Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Human Tapeworm: Unregulated Capitalism

We humans have an alarming number of common, planet-wide problems that call for cooperative effort and cooperative solutions among all humans.
These include the population explosion, the depletion of fishes, oil, fresh water, and tillable soil, pollution, global poisoning, a widening gap between the rich and the poor, hunger, health, public health, corruption of our sources of information and wisdom, and the erosion of democracy.

All of these problems have a common root, a cause that may not be discussed. These common problems thus cannot be solved. That root is the unregulated market economy that now dominates the world. Its real name is capitalism, now multi-national capitalism.

Unlike European countries, the unregulated market economy is a holy sacred cow in the United States. It is not analyzed, criticized or evaluated in the media, in academia, or in any mainstream source ordinarily available to us. Nevertheless, there are some critical facts and characteristics that every thinking person should know. It is helpful to use metaphors from the animal world to describe the unregulated market economy. It is like the untouchable water buffalo in India. It may go where it pleases, eat what it pleases defecate where it pleases, and humans may not interfere. It is holy and sacred. By failing accurately to identify and discuss the common root cause, our major problems cannot be solved.

Another metaphor from the animal world is useful. The unregulated market economy, capitalism, has many features in common with the tapeworm that afflicts humans. Therefore, with awareness of the limitations, we set forth the dynamics of capitalism by comparing it to the tapeworm.

Capitalism, like the tapeworm, is a parasite. It requires a human host. It can exist only if we humans work for an employer and if we consume. It would die if we curtailed either our work as employees or our consumption. Like the tapeworm, capitalism will itself ultimately die as it weakens or kills its human host.

The “tapeworm” is concerned solely with making as much short-term profit as possible for those relatively few humans who are employers, or who invest with employers. The end product of the tapeworm for humans is the accumulation of material goods. “He who dies with the most toys wins.” The “tapeworm” can meet no human needs other than material goods that can be produced at a profit for employers. The “tapeworm” will not allow food or medicines to be produced unless they can be sold at a profit. Thus, although there is plenty of food, millions of people cannot afford to buy it. Thus the “tapeworm” cannot provide public education, universal health care, childcare, old age security, or communities or parks. The “tapeworm” has no concern whatever for human health, preservation of the resources of the planet, pollution or global poisoning, spiritual or religious values, human sharing cooperation, community, or culture.

The “tapeworm” is voracious. It actively seeks new natural resources to devour and fresh humans who will do its work for lower wages. Its voracious characteristic often makes it one of the causes of war.

The “tapeworm” abhors human efforts to meet human needs by working together. Where humans have cooperated through the state or otherwise to build public power generating facilities or water supplies, it seeks to “privatize” them so that those humans who hire the labor of employee-humans can have yet another opportunity to accumulate wealth.

The metabolic cycle of the “tapeworm” is based on two classes of humans: those humans who employ other humans and those humans who are hired. The human with some money (whether inherited, stolen, obtained from slaves, or from whatever source) hires a human with little or no money for the lowest possible wage, to earn as much wealth as possible for the human who already has money. Over time, the metabolic cycle of the “tapeworm” thus makes the employer class of humans immensely wealthy while it weakens and impoverishes the class of humans who are employees.

The “tapeworm,” over time, also creates immense political power for humans who employ other humans. It gives the wealthy as much political power as they can buy. It corrodes the egalitarian basis of democracy based on equal sharing of political power among voters, and thwarts majority will.

The tapeworm has no sense of concern or responsibility whatever for its employees. It will quickly move its activities to whatever locality will provide employees who will work for a lower wage. It will substitute a machine or a computer for employees whenever possible. It abandons those employees who previously served it.

The “tapeworm” has no sense of propriety or ethical values. The “tapeworm” richly rewards those humans who are greedy selfish and aggressive, but it has no place for humans who are cooperative, generous or sharing.

The “tapeworm” takes exhaustive measures to protect itself. It creates a taboo so that it may not even be discussed. Its employee-humans, most of whom have no alternative source of food, clothing and shelter, are desperately dependent on the “tapeworm” for their jobs and their survival. Employee humans, even when they are organized together into unions, do not criticize or analyze the “tapeworm.” The employer-humans would quickly fire them for exposing the metabolic cycle of the “tapeworm.” Thus the “tapeworm” fosters a taboo based on fear among all employee-humans at every level of employment. The taboo infects journalists, college professors, preachers, public health workers, social workers, so that no one even uses the word “capitalism.”

Our “tapeworm” is a gigantic, planet wide institution that feeds on us humans and gradually enfeebles our minds and erodes our democracy and our health, security and well being. Let’s work together to understand it and to control it.