Replacing The Establishment

Indeed our current establishment is corrupt. As far as I know, there are relatively few who would dispute that. However, the question is, what do we replace it with?

In order to be able to propose an effective solution, we must identify the root cause of the problem.

Is it the government? Indeed, government is corrupt; but why is it that way? Some may be inclined to think that it's simply that the individuals who are currently running the government are corrupt people and if only we had decent people in government we would then have a decent government. Sadly, however, it is not that simple. Indeed, the people in government exhibit corrupt behaviour, but why? The reason is, because it is in their best interest to behave that way. It is the nature of the job. It is rewarded by the system.

Consider the process by which politicians are "elected" into office. Nominees receive funding from corporations, which they use to promote their political campaign. Generally, those with the more popular campaigns are more likely to be elected. Those with more funding have access to more resources and are better able to produce an effective campaign. Thus, there is a pretty direct correlation between campaign funding and votes. In turn, the elected politician executes legislation that favors the corporations that funded their campaign (even if it was not an explicit "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" type contract, if they want future funding from that organization, it is in their best interest to legislate favorably to them).

So effectively what we have is a system where politicians, and hence laws, are bought like services. Even if a "decent person" got elected, if they did not implement legislation favorably to the corporations, they would be out of office pretty quickly. Thus, it is not the politicians, and certainly not the populace, that runs the government. It is the corporations.

At this point, you may say, "well then it's really the business executives who are corrupt and if only we had decent people running the corporations, people who cared more about society than about profit, then everything would be ok". Unfortunately, the corporate corruption is itself also a symptom and not the root cause. The corporations behave the way they do because they need to in order to survive.

To a corporation, profit is the primary motivation. Any other concern comes second, if it is even considered at all. This includes concern for individuals and for society. Why is it this way? Because if it behaved any other way it would cease to exist. Shareholders in a stock whose value is not increasing are highly motivated to sell that stock in favor of one that is, so that they do not lose out on their investment. A corporation with no investors will quickly be eaten alive by competing corporations that do have investors. Thus, if a corporation is to survive, it must maximize profit at all cost; human, environmental, societal, anything that increases the bottom line is acceptable. Thus, if you want to be a business executive, you have to either behave in this corrupt manner, or not be in business for very long.

So should we blame the profit motive? Partially, but even the profit motive mainly stems from something even more fundamental: scarcity. That is, the condition of there not being "enough to go around" of some particular resource. For example, if there are 10 people on a desert island and only 9 coconuts, someone is going to be stuck without a coconut. Historically, there was real scarcity in the world. There were many resources that there really was not enough of to go around, and to make more took incredible investment of labor and resources. Thus, people would barter and trade for what they needed and eventually a monetary system developed that helped to control the rationing of scarce resources.

The opposite of scarcity is abundance. The condition that there is so much of something that there is no need to ration it. Not necessarily infinite, but so much more than we would ever be likely to use. As an example, consider air. There is not an infinite amount of air on the Earth, but there is so much in relation to how much we use, that there is no need to ration it, and any attempt to put a price tag on it would be ridiculous (assuming for the sake of this example that air pollution were not an issue). Now consider how the world would be if all the necessities of life were in such abundance. There would be no purpose to having a monetary system at all since everything would be available to everyone in amounts greater than they would ever need. Concepts like "property" and thus theft would cease to have any meaning. What point would there be in "stealing" or "hoarding" something that is freely available to everyone in abundance? You would be no better off for having it, and certainly couldn't sell it.

So the question then becomes "do we have the ability to create such abundance"? It turns out that we do. We have the technology and resources to create an abundance of food, water, air, and sustainable, renewable energy to feed, house, clothe, and provide power and transportation for the entire world for thousands of years. However, as long as we live in a system that is driven by money and promotes profit, such technologies will have to compete for market share with big oil companies. Resources that could otherwise be abundant will continue to be kept scarce to maintain their value and profitability.

The corporatocracy will fight tooth and nail to prevent the revolution. However, they only have whatever power we give them. Their ability to fight comes from money and laws. Money only has meaning if people value it. Otherwise, it's just pieces of paper with fancy designs, or numbers in a computer. Laws only have value if there are people willing to enforce them. Without a police or military force, laws are just words on a piece of paper or letters in a computer. Therefore, if the revolution is to be effective, it must be a revolution not of physical force but of education and civil disobedience.

An organization that is actively working towards this goal of moving towards sustainability and abundance that I would highly reccommend checking out is called the Zeitgeist Movement:
pinkpuff pinkpuff
Aug 11, 2010