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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

US: Ecology and the Pathology of Capitalism

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Ecology and the Pathology of Capitalism by Charles Sullivan

Contrary to everything we have been taught, there is no actual United States of America. The U.S. is an occupied territory that could more accurately be described as the Corporate States of America. If the geopolitical states are united, the people are not. We are a nation divided by ideology and by social and economic class. The U.S. is not a democracy, and it never was. The systems of power do not allow the voice of working people to be heard or their collective will to be acted upon.

Despite the subterfuge of freedom and democracy, the rights of corporations have consistently superseded the sovereign rights of the individual and those of the community. Labor history and a litany of environmental catastrophes bear this out. For instance, everywhere one looks government agencies “ostensibly created to protect the public welfare” are allowing hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus shale, even when it poisons municipal drinking water and causes incalculable harm to the environment.

Our diverse forests are commodified, measured in board feet to be clear-cut and off-shored at prodigious bargain rates, like a liquidation sale. World class biodiversity is yielding to desertification and monoculture. Money changes hands. The few are getting rich at the expense of the many. The world and the people who live in it are treated like products to be exploited. We are told that nothing is sacred, save for the dollar and markets.

Nevertheless, it is an inescapable fact that no human being, including corporate CEOs and members of Congress, can live without potable water or breathable air. We are literally sacrificing the Earth’s life support systems and mortgaging the future, while attempting to satiate the greed of a few grotesquely wealthy individuals. Through lifelong indoctrination, Americans are persuaded that self-interested greed is in their best interest.

The rich and powerful have decreed that corporate profits “the Holy Grail of American capitalism” are more precious than life itself. The remorseless people in power are without conscience. History confirms that sociopaths do not hesitate to take what they want from their unsuspecting victims by any and all means.

But surely, even among Friedmanites, it must be allowed that some things cannot be commodified or bought and sold. For instance, clean air and potable water are the birthright of every living organism. These are necessities that belong to the commons; they cannot ethically be privately owned. In contrast to this assertion, two edicts of modern capitalism are private ownership and the commodification of workers and nature.

Capitalism, and the market fundamentalism that is associated with it, has stripped bare the Earth’s biodiversity and substituted a world of commodities in its stead. What we see and think we know is not real. It is the product of marketing and perception managers — a hologram.

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