RE-GROUNDING IN THE UNIVERSAL LIFE-REQUIREMENTS OF HUMAN HEALTH
- Continuity of life-necessities and means to members of society (that is, that without which their life-capacities are reduced);
- Functioning contribution of citizens to society’s life-requirements (that is, as able and needed);
- Sustaining the life-carrying capacities of the environmental life-host (that is, both biophysical bases and biodiversity).
(1), (2) and (3) are developmental so that life-means, vocations and biodiverse flourishing advance through generational time. As we have seen, however, the trends are opposite over 30 years in every domain (as the Degenerate Trends diagnosed in Chapter 1 explain).
(1) Income Security: Continuity of Life-Means to Members of Society
Income security is the only way in which the universal need requirements of human life can be assured to the members of a modern society. Deprivation of clean air or water or nourishing food or home always results in morbidity or disablement. Fulfilment of these universal life-needs is thus the most basic requirement of health, and failure to fulfil them is the basic cause of disease.
Yet as the goods of life meeting human needs become increasingly commodified (that is, available only on payment of money for access to them) continuity of money income becomes correspondingly essential. Food, clothing and shelter are now only normally available in commodity form. Safe drinking water, air, sunlight and other basic organic needs increasingly depend on commodity purchase. Even social intercourse and cultural participation have become dependent on minimum money income (for example, for internet access). At the same time, access to natural means of life-support has declined to near zero by ever more global appropriation and destruction of the world’s forests, species, oceans, coral reefs, freshwater habitats, soils and inter-tidal zones to grow private money-sequences.
Although continuity of sufficient money income is thus required to sustain the life and health of societies and their members across the world, ‘structurally adjusted’ societies have reduced and eliminated the social infrastructures that assure sufficient money life-income for citizens non-stop – one continent after another, with now Western civilization itself in rapid decline. As 3 billion more of the world’s people have been more or less suddenly reorganized into neo-capitalist private money-sequence rule, no society is safe. In even the US, wages and salaries have declined radically for the 90 per cent – by 15 per cent in real terms between 1973 and 1992, and by 20 per cent for unskilled non-supervisory workers in the private sector. Subsequently, in 1995, real aggregate wages contracted by a full 3 per cent. At the same time the real income of the top 1 per cent of the society escalated by 60 per cent between 1977 and 1992. By 1993 this 1 per cent of US society possessed more marketable wealth than the bottom 90 per cent, and eight times more financial wealth than the bottom 80 per cent.1 The cancer pattern has only become worse since. But since the ruling religion is that ‘the market must decide’, any social immune response to the disorder is ruled out.
Other national profiles reveal even more precipitate and sudden declines in continuity of life-incomes to society’s members. In Mexico, for example, after infiltration of deregulated Maquiladora ‘free trade zones’ in 1980, the national wage and salary average declined by over 50 per cent in real terms, and unemployment rates more than doubled to 18 per cent. In 1994–95, after Mexico’s government opened all of its social body to reorganization by the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and after $70 billion invaded Mexico in speculative investment in the new unprotected order, civil war was raging in Chiapas over ‘the death sentence of NAFTA’, and currency speculation in the rise and fall of the Mexican peso still further decreased the life-sustenance flow to the Mexican people: in 1995 by an estimated 30 per cent drop in the value of the peso, a drop of grocery sales of 25 per cent, and an escalating rise in national unemployment to reach 30 per cent. During this period of extremely rapid decline of life-support income for members of Mexican society, the Mexican stock exchange rose 1,000 per cent between 1988 and 1994, the number of billionaires almost doubled to 24, while the manufacturing sector declined from 7.3 percent growth in 1989 to increasing negative growth since.2 Mexico was dominantly described in the corporate chain media during most of this process as an ‘economic miracle’, which it certainly was in terms of the rapid redistribution of society’s life-income to delinked money-sequences. Now drug lords and bank shadow accounts rule the country so deeply that there seems no way out as billionaires multiply.
In New Zealand, on the other side of the world, we have seen much of the profile already. After a leak by a government minister of an impending devaluation of New Zealand money, New Zealand money predictably fled the country. This caused an exchange crisis whose conditions provided the new marketeer government the desired opportunity to dismantle New Zealand’s welfare state. Social spending and programmes for public sector employment, income security, health care and education were radically reduced or eliminated. In the two years after cuts were introduced (1990–92), New Zealand’s national government Department of Statistics reported a 40 per cent increase in poverty, a doubling of youth suicide to the highest recorded in the world, a 50 per cent increase in violence against women, and a 40 per cent increase in violence against children (including a trebling of infanticide). Taxes on corporations and the wealthy were cut by 50 per cent, unemployment skyrocketed from near zero to 12.8 per cent, interest rates rose to up to 30 percent and output plunged to negative growth rates. All this was ‘to reduce the deficit’. But in fact the government deficit more than doubled from $22 billion to $46 billion.3 New Zealand too was celebrated across the world by global market agents and the mass media as ‘an economic miracle’.
In the former Soviet Union between North America and New Zealand, the rapid conversion of the social body to capitalist organization had the following outcomes in the continuity of vital life-sustenance and security to society’s members. Real incomes dropped by 30 per cent ; industrial production was cut in half; 60 million pensioners’ lives were increasingly at risk (a large proportion from starvation); 40 million approached starvation conditions; prices increased in the early period of the experiment by 2,600 per cent with bread in 1995 10,000 times its price in 1992; and violent crime and corruption ran progressively out of control.4 In the former ‘powerhouse of the Soviet bloc’, East Germany, industrial production nose-dived to one-third its former level, and the real unemployment figure soared to between 35 per cent and 40 per cent with resurgent Nazi eruptions by unemployed youth increasingly dominating German politics.5
None of this was conceived as a vast failed experiment with entire societies, despite tens of millions of people’s ruined lives. Here we can see in near-laboratory conditions how an economic paradigm disconnected from life-coordinates can advance across social hosts with the progressively depredatory pattern of a disease, but its effects not appear as a problem of the paradigm determining the changes.
In Yugoslavia, which stationed itself between the nations of Western capitalism and the Soviet Union, the outcomes of ‘market restructuring’ were more dramatically violent. But as we have observed, no linkage is recognized yet within the agents and agencies leading and reporting on this process between effects and cause. That the ethnic barbarism followed in the wake of macro-economic reforms pressed by the US government and imposed by the IMF and World Bank is a connection precluded from commercial and university press accounts. Subsequent to these tidal waves of market reforms, industrial production plunged to – 10.6 per cent by 1990, and GDP by over 50 per cent in all the former republics except Slovenia by 1995. At the same time, a ‘financial aid package’ was imposed against the trans-ethnic protests of 650,000 workers in Serbia alone, requiring a national currency devaluation, a general wage freeze, a drastic reduction of social expenditures, opening of domestic markets to foreign commodities, and the abolition of publicly owned enterprises under worker self-management.
Deprived of the evolved common ground of social infrastructure and co-operative responsibility which linked the formerly hostile Balkan peoples across cultural lines, and impoverished by the massive disemployments, bankruptcies and collapse of productive enterprises which occurred simultaneously to pay foreign moneylender demands, the states of the former federation fell to the politics of ethnocide only after the stripping of their shared life-supports.6 None of this was noted by the international media and known academic pundits, least of all the underlying systemic recirculation of social wealth from the social infrastructures and productive workers to marketized circuits turning money into more money as an end in itself.
All of these social profiles exhibit a clear disease pattern. Its underlying meta pattern is massive reallocation of the money required to produce and live as human to private money-sequences overriding universal life-needs at every moment of their multiplying growth across borders. Money-sequence growth is the determining code of society’s reproduction while life-sequences by means of life cease to count. As circulation of required income for life-means and their production has been appropriated from ever more people across the globe, with correspondingly more revenues flowing to private money cycles of growth without committed function, whole societies have become ever more endangered and insecure. Unemployment rates rise at an exponential rate in relationship to the 1960s in the world’s most developed economies.7 Social life-support systems are ‘axed’ across continents from the Americas to China. At the same time, unregulated movement of money capital across boundaries for non-productive speculative seizures of social incomes accelerates in volume and velocity everywhere. Speculation in money-value itself has become an epidemic overwhelming economies at 50 or more times great era volume than the value of all trade in goods and services.8 At over $1.2 trillion a day before 2000, it was an estimated 60 times greater than all the governments in the world could raise to resist private money-sequence attacks on their currencies.9
With money demand increasingly in the circuits of money-to-more-money growth, the result is less and less money available in the economy to serve the lives of people. Social populations are not only thus deprived of what was formerly in the production and provision of means of life, but are also made ever more insecure about the continuance of what they have. Humans uniquely among the world’s species think, feel and act in terms of future life-means, and so their present loss of access to these life-means is projected into the future to compound their life-insecurity.
At the same time, those without any independent income support, young members and unemployed members of society, a rising proportion of social memberships across the world, not only are endangered in their health and life-functions by the declining incomes of those who support or aid them, as well as by deprivation of the social welfare and assistance upon which they variously depend for their continued existence. With increasingly diminishing job-prospects, the youth of the world approach the condition of a surplus population. For the young to become superfluous to their society is an inversion of the biological law of species living to reproduce themselves. It expresses the social disease pattern in the most basic parameter, the reproduction of humanity’s vital life-capacities across the next generation.
It is in this context that global statistics report that one-third of all children are malnourished or starving, a pattern of deprivation of the most basic means of life that has eaten progressively into the margins of the wealthiest First World societies themselves. Between 1981 and 1991 in Canada, for example, the poverty rate for working households grew by 30 per cent, and by 57 per cent for unattached individuals, while the poverty rate of children grew by 49 per cent between 1989 and 1994 and continued to increase.10 What is most alarming about this deepening, spreading deprivation of the basic requirements of life-sustenance for dependent children and young workers under the age of 30 is the universality, rapidity and progressiveness of its advance.
At the same time, higher education is defunded in the ‘knowledge economy’, and its financial support is turned over to private banks who extend long-term, compound interest loans to the next generation of students to become debt-prisoners of institutional moneylenders. On the wider field of social reproduction, by 1994 a segregated body of 358 billionaires had more net wealth than the total life-revenues of almost half the world’s population, an effect for which the global market’s system-deciders select.11
In its May 1998 issue, the British Medical Journal carried a series of articles and letters by medical professionals identifying the causal pattern of life-depredation and decline which was not yet recognized by the larger society. Poverty, these physicians concurred, is the world’s leading cause of medical disease and ill-health, and the main cause of increasing poverty is ‘globalization’.12 Nothing has changed since except to get worse in life-measures – as opposed to money-value measures which rule.13
(2) Human Vocation: Functioning Contribution of Citizens to Society’s Real Life-Requirements
A healthy life-organization not only requires sufficient flow of vital life-means to its contributing functions to reproduce free of the ravages of disease, disablement and death. Each of its elements must as well contribute in some active way to the well-being of the interrelated whole to which they belong – to sustain both their own life-capacities and those of their life-host. This is a basic requirement of all life-systems. Just as wastage, atrophy or disease sets in very rapidly with non-use of any part of the individual organism, so it is at the social level of life-organization. We can verify by observation that social members who do not animate, exercise and develop their abilities in some form of active contribution decline in health and vigour, suffer higher rates of heart, cancer and other primary forms of organic morbidity and experience mental disabilities such as suicidal depression.14
Individuals can almost always contribute to the wider life-community in some way specific to their particular abilities. Extended families and tribal communities demonstrate this in the active and various functions of the elderly, the abnormal and very young in the life-functions of the community. Global market societies, however, increasingly tend towards an ever deeper and universal division between two great classes of social members – those who are instrumentalized in some way as paid employees contributing to the production, extraction or protection of the circuit of money-profit generation and accumulation, and those who are not so instrumentalized. Since the need for the former class of people decreases with capitalist development of methods of labour-cost reduction and by the downsizing and dismantling of public sectors, the class of full-time employees in capitalist-organized societies has diminished with completely unprecedented rapidity. Thus by the turn of the century, nearly one-third of the world’s 2.2 billion workers have come to be chronically unemployed, with increasing proportions of even First World social populations – most gravely, the younger generations – marginalized and disconnected from socially productive existence.15 This dead-ending of citizens and especially the young has only rapidly increased in the last decade, and more than ever after 2008. Fifty per cent of Spain’s and Greece’s young citizens are unemployed in 2012, and other countries at the head of Western civilization and ‘free market’ capitalism follow. This degenerate trend may be the worst of all because it strikes at the very roots of human evolution and its vocation – to do what is value to others and of interest to oneself in ever wider circles of life-comprehension and participant meaning.
As more and more people are rendered disposable as functioning members of society, their loss of social function leads to a wide variety of pathological outcomes. ‘Unemployment, and even the threat of unemployment can have dramatic health consequences, including increased mortality due to heart disease and cancer … For every 1% rise in the jobless rate, there is a 2% rise in the number of cardiac deaths, a 3 to 4% rise in infant mortality, a 4 to 5% rise in suicides and homicides, a 5 to 6% jump in admissions to psychiatric hospitals … [and] an elevated relative risk of mortality from cancer of 2.07.’16 The recently disemployed man’s probability of heart disease or cancer, in fact, doubles within five years with 40–49-year-old American men.17 Adolescent suicide and prostitution rates escalate as future employment prospects become darker (as with the 12–19-year-old age group across First World nations since the late 1980s).18 Meanwhile, those with jobs increasingly work at what has no life-meaning to them or anyone else, but only grow private money-sequences in what in fact violates human and ecological life-requirements – waste-and-disease-producing junk, marketing propaganda and harassment, debased foods and polluting fossil-fuel vehicles with no productive function, and so on.
Most visibly, ethnic wars, racist attacks, armed violence, urban riots, beatings of women and children and – in general – mass murders of unknown others rise in social sites where the unemployment of young men or clearances of subsistence farmers has become endemic. This pattern can be observed from the slums of North America to the cities of Indonesia, Central America, Britain, Brazil or Paris; where not? The life-loss on the psychological plane to people separated from a committed function to perform for the community to which they belong expresses itself in physical morbidities that worst of all for their victims in the felt side of life. The mental torments of those who are deprived of any function or value in their society can only at this stage be guessed at as a social epidemic across all able-bodied age groups and even entire societies (for example, indigenous peoples). Where no recognized work for a wider community is or can be performed, the member of the social body is made a superfluous being who has ‘no reason to live’.
(3) Sustaining the Life-Carrying Capacities of the Environmental Life-Host
There has been wide recognition of the crisis of ‘environmental sustainability’. I will not reiterate the documentation of this global life-crisis. What has not been widely recognized is that global market use of environmental resources determines their depletion, pollution and destruction.
It is true that the Soviet societies were at least as ecocidal as capitalist societies in their five to seven decades of operation. But we should bear in mind that they were imitative of centuries-old practices of large-scale capitalist extraction systems, and competed to outperform them at this mode of relationship with nature’s life-resources. Despite these explanatory clues, the money-sequenced exploitation of the environment is systematically excluded as a determinant of species and habitat distribution and extinction by environmental biology and ecological research.19
We need not collude here with this profound block against recognizing the connection between system cause and effect – the ancient taboo. The general principle of correlation between industrial, private-profit use of environmental resources and their decline is testable. As global capitalist exploitation of the environment has advanced and advances across global life-conditions and elements, all of these global life-conditions and elements – the atmosphere, freshwaters and oceans, top soils, trees, animal habitats and species and mineral resources – degenerate in direct proportion in their life-carrying capacities and biodiversity.
An effective international regulatory regime to protect regional and global environmental life-hosts might prevent this accelerating pattern of destruction of its biophysical carrying-capacity and life-habitats. But, revealingly, the global market exploitation of the environment increases as its harms increase. One example is that five transnational Asian corporations which have largely destroyed their own region’s rainforests have entered into purchase agreements with Latin American governments to exploit 20 million more acres of rainforest in the Amazon Basin with no limits on the destruction of life-habitats to be permitted for increased money-value returns to stockholders.20
More revealingly from a systemic standpoint, global market exploitation of the environment seeks at the threshold of its cumulative environmental damage to avoid or to further reverse effective environmental regulation. This trend is evidenced in even the most prosperous First World societies such as Canada where environmental agencies have, as we have seen, been stripped of scientists, research programmes, police, independent monitoring requirements and recycling programmes. This effective deregulation was done in imitation of the US Republican Congress attempt in 1995 to dismantle the US Environmental Protection Agency by blanket rescindment of regulations and corporate rewriting of environmental legislation. The difference, which worked, was to disguise the assault by public relations slogans like ‘resources for life’.21
On a world scale, volumes of exact rules of the World Trade Organization and North American Free Trade Agreement protected the unrestricted rights of private corporations to access and exploit natural resources and sell their products across boundaries. But not one of this mountain of regulations included a binding regulation protecting the world or regional environments against increasing pollution, destruction, wastes, exhaustion, homogenization, or extinction. The 1998 Kyoto pact to reduce potentially catastrophic emissions of ‘global warming’ gases of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide ‘succeeded’ by instituting a new market regime for private corporations to buy and sell rights to pollute the planet’s atmosphere. Here again, we can observe the paradigm’s enclosure within itself where only what fits the selector principle of maximizing money-sequence profit can enter public-interest regulation itself.
The invasiveness of such a regime may be told by the pathologies of its outcomes. The air may be increasingly unbreathable in the ‘miracle’ economies of the East and the South. No-one on the globe may be able to be in the sun without cancer danger. Ocean bottoms and coral ecosystems may become lifeless in multiplying regions across the planet. Tropical and temperate rainforests may be clear-cut at a rising 100 acres a minute. Plant and animal species may be going extinct at a recognized 1,000 times the normal rate. The desertification of soils may be proceeding by country-sizes each year. The sounds of the world may be ever more dominantly the anaplastic din of motors burning non-renewable and productively precious fossil fuel. But the for-profit industrial exploitation of the global life-environment must be left free to increase its assaults on environmental life-systems to ‘keep the economy going’.
The long-awaited 1992 UN Rio Declaration on Environment and Development provides another clue to the puzzle of global life-disruption and decline not being related back to the system-deciders determining them. The Rio Conference failed, despite the ‘environmental crisis’ recognized by negotiators, to respond to the systemic and cumulative depredation of planetary life because there was a more basic programme by which its participants were still bound. Principle 2 of the Rio Declaration recognizes that ‘States [read corporations using state environments as vehicles] have the sovereign right to exploit their own resources …’ Principle 16 declares that ‘the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution … without distorting international trade and investment’.
In short, the world body responded with no effective inhibition of the accumulating destruction of the earth’s biosphere, or the spreading regime of reproduction behind it because it remained within the ruling structure of thought. Five years after its 200,000-word programme of hundreds of steps to be taken by governments acting for ‘sustainable development’ within the framework of ‘not distorting international trade and investment’, the ecocidal problem it was organized to resolve with all governments in attendance had become clearly worse. The 1998 follow-up summit in New York concluded that overall trends ‘are worse today than they were in 1992’.22 But no tie-back to the infrastructural determinants of the progressive advance of the diseased state was considered, or arose in media discussion of the problem. Rather, disproportionate coverage was given to those who denied climatic changes by industrial gas emissions. Nothing has changed to reduce any ecocidal trend in the 20 years since.
HOW THE MONEY-SEQUENCE CANCER EXPLAINS THE REVERSE OF HUMAN AND NATURAL EVOLUTION
At this stage of the global market system’s reproduction of transnational money-sequences to unheard-of volumes and velocities of transaction and growth, a systematic and irreversible destruction of planetary life-organization emerges. There are seven defining properties of a cancer invasion now recognizable at the level of global life-organization itself.
- an uncontrolled and unregulated reproduction and multiplication of an agent in a host body; that
- is not committed to any life-function of its life-host; that
- aggressively and opportunistically appropriates nutriments and resources from its social and natural hosts in uninhibited growth and reproduction; that
- is not effectively recognized or responded to by the immune system of its hosts; that
- possesses the ability to transfer or to metastasize its growth and uncontrolled reproduction to sites across the host body; that
- progressively infiltrates and invades contiguous and distant sites of its life-hosts until it obstructs, damages and/or destroys successive organs of their life-systems; and that
- without effective immune-system recognition and response eventually destroys the host bodies it has invaded.
Three years after these common properties of disease affliction on global and cellular levels of life-organization were first identified,23 a former US Undersecretary of Commerce and Dean of the Yale School of Management, who was speaking for the ‘globalization process’, released a question which was not followed up: ‘Or is there’, he asked, ‘a bigger cancer at the centre of the whole enterprise?’24 What might be the cancer, and what was the vehicle of its invasion were not ready to be considered. We have examined why in the preceding chapters of this study.
It cannot be the human species per se because over 99 per cent of the species’ time on earth has been free of any such pervasive, systemic pattern of incremental environmental destruction. And it cannot be coherently diagnosed as human overpopulation as we have seen in Chapter 1. In fact we can clearly now see that not only all the 33 degenerate trends defined there follow from the money-sequence cancer as diagnosed, but the three universal bases of human life in the world – sufficient means of life-provision, contributory life-function of individuals, and sustained life-carrying capacities of the planet – are all systematically attacked by the same ruling disorder not yet recognized.
The Nature of the Cancer Agency
As we have see, the evolved ‘social immune systems’ have been systematically attacked by ‘structural adjustments’ and ‘social service cutbacks’ as public funds have haemorrhaged out to private money-sequences which violate life-systems at every level to multiply themselves. The pattern has been so aggressive that even the signifiers of their agents do not disguise the violence of the appropriation – ‘necessary sacrifices’, ‘axing social programmes’, ‘slashing public services’, ‘subjecting societies to shock treatments’, and so on.25 What has been traditionally known as capitalism has, in fact, mutated to a form no longer linked to the production of use-values for social memberships. It has, with no social recognition, changed to a system of growth no longer ‘capital’ in any traditional sense. As former Governor of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volker, glimpsed without system comprehension, ‘The biggest concern today is that there is a constituency for instability.’26
What Volker meant is that volatility in the global system’s money-sequences allows for correspondingly more opportunities to profit from constantly changing margins between currency and stock values which increase with instability of their values. If the instability increases with a new ‘free circulation’ of the rogue sequences of growth which opportunistically expand as these insecurities of access to life-means increase, and if they multiply faster and spectacularly with ever more free movement with no committed function to their life-hosts who suffer ‘meltdowns’ everywhere, then a carcinogenic programme has established itself in fact in the afflicted hosts – whether it is recognized or not.
All that could keep such a rogue programme of uncontrolled and predatory reproduction growing at the expense of its life-hosts would be that their immune systems were suppressed and hijacked by its transnational money-sequences – as in fact finance ministries, central banks, mass media, ruling parties, university presidents, and so on, have been. Thus the ‘free flows’ of external money-sequences penetrating everywhere have grown and multiplied without any inhibition or life-standard blocking them. The ‘constituency’ for instability in the global market is in fact hydra-headed. Not only are there transnational currency traders and other financial speculators of multiplying kinds growing into ever new headways of money appropriation from life-economies. There are also the global market’s booming armaments trade, escalating financial services, diversifying violence entertainment businesses and security industries which grow rapidly from systemic instability of life-conditions. With, for example, 97.5 per cent of all foreign exchange transactions in 1998 devoted to predatory appropriations of the world’s money demand by currency speculators, the ‘constituency’ for instability of the global economic system has in fact run right out of control. Money investment which seeks to become more money without production of any life-good or service has been known as long as usury, but never before as the dominant decision-structure of social life-organization. Even when the loan-capital circuit became greatly empowered in earlier centuries by the immensely profitable financing of kings’ armies, investment-capital as a whole was still standardly invested in the production or distribution of useful goods.
Critics of capitalism from Marx through Lenin to contemporary analysts have thus argued or assumed that it is industrial capitalism that rules social bodies in its ever-widening ‘imperialist stage’. Marx is the prototype of this understanding. His canonical model of the inner logic of capital’s general process of surplus-value extraction straightforwardly asserted: ‘The movements of this money-capital are therefore once more merely movements of an individualized part of industrial capital engaged in the reproduction process.’27 Money capital that appears to go directly from money to more money is, according to this received view, only a specialized moment within larger capital circuits that go from money through good or service production and distribution to more money as the macro circuit of capital’s expansion.
Again, in Marx’s words: ‘A definite part of the total capital disassociates itself from the rest and stands apart in the form of money-capital, whose capitalist function consists exclusively in performing these operations for the entire class of industrial and commercial capitalists.’ No Marxian analysis that I know of has disagreed with this account. This is a stunning oversight, since the gold standard, and therefore the dead-labour basis of money-value which Marx supposed as money’s stable yardstick, was eliminated after 1973.28 As we saw in Chapter 1, the ever more dominant and cancerous money-sequence merely multiplies itself with no committed function to the real economy or human life at all. It only uses lives and means of life to become maximally more money in accordance with the formula defined as $ → AasM → $1-2-3 → n as fast and voluminously as nano-second communication, futures speculation and global demand stimulation can achieve. The ultimate principle of free money-value exchange decoupled from any function but self-maximizing money gain has become an autonomous and life-blind ruler of the world with private bankers’ and financial notes generated as global market demand and debt manufacturer with no legal tender base or productive function and no inhibitor of mass life-destruction by its ever compounding growth controlling supply and demand: in short, the money-sequence cancer is out of control. No recognition or intervention has reversed its advance, while trillions of dollars in public bailouts have been re-leveraged to speculate more with collapsed lending for productive investments.
This capital-circuit mutation now emerges in many ways – from currency and futures speculations by high-roller dealers to the cash portfolios of mutual pension funds to endless forms of derivative speculations including now home mortgages and the world’s primary foods. Conglomerate mutual funds under centralized stock and bond managers had already multiplied by twelve times between 1984 and 1989 in North America,29 while hundreds of billions of investment dollars were decoupling altogether from the real economy at the same time in international currency speculation.30 The defining mutation in natural language was that transnational money-sequences were no longer bound by any social base, common interest or regulation or by any life-requirement to commit to any productive function beyond private money-demand multiplication – the cancer code.
Long ago, the self-multiplying properties of the compound-interest cycle were marked by the financier, J.P. Morgan, who confided: ‘I couldn’t name the Seven Wonders of the World, but I can tell you what the eighth is – Compound Interest.’31 By this magic of self-proliferation, the non-productive interest demands on lent money multiplied in total volume by almost 300 times in the United States between 1950 and 1995 – more than ten times the rise of GNP over the same period.32 At this rate, the US was steered towards an outcome in which payment of interest on debt would demand the entire national income within 25 years.33 These reproductive conditions of delinked money-sequences multiplying money demand with no productive function satisfy the carcinogenic formula of $ → $1 → $2 → $n in ever mounting spread and metastases. The omnivorous circuits of demand to be multiply more become the master of global economies by not being recognized as the carcinogenic circuits they are. Yet already by 1996, economists were lauding the trend rather than recognizing its meaning. ‘The disposable income of the majority is being reduced’, observed a corporate media-star London School of Economics professor who approved. ‘The big question of the coming decades is how to find an acceptable means of scaling back democracy.’34
The spiralling debt and deficit circuits bankrupting governments and social infrastructures across the world since are a primary channel of this progressively dominant sequence of reproduction. For example, the total debt of less-developed countries to banks doubled from approximately $819 billion in 1982 to $1,712 billion in 1993, after over $1.4 trillion had already been appropriated from these poorer societies by foreign banks.35 This process continued, and was sufficient to collapse these societies into a growing chaos of malnutrition, illiteracy, morbidity and destitution into today. These Third World government debts in general were, in turn, themselves constructed by external military and financial institutions which assisted corrupt officials in circulating these original government debt-money loans into major foreign banks to lend back or to speculate in non-productive ventures.36 No such process can continue for long without devastating the host bodies which have been invaded by it. We can observe the carcinogenic pattern across the nations of the world, in particular, in Africa and Latin America.
If at a certain stage of this invasive appropriation of life-resources, social populations elect new governments, more ‘structural adjustment programmes’ are imposed on them with the threat of international economic embargo if they do not comply. Presidential and military agents within the societies stand ready to enforce the expropriative program as their own to access more for themselves to store in foreign banks with. The self-protective possibility of societies’ repelling the invasion – by, for example, not paying any more to debt servicing as has occurred since the Athenian lawgiver Solon and the British King Henry IV – is suppressed as a social response. ‘Shock treatments’ enforce the prescriptions by methods ranging from investment and trade embargo to military and low-intensity conflict to ensure ‘the honouring of commitments’. Society’s regulating bodies submit. Restructurings of social life-organization to feed the invasive program proceed faster and deeper. More and more of societies’ resources are yielded up to foreign and corrupt $ → $1 → $n circuits, and social immune resistance succumbs: that is, until the disease pattern attacking host societies is recognized – as eventually in Argentina in 2002 which started a chain reaction across Latin America.
To forestall such possibilities from occurring, intellectual agents of the global market counsel unconditional surrender. ‘Nation states have already lost their role as meaningful units of participation in the global economy of today’s borderless world’, asserted the Director of Washington’s International Center For Strategic and International Studies before the Latin American turn. ‘In the final analysis, what matters is how efficiently the surrender of governments to the global markets is carried out.’37
In general, the recommended surrender of public authorities to borderless and unaccountable money-to-more-money sequences exhibits an analogous pattern to a body’s immune system collapsing. The occupation is not resisted, but treated as the self of the life-host. The life-means of food, water, shelter, and heat energy available are sharply reduced. Unemployment rises, organized labour declines, productive functions for the society become increasingly insecure and overwhelmed by the money-sequences with no life-contribution. Poverty and below-poverty-levels significantly increase. Social disorientation and panic spreads beneath the mask of normality. Only where the invasive programme has been systematically repelled – in Europe by Norway, in the Americas by eleven countries since 2000 – are these phenomena of progressive life-depredation resisted or reversed.38
The Emergent Disease Pattern
On the surface, quasi-religious belief in a providential ‘invisible hand’ is assumed to convert selfish pursuit of money profit to promotion of the social good as a natural law. Adam Smith, however, as we saw in the previous chapter, did not envisage a condition in which self-maximizing money-sequences became dominant with no productive contribution. Yet what distinguishes the pure, unproductive $ → $1 → $n circuit today is that:
- there is no use-value production between the transformation of money into more money; and
- this pure $ → $1 → $n circuit has become for the first time in history the dominant form of capital investment.39
Even the world’s leading productive-capital formations have moved to this unmediated system of decoupled money-capital growth. General Motors and General Electric, for example, both made more profits in 1994 from their financial subsidiaries lending credit-money at compound interest than they did from all of their production of automotive and electrical manufactures put together.40 This pattern began with the Rockefeller fortune which reproduced and grew from oil to banks (for example, First National Bank, Citibank, Chase Manhattan Bank). But it was not until recent years when the money-to-more-money sequence became autonomously self-multiplying that productively-coded enterprises switched their dominant pathways of growth to this non-contributing circuit of money-profit appropriation.
As we have seen, there is a conjuncture of historical conditions which have, in turn, made this increasing rule of economies by the $ → $1 → $n circuit possible:
- the borderless, global financial ‘investment’ field created by recent international trade agreements;
- failure after 1973 to replace the gold standard and the subsequent Bretton Woods exchange regime with an international currency standard other than the Wall Street-controlled US dollar;
- continuous financial deregulation empowering transnational banks to limitlessly leverage deposits and assets into self-multiplying money-sequences across borders;
- new electronic information technology that transmits data and money-speculation decisions instantaneously across the globe;
- vast new pools of liquid capital in exponentially multiplying pension and mutual funds;
- unprecedented government and corporate job-sheddings, tax reductions and increased aggregate profit-takes during recessionary periods which together have redistributed society’s money demand from public sectors and ordinary citizens to corporate capital money-sequencings;
- centralization of investment decisions under the control of major banks and financial institutions whose choices are wholly structured by the $ → $1 → $n sequence through ever more mutant and indecipherable ‘financial instruments’ with no spatial meanings.41
The conjuncture of these conditions has transformed the money-demand flows and circulations of the global market into a mutated circuit of money to more money with no limit of volume or velocity, or any requirement to serve life-needs. All that is reproduced and multiplied is money demand on wealth seeking to divide itself and grow again into maximally more money demand, leaving behind it increasingly dominant money conglomerates and ever more income-sapped populations and hollowed-out social and natural life-support systems. Because this carcinogenic system requires ever more from life-hosts to spread, it infiltrates and subjugates more and more public budgets to privatize them, leverages buyouts of more productive business to strip them, debases need objects at every level, and increasingly turns to speculative margins to exploit social and life-needs.
Every cycle demands more from natural and social life and life-support capacities to grow the money-sequences with no contribution to them. The result is that no life-infrastructure or good is any longer secure.
All Power to the Banks: Recovering from Amnesia of their Coup
Every ‘reform’, ‘austerity’ and ‘structural adjustment’ of the cancer system is to sacrifice public life-provision and protection of all citizens to external private money-sequences. The ‘New Labour’ government of Tony Blair expressed the same global programme of surrendering public authority’s control of monetary and fiscal levers to the private money-sequence system and revolving-door central banks. Submission was conceded as Blair’s first major act of government – immediately transferring the constitutional right of elected government to manage the central levers of public authority, control over money-creation, interest-rate policies and currency-exchange rates to the unaccountable banking system.42 The European Union was simultaneously doing the same. The rationale was the same as propounded by the ruling bank and financial lobbies across the ocean – ‘to protect the value of money against inflation’. At the same time too, Blair was granting monopolist and tax-free status to the Murdoch press empire that got him elected.
What was kept unspeakable in all global market societies was a profound home truth that does not emerge in even public whispers. The banks’ money-sequence system itself is maximally inflationary because its every money gain is secured with no productive input to society – the very recipe for inflation. The reason inflation does not occur is because the revenues going to workers’ wages and to life-protective social sectors are simultaneously cut back to ensure that more money does not chase the goods available. No structural correlation is more important, or more repressed from view. What is least of comprehended is its carcinogenic logic of money-sequences of growth appropriating ever more from society’s life-reproduction and development.
In the rest of the European Union meanwhile, the Maastricht Treaty provided for the surrender of even more of governments’ constitutional monetary and fiscal powers to the banks – in this case, the European Central Bank and a European System of Central Banks. Under the Maastricht Treaty, bankers were, in effect, handed control over the flows of money revenue through Europe’s social bodies – money supply, interest rates, exchange rates and public financing under bankers’ formulae with no accountability to the European Parliament or national parliaments and assemblies, or any elected body at all. The bankers’ unprecedented new powers included rules to keep them unaccountable by strict exclusion of any attempt of elected bodies to influence them.43
The already skyrocketed unemployment of Europe – multiplied by a factor of eight since 1961 and still growing – and fierce downward pressure on social programmes were thereby coded to continue or intensify. The Maastricht Treaty’s financial terms of a deficit-to-GDP ratio of 3:100 had already led to systemic attacks on social programmes by the governments of France and Italy, before aroused populations fought back. Still, the underlying programme remained in place across continents – to protect money-sequences and their continued advance against the claims of life.
Under the regulation of such a system, life-deprivation is certain to follow. Thus depletion of social hosts’ capacities of life-sustenance have occurred from the most undeveloped to the most advanced societies of the world since the post-1980 deregulation and transnational trade treaties began – as we have seen ever since and is most evident in Europe today with one country after another collapsing under bank rule. In Africa, the life-costs were more dramatic. An estimated 500,000 more children died from the imposed ‘restructuring’ of their countries’ economies to ensure increased flows of money to external banks, while spending on health care declined by 50 per cent, and on education by 25 per cent since the ‘structural adjustment programmes’ of the global system began.44
As the $ → $1 → $n circuit advances through societies, it also diverts the private economy’s revenues for production to its own decoupled growth and self-multiplication. The pathogenic growth pattern reaches across divisions of private and public sectors. New modes of mutating the metabolisms of exchange for use-value to the autonomous proliferation of money-demand are many and aberrant in form: turning bankrupt governments into social debt-collectors enforcing moneylenders’ terms on progressively poorer public sectors; demanding ever more unconditional tax-breaks for foreign investment and debt over equity; massive diversion of bank credit to non-productive speculations instead of job-creating enterprises; globe-roaming attacks on national currencies by speculative buying and selling in multi-billion-dollar-profit accumulations which create no use-value and which cripple social and economic orders overnight; disaggregation of productive enterprises into broker-and-lawyer-dismantled assets-for-sale by leveraged buy-outs which pay for themselves by unproductive appropriation of the liquid capital of the bought firms; government deregulation of high-interest savings-and-loan banks so that their principals can expropriate up to $500 billion from taxpayers to pay for their speculative money-into-more-money diversions; reloading of the tax-obligations of banking and financial institutions and their investment customers onto the backs of productive members of society with less aggregate income to extract; rechannelling of citizens’ savings in major banks to continuous billion-dollar mergers and buyouts with no productive gain; round-the-clock arbitrages and speculations on derivative market and currency values disconnected from any life or productive function; and steering of vast mutual and pension funds that now bear the privatized old-age security of the First World’s middle class into socially delinked money and stock speculation transactions.
No set of trends is more unconnected, or more lethal to the real economy and life-capital development. The cancer pattern itself remains unspeakable even after 2008, even nearly 20 years after its diagnosis. Everywhere the channels of money investment are redirected to uncommitted metabolisms of money-to-more-money in place of productive life-functions. The hallmark properties of carcinogenic disorder are evident, but have been masked by pervasive declarations of ‘new prosperity’, ‘market opportunities’ and ‘economic growth’ on the one hand, and demands to ‘compete harder’ for them, on the other. When the former claim becomes falsified in even capitalist growth terms, the latter imperative becomes shouted louder – with the bankers now leading more than before the 2008 collapse they caused demanding austerity and programme cuts for everyone else.
The collapse had been a long time coming. Business journals in the first half of the 1990s estimated that the US monthly electronic trade in currencies, futures derivative instruments, stocks and bonds, operating beyond effective government regulation exceeded the entire annual GNP of the US. In 1998, it was estimated the money volume turnover of currency trading exceeded the entire GDP of the US every three days.45 Of these currencies churned over every day which meltdown economies overnight, less than $1 of $70 of effective demand goes for trade in goods or services. At the same time, the financial sector’s annual volume of trading was inflated by 1994 to at least 35 times greater than the dollar turnover of all production and distribution of goods and services.46 As these indicators disclose, the money-for-more-money circuits with no commitment to social hosts have overwhelmed them. This is perceived from the standpoint of the paradigm to be ‘a fantastic bull market’, and the life-resources raked off to feed it are reaffirmed as a ‘necessary process’. Nothing has changed since the 2008 collapse all this led to except that the banks have gotten multiply more from the public coffers to go on doing it.
Before the collapse, the leader of it, Goldman Sachs, made clear the new relationship of the transnational bank cabal to sovereign governments across the world. ‘In the face of myopic trade policies, or efforts to regulate or control capital flows’, Goldman Sachs warned the US Senate Committee on Banking, ‘the marketplace [sic] will treat harshly even the largest nations’.47 The right of mutant money-sequences to override all attempts by sovereign governments to regulate them is overtly proclaimed, and has been rewarded with now nearing $30 trillion of funds to keep ruling on as the catastrophe they have constructed deepens for the 95 per cent. ‘We are like the supranational government of the world’, declared a major New York money manager to a national radio audience. ‘Where we see that politicians are doing things that are inappropriate, we hold their feet to the fire. And the way we do that is by moving a lot of money. Politicians [society’s elected representatives] are irrelevant to the process.’48 Indeed.
‘The growing consensus among the G-7 members [the governments of the US, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada]’, reports the Washington Post, ‘is that the G-7 cannot influence events much anyways.’ The admission is bold. ‘Immense flows of private capital’, continued Washington’s public voice, ‘have intimidated the G-7 officials from any efforts to counter them.’49 Now they intimidate with the public’s money, unaccountable and absolute and now hollowing out the heart of Western civilization itself.
Social Immune System Collapse Behind the Global Crisis
If we consider the inherent structure of private money-sequencing (aka ‘capital’) from its beginnings, it has always been governed by an internally determining law: to maximize by any vehicle, method, or channel open to its entry the ratio of its owners’ money-demand increases to money-demand inputs. As technology has rapidly developed and captive corporate states have granted private transnational money-sequences supreme rule, the velocity and volume of money-sequencing has surpassed all previous bounds and limits in self-multiplication. ‘Capital accumulation’ – the outdated concept still used – has lost even its identity in multitudes of names, disguises, locations, and shell companies.
Because there was never an internal limit to private money-sequencing which would inhibit such pathogenic growth, we might say that the potential of carcinogenic mutation has existed from the beginning. For centuries, however, a horizonless stretch of cultures, habitats and natural elements, national boundaries and regulations of trade, society-wide movements to protect working people’s capacities and their local environments, a global spread of liberation movements against colonization and expropriation of resources, the growth of public sectors and welfare systems out of world depression and war crises over the last century, and the institutionalization of socialist organizations have together hedged in the uncontrolled growth and command of private money-sequences.
Even then, prior to these controls transnational joint stock companies have enslaved and genocided entire societies in Africa and the Americas and led the cumulative destruction of environmental hosts across the world. Throughout destruction of other life by private money-sequences under the label of ‘externalities’ – a canonical concept in the economist’s and businessman’s lexicon – is, if we examine it from a clinical perspective, a self-disclosure of the carcinogenic tendency from the inside of it. It reveals its pathogenic programme in principle by acknowledging that the invasion, occupation and destruction of its life-hosts is ‘external’ to its growth. As long as this logic was constrained by social regulation and democratic accountability as well as the abundance of the world of life beyond its control, it could continue without threatening the entire world with despoliation – although two world wars, depression and nuclear holocaust almost did so. What enabled the industrial market system to reproduce beyond these profound crises of breakdown were progressively instituted social life-support systems and regulatory protections. With the growth of countervailing industrial workers’ unions, democratic accountability and enforced standards, social legislation protected people’s and workers’ lives against 16-hour days, mass disemployments, hazardous work conditions, enslavement of children, destruction of the health, old-age security and life-quality of its living factors of production, and even the looting, pollution and depredation of the natural environment.
Yet it is precisely this long-evolving regulation by the common life-interest which has been stripped away in the cancer stage of capitalism. What remains are borderless conglomerate money-sequences becoming ever more tyrannical and unaccountable, ever less productive of life-goods, and ever more cumulatively destructive of natural and community life-supports. They are not alive, they do not die, they cannot feel guilt or shame, they seek only to multiply themselves – but they are welcomed by captive governments to appropriate, consume, depredate and abandon the wealth of societies as devastatingly as an occupying army on the move. They are not human in nature, although they are masked as persons under law – a key to the immune disorder of social hosts. They cannot conceive of a better world, but are propelled by a single and exclusive imperative – to turn money-demand inputs into more money outputs, ad infinitum, with each cycle of growth of money demand maximally larger than the last. Even their legal charters prescribe this as their sole fiduciary function, while the ‘Limited’ which is placed after every corporation’s name means that the liability of all stockholders is ‘limited’ or null for the life-destructive consequences of its activities. Most sinisterly these non-living vehicles of money-demand multiplication are recognized as ‘persons’ under law with supra-person rights of teams of lawyers backed by limitless wealth set to overrun all real persons, life-conditions, societies and species that get in the way. Instead of governments and courts reining them in, they have become their primary enforcers.
Thus dominant world corporations and money syndicates have grown larger in revenue command than most nations, and are permitted the ‘freedom of trade’ to sell in, buy, take over or abandon any society’s markets, resources and built infrastructures with no conditions of access, ownership or resource-exploitation allowed and no binding obligation to any life-necessity or requirement of society’s survival. Meanwhile, the real economy and world biosphere suffer cumulative destruction of the planet’s most basic conditions of life (air, sunlight, water, soil and biodiversity), stripping and appropriation of social funds for infrastructures of life-sustenance and circulation, corporate intolerance of paying taxes to sustain civil and ecological life-capacities, and escalating private money-sequence demands with no regulating life-functions – the essential cancer pattern.
The essential problem of any serious disease pattern is that the immune system of the host body does not effectively recognize or respond to the pathogenic challenge and advance. Malignant cancer is the extreme of this pattern. On the level of global and social life-organization, failure of social immune systems to recognize and respond to the disease agent is understandable once we realize that the surveillance and communication organs of host social bodies across the world are structured to rule out recognition of and response to the deepening system disorder. As we have seen, corporate media and information systems select for reproduction only those messages which do not expose or conflict with the private money-sequence rule of social bodies (as explained in Chapter 2, Table 2.1, ‘The basic value-programme and its grammar of censorship’). Consequently, whatever demonstrates the systemic disorder receives no transmission through the media of communication prior to any censor – as is easily tested by seeking to find any argument or finding of this study reported in any such medium of record. In this way, social immune systems have been rendered incompetent in the mass media, corporately produced textbooks, and official political discourses.
These figures are drawn from Walter Russell Mead, ‘Essay’, Harper’s Magazine, September 1992, p. 41; Noam Chomsky, ‘Notes on NAFTA’, The Nation, March 29, 1993, pp. 14–18; Edward Luttwak, London Review of Books, April 7, 1994, pp. 3–5; and Geoffrey Hawthorn’s ‘Capitalism Without Capital’, London Review of Books, May 26, 1994, 12–13. Luttwak’s book, The Endangered American Dream: How to Stop the United States from Becoming a Third-World Country and Win the Geo-Economic Struggle for Industrial Supremacy, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993, documents the recent precipitous decline of worker income and job-security in the US in particular. Edward N. Wolff’s Top Heavy. A Study of the Increasing Inequality of Wealth in America, New York: Twentieth Century Fund Press, 1995, identifies in detail the shift of marketable and financial wealth to the richest sectors of the US population, in particular the top 1 per cent.
These figures are drawn from the Globe and Mail Business Report, July 16, 1993, B13; David Orchard ‘The Flight Goes On’, Citizens Concerned about Free Trade (Summer 1994), 2; Richard Grinspun, ‘Mexico’s Poor Also Pay For Speculators’ Follies’, Americas Update (March/April 1995), 1–10; Editorial, ‘Free Trade Boosters Ignore the Facts’, Americas Update (July/August 1995), 3; William Krehm, ‘Shaking Off the Yoke’, Economic Reform (October 1995), 7; ‘Mexico’s Woes’, Globe and Mail, July 8, 1995, p. 7.
Murray Dobbin, ‘Warnings From Down Under: New Zealand’s Policy Reforms’, Canadian Perspectives (Winter 1995), 5. Despite economist Dobbin’s exposure of these statistical indicators of social life-breakdown in New Zealand, Canadian mass media have aggressively propagated the ‘New Zealand solution’, which Canada’s government is now in the process of emulating. For a detailed story of the stripping of New Zealand’s social infrastructure and productive capacities for the benefit of private money-sequence growth, see Jane Kelsey, Economic Fundamentalism: The New Zealand Experiment, London: Pluto Press, 1995.
John Pilger, ‘The War Against Democracy’, New Statesman and Society, October 8, 1993, p. 80; Mike Trickey, ‘Cultivating a Disaster’, Southam News, November 25, 1995, p. B3; LarryElliott, ‘Russia’s Woe’, Guardian Weekly, February 26, 1995.
Kevin Phillips, ‘The Tyranny of Traders’, Report on Business Magazine, November 1994, p. 65, reported the ratio as 30–40:1 but within less than a year the McKinsey Global Institute reported the daily ratio of currency speculation to trade in goods and services as 50:1(‘Power of Financial Capital Overrides Governments’, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor (April 1995), 8).
Chris Mihill, ‘Poverty is the World’s Worst Killer’, Guardian Weekly, May 21, 1995, 1 (WHO source); Michael Valpy, Globe and Mail, February 3, 1995; ‘Rights Violated, UN Advisor Says’, Globe and Mail, November 25, 1995, p. A10. Renée de Grace, Save the Children – Canada, October 1995, claims the rise in child poverty since 1989 is in fact 55 percent.
See Chapter 1, section ‘Life-Capital Sequences versus Money-Capital Sequences: The Turning Point of Understanding and Recovery’.
K. Morris, D.G. Cook and A.G. Shaper, ‘Loss of Employment and Mortality’, British Medical Journal (April 30, 1994), 1135–9; B.P. Dohrenwend, I. Levar, et al., ‘Socioeconomic Status and Psychologic Disorders’, Science, Vol. 255 (1992), 946–52; R.L. Lin, C.P. Shaw and T. Svoboda, ‘The Impact of Unemployment on Health: A Review of the Evidence’, Canadian Medical Association Journal (September 1995), 529–39.
Sandi Ellis, ‘Work and Wealth for All’, Kitchener Waterloo Record, November 9, 1995, A11. In the case of Canada, Statscan reports that the participation rate of the working-age population either working or looking for work has fallen to 64.4 per cent (Globe and Mail, December 2, 1995, p. A2). Judith Maxwell, Director of Canadian Policy Research Network, concludes in her independent research: ‘Forty-one per cent of the Canadian population no longer feel connected to mainstream society’ (Michael Valpy, Globe and Mail, November 17,1995, p. A21).
Robert McMurtry and Adalsteinn D. Brown, ‘The Bank of Canada as a Determinant of Health’, Social Indicators Research, Vol. 6 (1997), 1–9. The authors interestingly follow a chain of causal transitivity from central bank interest-rate increases to increased unemployment to rises in morbidity and mortality, showing the direct relationship of increased human disease in society to market regulation to preserve the value of money. In this way, we can see clearly the underlying, and we argue increasingly fatal, conflict between the money-sequence demands of the corporate market and the life-sequence demands of human society.
This increase seems correlated to falling unemployment prospects and lack of social security. The US, for example, had over three-and-a-half times the teen-suicide rate as Sweden in 1994, as its full-time job prospects and real wages continued to decline (by 1.3 per cent), and as social spending was reduced still lower as a percentage of GDP (14.8 per cent in the US, 34 per cent in Sweden): Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor (February 1995), 6. In New Zealand, teenage suicide rates doubled after social and educational spending was radically reduced between 1990 and 1992, and unemployment rates rose from the government-induced recession (Dobbin, ‘Warnings From Down Under’). In 1998, the Samaritans of Britain reported suicide attempts by girls in their teens and twenties at ‘epidemic levels’, with one in five attempting to kill herself before the age of 25 (‘In Brief’, Guardian Weekly, April 12, 1998).
As a professor of ‘philosophy and the environment’ with many students specializing in environmental biology, I have found that there is no text which examines the relationship between the causal mechanisms of the global market and the reproduction of the world’s species, despite ‘species extinction spasm’.
The Republican campaign to abolish the independent authority of the Environmental Protection Agency by wholesale rescindment of protective regulations and by control of Congressional committees by lawyers from major petrochemical, utility and resource-extractive corporations is anatomized in my Unequal Freedoms: The Global Market as an Ethical System, Toronto: Garamond Press, 1998, pp. 224–5. Attempts to eradicate environmental regulations can also be by defunding detection and policing into impotence or ineffective ‘voluntary compliance’ with regulations by polluting corporations.
John McMurtry, ‘The Social Immune System and the Cancer Stage of Capitalism’, Social Justice (Special Issue: Public Health in the 1990s), Vol. 22, No. 4 (1995), 1–25.
These ‘shock treatments’ include fiscal dismantling of occupational health and safety regulations and inspections, in a context where in the US alone an estimated 500,000 annual deaths are ‘attributed to occupationally related diseases, the majority of which are caused by knowing and wilful violation of occupational health and safety laws by corporations’ (R. Kramer, ‘Corporate Criminality’, in Hochstedler (ed.) Corporations as Criminals, Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1984, p. 19). Trial Lawyer Gerry Spence observes that ‘One in five major corporations has been convicted of at least one major crime – [or] serious civil misbehaviour’, and observes in illustration that ‘240,000 of the million workers who worked with asbestos will die from asbestos-related cancer’ (Gerry Spence, ‘Corporate Crime’, With Justice for None, New York: Random House, 1989, pp. 197–9). ‘It is still not a crime’, he adds, ‘to knowingly market an unsafe product or to conceal a hazard in the work place’ (ibid, p. 213).
This was a decision of the Nixon administration, to release the peg-currency of the dollar from the necessity of gold backup after the US spent its treasury dry on the Vietnam War which produced no productive good.
This quotation is from Ian Angell, a professor of information systems at the London School of Economics, cited by Richard Gwynne, ‘Voice of Angell Provides Hard Truths’, Toronto Star, October 6, 1996, p. A17. Notice that the ‘acceptable’ redistribution of wealth from ‘the majority’ and the consequent need to ‘dismantle democracy’ are headlined as ‘hard truths’.
Norway declined membership in the Maastricht Treaty straitjacket of the European Union, required 50–80 per cent of its Petroleum Fund from North Sea oil extraction to be invested in publicly useful ventures or government bonds, contracted no foreign debt, and developed an official ‘Solidarity Alternative’ to the global market programme which targeted domestic demand, negotiated income controls and full employment as its linked economic-policy determinants. In consequence, Norway has an economy growing at twice the rate of the average of OECD partners, has an unemployment rate of 4 per cent compared to a European average of over 11 per cent, provides unemployment benefits up to three years, provides substantial income support for all children under 17, and strictly regulates the use of natural resources (James Daniels, ‘Norway’s Oil Helps All, Alberta’s Helps Mostly Business’, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor (July/August 1998), 16–17).
The private creation of money-demand by private financial institutions, banks and the financial-credit operations of major corporations is the best-kept secret of the market system. But as Lester Thurow observed after two years of deregulation by the Reagan administration, 96 per cent of all new money entering the markets of the US and Canada is created by private moneylending institutions. They create interest-bearing debts beyond the cash that exists, and these non-cash forms of money-demand circulate, compound and grow without limit of reserves, which are fractional and diminishing towards zero (about 4 per cent in the US). ‘The Federal Reserve Board’, reports Thurow, ‘announced that it was giving up on its attempts to control the US money supply on the grounds that [banks and other money-lending institutions] … had essentially taken over the government’s role as the printer of money’ (cited by William Henry Pope, ‘The Re-Nationalization of Money’, Options Politiques (February 1992), 33).
Canada’s ‘Big Five Banks’ have ‘increased their market share of total assets held by investment dealers from zero per cent held in 1984 to 70 per cent in 1994 and of the trust and loan industry from 30 per cent in 1984 to 69 per cent in 1994’ (cited from a submission by William Krehm of the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform to the Douglas Peters, Secretary of State, Financial Sector Division, Department of Finance, August 30, 1996).
The ‘New Labour’ government also distinguished itself by not reversing a single decision or policy of its predecessor, the Thatcher government, and by repudiating all Keynesian public spending – a fiscal self-emasculation of elected authority which followed from the handover of the government’s monetary levers to the Bank of England which had long played a role in its private history prior to 1945 in lending money on a fractional-reserve basis to the British government on the basis of government gold. We can infer that it was in recognition of this commitment to obey Britain’s ruling financial interests that Blair’s party was supported by the press baron, Rupert Murdoch, not only in exchange for sustaining money-sequence policies, but for continuing protection of Murdoch’s tax-havened media monopoly. (See, for example, John Grieve Smith, ‘Jobs for the Boys, but Not Jobs for All’, Guardian Weekly, July 20,1997.)
Article 107 of the Maastricht Treaty states: ‘Neither the ECB [European Central Bank] nor any national bank shall seek or take instructions from Community institutions or bodies from any government of a Member state or from any other body. The Community institutions and bodies and the governments of the Member States undertake to respect this principle and not to seek to influence the members of the decision-making bodies of the ECB or of the national central banks in the performance of their tasks’ (from Appendix 3, Maastricht Treaty, Treaty on European Union, text dated February 7, 1992, in Stephen Frank Overturf, Money and European Union. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997).
Susan George, Proceedings of the World Congress of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, XI (October 1993), 239; Ecumenical Council for Economic Justice, Recolonization or Liberation: The Bonds of Structural Adjustment and Struggles for Emancipation, Toronto, 1990, p. 12. For regional analysis of this problem from a health care perspective, see Marc Epprecht, ‘The World Bank, Health and Africa’, Z Magazine, November 1994, pp. 31–8.
Ecumenical Coalition for Social Justice, ‘Cooling Hot Money’, Economic Justice Report, Vol. 5, No. 2 (1994), 2; Ted Fishman, ‘Our Currency in Cyberspace’, Harper’s Magazine, December 1994, p. 54; Kevin Phillips, ‘The Tyranny of Traders’, Report on Business Magazine, November 1994, p. 65.