Social Articles from 2016
Beyond the Empire of Chaos: the Life Capital Solution
by John McMurtry
Posted April 25, 2016
Life capital is an objective and quantifiable process whose criterion is life wealth / capacity that produces more life wealth / capacity without loss and with cumulative gain through generational time (e.g., a society’s public hydro infrastructure, its literacy development, or an individual’s organic fitness through age stages).
Yet it is crucial to emphasize that life capital does not presuppose a private possessor of it. Nor does it require a private profit. But both these false presuppositions have become instituted as akin to physical laws in the reigning ‘economic’ paradigm. More…
Neoliberalism: The Ideology at the Root of All Our Problems
By George Monbiot
Posted April 24, 2016
So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.
Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. More…
Humanity Needs Universal Basic Income in Order to Stop Impeding Progress
by Scott Santens
Posted April 21, 2016
What an interesting place and an interesting time it is for a visit. Earth’s most intelligent primates are busy creating technologies that allow them all to do less work, freeing themselves from millennia of senseless toil and drudgery.
Strangely, however, they are using such technologies to force each other to work longer and harder. In one area called the United States, responsible for so much of the world’s technological innovation, at a time when productivity has never been higher, the number of hours spent working for others in exchange for the means to live is now just shy of 50 hours per week, where it was once 40 and soon supposed to be 20 on its way to eventually approaching zero. More…
Wages of Sin
by Chris Hedges
Posted April 15, 2016
We are no more immune to the forces of decay and death than were ancient Athens, ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, the Mayans, the Aztecs, Easter Island, Europe’s feudal society of lords and serfs, and the monarchal empires in early 20th-century Europe. Human nature has not changed. We will react as those before us reacted when they faced collapse. We will be increasingly consumed by illusion. We will seek to stop time, to prevent change, to embrace magical thinking in a desperate effort to return to an idealized past. Many will suffer.
This time, collapse will be planetwide. There will be no new lands to conquer, no new peoples to subjugate, no new natural resources to plunder and exploit. Climate change will teach us a brutal lessen about hubris. More…
A Beautiful World of Abundance
by Charles Eisenstein
Posted April 12, 2016
Scarcity is one of the defining features of modern life. Around the world, one in five children suffers from hunger. We fight wars over scarce resources such as oil. We have depleted the oceans of fish, and the ground of clean water. Worldwide, people and governments are cutting back, making do with less, because of a scarcity of money. Few would deny that we live in an era of scarce resources; many would say it is dangerous to imagine otherwise.
Yet it is not hard to see that most of this scarcity is artificial. Consider food scarcity: huge amounts, as much as 50% of production by some estimates, are wasted in the Western world. Vast areas of land are devoted to producing ethanol; vaster areas still are devoted to America’s number one irrigated crop: lawn grass. Meanwhile, land that is devoted to food production is typically farmed by chemical-intensive, machine-dependent methods that may actually be less productive (per hectare, not per unit of labour) than labour-intensive organic agriculture and permaculture. More…
Why Is Glyphosate Sprayed on Crops Right Before Harvest?
By Ken Roseboro
Posted April 9, 2016
According to a wheat farmer in Saskatchewan, desiccating wheat with glyphosate is commonplace in his region. “I think every non-organic farmer in Saskatchewan uses glyphosate on most of their wheat acres every year,” the farmer speaking on condition of anonymity said.
He has concerns about the practice. “I think farmers need to realize that all of the chemicals we use are ‘bad’ to some extent,” he said. “Monsanto has done such an effective job marketing glyphosate as ‘safe’ and ‘biodegradable’ that farmers here still believe this even though such claims are false.” More…
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