WHAT IS CAPITAL?
One way or another a society lives in accordance with a value system – an underlying set of rules of how to live. These are taken for granted more deeply than the rules inside a game, and govern speech and thought like a grammar. Philosophy can excavate them in their ultimately regulating principles, evaluate their truth and value, and seek their more enabling form.
Yet even philosophers avoid examining the meta-rules of how their own society lives. It is taboo to call them into question. In my own self-guided travels overland through almost 100 countries including my own, I have found no evident exceptions. Virtually everyone thinks the surrounding way of life is natural, correct and good – with of course personal and factional conflicts of interpretation. The underlying framework of rules of and thought is assumed. Some superficially attribute this to genetic programming, but genes cannot explain why these rules and meta-rules vary from one human group and age to another, or why they so often destroy life rather than confer survival advantage.
My work has specialized in critically understanding social systems at the meta level, and why some ways are ultimately better or worse than others. But ruling presumptions variously block against questioning the given order in terms of which people think and live. ‘Who is to decide what is right?’ people ask. But this question ignores the fact that the most basic and universal life-matters are already decided beneath the social rules and people’s opinions – such as that all people need sufficient nutriment, clean water, sewage facilities, learning of society’s symbol systems, home and love, and expert care when ill if their life-capacities are not to be reduced or destroyed. But this objective life-ground of value across individuals and cultures has no place in the global system. The very concept is repelled from economic, moral and other received theory.
This universal life-ground of value is already proven – in humanity’s universal preferences to breathe clean rather than polluted air, eat and drink non-poisons, have commodious shelter rather than not, relate to others as human not beasts, and have life-meaningful tasks to fulfil rather than meaningless ones. Whether they are relativists, postmodernists, nihilists, cynics, market self-maximizers, tea-partiers or just go-along folks, these objective life-goods are undeniable in reality. For whatever the self’s desires, deprivation of any of these life goods leads to loss of life-capacity towards dehumanization and physical death. Yet which life-good and its provider is not in increasing peril for a growing majority of the world in our global value and rule system?
The Anglo-American cultures form a generic empire of manners as do cultures of Europe, China, India, Islam, and Latin America, with infinite variations within them. None ground in these objective life-goods except in preconscious collective formations which are increasingly threatened. For within the last 30 years, there has been great sea-change towards one system of transnational corporate market rule which is indifferent to this entire life-substructure of humanity and to the consequences of its life-blind rule system. This work is a deep-structural study of that global sea-shift and its systemic consequences for human and planetary life which are not yet connected into a unifying causal explanation and resolution.
Original investigation began back in the 1970s, but as it tracked the economic-structural changes around the ‘US-Soviet Cold War’ in particular, it observed vast undertow movements in political, economic and cultural systems across the world. Research across relevant disciplines and on-the-ground travel ‘in the bloodstreams of the people’ mutually confirmed the trends. I realized the tidal shift was unexamined in its underlying principles of value across cultures and selves. Second-order normative analysis also did not exist in the social sciences in principle, and philosophy avoided social value-system analysis.
As a result, the excavation of the moral inner logic of the global corporate system and its fatal flaw became the generic issue of this study, and it leads to the life-ground of its resolution. In the simplest profile of the problematic, a world crusade of ‘global market freedom and democracy’ against ‘terrorism’ of which the ‘communist world’ has been the superpower version is the deciding ideological division of the era. Ideology, however, distracts us from our life-ground, and its triumphant form assumes a ruling metaphysic of atomic market agents seeking only more money and commodities for themselves. On top of and rationalizing this ruling value system which is ironically equated to ‘freedom’, the ultimate Enemy is resisters – who have been called ‘terrorists’ since the anti-colonial uprisings in Africa which are pre-dated by the resistance of first peoples against their genocides beginning centuries ago.
The long trajectory has been driven from underneath by a system-wide causal mechanism, but it has fundamentally mutated in ways not decoded. This investigation and diagnosis towards recovery focuses on the period of the great value-system mutation beginning with the US-orchestrated armed-force overthrow of the massively popular and elected government of Chile in 1973. It unleashed the death-squad dictatorship period across Latin America called ‘Operation Condor’ in which tens of thousands, eventually hundreds of thousands of people were tortured and murdered from Argentina and Brazil to El Salvador and Guatemala – and almost all for exercising standard rights guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Fatefully coincident but not connected in understanding was the US defeat in Vietnam with its ignominious military and diplomatic flight. More deeply and widely important on an economic level than the defeat in Vietnam, the abandonment of the gold standard by the US to escape the vast costs of its war was launched at the same time. It left the world without any value base but US money printed at will, and leveraged ever more exponentially by Wall Street and company with growing deregulation to do so.
In fact this is when the long train of financial destabilization, veering wildly into ruin of government programmes, workers’ jobs and small business with the cranking up of interest rates to over 20 per cent prime in the 1980s and becoming ever more totalized after the fall of the Soviet Union and the repeal of Depression-installed regulations like Glass-Steagall. As the century turned, working-class gains had been reversed by the race to the bottom of wages, benefits and social legislation by global competition with no life-standards. The value of money was holding now not by cannibalist interest rates and debt charges, but by slashing workers’ incomes and social programmes across continents. At the deepest level, life and life-support systems were being increasingly sacrificed, shock-treated and looted with plunging costs for transnational money sequences across the world. The deregulated multiplication now metastasised through nations, resources and politicians with ever fewer limits propelled by ‘market reforms’, trade-treaty edicts prohibiting legislation reducing ‘profit opportunities’, and wars on resource rich regions with social control.
The quadrupling of the world price of oil in the same turning-point year of 1973–74 propelled the global debasing of exchange and investment value at another level. Ungrounded and increasingly leveraged transnational money-sequencing was now tied without rules to a non-renewable resource going ever more voluminously up in smoke while, over the next 30 years, exponentially self-multiplying private transnational money-sequences with no committed life-function came to roam in nano-seconds around the globe picking off margins and financially rigging ever more real functions of the economy in a system of runaway consumption, degradation and collapse of life-capital bases. From the new multiplied oil–money axis of the Middle East and the US, the world was more and more turned by non-renewable fossil fuel and armaments dollars with Saudi and Gulf State oil exchanging for US weapons, armed protection and Wall Street management of the new money stripped out of world industry, workers’ incomes and social benefits. Everything connected to everything else. The interlocked restructuring to world rule by self-multiplying private money-sequences disconnected from any real productive or life-function was not recognized or stopped. It was only deregulated more as conflicts and crises built with no responses made or allowed to the deadly causal mechanism at work. The crises were not seen as malignant mutations of the system, but as ‘getting the fundamentals right’ and ‘necessary restructuring’ for ‘the global free market’.
The fatal consequences were unanticipated. They were mere ‘externalities’ to the private money-sequence and commodity value code and circuits still running and multiplying on automatic pilot as ‘more freedom and democracy’. Freedom and democracy come to mean what the system requires. The private transnational money-sequence rule over nations had, however, been envisaged by planners in more precise terms. In the words of David Rockefeller in 1991 at Bildersberg, a higher final value code was affirmed – ‘a supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and bankers’ to replace ‘the auto-determination of nations practiced in past centuries’ (i.e., self-government).1 Rockefeller thanked ‘the press’ in attendance for ‘no glare of publicity during those years’ of instituting the New World Order. The plan had been in the works for some time. As it was shared with the Bildersberg global corporate elite, the Soviet Union was collapsing, the NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) had became economic law as the prototype of the coming WTO (World Trade Organization), and financial deregulation was in mutation to no controls at all.
While tirelessly proclaimed as a global liberation from the state with eager press and academic collaboration, the plan was in fact imposed one-way by supranational treaties in vast all-or-nothing tranches of ‘investor’ rights undebated by legislatures and according all rights only to transnational corporations. In these semi-secret bureaucratic rule monoliths of endless corporate legalese that almost no-one has read, the inner logic is not discerned. Workers have no rights, nor do citizens, nor do environments, nor do democratic legislatures themselves. All disappear from sight in these monumental transnational treaty edicts with only protection of the rights of supranational ‘investors’ protected. Their rights are spelled out in every detail in binding international law which had long been claimed impossible in all the covenants and treaties of law which protect life – a much older, developed and internationally participatory body of law including international covenants against war crimes and crimes against humanity and the civil International Covenant of Economic, Political and Cultural Rights which were all ignored. It is in this detailed and sweeping enforcement of private transnational money-sequence rights alone and exclusion of all evolved life-protective rights and law that we may detect the carcinogenic code in unseen mutating action.
While economists dwelling in autistic notations assumed all of the institutional mutations as expressing ‘economic laws’, the thousands of pages of binding regulations not only overrode labour, local markets and elected legislatures, but most fatefully all human and natural life-requirements though generational time. The ultimate problem is that the disorder has not been recognized for what it is. The underlying system mutation has proceeded by vast and unending public money infusions, rewards of colossal market failures with hand-outs exceeding spending on social needs, and essentially keys to government treasuries to those responsible for the 2008 collapse – along with abdication of all responsibility to fix the malignant rules. Thus stock markets, CEOs and big banks kept getting richer even after the 2008 crash they led. More deeply, the long-term performance of the system has demonstrated only more disemployment, destitution, junk, waste and toxic products than the rest of history combined and ever more non-communicable diseases and ecological despoliation all the way down. Yet where are the connections made?
It is a complexly interconnected story. The underlying system mutation is not even now penetrated as the common cause of what has followed. The basic macro connection is especially repressed. As the mutant and increasingly debased tides of money-sequence multiplication become globalized, they must be paid for by the dispossession of the public, workers and life-support systems to ensure against inflation devaluing the escalated private money-sequence takings. In the language of the life-capital paradigm explained by this study, transnational money-sequencing despoils life and life-capital at every level to grow itself – the warring value codes of the great global crisis and recovery tracked ahead. A direct and systematic assault on public life-support systems, wages, secure jobs and environmental protections follows from the runaway money-sequence code mechanism with no committed life-function globalizing in exponential advance through human and planetary life-bases, cultures and governments themselves.
Thus from the Thatcher-Reagan turn of 1979–80 on, a war-like campaign of one dispossession after another in the name of ‘market reforms’ came from which peoples were never given a chance to recover because they now had to compete with the most exploited regions of the world with no unions, democracy, social programmes or even civil rights in the global race to the bottom of wages, benefits, ecological and workplace protections. Financing the whole ‘supranational sovereignty’ of private transnational money-sequences was the private bank system centred in Wall Street. In law-like consistency, social spending has been stripped out as ‘unaffordable’, the non-stop axings of workforces for ‘shareholder value’ has redoubled, and all resistant collective organizing against disorder annihilated at any level it fights back – as mapped ahead.
At the same time citizens are locked into the malignant growth in depredation of life and life-support systems. Aside from the near seamless global propaganda of the media and state pronouncements, everyone’s future pensions have been increasingly tied to these very transnational money-sequences, almost no job or funding has been any longer safe without deferring to them, slogans of ‘no alternative’ have been perpetually proclaimed as inexorable facts across borders, universities defunded to serve the global profit and commodity agenda, and – the least seen major war of movement – public wealth bases increasingly raided to advance subsidize the ruling value programme. Where does one find exception? All the downward system trends still deepen but the unexamined deep pattern remains taboo to think through.
These trends explain the co-ordinates of the greatest crisis of human and planetary life in history, but one will not find them named anywhere else. All are one-way sloping down – the initial larger meaning of the down-grading graph on this book’s cover. All are catastrophic in the long term. As readers consider them in preliminary identification, questions need to be posed. Why are they seen only in parts and in isolated spectacles without connection among them? Is the most militant blindness now confined to the ‘leadership’ class – that is, all the offices and positions which decide for the same global system to extend further rather than reform in the light of its systematically disastrous effects on all life?
The air, soil and water cumulatively degrade; the climates and oceans destabilize; species become extinct at a spasm rate across continents; pollution cycles and volumes increase to endanger life-systems at all levels in cascade effects; a rising half of the world is destitute as inequality multiplies; the global food system produces more and more disabling and contaminated junk without nutritional value; non-contagious diseases multiply to the world’s biggest killer with only symptom cures; the vocational future of the next generation collapses across the world while their banks debts rise; the global financial system has ceased to function for productive investment in life-goods; collective-interest agencies of governments and unions are stripped while for-profit state subsidies multiply; police state laws and methods advance while belligerent wars for corporate resources increase; the media are corporate ad vehicles and the academy is increasingly reduced to corporate functions; public sectors and services are non-stop defunded and privatized as tax evasion and transnational corporate funding and services by governments rise at the same time at every level.
Who can deny the deep trends down consistently with the facts? But where have they been connected even in high theory? How could no common cause remain unsearched for and undefined? How could governments instead be concerned only to ‘reassure financial markets and foreign investors’ who lead the system causing these effects?
While no trend to the better rather than worse has been managed for over 25 years, still no received paradigm of understanding enables us to explain the overall systemic causal mechanism. The required demonstration and diagnosis are the purpose of this study. At the doctrinal level, economic thought is in principle incapable of recognizing what has gone wrong. In the dominant ‘neo-classical’ doctrine, a life-blind value system is built in. To be rational means only to self-maximize one’s private interests in money-value terms, and what is called ‘the economy’ is confined to private market exchanges in which only the most money-value for atomic selves matters. Nothing else counts in.
Within this private money-exchange circuitry, no living system is taken into account. All that matters is the ultimate value equation and its mechanism of fulfilment – that private commodity supply equilibrates to private commodity demand by the self-maximizing competition of all with no upper or lower limit for anyone. Observe how this reductionist model is equated a priori to the complete ‘Supply and Demand of the Economy’ with no qualifiers. Nothing else but private priced commodities can count as Supply – not one of all the unpriced goods from natural and social life-support systems including unpaid work which form the very economic infrastructure on which private commodities are only a volatile top layer. Nothing else but private money can count as Demand – all needs and demands of organic, social and life-systems count for nothing in this life-blind framework of ‘the Economy’.
This stripped logic of value and meaning is, however, never observed. Indeed its ‘laws’ of equalization between private money willing to pay (Demand) and private commodities for sale (Supply) are prescribed as how ‘the optimal’ or ‘the best of possible worlds’ is necessarily produced. No life or collective responsibility is ever required. For ‘the invisible hand of the market’ manages all by the self-regulating competition of the self-maximizing atomic selves demanding only more commodities and profit ad infinitum. To cap it all off, any intervention by public authority in this life-blind money-exchange growth masquerading as ‘the Economy’ is heresy, and any other way to live is evil on a social scale (e.g., socialist). Moreover, economic agents who do not so self-maximize private commodities and profits are irrational and immoral. Direction of the invested money in a corporation towards workers’ or social well-being is unlawful by uncontested state Supreme Court decision (Dodge v. Ford), and laws to protect citizens by public authority are anathema to the doctrine. Governments today are thus required under mountains of new coercive regulations not to ‘diminish the profit opportunity’ of any transnational corporate enterprise on pain of severe financial penalty. All this is spelled out in principled detail ahead.
In theory, the self-maximizing atomic exchanges by themselves mathematically produce optimal effects within a model of dyadic exchanges of private assets in a vacuum. Without notice, few may have all the assets and the rest only debts and debt payments with no system corrective, but this is the ‘unfettered market’ providing people their ‘just due’ in ‘a free and democratic system’. More deeply, despoliations of the world’s life support systems – the air, the water, natural life habitats, public resources, and climate stability – are all classified as ‘externalities’ with no allowed corrective but private lawsuits or new markets (e.g., in pollution rights). Once one decodes the inner logic of value and meaning of the system, one sees how things could go very wrong but this possibility is never recognized by the doctrine in principle. The ideological fixities still capture the news today – from the US Tea Party to the continuing climate-ocean destabilization of the world without remedy to the ‘debt crises’ of Europe. What is not recognized is that they just keep enacting the ultimate value programme as if it were God’s perfect design – which is in fact the infallible deist logic of the doctrine from the start.
This unexamined reigning value logic requires the second-order study of the axioms at work in syntactical form, and tracking of their implications in correlations with the world to follow the consequences of it. No economist does this because every step is blocked out a priori by the deep structure of the doctrine and its scientistic model. No moral philosopher does it either so far as it is off-limits to recognize by methodological and social taboo.
Even the critical Amartya Sen cannot conceive of any collective life-responsibility for the economy as thus modelled. At best, he recognizes that famines are a political event, but not an economic-structural consequence – and certainly not a crisis to be met by structural adjustment to life-requirements. Collective responsibility at this level is ruled out in principle. Thus in his 1998 Nobel Prize Lecture, ‘The Possibility of Social Choice’, Sen’s conception of social choice does not include any rational collective agency stewarding the system itself or even its possibility. The only agency is of atomic market individuals in aggregate market choices.2 The possibility of binding life-standards being built by constitutional public authority, as in the prohibition of slavery – is excluded in principle from this economic framework of meaning and value.3 Arrow’s Theorem and other theoretical constructions also rule out collective agency by a priori reduction to aggregates of atomic individuals. This generates paradoxes of no consistent social choice possible. The underlying problem is not recognized as the confinement of social and economic agency to atomic aggregates is a logical disorder.4
One ignored anomaly which is fateful in consequences is that privately operating corporations are absurdly denied by supreme court law as well as economic theory to be themselves collective agents – although no iron collective of top-down imperial command is more powerful and omnipresent in the world. They are in the logical-moral framework of the ruling dogma system only an ‘aggregation of bilateral contracting parties’. But they are at the same time given invincible collective protection under law by non-liability of the stock-owning individuals of the corporation. Corporations become fictive persons with supranational powers whose endless crimes and torts are protected by teams of high-priced lawyers against lawsuits and criminal charges whose penalty, if unusually lost, is only profit deduction. Corporations now have state-conferred rights to use aliases at will, cross border with no limits, transfer price to avoid taxes and unconditional rights to appropriate and exploit societies’ natural, human and built capital across borders. No upkeep or improvement requirements by hosting societies are allowed under new supranational regulations. Heavy penalties to governments for non-compliance are assessed by transnational corporate tribunals. Thus the atomic model of societies as mere aggregates of individual self-maximizers with all value as money value in more private commodities or profits has mutated into a collective system of transnational corporations backed by supranational mechanisms of enforcement ruling societies and the world. Yet in economic theory and law they are merely ‘bilaterally contracting citizens in free association’.
More deeply, the life-blind inner logic of the reigning economic model itself remains un-decoded. Without notice, every life-coordinate of a real economy – producing and distributing goods otherwise in short supply – is erased. No life-needs, no environment, no society, no children, no relations with others, no social supports, nothing remains but self-maximizing atoms in money-sequence exchanges. Mathematical notations lock in the life-blind logic. In the real world which the model elides, these individual exchanges for commodities and profits increasingly become in fact deregulated transnational private money sequences multiplying behind collective corporate law protection.
Yet the inner logic of value is so automatically presupposed that none in this thought-system recognize what has gone wrong or what society can do about it in either theory or practice. This is why George Soros, when confronted by his money-sequence syndicates’ wrecking of economies by market-manipulating currency prices to dispossess sovereign governments for hundreds of billions of dollars in private profit, merely replies, ‘As a market participant, I don’t need to be concerned with the consequences of my actions.’5
We get a sense of how life responsibility and collective agency have been ruled out from this supranational value system in the minds of even social philosophers by an eminent example. Along dominant thinker in the fields of ‘norms and values’, ‘validity’ and ‘the life-world’, Jürgen Habermas conceives of the global market system as a technical given. He calls it ‘the technical-administrative apparatus’ of ‘norm-free sociality’. The most powerful norm system ever is thus assumed as ‘free of norms’. Tell this to indigenous peoples. Thus the system’s moral absolutism is assumed away as non-existent, and so too are its perpetual wars on what opposes the ‘norm free sociality’ of the market system. Habermas is not exceptional. As everyone who assumes the surrounding system as an almighty given, he sternly warns against any alternative. ‘Complex societies cannot reproduce themselves if they do not leave the logic of an economy that regulates itself through the market.’6 Observe that the ideological hegemony here is based on denying values while asserting them as absolute at the same time.
Before and since the first edition of this study, a great building raft of critical work has been done on the crises the ‘self-regulating global market’ is now, in fact, producing by its ruling value code. But second-order understanding of the system’s moral code is absent and so too connection among the collapses of natural and social life support systems following from its rule. Only partial recognitions find their way through at the overview level.
At the most comprehensive before the first edition, ‘ecofeminism’ and ‘deep ecology’ led by Vandana Shiva and Arne Naess respectively came closest to life and capital bearings level, but without the concepts. Shiva and company still fall short in having no evident meaning outside subsistence and traditional economies for industrial society, while neither ecofeminism nor deep ecology have a defined criterion of life-needs or concept of life-capital. This shortfall can be found at the very foundations of alternative vision over centuries. It undermines the theory of Herbert Marcuse and subsequent ecological Marxism, as it does Marx’s theory itself. Diagnosis of the underlying disease and its defining causal mechanism is thus blocked by lack of the defined universal needs of human life-capacities whereby to recognize its malignancy.
Since the first edition of 1999, mainstream awareness of something gone wrong has grown immensely but without system-wide diagnosis. The pathological consequences of the private money-sequence system deregulated from all prior sovereign constraints and evolved life-standards of labour, the environment and life-support systems are not connected. Dramatic symptoms are seen with no paradigm shift. Consider the analyses now famous in their own right – ‘planetary ecological crisis’, ‘energy and resource drawdown’, ‘disaster capitalism’, ‘limits to growth’, ‘privatization’, ‘accumulation by dispossession’, ‘growing extremes of inequality’, religious and economic ‘fundamentalisms’, and ‘the greed of the 1 per cent’. All recognize an important aspect of the underlying disorder. But none join them back to the ruling value code propelling all of them.
At the second-order level, no-one grounds in life-value understanding on the basis of life-capital standards and measures to recognize the underlying disease and the nature of recovery from it. The former Treasury and Bank of England mandarin, Rachel Lomax, has spoken in system-wide terms of the ‘dismantling of a former version of capitalism’ to ‘replace it with Anglo-American liberalism’.7 This awareness is now official. But what has gone wrong is not explained. Site comments at the US Institute for New Economic Thinking take us further when they rightly observe that ‘the efficient market’ of the ruling paradigm ‘has always been a theoretical fiction’, and ‘economic faculties have chased out dissenters’. Yet the deeper disorder remains unseen. ‘Where is the revolutionary thinking?’ Lomax revealingly asks.
Even Jeffery Sachs who led the privatization stripping of Russia and Eastern Europe now speaks in his The Price of Civilization of economics needing to seek ‘the underlying disease’ and be guided by better civic values.8 Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman writes more penetratingly of a ‘metastasizing finance sector’ in the New York Times, but offers no further diagnosis.9 Paul Bucheit, the entrepreneur inventor of Gmail, blames the ‘extremist cult of capitalism’, but does not explain the system cause behind the extreme figures he reports.10 Italy’s long-serving Economics and Finance Minister, Giulio Tremonti, calls it ‘financial fascism’, but unlike fascism the transnational financial market cares nothing for nations and their cultures, and does not mass-employ but slashes workforces as its modus operandi.11 In his latest book Freefall, Nobel laureate and former lead economic adviser to President Clinton, Joseph Stiglitz, rightly names it ‘ersatz capitalism’. But just why it is not capitalism in principle is not spelled out.
All of these emergent lines of system criticism since 2008 recognize that something has gone very deeply amiss, a needed and significant advance. But none connects the degenerate trends across ecological, social and organic life-support systems, nor defines the underlying ultimate disorder driving them. Meanwhile at the official policy-making level, Congressman Dick Durban has famously acknowledged without complaint, ‘they (Wall Street) pretty well run the place’, and President Obama has said to his Wall Street funders before the 2012 election with no denial of the reports, ‘I am here to protect you … I am the only one standing between you and the pitchforks.’
The most established general argument for our parlous condition is that the global crisis is led by ‘overpopulation’ – or more precisely, ‘seven billion human beings overloading the carrying capacities of the Earth’. The overloading of the earth’s life-carrying capacities is certainly true, and this study identifies it as a life-capital rundown and waste that is the most fundamental economic disorder of the world, ever. But the crucial point is missed by the ‘overpopulation’ argument. The over-demand on the earth’s resources is the problem, and its cause is not ‘human beings’ – a shallow overgeneralization. The causal mechanism is a deregulated and exponential growth of transnational money-sequences and commodities extracting, polluting, depleting and despoiling the earth ever more widely and deeply at every level with no accountability to any natural capital base. Blaming over population may be equivalent to blaming the poor majority for what is in demonstrable fact runaway looting and pollution by multiplying transnational money-sequences.
Wherever the over-demand on the earth’s life-capital capacities comes from, we know rationing towards life-need is essential to solve the problem of excessive demand. Yet this real economy and rationality – a tried-and-true method in peace and war in other times described in depth in this investigation – is unthinkable within the reigning paradigm. It is structured to the opposite by its first principles of value. For ever more commodities are better a priori, and ‘growth’ that produces limitlessly more of them is necessary and good by definition. The defining model of the ruling economics supposes human beings as only desiring machines seeking ever more priced commodities in a mathematically homogeneous way without possibility of sufficiency. They are insatiable for more in principle. This is now a global model by which economies are steered, and transnational ‘investor’ treaties enable global corporations to supply ever more of these commodities with no barrier or government interference. All life-requirements are blocked out, and their violation expressed in mass malnutrition or ecological collapse are ‘external’ to the value calculus. Even the possibility of the economic system’s energy running down is blocked out by the perpetual motion machine model.12
Economic thinkers like Philip Mirowski, in contrast, recognize the second law of thermodynamics, but cannot shake the physics model itself which is confined to inanimate, homogeneous and invariant sequences. One can see the implications for the living world as this ‘market’ model is made the one and only right way on earth. Human and ecological needs at every level – that without which life-capacities are reduced or destroyed – are a priori blinkered out. It therefore follows that they are overrun by the demands of the inanimate mechanism structured only to maximize supply-demand circuits in money-token terms. Life-capital – the life-wealth that produces more life-wealth without loss – does not exist in the ruling system. Natural capital, human capital, knowledge capital, social capital come eventually into view, but only as what maximizes private money returns. For example, the natural capital of the biodiverse forest is its board feet of saleable wood for profit, while the higher education of students seeking to learn is the money returns for the investment in the education. Life itself is in principle of no account. Commodities have the life taken out of them to be saleable. The wider ecosystems supporting all life do not count except as external dumping grounds.
These fatal implications for life, life-organization and – in economic terms – life-capital are not decoded even by critical economics. The ruling paradigm is in principle life-blind. But as always in collapsing paradigms and systems, the rules and meta-rules of the reigning order are presupposed rather than examined whatever their malignancy – the topic of Chapter 2. The difference here is that the malignant mutations which have occurred in the global money-sequence system now degrade and threaten human and planetary existence themselves across generations.
‘Capital overaccumulation’ is a favoured explanation advanced by contemporary Marxism. It is predictably not mentioned in government circles or the media because it implies a structural defect of the system. Yet even it fails to decode the nature of this system, which is in fact capital destabilization at every level. Transnational money-sequences are not real ‘capital’ nor real ‘investors’ when they attack life-capital bases to leverage and financialize them into maximally more private money demand with no productive function and despoiling effects. But this ultimate value distinction is not made. As long as the money-sequences keep growing, there is no recognized crisis. Least of all is it recognized that the category of ‘capital’ itself is a cover for the carcinogenic money-sequence system. Citibank Chief Economist Willem Buiter expresses the disorder well when he says, ‘Water is the single most important physical commodity based asset class.’13 He is right for the ruling money-sequence value code. But treating the world’s water as a ‘commodity’ and ‘asset’ for ‘capital investment’ is a falsifying mask to what is going on. Real capital sustains and grows products of value. Wall Street does the opposite. For the ‘overaccumulation’ theory, the deeper crisis is simply missed. For Wall Street, no crisis exists because new outlets for ‘investment capital’ like water-stock markets have been found.
At the life-capital level not seen or grounded in by theory or practice, water depletes rapidly as the primary life-capital base of terrestrial humanity through its destructive and non-productive exploitation for profit. Increasing billions of people are without secure access to it, an estimated 40 per cent of the world by 2030. Yet this is not a problem but an advantage to Wall Street. The more the life-capital runs down, the higher the price that can be got from betting on its future assets, the more profits can be made by not producing anything but gaining by others’ new expenses and exclusions, most of all for the poor majority. As long as there is no regulation against it, this is ‘freedom to exchange and invest for profit’. Thus real ‘capital investors’ remain presupposed throughout although they only leverage transnational tides of money-sequence invasion of real capital and produce nothing.
The most fundamental economic and moral distinctions are thus collapsed beneath economic notice. In consequence, transnational free markets and bubbles go from housing to carbon credits to food and to water. But where is the real capital left in this ‘capitalism’? In the deregulated self-multiplications and metastases of the transnational money-sequences now permitted, even the takeover of the world’s water and pricing upwards from controlled scarcity is licensed. At the same time not even real money or legal tender is required as a basis of the ‘capital flows’ which are leveraged over 100 to 1 to multiply demand on the world’s life-means production for no life-function. Where is the real capital here even in terms of money?
There are two system-deciding levels of the debasement of humanity’s means of exchange in this transnational money-sequence system of economic destabilization for profit. The first is disconnection from any real common economic value like gold, labour, or livestock. It is important to bear in mind that economic history across the world shows a grounding in life-value of some kind for any enduring medium of exchange – cattle (in etymological association with capital), pigs, grains, animal pelts, metals, cutting blades, salt, gold, and labour service in many forms (a history in its own right including slavery and the exchange of women). Only by so grounding a medium of exchange and capital can they provide a stable or sound medium of value. As we know, the centuries-old international medium of exchange of gold was usurped in 1973 by the US to evade the costs of invading, bombing and occupying Vietnam 10,000 miles away – a malignantly destabilizing overreach with no productive or life-function but a monumental expenditure of public wealth and life that began the global financial disorder.
The disconnection of the world’s medium of exchange from a real economic value ultimately based on the necessary labour to find, extract and refine gold allowed the US dollar to be the currency of payment instead with no ground of real value there. Accompanied by the other allostatic overloads growing on the global circulation system of worker demand and public investment lifeblood, the carcinogenic mutations began. System shift from a productive base was now in motion with only further debasing of the world’s primary demand factor, medium of exchange, and circulation of life-value to follow.
As this study shows, there are no grounding value controls on printing US dollars through the private bank system of the US Federal Reserve dominated by Wall Street. Yet the second great disconnection from any real economic base to transnational money possession, credit, and investment followed beneath evident diagnosis. The consequences of inflation were paid in the 1980s by increasing dispossession of US working people in jobs, wages and benefits and crippling defunding of public programmes by the highest official compound interest rates in history. Once secure jobs and social spending were thus stripped back, exponential leveraging by big banks of the already gold-debased legal tender of the US – the world currency – went into increasingly multiplied volumes.
The Wall Street revolving door of the US Treasury and Congress integrated with the Federal Reserve (the nationwide private banking system) sets the financial and fiscal pace for the world since the US dollar remains the currency of payment. This right is in turn protected by the greatest enforcement system of weapons of mass destruction in history dwarfing all others put together. It has been exhibited against Iraq and Libya, for example, and still against Iran, for rejection of continuing payment for their oil by US dollars alone deposited in Western banks (a unilateral power arrangement to provide a substitute oil-backing for US dollars without the age-old gold reserves it had unilaterally reneged on). The ‘petro-euro’ instead of the ‘petrodollar’ is a background issue which may connect to the ‘euro-crisis’ over the last three years.
The master shell game multiplying US-Wall Street money demand at will does not end there. Any effective limit on private bank leveraging by real economic value or fractional reserve of legal tender for debt and speculation money created, or even Glass-Steagall firewall against using depositors’ money for financial casino activities, has been erased step by step.
At the same time, public bank loans to governments have been reset to a private bank permanent debt-servicing system by central bankers outside the US through regulation by the BIS (Bank for International Settlements) with legislatures and the public uniformed; while age-old mandatory reserves for the private banks held by sovereign government have been reduced towards zero in the same secrecy mode after 1974. Rockefeller’s cited words about the ‘supranational sovereignty of bankers’ in place of the ‘auto-determination of nations practiced in past centuries’ take on added significance in the overall context of the transnational money-sequence cancer system.
The long-term global results, however, have not been connected to their cause or to each other. They have included multiplying amounts by debt creation for both governments and individuals across continents with money the banks do not have, continuous buyouts, mergers, and economic invasions across borders allowed by transnational financial deregulation, non-stop attacks on sovereign currencies and bonds that destabilize them for economic stripping by IMF (International Monetary Fund) rules to pay debt service charges, and derivative stock speculations on margins of every kind in bets on bets in rolled-over rising trillions of dollars backed by public money but with no productive function.
All of this is conceived, licensed and deregulated as ‘investment’ and ‘free capital movement’. Even since the crashing of the system in 2008, no real economic base to multiplying private-bank and financier money-sequencing has been provided. Only more money-sequence formulae proliferate like angels on a pin from Wall Street and the BIS which set up the failed system and are now in charge of its correction. Thus the casino banks and financial institutions carry on betting on bets with free money by ‘quantitative easing’ from government as social programmes and secure employment are eliminated and futures of food and water are taken over. It is a Ponzi scheme on Ponzi schemes, but public capital keeps feeding it in rolling-over trillions taken out of citizens’ now and future lives. Yet where are the connections made or ‘capital risks and investments’ questioned in their value or meaning?
Underneath all is a quasi-secret usurpation of responsible government across the world. Most directly, it is the private bank displacement of sovereign control over currency and credit by compounding big-bank loans to governments themselves without the money to back them except from government itself – as explained in documented principle ahead. The wider meaning is the totalizing diversion of public wealth to private transnational money-sequences multiplying themselves while running down life-capital at all levels. The cancer adopts many forms from public debt creation to public natural capital resources control and exploitation to leveraged privatizations and public-private ‘partnerships’ across domains to cumulative regulatory captures to increasing tax giveaways and subsidies to dominant corporations multiplying through the life-carrying capacities of humanity, the species and the earth. What else could this be but cancer? What recovery from it is seen that does not change the rules allowing its invasions – as Norway and Iceland have done, and Latin America is in the midst of doing.
At this point the private money-sequence system of the West and its client states has no legal tender requirements except for everyone to pay the debt servicing in hard currency for the money the lending banks multiply to virtually all the money circulating in the system. Again what else could this be but cancer in meaning? The question is not posed or answered. Yet it is this system which is behind the ‘debt crisis’ bankrupting European countries today. This same deregulated multiplication of private-bank and investor money demand without any productive or life-value base or requirement is behind every other financialization dispossessing and ruining lives and life-support systems through to the world’s future water – as Wall Street’s Buiter reports, ‘the commodity-based physical asset that dwarfs oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals in value’. Given the ruling money-sequence code to reduce all costs of reproduction and protection towards none, publicly owned life-capital is most of all run down because publicly owned budgets, resources and debts are the ultimate prize to control for private money sequencing – the innermost moving wheel of the carcinogenic system.
Control of water by Wall Street for Wall Street prices where scarcity is an advantage could be the most malignant metastasis yet. But people are already buying into ‘pricing ecosystem services’ without, as usual, thinking through the carcinogenic mutation and its eco-genocidal implications.
Whatever the new ‘investment’ scheme with public money behind it and public life-capital to be used, generic results are predictable. The poor are always more deprived, the rest always pay more, control in the common life-interest is always ruled out, and life-capital never gains but loses. Seek an exception. As long as the life-capital base of humanity is screened out a priori and obligation is only to stockholders, there is no good reason why it could be otherwise. Like Einstein’s definition of insanity of ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’ – governments keep abdicating public responsibility and privatizing public life-capital bases. Thus when system consequences for the common life-interest of the world like destabilization of terrestrial climates and oceans become too overwhelming to deny, only more transnational marketization can be imagined as solution. First the scheme of ‘cap-and-trade carbon market’ is rolled out which has extended billions of dollars in new assets in rights to pollute to major polluters to trade for profit as the carbon emissions keep going up. Then the ‘green energy revolution’ is launched. Instead of the successful no-pollution schedule of the Ozone Protocol, it too becomes another massively lobbied public subsidy scheme to transnational corporations. ‘Biofuels’ and ‘wind power’ are principal sites for the new private money-sequence feeding cycles.
For wind power, small-scale community-owned wind turbines are not generalized as a civil commons solution known to work. Nor is a public rationing system introduced to reduce consumption. Nor are conservation campaigns mounted to discourage waste and over-consumption by effective public programmes. All of these are life-capital based resolutions organized as civil commons formations which benefit all by coherent design, not by untested market magic. They are the evolving baseline of recovery as demonstrated in depth ahead. But once more, the known public solution is blocked out for one which is never tested first. So again huge public subsidies to transnational corporations are rolled out to ‘attract investors’, ‘create jobs’ and ‘deliver green energy’ without check to confirm or disconfirm the proclaimed public goods for ever more billions of hard public cash guaranteed with no demonstrated results. There never are pilot studies – not for hundreds of billions of tax giveaways to the corporate rich for ‘more productive investment’, not for supranational trade and investment rights for corporations for ‘more jobs and prosperity’, not for corporate ‘privatizations’ and ‘partnerships’ which are never shown to work for the common life-interest. They are all true by magic thinking without facts to prove them before or after. This is the irrational thought system governing public policy now across continents. It is the collapse of economic reason in public authority itself, and is pervasively pushed by armies of corporate lobbyists and election fund levers backed by corporate media. Alternative policy space is demonized as ‘protectionist’ or ‘socialist’, and the common good is always assumed as ‘what the market decides’.
In the case of wind power, for-profit monolithic cement-tower turbines are raised in months across landscapes which last under 20 years with no concept of recycling, require 70 per cent as much fossil fuel to build and sustain in uneven wind conditions, kill innumerable birds and bats by the mammoth industrial blades, cause sleeplessness and illness by their infrasonic hum that never stops, and are militantly pushed by corporate lobbies telling election-funded politicians what to do while denying all problems.14 Biofuels are a far bigger feeding cycle for transnational industrial corporations funded by public dollars. Yet again pervasive slogans of ‘green energy’ reassure electorates something is being done about global pollution and climate destabilization. Thinking through the effects of putting all that new demand on agricultural land for the subsidized fuel crops is blinkered out. As long as it maximizes returns for private stockholders with public subsidies carrying it with no risk and no liabilities for failure, that is what is selected for.
So ‘green energy’ mutates to vast taxpayer subsidies to the very transnational corporations responsible for the problem – here to the factory-farmed GMO-corn juggernaut which stretches around the world with 20–25 per cent of all carbon gases coming from fossil-fuel-dependent industrial corporate agriculture. The predictable but unpredicted again happens. Pressure on food supply by endless subsidized fields devoted to unneeded-vehicle gas rather than people’s basic foods spikes food prices which are bet on by Wall Street behind the scheme while also propelling land grabbing in Africa to produce new subsidized auto fuel out of the poor’s food-lands and crops.15
In countless such ways, the financial lifeblood of the public is poured out to grow the global corporate system at the same time as its natural and human life-capital bases are predated with no life-standards. As always, still more pollutions, waste and appropriations result, sustained by public financial and resource capital. Here the sharp price rise of staple foods for the poor, loss of lands, malnutrition and starvation register on observers not yet locked into the system’s growth circuits. But this ‘green energy revolution’ is managed by the very parties behind the crises they are publicly funded to resolve, but never do. ‘Let the market’s magic work.’ The now corporate-controlled EU arranges in 2012 a ‘European Advanced Biofuels Congress’ to target other life-capital bases; 43 of the 54 speakers are from corporate biofuels in on the gold rush as social life-support systems are slashed back to pay more public funds for ‘green energy’ to the corporations making it necessary. ‘Fuels from grasses and trees’ are put into the cross-hairs for the next metastasis as gas-vehicle deaths and diseases grow. In the background, a Wall Street investment banker leads the UN to more such ‘sustainability’ solutions at Rio+20 in 2012.
Yet the essence of the matter remains unseen. Deregulated tides of so-called ‘capital’ and ‘investment’ are in fact private transnational money-sequence demand on real capital – especially public capital – to turn it into more private transnational money demand which is not productive capital providing goods. Only magic-thinking can convert the exponential operationalization of these private money-sequences enriching under 1 per cent of the population into the public good. Adam Smith who founded market theory thought that the market required a set of conditions for it to serve ‘the common interest’ in ‘these and other cases’ (the local butcher, brewer, and baker), but all of these cases are opposite in nature to the transnational money-sequence system of today – as demonstrated in Chapter 4. Yet no received theory or understanding connects the cumulative mutations across domains, nor lays bare the life-blind value code driving them all.
Least of all considered is that this globalization is driven by private transnational banking system that exponentially leverages and propagates 97 per cent of all the circulating money demand. This is a figure adopted as a factual given by an IMF research paper in 2012 but strangely underreported.16 As in cancer at the micro level of life-organization, the life-host’s defence system is invaded and what attacks it is unrecognized. A profound and malignant system mutation has thus cumulatively occurred. ‘Capital’ has come to refer to what deprives the world of life-goods without production of them. Even the concept of ‘goods’ has come to refer to the opposite of what its meaning denotes. While addictive harmful products multiply even to children, economists and policy-makers assume the ultimate value premise that all priced commodities in the market are ‘goods’. No known theorist questions this macro value premise. Even Karl Marx lets it go by when he says in the first page of Capital (any edition Part I, Chapter I, Section 1; italics added): ‘A commodity is a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort … and whether they spring from the stomach or from fancy makes no difference.’ He accepts this nature of ‘economic goods’, and so too what produces them – the productive forces which he regards as the ‘real base’ of historical society. Yet humanity’s very survival and evolution have depended on dividing things into good and bad to eat and drink, the most basic selector for life and health through the species’ evolution. Without principled notice, this foundational evolutionary advantage is increasingly reversed in the deregulated ‘global market’ by disease-causing foods and beverages as well as polluted air and water in the environment – so much so that the commodity products and pollutions called ‘goods’ cause more serious illnesses and deaths than all infectious disease put together (as analysed in Chapter 1).
The malignant inner logic is only recognized when the ultimate meta-programme is recognized that the so-called ‘capital investment’ which states compete to ‘attract’ and ‘reassure’ is, in fact, ever more super-leveraged demand on life-capital to multiply itself with no committed life-function. At the same time, host societies increasingly take all the risks, put up ever more of the real money, own the natural capital bases that are exploited cost and condition free, protect and subsidize the uncommitted corporate money-sequence operations from people whose lands are polluted and looted, and are made liable to hundreds of millions of dollars of supranational fines by closed corporate-law courts if they pass any life-serving legislation that diminishes the foreign corporation’s ‘opportunity to profit’. The mutant transnational money-sequence system shows all the hallmark characteristics of carcinogenic invasion the more deeply its mutant value code is examined, tracked and connected to its effects.
Yet if the pathways of metastasis are seen at all, it is in isolation without connective diagnosis – trillions of dollars of tax-cut giveaways to the corporate rich, privatization frenzies moving to corporate-government ‘partnerships’ to get more public money without responsibility for outcomes, ever-growing looting of publicly and indigenously owned lands and waters for oil and gas, minerals forests, fish and crustaceans, endless public subsidies, infrastructures, services, policing mechanisms, state propagandas and foreign wars to attack oppositions, and debt-entrapping governments and citizens at deeper record levels backed by endless ‘austerity programmes’ liquidating social life-capacities and supports to pay more the less they have to do so. The globalizing malignant money sequences eat away at public life-capital bases as their very value-system meaning.
Only one second-order diagnosis fits to the underlying system disorder, and it is laid bare by posing the following questions to the advancing and downward life-system trends. What unifies them across degenerate symptoms and losses of life-carrying capacities at all levels? What known disorder features uncontrolled and unregulated multiplication of demands on life-hosts in exponential growth? In what life-system sickness does the life-host defence system fail to recognize what attacks it? What invasive sequence of growth is not committed to any life-function but appropriates ever more resources for uninhibited growth through the circulatory flows of its hosts? What metastasizes its uncontrolled growth to further sites with no internal limit on its demands?
Internal control of cancerous invasion at the social level of life-organization is possible because a society sets the rules of its own reproduction – not the Market God. Evolving social intelligence and defence systems explain how the social subject has long confronted and overcome deadly dogmas, diseases, invasions, and disorders. At the most general level of human social evolution, the underlying life-capital bases of society are organized by civil community into provision of universal life-goods to its members, the deepest inherited resource and motivation of the species. In fact humanity has evolved since its origins through common fires, shared language, food and water sources and practical knowledge to the vast unseen infrastructures of life-serving social rules and constructs which are defined, elaborated and connected throughout this study. Without this civil commons across generations and death itself, no individual human life is possible. Yet this ultimate subject of sustainable human society remains collectively life-unconscious.
Collective life-needs are repressed into the unconscious and then expressed in reverse form in all the categories of the ruling blind paradigm. Natural and social life-support systems are blocked out a priori in every policy and decision. ‘The economy’ thus becomes opposed to ‘the environment’ when the economy includes its natural capital bases as foundational or is ruinously absurd. ‘Increased productivity’ is prescribed as the ultimate economic imperative even when this ‘productivity’ cumulatively degrades and destroys human and natural life themselves. ‘New efficiencies’ and ‘savings’ are proclaimed when ever more life and life-capital are sacrificed by them. ‘Development’ is the generic description for the system’s activities even when beautiful surroundings are continuously turned into lifeless sprawl. ‘More investment in jobs’ is agreed on by all sides with no criterion of the jobs required to steer life-coherent recovery. ‘Civil society’ is the name for opposing community forces when the meaning is based on private-property holders. ‘Well-being indexes’ are constructed in place of GDP when no objective life-capacity or life-capital indicators are grounded in. ‘Sustainability’ is the watchword of our era when what sustains private corporate profits is alone invested in.
At the system-wide level, the life-repressed reversal of meanings is just as demented. Private ‘capital’ and ‘investors’ are still invoked as the propelling sustainers of society’s welfare even when the system demonstrably grows with no committed life-function and devours public life-capital capacities at every node. Conversely, where success does occur in the new ‘rising of the South’, it is paraded as ‘global trade and finance’ when every case of actual well-being gain (e.g., fall in infant mortality, new productive capacities of life-goods) is steered by public policy serving life-capital advance. The real economy of producing and distributing life-goods otherwise in short supply remains repressed and driven under, reversed in meaning in doctrinal categories and understandings. A sickness rules beneath taboo and diagnosis.
Yet once we ground in life-goods in production and distribution and the life-capital that produces them, we recover life-ground at individual and social levels. Both are that without which life-capacities are always reduced – the ultimate criterion of all life-goods and capital that exist. This is the bottom line of health and well-being at organic, social and ecological levels of life organization, based in life-value onto-axiology as theoretical foundation.17 In the life-unconscious global system, however, there is no life-ground at all – not in economic theory or practice, and not in political and policy formation. The implications are transformative. For the very principles of life-goods and capital defined here already underlie all sustainably evolved practices of human economy and how to live, but without the dots joined. The cognitive problem is that the reigning paradigm lacks the categories to recognize the most basic meanings of economic value itself.
Once grounded in life-capital and goods, real capital is not eroded or destroyed as ‘productive’, nor do ‘goods’ cause non-infectious disease epidemics as in the debased system still ruling. All use of natural and human capital is consistent with sustaining and developing them as life-capital – life-wealth that produces more life-wealth without loss. Government subsidies and licences in countless forms are withheld from private products and processes which pollute and destroy life-means and bases as the first obligation of legitimate rule. Once the blinkers of the reigning paradigm are shed, the bars of the invisible prison fall.
The basic concepts are clear when they are not repressed. Human capital is the life-capacities of humanity in individual and collective form whose needs are life-coherently realized to enable capabilities of all kinds. Natural capital is the reproduction and diversification of the planetary life-host to ever more life-carrying capacity and coherent biodiversity. Knowledge capital is transmissible meaning that grows by testing its factual and internal coherence across ever more users and situations. Social capital is the bonds of trust holding communities together in life-enabling cohesion. Real globalization is the life-coherent advance of these life-capital bases. Yet the ruling paradigm unconsciously reverses each and all to what turns the wheels of profit through all life-hosts to more commodities faster – the moral DNA of the cancer.
The ultimate choice is just as clear once the invisible prison is unlocked by life-reason. Life-capital is what produces more life-value without loss through generational time, not more private money value multiplying margins in nano-seconds for fewer controllers of it. The real economy develops so far as its life-capital provides ever more life-goods otherwise in short supply, and regresses so far as these life-capital capacities are wasted, eroded or destroyed. The ultimate decision space of humanity is between these underlying value sequences as social regulators of how to live – the life-versus-death choice of the species still driven into the unconscious.
The ultimate collective choice has been increasingly repressed at the system-deciding level. Social responsibility has been displaced by ‘leaving it to the market to decide’. In consequence, more life-destructive rule follows the more the global system remains deregulated from and depredates life-capital bases to grow private transnational money-sequences as the subject of the world with terrestrial life as its slave. On the other hand, the underlying alternative is in evolving formation with the universalizing movement of literacy and knowledge without price and profit bearing the possibility of a global consciousness of our condition. Yet it still lacks the economic framework of meaning and value to ground it – as the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street Movement have shown in uprising, and as endless analyses reveal when they do not connect across the world ecological, economic and social crises to common cause.
The policies required have not been permitted into the space of international debate. The signs of democratic social recovery remain unspeakable in the West and its client world. The life-capital categories of directive meaning continue repressed and unseen. The transnational money-sequence cancer invasion continues to spread without notice or markers.
The primal justification is: ‘This is what people want.’ In the academy it is decision and consumer theories, postmodern desires, and utility functions in formal calculi. But it is most dominant in pervasive and advanced ‘public relations’ techniques which successfully engineer desire everywhere to believe in and want what the money-sequence system offers.18 A market research / consumer-wish circuitry has thus formed across masses and borders, and it always conforms to the system’s further growth. Yet whatever our conditioned wants, the planet’s ecological and social life-support systems are still in one-way steep decline across domains driven by the private circuits of exponential money-sequence demand. This is the causal mechanism beneath consciousness to go with the cancer – the deeper meaning of the cover graph of this book.
Perhaps the master illustration of the fall of Western civilization has been the bankers of the once world-leading European Union presiding over the destruction of Greece, Spain, Italy and more to come to ensure that governments and citizens pay for the private bankruptcies incurred by private banks at debt-service rates set by Wall Street which increase as they cannot be paid. The transnational money-sequence system now stripping Europe of its social life-support systems and its 50-year-old democratic victory over fascism to pay private bank services in cash for debt-money the banks never owned, however, remains masked. This meaning of the ‘European debt crisis’ is connected across continents in the analysis ahead. Yet as ever more of Europe’s peoples have been disemployed and made destitute to recapitalize and pay the transnational money-sequences of the banks, the usual reversal of life-meaning occurs in proclamation. The EU – enforcer of the ‘austerity programmes’ – wins the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 for its past victory of social life-reconstruction and advance which its transnational bank command is now bleeding to death. In the background, what never occurred before becomes normalized – Europe’s air forces joining with the US to bomb one poor resource-rich region after another for resource treasure never mentioned. As China looks on, exponentially growing in larger scale and privatizing its dominant corporations, the degenerate trends of human and planetary life-organization continue to advance beneath connective attention and diagnosis.
Is it a fanatic creed? Consider the ‘necessary sacrifices’ that never stop, the doctrine that no reality can prove wrong, the commandments for rewards that never come, the endless punishment and austerities for those without place in the multiplying private money-sequences. Consider that no continent in the world has escaped the invasions and strippings, the perpetual financial crises, the privatizations of public decision and wealth without end, the ecocidal looting and pollutions. Observe the common cause of transnational private money-sequences multiplying through life-hosts at all levels cumulatively defunding, degrading and depleting the life-goods and capital grounds of the world’s real economy. Yet keep in mind as well that before and beneath all the malignant system mutations and depredations the underlying civil commons of societies have been evolving as the unseen life-ground and base of all lasting society, the organizing principles of human, natural and public capital in life-coherent ordering with technology as ally in liberating from dehumanizing labour. These are in a nutshell the primarily conflicted courses of global humanity still system-bound and life-unconscious, but now in the process of deciding the future recovery or continuing collapse of life on earth.
Cited by http://freedomlaw.com/coffee.html, which lists among its sponsors the Cato Institute, the Heritage, and the Mackinac Centre for Public Policy.
Amartya Sen (1998), ‘The Possibility of Social Choice’, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/…/sen-lecture.pdf.
This is explained in my monograph, ‘Human Rights versus Corporate Rights: Life Value, the Civil Commons and Social Justice’, Studies in Social Justice, 5, No. 1 (2011), 10–61.
Jurgen Habermas, ‘What Does Socialism Mean Today?’, cited in Robin Blackburn (1991), After the Fall, London: Verso, 1991), p. 40. Habermas’s ultimate faith in and universal prescription of ‘steering by the market intact’ is not scientifically justified, but is repeated in the same certitude of assumption on p. 299.
Cited from http://ineteconomics.org/blog/inet/big-business-has-corrupted-economics, November 27, 2012.
Paul Krugman, ‘Finance Capitalism’, New York Times, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/17/finance-capitalism/.
Giulio Tremonti, Emergency Exit: Ending the Tyranny of Finance, cited at http://www.social-europe.eu/2012/02/towards-a-ew-financial-world-order/, but ignored by the North American media.
Cited in http://worldbusiness.org/privatizing-water-taxing-through-the-tap/, Chief Economist Buiter added, ‘dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals’.
For audited information on the industrial wind turbine economic derangements propelled by the ‘high prices guaranteed for developers’ for no assured replacement whatever of fossil-fuel energy consumption, see http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en11/2011ar_en.pdfdm.
My multi-volume work for UNESCO’s Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) explains the general theory of life-value deploying step-by-step explanation and critique of received value theories East and West to advance and demonstrate its self-evidence. See What is Good? What is Bad? The Value of All Values Across Time, Place and Theories, Oxford: EOLSS Publishers under the auspices of UNESCO, 2010.
The pioneer work in ‘public relations’ was by a nephew of Freud who defined and advocated modern mass-market conditioning and appeal to and control of unconscious desires to sell commodities and engineer consent (Edward W. Bernays, Propaganda. New York: Liverright, 1933).