THE COMMON LIFE-GROUND AND THE LIFE-AND-DEATH STRUGGLE FOR IT
Is it impossible to regulate across borders? This is what US-led negotiators first claimed before the Ozone Protocol outlawed the chlorofluorocarbons in commodities eating the ozone layer. Even the US realized then that the world’s protection from radiation through a gaping ozone layer could not rely on the profit-maximizing interest of private corporations to set a limit on what the corporate market could continue to manufacture, buy and sell as commodities. That had already caused the fatal holes in the ozone layer. So the necessary legal ban was scheduled into place, and monitored with a reduction of over 95 per cent of chlorofluorocarbon emissions.
Life-capital accountabilty can always prevail against deadly money-sequence growth instead of the other way round. But the very concept is lacking in public accounts, and so the exception remains the exception. Since the global ozone protocol, disease-causing commodities and ecocidal processes grow more rapidly than ever. This is the cancer system still spreading. Poisoning and despoiling of the common life-conditions and life-properties we share with other creatures of eyes, ears, skins, lungs and need for water and unpolluted habitat become more pervasive, but not connected to their common cause. From the urban smog acidifying our air as well as forest and aquatic habitats, to the agribusiness chemicals destroying the water humans and fellow creatures need, to the pervasive noise of private motor commodities through air, water and land fields of life, where is the line for life-goods and life-capital drawn? Where is it even recognized?
While the line is being drawn in particular cases from smoking to pesticides in public, cure develops only if comprehended in deciding principle and effected by rule of life-protective law. Yet still the common causal mechanism is not recognized that drives the clear-cutting of forests the size of England every year; scrapes ocean bottoms with miles-long dragnets of factory ships so no large fish or even fish stocks are left; blacktops countrysides as fast as the waiting farmland can be transformed into money-making urban sprawl across nations; fills the air with fumes, motor-noise and commands to consume so that increasing tens of millions are afflicted with bronchial diseases, nervous disorders and insecurity of life-future.
We may experience all the facts, but life-capital accountability does not join the dots between them. The Occupy Movement has realized that the lives of ‘the 99 per cent’ are being overrun, but has not penetrated the causal mechanism or the common life-ground they stand on.
The Common Life-Ground Defined
People feel the common life-ground without knowing it. They even feel other species in their environment as a need – thus the universal demand for plants and pets, excitement at seeing wild creatures, bird feeding, and animal sights in all forms. From North and South to East and West people not only love to watch other creatures, but identify with them. Children and tribes everywhere adopt their forms, and the most awake of people across cultures are lost in wonder at the beauty and gravity of the life-reproduction all around them.
A place without other species is tomb-like. Humans need to be near to other forms of life to be fully alive, radiating out to and in from the infinite life-field which makes their living now possible. The more one participates, the better. This is the life-code felt in intuition. A thought experiment illuminates the point. Try to identify any species or reproducing condition of the world whose loss would not reduce humanity’s means of life. As the Buddha recognized in his First Sermon: ‘Everything depends in its origination on everything else at once and in unison.’ Scientific ecology comprehends the same law of universal interdependency. In more exact economic terms, each of the reproducing life-bases we cannot do without is humanity’s ‘life-capital’ – from stable hydrological cycles to the species in biodiverse interrelation to knowledge of them the distinguishing life-capital of the human species.
Natural life-capital supports our every moment, but increasingly through time human-made life-capital – not only scientific formulae, technology and organized labour producing life-means, but child care and the arts become our life-bases too. Natural and human-made capital together constitute life-capital, the generic base of all life and the long-missed ground of the economy. In this light, we may ask a question with a deeply disturbing answer: Try to identify one such life-support system of humanity that is not at risk from the advancing operations of the global corporate money-sequence system.
Even the weather, we recently discover, is increasingly destabilized with droughts and food production crises, temperature extremes and natural disasters of flooding, storms and hurricanes, and rises in sea-level endangering coastal communities and intertidal ecosystems across the continents, which further precipitate infectious diseases, homelessness and loss of livelihoods. None are reversed, all become more extreme. Yet the connections between transnationally maximizing money-sequences, environmental degradation and toxification, and non-infectious human disease epidemics are not made. The filters against recognition are many-layered. The 2012 Rio Conference, for example, with thousands of participants, conference articles and declarations from 160 countries, still did not make the connection between the ill-health of social and natural life-support systems. For this reason we must broaden the life-sequence to Global Life → Means of Life → More Global Life, that is, L → MofL → L1 writ large. It is this entire interconnected planetary biosphere, life on earth, which is under advancing attack and despoliation.
What is different about the natural life-host is that its means of life are perpetually provided by its own spontaneous cycles of life-capital with no requirement of productive plan to make these means of life. This meaning of Nature is at the heart of indigenous and spiritual wisdom as expressed by Lao Tzu’s Tao-te-Ching and the Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas. Nonetheless, as modern technologies have become ever more powerful in disaggregating natural life-systems, the mutating money-sequence system cumulatively destroys the planetary eco-web itself – invading natural and social life-support systems with no limit in exponential self multiplication without life-function. The only way in which real ‘sustainability’ of life-support systems can be achieved is not to so deplete, pollute and destroy life-capital bases. Nature takes care of itself by an infinitude of cohering life-sequences at the same time with no interference needed – its ecology. This is ‘the Great Harmony’ celebrated across non-capitalist cultures periods and cultures, but has been progressively usurped by the Great Sickness which overrides all life-standards and necessities to grow and multiply its private transnational money-sequences to more. This is our ultimate predicament today.
The primary planetary imperative follows – to stop the life-blindly invading money-sequences from wasting, dismantling and poisoning natural and social life-support systems everywhere to achieve the life-capital accountability of responsible economic government. Otherwise the long march of degeneration and death continues to advance beneath connected recognition.
Even Ecological Economics Falls Short of Life-Coherent Economy
It is increasingly well known that environmental integrity is needed for human wellbeing. The interdependency of human life with its environmental host is as obvious now as the weather, but it is a grounding reality which cannot be recognized from within the market paradigm. Even those who seek to sustain natural life-support systems, such as the members of the Brundtland Commission, assume without reason that GDP growth can multiply by a factor of 5–10 with ‘sustainability’ still possible.1 More deeply, the Brundtland Report never penetrates the metaprogramme driving ‘unsustainable growth’ itself.
Nor does even the great reform of ‘Ecological Economics’. Its economist leader, Herman Daly pellucidly recognizes that the old ‘economic’ growth cannot be sustained. Yet while he defines the conditions which must be established for economic growth of any kind to be environmentally sustainable, he leaves the most important principle out. Daly concisely reasons:
Renewable resources should be exploited in a manner such that: (1) harvesting rates do not exceed regeneration rates and (2) waste emissions do not exceed the renewable assimilative capacity of the local environment.2
‘The concept of an optimal scale of the aggregate economy relative to the ecosystem is totally absent from current macroeconomic theory’, he continues. Exactly. Yet Daly’s two conditions of sustainability are themselves blind to the requirement of species biodiversity which is at the heart of a coherent life-capital economy. Every species required for the ecological reproduction of humanity’s life-capacities to flourish is a form of life-capital, and any living habitat is another level of life-capital in which it is embedded. For this biodiverse life-capital as a whole to reproduce, natural resources must be harvested at a rate that does not exceed their regeneration rates. If biodiverse species and their habitats are eliminated to be supplanted by resource plantations – and ecological economics does not make the life-and-death distinction – an ecocide has taken place without notice. Replacement trees, for example, are non-diverse and planted in uniform ages and rows for industrial materials alone. The living forest has been destroyed in even the paradigm of ‘ecological economics’. This blind-spot can be corrected by adding the necessary third principle of the life-capital economy to Daly’s first two:
(3) biodiversity of reproduction and distribution of species is not reduced.
In such ways, life-capital bases must regulate on every plane to prevent the global money-sequence system from stripping and degrading the ultimate life-ground to ever diminished carrying capacities for human and planetary life. Corporate ads, in contrast, appeal to ecological sensibility but their sponsors systematically violate it – by posing endless images of beautiful natural habitats to stimulate mass desires whose object is, for example, high-price motor commodities which invade the life-ground at every level. This is the nature of the sickness. The life-good and capital economy, in contrast, selects for what in fact enables people’s lives and life-conditions, and against whatever does not by life-measure.
Life-goods and capital are exactly measurable by the life-capacities they sustain. The entire corpus of scientific medicine is testimony to this method by diagnosing disease and prescribing treatment for the losses of life-capacity that are suffered, which are exactly tested and recorded as what is wrong and treated accordingly for maximum restoration and recovery. The known meaning of education is complementary – judging and enabling rising capacities to understand natural and human phenomena. Environmental protection, in turn, is the body of practices which effectively defend the life-carrying capacities of ecosystems. All require exact co-ordinates of life-value to measure reproducible and advancing life-capacities at different levels and domains. Previous and subsequent states of their gain or loss are the standard of better and worse direction.
The predicament that the global private money-sequence system poses is that public health, educational and environmental expenditures are all continuously ‘cut back’ or ‘axed’ across the world in accordance with money value–added demands which are life-capacity blind. This is the fatal inner logic of the system.
TRACKING THE ROGUE PATHWAYS OF THE MONEY-SEQUENCE OF VALUE
Priced commodities for profit are the middle term of money-sequences, and are now absurdly equated to welfare additions by the price paid for them. The more money-sequences are maximized by more commodities bought, therefore, the more it is falsely believed that society’s welfare is enhanced. But of course society’s real welfare is decreased not increased the more toxic consumables, life-destructive vehicles, pollution-causing products, killing tools, violence entertainments, and so on, pervade it. What are automatically assumed as ‘goods’ by prices paid for them are, in fact, bads with no recognition of the reversal now built into economic language. The money-sequencing inversion of reality does not stop there. Systematic harms caused by the extractive processes, pollutions, wastes, and habitat destruction to mass produce and transport these cumulatively life-destructive commodities are themselves blinkered out.
Yet the real bads do not disappear. On the contrary, their costs are ‘externalized’, the essential method of the system. Commodities that produce ever non-infectious diseases go on being called ‘goods’ because the harms to their consumers are borne by them and their society, not by the manufacturers and sellers in their closed money-sequence cycles multiplying to more. Thus it is more ‘efficient’ and ‘productive’ in the ruling disorder to keep externalizing the rising costs until trillions of dollars of damages are imposed annually outside any of its accounts. All is proclaimed to be more ‘wealth’, ‘welfare’ and ‘goods’ the more that human and ecological life is thus depredated.
At the innermost core of the system, one formula, always obscured, exactly defines the syntactical meaning across infinite expressions as well as pretexts:
$ → Commodity → More $
$ → C → $1
In profound but unnoted contrast, money for most people is a medium of exchange for life-goods. The baker or the shoemaker makes bread or shoes, and then exchanges them for money in order to buy other goods with the money received. This was Adam Smith’s model. Here the money received and spent stands in as equivalent to life-means because its reproduction is to exchange for means of life as the grounding value. Money as a medium of exchange for life-goods is hard to imagine being without:
Life → Money → Means of Life → More Life
L → $ – MofL → L1
In this form, money is not invested to have more money, but to have means of life. Means of life are defined as what enables life and life-capacities without which they suffer or die, including tools of creative expression. The standard idea of ‘mere necessities’ versus ‘creative life’ is thus a false dichotomy. But what provides means of life of all kinds are natural and human life-capital bases, as we have seen. Life-capital is the base of life-sequences at individual, social and ecological levels. On the other hand, life-capital is of no value as such to transnational money-sequences except as it can be converted to more money as profit. The money-sequence of value simply begins and ends with private money to more, ad infinitum. Life and means of life thus become under its rule what money uses as a middle term to become maximally more money. More money, not more life, is the regulating objective. Indeed, any other objective is ‘a betrayal of fiduciary trust to stockholders’. It follows from this value calculus that wars, epidemic diseases, unpayable debts, and short food or energy can be occasions of momentous ‘value adding’ for ‘investors’.
In one of the most fateful non sequiturs of history, it has become assumed as given that more real money demand is always better. Yet such a value system unwittingly suppresses the distinction between life and death itself. For if money demand on the wealth of life keeps increasing, but the wealth of life keeps decreasing by its demands, the dead-end it leads to is blocked out. According to the ruling value metric, this is ‘growth and prosperity’ although it is, in fact, morbidity increasing, the Great Sickness that cannot be seen. This value system error at the deep-structural level can lead, as it has, to the stripping of the world by private money-sequence demand until the life-fabric can no longer hold.3
Masking the Carcinogenic Logic as Necessity, Freedom, and the Social Good
It began with real food and needed clothing. Cloth was the first major commodity of the capitalist market, and food was a by-product of the sheep that provided the wool for the cloth. Yet even the original money-sequence produced effects that were not taken account of in its calculus. All that was – and remains – seen is the provision of the goods at a lower price per unit. This is explained to all as an argument of infallible authority – but never that it blinkers out life and life-capital costs at every level. Here is the catechism:
The goal is to earn a profit in the face of vigorous competition. Where consumers have choices, profits in a given industry are driven down to the minimum level that might still attract capital from alternative investments of comparable riskiness. In such conditions, profit is not only defensible, it is a social obligation. It is the difference between the value society derives from the product – measured by the price consumers are prepared to pay for it at the margin – and what it costs to society to produce, measured by the price of the labour, capital and other inputs that went into producing it. All is for society’s benefit. Scarce resources are allocated among competing users. Profit is privately earned but a calculator of social return. Those that do not produce for the collective good in this way are driven out of business.4
We are so conditioned to the catechism that it seems undeniable. The problem is that everything which this model explanation prescribes as the way we ought to ‘create value’, to fulfil ‘social obligation’, and to ‘best serve society’ is consistent with cumulatively destroying the lives of people employed by it, their social relations and the environments used by it. Observe that not one such life-cost is conceived within this morality tale of capitalist production and profit. That is the key to theory and practice of this system. It blinkers out life-costs, externalizes them, and remains within its ruling frame as final value meaning even as it destroys life-capital of every kind – the degenerate system trends in their moral logic of determination. None is ruled out by the doctrine’s principles, but all follow from it.
Consider a testing example. In any of the ‘newly democratic societies of Central America’, young women from 14 years old work ‘at the best price for their labour in the free market’, 15 hours a day from Monday to Friday, and then work a 22-hour shift for the weekend – a 97-hour week at life-deadening labour. They are paid 38 cents an hour, or a few cents more for dexterity.5 For the global market theodicy, the finished product generates high ‘value-added’ creation – the ‘difference between the value society derives from the product, the price consumers are prepared to pay for it at the margin’ and ‘what this product costs society to produce, measured by the price of the labour, capital and other inputs’. None of these conditions is infringed, and all are fulfilled. Thus it follows that 96-hour weeks in inhuman conditions fulfils ‘social obligation’ and ‘the ‘collective good’. These implications are logically undeniable, but not seen.
At the same time, the Maquiladora factory ‘for the social good’ fouls the environment and wider society at the same time by unregulated toxic wastes, public free-riding without taxes, enslaved labour conditions, and sweatshop shacks and dust where once a natural environment lived.6 In this way, ‘value-adding’ and the ‘service to the collective good’ produce what is, in opposite fact, ‘a living hell’ by trained psychologist report.7 But again not one life and life-capital despoliation factors in. Rather, as always, they are cost savings to money-sequences to more for external money-possessors not sewing a stitch.
Formal Recognitions of the Life-Destructive Corporate Money-Sequences
To recognize these systemic costs of life excluded from the bare money-sequence given in formula above, we can let ‘C+’ stand for the means of life produced (as distinguished from ‘C–’ which produces a commodity that is not a means of life), and let ‘(–)’ stand for the external costs to life it incurs. Thus the formula is revised to represent the specific type of money-sequence described above as:
$ → C+(–) → $1
In its classical capitalist form, private money-sequences invest in buying factors of production (labour, instruments of labour and natural resources), and organize them to produce means of life (for example, clothes, foods, homes). Then, to complete the investment sequence, these commodities are converted back into money again, with the ‘value-added’ of profit by sale to buyers in the market. But the money-into-more-money sequence mutates insofar as its middle term is no longer means of life, but means of life-degradation and disease. These degenerate variations are also blinkered out of the reigning disorder:
(1) Artificial, adulterated or otherwise debased substitutes for means of life.
This form of commodity (C–) ranges over a vast and increasing range of goods, from almost all bread and cereals, once ‘the staff of life’, to debased sugar-salt-fat concoctions causing non-infectious diseases like obesity, cancer and heart failure. This is not to mention genetically-altered foodstuffs of every kind which have no testing for their long-term or ecological life-system effects and, moreover, are prohibited from any requirement for labels by trade fiat.8 Even the non-junk foods of meat, fruits and vegetables have been increasingly invaded by the same process of life-degraded substitutes (for example, nutriment-stripping for money-sequence savings). We call this ever wider class of life-inferior substitutes counterfeit foods to designate the full set not recognized in the economic literature.
Foodstuffs are only one area of this money-sequence pattern of replacing means of life with inferior substitutes: ‘inferior’ being defined as what does not enable life as well as what it is inferior to, in proportion to the shortfall. There is almost no domain of vital life-good which has not been so degraded – the air we breathe and hear through not for sale in holidays, the water we can find and drink not in plastic bottles at above-fuel prices, public events and places not occupied by corporate carnie-barking, and so on through all the degenerate trends. The corporate money-sequence system thus grows and multiplies through life-goods to (1) despoil them and (2) sell them back in inferior form at a price for profit.
(2) Objects of wants which have been operantly conditioned by stimulus-response schedules of reinforcement to induce predictable target populations into buying life-destructive commodities.
This class of commodities does not refer to substitutes for means of life which are needed. It refers to the opposite – what is not needed and violates life-capacities (as with cigarettes or life-despoiling machines) or deprives them (by allocation which denies resources for what is needed).
Desires to buy such commodities are created by ‘demand stimulation’. These commodities multiply in the global market in accordance with the primary system assumption that there is ‘unlimited demand for priced goods and services’ (to be found in any contemporary ‘economics’ textbook). This ‘unlimited demand’ is accordingly created by market conditioning signals pervading everyday life – usually by saturating proclamations of people’s inferiority without it. Such anxiety induction combines with life-means degradation and worries of unemployment to forge a rising destabilization of psyches which, in turn, feeds desires for more – as required for system growth. It also helps to explain how depression is now the world’s leading disease.
Walmart stores, the world’s greatest oligopolist retailer, mines the angst. It conditions its customers into buying what they do not need by constructing an immediate environment that ‘augments an individual’s predisposition to feel overwhelmed and anxious, compelling unplanned buying’.9 Corporations in general spend ever more on pressure advertising. Even ‘research-intensive’ pharmaceutical firms spend twice as much on advertising as on researching their remedies – the research used to justify long-term monopoly prices. Thus again fabricating wants against life-capacity requirements is the inner driver of the system amidst rising excess and ruin to keep it growing. Astonishingly, as governments let them write off all the expenses, major corporations spend more on advertising than all production and research costs together.10
Why? All serves one function – to grow and multiply private money-sequences. Peoples are thus systematically remade as desirers and consumers of priced commodities which provide no means of life or, more deeply, they are addicted to ever more commodities which debilitate life-capacities. The life-costs for society follow. They include not only the labour, natural resources and other factors of production expended on unnecessary and incapacitating products instead of life-goods, but the loss of non-renewable resources and increasing loads of effluents and waste-products pumped into the environment in increasingly voluminous velocities of overloading resource and sink capacities.
To distinguish these variations of the money-sequence of commodity production from the first sequence which produces means of life, we write ‘C–’ because it is not a means of life, and ‘(–)’ because it has life-destructive external effects:
$ → C–(–) → $1
In summary, analysis by life and life-capital sequence demonstrates contemporary corporate money-sequences have systematically life-destructive consequences which are blinkered out by the reigning doctrine in theory and practice. Once we comprehend this, we understand how rising foreign investment and growth in exports can correlate with declining social and natural life-support systems and new wealth only for the few. The degenerate trends are built into the system, but masked by money-value numbers. This is the moving line of the Great Sickness and the incapacity of its life-hosts to recognize it.
LIFE-KILLING COMMODITIES AS MIDDLE TERM OF PRIVATE MONEY-SEQUENCE GROWTH
While life-destroying commodities have become the leading commodity of global manufacture and sale, the mutant meaning of their ‘efficiency’, ‘productivity’ and ‘growth’ is blinkered out. While a commodity type intentionally constructed to maim and kill life is recognized as self-evidently dyseconomic by life-value appraisal, no such recognition is available to the life-blind categories of the ruling money-sequence system or classical economic theory.
The primary form of this money-sequence is the production and sale of weapons which are researched, designed and produced so as to destroy and mutilate human life and its infrastructural supports in the most efficient ways which the physical, biological and engineering sciences can achieve.11
Most public research money in the world’s richest nation is assigned to this form of research, which is appropriated by private corporations to produce, sell and export increasingly expensive and deadly weapons which, in turn, protect and advance transnational money-sequences growing through other societies to control their resources and marketize them. At the same time nuclear weapons are monopolized and elaborated by US leadership, despite the end of the Soviet Enemy that justified them over 40 years.12
The weapons commodity began its modern history with the study of falling objects and projected missiles by Galileo – the initial weapons science. From 1945 on in particular, joint scientific-commercial development has produced ever more lethal instruments to obliterate people and settlements against all possibility of life-defence. The Nazi system itself was armed by US transnational corporations like GM, Ford, IBM and Dupont, including during the war. Agreement was then made with the Nazi spy machine after the war to exchange military-intelligence for use against the Soviet Union and its allies.13
All of this is even now taboo to name in public – in particular, the corporate money-sequence driver of the US-NATO military empire structured to defend and advance its reach on the basis of Nazi intelligence and methods. In the life-blind calculus of ‘Economics’ all the while the immense costs of ever more massively life-destroying commodities has not been factored into judgements of economic efficiency and non-waste – with rare exceptions like Seymour Melman. Life and life-capital costs and debits are beyond theoretical conception. The fact that armaments manufacture and purchase are funded by public revenues and taxation – making them the most profitable manufacture of global ‘trade’ – evades normal theoretical notice. With Big-Oil fuelling and directing the takings of the hydrocarbon resources of poorer societies, now mostly Islamic, a new moving line of the cancer system is forged invasion by invasion. It moves since 2000 across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa waging wars without evident end and no defence justification, impoverishing home societies at the same time by over $1 billion a day of public expenditures.
Yet for the reigning ‘Economics’, no issue is seen – however life and life-capital bases are thereby devastated across continents. Every step of the march is beyond the reach of the established categories to recognize as not ‘economic’, or ‘productive’ or ‘efficient’. What destroys and deprives human life is exactly the same in money value as what produces for and enables life. Again, distinction between life and death does not register. Examples assist understanding. In Britain in the late 1990s, long after the monolithic Evil Empire had disappeared, ten times more money was spent on promoting arms sales than other exports.14 In the US now with a ‘peace president’, approximately $2,000 million of public money is spent a day on armed forces against foreign nations when no plausible aggressor state or trans-oceanic force exists. This is not madness for the transnational money-sequence system. It is maximally rational for ‘defence’ investors in eco-genocidal machineries in these ways:
- by their uniquely high value-added price whether sold as an overall weapons system or as an individual component, accessory, replacement, or part (for example, $26 billion for the first five years of research and development of the US ‘Star Wars’ programme, or $7,417 spent by the US government to General Electric for two one-cent pins);15
- by their specially rapid rate of obsolescence and turnover, which follows from both arms-race market conditions and from rapid destruction of these commodities by their use;
- by the monopoly or semi-monopoly position of armaments manufacturers which flows from: (a) the designation of military production designs and methods as state secrets; (b) the high capital costs of armaments technology and manufacture; and (c) the privileged linkages of established military producers with government defence and procurement agencies;
- by the large-scale and secure public capital financing of military research, production and cost-additions which are guaranteed by public taxation, private corporate management of government allocations, and national-debt imposition to ensure payment.
‘Human nature’ is not behind ever more killing and maiming mechanisms to threaten poor peoples across oceans by imposing more debt on home societies. In fact, (i) to (iv) serve very large transnational corporations invested in the military industrial system or benefiting from its power to eliminate resistance to control of other societies’ natural resources and markets. Usually these dominant interests overlap, as with oil and energy corporations. Meanwhile, international banks thrive on the bottomless public debt-servicing while supreme armed force and embargo compel obedience from bankrupt societies. (This may be why Japan without global projection of mass-homicidal powers and IMF financial embargo has had hundreds of billions of non-performing foreign loans while the US has not.16)
Military spending and diversion of public funds may destroy societies from within as well as from without, but they are the ruling moving force of this system across life-borders – why, for less known example, the covert military-drugs trade connection across continents increasingly rules,17 and why the single greatest source of environmental pollution, the US military, runs free. As always, life-capital ruin across continents continues unconnected to the system causing it, as one-quarter of the public monies expended on the military-industrial money-sequences could, it is estimated, ‘eradicate poverty, homelessness, and illiteracy, as well as pay for the clean-up of all major US environmental pollution’.18 Instead, the US prints trillions of dollars of public money to refinance Wall Street and sustain its imperial military budget of almost $2,000 million a day. This is how the global cancer system keeps growing. How can it be believed in? The ruling narrative of one foreign despot after another to attack sustains the ideology of perpetual war in which the Enemy can never be, by definition, the war system itself.
The repertoire replays again and again. It justifies the non-stop oil, banking and military corporate invasion of poorer societies for their resources, markets and banks. Always it is in the name of ‘freedom’, and against ‘terror’ – the reverse projection onto all organized resistance. Few notice the daily drone family assassinations, war criminal occupations, destruction of homes, and robbery of resources, and so on, that leap from one society to the next with one underlying formula of justification. Thus, as I write, the US-NATO axis keeps on launching wars long after the Evil Empire ‘plotting world rule’ has disappeared, even when 95 per cent of the victims are civilians and endless natural and social life-capital devastation result.
Money-Sequencing to More Across Domains of System Life-Destruction
Once the Enemy was the ‘Communist plot for world rule’. But privatized Russia is now near the top in global weapons production and sale for profit, and its social life-support systems of universal housing, education, science, health care and public pensions have been systematically erased. China has meanwhile eliminated its social programmes of equality, exponentially multiplied the riches of its under 1 per cent with aggregate money power, and dazzled Western elites with its wealth as hundreds of protests a day rise against the now globalized ‘economic’ system with no life-co-ordinates to its growth. Why are there still rising production and sale of kill-and-maim commodities long after the superpower arms race has ended and the communist-capitalist division has been overwhelmed? A deeper system determiner is missed by this question. There are four functions that armaments commodities serve in the global money-sequence system which keep it going against all resistance and public financial exhaustion:
- they are ideal commodities by their very special conditions of supply and demand (i) to (iv) defined above;
- they appropriate funds from and depredate natural and community life-capital and goods, and so continuously create new markets for profitably priced commodities in their place;
- they enable the clearance of indigenous and unarmed peoples from their lands and resources to ensure money-sequence restructuring of social life-organization across former borders;19 and
- their overwhelming mechanisms can terrorize and attack all opposition against the mutating and spreading conglomerate money-sequence regime increasingly benefiting only the rich.
All this costs a great deal of money paid by public budgets which are thereby dispossessed in another way. It started with the global money-sequence turn after 1980. In the lead US, there was a real increase of 46 per cent in government military spending, while federal public funding for life-goods was hollowed out to pay for it – public housing by 77 per cent, educational funding by 70 per cent, employment training by 48 per cent, mass transit by 33 per cent, and child nutrition by 19 per cent.20 Observe that the basic life-spheres deprived – housing, education, child nutrition, and pollution-free train transit – continue today, but now along with old-age pensions, Medicaid, and food stamps. We can define this malignant money-sequence in objective and formal sequence of value rule:
Money → Commodity Destroying Human Life → More Money
($ → DC → $1)
What is least of all analysed is that means of life-destruction as a whole – weapons, nature-annihilating mechanisms, and toxic commodities – have together become a more profitable middle term of money-sequences than means of life. Moreover, there are not only commodities, processes and products which assault and destroy life at all levels – from disease-causing consumer commodities to life-destructive processes of extraction and manufacture and to machines and weapons to disable or kill every dimension of healthy human and natural life. There are multiplying commodities which are produced and sold to represent assault on and destruction of life. The two are connected, but the representational form is more pervasive. Since humans are symbol-using animals, violence entertainments normalize attacks on life-hosts – whether by ads of leisure vehicles tearing up earth and water habitats, or fear and death shows terrorizing and blowing life apart in myriad ways, including computer games. This global production and marketing of images, films, games of terrorizing, wounding and murdering increase in sites and vehicles every year. With television screens watched up to an average of four to five hours a day across the world, thousands of killings, shootings, acts of terror, fatal disasters, tortures and, in general, violent insults and deaths to human bodies in single or mass numbers are daily portrayed and consumed. The regulating principle beneath the many phenomena is not visible or marked, but is always the same across representational and real-death commodities – private and corporate money-sequence gains.
Means of life-destruction are also at work in dominant money-sequences in which sentient animals are the victims – principally, in the use of non-human life as raw materials for this or that commodity in the ubiquitous transformation of money inputs into increased money outputs by any pathway available. The levelling of forest ecosystems to raise domestic animals for killing for meat, for example, erodes and depletes topsoils, water supplies and natural ecosystems. This commodity production alone, it was estimated long ago at MIT, slaughters more than 6 million animals a year in the US, has resulted in the destruction of 260 million acres of its forests, appropriates half of all the country’s water supplies and, by deforestation, extinguishes an estimated 1,000 species a year across the world.21 None of these life-costs, however, enters the ledgers of the global market, or GDP, or other required account, any more now than when reported.
Freud rightly identified the ‘death instinct’ as the compulsion to reduce the organic to the inorganic. But he did not recognize that it could be driven by the ‘rationality’ of the economic system itself: not only by ever more deadly armaments businesses, wars and seizures of others’ resource treasures for private corporate profit, but by ever more efficient machineries to systematically tear natural life-fabrics and support systems apart to convert to more money value for private money-sequences.22 Thus ever larger-scale machineries of destruction, slaughter and pollution roam the globe’s rainforests, ocean bottoms, earth strata, and life-support systems at every level. They rip up forest worlds and strip aquatic ecosystems in minutes to ensure the maximum velocity and volume of money-sequence gains of private stockholders, under 1 per cent receiving more than 90 per cent. They cage, kill and process animals at the rate of millions an hour driven by the same ruling money-sequence code of growth.23 It is not of course ‘human nature’, but complicity makes it seem so.
THE CANCER SYSTEM AT THE MARROW: TRANSNATIONAL MONEY-SEQUENCES MULTIPLYING WITH NO OTHER FUNCTION
Behind all the violence of life-destructive corporate commodity sequences analysed above lies the innermost turning wheel of the global cancer system – the debt-and-money-issue system diagnosed in Chapter 1 and in the section on ‘EU Bank Absolutism’ in this chapter. In a nutshell, credit, debt and money creation have been silently expropriated from public purpose and the common interest to multiply private transnational money-sequences. This vast network of ruling allocation and sequencing of private money to ever more lies at the marrow of the global cancer system, and its dominant propagating centre is Wall Street. From its financial centres, tidal waves of private money-demand, debt and speculation are generated with no accountability to life or life-capital, but only to transnational private money-demand multiplication with no commitment to productive or life-function.
How is it done? The primary mode is by creating ever more bank money-demand by debt issue without legal tender to back it, and from there to demands for debt-servicing without end on every government and home. The complementary mode is intermediating and creating massive margin exchanges in ever new elaborations and extractions that never stop invading the real economy at every node. The big private banks are the proliferating stem cells of this global system. They leverage off people’s savings, government money debt-servicing, and public bailouts with no function but self-multiplication – increasingly betting on fixed derivatives in place of productive credit.
Wall Street’s massive and fraudulent robo-mortgage sales across the developed world precipitated the 2008 crash when interest rates were low, but necessary to keep the system float as wages and social programs were stripped down. In consequence, the people’s perpetual debt payments were fastened to their homes as the only money-value asset left to crank out of them – and those pension funds they sold the bogus mortgages to in mass robo-mortgage packages. With interest rates at 1 per cent, mortgages had to be pressed into out-of-control volumes and velocities to keep growing the take and tumour-sized revenues to the top. When the scheme predictably failed on a people hollowed out by debt, job slashings in the millions, and social support systems looted by tax cuts cuts to the rich and wars of aggression for oil, the financial system collapsed.
Then of course came Wall Street’s political demand for all the public’s money to keep the system going. It worked very well for the money-sequencers, but no-one else. The public’s money has never stopped coming across the world – now in tens of trillions of dollars and still going out to private financial operations stemmed in Wall Street, with NATO states all in tow to the private banking and financialization system to money-sequence all that exists to maximally more. All things connect. Two levels of the system metastasis have not been noticed. One level was and remains the necessary low-interest credit to keep the system going on the basis of saleable equity in people’s homes after the majority had been bled dry – the robo-mortgage claw through the ‘developed world’. Less noticed was the connection between the trillion-dollar handouts of public money to Wall Street and related banks to sustain the debt slavery of the rest of the world’s nations – especially the ‘Third World’. They could not be kept on the hook without the necessary cash flow from Wall Street to keep the global Ponzi scheme going. The trillion-dollar infusion from the public via the Wall Street-run US Treasury managed that without a word about it published.
Yet the global Ponzi-scheme-cum-armed-force-extortion-system-cum-political-extortion-system did not go away by being fed the public’s future wealth, rather than public authority regaining control over currency and credit creation as responsible government. It grew deeper into the metabolism of economies across continents. Emptied public coffers, mass unemployment, stripped social infrastructures and more looted natural resources to keep it growing have so hollowed out real economies that the margins are collapsing towards the centre. Public treasuries have become the direct blood flow to the cancer system. ‘Austerity programmes’ and ‘cutbacks’ on public sectors and workers jobs and incomes keep the debt-servicing going for money the banks never had, while they now speculate what they get and no longer lend for productive functions.
In this further mutated form of the transnational private money-sequence system, the self-multiplying money-into-more money circuits are even more empowered, but depend ever more on public funds and polices to keep them growing. Even by 2000, these exponentially escalating private money-sequences commanded over 50 times more money-value daily than all expenditures on goods and services put together. After the financial meltdown of 2008 when governments bailed out the big banks with trillions and ‘stiffer regulations’ promised, speculative derivatives trading and trader incomes still soared. The ‘renewed flow of credit’ by which the bailouts were justified never came. Derivatives gambling, on the other hand, went after the financial meltdown and during the vast public bailouts from $595 trillion in 2007 to $708 trillion by June 2011 as the unnamed Depression grew.24
The General Formula of the Money-Sequence Cancer
It is not surprising that Marx did not think of the money-sequence cancer. That the private banking system could rob the public blind, debt-enslave states and majorities, and casino-speculate society’s money supply in exponentially leveraged amounts was impossible a century earlier. This is why Marx ruled out the possibility when he argued in Capital that ‘movements of money capital are therefore once more merely movements of an individualized part of industrial capital engaged in the reproduction process’.25
How quaint that sounds now. But in Marx’s model, money that does not produce commodities as its middle term of gain is merely the forwarding phase of money that does. This assumption has since been made foundationally false, but economic thinking across schools has become so locked into self-referential models that even tectonic plate shifts of reality are blocked out. The very nature of money capital has fundamentally altered. It is no longer linked to productive force development, economic welfare, or transforming Nature to meet human needs and aspirations.
As we have seen in Chapter 1, the master sequence of money-multiplying-money against life-functions can be recognized by the generic money-sequence $ → AasM → $1-2-3 → n where AasM = All as Means. Yet here money-sequences become more money in decoupled autonomous circuits that only replicate themselves faster forever unless stopped. The underlying formula of this global invasion is:
Money → More Money → More Money
($ → $1 → $2 → $3 → $n)
In the personal world, the privileged have long exploited this formula in rentier incomes. With ‘financialization’ of the investment sequence, however, everyone and everything became the sites of the carcinogenic money-sequencing that has no committed life-function and overruns whatever does to convert it to its ruling programme. We have tracked its meaning and growth through every domain of life-reproduction and development stripped of any life-function and multiplying in many forms – currency and derivatives speculation, arbitrages, leveraged buyouts to strip assets for sale, and – oldest but ever more dominant – servicing demands on bank-manufactured debt money. The debt money is created out of thin air, as we have seen, but holds homes, liquidatable assets, credit card debt, everything that can be ‘securitized’ into more money payment to more private financial money-sequences, including the future of the world’s water and food.
The Public Banking Alternative Kept Invisible
It is made to seem without alternative. But in fact sovereign constitutions enable alternative on behalf of ‘the public interest’ in any matter, and especially one in which power over currency and coinage is already vested in public authority by sovereign constitutions. Moreover, public banks and banking facilities have already long existed and work much better in the common interest, as we have seen.
Public banking is the core change the 99 per cent can agree with but do not yet know. It has long worked even in the US for almost a century in one state, and universally in Germany’s Landesbanks now targeted by the private banks as ‘unfair competition’ (decoded, cost-superior without profits). Economist Michael Hudson and lawyer Ellen Brown have argued very well for a public bank utility and public banking respectively – as have the Social Credit movement in Britain and the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform in Canada (COMER). A public bank can be run like any other public utility with rigorous inspection of accounts. Collectively, any sovereign nation must control money issue to be a free people – what statesmen from Thomas Jefferson through Abraham Lincoln to William Lyon Mackenzie King have put on the record. The problem has been bank-funded media and governing parties do not dare speak of it.
The central bank lending to government as its sole shareholder is one arrangement. This has already been provided for by the long successful 1935 Bank of Canada Act, but studiously ignored since the 1960s by captive governments. In this collective function of government debt and credit – now usurped by the big private banks stemmed in Wall Street to debt-enslave peoples across borders – public credit and debt can be as closely guarded as income tax revenues, and on the same basis of the public interest – although, as we have seen, even income tax revenues have been stolen by the transnational private banks in cahoots with their rich clients, to the tune of $21–31 trillion as documented by the Tax Justice network.
The general principle of public banking is already at work in non-profit credit unions and community banks (though forced to behave like for-profit corporations in the NATO West); and variations of public investment economies leading across the world are familiar from the French and American Revolutions to the USSR to post-war Japan. Wall Street has simply reversed responsible government to its private interest since the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and before, while system-selected economists are predictably silent and conspicuously ignorant on money leveraging to hundreds to one – counterfeiting in effect – as the driver of the contemporary Western economy.
The clear public purpose required is the real economy itself, that is, life-capital understood in directive principle – what enables life to grow better by life-capital development across time. The alternative to the cancer system is, in short, already built into our collective legacy and lives – as we see in more depth ahead in the next chapter, ‘The Great Vehicle of the Civil Commons’.
Beyond Money-Sequence Amnesia
As shown in Chapter 1, proliferating new money-sequence pathways and electronic nano-second transmission have allowed unregulated tidal flows of debt-created money to rule the world – now expressed by non-stop currency and bond attacks, derivative casinos doubling every twelve months, capital hit-and-run raids, Wall Street mortgages masked as ‘securities’, and perpetual IMF strippings of real economies for debt-service payments to private banks. Thus over 20 years economy after economy – from Mexico and Peru to the ‘miracle economies’ of Asia, to the US and the European Union themselves – have suffered invasion-like destabilization and meltdown with no end and no alternative.
Financial reforms since 2008 have done nothing to solve the money-sequence cancer. For example, the derivatives casino has not been controlled, but reinforced by special protections for money-sequence speculations including greater access to government guarantees while minimizing disclosure to broader markets and maximizing unaccountability to any productive or life-capital function. Not even Glass-Steagall is reinstated, although its abolition allowed the whole 2008 meltdown. Wall Street has, in fact, been empowered further by trillions of public handouts in continuous guarantee. It casino-bets more with its exponentially leveraged bank money than ever to multiply its economic demand on the real economy, including by manipulating future food and water prices for profit with money it does not have. Yet still the vastly superior public option is taboo to mention on the official stage. While the productively-tied public-grants option of the Marshall Plan and the New Deal are spoken again, their freedom from private bank bleeding is not.
In overview of the full spectrum of $ → $1 → $2 → $3 → $n circuits with ever more bizarre betting and debt forms bleeding real economies, almost no society has been free from their inherent mounting pressures to strip all life-serving expenditures whatever – people’s pay, benefits, pensions, social programmes, life-security, environmental protections. In every case, the eating away of people’s lives and life-capital bases and the real life-serving economy has one and the same driver – feeding the growth of exponentially leveraging money-sequences which still multiply in demand on productive and life-capital sectors. This is the nature of the cancer system.
Debt-Servicing Obligations = Bleeding Societies Dry
The bleeding treatment of societies to ‘service’ private bank debts whose money the banks never had to begin with, is all along prescribed by state and financial managers as every society’s ultimate obligation. A Citibank official explains:
Let’s be clear. Nobody’s debts are going to be paid … Paying back isn’t really the issue. The issue is the borrower remaining creditworthy and able to carry the debt, but not repay it.26
Thus the carcinogenic money-sequences keep increasing appropriation of public and individual revenues with no committed function to the hosts they feed on. If a society does not pay the perpetual debt-servicing to the private transnational banks, then IMF ‘austerity programmes’ force the payment out of wages, social infrastructures, pensions, food for the hungry and anything else that serves life itself. Financial embargo backed by armed force complete the extortion. Even with lowered interest rates – kept low to keep the system going – still personal and government debts have gone to ever higher levels past 1929, with the debts structured not to be paid off.
In Canada, which was claimed free of all bailouts, the ‘only country in the Western world’ boasted the neo-liberal PM, the big banks were covertly bailed out with the public money flooded to them averaging close to their total value as banks.27 Why, the question keeps insisting, does the sovereign public which keeps the private banks afloat, backs their deposit liabilities, enforces their debt collection, and guarantees their bets as lender of last resort, not lend the money to its own elected government instead of borrowing from the private banks at vast debt-servicing costs to taxpayers that never end and are the perpetual excuse to cut public programmes to eternally ‘pay down the debt/deficit’ to these same private banks?
If you got lost on that question, it is because the reality it describes beggars the imagination at the same time as it is incontrovertibly true. This is the cancer that eats sovereign government and society’s life from within long prior to its predating the poor with loan shark rates on money they cannot pay. If you think indulgences from the Church to appease God for your sins were too much to believe, or that the divine right of war-making lords is too much of a stretch to conceive, they are but lambs in the woods next to this bloodsucking rule – ‘the fascist tyranny of finance’ in the words of Italy’s Economics Minister Tremonti – which is demanding ever more. Only the cancer diagnosis is adequate to the condition.
In the US, over $29 trillion from the US Federal Reserve went out to financial institutions by 2012, as reported in Chapter 1. What no-one seemed to see was that public money was financing the private banks to keep them extracting debt servicing from the public as both a sovereign people and as individual citizens. What remained taboo to explain in any media of record was the possibility and necessity of a public banking system. Even when the black-hole private banking system had self-destructed after bankrupting governments and economies across the world, even when it had sent the global economy into Recession-Depression, still the self-evident resolution was unspeakable in all Western official circles.
Thus ever more public wealth, worker wages and civilization itself is fanatically cut back to keep the failed private banking system predating real economies and peoples as ultimate financial obligation. This is why worker, social and ecological life-support systems founder and buckle across the world with system-created diseases now killing close to two-thirds of all people dying at the same time. The cancer system has been a long time building. Before it hollowed the First World since the repeal of prior financial regulation like Glass-Steagall, the multiplication of real money paid by poorer countries to foreign banks not long earlier was 16 times the 1975–79 rate from 1980 to 1994, usurious interest demands rose ten times more than wages, and world payments multiplied at a rate of growth 25 times greater than on global food.28 Debt issue by private banks, long the ultimate money-sequence driver, is now more than three times greater than the world’s total GDP.29
The IMF: Life-Capital Wrecking Ball for Full-Spectrum Money-Sequence Invasion
Any forgiveness of debts is ludicrously called ‘moral hazard’. Yet for this ruling morality by reverse projection, compounding appropriations of public revenues by private banks from societies whose people lack sufficient money to buy food to eat is their final obligation to pay – though the money loaned never existed in legal tender, but was created by the debt itself and the service charges in real money from others – the system-wide Ponzi scheme. No gangster scheme has ever matched the double turn of counterfeiting the money backed by money coming in from the same scheme, and then grinding nations and peoples down by compounding debt charges multiplying the fake debt – backed by all forces of the IMF-NATO axis of financial and armed-force power.
The instituted scheme overreaches itself in blind avarice, and governments then inject trillions of public money into it to keep it going with the new public money called ‘bailouts of governments’, although the money goes only to the big private banks running the scheme. In a final turn of head-spinning fraud which it is ‘moral hazard’ not to pay, the bank bailouts are charged to the victim governments instead as their debt (only stopping in August 2012 in the EU) and then, to compensate the banks, they have equal rights to draw on the Central Bank’s public emergency funds, a new public financial squeeze mechanism described ahead. The IMF ‘bailouts’ of governments you read so much about from Indonesia to Greece go in fact only to private banks as tens of millions are made destitute and social life-support systems and wages are stripped to pay under IMF extortion schemes backed by international financial embargo powers.
In the background, the money claims lent can be stolen by leaders to deposit in the same banks abroad, while off-shore banks await wealthy and corporate accounts from everywhere to avoid taxes and bankrupt governments by other private path.30 Nothing is done to stop the embezzlement and tax frauds running to tens of trillions of dollars of stolen public money. Underneath all justifications of the World Bank, the IMF and SAPs (structural adjustment programmes), the following principles regulate their operation across the world from Africa to the European Union beneath the radar of public report, response or correction:
- the debts are unpayable, but the interest payments however high are to be paid even if they bleed government dry and dispossess millions;
- massive disemployment is automatic and wages/salaries for those left are reduced in real terms and people work longer for enough to survive;
- food or other commodities for export are demanded to ensure the hard currency is paid to the transnational moneylenders;
- local dependency on imported commodities and export of unneeded products to First World markets is enforced both to pay for the new food imports and to provide hard currency to pay debt charges;
- all unpriced or government subsidized goods of food, shelter, education, public health care or other life-goods are converted to private mechanisms of price and profit;
- financial assistance for ‘safety nets’ is consumed by foreign financial advisers with no stable public funding to any;
- environmental resources and other exploitable local economic sectors are opened to unobstructed access, ownership and control by transnational corporations so as to ensure foreign currency for interest payments and new markets for foreign corporate commodities;
- all of the above must be agreed to by governments to ensure against international financial embargo, including for export payments;31
- government impoverishment by odious debt imposition, transnational bank escape routes from taxes on the rich and corporations, and stolen billions by state clients continue without transnational regulation.
If peoples resist, as with the Mayans of Chiapas who resisted the ‘death sentence of NAFTA’ which privatized their communal lands and opened the borders to lavishly state-subsidized corn from the US to bankrupt local farmers in the millions, death is promised for those who fight back. The following words from a press release by the Chase Manhattan Bank express the generic threat by ‘investors’:
While Chiapas, in our opinion, does not pose a fundamental threat to Mexican political stability, it is perceived to do so by many in the investment community. The government will need to eliminate the Zapatistas …32
The overall meaning is clear. Any barriers to progressive extractions and invasions by global money-sequences are warred upon by deadly force of arms if resistant, by IMF ‘agreements’ as the banks’ ‘offer that cannot be refused’ to rip the victim society open to foreign money-sequence servitude from then on. It is important to recall what is otherwise erased from public memory. What happened to Peru to ensure the money-sequence’s progressive appropriations of public wealth and poor people’s wages to service created-money debt is paradigmatic. A series of SAPs from 1975 on halved wages by devaluation, reduced food consumption by 25 per cent, raised bread and bean prices by over 1,000 per cent, slashed wages by two-thirds in the public sector prior to a cholera epidemic in 1991, increased infant mortality and population malnourishment to new levels, and generally depredated the life of the vast majority to ever reduced levels of health and vital function.33 The development of the cancer system is long and transcultural, advancing across myriad pathways of hijacking and consuming life-capacities and lives to grow itself.
The Law of Inverse Relation
Understandably, life resists. In the case of Peru, it was by armed movements of the poor. They were predictably denounced, attacked, imprisoned and massacred as ‘terrorists’ in a prolonged dirty war. It was consummated by the Fujimori government which was heralded in the corporate media as heroic as long as he was in power while screening out, as always, the causes of the fight-back, including the sentencing of hundreds of people by hooded judges to prison without legal process.34 When the Japanese Embassy was occupied on December 17, 1996, to reverse the state terror, no mass media reported the reasons in weeks of saturation coverage. All attended instead to the high-tech military operation which spent weeks to kill the mostly teenaged occupiers with their hands up.
A testable and simple general law rules throughout the overwhelming phenomena of predation and destruction across cultures and domains. Life and life-capital are consumed to grow and multiply private money-sequences. This is the meta law of the Great Sickness. It is the opposite of ‘trickle-down’ and ‘bigger pie’ for all, the masking representations. It has infinite variations. For wide-lensed examples unconnected in the profusion of disorder, over 100 species are made extinct every day from the impact of ‘global market activities’,35 the number of all of the world’s malnourished children increases past one in three,36 the money-value of shares in the broad US market skyrockets to six times total value, as bank assets in money-value created beyond legal-tender reserves holds a ratio of almost hundreds to 1,37 and CEO money-take rises over 120 times faster than worker wages.
The correlation between aggregate money-value increases and rising well-being upon which the whole doctrine depends is in these ways the very opposite of fact.
Human Nature or System? The Killing Fields of Rwanda
It is ‘human nature’ runs the stock response to reverse the monstrous meaning. Brief analysis of the bloodiest killing field since the deregulated global money-sequence turn began shows otherwise. The 1994 slaughter of an estimated 800,000 people, Hutus as well as Tutsis, is our era’s most visibly diabolical event. Yet as always the causal mechanism is blinkered out of sight. Like Yugoslavia, but on a much bigger scale, the ethnic mass murder erupted after years of so-called ‘market reforms’ and IMF ‘structural adjustment programmes’. Before 1990, Rwanda’s food production was protected by public subsidies to the 70 per cent of the rural population who grew it, and by restrictions of foreign imports. But when coffee prices predictably plummeted due to overloading of tropical commodity markets with ‘comparative advantage exports’ in the new global free market, Rwanda’s export earnings dropped by 50 per cent. A ‘structural adjustment’ to sustain the money siphon to foreign money lenders was imposed. The IMF prescribed a 50 per cent devaluation of the local currency’s capacity to buy, and as usual, the life-crushing imposition was when the people were least able to survive – six weeks after a Tutsi-led rebel army from Uganda entered the country.
The collapse of real earnings triggered steep price increases in basic foodstuffs and fuel; public services collapsed from lack of revenues; malaria and child malnutrition rapidly spread; famine struck the south of the country; and farming families desperately chopped down 300,000 coffee trees to return to the non-export farming by which they had traditionally lived well. But the worst was not over. IMF stripping of life-supports to pay foreign money lenders and to pry open the economy for other corporate money-sequences followed. A second devaluation was ordered at the height of the civil war in 1992, privatizations of gas and telecommunications followed, and public investment projects were halved in such life-serving projects as inland swamp reclamation to meet the country’s increasingly severe shortage of arable land.
The money from the new IMF loans on the basis of the devaluation and ‘cost savings’ to pay debt charges was then diverted in the rising chaos to purchase Milan and Apila missiles and a Falcon jet from France, and the Hutu army was multiplied by eight-fold with unemployed youths.38 It was then that the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people began, another vast haemorrhage of the cancerous system. Again, all was reported in the media of record with no connection to the prior ruin of the life-support systems of the victim peoples by transnational private money-sequence demands propelling every step. All of the standard lethal aggressions were involved – foreign debt-servicing hollowing out life-serving government, corporate luxury exports replacing local food production and employment, dependency on middle-man profits and speculation-led global market prices, IMF stripping of the productive and social economy to pay external money lenders, and borders flung open to transnational commodities with rising food and fuel prices. What followed was escalation of hunger, malnutrition and disease without real economy bases, and desperate striking out at the new ruin and splurge spending of elites on weapon commodities. Every one of these depredations were led by private bank and corporate money-sequences freed from all past constraints by local life-requirements and functions.
Twenty Years Later: The Money-Sequence Dismantling of Greece
Twenty years later in Greece, it is again the transnational financial system converting the means of life and life-capital bases of society to pay private-bank debt-service charges – charges which always increase the more they cannot be paid. The European Central Bank is, as we have seen, silently structured not to assist real economies but to help private banks predate them. So once Greece was on the debt-service hook without the money to pay ever higher interest payments with ever less revenues from the bank-caused world recession / depression, the IMF was called in by the EU Commission and Central Bank to manage the bleeding of Greece to pay up.
The IMF did as usual and demanded the bloodletting piece by piece. Sell off the jewels of the nation like the harbour of Athens to foreign ownership; reduce the pensions of all now and into the future so that people have not enough to eat and live; slash public service employees in thousands and increase the pension age so the rapidly rising unemployed have fewer jobs to go to; keep reducing all wages by the margin of survival and minimum wages at the same time; slash social security funds and hospitals and increase working hours. In short, rob the real economy of provision of life-means and real capital bases to pay private bank money-sequences without any productive or life-function.
Joined now with European central bankers and ministers instead of Third World client states, the ‘Troika’ then added new wrinkles to the mandatory ‘Agreement’. As always hidden in jargon, the new terms allowed the rich not to pay their long-avoided taxes (a basic cause of state bankruptcy in Greece); stopped oil prices from being earmarked to track price gouging; and suspended restrictions on selling unlicensed goods like baby foods. All was justified as ‘streamlining’ and ‘new efficiencies’ – decoded, erasing public law to free private money-sequencers, the saviours of any economy in the ruling belief system. One by one, decoded, the terms of the IMF-led ‘Memorandum of Agreement’ protected tax cheats, price gougers and food debasers.39 If in the coming election any elected leader did not ‘honour these promises’ (sic), the punishment was banishment from the European Union. Every step was to ensure more money paid to private banks as ultimate meaning of membership in the Community, though the meaning is taboo to state.
With the exception of former three-time Minister of Economy and Finance of Italy from 1994 to2006, Giulio Tremonti, in his 2012 book, Emergency Exit: Ending the Tyranny of Finance. He boldly classifies the disorder as ‘financial fascism, white fascism’ (p. 40).40 It is absolutist and pervasive, fascist in method and white-racist in effect. But it is the opposite of ‘thinking with the blood’, the hallmark of fascism. It has no committed life-function at all, even to a master race. It does not shock with open racist actions. It disguises and masks everything in jargon greys. Always its private transnational money-sequence invasions disable and consume life-powers rather than glorify them. Always national wealth flows to foreign and private banks, not to the native duce or fuehrer. Always it is bloodless money-sequences bleeding nations dry.
The New Totalitarianism: Transnational Money-Sequencing Consuming Life and Life-Bases as its Metabolism of Growth
The money-sequences of $ → C(–) → $1, $ → C–(–) → $, DC → $1, and, now dominantly, $ → $1 → $2 → $n always seek towards totality of demand against life-requirements. This is the unseen but objective profile of this Great Sickness over 30 years. In opposition to it are the universal needs of human life-capacities and their life-capital bases, the underlying real economy which has evolved from the beginning.
Glimpses of the cancer system increasingly emerge – 1 per cent of US households owning more than 90 per cent of the wealth, under 500 billionaires with more money-demand than half of the world’s total population, one US corporate stockholder with more wealth than 100 million fellow citizens – what is not yet comprehended in principle is that this private money-sequence wealth always dispossesses life and life-bases to grow and multiply itself.
One malignant macro pattern of this global life-dispossession is not yet even suspected in public. If inflation is not to devalue the self-multiplying money-sequences, then the still multiplying transnational private money-demand must be expropriated from society and its citizens to excise inflationary pressures from the system. This is the unseen inner wheel of cumulative dispossession of societies and citizen majorities across the world today which is least of all decoded. Along with ever more taken from the wages and benefits of workers, from the budgets of social infrastructures of societies, and from the money-value resources of Nature, further trillion-dollar giveaways to the private banking system since 2008 have compounded the ever deeper stripping of people’s lives and the life-capital of humanity to serve the private money-sequences of transnational banks without system-wide inflation.
But where is this law of carcinogenic dispossession without inflation recognized? So far the cause-effect relations are suspended as elsewhere, the victims are blamed as usual, and official policies keep feeding the private banking system – more so after its bankrupting of itself, the tell-tale sign of life-host capture. A corollary follows. No life-enabling programme, worker life-security or life-capital base is any longer safe. By expropriating revenues devoted to life-goods to feed financial circuits which produce none, the decoupled money-sequence system is carcinogenic by its nature. Expenditures on life-needs, public health, education, social welfare and pensions are perpetually cut back while payments to $ → $1 → $2 → $3 → $n rounds expand further.41 As societies go ever deeper into long-term debt, chronic high unemployment, falling real wages, and horizonless economic depression or meltdown, their problems are not linked back to the causal mechanism, but instead attributed to societies’ ‘failure to compete’.
It has been going on for a long time. Three months before the economies of Asia collapsed, in what should have been a wake-up call, the IMF had celebrated Korea and Thailand as having ‘the fundamentals right’.42 Within weeks they collapsed from the very ‘free capital flows’ that the IMF imposed, and continues to impose on the bled-dry countries of southern Europe today. The fact remains then and now that neither the IMF nor the transnational banks it represents are competent to understand the economic breakdowns they have led, one after another, across the globe.43
Herman E. Daly, ‘Sustainable Growth? No Thank You’, in The Case Against the Global Economy, San Francisco: Sierra Books, 1996, p. 194.
- Ibid, p. 196.
A graphic example of the block against recognizing the extent of life-destructive ‘externalities’ by money-sequences of growth is provided by Lawrence Summers, the Chief Economist of the World Bank. He proclaims, with no relevant expertise in the life sciences, that there are ‘no natural limits to [monetized economic] growth’ and ‘no limits to the carrying capacity of the earth’. The claim that there are, he states, ‘is a profound error’ (cited by Susan George, Associate Director of the Transnational Institute, in the Globe Report on Business, May 29, 1992, B15).
Andrew Coyne, ‘Banks Prompt Strong Reactions’, Globe and Mail, December 28, 1995, p. B5.
I am indebted to Daniel Morgenson of the Department of Psychology, Wilfrid Laurier University for this example.
The cognitive closure to negative externalities of industrial market processes is by no means confined to the Third World. It is a general blinker of the model in all its jurisdictions of implementation. Consider the following US example. In a CNN television discussion on November 26, 1996, a spokesman of the environmental health scientists of the US Environmental Protection Agency proposed new legislation to reduce air pollution, reporting that 166,000 US citizens die prematurely each year from air particulates from industrial effluents and exhausts. His opponent, a representative of the corporations producing the effluents, insisted that further regulations were ‘too costly’. The evidence of the 166,000 deaths from the preventable air pollution depositing the deadly particulates was ruled out of view.
Another first-hand account of the Maquiladora ‘free trade zones’ of Latin America is given by Charles Bowden in ‘While You Were Sleeping’, Harper’s Magazine (December 1996), 44–52. The city is Ciudad Juarez on the border of Texas. ‘Real wages have been falling since the 1970s – the working class [have suffered a drop] in their purchasing power of in excess of 50 per cent over an eight year period … There are few environmental controls and little enforcement of those that exist … yet industry is thriving … it is a success story … last year growth registered 12 per cent … The future is based on the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer and industrial growth producing poverty faster than it distributes wealth.’ For Bowden, in particular because of the many murdered teenage girls, the situation in Juarez is ‘a living hell’. But every element of it is perfectly consistent with the market’s self-regulating principles.
When federal health department scientists in Canada warned of the danger of these foods, the report was suppressed (Thomas Walkom, ‘Mutant Food Products Hard to Swallow’, Toronto Star, June 2, 1998, A2). The world’s largest producers of soya and milk, US transnationals like Monsanto Corporation, mix gene-altered soya with real soya and produce hormone-boosted milk at 40 per cent higher volume per unit of cost, and then threaten WTO trade action against any government which labels the products for ‘discriminating against the process of production’, a new transnational trade prohibition. Adulterated food in this way becomes illegal to identify.
I am indebted to Karen Finlay of the Department of Consumer Studies, University of Guelph, for this finding of her research.
Myron Gordon, Faculty of Management Studies, University of Toronto, has stated that ‘production is now secondary in the global market’. He provides a pace-setting figure of $800 million for production costs, $800 million for research, and $2 billion for advertising (Interdisciplinary Conference on the Evolution of World Order, Toronto, June 7–9, 1997).
A more developed account of the political economy of the armaments commodity may be found in my monograph Understanding War, Toronto: Science for Peace, 1989. Lest it be thought that armaments are means of life in the sense of means of defending civilian populations from aggressors, we need to bear in mind that more than three in four people killed by the armaments commodity in war are non-combatant civilians, and most of them are killed by their own governments (Ruth Leger Sivard et al., World Military and Social Expenditures 1996, Washington, DC, 1996).
We may think that after the end of the Cold War, research into the leading weapons of mass destruction by US government programmes has effectively tapered off. But according to a 300-page document leaked in the summer of 1997, a massive secret programme to build a new generation of nuclear weapons, more extensive than at the height of the Cold War, has been funded to design and develop new warheads using computer-simulated detonations to avoid the restraints of signed test-ban The new programme is called, with now familiar Orwellian embellishment, ‘The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan’ (Ed Vulliamy, reporting National Resources Defence Council, ‘US in Secret New Nuclear Buildup’, Guardian Weekly, August 24, 1997, p. 1).
At the same time, the publicly-funded US military-industrial complex controls over 70 per cent of the armaments market of the less-developed countries, who expend up to 70 per cent of their public revenues on these weapons along with debt-interest payments to international moneylenders (‘External Debt and Military Spending’, XI Conference of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, October 1993).
In these ways the money-sequences combine to bleed impoverished societies dry of the little public wealth they possess.
After the massive defeat of the German armed forces in the Battle of Stalingrad in January 1943, Martin Bormann, the Deputy Fuhrer and the main linkage of the Nazi party with the industrial and financial cartels that ran the German economy, conceived a plan for post-war organization of German Nazis in Latin America, South Africa, Egypt and Indonesia called the ‘Organization of Veterans of the SS’, or Odessa by acronym. A main element of the Odessa was led by General Reinhard Gehlen who was head of the Foreign Armies East in German Army Headquarters. He was responsible for all intelligence operations through East Europe and the Soviet Union, and in the remaining months of the war deposited the extensive files in a hiding place in the Bavarian Alps. After the war was over, he negotiated a secret treaty to work ‘jointly with the Americans’ on the basis of the detailed files and the services of some 4,000 agents. ‘By one estimate, some 70 per cent of the total intelligence flowing into NATO’s military committee and Allied headquarters (SHAPE) on the Soviet Union, the countries of East Europe, the rest of Europe and indeed the rest of the world was generated [from this source]’ (Carl Oglesby, ‘The Secret Treaty of Fort Hunt’, Covert Action Bulletin, 35 (Fall 1990), 8–16). Corroborating this heavily researched account, Lake Sagaris reports in her detailed study of Pinochet’s Chile that Nazi activity and influence in Chile was particularly widespread during Pinochet’s military dictatorship from 1973–90 (cited in Graeme Mount, ‘The Long Shadow of Chile’s Fascism’, Literary Review of Canada, October 1996, 8–10).
Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Huge Subsidies Boost UK Arms Sales’, Guardian Weekly, May 28, 1995, p. 1.
Japanese banks which became heavily involved in international financing after the world-leading success of its planned productive ventures in automobiles and electronic manufacturing now hold an estimated $850 billion in bad debts (figure cited in Marcus Gee, ‘The Real End of Japan ’, Globe and Mail, April 18, 1998, p. D4).
The long-standing use and possible monopoly of the international narcotics trade by covert US military forces is documented long before the funding of the Nicaragua Contras by the Reagan government (which was briefly publicized with no effect) by Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in South-East Asia, New York: Harper and Row, 1972, who traces it back to US armed-force control of transnational sea-lanes after 1945. Jonathan Kwitny updates the connection between US covert military operations and the criminal narcotics trade in The Crimes of Patriots, New York: Simon and Shuster, 1987, and it is well-known that the Taliban in Afghanistan had largely erased the opium trade that Afghanistan now leads the world in supplying before the US invaded in 2001 after 9-11.
‘25% of Military Spending Would Cure World’s Worst Ills’, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor (July/August 1995), 18.
The following is a typical pattern of the relationship between state militaries equipped with advanced weapons commodities using these armaments to clear indigenous people off the land, a pattern as old as colonization and implemented also in such places as Guatemala, Somalia, East Timor and the Philippines. In the case of the global market invasion of the lands of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, the story went as follows. Prior to the 1992 North American Free Trade Agreement, the Mexican government removed a constitutional provision protecting the communal lands of the Mayan people so that the land could be converted to corporate agribusiness production, and at the same time open South Mexico markets to the cheaper, subsidized corn and bean products of US corporations. The Mayans resisted ‘the death sentence of NAFTA’, and the Mexican military proceeded to destroy the Chiapas farmers’ villages and farms, latrines and water pipes with helicopters, tractors and armed personnel carriers, and also bombed them from the air with the latest napalm products (John McMurtry, ‘A Day in the Life of the New World Order’, Globe and Mail, April 1, 1995, p. A17).
Victor Sidel and Robert C. Wesley, ‘Violence as a Public Health Problem: Lessons for Action Against Violence By Health-Care Professionals’, Social Justice, Vol. 22, No. 4 (1995), 161.
MIT Vegetarian Support Group, ‘How Our Food Choices Affect Life On Earth’, World-Wide-Web, November 22, 1996, p. 1.
Together these economic operations of extraction and pollution ‘lead to the extinction of plants and animals at about 1000 times the normal rate’ (D.J. McLaren, ‘Reply’, Delta: Newsletter of the Canadian Climate Change Program, 7, No. 3 (1996), 3), with ‘about $500 billion a year subsidizing the destruction of the oceans, atmospheres and land’ (John Vidal, ‘World Turning Blind Eye to Catastrophe’, Reports of UN Environment Agency, British Panel on Sustainable Development, and World-Watch Institute, Guardian Weekly, February 7, p. 1). According to the Rio+5 Forum Earth Summit meeting in March 1997, these processes of life-destruction and deterioration have not abated since the 178 nations pledged to ‘clean up the world’ five years previously, but have increased. Thus in 1997, while only 3 per cent of the earth’s original temperate rainforest still stands, the UN’s choice of the best country in the world to live, where one province alone contains over a quarter of the world’s total supply, continues to clear-cut forests at a 40 per cent higher rate than what its government estimates is sustainable (Sierra Legal Defence Fund, ‘Clearcut Future?’ July 1997, p. 4). Here again we see the evidences of a value programme whose life-destructive consequences do not register to or inhibit its reproduction. At the same time, the money-sequence of value grows as rapidly as the life-sequence is depleted, with, for example, the number of the world’s billionaires multiplying by more than ten times since 1987 (Associated Press, July 14, 1997).
I have been a long-time member of the Animal Care Committee of Canada’s most intensive animal research institution, and also its subcommittee for protocol approval. I estimate that over 95 per cent of all publicly funded research done on animals is driven by the regulating money-sequence principle of reducing money costs for private corporate producers. No-one in the field has denied the estimate.
‘Financial markets’, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor (April 2012), 3.
Andrew Simms, ‘Double Standards on a Matter of Life or Debt’, Guardian Weekly, June 22, 1997, p. 23.
David Macdonald, ‘Banks lavished with $11 billion in government aid’, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor (May 2012), 1, 6. The prior figure on derivatives is from Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor, ibid.
Three of these figures come from William Hixson, A Matter of Interest: Re-examining Money, Debt, and Real Economic Growth, New York: Praeger, 1991, pp. xix, xviii, and 270, respectively. The final figure comes from John Dillon, Turning the Tide: Confronting the Money Traders, Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 1996, p. 67.
‘Financial markets’, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor.
The case of Africa over 20 years is documented well by Léonce Ndikumana and James Boyce, Africa’s Odious Debts, London: Zed Books, 2011.
The facts which confirm all of these principles are best provided in Michel Chossudovsky’s masterful study, The Globalisation of Poverty, Penang, Malaysia: Third World Books, 1997.
‘Caught in the Middle in Chiapas’, Globe and Mail, March 24, 1995, A7.
- Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty, 193–205.
Jane Diaz-Limaco in Lima, ‘Hint of Hope for Hostages in Peru’, Guardian Weekly, January 5, 1997, p. 1.
These figures are cited from, respectively, Globe and Mail Report on Business, July 25, 1997, and William Krehm, Economic Reform (July 1997), 3.
This account is drawn from Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty, 111–20.
Mike Whitney, ‘A Death Sentence: Austerity Measures Give Corporations Control of Greece’, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor (April 2012), 39–49.
I am indebted to Giorgio Baruchello for his review of Tremonti’s book in 8:1 of Nordicum-Mediterraneum, April 2013, http://nome.unak.is.
Interest demands on public debt in Canada, for example, escalated nearly eight-fold in real terms between 1962–81 and 1981–95, requiring a corresponding dismantling of health, education and social security budgets to pay the compound-interest demands. In the US, as we have seen, it is estimated that at the 1967–87 rate of the interest-demand share of the US national income, all of the national income would be required to pay off compound-interest payments to moneylenders by 2020 (William F. Hixson, A Matter of Interest: Re-Examining Money, Debt, and Real Economic Growth, New York: Praeger, 1991, pp. 177 and 176).
- ‘Asia’s Avoidable Meltdown’, Guardian Weekly, December 1997, 12.
The entire Western banking system led by Wall Street with the IMF and financial-trade embargo as world enforcer has been multiplying private money-demand at will for debt creations, stock futures and derivative speculations, and leveraged buyouts across domains in exponential dismemberment and devouring of the real economy since the first Yetone ray of economic reason within the transnational money-sequence cancer system has emerged from the IMF itself – ‘The Chicago Plan Revisited’, IMF Working Paper 202, 2012, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2012/wp12202.pdf. Arising in the Great Depression brought on by the private banking system like today, the classical remedy was straightforward. 100 per cent reserves were prescribed for debt and speculation money which the private for-profit banks leveraged into disastrous bubbles and collapses (in fact, private bank notes counterfeiting legal tender). The IMF study by Jaromir Benes and Michael Kumhof reasons as follows (emphases added):
Banks would no longer be able, as they are today, to generate their own funding, deposits, in the act of lending, an extraordinary privilege that is not enjoyed by any other type of business. … The key feature of this plan was that it called for the separation of the monetary and credit functions of the banking system, first by requiring 100% backing of deposits by government-issued money, and second by ensuring that the financing of new bank credit can only take place through earnings that have been retained in the form of government-issued money, or through the borrowing of existing government-issued money from non-banks, but not through the creation of new deposits, ex nihilo, by [private] banks.
The study continues:
Irving Fisher (1936) claimed the following advantages for this plan: (1) Much better control of a major source of business cycle fluctuations, sudden increases and contractions of bank credit and of the supply of bank-created money. (2) Complete elimination of bank runs. (3) Dramatic reduction of the (net) public debt. (4) Dramatic reduction of private debt, as money creation no longer requires simultaneous debt creation … Furthermore, output gains approach 10 percent, and steady state inflation can drop to zero without posing problems for the conduct of monetary policy.