Global Capitalism: A Runaway Train Hurtling Us into the Abyss
The Mayan calendar should give us a sense of urgency. While the world will not end on December 21, 2012, the clock is ticking fast for our species’ current lifestyle on this planet due to our destructive behaviors and short-sighted mode of development. We are too many. We consume too much. We gobble energy, food and resources like millions of leeches sucking the blood of a magnificent water buffalo. Planet Earth was always our generous host, and we have become billions of parasites killing our own support system. Our system of global capitalism has turned into a mindless vampire draining the life force from all of us.
The coming of a man-made apocalypse
If the notion of “end of days” is a fuzzy biblical fabrication to manipulate people, the concept of “end of the world as we know it” is not. The human footprint on this planet has become so heavy since the industrial revolution of the mid 1800s, that we are now starting to harvest the poison fruits that were seeded about 160 years ago. Climate change and global warming are already having a deadly impact across the globe. Critical species for our ecosystem, such as bees, are dying and will keep doing so in an exponential manner. Water from melting of the polar ice caps will submerge most coastal areas, making them unlivable for around 700 million people worldwide. Imagine a world where one out of ten people is a climate-change refugee. A world where Manhattan, Hong Kong, New Orleans and most of the Netherlands are under two meters of water. Imagine a world where killer hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, severe droughts and giant fires are always on the menu. Imagine a world with depleted energy resources, drinking water and food, trying to feed around 14 billion people, which is the absurd projection given for 50 years from now.
Universal lack of political will
The main concern of the financial world, since the US election, has been the so-called fiscal cliff. But if the primary goal of our respective governance, and the various financier storytellers they work with, is to make people believe that everything is under control, they have largely failed. There is growing worldwide awareness that the complex and elaborate edifice of global capitalism is, in reality, as flimsy as a castle made of sand. We’ve been sold by talented snake-oil salesmen on the validity of the concept of permanent economic growth, on notions of perpetual optimism that defy reason and the laws of physics, that some mysterious kinetic force would always move us upward. We’ve been sold for decades on the fallacy that “prosperity is right around the corner” for all of us.
A striking aspect of our world in disarray is the universal lack of political will. Our elected leaders, for better or worse, stopped leading a long time ago. It is as if, all of them, are hostages to a system with the primary function of oiling the gears of the capitalist machine from time to time. The machine is greased with money but also often requires, like Cronus devouring his own children, human sacrifices. A prime example of this myopic political leadership is US President Barack Obama. Mr Obama has two teenage daughters, yet one has to wonder if he ever reflects on the type of world they will inherit from our generation. He might think, like other rich people, that his wealth will shelter his children and perhaps also his grandchildren from the brutal realities of an overpopulated, flooded world, but his two girls might be in for a rude awakening. By ignoring the clear and present dangers of our times that are climate change, overpopulation, and capitalism’s requirement of the cancer of permanent economic growth, Obama and his colleagues from Europe, China, India, Russia, Brazil and elsewhere are all modern-day Cronus, feeding on their own children: all precipitating the doom of future generations by criminal neglect.
Disaster movie without a happy ending
Like Hollywood, capitalism is a nightmare-producing dream machine, and just as in the movies, the global capitalist propaganda needs a happy ending. Capitalism, like mainstream popcorn entertainment, has no need for intelligent audiences or critical thinkers who examine their lives or question the validity the system; it only needs consumers. The disaster documentary of our own making is unfolding live, and it is unlikely to have a happy ending. Leaders are not leading but serving the universal god machine that is global capitalism. In the early 1970s, there was still time to act on climate change and overpopulation, and to rethink seriously our modes of economic and social development without extreme hardship to all. Since then, we have entered the tunnel of imbecility and oblivion at blinding speed in an accelerating bullet train without pilot or brake. Jumping off the train is no longer an option. Sabotaging the train and derailing it by a world revolution could be our only hope before the train hits a thick concrete wall or plunges into the abyss of a new world chaos.