The Social Experiment That Is Failing Us All

Anger

It seems to be a natural human phenomenon to protect ourselves and our beliefs by often denying the bleeding obvious. The truth often becomes our enemy. Mostly this happens at a subconscious level and usually only affects the denier in the long run. But what if denial became a tool that is used to protect something much larger, something that affects all of us? Well, that is what I believe is going on right under our noses – on a grand scale.

Corporate capitalism, as the capitalism model has evolved, is seriously failing us as world citizens. In the face of increasing evidence of the failure of this social experiment, which is all it is, there has been a campaign waged by the multi-national corporations under threat to protect the status quo. By subversion and corruption, Western governments have been entrusted by big business to defend this way of life, their way of life, one that indeed is not sustainable in the long term. This idea can easily be dismissed as one big conspiracy theory – and that’s just what it is. But I believe it is more than possible that the most powerful people in the world, corporate presidents and CEO’s of the world’s largest companies, are somehow collaborating to take charge of our governments, their policies, and our way of life. So, it may be a ridiculous conspiracy theory, but it’s mine and it’s possible.

It all started in the 1940’s when the US decided that communism, and even socialism, was a threat to capitalism. The political focus of US governments, funded and influenced by big business, became the defeat and destruction of an alternative social model. And, largely, they achieved that endeavour. By the 1950’s, the word “capitalism” had been replaced by “democracy”. Propaganda on a global basis successfully convinced us that they were one and the same thing. And democracy was then closely aligned with the word “freedom”. Western allies signed on to actively support this sense of freedom. Except that it was all smoke and mirrors, a clever and deliberate campaign to protect the big business system of wealth creation. Initially this system was at least partly altruistic, as it provided employment and strove to create and support a society that was mainly middle class, cohesive and “fair”. People seemed relatively content. But things changed. Today, the system of capitalism that we saw as liberating is now enslaving. And people aren’t happy at all. Inequality has increased exponentially. While the rich have reaped the benefits in fortunes now measured in billions of dollars, billions of people have had their very meagre standard of living further eroded. And it’s criminal. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, recently noted in a speech that the 85 richest people in the world control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population - 3.5 billion people. If, in fact, there is big business conspiracy, these 85 people would be at the core.

No country is immune. In the US, one in six people have no idea where their next meal is coming from. And it is the black who are most disaffected. In the 1970’s, the income of the middle-class has actually decreased. The black are still the poor. The average black household was worth one tenth of the average white one. Today it is one twentieth. And,  in the next two years, poverty in Britain will increase by 1.4 million people. In Australia, the wealthiest 20% have an average net value of $2.2 million. The bottom 20% has an average net worth of $32,000. And the difference is growing by 4% annually. Almost half of all children in India are underweight. Despite India's economic growth, which has occurred at a breakneck pace, poverty and malnutrition remain the country's major problems. In some parts of India clean drinking water and adequate sanitation remain almost unavailable.

 

Definitions:
Capitalism: An economic system characterised by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.
Democracy: 1. A government by the people, especially, rule of the majority. 2. A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.
These two things are clearly not parallel, and in many ways conflicting. Free markets have brought unprecedented prosperity to many and have been accompanied by widening inequalities of income and wealth, heightened job insecurity, and environmental hazards such as global warming. Democracy is designed to allow citizens to address these very issues in constructive ways. And yet a sense of political powerlessness is on the rise among citizens in Western countries. In short, no democratic nation is effectively coping with capitalism's negative side effects. If the purpose of capitalism is to allow corporations to play the market as aggressively as possible, the challenge for citizens is to stop these economic entities from being the authors of the rules by which we live. To facilitate this basic right is what democracy should be all about. But, increasingly, “power of the people” is being deliberately eroded.

Most people are of two minds: As consumers and investors, we want the bargains and high returns that the global economy provides. As citizens, we don't like many of the social consequences that flow from these transactions. We like to blame corporations for the ills that follow, but in truth we've made this compact with ourselves. After all, we know the roots of the great economic deals we're getting. They come from workers forced to settle for lower wages and benefits. They come from companies that shed their loyalties to communities and morph into global supply chains. They come from CEOs who take home exorbitant salaries. And they come from industries that often wreak havoc on the environment.
Why has capitalism succeeded while democracy has steadily failed? Democracy has become enfeebled largely because companies, in intensifying competition for global consumers and investors, have invested ever greater sums in lobbying, public relations, and even bribes and kickbacks, seeking laws that give them a competitive advantage over their rivals. The result is an arms race for political influence that is drowning out the voices of average citizens. In the United States, for example, the fights that preoccupies Congress, those that consume weeks or months of congressional staff time, are typically contests between competing companies or industries.
People like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are not so much a security threat to countries like the US and Australia, but a threat to the huge and conspired campaign to hide the truth. They are seen by governments controlled by big business as a serious threat to their political influence. This level of political influence has reached such proportion that government policy is now dictated by big business needs. And the foremost of their needs is to deny the truth of corporate capitalism and its obvious failures. And I say obvious, because the basic theory is flawed.

Firstly, it assumes that economic growth can be infinite. This is clearly ridiculous. Australian entrepreneur, Dick Smith, says that perpetual growth is a myth. He believes expecting perpetual growth from our finite resources is a folly. He believes we need to be planning now for growth in quality and productivity of output rather than just adding population, lest we leave a legacy of doom for the next generation. Overpopulation and environmental degradation are brothers in arm. At current rates, those that big business say are needed to sustain economic growth, by 2050 the world’s population will be more than nine billion. Nearly a billion people suffer from hunger in the world today. Of these, 19 million are children under the age of five. An estimated 10 million people die every year from hunger or hunger-related causes. Of these, 3.5 million are children. About 150 million children worldwide suffer from malnutrition. To support a world population of nine billion, food production would need to improve by 70%.  But there seems to be a concentrated effort by Western governments, led by the US, that strive to deny the implications.  In 2013, an essay written by Bindi Irwin met with US censorship. Hillary Clinton invited Bindi to make a contribution to her e-blog on the subject of how to best protect the environment. Bindi duly wrote the tome, pointing out that the biggest threat to our environment is over-population. The article was published, but substantially edited. Her references to the problems of over population were deleted and alternative text substituted. The reason for this is the blind denial by Western governments, led by the US, that infinite growth, which supports our economic and social structure, is unsustainable.  It is blatant denial of the truth and an almost religious-like adherence to the beliefs that are clearly misdirected. The so-called democracy that the US endeavours to spread and even impose upon as many countries as possible is really just a push for capitalism and all that it represents. It is a denial of the human rights of majority of human beings.

The saying “what is bad for the beehive is obviously bad for the bees” seems to be irrelevant to large corporations involved in mass “toxification” of our air and water. In the US, Barack Obama has shelved plans to introduce a bill to improve air quality because it would cost big business too much. Business is lobbying to have all such regulations stripped away. In China, the fastest developing country, the world, pollution levels have reached such a level that lung cancer, asthma, and other related respiratory are at unprecedented highs. China’s 20 years of rapid growth has seen harmful toxins spewed from coal-burning factories and millions of cars (1500 new vehicles are added to Beijing roads every day). Killer smog is now a regular occurrence and is linked to a spike in lung cancer and other illnesses that have so far killed half a million people prematurely. Anger is growing among the middle classes who accuse the Chinese government of accepting industry bribes who refuse to adopt costly green measures. Agriculture is also being affected because the smog is blocking out the sun, slowing photosynthesis in plants – the same effect as a nuclear winter. The smog has spread across China’s borders and into neighbouring Japan and the Korean peninsular, sparking official complaints from those countries.
On a global basis, big business interests are driving international policy. The majority of conflicts that have resulted in US intervention have been about protecting “American interests” – that is, things like the industries who wish to control things like oil and gas supply, and the expansion of Middle East philosophy and autonomy. And the big question is, how co-ordinated is this power throughout the Western world. Is it random, or, as my hypothetical conspiracy theory might suggest, is it much more centred? The most powerful currency in the world today is information. A big part of my conspiracy theory has to do with winning control of the most influential conduits of that information, the media and our educational institutions.
Irrefutable evidence of a concerted effort by big business to deregulate the media market clearly suggests that governments are supporting and facilitating the increasing power and influence of the Rupert Murdoch News Limited Corporation. The Gillard government’s proposed Media Regulation bill brought outrage from News Limited and others. That reaction is simply because they are afraid of the truth. The SMH editor reports that almost daily media outlets have to fight in court against the rich and powerful to disclose information to the public. And, by the weight of their money, big business normally wins. Increasingly suppression orders are issued to prevent of publications about tax records, corporate connections, and the money raised to influence government affairs.
News Limited almost exclusively reports on politics, not policy .Politics is an anathema to good governance. But it’s not all the fault of politicians. The media have turned news into a superficial personality contest, demanding meaningless sound bites from the colosseum that is parliament. The media have deliberately “dumbed down” current affairs and our “leaders” have followed suit. There is no longer good and bad policy, just winners and losers. Government “performance” measures relate only to perception and not reality. Increasingly the politicians need the media more than the media needs the politicians. And, as they say, the one that’s in control is the one who needs the other the least. So, the media dictate the terms of the political game and, subsequently, policy making.
The education system in the US has basically been privatised, and it’s what Christopher Pyne is attempting to do in Australia. In the US schools are run like businesses. And it now costs around $50,000 just to go to university. Successive governments have also skewed educational content, steering the curriculum in a direction that promotes capitalism and the core subjects of science and mathematics. Social sciences and history have been narrowed. And now Christopher Pyne has instituted a politically biased national education review which, among other things, attempts to disclaim the significance of Aboriginal culture and history.
Most people don’t realise that capitalism is simply another failed social experiment. It is not natural phenomena, but a contrived system of social engagement meant to serve us as well as possible. The conservatives that seek to protect it fail to understand that the investment in people is of far greater significance than investing in big business. Communism was an experiment and philosophy that didn’t work. It’s time to realise that corporate capitalism isn’t working either. But surely we, as a species, are smart enough to realise that these are not our only alternatives. It is time for a new experiment that is based upon the maximum benefit to us as a society, to our happiness, peace and equal prosperity.
Western governments promote the idea that a strong economy is the government’s major priority and that to have prosperity; we must put the interests of corporations above those of its citizens. They spend billions of dollars on military hardware and campaigns to promote themselves while at the same time cutting programs and departments responsible for protecting our environment as well as weakening policies and laws to protect and preserve nature and reverse the trend of inequality. “We need nature, including each other, more than anything else. Natural functioning ecosystems supply resources that we all depend upon to meet our basic needs and to survive. Technological fixes and market systems won't do this. Our economic systems must serve the environment – not the other way around”. - David Suzuki
Capitalism has come to champion the philosophy of individualism and competitiveness. And individualism and competition diminish the concept of social responsibility. Thus, big business and the governments it controls, absolve themselves of any sense of guilt for our failing world. Denial of all social obligation is their blinkered means of coping with reality, and they seek to demonise anyone who disagrees with their perception of the world. And the new conservative Abbot government is leading the way. There is no doubt that if my conspiracy theory is correct, it is based in the US. And, almost as an act of embarrassing subservience, the Abbot government is doing everything it can to be seen as the ultimate defender of our new corporate capitalism. Consider their priority policies and stated objectives.  Everything is political and ideological.
The Federal government is today trying as hard as it can to instil fear into the Australian community by emphasising “national security”. The problems in places like Iraq and Syria are a godsend to the conservatives. And the connection of these sad but remote conflicts to possible attacks upon Australian soil is being exaggerated to the extreme. Asylum seekers, similarly, are being demonised as a threat to our way of life. This is more than just a political ploy; it is an ideological ploy to deny the truth of a world that has failed its people. It is a ploy that endeavours to convince us that our corporate capitalist system has no responsibility for such human despair. Corporate capitalism has no personal compassion, no empathy, and promotes the philosophy that it’s survival of the fittest (see richest)  – it’s us or them – and everyone who doesn’t look, think or act just like we, the majority, is a personal threat. The promotion of wars, past and present, is a tactic used by conservatives to convince us that we are under constant threat. It divides the world into enemies and friends with Australia’s best friend defined as the US, our great protector. Our government unequivocally supports American imperialism without question. As for promoting peace and trying to turn our “enemies” into our friends just seems to be totally off the agenda.

Tony Abbot’s immediate reaction to the beheading of a US citizen by Islamic extremists in Iraq was to warn us that it could happen here. The late great Robin Williams recognised this conservative rubbish when in 2002 he wrote about the Bush administration’s fear tactic with the following parody of a White House press conference …….
"Every so often Rumsfeld comes out and goes 'I don't know where, and I don't know when, but something awful's going to happen. That's all for today. No further questions.'"

Similarly, the Abbot government is hello-bent on demeaning the unemployed and disadvantaged. It seeks to again deny that jobs are simply disappearing at the same time as wages are falling and living costs rising dramatically. They are trying to convince us that there is nothing wrong with the system itself, but that there is something wrong with us. Now there is a proposal to ban beggars in an attempt to say that poverty is an individual responsibility, not a national social ill.
So, back to the conspiracy theory; I guess it matters not whether it’s true or not. But the political influence of big business is undeniable. The goings on behind the scene in America means that it is likely that the Far-Right Tea Party (reference to the Boston Tea Party) will soon control key government houses, committees and policies. The connections between the Abbot government and that Tea Party are much deeper than most people realise. There is now an Australian TEA Party. And while the party claims 50 million members worldwide, spokesman David Goodridge won’t reveal membership numbers in Australia, saying only that "we have people all over the place" and adding that since the website launched on August 28, 2012, he has been in contact with a federal Minister and other MPs. It is believed that Corey Bernadi, former Liberal senator, was charged by the US Tea Party to lead the political movement. Since then, Liberal the senator was forced to resign as Tony Abbott's parliamentary secretary amid a fierce backlash over comments he made linking gay marriage to the social acceptance of having sex with animals. But new recruits are emerging and the movement boasts a powerful future.
As Kenny Rogers wrote in his hit song The Dealer – “the key to survival is to know what to throw away and what to keep”. A major adjustment to our economic and social structure should not be an admission of failure, but an acknowledgement of the truth. But such a philosophy would require leadership, honesty and long-term thinking. And that is exactly what our so-called leaders are lacking.

Capitalism

Geoff Mooney