The Awakened Eco-nomy
Or, The End of Communistic Corporationist-Capitalism (CCC)
U2’s latest album No Line on the Horizon has a catchphrase that appears through most of the songs – “Let me in the Sound”. But the phrase that may appear in this post regularly is: “When will people finally wake up?” Not as graceful as U2s one liner, but no doubt either Bono or a George Harrison could turn up a good song to go with it.
But to the task at hand. A little effort and thinking will show that what is termed as Capitalism, “free enterprise”, “free market”, and “competition” under the guise of Democracy is only an insidious subtle subterfuge that has bamboozled billions of people for a longer period of time than the so-called Communists of yesteryear.
For detailed background information behind the ideas in this post please check out:
Interdimensional Economics (Part 1)
Interdimensional Economics (Part 2)
As is the case with all things that are part of the natural order of this organic universe, world and life forms it contains anything that is imposed, false, mechanistic and full of skull-and-bones-duggery finally gets shown up for what it is. So the current economic unraveling and Great Financial Reckoning we are in the midst of is a sign of better things to come as we rid the planet of not only toxic assets by banks, but the toxicity of the greed and duplicity of Capitalism.
The irony is that now that Communism is to all intents and purposes dead, we can see just how much Corporationist-Capitalism is just the reverse side of the coin of Totalitarianism and Communism. Far fetched, you think?
Take a close look at the key characteristics of the erstwhile Soviet Union’s Communism and our Communistic Corporationist-Capitalism (CCC) today. The USSR was known (in the Cyrillic alphabet) as the CCCP, so our CCCs are just a 'P' short since they do not declare themselves a political party. The CCCs prefer to manipulate political parties and systems armed with the ideology of Capitalism
In the case of the USSR, its Constitution (the 1977 version) reads like the most democratic document of all time. It guarantees all kinds of rights from freedom of speech, to assembly and to the most democratic of activities. It claims to take its strengths from the proletariat citizens that make up the State. Yet we know how diametrically opposed the USSR actually was to any genuine democratic concerns.
The USSR had a system of Communist Party officials who were elected (there were hardly any other candidates offering a real choice) through the Party Congress, to the Supreme Soviet (highest legislative body) through to the Central Committee and its Secretariat from which the Politburo emerged. The Politburo was the inner sanctum of power and it had a Chairman/General Secretary heading it. Through a system of internal elections and bloodcurdling power struggles it decided who ran what and who had their fingers on the nuclear buttons of the military arsenal. The USSR called this a democratic system.
Look at our very own CCC. They have a group of shareholders (Central Committee) who apparently choose a Board of Directors (Politburo) who also have a Chairman. Sometimes it is an executive Chairman and you also have the CEO (either of whom can pass for the General Secretary) who is supposed to be the chief executive of the Corporate Apparatus. The Board can also co-opt other Apparatchiks from elsewhere if they can contribute to the money making ventures of the Board.
There is nothing democratic about this. Democracy is an operative term that denotes people power. The USSR had no people power but Apparatchik power that controlled the people in the most undemocratic manner possible all in the name of being ‘Democratic’. This is also known as a reductio ad absurdum.
The Communists claim to be a 'dictatorship of the proletariat', exactly the kind that would have made Marx wish he had been cremated as Engels was (so that there would not be anything left to roll around).
[Point of Clarification: The idea of a dictatorship of the proletariat was first mentioned by Marx and Engels. But their idea of it was as a transition phase from capitalism masquerading as democracy into Communism where there was a 'withering away of the state' and proper democratic freedoms settled for all without any state coercion.
Lenin's idea of such a 'dictatorship' and end of state coercion followed similar lines and he was short on details as to what a Communist system would ultimately be. Lenin argued eloquently for his vision of the transitional 'dictatorship of the proletariat' in his seminal What is to Be Done and State and Revolution.
As Lars T. Lih brilliantly points out in Lenin Rediscovered: What is to Be Done in Context, Lenin was in all probability genuine in having a system free from all coercion and one that was just and fair for all, which involved a dictatorship of the proletariat being set up as an interim to his ideal political system (which he thought coincided with Marx's vision).
But the problem is that Marx did not live long enough to outline his ideal Communist system, and Lenin allowed things to slip out of his control. So while Lenin deserves credit (with Trotsky) for offering dynamic and visionary leadership, the sad fact remains that they also have to answer for what went wrong in the USSR and for having blood stained hands in allowing for the execution of political opponents, 'reactionaries' and the convenient massacre of the Tsar and his family. They were thereby responsible for the monstrosity that followed in the wake of Stalin.
But as I have been trying to show in the earlier posts called Interdimensional Economics and as I hope to explore in subsequent posts: the ideas of those like Marx, Engels, and Lenin can be realised in their highest form of good if taken to a different paradigm. This would involve taking a metaphysical basis to things as well as looking at what a real democracy looks like without resorting to dictatorships of any kind. But these would be ideas that Marx and Lenin would have objected to because for the former it involved 'metaphysics', and for the latter it involved 'democracy' which was a distasteful ideology for Lenin (who in turn ironically resorted to ideology to put forward his views).
The point being made here is that the Communist verision of the 'dictatorship of the proleteriat' as was known to the world was one of the worst forms of totalitarianism in human history]
The lovable CCC creates a dictatorship of selfishness, greed and egomania (We will come to the profit motive soon). Now here comes the revealed sleight of hand of the CCC after the demise of the Soviet bloc. Once the latter had collapsed economically and politically, and the West no longer had the opportunity to contrast their product of so-called western democracy against the so-called non-MBA trained Communist bloc, the CCCs could sell and effectively market its own agenda of world domination of markets and human beings under the guise of “free enterprise”, “freedom” and “democracy”.
With the major Communist competitor out of the way, the western democracies formed an Oligopoly. It was now a matter of seeing who won the game between themselves in creating a Monopoly.
(China poses special problems here because it is anything but a Communist state these days).
So all the so-called free enterprise CCCs came out of the woodwork and before long embarked on merciless and blatant mergers and acquisitions that made anti-trust laws seem heaven sent. While heralding wealth and prosperity for all (meaning the CCC Nomenklatura), the drive for aggression and domination created a whole system that is skewered against any form of financial or economic stability. The CCC lust for power and money fosters not market equilibrium but disequilibrium for that is the only way to be a monopoly.
The USSR had their power elites who cornered the ‘market’ of privilege and showed us the truth of Orwell’s prescient “Four legs good, two legs better” dictum. These happy folk were known as the Nomenklatura.
The CCCs have their own elites with all their privileges and private jets and indecent bonuses at the expense of all honest working men and women who are usually honest taxpayers too. The CCC nomenklatura seek to unduly influence decision makers, legislators, the media (which they largely own) to keep their ruling class in sovereignty over everyone else preferably as unjustly and unfairly as possible.
Some years ago when Microsoft was starting to really earn its reputation as a bully in the market, Bill Gates actually admitted that he was interested in biographies and, at that time, was deeply immersed in one on Stalin. He was not reading about Stalin to learn about better business practices, but probably on monopolizing control of things. So Comrade Stalin would have been a good fellow to study.
Just as the USSR sought to spread its ideology and control over the globe, that is exactly what CCCs have done in infiltrating and destabilizing the world and national economies all in pursuit of its own blinkered ideology: the profit motive. And they quote misguided neo-classical economists and their practitioners today to come up with the right kind of mumbo-jumbo to support corporate takeovers wherever and whenever possible with ruthless removal of all competition. Apparently that is what competition means – liquidating the other guy whenever feasible (pun fully intended).
Think about it. In a so-called democracy today, how is it that the entire economy, politics and lives of people are subject to the dictates of CCCs, what they do, whom they hire and who are part of their Politburo and Central Committee of shareholders? Not to mention allowing the world’s economic fate to be affected by what their nomenklatura desires.
So much of what we see that has happened in the entire economic cycle of inevitable booms, busts, currency devaluations, mass unemployment, poverty, human abuse, wars and conflicts have been caused by unelected apparatchiks who’s goal is the profit motive. There is nothing democratic, free or fair in business apparatchiks claiming to serve “democracy” when all they do is serve their greed and interests of their shareholder central committee members.
CCC elements buy and corrupt politicians to ensure that legislation is produced to serve the interests of their structure and apparatus. We are talking their politicians at home and abroad.
All this to serve the ideological God of the Profit Motive (the new name for Mammon of old, you remember him, surely).
As most of humanity is plugged into a system where their material needs are dependent on selling their labour power (since that is virtually all anyone has to sell) to make a living, nobody really questions this worship of Mammon-Profit Motive. In fact, this is usually not just out of ignorance but out of fear from the perception of what the CCC apparatus might do to them in terms of leaving them out in the cold to starve.
But these very activities of the CCC are now what is causing all the economic instability in the world, not to mention coming to terms to the incalculable damage done to the environment and our beloved planet.
When will people finally wake up…?
All attempts by CCCs to pay lip service to protecting human dignity, or the environment, is done so as to continue serving Mammon-Profit Motive. Let’s not be fooled here. Every tax incentive that is sought, every CCC loophole that is gained via manipulation of the media and politicians and connivance of banks is done at the expense of human beings and national interests. What is so ‘free and fair’ or democratic about a system that allows tax loopholes and privileges to be wrangled out by CCCs at the expense of the average tax payer (that is, the mass majority of respectable citizens). Somebody has to pay for all nomenklatura privileges of the CCC, and for some reason it seems it has to be you and me.
So tax payers continue to pay taxes, take on heavy loans and work themselves to near death while the CCCs and their top honchos continue to evade taxes so as to gain even greater bonuses for themselves. In other words, you get to support the CCC worship of Mammon-Profit Motive and also get to call your society a ‘democracy’: now that sounds like a two-in-one offer that’s hard to resist.
Bear in mind that the entire advertising, marketing, and media industry (with few exceptions) are honed to titillate the senses, negativity, fear, anxiety or the ego in service of Mammon-Profit Motive. Virtually all such industries in the media are under CCC control in one form or another, so they DO NOT serve the interests of the people but that of the CCC Politburo and Central Committee and careerists within the industry who hope to rise as Apparatchik.
Then we have the high priests of Mammon-Profit Motive, the Banking industry. The major banks are in absolute cahoots with Big Business and play a part in creating the distinctive self centered nature of the CCC beast. Essentially, all profits made from paying working people lower than they deserve in the productive process of commodities, is stashed away/invested in banks by CCC elements. The stash is then loaned out to all of us which we then have to repay plus interest.
So we are loaned the money we helped make and for which we now pay back with interest. Is there any wonder why the whole world is in debt? This is the gift of the CCC structure – a debt based economy. And when the loans are called in due to ‘toxicity’ of banking assets or otherwise, we all have to pay the price. Those who are in lower income groups or at subsistence level living bear the brunt of the economic crashes created by the CCC apparatus.
Take a break and watch these clips:
Capitalism Hits the Fan
Next comes a term that is well used within the USSR system, that of the interlocking directorate. Heed these words by Charles Timberlake:
"THE PARTY CONTROLLED THE GOVERNMENT. In fact, it functioned as THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT. The “government” (described by the Constitution of 1936) functioned not as a legislative body the Constitution alleged, but merely as the EXECUTIVE AGENCY that implemented decisions made by some 12 to 13 people who composed the Political Bureau (Politburo) of the party. But, the people who held the most important government positions were also members of the party organ that made the decision. Having made a decision, party and government officials passed commands downward through parallel party and government hierarchies. At every administrative level, the party committee (which always included the head of government for the administrative region) met to discuss the command, and then passed the commands downward, through the same parallel party and government structures, to the party and government officials at the next administrative level below them. Thus, the Party Politburo adopted legislation. It then implemented those decisions through two parallel, hierarchical bureaucracies that had---at every administrative level—interlocking directorates. We may accurately refer to this relationship as 'the Bolshevik Party and its government.' ” (italics and highlights mine)
What this means is that CPSU members (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) who were in the Politburo, Central Committee and other organs of the party or state, had a wonderfully incestuous relationship via sitting in one another’s committees. So you would have members of the military who would be members of the CPSU, Central Committee, and Politburo, etc. This was a way to exert ideological thinking, control, as well as self-aggrandizement throughout the system. To say that this led to cronyism is to put it lightly.
Guess what? The CCC boasts of having an interlocking directorate system in which board members sit on other boards, which include politicians and people of influence. This is apparently in the interests of ‘democracy’, the ‘free market’ and ‘free enterprise’. While the rationale for such a notion was sold as being a way of maximizing synergy, it is really a way of cronyism, self aggrandizement and ideological control more than anything else. The CCC barons of today more than the dead Stalinists of yesterday, are the exemplars of Lenin’s dictum: “Who? Whom?”
This was an elegant expression for ‘who exercises power over whom’ in that the old school Communists, and the CCC exponents throughout history, are proponents of the master-slave set-up. Guess who fills in which roles? (When will people finally wake up…?)
The USSR had a system of summary executions (liquidation) of dissenters especially in its Stalinist heydays. The CCCs in the spirit of ‘free enterprise’ and ‘democracy’ summarily fire staff with only a day, or less, notice.
Many of us are aware, even as we read these lines, of layoffs by private firms that see to it that those relieved of work are sent down and out with their shoe box of personal items summarily in hand, and made to walk right through the front door without a chance to even say good bye to a single colleague (except the one who was laid off with you). The reason is that there is the fear that you may sabotage office equipment or cause dissatisfaction among staff etc if you are treated humanely and given a proper notice that you have been terminated. Worse, you may ‘steal’ stuff that can be used by a competitor!
And we do not even need to look into the arena of CCC politicking and backstabbing which may make some communist parties look anemic.
Mammon-Profit Motive serves self interest and involves the indubitable exploitation and theft of others’ effort and lifeblood to sustain untrammeled greed at the expense of all life forms and our planet itself. It promotes cynicism, doubt, and a nihilistic worldview.
If the state of humanity and the world as seen through events of the 20th century is insufficient testament to the effects of nihilism, just read any of the major novels by Dostoevsky to get an idea of what it is all about.
Incidentally, the nihilistic worldview of extremists like Nechayev had gone quite some way to evolving the kind of ruthlessness and brutality that stalked behind the likes of Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky.
So much for the Mammon-Profit Motive: if there ever was a system based on insecurity, fear, vindictiveness and sheer lack of integrity it is what we call capitalistic ‘private enterprise’ today.
Try this exercise. Imagine you have suddenly discovered, and see in the clear light of day, that you live in a world in which a group of people belonging to a set of ideological beliefs need to protect their interests above all else (try, perhaps it is difficult, but try).
It is a world in which technology has been used to control and influence your mind and that of others on the planet. Let’s say They can instill in you the desire for unbridled self indulgence, fear, anxiety, hatred, divisiveness, a sense of separateness from others, despair and anger so that you become a kind of automaton, a mechanized man, woman or youth subject to their manipulation.
This entire structure of control is created for the sole purpose of keeping the mass majority of people subservient to the dictates of a nomenklatura. And you either join the Controllers or you will be liquidated by them one way or another (or simply be worn out by ‘life’).
What would your reaction be? How long will you tolerate this subjugation of your loved ones, yourself, your friends or anyone for whom you had a shade of caring for?
Yet this is exactly the system of the CCC we have been connived into buying with the full and, in many cases, willing participation of the media. Communism ‘lost’ because something more subtle and soul destroying ‘won’. But like all mechanistic set-ups, it has run its course in an organic universe and world.
Nothing can beat the laws of Nature. The mechanized CCC clones are only finally realizing that the system they created is collapsing around their ears. There are NO laws in economics: it is one of the greatest frauds perpetuated on humanity.
There are only laws of Nature. There is not one theory of Mammon-Profit Motive that can beat the law of gravity. And the CCC tower of Babel is coming down, hard.
At the moment of this writing, the US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has said that unless insurance mega corporation AIG is bailed out via taxpayers $ a “global financial meltdown” may occur. Stop the press! Did he say “global financial meltdown”?
Now kind reader, please ask yourself how on earth did we get to a stage where some crummy firm holds the fate of the global economy? Is this kind of a situation a reflection of democracy and can it ever have been geared to protect the interests of the people? The CCC structure is so top heavy with the centre of gravity so stacked in an ungodly manner in favour of its nomenklatura that the toppling of this ungainly edifice causes the world economy to tumble as well.
If there are right thinking people left on the planet, they should be asking why does this situation exist at all.
A Social Kind of Economy
So where does that leave us? Actually, with good news all around if we choose to act on it. Where we need to go is towards a social kind of economy which is a community based one. This is not socialism or any other ‘-ism’. Do some research and you will find more than you imagined that is available out there on this. One such example of building sustainable communities is the Transition Town.
The key here is this – we move away from Mammon-Profit Motive to sustainability. So the basic rationalization of any commercial set up is one that is modeled like a social business in which its bottom line is sustainability, NOT profitability. It must be stated that the term "profit" when used in the context of a social business means "sustainability" not Mammon-Profit Motive.
But the difference between a social business and commercial venture of the Social Economy is that while a social business aims to cover costs and sustains itself and staff and can be perhaps seen as a welfare enterprise (e.g., eye clinics, providing basic food stuff, health and social insurance etc), a commercial enterprise in the Social Economy can aim for higher revenue as part of sustainability.
What this means is that it is not aiming for profit, but can aim for surplus sustainability. So such a firm would take whatever earnings it receives over and above its basic sustainability, that is, the bottom line of what would have qualified as a social business; and place that into a sustainability fund. This fund would be shared out equally or at a pre-arranged ratio (agreed to prior to setting up of the enterprise) among all those who work in the firm -- this means all workers/staff and managerial officers. The only owners in this firm are the workers, staff, executives and supervisors.
There is no need for bonuses or bizarrely high pay for anyone. Managers will earn as much as workers or perhaps more depending on the agreement by those who set up the firm. In the case of large firms the government, local governments and those who are part of the firm will be the shareholders. The entrepreneurial folk and banks are invited to join in and/or hired depending on how people want the set up to work.
There is voting at different levels of the community to ensure maximized democracy and a stake in the system and the commodities produced. This can be worked out according to each society to fit its needs and context so no gridlock of approval/voting need take place. What with the Internet, a lot of the choices made by people can be expressed via online procedures as well.
Please bear in mind that online voting procedures would refer to situations in developed democracies. In the case of poorer states, social businesses will take care of the needs of the underprivileged and those lacking in education etc.
All commodities and means of production will be aligned to what the country and its people determine as GPF solutions, that is, Green and People Friendly Solutions. The nature of the workweek, workday, relationship between colleagues and the relationship to what is produced for people within a country or for export, will be aligned towards respect for human dignity and the environment.
This is well within our reach if we put our hearts and minds into it.
Some of the changes that would be required would be:
- Overhaul of national and international laws pertaining to the banking industry
- Overhaul of national and international laws pertaining to firms and enterprises. No firms will be given the protection, loopholes or incentives that are currently in place which are manifestly against the interests of human dignity, lack all compassion, and desecrate the environment
- A detailed study of what aspects of Islamic financial principles can be used effectively here (e.g., such principles can be applied in creating the sustainability fund mentioned, its contractual basis, as well as its operative procedures). The reason for looking into such principles is because the whole commercial enterprise in Islam is meant to have a system balanced with Divine Law, justice, fairness and compassion. It is also an effective way to make the Islamic world part of a revamped global economic enterprise. Islamic economics is taught at a number of universities worldwide and material on it is readily available everywhere
- Removal of all interlocking directorates. There may be a situation that warrants, if at all, a person sitting in two firms holding an official post in each but it cannot go beyond that. This is to minimize cronyism, group think and corruption (to say the least)
- Removal of stock exchanges and any semblance of gambling in the economic growth of nations or their currencies
- When in doubt bring in members of the community etc to discuss and settle an issue through a vote. People who sit in on these groups are voted in by their communities as part of regular local elections. This allows for full accountability and transparency. It is also surprisingly democratic. This is what is meant by People Power: not that which is disruptive, but that which is constructive and aligned to the positive energy of GPF solutions
- Communities are empowered to ban all forms of advertising, marketing and media. They can allow them in or create their own based on what suits their values. Creation of citizen journalists who report fairly, well researched and boundary pushing news with the welfare of the community and society at heart. No more answering to egos and CCC type dictates
The role of government is one of synergy and one that not only provides national leadership, but also complements and supplements the feasible and viable efforts of citizens in whatever projects and enterprises the citizens ask the government to come on board.
Also needed is a political system, at least in developed democracies based on the principles of Justice as Fairness as proposed by Rawls. John Rawls’s ideas of political constructivism allow for people to use their interaction and lessons learnt from an overlapping consensus created by state or society from which is derived the political principles that will govern their society or community.
Similarly, we can now have something called economic constructivism which allows for a similar process in which a society and communities allow for social economy type enterprises to flourish to sustain and support the citizens of a country as well as take part in synergistic regional and international trade devoid of practices meant to undermine the ‘competition’. The new type of competition promoted here is a just, fair, and compassionate one that allows each state, society, or community to build on strengths and advantages which allow the import and export of commodities which create a win-win situation for all concerned.
So rather that comparative or competitive advantage, we have sustainable advantage which allows nations to have a system of trade that allows for social economy firms and businesses to maximize their potential while allowing fair and beneficial exchange of commodities. Returning to the societal and community level, some aspects of the process of economic constructivism would lead to maximized creative endeavours which should lead to the creation of necessary and meaningful work that sustains an economy and society.
This would entail initiatives involving
- local/complementary currencies (e.g., Time Banks)
- barter exchanges
- the really really free market type activities
- volunteer based set ups and organizations that involve schools, youth and social economy businesses/firms, governmental organizations, and NGOs
There is no reason why the four aspects above cannot be applied to regional and international trade in an extended sense. All it takes is political will. But to do that it takes people electing the right type of leaders and holding them accountable in public office. Which means there is not much room for a slacker citizenry; People Power involves a fully participatory democracy of people who are mature, tolerant, and willing to accept responsibility for their decisions.
And from that point on, any blame for things that don’t work must be leveled at the source for that which has allowed things to happen in each society: the image in the mirror when you look into it.
In order for any system to survive in a healthy, balanced and sustainable manner, it would do best to mimic or be one with the organic nature of the universe, world and life on it. This means ecological balance.
The social economy proposed here is one of creating an economic ecosystem or Eco-nomy that fits into the way the world actually works according to the law of nature, and not some bizarre mechanistic imposition serving the fallen angels of Mammon-Profit Motive.
A system of empowered people and a decentralized economic web of being will allow for communities to fit into the national organism of state, and allow the latter to grow and live in harmony and balance with its communities and citizens. This is the true nature of a synergistic, collaborative, synchronistic and symbiotic relationship which may be possible in a society. Recycle all those irrelevant management textbooks as they serve Mammon-Profit Motive and we do not need them anymore.
With an eco-nomic system, we no longer have the unnatural high centre of gravity of the CCC hierarchy which leads to silly statements that the world economy is in peril because some lousy firms show just how lousy they really are. An eco-nomic system has a well spread out centre of gravity that provides for stability all round.
Just watch the give and take of nature and how balance can be maintained for the benefit of all. But you do need gardeners, which is why we need leaders who are just that -- not those who compel others to do what is against their own interest, but gardeners who nurture, cultivate, strengthen and beautify the garden politic.
The leaders we need today for tomorrow and beyond will be the Good Gardeners who tend to the Garden of State and maintain its balance, harmony and well being. Community based leadership and economic growth is a reflection of the kind of eco-nomic system we need for a just, fair and compassionate way of doing things. That’s why the notion of political and economic constructivism fits in perfectly.
We should look to creating an organic system of self adjusting principles and ways of doing things that allows for social, economic and political osmosis of ideas and goodwill between all people in a society and between nations.
We need to be like water: flexible, all encompassing, have miscibility (able to mix freely with all things), and have that special ability miscalled an ‘anomaly’. Water’s so-called ‘anomaly’ is this: that it reaches its maximum density as it approaches 4 degrees Celsius. This characteristic allows for the surface of large bodies of waters like lakes etc to freeze, while keeping that below in liquid form circulating within its internal convection cycle of well within 4 degrees Celsius: this is why fish can live below frozen lakes.
How is this possible, indeed. This is natural and cosmic law, not mumbo-jumbo economic ones. These are natural ecological parameters that allow for the sustenance of life. So an eco-nomy is one that corresponds to cosmic law: as above, so below.
Similarly, we need to learn from the flexibility, suppleness and cleanliness of water in allowing for the type of parameters within our societies which foster balance, freedom, fairness and compassion. We need to move away from the narrow, imbalanced and destructive concerns of the ego and look to the whole, thereby looking after the interests of all within it. This calls for a self adjusting, self regulating natural system of government and an open hearted way of doing things.
But empowerment comes at a price. It comes with waking up, getting real and growing up.
Then we will have started to create an Awakened Eco-nomy.
Live Long and Prosper!