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The Genocidal Mentality, Pt. 1: The 'free market' as genocidal ideology (english)
by Brent Herbert
12 Oct 2003
How the ideology of genocide, with all its internal contradictions, can be found to be expressed in commonly accepted formulations of free market capitalist ideology.
The Genocidal Mentality, Pt. 1: The 'free market' as genocidal ideology
How the ideology of genocide, with all its internal contradictions, can be found to expressed in commonly accepted formulations of free market capitalist ideology.
The Mystification of Genocide
In his book "The Nazi Doctors", Robert Jay Lifton, investigated the question "how is it that ordinary people take part in acts of extraordinary evil." In his forward to the book he noted that in deciding to investigate this matter he described his "conviction that what was now most needed was (not a study of the victims of the Holocaust but rather) a study of perpetrators." His movement in this direction brought forth misgivings among people insisted that this was a subject best left alone, and that ‘Nazi evil should be merely be recognized and isolated: rather than make it an object of study, one should simply condemn it...(such a study) ran the risk of replacing condemnation with "insights"." This was based, he stated, on "an assumption that Nazi or any other evil has no relationship to the rest of us," and assumption he described as "false, even dangerous." He also made note of the fact that the doing of evil was not something restricted to Nazi doctors : Soviet doctors diagnosed dissenters as insane; Chilean doctors manned the torture chambers; American doctors worked for the CIA on mind manipulation experiements; Japanese doctors conducted experiments on prisoners of war; South African doctors falsified death certificates of victims of torture.
In Western culture it is generally the rule that Nazi crimes have been mystified. Through Hollywood portrayals of evil stereotypes as the assigned role of Nazis, to similar simplified portrayals of history, the belief has taken shape that only a certain type of particularly evil individual is involved in the genocidal enterprise. In just this way the evils of genocide are continually mystified and distance is maintained between ‘the good and the evil' but the very weakness of this mythological approach is that the workings of genocidal systems are kept hidden and thus, as I will argue, the maintenance of present systems of genocide is enabled by this very process of mystification.
In a later book, the Genocidal Mentality, Lifton went on to generalize the workings of a classic genocidal system, that of the Nazis, and apply what was revealed to other prevalent systems of genocide which remain at work on the planet today (his particular interest being the parallels between Nazi genocidal ideology, and the Nuclear Ideology at work in American society today, in which weapons whose only purpose is genocidal slaughter are mystified and mythologized using a process remarkably similar to the process of mystification that infused Nazi society).
Genocidal requires a ‘master narrative' which excludes alternative views, and which are ‘crucially sustained by certain psychological mechanisms that protect individual people from experiencing the harmful effects...of their own actions upon others. These mechanisms which blunt human feelings, include dissociation" (the separation of one part of the mind from another) . This leads to ‘doubling', or the existence of two contradictory personalities which exist in one person. One is the genocidal self (a Nazi doctor at work on genocidal duty at death camps) and the other is ‘the real self' (the same Doctor volunteering for a children's charity in the evening, after a long day of killing other people's kids). "Psychic numbing" is "characterized by the diminished capacity to feel, and usually includes separation of thought from feeling...When numbing or doubling enables one, with relatively little psychological cost, to engage in sustained actions that cause harm to others, we may speak of ‘brutalization'." A sense of inevitability, fostered by the power of the state, facilitates the process by "divesting the individual of a sense of responsibility, for destructive collective behavior." So, therefore, Nazi doctors could justify performing cruel experiments on the victims of death camps, using the justification that ‘they are going to die in any case' and therefore it would be a wasted death if they were not made the subjects of experimentation.
Nazi concentration camp guards could rationalize their activities in the same way, since ‘if they didn't do it, someone else would.' Genocidal ideology carries with it a sense of impotence before a mystified, irresistible force, embodied in the machinery of the state. Otherwise good police officers could become Gestapo officers, and could often even justify their participation in genocide using the rationalization that ‘if good people don't do it, then only the evil will do it, and the results would be much more cruel.' Thus genocidal, brutalizing systems can be rationalized using the familiar refrain about ‘the lesser of two evils' and using this type of thinking even ‘good people' can become part of the genocidal machine, becoming socialized critics, or protestors working within the system, or even active participants in genocidal activities, using rationalizations about how one must be ‘pragmatic', ‘its going to happen in any case', one must ‘work within the system, to avoid having the system run by the greater evil' and ‘we have to do it.' Mystification concerning the inevitability of destructive systems of genocide are an important component in getting ‘good people' to do atrociously harmful things. Thus the architects and workers of genocide are found to be not the stereotypical monsters of Hollywood fiction or simplistic history retelling, but rather are ‘ordinary people', well regarded doctors or average police officers who through a process of mystification producing a sense of ‘helplessness' before
an irresistible force, through arguments concerning ‘pragmatism' which dilute moral imperatives, and a logic of pursuing ‘the lesser of two evils' become the very ‘monsters' responsible for genocide.
That this process is kept hidden by being wrapped in mythologies concerning ‘the purely evil Nazi' is not really a surprise when you stop to consider the constant workings of genocidal ideologies in our world today, and in particular when you come to understand that even today, ‘good people' are committing acts of genocide, as well as acts of ecocide, a process which demystification would make much harder (and which therefore makes this demystification all the more a requirement). By maintaining ignorance concerning the true workings of systems of genocide, by cloaking genocide in dualistic mythologies which paint the workers of genocide as ‘inhuman monsters' unlike ‘the rest of us', such systems remain cloaked in mystification and this process contributes to the forward progress and maintenance of genocidal systems, and also ensures the support of ‘good people' who will not only support the system of genocide, but will also become workers of genocide themselves.
Genocidal systems can promote the splitting of the personality into two halves, sometimes one professional (the architect of genocide) and one personal (the family personality). This splitting of the human personality is promoted by genocidal ideology since it is mirrored by the systems of destruction themselves, which are found to be riddled by contradictions and inconsistencies which are impossible to resolve. The central core contradiction of all genocidal ideology is the irreconcilable nature of the belief in ‘killing to heal.' This inconsistency can be found in expressed in the belief that one must build weapons of mass destruction ‘to keep the peace.' Similarly one must kill civilians in warfare to ‘save the nation.' One must destroy the environment to ‘end poverty'. The logic of death and destruction brings renewal and life. One must cause great harm in order to promote the greater good, one must hurt and kill in order to heal. In an extreme case, one must kill Jews to save Germany. Because genocidal ideology is the cause of destructive suffering, it promotes both numbing and ‘derealization' (a failure to experience the suffering being caused as real). In addition their is a curious mix of ‘omnipotence' (the sense of power that comes by taking action, by the killing side of the ideology) combined with a strange sense of impotence (resistance is futile, genocidal systems are inevitable.) Genocidal systems promote a separate reality, where the doing of evil is removed from the ordinary experience of evil or the ordinary concepts of ethical behavior that would govern the ‘normal self' (as opposed to the genocidal self) a process which is encapsulated in the rationalizations of participation in known genocidal systems (the system is inevitable, you must be pragmatic and not moral or even worse idealistic or utopian, since nothing can be done, its going to happen in any case, and if you don't do it, someone else will, and you are the lesser of two evils - these trade mark rationalizations are the surest signals that someone is participating in a harmful genocidal system, and since genocide is so pervasive in our society, you hear these sorts of things all the time, since they are a vital component of the process of numbing, of separating intellect from feeling, to allow derealization and facilitate doubling).
‘Killing to heal' or ‘hurting and causing pain in order to help' such things are always found to be the central ideological contradictions of genocidal doctrines. As an example of the most prevalent form of inconsistent genocidal ideology at work on the planet today, I offer some analysis of the most prevalent form of genocidal ideology I see at work in the world today, ‘free market ideology' and its internal inconsistencies and irreconcilable contradictions, both of which enable ‘doubling' and ‘numbing', and I follow these practical examples with some discussion of the Genocidal mentality itself.
The ‘Free Market' and the deliberate creation of poverty
It is often the case that middle class ‘liberals' who identify with the Democratic party also identify with ‘free market capitalism'. They differentiate themselves from Republicans in that they have a ‘social conscience' and thus wish to blunt the ruthlessly hard edges which are always to be found in a chaotic ‘dog eat dog' system of fierce competition such as capitalism. They claim to promote what has been called ‘reform capitalism' by supplying this system with a ‘conscience'. The obvious flaws in the free market system can be coped with by launching ‘the war on poverty' and giving everyone ‘a new deal' or working to build ‘a great society' (as the Johnson new deal of the 60s was called).
The ‘free market' system could be justifiably described as a system of genocide (even more as a system of ecocide, where the inherent genocidal impulses also impact the natural world). By facilitating the ‘freedom' to promote inequality, which creates great wealth and also great poverty, the free market harms humanity, while the ideology of the ‘free market', as is the case with most harmful genocidal ideologies, cloaks itself in the language of ‘killing to heal' or ‘hurting and harming in order to help.' This is encapsulated in such language as that of ‘job creation' and the incessant obsession with ‘economic growth' and the Horatio Alger myth of ‘upward mobility' that goes along with this ‘perpetual growth' ideology. Reagan simplified this ideology in what he referred to as the ‘trickle down theory' which held that by encouraging massive accumulations of wealth, crumbs would eventually fall off the table and provide a livelihood for the poorest and those harmed the most by this fiercely individualistic allocation of society's resources.
Democrats differ in that they propose active intervention within the overall context of a free market economy (which is inevitable, and thus cannot be resisted). However even a superficial examination of such ‘free market' reformed capitalism reveals an impossible contradiction.
Because ‘free markets' are inherently chaotic and individualistic, they can also be inflationary. The very drive to monopoly and the competition for profit are in themselves inherently inflationary, since the more you can charge, the more profits can accumulated, and it is only the competitive instinct that keeps prices in check.
Capitalists, and their drive for monopoly positions and profits, are not the only ‘inflationary' source in a free market economy. ‘Workers' can also ‘fuel inflation' by receiving pay increases. As well a lack of poverty in the nation is also ‘inflationary' since full employment makes the job market into a ‘sellers market' (employees become more valuable, harder to get) rather than a ‘buyers market' (where a high unemployment rate, and thus a higher rate of poverty, shifts the balance of power into the hands of capitalists, who have the advantage of a persistent pool of surplus labor and are thus in the position to dictate terms and wages, and the pressure will always be to lower wages and benefits, which is not ‘inflationary');
For this reason it is one of the great constants of government policy, no matter which party gets in, to maintain poverty, malnourishment, slums and homelessness. Poverty is not like the weather (some mystified and uncontrollable aspect of the economy) but the direct result of interventionist government policy which is designed to shift power into the hands of capitalists, and away from workers, with this policy referred to using the euphemism of ‘the fight against inflation'.
In a previous piece on 'Blaming the Victim', I quoted the revealing statement of a free market economist, who candidly described ‘the natural rate of unemployment'.
According to an article in the Washington Post,
Economists like to talk about a "natural rate of unemployment" that, depending on the economist you ask, hovers around six percent.
Over the last forty years, there have only been thirteen years where the average annual unemployment rate has been less than 5.4 percent.
The concept of permanent unemployment as official state policy is also candidly discussed by a 'free market' economist in the following paper...
What is the full-employment rate/natural rate of unemployment?
by Dr. Larry Allen
Low unemployment rates invariably kindle and quicken inflation ...
the term 'full employment rate" (denotes) the lowest non-inflationary
unemployment rate possible with ideal government economic policy. (Note : the Feds interest rate policy)
The concept of the natural rate of unemployment retreats
a bit from the idea of a fully employed economy in which
everyone wanting a job can find one. The natural rate of
unemployment equals the prevailing unemployment rate
when wages stand at a level that balances the demand
for workers with the supply of workers. Theoretically,
free market economies, free from disturbances,
particularly unsuspected and unforeseen shocks, enjoy a
natural tendency to seek the natural unemployment rate
and remain at that rate indefinitely.
Thus far, economists have not pinpointed the precise
unemployment rate that equals the natural unemployment
rate. There seems to be more agreement among
economists that the natural rate changes over time,
probably due to changes in demographics. Between 1975
and 1985, the natural rate likely fell within a range of 5.5
and 6.5 percent. Today, a natural rate between 4.0 and
5.0 percent seems more realistic.
What this economist is saying here is that economists can debate among themselves just what the ideal rate of poverty, malnourishment, and homelessness must be in the economy, in order to force workers to accept lower wages. Ideal government policy will then set at its target goal the implementation of policies, most notably the setting of interest rates, to seek and then maintain the agreed level of poverty and homelessness in the economy. If the amount of poverty decreases, and the unemployment rate drops, the federal reserve will step in and begin increasing interests rates (the euphemism is that fed is ‘cooling down the overheated economy') and through interest rate increases and various other government policies (such as ‘free trade' or funding for education, and so on) the unemployment rate, and thus the rate of poverty will be consistently maintained at ‘its most natural level' through the workings of ‘ideal government policy' designed specifically to foster and then maintain the slums and poverty and malnourishment everyone can see present in any nation that follows free market ideology.
So then it is required that millions of people live in poverty so that the rest of society can enjoy ‘low inflation'. If workers get higher wages, this would be inflationary, since capitalists will then begin jacking up prices to maintain profits, fueling inflation. Now one will notice here that this a feature of ‘free market economies' and here in lies the contradiction in Democratic ideology. Inflation could be prevented through the institution of a rational ‘planned economic' system, where, rather than subjecting the economy to the whims of powerful, competitive individual capitalists, inflation could be managed through careful allocation of resources and pricing and wage structures. However, this would no longer be ‘a free market.'
So therefore, Democrats must support a system which is genocidal (in that it damns human beings to live in poverty and in slums, to be malnourished, to be homeless) and the reason why Democrats must engage in this sort of intellectual doubling (this separation of intellect from feeling) is that they persist in promoting ‘the free market', and therefore we see that the promotion of poverty and squalor is a great constant in a free market economy. Since ‘the war on poverty' is inflationary, and Democrats are committed to both ‘the free market' and ‘the fight against inflation', they are faced with one of those permanent contradictions that characterize all societies that incorporate genocidal ideologies. This must be cloaked through a process of mystification (poverty is uncontrollable, unemployment is like a pass tornado, like the weather) and this nonsensical mystification allows Democrats to create the mythology of a ‘war on poverty' or ‘a New Deal' where one does not, nor could it ever, truly exist. Nevertheless the enobling fight for ‘a great society' serves a vital function in allowing the derealization and numbing to take place, as Democrats can separate themselves from the harm caused when they fight to ‘heal the nation' by ‘killing inflation', and they can also practice doubling, by convincing themselves that they are not part of the genocidal system, but rather are fighting ‘for social justice'. This type of inherent contradiction is one of the hallmarks of genocidal ideologies, and thus we see that Democratic politics is one of the important lynchpins in permanently preventing social justice from raising its ‘ugly head' while at the same time it facilitates doubling and derealization, making Democrats, or someone like them, a requirement for all successful genocidal societies.
The ‘Free Market' and the chaotic drive towards economic collapse
One of the classic critiques of ‘free market capitalism' is that of its obvious promotion of disparities between great concentrations of wealth alongside billions of human beings who, dispossessed of wealth, live in poverty and squalor. It is an established fact that the policies of ‘Reaganomics' (so called ‘supply side economics') have resulted in one of the greatest transfers of wealth in history. Such policies include ‘deregulation' (to increase profitability and promote ‘freedom' in the acquisition and employment of wealth), a curious anti-conservative dogma that has become Republican dogma (don't tax and then spend, which is hardly a truly conservative doctrine, since true conservatives believe in fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets), ‘free trade' combined with ‘anti-unionism' which encourages jobs to seek the lowest possible wages in the world by exploiting the desperation of those most impoverished by the ‘free market' in the first place, and results in ‘a great race to the bottom' as low wage nations compete to offer the least environmental regulation, the lowest wages, the most retrogressive social policies so as to ‘encourage investors', and which in the end impacts ‘higher wage workers' in ‘developed nations' who lose their jobs or suffer pay cuts as they, too, take their place in that ‘great race to the bottom' which is the fruit of (as I call it) ‘the free slave trade' agreements. None of these policies benefit ordinary people, and as the massive increase of wealth at the top over the last couple of decades indicate, only benefit the wealthy (and thus we see that Reagonomics represents government of the capitalists, by the capitalists, and for the capitalists).
There is mythology that is prevalent, which teaches us that such things as ‘recessions' and ‘Great Depressions' are a facet of an economy that functions much the way a random passing tornado behaves (these things are mystified, and are seen as being like the weather, an uncontrollable and difficult to understand force that periodically sweeps through an economy). Actually both the ‘recession' and the ‘Great Depression' are the same thing, the only difference being that the former affects millions, while the latter affects many tens of millions, a ‘depression' being nothing more than a severe ‘recession'. The philosopher Hegel promoted the myth that ‘history' was like some great natural force that swept helpless individuals along in its wake, making his philosophy perhaps the perfect philosophy for a free market economic system, since this mystification of historical forces in the economy is wide spread, and all discussion of ‘depressions' in the economy are undertaken without placing the event within context. The context reveals that far from being a ‘tornado' a depression in the economy is the natural result of the workings of a free market capitalist economy.
Depressions occur when wealth is transferred to the top, while wages and jobs are slashed at the base of the economy. The problem is compounded by the constant drive for growth in profits which results in an endless drive for ‘greater productivity, which translates as using fewer workers to achieve the same level of production, and the chaotic competition of the free market, also results in increasing levels of productive capacity and constant growth (endless growth being like a religion in the free market economy). These internal contradictions eventually lead to recessions, and then when the conditions become severe enough, to Great Depressions.
Albert Einstein - Why socialism : Einstein described the process of the free market leading to inevitable collapse into depression as follows - "I shall call "workers" all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production ... the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist ... Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands ... The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists ... an "army of unemployed" almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job ... unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market ... The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions ... This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career ... "
It is a commonly held mythological belief that there was ‘one Great Depression', that greatly mysterious thing that happened during the 1930s. But actually Great Depressions were a constantly repeating fixture of capitalism when capitalism is combined with deregulation (such as took place under Reagan - regulation and associated policies usually result in recessions rather than depressions - in short millions get periodically ruined by the free market system, rather than tens or even hundreds of millions). A particularly harsh Great Depression took place during the mid 1800s, and lasted for twenty years, and Depressions were a repeating fixture of free market capitalism since its inception.
Depressions are caused by the internal contradictions in the free market system. By lowering wages, slashing jobs, increasing productivity, and transferring more and more wealth to the top, the base of the economy is undermined. At the current time, the transfer of wealth to the top has proceeded to the point where it is now equal to that which preceded the great crash of 1929, and similarly, their is an over supply of goods, surplus capacity in the economy, once again identical to the situation in 1929. In a further disturbing parallel, a huge credit bubble exists now, just as it did during the 1920s, as the economy was kept from collapse by encouraging purchasing on credit (‘telescoping the future into the present' as a Presidential commission on the economy described the situation in the 1920s). A similar situation has been building in the Japanese economy throughout the 1990s, and the end result is deflation, as to many goods chase to few dollars. Prices decrease, since the base of the economy has been undermined through job cuts and lower wages, and this leads to lower profits, which leads to further job cuts, and increasing demands for increases in productivity from remaining workers, which only worsens the situation. First a few million people lose their jobs, then a few million more, triggering an even steeper decline in the base of the economy, and finally tens of millions are affected, the process taking years (the bottom of the great depression of the 30s was not reached until the mid 30s, as the nation spiraled once again into the economic disaster known as a Great Depression).
Depressions are unavoidable in a ‘free market' economy, and even in a regulated free market, recessions are unavoidable (only the bottom of the pit is raised somewhat, but still millions of people are periodically plunged into ruin). The process is facilitated by various forms of genocidal ideology (prominent among them are the ‘rosy scenario' - if you study propaganda in the days leading up to the Great Depression, it is full of nostrums about ‘economic recovery' and ‘strong growth lasting for years', stories like this even being published on the very day before the crash took place-followed by denial propaganda, insisting that the Depression marked a ‘great opportunity to buy stocks at wonderful prices' or insisting that ‘things have bottomed out and recovery is on the way' and so on...I just mention this weird propaganda of the Great Depression in the hopes of encouraging people not to bother listening to any free market propaganda, no matter how rosy, since it is meaningless, and its actual purpose is not to inform, but rather to facilitate a kind of much needed fairy tale of denial, as well as to calm and soothe, and thus prop up a stock market bubble...)
Thge genocidal ideology of ‘hurting so as to heal' is encapsulated in such dogmas as ‘the trickle down theory' or the crudity that states that ‘greed is good', and like all genocidal systems, the free market ideology is found to incorporate those transparent contradictions and internal inconsistencies that require constant mystification of reality and the concomitant promotion of mythology in the place of reality in order to promote exactly the kind of ‘killing to heal' that is required to promote what is truly nothing more than a killing ideology which supports a hurtful, harmful system of genocide (where there exists a ‘master race' and similarly a ‘subordinate race').
The genocidal basis of the system can only remain hidden as long as the process of mystification promotes exactly the type of doubling and numbing that allows harmful and hurtful actions to become shrouded in the mythology of ‘healing.' . When Depression hits we see otherwise good people, such as the good police officer or national guard member, committing acts of genocide by shooting striking coal miners, and we even see the army machine gunning protesting unpaid veterans of the first world war on orders from General Douglas MacArthur as the hidden ideology of genocide becomes fully visible (the recognizable aspects of a system of genocide is apparent here not only its contradictory doctrine but also in its results as manifested in human behavior within the system , which incorporate clearly the doubling and derealization typical of genocidal ideology : cops shoot the victims, to protect the perpetrators of genocide, because ‘its unavoidable', the system is ‘irresistible' and ‘they have to do it' because ‘if they don't do it, someone else will' and you don't want good people to refuse genocidal duty, because then only evil people would become cops or join the army or national guard, so therefore when good people perform genocidal acts this is preferable, since they represent ‘the lesser of two evils').
The Free Market, Environmentalism, and Ecocide
At the current time, environmental catastrophes have reached a critical zenith, as in the coming years the planet approaches the long awaited critical thresh hold where, in the service of maintaining growth, while maintaining and increasing poverty, both together result in a coming wave of massive extinction events. Animals that have existed over millions of years will now disappear in a matter of years in the interests of generating quarterly profits and the accumulation of private fortunes under the chaos known as the free market.
Certain species are considered ‘signal species' since they are at the apex of an environment, and thus the health of these species are a signal indication of the health of entire ecosystems. The big cats are one notable signal species, in that they depend on herbivores, which in turn depend on the health of plants, and thus the health of those animals at the apex of this system indicates what is happening below.
Lion populations have plummeted in the last two decades in Africa, falling from close to a quarter of a million to around 20,000 on the entire continent today. The situation with tigers world wide is even more critical. Three tiger species have already disappeared : The Bali, Caspian and Javan tigers have all become extinct. The remaining five tiger species are heading towards the same fate. Tigers once ranged over the entire Asian continent, as far north as Siberia, and now exist only in small patches of India, Southeast Asia, and the Russian Far East. Only about 3 dozen South China tigers remain, 400 Sumutran tigers, 400 Amur tigers, around 4,000 Bengal tigers, and around 1,500 Indo-Chinese tigers, leaving the total remaining world population of tigers at only around 6 to 7 thousand, which is fraction of the remaining decimated lion populations. Only about 4,000 snow leopards remain, and the Bonobo Apes found only in the Congo have fallen to a population of about 4,000, with other great ape species similarly endangered, while the population of Rhinos in the Congo has plummeted from close to 30,000 to around 1,300 over the past few decades. Such low numbers threaten not only the survival of these species, but also their genetic diversity.
The much maligned ‘spotted owl' is also facing an extinction event, as the couple of percent of remaining old growth forests, consisting of highly profitable trees many hundreds of years old face the threat of logging.
The pattern is the same around the world with thousands of species facing extinction in the coming years, as genocidal systems also become ecocidal systems, as the underlying ideology targets both humans and the genocidal ideology then spills out to target other species.
It is typical for ecocidal ideology to incorporate the same internal contradictions and inconsistencies typical of any genocidal ideology. The ‘spotted owl' is threatened by the irrational ideology of ‘endless growth'. Endless growth is a mathematical impossibility, and even simple mathematical reasoning suggests that there is an end to growth somewhere along the line, but so addicted to growth is the current free market system, that if growth ever came to a halt the whole rotten system would collapse inward on itself, and thus the drive continues to destroy ecosystems and species in the service of a genocidal ideology which is riven within internal contradictions and a fundamental irrationality. The doctrine of ‘endless growth' only puts off to some distant tomorrow an inevitable collapse in favor of preserving profits and the endless consumption that is required to ‘fuel the market economy' today, and this fragile system of endless consumption and never ending purchases can not stop this process of ecocide, indeed it is driven to ecocide.
Like all genocidal ideology, ecocide is clouded in a process of mystification and resultant mythology that obscures simple reality. A common myth holds that by destroying habitat in favor of large monoculture export industries poorer nations are not only keeping up with those all important exports to pay for those all important loan payments, they are also laying the basis for ‘future growth' and someday will enjoy a higher standard of living. Once again a mathematical implausibility is found to inhabitant this mystifying process that feeds a mythological view of reality, which is intended to support and encourage ecocide. One knows that as a general rule of thumb, America consumes on average one quarter to one third of the world's resources while having only about 5 per cent of the world's population. Therefore, when poorer nations rise up to ‘prosperity' this would mean that the world would be consuming such ridiculous quantities of resources as ‘500 per cent of the world's copper' while spewing out 500 per cent more CO2 and causing 500 per cent more pollution. I recall reading somewhere that in order for this delusion of IMF inspired prosperity and growth to become a reality the human race would need to discover at least three more planets (recently the Chinese government justified their current manned mission into space by noting that the day must come when humanity exploits the moon, but even strip mining the moon would not be enough, and one can well imagine the sorry sight of looking up into the night sky and seeing the scabby scarred face of the moon, a required sacrifice in order to maintain the disparities of wealth and the unequal distribution of the world's resources required by ‘free market capitalism'.
According to the research conducted by FoodFirst.org, the world already produces 3,500 calories worth of food stuffs per day, enough to make everyone on earth fat (the typical requirement is 2,000to 2,500 calories) so razing the planet to the ground or stip mining the moon is hardly a requirement to ‘end poverty' or ‘provide jobs' through ‘endless growth' and ‘endless consumption of products' but rather what is driving this system of ecocide is the irrationality and contradictions of free market ideology, pushed forward by the mystifying mythological jargon so required by such systems if they are to achieve the required numbing and derealization required for the destruction to continue unopposed.
Mythology teaches us, in the form of those television commercials, that multinational food corporations are working over time to patent new genetically modified foods so that ‘the poor people can finally get food to eat.' Now we know that even the surplus food supply that exists today is not exactly being generously given away, and one can only wonder why giant food corporations will suddenly become extraordinarily generous one they have secured patents on the world's food supply (no doubt forgoing patent payments so as to donate food).
Mythology teaches us that the world is desperately short of food, but the truth of the matter is that in the United States, as one example, cattle eat most of the grains produced and pigs eat most of the corn, and this pattern is repeated elsewhere. This is one reason why governments are so damned scared of ‘mad cow disease' since it turns out to be the case that livestock are the prop that keeps the huge productive capacity of modern agriculture from collapsing inward on itself. Cattle produce one gram of protein for every 50 to 100 grams they consume. The livestock population of the world is currently almost equal to the human population, and without the fast food industry, for example, helping to devour the huge surplus of food produced by modern agriculture, the whole free market food system would collapse. Even then, livestock cannot keep up with modern production, nor can they consume the constant surplus in production, and thus we find the world locked into the subsidy wars that caused the collapse of the recent WTO round of negotiations, the worst quarrels centering on this issue of demands by wealthy nations that poorer nations dismantle their agricultural subsidies while richer nations hypocritically keep theirs in place, for you see, they need some place to dump those huge piles of surplus production. Understandably a block of poorer nations reacted with outrage to this patently unfair ‘free trade' arrangement and walked out on the WTO talks.
Yes, the world is swamped with food, but nevertheless, the myth must be promoted that the world is ‘short of food', since not only does this allow the kind of numbing to starvation and malnourishment that a genocidal society requires, it also helps to create sympathy for Genetically modified foods, which allows the world's food supply to become patented, and thus this mystifying mythology hides the internal contradictions always characteristic of genocidal ideology while promoting the ecocidal ideology at the same time (killing two birds with one stone - GM foods are hardly needed, only patents, and thus further transference of the world's wealth through patent payments are needed, but people cannot be told this, and thus the need for more mystification and more mythology).
Similar mythology has been relentlessly promoted via means of television commercials which are designed to pave the way for ecocide against the few remaining per cent of Old Growth forest ecosystems in the United States. We are told, in these long running, never ending ad campaigns, that the country now has more trees than ever before, more forests cover than ever before. Thus cutting down trees won't hurt anything, since we now have more trees than ever before. What we aren't told is that these wonderful trees, that we now have more of than ever before, are commercially worthless. No one is in any great hurry to cut down these worthless trees, but they do want to target profitable old growth forests, and make the ecocide complete by consuming and turning into products the last remaining bits and pieces of old growth forests, simply because all this ‘new forest' is commercially worthless. When forests are left to regenerate, they do regenerate, but for the first few hundred years only commercially worthless trees take over, and naturally regeneration of valuable trees takes about 5 centuries, while tree farms can take up to a century to becoming really profitable, and thus the need to log the last bit of remaining old growth forest to kill the time, since we can't wait five hundred years for natural regeneration, and much of our wonderful mono-culture tree farms still aren't really aren't profitable enough to bother logging.
Other myths blame the poorest people in the world deforestation and devastation of the ecosystem which is resulting in wave of extinctions the planet now faces. Now according to a report just released by the United Nations, one sixth of the world's population, one billion people, are now living in urban slums, these being those one billion people you always hear about who must live on ‘less than one dollar a day.' The only habitat such people ‘devastate' are these urban slums in which they live. Living on less than a dollar a day, they do not consume the world's resources, since you can't do much consumption on less than a dollar a day. What ‘a dollar a day' actually means is one square meal a day, so what we are saying here is that one billion people cannot afford to consume even one square meal a day, and what little they do consume is in the form of food. They are not responsible for ravaging the environment, other than the environment of some urban slum.
The destruction of the rain forest in Cote-d'ivoire
Hewers of wood, exporters of cocoa and coffee from mono-crop plantations ...
A fall in commodity prices and IMF pressure to export to raise money to service loans, led to a relaince on wood exports that have almost made the nations rain forest completely extinct ... For over a decade, the Ivory Coast has been under the influence of IMF structural adjustment programs, of which intensification of exports has been a significant factor.
Now you might wonder why these people don't leave the slum, go out and perhaps deforest some land, perhaps do some farming. But the problem is that these people have been thrown off of the land, and that is why they are now in urban slums, while others have been hurled out of work by the IMF as it sought to ‘rationalize the economy' so as to make industries more attractive targets of privatization. They had to make way for ‘modern agriculture' which means large farms, which deforest the planet to make way for mono-culture agriculture, shipping cocoa beans or coffee to world markets which is one way to raise money off of low priced commodities which helps the government to maintain interest payments on loans. The loans of the world's most heavily indebted poor countries comes to about 250 billion dollars. As a comparison, the Americans planned to dole out about 1.3 trillion in tax cuts, most of it going to really rich people, and are borrowing over 500 billion a year, as well as spending, so far, about 150 billion dollars on that Iraq war (so far). In the end we can see that species extinction and ecosystem destruction are being fueled in much part by the drive by such organizations as the IMF and the World Bank to force loan money out of poor countries, which have no industrial base, and thus rely exclusively on the export of low priced commodities. And given how saturated the world market is with food, and how desperate many millions of people are for food, thus leading them to compete with and kill animals, and given how desperate northern countries are to dump their commodities onto third world markets (if only they would have agreed to those ridiculous terms at the WTO) you can see how the irrationalities of ‘the free market' fuel environmental destruction in so many ways, both at home and abroad.
It also becomes obvious that any ‘environmental' stance, just like any ‘War on Poverty' that chains itself to working within the constraints of the ‘free market' is doomed to failure before it even starts, given the natural contradictions evident in such a position. One example of this sort of thinking is the free market based doctrine which teaches that we need ‘fair trade' not ‘free trade'. But ‘fair trade' will only benefit those who are a little further up the ladder in poorer nations. The poor will continue to do desperate things like kill animals to survive because they can't afford the low prices that have resulted from the collapse in commodity values under ‘free trade' and they certainly won't be able to afford them if ‘fair trade' succeeds in driving up the prices of commodities in the poorer nations. As well the ‘pro-capitalist investor' policies of the IMF have been destroying the social safety throughout the third world, leading, as even the IMF admits to ever greater poverty and misery (‘killing to heal'). This free market dogmatism, which is supposed to make poor countries ‘attractive to investors' who will then ‘privatize' their assets, puts ever greater pressure on already stressed and fragile environments, practically ensuring great waves of extinctions in the future (while alarmed middle class free market environmentalists decide that the solution is a sterilization campaign that targets the poorest of the poor, instead, of course, of a campaign to sterilize the genocidal system of ‘the free market').