Thursday, June 7, 2012

Eating the Planet...One Buck at a Time

The problem with allowing a few folks to stockpile enormous sums of money is that money is not wealth. Money represents a future claim against wealth that a person holds, and which can later be presented in exchange for real wealth whenever that person decides to use the claim. Real wealth would be the natural resources, energy, goods and services that are provided by our planet and our society - the things that living beings actually use to remain alive. 
 So here's the tragic irony: Because we've designed a system where we must each amass enough of these future claims to ensure we'll be able to present them against society's future wealth once we're too old or sick to work - or once we've decided we no longer wish to work at producing more stuff that others can use - we're frenziedly destroying our real wealth in order to enable each other to amass enough claims against our future wealth to theoretically satisfy all our future needs.

If we continue to over-consume our natural resources (as we already are) by turning them into unnecessary junk and waste so we can amass even more claims against future wealth, the claims we're amassing will all lose their value over time. And the more we mindlessly damage the planet by destroying its air quality, corroding its healthy topsoil, polluting its fresh water reserves and decimating its living ecosystems, the less likely it will be to support our needs for more genuine resources in the future. That means those who've amassed the greatest monetary "fortunes" will find themselves unable to cash in the bulk of their claims against society's future wealth, because not enough real resources (genuine wealth) will exist on our planet to satisfy those stockpiled theoretical demands for actual resources.

The entire society has truly gone insane in its quest for money, mostly because we've been conditioned to confuse money with genuine wealth. At this point, we're all so busy producing specific goods and services to satisfy the concentrated claims of those few who now hold the bulk of society's money that we're unable to produce the goods the bulk of us need to get by, right here and now. We're making expensive new toys and burning up our fossil fuels to deliver them to the 'wealthy' while the majority of humans on planet Earth go to bed hungry each night, with no idea how they might be able to stockpile claims against society's future wealth - because nobody wants what little they have to offer. Meanwhile, we've been increasingly mechanizing our workplaces, using machines, fossil fuels and technology to reduce the need for human energy to produce things. Our economies now require significantly less human labor  - the primary product we humans have to sell in order to amass claims against future wealth - in relationship to the goods and services we're producing to satisfy the claims of those who now hold the bulk of the money. Increasing productivity, coupled with an increasing population that desperately needs to amass more claims against society's future wealth, means that ever fewer of us will find ourselves successful at amassing enough claims against society's future wealth to be able to thrive tomorrow, no matter how hard and long we labor today!

As if that's not bad enough, the entire system has been rigged to extract massive quantities of  future claims against wealth from the masses before most people are able to stockpile a decent amount of them to guarantee a future free from lack. Those who hold the bulk of the future claims have no qualms about using some of them to purchase the power to determine the rules that the rest of us must live by - which means they design the tax codes and policies that demand the middle class pay to keep the poorest alive, while the rich are permitted to pay lower tax rates so they can amass even more future claims against the social wealth we all produce. They also pay to bombard society with propaganda in an attempt to convince us that if someone isn't successful it's all their own fault; that way, we don't notice the white collar crimes, the banking scandals, the way the system continuously picks the pockets of the masses to move those future claims against wealth into the hands of a few, to whom we continue to cede all the power to decide what our society will look like, create and become.

When will all this madness end? Most likely it'll come crashing to a halt before we've completely consumed all our planetary resources and rendered Earth unable to support human life in our vain quest to amass "enough" (spelled unlimited) future claims against the planet's finite resources, but not before we've generated enough suffering for ourselves that we're forced to come to grips with the absurdity and destructiveness of this system and release our shared delusion that "money is wealth" in order to live more fully and richly together...right here and now.