Because of its length and amount of information, I am posting the following article in two parts.
Here is Part I:
The time for Critical Thinking is now!
Published on Sunday, 25 January 2015 11:24
All of us alive today are both blighted and blessed.
Never before, in human history, have we faced such threats (WWIII, global economic, environmental and societal collapse etc.) but never before have we had access to almost limitless information and analysis (both good and bad) and the ability to communicate as a global family of human beings.
We aren’t “consumers”, defined by ideology, race, ethnicity or culture but genetically related human beings and we are presented with a unique opportunity to transform humanity and the planet.
We have the accumulated wisdom and history of multiple civilisations from which to understand:
* Who rules?
* How did they get their power and how is it used?
* How do we distribute power for the benefit of all human beings and the planet?
Who rules? – The Structural Elite (SE) comprised of banking and industrial dynasties, European royalty, those in charge of the “military industrial – media academic complex” (MIMAC), political and economic predators and the super-rich.
Fig. 1. above describes how the world works as a system. The Structural Elite (SE) are beneficiaries and architects of this system which has evolved over centuries. The SE exercise the principal levers of power to foment competition, division, conflict and oppression while preying on humans and the planet to extract yet more wealth (from debt interest, taxes and rents) and power.
The SE are where they are, and think the way they think, because they are products and components of this system, as are most people. Our world view is carefully shaped through education and media (two important levers of power controlled by the SE) to ensure our compliance to the overarching system. Wars, Oppression and Division ensure power and wealth, created by the 7 billion people on the earth, accumulate in the hands of the SE. It is a self-protecting system in which everyone is incentivised to maintain the dominant power of the SE, irrespective of battles between nations, cultures, left and right, home owners and renters, employed and unemployed, old and young, etc.
Fear, greed, distraction and competition ensure our compliance within a system which drives inequality, wars, oppression and environmental destruction. The levers of power are cloaked in dogma and ideology to obscure their self-evident abusive and destructive nature.
How did the Structural Elite (SE) get their power? – power and wealth are synonymous. They derive their power from, and exercise it through, the political economy (a term expunged from academic discourse for the last century or more).
The primary levers of power are politics and economics. The power to control politics is derived through an economic system founded on three fundamental flaws. These flaws are SE control of:
* land, resources, knowledge and other commons which rightfully belong to no-one but should be accessible to all
* the means to life
Flaw 1. Originally seized by conquest and criminal confiscation, land has been appropriated through a legal system which evolved to benefit the SE. Land is God – or nature – given and “belongs” to no-one but we all, by virtue of existence, have a right to access its fruits and amenities along with the responsibility to preserve or improve it for future generations. The value of land isn’t created by the owner but by the whole community (local and beyond) and publicly funded infrastructure and yet this value, created by others, goes into the landowners’ pockets – it is a legalised (by the SE’s law) form of theft.
The same applies to resources which come from the land and to knowledge which is communally created and is built upon the accumulated wisdom of all human beings who’ve lived on this planet. Other commons are genes, the radio spectrum and landing slots at airports. In the case of the latter, the value is created by passengers and all those contributing to the amenity of the airport. Corporations own patents on seeds and natural remedies, denying humans their birthright.
Flaw 2. Money is created from nothing by banks and lent at interest – banks create no wealth in this process but extract wealth, created by other peoples’ labour upon the earth, in the form of interest, many times the value of money lent – another form of legalised theft.
Banks have fostered the need for loans to governments (eg. For climate change), businesses, students, house owners and consumers to enslave the world in debt. Renting money that they’ve created from nothing.
Interest on money is a corrosive, abusive driver of inequality and environmental destruction (Ecocide). It underpins this economic system which demands exponential growth. Economists say 3% GDP growth for a “developed” nation is desirable. That means doubling the economy every 24 years which means double the waste and extracting resources at twice the rate. It is unsustainable.
What is also unsustainable is the payment of interest on debt which grows faster than the ability to pay it. It’s obvious, only the amount lent is created but where does the interest come from? From the creation of more debt as money. Collapse of the economy, when debt becomes unsustainable, is inevitable.
Interest drives inequality because those with money exploit those who need it. A study showed that the bottom 80% of people, by income, pay twice as much interest as they receive but the top 10% receive twice as much interest as they pay, ie. the bottom 80% pay all their interest to the top 10 %. And it gets worse, the top 0.1% receive 2,000 times the top 10%. Inequality is built into the interest on money system. Those at the top, didn’t create the wealth they enjoy but either inherited it or exploited the economic system successfully. Incentives abound to accumulate as much money as possible and the most successful in exploiting the system dominate. And the more they have, the more they get, irrespective of merit.
Flaw 3. In addition to SE control of land (and resources) and money, there is a third flaw in this economic system: the means to life is conditional on paid employment. In pre-industrial times, before enclosures and colonisation excluded indigenous peoples from the land and resources, everyone had the means to house, clothe and feed themselves. Even as civilisations developed, communal living and working was the norm but at some point hierarchies developed, in which the powerful would exploit the labour of the majority through slavery, feudalism and eventually the current brand of capitalism. The industrial revolution drove people from the land into factories and the ideology of the protestant work ethic was born. To survive and be valued as a human being, you need a job yet phenomenal productivity gains over the last few centuries mean there are nowhere near enough good jobs to go round. Destructive, abusive and faux jobs (with no meaning or value) have evolved in a vain attempt to create “full employment”. Full employment is not achievable, necessary or desirable. People don’t need jobs, they need income. If people had enough unconditional income to house, clothe and feed themselves, they wouldn’t be so powerless and could participate more in local, national and global activity and decision making.
These three economic flaws provide the wealth to control the levers of power.
Fig. 2. comes from a 2011 study, published in the New Scientist, which revealed 147 corporations control 40% of the network of 43,060 transnational corporations and 60% of their revenues. The data were derived from common directorships and shareholder registers but the study didn’t explore the beneficial ownership of these 147 banks and corporations (45 of the top 50 are financial companies). Owners hide behind offshore companies, trusts and foundations and research suggests ownership is concentrated among the SE.
This concentrated economic power grants the SE control of banking and finance, politics, the “military industrial – media academic complex” (MIMAC), the law, think-tanks and NGOs to shape our world view. Our beliefs have been co-opted to enslave us.
This is why the time for Critical Thinking is now – its time has come and if we don’t apply it, our civilisation is doomed. It’s time to open your mind, shed ideology, turn off your TV and radio, cancel your newspapers and seek information from trusted sources or be selective and cross-check everything. It takes time but it is more stimulating than a detective story and more empowering than a banker’s bonus! (emphasis added)
(End Part I)