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Sometimes it's hard to try to get across the point that unless we somehow are able to stop the madmen now piloting the locomotive (as it were), we will be heading towards assured destruction--and fast.  To put it bluntly, these folks are out of their minds!

The social system based on unbridled capitalism and constant (quantitative) growth already failed.  And it should not come as a surprise.  Ethical and conscientious philosophers, economists, and thinkers warned us about it long ago.

Because of the massive levels of fossil fuel burning the earth is fast approaching a climate change tipping point which means massive ecological and biological destruction.  The parasitic (in the truest sense of the word) capitalist system has "matured" to the point that it is now doing what those who have been warning us for generations said it would do: An accelerated transfer of wealth and power towards a tiny elite and increased economic insecurity an poverty for the rest.

Okay, so now that I got that off my chest, I fully understand that some may see it as hyperbolic, so let me take it down a couple of notches and moderate the language.

To help me do that, let me use the work of Fritjof Capra and Hazel Henderson for reference: Qualitative Growth

Most economists still measure a country’s wealth in terms of its GDP in which all economic activities associated with monetary values are added up indiscriminately while all non-monetary aspects of the economy are ignored. Social costs, like those of accidents, wars, litigation, and health care, are added as positive contributions to the GDP, and the undifferentiated growth of this crude quantitative index is considered to be the sign of a “healthy” economy. The idea that growth can be obstructive, unhealthy, or pathological is rarely entertained by economists, even though they have been criticized for decades.

The goal of most national economies is to achieve unlimited growth of their GDP through the continuing accumulation of material goods and expansion of services. The over-expansion of financial services, in particular, is parasitic on the real economy and led to the current [2008] collapse. Since human needs are finite, but human greed is not, economic growth can usually be maintained through the artificial creation of needs through advertising. The goods that are produced and sold in this way are often unneeded, and therefore are essentially waste. Moreover, the pollution and depletion of natural resources generated by this enormous waste of unnecessary goods is exacerbated by the waste of energy and materials in inefficient production processes.

The emphasis is mine

As the article also mentions, a good analogy for this situation is the growth of cancerous cells.

An instructive example is the rapid growth of cancer cells, which does not recognize boundaries and is not sustainable because the cancer cells die when the host organism dies. Similarly, unlimited quantitative economic growth on a finite planet cannot be sustainable.
The emphasis is mine

And so the authors of the paper argue that instead of focusing on linear "quantitative growth" we should be focusing on the type of non-linear "qualitative growth" which is more attuned to biological and ecological systems.

From the ecological point of view, the distinction between “good” and “bad” economic growth is obvious. Bad growth is growth of production processes and services that are based on fossil fuels, involve toxic substances, deplete our natural resources, and degrade the Earth’s ecosystems. Good growth is growth of more efficient production processes and services that involve renewable energies, zero emissions, continual recycling of natural resources, and restoration of the Earth’s ecosystems. Climate change and the other manifestations of our global environmental crisis make it imperative that we shift from our destructive production processes to sustainable “green,” or “ecodesign” alternatives; and it so happens that these alternatives will also solve our economic crisis in ways that are socially just.
The emphasis is mine

I don't know about you, but the authors' arguments seem pretty obvious to me; a no-brainer.  And yet, the "leaders" in business and government apparently haven't gotten the memo, as they continue to do the exact opposite of what should be done.  And that is a road to destruction.

Now, here's the thing... These guys in charge (how did they get there?) aren't going to do jack shit about it.  They can't; it is not in their nature.

Here are the dynamics: At the very, very top of the current power structure what we are talking about are basically sociopaths in the truest sense of the word.  Think of a handful of billionaires funding efforts to pass truly horrendous laws (fascistic?) across the country.

The current system is based on constant (and accelerated) growth.  Corporations' sales are expected to grow every quarter.  Government functionaries and economists expect constant "linear" GDP-based growth as well.

So in these dynamics, you have the sociopaths (billionaires) at the very top, and you have their institutions (Third Way Democrats, Heritage Foundation, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, Big Oil, the Wall Street Criminal Racketeering Cartel, the NRA, the corporate media conglomerate as propaganda, and many others), and money and power changing hands between them... With the corporatist cartels as the paymasters, and (much of) the political class as their corrupt money-grabbing lackeys.

The reason you are not going to see any movement towards changing direction from the destructive path we're on is because those piloting the locomotive (of society and the economy) do not have the moral and ethical backbone to do so...

But this is not new.  Basically what I'm describing is the nature of the debased "tyrant."  And they (as a class) have been with us (with humanity) in every generation.

So what am I saying?  Basically what I'm saying is that they will need to be stopped, or we're doomed.  I know that's a big responsibility, but "the ball is on our court" now, as the saying goes.

And what does that mean?  It means that a revolutionary change will be needed.  Now, by "revolutionary" I don't mean violent (as I always point out).  By using that term I mean, first and foremost, a drastic change in the way we (common folks) think about the system.  We need to come to terms with its true nature.  It is malevolent, exploitative, oppressive, and destructive.

Second, once we come to that understanding, we need to start thinking (fast) about what it would take to stop these madmen...

In a way, that's already happening, as social justice groups engage in waves of (consciousness-raising and protest) action across the country with increased frequency.

Third, we need to start thinking about what an alternative to the current destructive economic system would look like.  That means really delving into concepts related to "sustainable economics," shifting towards needs-based consumption, employee-owned businesses, local food production (organic, free of GMOs), looking at employment, health care, education, and housing as rights for every individual.

Now, I'm fully aware that these are tough questions and tough issues to tackle, but again, the situation is such that we have no choice (except those who would prefer to remain on the sidelines).

From my part, I've made a commitment to carefully consider and study these issues and write a book with my findings, to be published exactly on April 15th, 2014.  That means that as I write this diary, I have 129 days before publication.

Some of the questions I'll be exploring include: What is the true nature of the system?  Who are the "real" power players behind it?  How is the corporate media conglomerate used as a propaganda tool (if that is the case)?  What are the mechanisms by which a tiny ruling class can control, manipulate, and exploit millions and millions of people?  And most importantly, what would it take (planning, strategy, tactics) for people of good-will to launch a peaceful revolution to take down the corporate state, i.e., forcing the few billionaires and corporatist cartels that have captured our government to relent in favor of true democracy, respect for the Constitution, the rule of law (applied equality to all), and social and economic justice.

I will be talking to academics, researchers, activists, workers, and regulars folks in the process and welcome input from anybody interested in collaborating with me.

Finally, as I've written many times before, I think the corporate state has already failed but it will take a little longer before it becomes apparent.  I've written about a  tipping point, and I've argued that people like Chelsea Manning, Glenn Greenwald, and Edward Snowden, among others, may have hasten its fall.

I will test all these conclusions, theories, and opinions and by the time I publish the book, I would have endeavor to be as accurate as humanly possible.

Those interested in pondering these questions with me are truly welcome!

Oh, and by-the-way, I do think that the fast-growing social justice and resistance (against exploitation by the corporate state) is going to really kick into high gear in the spring of 2014... And so I posted a countdown clock to April 15th hoping to inspire people to join the movement.

As always, never give an inch when it comes to the political process.  I don't advocate giving up on it.  We just need to also work from without to put pressure for real change.

Sockpuppets & Trolls Watch: Their aim is to disrupt, to annoy, to introduce "noise" in order to prevent meaningful discussions of issues.  Their tactics include ad hominem attacks where instead of addressing issues, they attack the character of people.  They also engage in mockery, and logical fallacies.  A good source of information about the tactics used by sockpuppets, trolls and hacks is "The 15 Rules of Web Disruption."  Once you familiarize yourself with those tactics, it is pretty easy to spot the potential troll.  Once spotted, the best thing is to ignore them.
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Comment Preferences

  •  As in the past, it will take cataclysmic events to (17+ / 0-)

    induce change I'm afraid.

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 02:11:34 AM PST

    •  Unfortunately in this case, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kharma

      it will then be to late. From everything I've read once the methane gets released into the atmosphere we're done.

      Last I knew plants/animal life can't process methane. :-(

    •  I understand your sentiment but I tend to think (3+ / 0-)

      that we could be near a tipping point.  I admit that one of the main characteristics of such moments or periods in history is that they are almost always imperceptible, or hard to predict before hand.  However, I'm seeing certain things that points toward one.  For example, I think the OWS narrative of the 1 percent exploiting the 99 percent really caught up, and hit a nerve in the citizenry.

      Also, the notion that the system is rigged and unfair is also propagating fast... There are many other "indicators" that point towards some sort of "shock" or "tipping point," in my opinion.

      Regardless, I'm one of many who will be doing everything humanly possible (within the law) to light the fire of consciousness about the true nature of this brutal system, even if it takes a lifetime.

  •  I am old, and have watched this train... (24+ / 0-)

    from a distance, having moved from Arizona to Canada in the early 70's. I watched as the ground was laid for its acceptance, as the design emerged, as the fuel was sourced and obtained, and as it began its journey.

    I've seen education undermined and then priced out of the reach of the people.

    I've seen the people manipulated into resenting taxes.

    I've watched the obstacles to corporate control dismantled piece by piece.

    I've watched the machines belch out more, and more, and more unneeded STUFF.

    I've watched and been amazed that people just let it happen. I see it starting in Canada and I pray that the people will have the savvy and the strength to resist.

    Thanks for the article. I'll look forward to your book.

  •  There's Only One Way to Bring the Giant (8+ / 0-)

    Down...

    at least you acknowledge WE have to do something(s), because obviously it's not going to get done by Obama or the buffoons in congress, our "representatives".

    it's effectively over for the United States.

    There's no way the current dog-eat-dog monopoly capitalism system we have will pull us out of the ditch.

    "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

    by Superpole on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 02:42:17 AM PST

  •  A better source for your link: (7+ / 0-)

    http://www.fritjofcapra.net/... which includes a bit more information on the primary author, or the original publication link at http://www.icaew.com/... Background on Hazel Henderson can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    The full article is indeed worth a read. It's one of a number of concepts that have been proposed in the last few years (the article is from 2009) which might lead to the transformation of industrial practices toward sustainable development.  Let me restate that a bit for clarity: it assumes changes will be made starting with the economic and industrial system we've already got.

    The article itself includes all the usual caveats of any paper which is, essentially, introducing a new concept, including the standard "even our definitions need more work". It also cites work and changes in practices which have already been accomplished along the lines of its suggestions.

    I can see nothing in the content of the full article which supports your contention that

    ...the authors' arguments seem pretty obvious to me; a no-brainer.
    My first guess is that the authors wouldn't agree, either. They're pretty strongly saying that a lot more work needs to be done before the concept is actually viable.

    To claim that you are demonstrating proof of the total inadequacy (and raging corruption) of the present system, because these concepts haven't already been globally implemented since the article was written, strikes me as being just a bit over the top. To use it as an excuse for measures that might destroy the system which the concept proposes to transform, measures that are in fact supposed to destroy the system (peacefully, of course), leaves me shaking my head in sheer wonderment.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 03:59:27 AM PST

  •  War and economic collapse are generally pre- (7+ / 0-)

    conditions to revolutions. Unfortunately, I personally see no evidence that America will be any different in these necessary precursors to revolutionary change.

    I predict that you will be inundated with calls for transformation through the existing political/media/economic system and attacked for "self promotion" for mentioning your book project and "hysteria" by those with vested interests in the status quo.

    I would like to see the rise of massive social pressure groups that would champion a revolutionary change in our economic/political and media systems, but I have been championing that for over thirty years and don't see it happening, even after the worst economic crisis since 1929 and the worst ecological crisis ever.

    I wish you the best and would certainly like to engage in discussion of the issues you raise.

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 04:32:28 AM PST

  •  I am more pessemistic than you (5+ / 0-)

    in that I cannot see working within the existing system to change it. The rot goes to deep, the roots are infected, and the whole tree has to go.

    And that will happen I am afraid, and it will not be all sweetness and light when it does go. We have to many disasters headed our way to try to fix things.

    Over population
    Peak Oil/Resources (including fresh clean water)
    Climate Change
    Frankenfood

    We cannot stop the changes, we cannot even slow them down now. It has gone too far. And it is a waste of energy and time to blame anyone for what is happening. IF blame is to be placed, then all of Humankind is to blame.

    But pointing fingers is not going to help in any way. We must get past that and learn to ADAPT, fast. And to do that we must opt out of the existing systems as much as it is possible.

    Adaptation is where we little people can do the most good. It is up to US to teach this generation and the next how to adapt to the changes that we want to see happen.

    To teach them how to build up a new way of life from the ashes of the old. To teach them that more is not always better. To teach them the joys of simplicity. To teach them to be peaceful and helpful and that community consisting of love and support of one another is the most important human system there is.

    In closing I point to a book (in PDF format) that started me thinking along  these lines;

    Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered"

    ~~~
    One more thought:

    "Growth". "Progressive". We need to step back and really look at what those two concepts mean. What are we progressing to? How much are we supposed to grow? Is there any end to either? Is there ever "Enough"?

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

    by SaraBeth on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 04:43:02 AM PST

  •  Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change, NAS study (9+ / 0-)

    National Academy of Science = NAS

    Hang on. Get Ready.

    Those are at least two of the takeaways from a new report released by scientists in the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday which says the sudden impacts of climate change this century and beyond are inevitable but warn that far too little has been done to prepare for them.

    "If you think about gradual change, you can see where the road is and where you're going. With abrupt changes and effects, the road suddenly drops out from under you." –Prof. Tony Barnosky

    NAS: From Ice Sheet Collapse to Mass Extinctions, You’re not Ready for Climate Change
  •  2 women activists and importance of HOPE (4+ / 0-)

    From DemocracyNow.org. I added the bold

    Watch our full interview with Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva at the recent International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative Summit, where they discussed their decades of work devoted to protecting nature and saving future generations from the dangers of climate change. A renowned primatologist, Goodall is best known for her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees and baboons. An environmental leader, feminist and thinker, Shiva is the author of many books, including "

    Making Peace with the Earth: Beyond Resource, Land and Food Wars" and "Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace."
    Click here to see all of our climate change coverage.

    GUESTS
    Jane Goodall, renowned primatologist, best known for her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees and baboons.

    Vandana Shiva, environmental leader and thinker from India. She is the author of many books, including Making Peace with the Earth: Beyond Resource, Land and Food Wars and Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace.

    http://www.democracynow.org/...

  •  Um (0+ / 0-)

    At least from reading Paul Krugman's entries on his blog and columns he doesn't seem to make a distinction between "linear" GDP growth and "qualitative" GDP growth, or am I missing something?

  •  Gar Alperovitz strategy of change (3+ / 0-)
    This book offers by far the most serious, intellectually grounded strategy for system-changing yet to appear. It could be the most important movement-building book of the new century—and, thereby, one of the most important political books as well.
    —Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

    Gar Alperovitz's new book develops a brilliant strategy for the type of transformative change that can lead America from decline to rebirth.
    —James Gustave Speth, author of America the Possible
    - See more at: http://whatthenmustwedo.org/...

    book title in bold

    copied from author's web page on the book

    What Then Must We Do?

    Never before have so many Americans been more frustrated with our economic system, more fearful that it is failing, or more open to fresh ideas about a new one. The seeds of a new movement demanding change are forming.

    But just what is this thing called a new economy, and how might it take shape in America? In What Then Must We Do?, Gar Alperovitz speaks directly to the reader about where we find ourselves in history, why the time is right for a new-economy movement to coalesce, what it means to build a new system to replace the crumbling one, and how we might begin. He also suggests what the next system might look like—and where we can see its outlines, like an image slowly emerging in the developing trays of a photographer’s darkroom, already taking shape.

    He proposes a possible next system that is not corporate capitalism, not state socialism, but something else entirely—and something entirely American.
    Alperovitz calls for an evolution, not a revolution, out of the old system and into the new. That new system would democratize the ownership of wealth, strengthen communities in diverse ways, and be governed by policies and institutions sophisticated enough to manage a large-scale, powerful economy.

    For the growing group of Americans pacing at the edge of confidence in the old system, or already among its detractors, What Then Must We Do? offers an elegant solution for moving from anger to strategy.

    http://whatthenmustwedo.org/...
  •  fine rejoinder to obama's ewarren speech (3+ / 0-)

    if one reads obama's speech carefully it is evident that, notwithstanding the populist curlicues, obama remains firmly committed to neoliberal principles: 1) economic inequality can only be addressed through economic growth; and 2) economic growth is the holy grail and must be achived at any cost

    both assumptions are recklessly false

    and that is trickle-down economics, pure and simple

  •  Change political system too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, Ipracticedissent

    You speak of the need to change the economic system. You also say that you are exploring the actions we have to take in order to get there.

    Saying those actions have to be "revolutionary" is true, but doesn't really help think about what they should be. You clarify that you don't want that word just mean guerillas hiding in the mountains; good. That leaves protest politics, economic politics (choosing what kind of economy to participate in), and democratic politics.

    We have to find ways to make all three of these more effective than they are today. That's not an easy question, but I think you're looking in the right direction for answers in terms of protest politics and economic politics.

    But on democratic politics, there's one step which is key. Yes, of course, we have to fight harder — more primary campaigns, more local organizing and GOTV and all of that — but we also are not going to really start winning until we change the game.

    Currently, our short-term goals of beating the Republicans and our long-term goals of saving the planet put us in conflict with ourselves and with each other. In a broken two-party system, we need money in order to beat the Rs; but much of that money comes at the cost of our longer-term goals. Thus, endless battles on DKos, because the "pick only one" voting system forces us to choose between short-term and long-term thinking.

    Changing the voting system, so that the two goals can productively coexist, is fundamental to becoming more effective. If we want to stop endlessly fighting rearguard actions, we must be pushing for approval voting and proportional representation. Please, RayPensador: you have a voice and an audience, and simply mentioning the importance of these issues would be very helpful. The voting system isn't going to change by itself; we have to talk about it if we want to improve it.

    (Shameless plug: the Center for Election Science does good work and has good resources on these issues. They're a multipartisan org — not just progressives — but they're still worth supporting.)

    Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

    by homunq on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:00:09 AM PST

  •  So publication of your book is a revolution? (0+ / 0-)

    That's a pretty strong claim.

  •  It's in the wind and you don't need to be a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    weatherman to know that a storm is brewing.

    Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles

    by River Rover on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 08:48:48 AM PST

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