Mar 012012
 
 March 1, 2012  Posted by at 5:47 pm Finance
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrFlattr the authorDigg thisShare on RedditPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Russell Lee Birds of a Feather May 1939 “Farm woman. Vendor of chickens at farmers’ market in Weatherford, Texas.”

 

“All things are subject to interpretation; whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” –Friedrich Nietzsche

I’d like to take this opportunity to comment on an oldie but a goodie from the Indian environmentalist, Vandan Shiva. In her brief article for Odewire, “Two myths that keep the world poor“, Shiva tears apart the logic of Harvard economist and neoliberal (-feudal), economic “shock therapy” advocate Jeffrey Sachs with all the force one would expect from the God of destruction. It was in response to a book written by Sachs called The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities of Our Time, which featured all the nonsensical arguments that “liberal progressives” like to spout off in magazines and on television these days.

They proffer the same kind of fundamental myth that Nietzsche identified crawling through the bowels of modern religions such as Christianity – if one toils hard enough on Earth, and accepts one’s designated roles in society, he/she will be rewarded in Heaven. If that is God’s [Blankfein’s] given truth, then there is no need to radically alter the system or fight for justice/equality, right? Shiva first explains why global poverty is not a function of people being “left behind”, as if they had been ten minutes late to the train station, but rather of people being held up for nearly all their wealth/resources at gunpoint.

Two myths that keep the world poor

 

But, there is a problem with Sachs’ how-to-end poverty prescriptions. He simply doesn’t understand where poverty comes from. He seems to view it as the original sin. “A few generations ago, almost everybody was poor,” he writes, then adding: “The Industrial Revolution led to new riches, but much of the world was left far behind.”

 

This is a totally false history of poverty. The poor are not those who have been “left behind”; they are the ones who have been robbed. The wealth accumulated by Europe and North America are largely based on riches taken from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Without the destruction of India’s rich textile industry, without the takeover of the spice trade, without the genocide of the native American tribes, without African slavery, the Industrial Revolution would not have resulted in new riches for Europe or North America. It was this violent takeover of Third World resources and markets that created wealth in the North and poverty in the South.

 

 

Shiva introduces the inconvenient history that people like Sachs continue to ignore to this very day, as they demonize the millions of new people slipping into poverty every week and accuse them of not being productive, creative, innovative, responsible or hard-working enough. And perhaps there are elements of truth to it, but it is far from the whole story. That is exactly the dynamic we now see occurring between the EU politicians/bureaucrats, their media spin machines and the peripheral populations.

The Greeks are lazy, unproductive welfare queens, and they must be taught by Germany and their other Western neighbors how to start growing their economy again through a complete gutting of public safety nets, pensions and wage protections. This mentality is at the root of every policy being recommended and pursued by the EU, ECB and IMF. It is the reason why they not only have zero chance of working, but will inevitably make the situation worse for most people involved.

It is not a mentality that is just confined to the elite circles of academics and policymakers, though. Just tell the next person you meet that “economic growth” is not necessarily a solution to our systemic crises (assuming they are even aware of those), and is actually the problem in many ways, and see what kind of reaction you get. Shiva goes on to explain how this deeply-rooted mentality is based on two fundamental myths relating to “growth”.

First, the destruction of nature and of people’s ability to look after themselves are blamed not on industrial growth and economic colonialism, but on poor people themselves. Poverty, it is stated, causes environmental destruction.

 

The disease is then offered as a cure: further economic growth is supposed to solve the very problems of poverty and ecological decline that it gave rise to in the first place. This is the message at the heart of Sachs’ analysis.

 

The second myth is an assumption that if you consume what you produce, you do not really produce, at least not economically speaking. If I grow my own food, and do not sell it, then it doesn’t contribute to GDP, and therefore does not contribute towards “growth”.

 

People are perceived as “poor” if they eat food they have grown rather than commercially distributed junk foods sold by global agri-business. They are seen as poor if they live in self-built housing made from ecologically well-adapted materials like bamboo and mud rather than in cinder block or cement houses. They are seen as poor if they wear garments manufactured from handmade natural fibres rather than synthetics.

 

Yet sustenance living, which the wealthy West perceives as poverty, does not necessarily mean a low quality of life. On the contrary, by their very nature economies based on sustenance ensure a high quality of life—when measured in terms of access to good food and water, opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, robust social and cultural identity, and a sense of meaning in people’s lives. Because these poor don’t share in the perceived benefits of economic growth, however, they are portrayed as those “left behind”.

Indeed, the disease is continuously being offered as the cure right now. On the surface and in the spin rooms, they call it more “growth”, more credit availability, more “innovation”, etc., but, make no mistake, it is really more wealth extraction, more monopolization/centralization of industry and resources, more unproductive debt burdens, more environmental destruction, more slavery and more genocide. Only those with narrow, goal-seeked or malicious perspectives will fail to see how all of those things are extremely inter-connected.

The “war on poverty”, like the “war on drugs” or the “war on terror”, is simply another means of keeping people in an habitual system of poverty, disease and war through perception management (propaganda), skewed incentives, economic/physical coercion and structures of inter-dependency. In fact, it has helped ruin the one thing that “poor people” have used to find peace within their materially modest and increasingly uncertain lives – traditional customs/lifestyles structured around a rich natural ecology and environment.

On the other hand, people are poor if they have to purchase their basic needs at high prices no matter how much income they make. Take the case of India. Because of cheap food and fibre being dumped by developed nations and lessened trade protections enacted by the government, farm prices in India are tumbling, which means that the country’s peasants are losing $26 billion U.S. each year.

 

Unable to survive under these new economic conditions, many peasants are now poverty-stricken and thousands commit suicide each year. Elsewhere in the world, drinking water is privatised so that corporations can now profit to the tune of $1 trillion U.S. a year by selling an essential resource to the poor that was once free.

 

And the $50 billion U.S. of “aid” trickling North to South is but a tenth of the $500 billion being sucked in the other direction due to interest payments and other unjust mechanisms in the global economy imposed by the World Bank and the IMF.

 

If we are serious about ending poverty, we have to be serious about ending the systems that create poverty by robbing the poor of their common wealth, livelihoods and incomes. Before we can make poverty history, we need to get the history of poverty right. It’s not about how much wealthy nations can give, so much as how much less they can take.

Privatization and centralization of wealth/resources through all mechanisms available, ranging from “free trade” negotiations to fraud/manipulation, incarceration and military hostility, have been and continue to be the global imperatives of the status quo bankers, politicians, corporate executives, academics and pundits. What’s most frustrating is the way these people act like they are simply trying to help lift world’s populations into some poverty-less utopia through the application of a well-established and legitimate science. That is the quintessence of power shaping prevailing interpretation, because nothing could be further from the truth.

The rhetoric from “respected economists” like Jeffrey Sachs has only escalated since Shiva wrote this article in 2007 and the onset of the global financial crisis, despite the latter being a direct and patently obvious effect of their mentality and their shocking policies. Whether we are talking about the governments of Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, Merkel, etc., it doesn’t matter. They all fall under the spell of this false science and dangerous mentality in very important ways.

At this point in time, we can only hope that their myths and corresponding policies destroy themselves faster than they can impoverish and subjugate increasing portions of the global population to concentrated, private interests. And before they can take Planet Earth and officially decree it as the filthy landfill of our Solar System. Neitzsche may or may not have been right about Christianity, but his diagnosis was spot on for our modern mythical cults of trade/financial liberalization and never-ending economic growth.

Quotations from The Antichrist

 

Christianity “…turned every value into an disvalue, every truth into a lieit created distress in order to eternalize itself.”It has “…contempt for every good and honest instinct… and its Beyond is its will to negate every reality…” Nietzsche believed that Christianity is a conspiracy “…against health, beauty, whatever has turned out well, courage, intellect, goodness of the soul, against life itself.

Home Forums Modern Myths that Destroy Humanity

This topic contains 0 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  ashvin 2 years, 5 months ago.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 41 total)
Author Posts
Author Posts
March 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm #8605

ashvin

Russell Lee Birds of a Feather May 1939 “Farm woman. Vendor of chickens at farmers’ market in Weatherford, Texas.”   “All things are subject to i
[See the full post at: Modern Myths that Destroy Humanity]

March 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm #1195

jal

Modern Myths that Destroy Humanity

I now get “Article cannot be shown”

Too bad … I already read it.

Summary … hehehe

Christianity reversed the earth magnetic pole, 2,000 years ago and my compass has been pointing the wrong way all my life.

A reset will reverse the magnetic poles.

Trying to post to this article gets me ” invalid post ID”

Quotations from The Antichrist
 
Christianity “…turned every value into an disvalue, every truth into a lie… it created distress in order to eternalize itself.”It has “…contempt for every good and honest instinct… and its Beyond is its will to negate every reality…” Nietzsche believed that Christianity is a conspiracy “…against health, beauty, whatever has turned out well, courage, intellect, goodness of the soul, against life itself.

One more try to post.

March 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm #1197

Porkpie

Vandana Shiva is a woman.

March 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm #1198

YesMaybe

I’m with Porkpie. Better luck next time, Ash.

March 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm #1199

ashvin

Porkpie post=796 wrote: Vandana Shiva is a woman.

Fixed.

jal,

I’m getting similar errors when I try to hit the “thank you” button. I believe it is because I deleted the initial thread and created a new one. Anyway, the ability to comment should not be hampered.

March 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm #1200

el gallinazo

Great article, Ash. I have held a seething contempt for Sachs since Yeltsin put him in charge of stealing everything from the Russian people in the 90′s. I’ll take a Cheney or a Rumsfeld over these pseudo-progressive creeps like Obama or Sachs any day. At least you know exactly what you are dealing with. They are wolves with wolves’ fur.

But I disagree that said pseudo-progressive creeps don’t know the truth about wealth extraction. Like Bernays and Goebbels, they know the truth, but consider it their job is to turn it on it’s head. You know, the big lie repeated ad nauseum. Now we have electronic devices to pound them into our heads incessantly. You give them too much charity.

As to Nietzsche and Christianity, I would only agree in terms of the institutionalized churches whose main job is also wealth extraction, both for their bosses and for themselves. Jesus would not have nice things to say about them.

As to YesMaybe’s strange comment, I heard that Francis Drake was also a woman :-)

March 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm #1202

YesMaybe

I just meant it as in “better luck not assuming an author is a man next time.” It’s an honest mistake that I’m guilty of as well sometimes.

March 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm #1203

wwwild

This article fell apart for me when I got to: “fundamental myth … crawling through the bowels of modern religions such as Christianity” as in my understanding to equate these myths of hard-work=success, and no need to fight for earthly justice, etc with Christianity is a gross misunderstanding of what Christianity is. However, it certainly not an uncommon understanding; so, in that sense you’re correct.

I would actually say that those myths comes much closer to matching with much more modern religions such as Islam, Mormonism, etc. (i.e. non-Christian religions). That is, all these religions say you have to work hard to get into heaven, Christianity doesn’t say that; however, there are plenty of people in power positions of so-called Christianity that say that.

I suggest one read Jesus’ words and understand the context he spoke them as opposed to what these church power mongers say he said.

www

March 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm #1204

BC Nurse Prof

test

March 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm #1205

Glennda

Some thoughts on growth

“My how you’ve grown!” Can be a source of pride for parents and child alike. Somehow they take credit for a biological imperative, since we come into this world so undeveloped. I think those words get imprinted into our minds early and it becomes easy for us to automatically identify with growth as a positive.

But when you get to a certain age, “My how you’ve grown!”, can be a source of dismay as clothes get too tight.

When physical growth ceases humans grow mentally till about 25 for some brain functions, while wisdom can grow endlessly, unless we become inactive, then we can get in a rut.

What if society and businesses, modeled on wisdom as a source of growth? How would we measure that? Not on the door frame with a pencil as a kid grows. What could be used to measure of wisdom-growth? Flexibility and the perspective of history?

March 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm #1206

BC Nurse Prof

Great post, Ash! I must say, your posts have been getting more clear and well-written and more to-the-point lately. This is a masterpiece. So can we infer from the logic here that being poor will soon become both “a sin” and “illegal” and therefore subject to punishment? Surely this state of non-participation cannot be allowed.

March 1, 2012 at 9:24 pm #1208

sangell

Ridiculous assertion. So the ‘wealth’ of neolithic tribes was stolen in Africa and North America and this enormous horde of beaver pelts, stone tools and animal skins was transmogrified into the industrial revolution.

March 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm #1209

jt

These discussions usually leave me sitting in the uncomfortable middle, not being able to agree with either side. On one side Sacks and followers are looking at poverty as if it is a disease. So long as we find the right vacine and the correct clinical proceedures we can make it diappear like smallpox or leprosy have disappeared. The causes of poverty are too complex, too overlayered in history, culture, oppression and personal reations to ever be solved by a “process or proceedure.” On the other hand I am uncomfortable with the idea of the “noble poor” and viewing poverty as sort of an alternative life style to be cherished and left to itself. The reality of the last two hundred years is that there has been progress and much of that has come through growth. Infant mortality, death in childbirth, malnutrition, lack of education, clothing, housing have been dramatically reduced in many parts of the world. Few of us would voluntarily return to the former realities. I can not help but believe that the truly poor of Africa, South American and Asia do not want to be freed of these affilctions or that they would object to sharing the “progress” and growth that we take for granted. The key is to find a way to promote progress and to promote a sustainable growth without colonialism and oppression as its moving force. How we do this; I don’t know. Hopefully many of you are more intelligent and insightful than I am about how to get there.

March 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm #1210

YesMaybe

sangell

That’s some very selective reading there, focusing on beaver pelts, stone tools, and animal skins. Granted, fur coats are damn expensive. But you seem to neglect, force example “without the genocide of the native American tribes, without African slavery.” Consider also the case of china: there was practically nothing the chinese wanted to import from europe, except opium which of course was known by both sides to be immensely damaging, and which the chinese allowed only after being forced to through war. The industrial revolution was significant, of course, but it did not make either human labor nor natural resources unnecessary, and europe did plunder for these in america, africa, and asia.

March 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm #1211

Anonymous

Well I’ll come out and say what everyone else seems to be avoiding – this article is great and mostly true. Sachs is simply a minion of the elite status quo and an extraordinary shill on par with Thomas Friedman.

March 1, 2012 at 11:16 pm #1213

Reverse Engineer

Basically the real economic utility of Industrialization comes from its power to build a War Machine that can roll over everybody else who is not industrialized. Carz weren’t invented to take J6P to the Mall, they were invented to beat the crap out of anybody still riding Horseback.

Capitalism is and always has been theft on the grand scale of the Nation State, utilizing the Big Ass Military as Enforcer. As Al Capone put it, “Capitalism is the Legitimate Racket of the Ruling Class”. “Legitimate” because the guy with the biggest gun makes the Law and only enforces them to benefit himself.

Not forever though. These systems are all destined to go the way of the Dinosaur. They are not sustainable. When they pass into history, and pass they will, then the Playing Field will be levelled. Then the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth. Right AFTER the Meek get very, VERY angry.

RE

http://www.doomsteaddiner.org

March 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm #1214

Joanna

As a non-productive food grower, this post really hit home with me. I work full time off-site, then bust my ass at home to grow food that money can’t buy. It is really tough for many people to understand why I do this to the extent I do (i.e. subsistence farming, not a hobby garden) when I can just buy cheaper food elsewhere.

And food is just one facet of this systemic problem. People are taught that accepting a more hands-on life is either ‘cracker’ or elitist depending on the point of view. What we the people need to know is the true cost of store-bought lifestyles, of externalization.
Those ‘poor’ susbistence farmers in other countries, and in our past, used to have access to common lands, grazing areas and “waste” lands. Loss or degradtion of these buffer zones threw people into hunger which led them to accept terrible conditions in return for a cash wage to buy the food they could no longer grow or glean themselves. I think that is the real tragedy of the commons.

As far as liberal progressive types, I think they like their money as much as the rest of that class. They just like to feel philanthropic AND wealthy. So their resource acquisition comes with ‘aid’ and ‘progress’. There, all better. Never mind the destroyed societies and lifeways, have some Plumpy’nut.

March 2, 2012 at 12:12 am #1215

jal

Myths are everywhere.
Since this article is referring to christian myths, I thought that you might like to take apart the 50 virgins myth with a few questions. The answers might make someone think twice before dying for such goals.

Those 50 virgins had to die to be in the afterlife to do your bidding. There cannot be that many left on earth.

Is the pool of 50 virgin in the afterlife limited by age, religion, race, looks or relationship to you?
Are the deflowered virgins discarded and replaced with a fresh supply? Eternity is a long time.

Perhaps, it would be best for those young men to put their destiny in their hand rather than to rely on the promised pleasures of the afterlife.

March 2, 2012 at 1:49 am #1220

scandia

Ash,
Bageant must be delighted to see you pick up the gauntlet dropped with his mortal coil.
On Christianity, in my recent efforts to reestabish separation of Church and State, I have thought that joining an organized religion dims the spirit that Jesus said he left within each of us as the comforter. I have met a rare few who I perceive as true Christians who don’t know the Bible nor any cant at all.
Also I am fed up to the gills with people smugly describing themselves as ” a person of faith “. Oh such self righteous exclusivity! I don’t care what you believe, I care what you do.
If Jesus does come back he’s going to need a BIG bulldozer.
Enough temples already!!!

March 2, 2012 at 3:22 am #1221

DR01D

Ashvin if your worldview is correct why did the USSR go broke? The USSR stole untold wealth from eastern Europe and the near east and yet the country was impoverished.

What about Hong Kong? It has few natural resources and was once a British colony. Despite that Hong Kong has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Same story Singapore.

March 2, 2012 at 4:29 am #1224

HDP

Ash I really enjoy your article. With the caveat that like others I take exception to the conclusions on Christianity. I will say, the conclusions nail a dead-ringer portrait on Churchianity.

Listen, I would like to mention a certain elephant in the room about which I’ve tried to comment before but Blogger previously stuffed the issue every time. Of course the second the comment should take, probably a shotgun blast of denials will rip forth too… As delicately as I can put this, recently I have noticed this among my friends of that other tribe who share the previous half of THE BOOK: they are growing nervous.

Flipping out here and there, post-OWSer movement. Why? Because things are starting to rhyme with what took place in Europe almost a century ago. The banks passing bad paper, the proverbial tribe getting scapegoated for the sins of certain families high up the economic food chain, and… then…

I just want to say to everyone who dishes on those of the book – and I’m not defending the behavior of the thumper-class – realize that controversy about the book will also come back to bite the proverbial tribe. Sooner or later it is going to bust loose.

You even read Kunstler fretting over the possibility here and there.

Just saying.

March 2, 2012 at 6:38 am #1227

Reverse Engineer

jal post=815 wrote: Myths are everywhere.
Since this article is referring to christian myths, I thought that you might like to take apart the 50 virgins myth with a few questions. The answers might make someone think twice before dying for such goals.

Those 50 virgins had to die to be in the afterlife to do your bidding. There cannot be that many left on earth.

Is the pool of 50 virgin in the afterlife limited by age, religion, race, looks or relationship to you?
Are the deflowered virgins discarded and replaced with a fresh supply? Eternity is a long time.

Perhaps, it would be best for those young men to put their destiny in their hand rather than to rely on the promised pleasures of the afterlife.

If you postulate Heaven is run by an Almighty God, the Virgins don’t have to Die to be in Heaven. God could simply snap his fingers or wiggle his nose like Samantha on Bewitched and conjure them up into existence. He could also recycle them and make them “Eternal Virgins” by sending them to the Cherry Repair Shop and wiping their memory so they would act like Virgins and be indistinguishable from “real” Virgins in all their behaviors.

Heaven doesn’t necessarily operate by the same set of Natural and Physical Laws that we elucidate in our Corporeal Existence. Much like when you Dream, you don’t have to obey any of these laws, you can Fly, walk through Walls, whatever your mind conjures up here. So if Heaven is non-corporeal and an eternal existence of Ideas, then really Heaven is just what your mind makes it up to be. So if some guys really BELIEVE they will get 50 Virgins when they go to Everlasting Glory in the Kingdom of Heaven, they very well might get that, on the assumption their thought process holds together without containment in the physical world. If you DON’T believe its possible, then you probably would not get 50 Virgins, but only what you figure is really possible.

Conclusion: Don’t be too locked in to what you think is Possible or likely in Heaven. If it does Exist, then you will do a whole lot better in Eternity if you have an Open Mind and a Good Imagination :-)

RE

http://www.doomsteaddiner.org

March 2, 2012 at 6:59 am #1228

Porkpie

In addition to Vandana Shiva being a woman, I think this post is excellent, and I forwarded it on.

I particularly like the “left behind, as if ten minutes late for the train.”

March 2, 2012 at 8:08 am #1229

YesMaybe

For everyone protesting about Christianity: the beef is with Nietzsche, and Ashvin did not (in the article) endorse his claims, so your protestations are misplaced. I say this as a great admirer of Christianity (the religion and its true followers, keeping in mind Matthew 7:21).

March 2, 2012 at 8:30 am #1230

FrankRichards

F=ma
PV=NRT
E=IR

Weathersats

March 2, 2012 at 8:42 am #1231

Golden Oxen

This privatization of drinking water topic, mentioned in this article, is a much overlooked situation that needs immediate public outcry and remedial action. It could very well turn out to be the greatest robbery of all. The nerve of them!

March 2, 2012 at 9:22 am #1232

Reverse Engineer

FrankRichards post=830 wrote: F=ma
PV=NRT
E=IR

How could you forget the other 2 important Fundamental Equations of Existence?

E=Mc2

and

S=G/E ?

RE

http://www.doomsteaddiner.com

March 2, 2012 at 10:48 am #1233

ben

HDP post=824 wrote:

Listen, I would like to mention a certain elephant in the room about which I’ve tried to comment before but Blogger previously stuffed the issue every time. Of course the second the comment should take, probably a shotgun blast of denials will rip forth too… As delicately as I can put this, recently I have noticed this among my friends of that other tribe who share the previous half of THE BOOK: they are growing nervous.

Flipping out here and there, post-OWSer movement. Why? Because things are starting to rhyme with what took place in Europe almost a century ago. The banks passing bad paper, the proverbial tribe getting scapegoated for the sins of certain families high up the economic food chain, and… then…

I just want to say to everyone who dishes on those of the book – and I’m not defending the behavior of the thumper-class – realize that controversy about the book will also come back to bite the proverbial tribe. Sooner or later it is going to bust loose…

Just saying.

to HDP

(sorry owe you one)

March 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm #1235

FrankRichards

RE,

It’s not that I forgot them. I was reacting to the all too standard implication that the West contributed nothing, just stole.

Physics, chemistry, engineering, vaccination and sewers. Yes, other civilizations contributed, but, hey, we have electric lights and don’t have smallpox.

Spin me how either of those is bad.

March 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm #1237

FrankRichards

RE,

Just a bit tired of the meme that western civilization is now and always has been nothing but a parasite on the rest of the world.

I’m personally a big fan of vaccination and electric lights

March 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm #1240

ashvin

DR01D post=821 wrote: Ashvin if your worldview is correct why did the USSR go broke? The USSR stole untold wealth from eastern Europe and the near east and yet the country was impoverished.

What about Hong Kong? It has few natural resources and was once a British colony. Despite that Hong Kong has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Same story Singapore.

Well, first speaking to Frank’s issue, my “worldview” isn’t that Western civilization is evil and has provided no benefits whatsoever to other countries (and it’s certainly not that countries which colonize/steal are invincible, which should be obvious enough by now). That would just be another myth. The issue here is to dispel the simplified myths that are used by elite groups in the West to attempt to perpetuate an extremely oppressive, unjust system as a whole.

There are many different inter-related factors influencing metrics such as “standard of living” in various countries, yet there has also been a clear trend of increasing wealth inequality between “developed” and
“under-developed” nations as well as within developed and developing populations. Again, it’s not as simple as busting out a map and color coding which countries belong to which group and are destined to remain there. More myths.

Sachs and many others like him would like you to believe that he has identified the reasons why much of the world’s population has remained in poverty, most of which are internal to their institutions and populations, and that they can gradually help these people lift themselves up through endless rhetoric, international meetings, economic integration, liberalization/globalization and monetary “aid”.

Yet, those are exactly the policies we’ve had for decades now and the situation has only become worse for most people. While the masses patiently wait for some sort of final salvation, the poverty, inequality, environmental destruction, wars, etc. will continue on and will directly benefit many of those same people preaching the end of poverty.

March 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm #1242

ashvin

re: Christianity

I certainly understand the hesitation people would have to accept Nietzsche visceral hatred of all religions, but especially the more modern varieties. For me, what he really provides insight into is the nature of power and the increasing discrepancy between personal empowerment and minority groups wielding power over others. There is no doubt in my mind that many aspects of modern religions have reinforced the mentality which helps make the latter dominate over the former, especially in a country like the U.S. Perhaps that was not all the original intent/message that came with the religion’s founding, but that’s a bit irrelevant now.

Gravity and I have had similar discussions/debate regarding the U.S. Constitution. Regardless of what positive principles were meant to be enshrined in the document (equality, justice, personal/political freedom), it has been irreversibly compromised as a mechanism for achieving any of those things, and is instead merely invoked as the “supreme law” for the convenience of the wealthy elites.

March 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm #1246

Reverse Engineer

FrankRichards post=835 wrote: RE,

It’s not that I forgot them. I was reacting to the all too standard implication that the West contributed nothing, just stole.

Physics, chemistry, engineering, vaccination and sewers. Yes, other civilizations contributed, but, hey, we have electric lights and don’t have smallpox.

Spin me how either of those is bad.

Electric Lights come at the expense of burning millions of years worth of fossil fuel energy. They burn brightly for a while, but then they burn out. They aren’t perpetual. Besides that, in order to keep your McMansion lit up, somewhere somebody is fracking some NG and shoving tasty chemicals into the water table.

Far as Smallpox is concerned, first off all disease is a form of population control, which is overall a bit more fair in its distribution than War is. Second, Smallpox and most viral diseases we suffer from come as a result of animal husbandry putting large numbers of animals in close proximity to each other and to human beings. Virial diseases mutate and spread this way through the populations of both animals and humans. Ths is why natives on the NA continent were so susceptible to these diseases, they did not practice animal husbandry in this way and so had not been exposed to these diseases previously.

So, we most likely would never had smallpox to begin with had we not stupidly domesticated animals and forced them to live in little pens and cages before slaughtering them for food. This only sent us on the road toward Overshoot and the possible extinction of our own species.

Frank, all this stuff has Blowback. The Progress Narrative isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

RE

http://www.doomsteaddiner.org

March 2, 2012 at 11:21 pm #1248

Babble

Frankly this article is ill constructed and Asvand seems to be losing it. He want to blame the ills of the world on liberals yet practically every example is a conservative ideology. Liberals and progressives are the ones who help the poor while conservatives and libertarians try to destroy any safety net. Conservatives want to control your life (see the recent idiotic statements over birth control). Yet they are the first in line when disaster happens.

On the other hand, without technology, trade, manufacturing most people would be starving. Nothing wrong with growing your own food if you have the land, tools and the time but that is a pipe dream for most and not a good one. Society only advanced when most people no longer had to work on farms.

March 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm #1250

Reverse Engineer

Babble post=848 wrote:
On the other hand, without technology, trade, manufacturing most people would be starving.

Incorrect. Without Technology, Trade and Manufacturing, most people on Earth would never have been born in the first place.

Society only advanced when most people no longer had to work on farms.

We advanced? I don’t see any advance in society. It’s an advance to run bigger Wars with bigger Weapons? Its an advance to turn entire countries into Polluted Sewers? Its an advance to create massive Dead Zones in the world Oceans? Its an advance to have spent fuel at Fuk-U-shima puking poison out from Nippon every day?

The only thing we are Advancing towards with this paradigm is auto-extinction.

RE

http://www.doomsteaddiner.org

March 3, 2012 at 1:39 am #1251

ben

silence is a virtue of fools
-francis bacon

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/weird-gun-future-attacks-words-not-people-193050045.html

March 3, 2012 at 7:56 am #1257

Glennda

Good topic, Ash.

Your follow up comment shows a clear grasp of the techniques that TPTB (IMF etc.) use to trick countries into jumping on the band wagon of progress and prosperity, but for whom that is the question. TPTB, of course.

Probably should post this on the earlier thread about prisons, but……

the prison industrial complex is very real in this film. It was a fine documentary about conditions in the city of Philadelphia. The images of police beating a black man could have been from Oakland or any major US city. I found watching the short beating section of the film the most disturbing and haunting. It’s heart breaking to hear of young men who were sentenced at age 15 who have spent more than half their lives in prison. And the crowding is almost as bad in PA as in CA, though the photos of CA prisons with triple bunks in gymnasiums seems worse to me.

Elaine Brown sang beautifully for us of young Black Panthers lost to violence and prison. I hope that is not in our future here for more young people. But they are already there, a huge lost generation of black men.

There seems to be an accretion of groups that have been weak on their own, when they intersect with the Occupy movement they become strong, or so it appears. ‘Occupy4Prisoners’ has become a newer stronger development. The Occupy center is acting like the hub of a wheel.

****

Angela Davis to Speak at Occupy4Prisoners Benefit – Grand Lake Theater, Oakland – Thursday, March 1, 2012 – 7:00 PM

Angela Davis, Elaine Brown, and Barbara Becnel will speak about the prison industrial complex during the program accompanying the showing of the evening’s film. Statements of incarcerated people will also be featured, and will be read aloud by others.

“Broken on All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration, and New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S.” is a recently released documentary that takes us inside the prison system, exposing the racism and brutality at its core. The film features Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

All proceeds benefit Occupy4Prisoners.

March 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm #1260

JoeP

Destructive Myths – economic theories:

Jeremy Grantham wrote: You don’t have to be a PhD mathematician to work out that if the average Chinese and Indian were to catch up with (the theoretically moving target of) the average American, then our planet’s goose is cooked, along with most other things. Indeed, scientists calculate that if they caught up, we would need at least three planets to be fully sustainable. But few listen to scientists these days. So, do you know how many economic theories treat resources as if they are finite? Well, the researchers at the O.E.C.D say “none” – that no such theory exists. Economic theory either ignores this little problem or assumes you reach out and take the needed resources given the normal workings of supply and demand and you can do it indefinitely. This is a lack of common sense on a par with “rational expectations,” that elegant theory that encouraged the ludicrous faith in deregulation and the wisdom of free markets, which brought us our recent financial fiascos. But this failure in economic theory – ignoring natural limits – risks far more dangerous outcomes than temporary financial crashes.

March 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm #1261

Birdshak

ABCD Puppy?
LMNO Puppy!
OSMR, CMPN?

March 4, 2012 at 4:23 am #1286

Lithachne

Mr. Pandurangi, I am disappointed. I have read your spate of recent posts with interest and, in general, agreement. I’ve also enjoyed your words with the guys at the Extraenvironmentalist. But this time your arrow has flown clear of your target.
I am reminded of the scene in Good Will Hunting, when Sean tells Will that he’s just a kid and has no first-hand experience with what he’s talking about, never smelled that Sistine Chapel…
You see, I lived in a small village in northern sub-Saharan west Africa for two years, among subsistence farmers. And they *don’t* have clean water. And they *can’t* grow enough food. And it’s *not* big US agribusiness that makes them poor. And they *want* economic opportunities beyond their moribund millet fields–they would happily work in a sweat shop for $1 a day because that would be $1 that they wouldn’t get otherwise. They want indoor plumbing, or at least a toilet. They want refrigeration, lights that don’t produce smoke. They want a floor instead of dirt, roofs made out of at least tin. Most of all, they want their kids not to die of vaccine preventable disease, or at least, they don’t want their kids to die of something as easy to cure as diarrhea. These families want their kids to be able to go to school, but they still need to be able to plant and harvest the fields. How dare you speak for them?! How dare you suggest how wonderful their lives are?!
If you admire their situation so much, any one of them would be delighted to switch places with you. I can get you some names and addresses–let’s make it happen.
Our products’ cheapness is depressing the prices these subsistence farmers can get for their crops on the international market, yet our biofuels program is driving up prices of food (complaints about which have appeared on this page). So which is it? Do we want low food costs for poor people, or do we want poor people to be able to sell the food they grow for more money?
Sachs has never lived in an African village, but at least he’s fracking been to Africa, and he’s been conducting *results-based, outcome-driven* projects that actually work to lift people out of poverty. You denigrate academics, but your essay is worse than any moldy academic treatise, because you don’t even deign to consider any data or experience, you just regurgitate and extend the unfounded opinion of someone with whom you already agree. What shall we call your type of ivory tower?

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 41 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.