of victories is cigarette packages labelled and lawsuits for health costs launched against the disease producers – that is, in some wealthy jurisdictions after over 40 years. As always, the money-sequence growth system producing the mass non-communicable diseases, maimings and deaths of all kinds remains unidentified.48 Even the best science remains disconnected from the common cause. The commodities manufactured with numerous deadly poisons including arsenic, formaldehyde, and cyanide exactly titrated to addict consumers as powerfully as heroin are still whitewashed as ‘tobacco’.

A deep-structural conceptual confusion is normalized across disciplines which sustains the collective failure of mind – conflation of life-needs and commodity desires. Marketed desires and universal human life-necessities are not distinguished, let alone opposed. Philosophy and political science override the difference. Market doctrine, decision theory and postmodernism deny there is one. Addictive commodities disabling and diseasing people are thus confused with the universal necessities of human life – junk foods with real food, cigarettes with life-stimulus, toxins with cleanliness, carcinogenic-laced products with body care, erotic satisfaction with power machines, commercial exploitation of nature with oneness with it, violence products with manhood, alcohol with convivial community, gated privilege with grace and excellence – all the way through the life-needs we share as human beings.

No received science yet formulates the principled life–death distinction. Yet its axiom is undeniable – any life-need is that without which life-capacity is always reduced. The ultimately self-evident and necessary, however, remains buried. Not only are life-needs undistinguished from corporately manufactured wants. They are violated root and branch against life-goods provision. At the same time, life-necessity becomes the ‘necessity to compete’ within the system. Oligopolist processors and marketers strip foods of their nutriments to cut costs, and inject additives into what remains to maximize sales. The code of freedom is clear: No regulating life-standards can interfere with competitive money-sequencing to more – even if ill-being is produced and spread at every level of life-organization. This is the meta-programme of the cancer system. It has many fronts. Life-support agriculture is paradigmatic. It produces real food products to meet universal life-needs from the beginning, but is systematically displaced by crops for export, corporate land takeovers, and heavily subsidized industrialized crops formed by petrochemical inputs which together produce one-third of all carbon pollution.

One can go through all the needs of human life, and find – as we do – one common cause of the degeneration of goods and their provision across domains. One might respond, such are the costs of industrialization for more volume for more people. The population argument is refuted ahead, but there is a problem prior to meeting increased demand. Demand itself is decoupled from need in the name of it – for it only means willingness to pay price if one has the money to pay – often opposite to need. Yet none of these problems can be seen from within the ruling system of meaning. Indeed human life’s ultimate life necessities without which life-capacities degenerate towards disease and death do not count into any economic equation or policy even when the disasters cannot be denied. Blindness to life-fact is built into the system language itself.

Nonetheless, behind the untold extreme suffering and countless rising non-communicable diseases lie the commodities and processes producing them. Behind them lie the corporate mass manufacturers and marketers of their every moment, and behind them all lies the system imperative of money-sequencing to more without required function or disease inhibition. Behind the instituted mind-lock of the system cancer, in turn, lies the deepest structure of ultimately regulating stupefaction – a priori disconnection from the human life-ground and its universal requirements of reproduction and flourishing. But all is reversed in meaning. All of this equals ‘productivity’, ‘greater efficiencies’, and ‘economic growth’, and they in turn equated to ever more ‘goods’ and ‘welfare’ whatever the life-system pillage, despoliation and destruction.

In light of the mass disease-and-death consequences, we might ask how the agents of the system can ever face the ill-effects. They are ‘externalities’ to the system’s known ‘optimization’ – long proved by Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ allocation, Pareto’s law, and the Fundamental Theorems of Welfare Economics. Yet sometimes the deaths and suffering cannot be denied whatever the theoretical disconnection from life-reality. And so the Report for the Tobacco Advisory Council has revealingly advised: ‘With the general lengthening of the expectation of life we really need something for people to die of.’49

Not Zero Growth, But Zero Bad Growth

Even critical economists who oppose this system do not penetrate the life-and-death distinction between systems of growth.50 They fail to tell the difference between resource throughputs which produce life-goods and those that produce life-bads. An influential recent work in this literature is Tim Jackson, Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet, with the foreword by Herman Daly. Daly, a former World Bank economist, rightly refers to ‘academic economists’ long track record of mind-numbing irrelevance’ and provides an exact definition of ‘economic growth’ as now conceived – ‘GDP, the annual marketed flow of final goods and services’ and, ‘the throughput’ required for this product – ‘the metabolic flow of useful matter and energy from environmental sources through the economic subsystem (production and consumption), and back to environmental sinks as waste’.51

But no distinction is made between the throughputs to produce and distribute life-goods – from nourishing food to sanitation systems to libraries – and flows of useful matter and energy to mass manufacture and sell toxic foods, useless leisure motors and weapons. The distinction makes all the difference between heaven and hell. Growth of production that serves universal human life-needs is necessary and good the more there is deprivation. Money-sequence growth throughputs that produce no life-necessity and use non-renewable resources are cancerous as they multiply waste of resources and incapacitate life and life-support systems. ‘Zero growth’ erases the life-and-death distinction.

Thus even as paradigm-shifting economists momentously recognize runaway global resource pollution and draw-down by the system, the real economic base and life-ground are not grounded in, nor distinguished from the life-blind driver of money-sequence growth behind the resource dead-end they rightly focus on.


Table of Contents



  1. The diagnosis and prognosis was first presented in medically refereed analysis in ‘The Social Immune System and the Cancer Stage of Capitalism’, in ‘Public Health in the 1990s: In the Shadow of Global Transformation and Militarism’, Social Justice, 22, No. 4 (1995), 1–25 (a special issue edited by pathologist Dr Robert Gould and public health analyst Patrice Sutton).

  2. Frances Moore Lappé, EcoMind, New York: Nation Books, 2011, and discussion of it,

  3. Definitive study of the machine model leading neo-economic doctrine is provided by Philip Mirowski, Machine Dreams, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

  4. Jeffery Sachs, The Price of Civilization, New York: Random House, 2011, p. 6.

  5. Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1977, p. 84.

  6. Most of the sources cited in the surrounding endnotes substantiate this description. The global corporate-rights system imposed by transnational treaties with no other rights allowed are demonstrated in Unequal Freedoms: The Global Market as an Ethical System, Toronto: Garamond, 1998, and other sources cited ahead, while the financial-bank dimensions of the cancerous deregulation are spelled out subsequently in the works cited in note 8. Steve Lendman specifically reminds me: ‘1999 [the year of the publication of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism] was an important year. The Gramm/Leach/Bliley Act repealed Glass Steagall [1933 legislation to control speculation Wall Street investment banking firms to gamble with their depositors’ money held in their commercial banks] effective November 1999 [officially dated 2000], and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act effective late December 1999 opened the door for derivatives fraud and much more’ (that is, deregulated formerly regulated derivatives and credit-default schemes which have no legal-tender or money-commitment base, exponentially overwhelm real-stock trading, and proximately caused the 2008 Crash and subsequent Great Recession-Depression still going). These Acts themselves as well as their sustainment in operation, including the robo-mortgages simply overrunning due process of legal holding and possession (behind the massive home dispossessions after 2008 until held up in the courts by attorneys at law like Matthew Stanton of Chicago), and their subsequent reinforcements like Obama’s misleadingly named JOBS Act still further deregulate now globally metastasized Wall Street money-sequences with no accountability but to their own self-multiplication.

  7. See, for example, Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty / Impacts of IMF and World bank Reforms, London: Zed Books, 1998, and Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Toronto: Random House, 2007.

  8. Lawyer Ellen Brown provides the most all-round historical picture extant in Web of Debt (Baton Rouge: Third Millennium Press, 2010). The US Federal Reserve system, for example, consists of twelve privately-owned branches – dominated by Wall Street and Goldman Sachs – which receive free ‘Federal Reserve Notes [US dollars] from the S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which are not of course interest-bearing, for United States government obligations [bonds of payment] which are interest bearing’. The quoted and uncontested words are from the Congressional record and are spoken by a Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, Wright Patman, early on in the Fed’s long-covert hijack of sovereign public rights of credit and currency issue from 1913 on, now amounting to tens of trillions of dollars still rising to private financial institutions a year since 2008 (as detailed ahead). Excellent new empirical evidence is provided in the works of Professor Hudson, The Bubble and Beyond / Fictitious Capital, Debt Deflation and the Global Crisis, Michael the bubble and beyond-on-kindle, and of investigative journalists Greg Palast, Vulture’s Picnic. New York: Dutton / Penguin and 2011, and Stephen Lendman, How Wall Street Fleeces America / Privatized Banking Government Collusion and Class War, Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2011, with valuable recent history in David Harvey, The Enigma of Capital, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

  9. The texts of the prior note report the diverse phenomena of this macro degenerate pattern, and the rest of this chapter frames its system meaning in steeply downward trends of the ‘life-capital economy’ or ‘real economy’ with its principles defined in the section ‘Life-Capital Sequences versus Money-Capital Sequences: The Turning Point of Understanding and Recovery’.

  10. See note 8 above, and Simon Johnson, ‘The Quiet Coup’, The Atlantic (May 2009).

  11. The key elements of this inner logic of the financial cancer system are documented above.

  12. When Jim Stanford of the Globe and Mail wrote in the midst of the European financial crisis that European ‘taxpayers aren’t bailing out big-spending Greeks. They’re bailing out German banks. Those banks created leveraged credit out of thin air, worth many times their actual capital’ (‘Europeans Aren’t Bailing Out Greece, They’re Bailing Out Banks’, October 4, 2011), I wrote on request to the Globe’s e-comments saying ‘Finally the Globe and Mail prints an article telling the truth on bailouts …’ The comment was removed from the record.

  13. Classic demonstrations of the cycles of dispossession, deprivation and ruin of societies and their domestic economic bases by IMF-led threat of trade and financial embargo for any society not paying their endless compound-interest and service charges to private transnational banks are provided by The Globalization of Poverty and Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents, New York: W.W. Norton, 2002, and Klein, Shock Doctrine. Nothing has changed in the formulae of economic ruin of societies by ‘structural adjustments’ and ‘austerity programmes’ to compel their service to the demands of foreign money-sequences as the overriding obligation of states.

  14. Little tracking of the ongoing European Union financial crisis is out in full scope, but Marc Roche, La banque: comment Goldman Sachs dirige le monde, Alblin Michel, 2010, is useful on Goldman Sachs’ role as well as Kenneth Hoare, ‘What the Squid Did Next’, New Internationalist (March 2012).

  15. See prior note on Wall Street connection. Displacement of sovereign legislatures’ control over fiscal and monetary policies is clear cut. In March 2012, for example, the European Commission was threatening to take Hungary’s government to court if it did not make legal and constitutional changes to guarantee independence of its central bank. More deeply and broadly, at the insistence of Germany, the European Union’s constitutional base, the Maastricht Treaty, was altered so that sovereign governments must introduce ‘binding legislation or constitutional amendments’ to put their national budgets under central control so that, in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s words, it will ‘be binding and valid forever. Never will you be able to change them through a Parliamentary majority’ (emphasis added; quoted by Ian Traynor, ‘German Straitjacket for Borrower Nations’, Guardian Weekly, February 3, 2012, p. 12. Not mentioned is the enforceability by the European Court of Justice, thereby equating private money-sequence rule to community justice. In the foreground, the cause is to ‘save Greece from defaulting on her debt’, although Argentina defaulting on the same debt in 2002 has fared very well since, and in fact the debt money does not go to Greece but to private transnational banks and bondholders.

  16. If this figure, finally released by Congress in 2010 and now much higher, had not been demanded and publicized by US Senator Bernie Sanders, it would have remained invisible. By July of 2011, it had morphed to over $16 trillion in the US alone in ‘total financial bailout – without the direct approval of Congress – [At the same time], the same firms also received trillions of dollars in Fed loans at near-zero interest rates.’

  17. The contributors to Michel Chossudovsky (ed.), The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century, Ottawa: Global Research, 2010, provide perhaps the best other available posing and answering of these questions in chapters on the ruinous private financial system (for example, by Michael Hudson, a leader among economists in this area, who has long proposed a sensible resetting of banks as public utilities).

  18. Smith and Ian Traynor, ‘European Debt Crisis: Greece is bankrupt, Humiliated and Ablaze’, Guardian Weekly, February 17, 2012, p. 5.

  19. The essential basis of the multiplication of money by private banks that is now 20 times the legal tender it overwhelms is debt money. Private banks issue the debt plus compounding interest charges and collect it forever, the more the better, with the security of people’s homes, wages or whatever can be sold for more than the debt, then packing the risk of myriad debtors into sliced-up ‘financial products’ to sell across the world on as still more money-sequencing in circulation ad infinitum, the new ‘securitization’ process – until the pyramid scheme collapses as in 2008. Then government bails out the biggest bank money-sequencers who go on doing it, shifting from broke home-buyers to food or other derivative speculations or whatever multiplies fastest in deregulated conditions.

  20. At the Annual Summit of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in Delhi, March 29, 2012, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff referred to the ‘cannibalization of emerging markets’ and the ‘global tsunami of cheap money’, concepts which approach towards recognition of the global cancer system.

  21. See Brown, Web of Debt, and Chossudovsky, Global Economic Crisis, for full historical details.

  22. Figures are from Mark Weisbrot, ‘Cristina Kirchner and Argentina’s Good Fortune / Under the Kirchner Administrations, Argentina has Achieved the Fastest Growth in the West – After Defaulting. Listening, Europe?’,

  23. Honduras elected a government on the programme of raising minimum wages, promoting land reform, and reforming the constitution to be more accountable to the people. In archetypal reversion, a violent military-led coup supported by the local oligarchy and fully supported by the US overthrew the elected government of Manuel Zelaya in 2009. Death-squads murdering co-operative and campesino leaders and a suddenly escalating drug trade connected to the biofuel estates claimed by the campesinos and owned by one of the country’s richest landowners have since made Honduras ‘the new murder capital of the world’ in out-of-control poverty and violence, another tumour of the cancer system. Revealingly, President Obama has refused to meet the overthrown elected president in his three trips to Washington after the illegal US-supported coup of an elected government. Such is the life-destroying direction of the ‘neo-liberal’ system seeking to reoccupy and reverse Latin America’s productively developing democratization. See, for example, Mark Weisbrot, ‘Foreign Policy Disgrace’, Guardian Weekly, November 25, 2011, p. 20, and the section ‘Beyond the Shock Doctrine’ ahead in this chapter.

  24. See, for example, Iain Bruce, The Real Venezuela: Making Socialism in the 21st Century, London: Pluto Press, 2008.

  25. This and other figures on Ecuador are cited by Jayati Ghosh, ‘Banana Republic No Longer’, Guardian Weekly, January 27, 2012, p. 20.

  26. Siddahartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, New York: Scribner, 2010, pp. 40–1.

  27. If the causal connection is laid bare, a predictable diversion from it will be to say cancer is an industrial disease and the Soviet Union had cancer too. Revealingly, there is little available comparative evidence. But what evidence exists shows no manifold epidemic of cancers and non-infectious diseases of every kind linked to addictive commodities, and no evidence of their mass promotion. Moreover, where cancers occur from industrial processes, and they do, the Soviet Union imitated the capitalist system in every respect that causes them (except vodka). Interestingly, the dominant skin and lip cancers in the Soviet Union were caused by exposure to infra-red radiation (especially in the Southern provinces) caused by aerosol products whose manufacture was invented and overwhelmingly used in capitalist societies.

  28. A reliable source of understanding epigenetics in natural language and its advance beyond one-way genetics is provided by S. Robert in Embryology, Epigenesis, Evolution, New York: Cambridge University Press.

  29. Peto and R. Doll, ‘Future World-Wide effects of Current Smoking Patterns’, in Peter Boyle et al. (eds), Science, Policy and Public Health, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 284.


  31. ‘Most cosmetics and personal care products (CPCPs) manufactured and marketed by mainstream and multilevel marketing (MLM) industries are veritable “witches brews” of multiple known carcinogenic ingredients and contaminants’, reports long-time medical scientist of the cancer system, Samuel Epstein. ‘However, no such information is disclosed to the public’ (Samuel Epstein, Unreasonable Risk, Tokyo: Lyon-sha Publishing, 2006 (2nd edition)).

  32. Glenn Frankel, ‘U.S. Aided Cigarette Firms in Conquests Across Asia’, Washington Post, November 17, 1996. Quotations in the next two paragraphs are cited from this unusually revealing source 16 years ago. All facts apply a fortiori today, but none are textually retained in today’s media.

  33. Ibid.

  34. The World Health Organization reports that 62 per cent of all deaths are from NCDs, but does not yet trace the generic connection to system-made stressors on the human organism. See, retrieved December 10, 2010.

  35. C. Michalos, Trade Barriers to the Public Good, Montreal-Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008.

  36. System worship is explained in its principles of governance in ‘Understanding Market Theology’, in Bernard Hodgson (ed.), The Invisible Hand and the Common Good, Heidelberg and New York: Springer Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy, 2004, pp. 151–83.

  37. Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies, p. 254.

  38. Ibid.

  39. Samuel Epstein’s Cancer-Gate, New York: Baywood Press, 2005, shows how cancer institutes, research and official campaigns centring on individual-host explanations like genes, lifestyle and expensive hi-tech interventions profit from the disease while preventing examination of its external causes.

  40. The team of researchers were co-ordinated by the Manchester KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, and published their results in Rosalie David and Michael R. Zimmerman, Nature Reviews Cancer, 11 (December 2010), 76,

  41. For exact demonstration of minute quantities of toxic commodities causing cumulative and irreversible damage to reproduction and thus the whole food production system with responsible corporations allowed by the US Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention to ignore regulations as they continue to do so, see

  42. Service de Biostatistique, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud, Lyon, France, accessed January 10, 2012.

  43. Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies, p. 243.

  44. Cited in Robert Albritton, Let Them Eat Junk: How Capitalism Creates Hunger and Obesity, London: Pluto Press, 2009, p. 93.

  45. Lappé, EcoMind, p. 175.

  46. Ibid, p. 176.

  47. José Carlos Escudero, ‘What is Said, What is Silenced, What is Obscured: The Report of the Commission on the Social Determinants of Health’, Social Medicine, 4, 183, No. 3 (September 2009), retrieved on November 10, 2011,

  48. I specify ‘maimings’ because that is what happens with the commodity effects of not only anti-personnel weapons, but all of the non-communicable diseases this system unnecessarily produces – including my dear Afro-American friend and lawyer singer of seven feet, Big George Carter, losing both his legs beneath the knees to junk foods via diabetes.


  50. In evaluating growth at the macro level, it is well to remember growth at the micro level in its cancerous form. Cancer cells in tumour have been created by cells that have lost the ability to assemble and create tissues of normal form and function. On micro and macro levels, the issue is not zero growth, but cancerous growth that has no life-function but multiplying copies of itself.

  51. Tim Jackson, Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet, London: Earthscan, 2009.