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Monday, May 27, 2013

Straining the Limits of The Powers That Be...

Negotiating the twenty-first century and beyond requires a wrenching correction. Putting more and more capital, wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands has not worked and will continue to fail at evermore alarming rates as long as we resist change. Fundamental change, as Thomas Jefferson made clear, needs to occur, even in the best of times, every generation or two. In our case, meaning Western "civilization" generally "we" have been trying the same thing for over five centuries. Curiously, our leaders have been using this method of shape shifting and making up lies about "free markets", a rising tide lifting all boats and the most vile of all, the rags to riches story to inculcate values based on their enrichment at our expense. The lies of the last half dozen or so centuries require us to turn both a blind eye to the truth behind how poverty has been manufactured as well as our backs against the cold insidious pickpocketing that steals, wraith-like fingers, our blood, sweat and tears. This is the modus operandi of the wealthy who pickpocket us with deft and unscrupulous guile, derision and impertinence. Wiser men than I have noticed the self chastisement that our poor feel today, as if we caused our own poverty. The time has come to recognize that we are at the mercy of a much more powerful flow of capital and that our needs do not figure in to the story that the world's rich tell themselves about us.

Many anthropologists have come to understand what is called the myth of increased leisure. Through all of the years, we find that there has been an undercurrent or shadow economy that, though it may not seek to thwart or cripple the dominant one, is a reaction to it. Barter, the thriving co-op movement, buying clubs and cash only economies are just the tip of a massive iceberg. Churches of nearly every size and description functionally launder vast sums of money, making them invisible or at least untouchable by the government. We work harder, the people at the top benefit. The majority lives in service to the capricious whims of our keepers and the constant beating of the drum keeping us in lockstep is the theory that it is well and good for the "job creators" (supposedly the wealthy elites) to decide what is best. Currently there is a very vocal minority of well-funded politicians that advocate turning educational goals, and the making of them over to the business community, assuring that only technical and job-training classes would be required for moving through the system. They sell this idea as a way to assure that graduates would be "job-ready". Explicitly providing the types of skills and knowledge that the future economy needs. Where then will they learn to educate themselves or even ask the right questions? The very nature of the process involves subsidizing the corporate world through the use of publicly funded educational institutions. Perhaps, our technical schools are a good idea, but tailoring University curriculum to feed workers into a human resource chasm, unsupported by real life experience and know-how seems futile to anyone who has seen the writing on the wall.

Convincing anyone, in this day and age, that we can expect more of the same over the next twenty years is only possible if we have been deluded ourselves. It is laughable to think that people all around the globe are unaware that there has been more change, just in the past twenty years, than we have experienced in the hundred years before that. In the next ten years, we will need to witness more change that has taken place in the last twenty years if we are to merely survive as a species. The rates of destruction, of forests, water, air quality and soil cannot continue to exponentially increase, it is just not mathematically possible. The changes that are coming must be qualitative and thus will be unmeasurable by current metrics. The last several years I have noticed growing numbers of gardens in the neighborhood. I have seen larger and larger numbers of people removing salvageable things from the waste stream. I have spoken with more and more people disillusioned with old ideas of capital, fewer and fewer with dollars to carry around, but with things that are far more rewarding, and oftentimes more valuable than cash in their pockets.

The powers that be are enriched by our borrowing, because of the time value of money. They dupe us regularly to get into "the markets" and fleece us when it hits the fan. Their pockets are so well lined that we often pay for the privilege of letting them control the nature of and rhetoric used in debate about policy. Divestment, simply not buying in to their paradigm is the only way to put them permanently out of business. Spend less, make more. Crafting a new society will take billions of discreet decisions about who we are and how we want to live. The old system has not done well in providing for the vast majority. It is high time that we begin investing in one another, our land and the families and friends that make up our neighborhoods. Not giving our hard-earned money away to those who would poison us for a profit is a great place to start. For an individualized consultation about your own carbon footprint, let us design a personalized ECO-Tour for you.

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