Economics & Globalisation

Philosophy of Economics - Truth Reality and Nature as Market Economic Forces - Frederick Engels - The ultimate causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men's brains, not in their growing insight into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange. They are to be sought, not in the philosophy, but in the economics of each particular epoch. Philosophy of Economics - Truth Reality and Nature as Market Economic Forces - Karl Marx - Das Capital - What I have to examine in this work is the capitalist mode of production, its natural laws and tendencies winning their way through and working themselves out with iron necessity. Albert Einstein - On the Philosophy of Economics, Capitalism and Globalisation. Philosophy of Economics - Truth Reality and Nature as Market Economic Forces - John Ralston Saul - One of the specialist's most successful discoveries was that he could easily defend his territory by the simple development of a specialized language incomprehensible to the nonexperts.

On the Metaphysics / Philosophy of Economics
Truth, Reality, Nature and Cosmos as Market Economic Forces
Globalisation as Interconnected Ecology of Economics & Reality
Controlling the Evolution of Market Economics for the Benefit of both Humanity & Nature

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evil. .. Communities tend to be guided less than individuals by conscience and a sense of responsibility. How much misery does this fact cause mankind! It is the source of wars and every kind of oppression, which fill the earth with pain, sighs and bitterness. (Albert Einstein)

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Introduction - Philosophy / Metaphysics of Economics & Globalisation - Nature & Economy - Economics Quotes - John Ralston Saul / Specialisation - Capitalism & Globalisation - Consumption & Production - Links / Economics - Top of Page

Introduction

Economics ultimately evolved from Nature (in particular the exchange of goods and services which are ultimately derived from Nature). On the other hand, modern economic theory has become detached from nature and has in a large part caused the destruction of Nature. The purpose of this webpage is to argue that metaphysics and a correct understanding of Reality are fundamental to economic theory. Only with these correct metaphysical foundations will we appreciate how intimately interconnected we are with Nature and that our survival depends upon the survival of Nature.

We hope you enjoy the following economic articles and quotations. And i have just written up a short essay on Market Economics, Politics and Utopia that I think you will find interesting.

Geoff Haselhurst



Introduction - Philosophy / Metaphysics of Economics & Globalisation - Nature & Economy - Economics Quotes - John Ralston Saul / Specialisation - Capitalism & Globalisation - Consumption & Production - Links / Economics - Top of Page

Philosophy / Metaphysics of Economics and Globalisation

On Truth, Reality, Nature and Cosmos as Market Economic Forces
Globalisation as Interconnected Ecology of Economics & Reality

About 70 percent of the world population now has television. Very little [programming] is produced locally; in most cases, it's from the U.S. and a few other developed, northern countries. So you have people in the South Pacific and people living in slums in Asia and South America seeing a bunch of white people standing around swimming pools drinking martinis and aspiring to nothing more than killing each other to take over each other corporate activities and make more money. Or they're watching cartoons or MTV or the Nike ads. And what you [have] is a set of images that are homogenising consciousness of the world. The incalculable cost of this erosion of local, diverse values, cultures and communities.
.. since these images are so believable, all that goes with them [appears to be] attainable, achievable, easy, nice and good. It's got such a gloss and an attractiveness to it that everybody kind of wants to go for it. And it's presented to them as a real alternative to the way they live ... There's no corresponding counter-force that tells people that this stuff they are watching, this lifestyle, is producing alienation - drug abuse, violence, suicide, family violence and disempowerment - on a level they've never imagined. And it's also bringing a tremendous breakdown of the environment. The level of consumption that's presented in this kind of imagery is directly connected to the overuse of the resources of the planet and the terrible waste problems that cause global warming, ozone depletion and our current destruction of habitat. All of the tremendous problems that are bringing us to the brink of evolutionary breakdown - forever - are hooked directly to this set of images that look so attractive [and harmless] in the first place. (Mander, ex-adman who runs the International Forum on Corporate Rule) (Suzuki, 1999)

to be completed ..

 

 


Introduction - Philosophy / Metaphysics of Economics & Globalisation - Nature & Economy - Economics Quotes - John Ralston Saul / Specialisation - Capitalism & Globalisation - Consumption & Production - Links / Economics - Top of Page

Nature and the Economy The Economy & Nature

Controlling the Evolution of Market Economics for the Benefit of both Humanity & Nature

Our modern world is driven by market economics, but at what environmental and social cost?
Market economics fails to realise that the economy is ultimately dependent upon Nature, the source of all our clean air, water and food. It is pretty obvious that the current rate of consumption / production combined with the growing global population and resultant destruction of Nature for Agriculture is not sustainable. With the relatively recent technological inventions of combustion engines and resultant machines (tractors, dozers, etc.) Humans have greatly increased their impact on the environment over the past 200 years. Much fertile land is now degraded, rivers and natural waterways are dammed or badly polluted, ocean fish stocks are diminishing at an alarming rate, as are the forests. We are now well into a rapid phase in the extinction of life, and unless there is a radical change in economic and environmental policy, Nature will largely collapse, and this will have catastrophic affects for humanity.

.. we need to see nature as the true capital on which our lives and economy depend. And if we learn to value nature, our real wealth, we will take better care of it. Our economic system works for no one, except maybe the one percent at the very top. Our system wastes the environment. It wastes people. And it's very, very expensive. We need a radical change in how we relate to resources and people and the environment. (Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce)

In my opinion, no more destructive belief exists than the idea that we have escaped the constraints imposed by nature on all other species. We assume that by enabling us to exploit and alter our surroundings, our intellect has freed us from dependence on specific habitats. We believe we are no longer part of nature, because we have acquired the ability to control and manage the forces impinging on us.
This illusion of escape from nature has been reinforced by our extraordinary transformation in this century from country dwellers to city dwellers. In an urban setting, we live in a human-created environment, surrounded by other people plus a few domesticated plants and animals, as well as the pests that have overcome our defences. Living among such a dearth of species, we no longer recognise our dependence on the rest of life for our well-being and our very survival. It is simpler to assume that the economy delivers our food, clean air, water and energy and takes away our sewage and waste. We forget that the Earth itself provides all these services, and so makes economists and the economy possible. We are biological beings, as dependent on the biosphere as any other life form and we forget our animal nature at our peril. (Suzuki, 1999)

All over the world we are paying billions of dollars in perverse subsidies to industries that cause social and environmental breakdown. Most of the resource-extraction industries are fairly heavily subsidized, [as are] the mining industry, the oil and natural-gas industries, the timber industries and some extent agriculture. (David Suzuki, 1999)


Introduction - Philosophy / Metaphysics of Economics & Globalisation - Nature & Economy - Economics Quotes - John Ralston Saul / Specialisation - Capitalism & Globalisation - Consumption & Production - Links / Economics - Top of Page

Albert Einstein - On the Philosophy of Economics, Capitalism and Globalisation. Economics Quotes

Quotations on the Philosophy of Economics, Global Power & Capitalism

The mere size of the consolidations which have recently emerged is enough to startle those who saw them in the making. If the carboniferous age had returned and the earth had repeopled itself with dinosaurs, the change made in animal life would have scarcely seemed greater than that which has been made in the business world by these monster-like corporations.
(J. B. and J. M. Clark, Economists, 1912)

300 men, who all know each other personally, control the economic destinies of Europe and between them choose their own successors. (Walter Rathenau, German industrialist and founder of AEG, 1900)

Corporations are may lesser commonwealths in the bowels of a greater, like worms in the entrails of a natural man. (Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651)

What I have to examine in this work is the capitalist mode of production, its natural laws and tendencies winning their way through and working themselves out with iron necessity. (Karl Marx, Preface to Das Capital)

These two great discoveries, the materialist conception of history and the revelation of the secret of capitalist production through surplus value, we owe to Marx. With them socialism became a science, which had now to be elaborated in all its details and interconnections. (Engels, Socialism)

The materialist conception of history starts from the principle that production and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of every social order; that in every society that has appeared in history, the distribution of wealth and with it the division of society into classes or estates are dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. Accordingly, the ultimate causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men’s brains, not in their growing insight into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange. They are to be sought, not in the philosophy, but in the economics of each particular epoch. (Engels, Socialism)

The forces operating in society work exactly like the forces of nature- blindly, violently and destructively, so long as we fail to understand them and take them into account. But once we have recognised them and understood their action, their trend and their effects, it depends solely on ourselves to increasingly subject them to our will and to attain our ends through them. This is especially true of the mighty productive forces of the present day. As long as we obstinately refuse to understand their nature and their character- and the capitalist mode of production and its defenders resist such understanding with might and main- those forces operate in spite of us and against us, dominate us, as we have shown in detail. But once their nature is grasped, they can be transformed from demonical masters into willing servants in the hands of the producers working in association. It is the difference between the destructive force of electricity in the lightning of a thunderstorm and the tamed electricity of the telegraph and the arc light, the difference between a conflagration and fire working in the service of man. (Engels, Socialism)

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that mankind constitutes even now a planetary community of production and consumption. I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis in our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.
The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evil. (Albert Einstein, 1949)

The population of the civilized countries is extremely dense as compared with former times; Europe today contains about three times as many people as it did a hundred years ago. But the number of leading personalities has decreased out of all proportion. Only a few people are known to the masses as individuals, through their creative achievements. Organisation has to some extent taken the place of leading personalities, particularly in the technical sphere, but also to a very perceptible extent in the scientific. (Albert Einstein, 1934)

Communities tend to be guided less than individuals by conscience and a sense of responsibility. How much misery does this fact cause mankind! It is the source of wars and every kind of oppression, which fill the earth with pain, sighs and bitterness. (Albert Einstein, 1934)

I advocate world government because I am convinced that there is no other possible way of eliminating the most terrible danger in which man has ever found himself. The objective of avoiding total destruction must have priority over any other objective. (Albert Einstein, 1947)

If two factories produce the same sort of goods, other things being equal, that factory will be able to produce them more cheaply which employs fewer workmen- i.e., makes the individual worker work as long and as hard as human nature permits. From this it follows inevitably that, with methods of production as they are today, only a portion of the available labor can be used. While unreasonable demands are made on this portion, the remainder is automatically excluded from the process of production. This leads to a fall in sales and profits. Businesses go smash, which further increases unemployment and diminishes confidence in industrial concerns and therewith public participation in the mediating banks; finally the banks become insolvent through the sudden withdrawal of accounts and the wheels of industry therewith come to a complete standstill. (Albert Einstein, 1934)

My personal opinion is that those methods are in general preferable which respect existing traditions and habits so far as that is in any way compatible with the end in view. Nor do I believe that a sudden transference of economy into government management would be beneficial from the point of view of production; private enterprise should be left its sphere of activity, in so far as it has not already been eliminated by industry itself by the device of cartelization.
There are, however, two respects in which this economic freedom ought to be limited. In each branch of industry the number of working hours per week ought so to be reduced by law that unemployment is systematically abolished. At the same time minimum wages must be fixed in such a way that the purchasing power of the workers keeps pace with production.
Further, in those industries which have become monopolistic in character through organisation on the part of the producers, prices must be controlled by the state in order to keep the issue of capital within reasonable bounds and prevent artificial strangling of production and consumption.
In this way it might perhaps be possible to establish a proper balance between production and consumption without too great a limitation of free enterprise and at the same time to stop the intolerable tyranny of the owners of the means of production (land and machinery) over the wage-earners, in the widest sense of the term. (Albert Einstein, 1934)

The weakness of your plan lie, so it seems to me, in the sphere of psychology, or rather, in your neglect of it. It is no accident that capitalism has brought with it progress not merely in production but also in knowledge. Egoism and competition are, alas, stronger forces than public spirit and sense of duty. In Russia, they say, it is impossible to get a decent piece of bread. ..Perhaps I am over-pessimistic concerning state and other forms of communal enterprise, but I expect little good from them. Bureaucracy is the death of any achievement. I have seen and experienced too many dreadful warnings, even in comparatively model Switzerland.
I am inclined to the view that the state can only be of real use to industry as a limiting and regulative force. It must see to it that competition among the workers is kept within healthy limits, that all children are given a chance to develop soundly, and that wages are high enough for the goods produced to be consumed. But it can exert a decisive influence through its regulative function if its measures are framed in an objective spirit by independent experts. (Albert Einstein, 1934)

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evil. (Albert Einstein, 1949)

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of the smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organised political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights. (Albert Einstein, 1949)

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.
I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by a educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilised in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society. (Albert Einstein, 1949)

Modern definitions of truth, such as those as pragmatism and instrumentalism, which are practical rather than contemplative, are inspired by industrialisation as opposed to aristocracy. (Bertrand Russell)

The modern intellectual tends to dismiss advertising and popular culture as either self-evident manipulation or as simply irrelevant in comparison to such important ideas as the market economy or Marxism or democracy. But in this society you can not dismiss what people wear, what they eat, what they do with their time, or what they spend billions of dollars on. Advertising has grown from marginal hucksterism into the most sustained and cash-rich form of communication. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaires Bastards)

All over the world we are paying billions of dollars in perverse subsidies to industries that cause social and environmental breakdown. Most of the resource-extraction industries are fairly heavily subsidized, [as are] the mining industry, the oil and natural-gas industries, the timber industries and some extent agriculture. (David Suzuki, 1999)

.. we need to see nature as the true capital on which our lives and economy depend. And if we learn to value nature, our real wealth, we will take better care of it. Our economic system works for no one, except maybe the one percent at the very top. Our system wastes the environment. It wastes people. And it's very, very expensive. We need a radical change in how we relate to resources and people and the environment. (Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce)

Conventional economics suggests that with steady growth life will get better and better. But even in industrialized countries, rising GDP and more material consumption has been accompanied by family and community breakdown, pollution, atmosphere change, depleted resources, violence, alienation and drug abuse. It is time to look for different goals and other ways to assess progress.
(David Suzuki, 1999)

The 200 largest companies in the world employ less than one-third of one percent of the global workforce, but they control more than a quarter of the world's wealth. (David Suzuki, 1999)

Tell me, did you ever know a banker with a million who was contented? – or a scientist, politician, artist, lawyer, satisfied with his gains and position? I will go further, and ask you, Have you ever known a contented man? I mean, among the rich, the successful, the highly-born, the highly-placed? How then shall the working man be contented, whose life is necessarily one of the few pleasures and many troubles, of frequent privation and rare indulgence? The more operatives they get, the more they want. (Prince Bismark, 1890)


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John Ralston Saul - And yet, what is real individualism in the contemporary secular state? If it is self-gratification, then this is a golden era. ..Specialization and professionalism have provided the great innovations in social structure during the Age of Reason. But they have not created the bonds necessary for public cooperation. Instead they have served to build defensive cells in which the individual is locked. John Ralston Saul Quotes
Voltaire's Bastards

Life in a box - Specialisation and the Individual

And yet, what is real individualism in the contemporary secular state? If it is self-gratification, then this is a golden era. If it has to do with personal public commitment, then we are witnessing the death of the individual an living in an age of unparalleled conformism. Specialization and professionalism have provided the great innovations in social structure during the Age of Reason. But they have not created the bonds necessary for public cooperation. Instead they have served to build defensive cells in which the individual is locked. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p466)

This widespread freedom of choice is the product of reason's victory over arbitrary social values. The individual has been allowed out of his / her socially constructed cage. That, at least, is the contemporary myth. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p467)

The real state of individual development in our society can be seen in the way the citizen operates when faced by the structures of power. For example, an individual's willingness not to conform can best be measured when nonconformism threatens his / her life, or that of family, friends or other citizens. Fortunately we don't have many opportunities for that kind of test. On the other hand, we are measured every day by our responses to questions which have to do with such things as personal income, careers and public policy. A civilization which claims to have been constructed upon the foundation of the participating individual citizen will stand or fall on our detailed reaction to these questions. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p468)

The rise of the professional was therefore intimately linked - throughout the Industrial Revolution, the accompanying explosion of inventions and the growth of the middle classes- with Western man's assertion that he was a responsible individual. He was responsible to the degree that he was competent. Thus the value of individualism was pegged to the soaring value of specialization. By becoming better at what he did, each man believed that he was increasing his control over his own existence. He was building his personal empire of responsibility. This was both the measure of his worth and the sum of his contribution to society as a whole. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p472)

The professional did indeed find that he could build his personal empire; but curiously enough, the more expert he became, the more his empire shrank. As this happened the individual found himself in an increasingly contradictory position. On the one hand, because he was a virtually all-powerful retainer of information, expertise and responsibility over a tiny area, his cooperation was essential to others who, although within his general discipline, were themselves experts in other tiny areas. Obviously the cooperation of the whole group, with each other and with society as a whole, was also essential to the general population. On the other hand, as these tiny areas of absolute responsibility proliferated, each individual was more securely locked in his confining cell of expertise. Inevitably he became increasingly powerless in society as a whole. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p472-3)

..if participating in society involves the emasculation of the individual, then individualism has no option but to base itself on the abdication of responsibility. Faced by the power of a whole civilization bound-up in structure, the true individual flees. He refuses the rational dream of a world in which each man is an expert and therefore only part of a man. What he resents is not so much that he has been turned into a cell in the social body. Rather, he finds it unacceptable that each cell has little knowledge over the whole and therefore little influence over its workings. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p473)

Civilization implies specialization, specialization is forgetfulness of total values and the establishment of false ones, that is Philistinism. A savage can never fall into this condition, his values are all real, he supplies his own wants and finds them proceeding from himself, not from an estimate of those of others. We must in practice be specialists; the division of labour ordains us to know something of one subject and little of others; it forces Philistinism down our throats whether we like it or not. (Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty, 1893) (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p474)

The more understandable and common reaction of the expert-citizen is defensive. He attempts to turn his prison cell into a fortress by raising and thickening the walls. This padded box may be a cell, but it is also a link within some larger process and is therefore essential. He alone understands and controls the workings of his own box. His power as an individual consists of the ability to withhold his knowledge of cooperation...When threatened, he refuses cooperation- for example by exaggerating difficulties or inventing them or moving slowly or offering misleading information. The only real power of expertise lies in retention.
(John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p474)

The expert, as such, is full of insecurity. That is why he specializes in order to gain some degree of confidence.
(Marshall McLuhan, Letters, 1973) (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p474)

One of the specialist's most successful discoveries was that he could easily defend his territory by the simple development of a specialized language incomprehensible to the nonexperts.
..The example of philosophy actually verges on comedy. Socrates, Descartes, Bacon, Locke and Voltaire did not write in specialized dialect. They wrote in basic Greek, French and English and they wrote for the general reader of their day. Their language is clear, eloquent and often both moving and amusing. The contemporary philosopher does not write in the basic language of our day. He is not accessible to the public. Stranger still, even the contemporary interpreter of earlier philosophy writes in inaccessible dialect. ..Why, then, would anyone bother to read these modern obscurings of the original clarity? The answer is that contemporary universities use these interpretations as the expert's road into the original. The dead philosophers are thus treated as if they were amateurs, in need of expert explanation and protection. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p475)

The new specialized terminology amounts to a serious attack on language as a tool of common understanding. Certainly today, the walls between the boxes of expertise continue to grow thicker. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p475)

The expert claims that his expanded language has paralleled an expanded understanding in his area. But this understanding is limited precisely to fellow experts in that area. Ten geographers who think the world is flat will tend to reinforce each other's errors. If they have a private dialect in which to do this, it becomes impossible for outsiders to disagree with them. Only a sailor can set them straight. The last person they want to meet is someone who, freed from the constraints of expertise, has sailed around the world.
(John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p476)

The purpose of language is communication. It has no other reason for existence. A great civilization is one in which there is a rich texture and breadth and ease to that communication. When language begins to prevent communication, the civilization has entered into serious degeneracy. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p476)

This obsession with expertise is such that the discussion of public affairs on a reasonable level is now almost impossible.
.. Their standard procedure when faced by outside questioning is to avoid answering and instead discourage, even to frighten off the questioner, by implying that he is uninformed, inaccurate, superficial and, invariably, overexcited. If the questioner has some hierarchical power, the expert may feel obliged to answer with greater care. For example, he may release a minimum amount of information in heavy dialect and accompany it with apologies for the complexity, thus suggesting that the questioner is not competent to understand anything anymore. And if the questioner must be answered but need not be respected- a journalist, for example, or a politician- the expert may release a flood of incomprehensible data, thus drowning out debate while pretending to by cooperative. And even if someone does manage to penetrate the confusion of material, he will be obliged to argue against the expert in a context to such complexity to the public, to whom he is supposed to be communicating understanding, will quickly lose interest. In other words, by drawing the persistent outsider into his box, the expert will have rendered him powerless. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p477)

The modern intellectual tends to dismiss advertising and popular culture as either self-evident manipulation or as simply irrelevant in comparison to such important ideas as the market economy or Marxism or democracy. But in this society you can not dismiss what people wear, what they eat, what they do with their time, or what they spend billions of dollars on. Advertising has grown from marginal hucksterism into the most sustained and cash-rich form of communication. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p482)

Fashion and style are always on the move. To pause is to invite choice. And choice, as Mac McDonald pointed out, produces confusion. So we moved relentlessly on, leaving the boat people in our wake in our to worry ourselves about the plight of the Ethiopians. They are still starving, but we shifted focus to the AIDS victims, as star-studded benefits caught our attention. This was briefly interrupted by massive concern for the Kurdish people, who have been suffering for a century and continue to suffer. Our conforming generosity has already moved on. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p485)

Our paradise of the individual is dependent upon carefully maintained illusions. So long as real power remains in the rational structures of our society, only dreaming allows the citizen to remain sane. (John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards, p498)


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Capitalism & Globalisation

Power of the World's True Masters - When the Giants play with Fire, by Frederic F. Clairmont *

(Le Monde diplomatique, December 1999)

So far as the concentration of capital is concerned, the century is ending as it began. Back in 1906 in The Jungle, the novelist Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) denounced the fiction of the "American paradise" and the crimes of big business in the days of the "Robber Barons". He wrote that "it is the grand climax of the century-long battle of commercial competition - the final death grapple between the Chiefs of the Beef Trust and Rockefeller's Standard Oil for the prize of the mastery of the ownership of the United States."
After the Great Depression of 1873, the concentration of industry and banks was proceeding at such a pace that two federal investigators, the economists J. B. and J. M. Clark, could write in 1912 that "the mere size of the consolidations which have recently emerged is enough to startle those who saw them in the making. If the carboniferous age had returned and the earth had repeopled itself with dinosaurs, the change made in animal life would have scarcely seemed greater than that which has been made in the business world by these monster-like corporations" (1).
It was this change in the concentration of wealth and political power that caused the leading German industrialist and founder of AEG, Walter Rathenau, to say, at the start of the century, that "300 men, who all know each other personally, control the economic destinies of Europe and between them choose their own successors" (2).

What has changed since then is that in Europe those 300 have become fewer than 150. Concentrations have reshaped capital not only in the United States, but also in France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan - that is in the five countries that dominated the world economy at the start of the century and where the headquarters of nearly 90% of the world's 200 biggest companies are currently located.
These 200 megafirms, for which the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the shield and sponsor, cover the whole of human activity: from industry to banking, wholesaling to retailing, extensive farming to every possible niche of financial services, both lawful and unlawful. For the "big boys" of banking and insurance, the distinctions between clean money and dirty money have in fact long since disappeared. However, these 200 have surgically restructured themselves, driven by voracious predatory appetites looking for ever larger prey. For example, in the US in 1998 alone, Exxon took over Mobil for $86bn, Travelers Group Citicorp for $73.6bn, SBC Communications Americatech for $72.3bn, Bell Atlantic GTE for $71.3bn, and AT&T Media One for $63.1bn. Together, these five mergers and acquisitions totalled more than $366bn. Worldwide, they amounted to $2,500bn and will exceed $3,000bn in 1999. Since the start of the decade, $20,000bn have been spent in this way, two and a half times the gross domestic product (GDP) of the US.
Although right-thinking theory presents the accumulation of capital as saving and investment, it must nevertheless be remembered that the colossal sums that drive up the stock markets and whet the giant predators' appetites are derived from debt. Between 1997 and 1999 total world debt (of households, businesses and governments) increased from $33,100bn to $37,100bn. That is an annual exponential growth of 6.2%, three times that of world GDP. But by pursuing these policies the giants are playing with fire. Like the "rationalisation" of the 1920s and 1930s, in everyday language "cost cutting" and "value creation" mean the loss of
hundreds of thousands of jobs. Hence the renewed fighting spirit among the workforce. The hit men, those "killer capitalists" lying in wait within those giant firms, like Al Capone's gangsters on the lookout for their rivals at the corner of a clandestine distillery, should ponder once in a while on the fate that awaited their authentic predecessors.

* Economist
(1) J. B. and J. M. Clark, The Control of Trusts, Macmillan, New York, 1912.
(2) Walter Rathenau, quoted in "Neue Freie Presse", Berlin, Winter 1909.
Translated by Malcolm Greenwood

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 1999 Le Monde diplomatique

http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/en/1999/12/?c=14clair


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Consumption / Production

....The claim made by economists and corporate leaders that more consumption around the world will benefit the poor is simply untrue. In fact, the opposite is true. All the expansion approach does is use up the future faster, primarily for the benefit of the already excessively rich. (Suzuki, Naked Ape to Superspecies)

The point is, Holland and countries like it, most of the developed nations, for that matter, are often used as models for the Third World to follow. But ... it's not possible for the Third World to follow these models because in many respects the Third World is providing the surpluses that these countries exploit in order to have their extremely high standards of living. So for every country that has an ecological deficit, there has to be another part of Earth that has an ecological surplus. If every country runs an ecological deficit, then we are quite literally consuming the Earth. And in fact ... that is exactly what we are doing.(Suzuki, Naked Ape to Superspecies)

While there are far more people in poor countries like India, China, Kenya or the Philippines, more than 80% of the planets resources are being consumed by countries like the US, Japan, Germany and Canada. If you are a Canadian or an American with only one child, that child will consume more than forty times what two little Bangladeshis will. The problem with overpopulation is not just numbers. It's a factor of both population and per capita consumption.(Suzuki, Naked Ape to Superspecies)

We're the richest country on earth, yet half of us say we can't afford the things we really need - and that includes many people with incomes over $100 000. Something is wrong with this picture. (Editorial, The UTNE Reader, Dec 1998) (Suzuki, Naked Ape to Superspecies)

If we imagine that the fullness we yearn for can be reckoned in dollars .. or purchased in stores, there will be no end to our craving.
(Scott Russell Sanders, Audubon, July/Aug 1998) (Suzuki, Naked Ape to Superspecies)


Introduction - Philosophy / Metaphysics of Economics & Globalisation - Nature & Economy - Economics Quotes - John Ralston Saul / Specialisation - Capitalism & Globalisation - Consumption & Production - Links / Economics - Top of Page

Karl Marx on the Philosophy of Economics - Truth Reality and Nature as Market Economic Forces - Karl Marx - Das Capital - What I have to examine in this work is the capitalist mode of production, its natural laws and tendencies winning their way through and working themselves out with iron necessity. Links / Philosophy of Economics, Globalisation

Philosophy: Politics Globalisation - On the Political Theories of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Machiavelli, Hobbes, etc. On the Evolution of a True Democracy Founded on Truth and Reality. Globalisation as Interconnected Ecology of both Political States and Reality.
Marx, Karl & Engels, Frederick - Motion (of Workers and Capital) as the Philosophical Foundations of Marx and Engels 'Das Capital'. Philosophy: Importance of Truth & Reality to Humanity - Wisdom from Truth from Reality. (Thus Humanity must know Reality to be Wise.)
Philosophy: Education - Plato, Michel de Montaigne, Albert Einstein and Jean Jacques Rousseau on Philosophy of Education, both for the Individual and their Responsibility to Society. On True Knowledge of Reality as Necessary for Education of Critical Thinking.
Philosophy: Morality Ethics - The Fundamental Morality of World Religions 'Do Unto Others ...'is Logically True as the Other is Part of Self.
Aurelius, Marcus - Famous Stoic Roman Emperor & his Meditations on our Interconnected Existence in the Universe & how we are to live. We should not say - I am an Athenian or I am a Roman but I am a Citizen of the Universe.
Evolution: Culture - Importance of True Knowledge of Reality (Wave Structure of Matter) for Human Cultural Evolution (Utopia).
Evolution: Ecology: Nature - Ecological Interconnection and the Importance of Nature explained by Wave Structure of Matter. Life (and Humanity) evolved from Nature and depend upon Nature for Survival.
Evolution: Organic Gardening Farming Foods - The Philosophy of Sustainable Organic Food Production from Nature.





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Biography: Geoffrey Haselhurst, Philosopher of Science, Theoretical Physics, Metaphysics, Evolution. Our world is in great trouble due to human behaviour founded on myths and customs that are causing the destruction of Nature and climate change. We can now deduce the most simple science theory of reality - the wave structure of matter in space. By understanding how we and everything around us are interconnected in Space we can then deduce solutions to the fundamental problems of human knowledge in physics, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, education, health, evolution and ecology, politics and society.

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