I’m curious about something, but first, some backstory… In the 90’s in Australia, it was all the rage to buy into a pyramid scam. It was described to me as ‘buying a seat’ on a ‘plane’, and when twelve people had bought a seat, the first one in collected all $12,000 – leading the other people to try to ring in anyone else to ‘buy’ a ‘seat’ on the ‘plane’. It sounded like the stupidest thing you could do with $1000, but enough people did it that the government moved in and made this stupidity illegal.
At a fundamental level, I don’t really see much difference between the profit-focus of the capitalist system and the pyramid scheme as described above. In terms of nuance and complexity, there are differences, but as anyone can see looking at corrupt nations like the USA or Australia, money flows up to the rich and becomes denationalised in unregulated societies. This is the principle of making profit to gain profit, and unregulated capitalism effectively murders the society which brought it life.
Oh – I’m having a Greek mythology moment right now!!
Money doesn’t grow on trees, and rich people do not spontaneously spring from thin air. There is a finite amount of wealth at any one point in time, and as taxes on the rich are removed, and deregulation advances, the percentage of wealth in any given society moves upward. The growing disparity in standards of living isn’t so obvious in Australia yet, but the USA seems to wilfully be shooting itself in the face.
In the nineteenth century, rich people – not including bankers of course – felt the moral and social duty to invest their wealth back into the community by way of schools, hospitals and parks. As modern western societies evolved, and socialism was advanced, taxation took the place of personal donation, resulting in everyone benefiting from free hospitals and education, as was the case in Australia until the 1990’s.
Rather than people and society benefitting from taxation, taxation now benefits from people with consumption tax. And despite more people paying more tax, the social services taxation was originally designed to support such as social welfare, are now channeled into private businesses such as oil subsidies and financial organisation failures. As if to prove the ineffectiveness of government, most public organisations have moved to privatise social services such as telephone networks, postal services, water and electricity supply. Next are schools and hospitals.
Why shouldn’t they be privatised? In a society which demands such high taxes, yet which supplies nothing in return, is insane.
The moment the phrase ‘economic prosperity’ or the like is raised, the speaker can only be noted as a shill for the banks who is desperately attempting to sway opinion to buy another seat on the plane: there is no way the plane can stay in the air forever – what goes up must come down.
With the increasing human population increasingly ruining resources which we and our descendants must depend upon is the key issue. How much longer will our species survive also isn’t really the issue – the issue is the conditions under which we and our immediate descendants shall survive.
As our options for not reducing our energy consumption by a factor of six evaporate, and more succinctly, as our choice of food stuffs disappear, ‘economic prosperity’ must be seen as the enemy of survival.
That which gives us the greatest chance of surviving in conditions which we find practicable must be each person’s objective each day. Reducing energy use, step by step, must be everyone’s daily determiner. Taking pride in demonstrating by our own actions must our point of pride.
Our species’ future is at stake. I’m curious as to why sustainability hasn’t been incorporated yet.