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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Wealth of Nations, mini update

There was a time before the physical universe (Maybe not a time, but a before, which raises some interesting questions.). There was a time before the Milky Way galaxy. There was a time before Planet Earth. There was a time before life on Earth. There was a time before the human species. There was a time before the European "discovery" of "North America." There was a time before what is known as the "Free enterprise system," "Capitalism," "Industrialism," or "The market system." There will be a time after all these phenomena. Though we would like to know the foreseeable future for all of them, about all we can say about most is Que Sera. I can provide a little insight about one.

The system under which the United States operates is generally known as a mixed economy, with government and private entities providing goods and services on a mass scale. It can also be called mixed in another sense, in that the dominant force in the system is the corporation - a "legal person," organized or constituted by one or more persons and legally endowed with various rights and duties, including the capacity of succession. Monopolistic, oligopolistic, and even competitive corporations exert great power not only in the market, but in the political sphere as well. Witness the last election, in which corporate donors controlled the agendas of both major candidates, and even "counted" enough of the votes to swing the "election."

The other part of the mixture in the private sector is the smaller proprietorships and partnerships that make up much of what we see on the local level: coffee shops, restaurants, dry cleaners, small manufacturers, farmers, etc.

Regardless of the mix of government, corporate, and smaller "actors," as they say in the profession, the continuation of the mass industrial system depends on growth of output. There must be prospects for growth forever, or the system will fail. The rate of growth, expressed as a percentage above the previous year, should be between 2 to 4 percent for a reasonably healthy economy. That means a doubling of economic output every 18 to 36 years.

This kind of growth was certainly possible when the continent was "discovered." There was an abundance of resources, and there were even resources like oil and uranium that were not known to have value.

Now we are in a different situation. The resources are being depleted, the land, air, and water are being poisoned, the oil is running out, the population is huge, and there is no magic elixir or philsopher's stone that can create growth out of baser materials.

A sane and intelligent civilization would recognize this situation and find meaningful ways of solving the problems faced. Such a society would have a means of choosing leaders who would honestly, competently, and humanely work to change the nation's, and the world community's, way of being on this planet.

Enter the Bush crime family, with a mixture of hocus pocus economics, religious fakery, corporate cronyism, and a "new" philosophy of empire. Add in a healthy (or not so healthy) dose of terror fear mongering, and what you have is what we now are witnessing: the entire planet rapidly descending into chaos.

The next few years will be the critical years for the future of Humankind on this planet. I think it is safe to say that the various schemes of the Bush crime family are beginning to unravel. In this context, it is probably better that Bush "won" the election. He will be more likely to reap what he has sown by remaining in office while it all comes crashing down.

So, there is cause for optimism. While the fundamental questions that the world faces are not being even recognized as existing by the "only superpower," the process of recognizing is being accelerated. To paraphrase Adam Smith, the Bush crime family is serving an end which is no part of their intention, the betterment of mankind.


Blogger Gindy said...

I related to this post until the third to the last paragraph. But, the rest I found very interesting. I'll have to check back.

12/23/2004 4:03 PM  
Blogger John Hamilton said...

One of the nice things about doing a blog is the ability to revise and republish. What I hope to have made clear is the contradiction between the problems the nation and planet face, and the choice to have them solved by the Bush crime family. I don't contend that the Bush regime is a Mafia-style organized crime unit. I take it as a given, and thus do not refer to them in any other way. Others can busy themselves with arguing about this fact. I find it a silly waste of time.

What I do find interesting are the twin factors of the Bush crime family's slight theft of the election, and the escapism of almost half the population. To believe in George W. Bush as a hero (not a deserter), Christian (not an Elmer Gantry), economic visionary (not a corrupt ignoramus), protector of the environment (not a criminal friend of polluters and denuders), a man of peace (not a reckless invader), is to willfully live in fantasy. The ruling minority is choosing to threaten all life on this planet by choosing to live lives of pretense. This is not a matter of sincere belief. It is insincere belief. Trust in falsehood. It is attempted alchemy of lies into truth. It is a violation of The Ten Commandments, bearing false witness (Need I mention the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?"), putting strange gods (materialism, Bush) before the Divine, stealing, killing, coveting thy neighbor's goods, and, in Abu Ghraib and other places, doing a bit more than coveting thy neighbor's wife. Indeed, Abu Ghraib calls for a new commandment: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's brother, son, daughter, neice, nephew, aunt, uncle, father, mother, and neighbor. For the dense, sexually depraved torture is a form of fulfillment of covetous desires. As we are now finding out, these tortures were authorized by George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. If supposed "right wing" "religious" activists would like to find a good place to post the Ten Commandments, I suggest the Whitehouse and the Pentagon. The State Department could use a tablet or two also.

12/25/2004 11:17 AM  

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