Capitalism , Climate and Cold War
In March 2009, unaware that the British government were about to follow the US in Quantitative Easing, an economic activist and social business pioneer delivered a paper to the opening plenary of the international Economics for Ecology conference in Sumy. it opened with these words:
This presentation will discuss the various forms of predominant economics thinking over the past century and put into context how we are where we are today. In that context, new economics thinking will be presented not merely as advancing economic theory, but as stark reality with life and death at stake for millions of people.
At first glance, it might seem redundant to emphasize people as the central focus of economics. After all, isn’t the purpose of economics, as well as business, people? Aren’t people automatically the central focus of business and economic activities? Yes and no.
The prevailing economics systems in the twentieth century were capitalism and communism. Both systems were hypothetically aimed at creating a means of providing people with comfortable, safe and secure life.
Along the way, in the process of attempting different forms of economics from capitalism to communism, we have managed to pollute and contaminate our own environment to the extent of causing environmental change to the point of quite possible catastrophe for people around the world.
Neither the capitalist system nor the communist system — nor the various fascist systems attempted in such as Germany, Spain and Italy — lived up to their promises. Communist and fascist systems became infamous for mass murder. The Western capitalist was less murderous. Overall, capitalism was able to produce a much larger middle class of people between rich and poor, and has gained precedence due to making safe and secure life possible for more people. But, it’s various methods over the past 100 years left millions of people to suffer and die more indirectly than outright murder. Those people were dismissed as relatively unimportant, mostly left to die from deprivation rather than outright execution. In all systems, some rationale was created to either dismiss people and leave them to die, or, kill people outright.
In the end, for the victims, the result was identical. In that context of disposing of people, by all economic systems, and with capitalism having become predominant, financial profit came to rule the day. Profit, the bottom line, was master of all else. People and the environment we live in were secondary considerations. The vehicle of Western capitalism was, and is, corporations.”
At this point, the simple fact is that regarding economic theory, no one knows what to do next. Possibly this has escaped immediate attention in Ukraine, but, economists in the US as of the end of 2008 openly confessed that they do not know what to do. So, we invented three trillion dollars, lent it to ourselves, and are trying to salvage a broken system so far by reestablishing the broken system with imaginary money.
What is not guesswork is that the broken — again — capitalist system, be it traditional economics theories in the West or hybrid communism/capitalism in China, is sitting in a world where the existence of human beings is at grave risk, and it’s no longer alarmist to say so.
The question at hand is what to do next, and how to do it. We all get to invent whatever new economics system that comes next, because we must.
Over the next year the student guide traced the roots of an economic crisis back 100 years to the beginning of WW1
A global economy, energized by technological change and unprecedented flows of people and money, collapses in the wake of a terrorist attack …. The year is 1914.
Worldwide war results, exhausting the resources of the great powers and convincing many that the economic system itself is to blame. From the ashes of the catastrophe, an intellectual and political struggle ignites between the powers of government and the forces of the marketplace, each determined to reinvent the world’s economic order.
He returned in 2010 to deliver a second paper which included the core argument fron his 1996 treatise for President Clinton which had warned about the risk of uprisings.
14. Manipulation of numbers, represented by currency/money, allows writing “new” money as needed. There is no tangible asset, or anchor. There are only numbers, managed by whomever might maneuver into position to do so. Economics came to be based on numbers, rather than real human beings.
15. On that basis, capitalism trumped people and therefore trumped democracy. Democracy is about people, who since Descartes are considered necessarily real, rather than numbers which are not necessarily real. An imaginary construct, numbers, rule a real construct, people. That arrangement allows for disposal of real human beings, in the name of the imaginary construct.
16. Capitalism nevertheless remains the most powerful economic system ever devised. The problem is not with the construct. The problem is with the output of the construct, wherein imaginary constructs — numbers, and currencies represented symbolically by numbers — are left to control real human beings to the material benefit of relatively few people and to the exclusion of many others. Classical capitalism has reached equilibrium in this regard. However, and consequently, many and growing numbers of human beings are excluded in the realm of finite resources hoarded by those most adept with manipulating numbers/currencies.
18. Modifying the output of capitalism is the only method available to resolving the problem of capitalism where numbers trumped people — at the hands of people trained toward profit represented only by numbers and currencies rather than human beings. Profit rules, people are expendable commodities represented by numbers. The solution, and only solution, is to modify that output, measuring profit in terms of real human beings instead of numbers.
19. We can choose to not reform capitalism, leave human beings to die from deprivation — where we are now — and understand that that puts people in self-defense mode.
20. When in self-defense mode, kill or be killed, there is no civilization at all. It is the law of the jungle, where we started eons ago. In that context, ‘terrorism’ will likely flourish because it is ‘terrorism’ only for the haves, not for the have-nots. The have-nots already live in terror, as their existence is threatened by deprivation, and they have the right to fight back any way they can.
21. ‘They’ will fight back, and do.
Back in 2004, when I helped him introduce this alternative to capitalism in London our business plan had reiterated the warning about uprisings:
“The opportunity for poverty relief was identified not only as a moral imperative, but also as an increasingly pressing strategic imperative. People left to suffer and languish in poverty get one message very clearly: they are not important and do not matter. They are in effect told that they are disposable, expendable. Being left to suffer and die is, for the victim, little different than being done away with by more direct means. Poverty, especially where its harsher forms exist, puts people in self-defence mode, at which point the boundaries of civilization are crossed and we are back to the law of the jungle: kill or be killed. While the vast majority of people in poverty suffer quietly and with little protest, it is not safe to assume that everyone will react the same way. When in defence of family and friends, it is completely predictable that it should be only a matter of time until uprisings become sufficient to imperil an entire nation or region of the world. People with nothing have nothing to lose. Poverty was therefore deemed not only a moral catastrophe but also a time bomb waiting to explode. Poverty reduction and relief became the overriding principle and fundamental social objective in the emerging P-CED model.”
“Dealing with poverty is nothing new. The question became ‘how does poverty still exist in a world with sufficient resources for a decent quality of life for everyone?’ The answer was that we have yet to develop any economic system capable redistributing finite resources in a way that everyone has at minimum enough for a decent life: food, decent housing, transportation, clothing, health care, and education. The problem has not been lack of resources, but adequate distribution of resources. Capitalism is the most powerful economic engine ever devised, yet it came up short with its classical, inherent profit-motive as being presumed to be the driving force. Under that presumption, all is good in the name of profit became the prevailing winds of international economies — thereby giving carte blanche to the notion that greed is good because it is what has driven capitalism. The 1996 paper merely took exception with the assumption that personal profit, greed, and the desire to amass as much money and property on a personal level as possible are inherent and therefore necessary aspects of any capitalist endeavour. While it is in fact very normal for that to be the case, it simply does not follow that it must be the case.
He died on August 18 2011 as the uprisings he predicted began to spread all over the world. The Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street were born
There was more to this however than climate change alone. As I will describe below, it was a battle with both organised crime and development agencies.
At the opening plenary for the 2013 conference on Ecosocialism, Richard Smith makes a similar warning:
In a trailer fo her new book This Changes Everything” Naomi Klein describes another paper delivered by a geophisicist to The American Geophysical Union in 2012 The conclusion — we’re fucked unless we resist..
Environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups, increases dissipation within the coupled system over fast to intermediate scales and pushes for changes in the dominant culture that favor transition to a stable, sustainable attractor.
Of all forms of social and environmental damage, war is one of the most costly.
In 2004 he returned to Ukraine where he had warned earlier of instability in Crimea, to work alongside Maidan activists who were taking a stand against crony capitalism, to begin researching local economic conditions. .
In 2006 the “breakthrough report” on ‘Death Camps , For Children has revealed how organised crime profits from the wholesale neglect of children in institutions known as “internats” It was based on a place called Torez. It would take another 5 years before mainstream media picked up the story.
In 2007, the same activist helped physicists at Kharkiv Narional University secure funding for a project to upgrade the lab where Russia had developed their H Bomb to a centre for fundamental science education.
The ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine was delivered to Ukraine’s government in February 2007 and published the same year in a prominent magazine, saying this about the need for change: We had to protect IP for social benefit and radical transparency was our only option.
An inherent assumption about capitalism is that profit is defined only in terms of monetary gain. This assumption is virtually unquestioned in most of the world. However, it is not a valid assumption. Business enterprise, capitalism, must be measured in terms of monetary profit. That rule is not arguable. A business enterprise must make monetary profit, or it will merely cease to exist. That is an absolute requirement. But it does not follow that this must necessarily be the final bottom line and the sole aim of the enterprise. How this profit is used is another question. It is commonly assumed that profit will enrich enterprise owners and investors, which in turn gives them incentive to participate financially in the enterprise to start with.
That, however, is not the only possible outcome for use of profits. Profits can be directly applied to help resolve a broad range of social problems: poverty relief, improving childcare, seeding scientific research for nationwide economic advancement, improving communications infrastructure and accessibility, for examples — the target objectives of this particular project plan. The same financial discipline required of any conventional for-profit business can be applied to projects with the primary aim of improving socioeconomic conditions. Profitability provides money needed to be self-sustaining for the purpose of achieving social and economic objectives such as benefit of a nation’s poorest, neediest people. In which case, the enterprise is a social enterprise.
This is a long-term permanently sustainable program, the basis for “people-centered” economic development. Core focus is always on people and their needs, with neediest people having first priority — as contrasted with the eternal chase for financial profit and numbers where people, social benefit, and human well-being are often and routinely overlooked or ignored altogether. This is in keeping with the fundamental objectives of Marshall Plan: policy aimed at hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. This is a bottom-up approach, starting with Ukraine’s poorest and most desperate citizens, rather than a “top-down” approach that might not ever benefit them. They cannot wait, particularly children. Impedance by anyone or any group of people constitutes precisely what the original Marshall Plan was dedicated to opposing. Those who suffer most, and those in greatest need, must be helped first — not secondarily, along the way or by the way.
In February 2008 USAID and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations were called upon for support
In December 2008 it was delivered as a proposal for the EU Citizens Consultation.
As violent conflict began in Ukraine, a final appeal to the European Union.