SIA Blog (11 January)

Greed and the Clandestine War on the People

Recently a number of disturbing reports on the health of the global commons have come to the fore. From ice sheets melting in Greenland and the Antarctic, to the retreat of glaciers among the world’s mountain ranges, to pollution choking the air over Beijing, New Delhi and London. One does not need to be a climate scientist to conclude that the world we have created, a world struggling to sustain an economic model based on exponential growth, is dying beneath our feet.

The wealthy elites, who by dint of their wealth can escape the environmental misery they have unleashed, are oblivious to the suffering. So long as the shareholders who blindly support the concept of never ending, socially unaccountable profit continue to get their silver, nothing is likely to change for the better.

In a case of life imitating art, a ‘Blade runner’-style dystopia is being created right under our noses and whether people live in a democracy or an autocracy, they are powerless to change the fate of the world.

High-tech, amoral, polluted, where the difference between globalist corporate power and national government edict is becoming harder to distinguish, and where the concept of consumer has replaced the concept of citizen, we now live in an age of sociopathic laissez-faire capitalism – the mother of all capitalism – feeding off the deliberately infantilised desires and fantasies of consumers sustained on a steady diet of simplistic and misleading corporate advertising designed to keep them shopping when all credit has been expended. Devised to keep us buying products and services that in most part are irrelevant to our lives, but are critical to keep the wheels of this international order turning.

It is no wonder therefore, that we are beginning to see some blow-back from people who see the futility of the current system and who are beginning to protest for political and social change.

Never before has our planet had so many people on it, all wanting the same consumer items, all to be consumed in the same way and at the same time. Our desire for these products, flashy and attractive as they may be, is only eclipsed by the greed of those who are peddling them.

So here we are at our ‘Cretaceous’ period. The actual Cretaceous ended 65.5 million years ago, punctuated by an asteroid impact that forever changed the landscape and the trajectory of life on our planet. Our ‘Cretaceous moment’ is vastly truncated. Of the 2.2 million years of human existence, the last 200 years have been our evolutionary high-water mark.

Commentators such as Steven Pinker, suggest that we have never had so much material wealth as a species, so much peace on the planet, so much order in our lives. And one can certainly agree with some points. If material wealth means cheap, throw away products made by burning vast amounts of fossil fuels; if it means a proliferation of smaller, chaotic, nasty little wars as opposed to highly organised international conflicts; if it means to substitute the totalitarian nightmare of police States with a global post privacy environment where no one has, or is encouraged to retain a private ‘self’ from the State or the corporation, then perhaps Pinker’s argument is correct.

Advertising and propaganda have merged. Using well-known psychological trickery to beguile and fool the people is today the nonviolent instrument with which the elite has chosen to maintain its grip on power. Using individual vanity, greed, one-upmanship and general ignorance, is the perfect vehicle to control the masses based on – distract, divide and rule.

And so we begin 2017:

  • Donald J. Trump, an archetypal modern capitalist, will move into the White House on January 20.
  • Britain will suffer a succession of crises as a consequence of Brexit.
  • The EU’s slow motion fall will not be arrested as national elections in the Netherlands (15 March) and in France (23 April) may see anti-EU right-wing parties win, or at the very least hold commanding positions in their polities, thereby severely destabilising them.
  • Italy’s debt crisis will likely be the spear in the side of the EU by midyear.
  • The centre of the EU project – Germany – will likely see a weakened and chastened Angela Merkel returned as Chancellor after its next election.
  • To Europe’s east an emboldened and predatory Russia destabilises countries on its western flank to drive them out of the West’s geopolitical orbit and neutralise Western influence.
  • China will continue acting as the workshop of the world while its environmental security and the health of the Chinese people will continue to be compromised for profit.
  • A temporary entente between Russia, Turkey and Iran will stabilise Syria until the Trump-Putin relationship turns sour.
  • Israel and the Gulf States will continue their quiet diplomacy to hedge against encroaching Iranian power in the Middle East.
  • Syria and Iraq will retain their roles as battlegrounds in the religious schism between Saudi Wahhabism and Iranian Shiism at varying degrees of intensity.
  • In South America, Venezuela may suffer the continent’s first ever mass famine and will certainly lurch into a period of sustained civil unrest, which could precipitate revolution or civil war.
  • In Africa, following the Chinese economic model of rapacious, autocratic capitalism, environmental degradation, resource depletion, the spread of radical Islam and relatively weak growth, will disappoint the many and entrench the enriched few, leading to continuing internal violence, especially the kind that has now beset a former stable and prosperous Ethiopia.
  • The unstable triangular relationship between Australia, Indonesia and East Timor will continue to distract political leaders in Canberra, Jakarta and Dili, leading to a period of tense rhetoric and outbursts of hostile public diplomacy between these three capitals.
  • The Chinese politburo will come under increasing pressure from the Trump administration eager to strike a deal over China’s South China Sea military outposts. This will see intransigence and heightened military confrontation between the PLAN and the USN,[1] particularly if as Trump has already flagged, the issue of Taiwan’s status is raised.
  • Japan will continue to flex its military and diplomatic muscle against China as well as North Korea.
  • As for North Korea, it will remain cocooned within the territorial confines of the ‘hermit kingdom’. It will bluster, it will launch rockets and missiles and detonate another nuclear warhead as impotent demonstrations of power. But this isolated state, barring some unforeseen internal crisis, will stay within the limited confines of ‘crazy’.

And the terrible irony of it all is that by acting honourably, with common sense and for the common good, characteristics that have fallen out of favour a generation or so ago, we might just avert the worst problems plaguing our world today.

It is not that we do not have the intelligence to think of different or better solutions. One does not have to be micro-dosing on LSD to see alternatives to our economic modelling or solve social alienation.

The progressive left have been selling us an idealism that cannot sustain itself. No society can successfully force people to adhere to progressive dictates. This is what totalitarians of old tried to do by very crude means. Today more sophisticated, less violent techniques are being used, and yet there is a rebellion by the Right simmering around the world.

The year 2017 will see countries experiment with Rightist political agendas. Some of the policies may be welcomed, but as we all know, every time the pendulum swings too far either way, it eventually falls back to the middle. We can only hope that the move to the centre happens sooner rather than later.






[1] People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN); United States Navy (USN)

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