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Swallowing Up the Competition: Culture Disease with a Cure PDF Print E-mail
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by Jan Lundberg   
27 November 2010
When Nestlé buys mineral water companies and mass markets the "product" in plastic, solely for fantastic profits, this trend cannot be reversed by laws. Laws against wrongdoing and greed at the top are hard to pass and harder to enforce. "Owning" watersheds was so foreign to the native Americans that the European invaders reaped an advantage we can call the warped mind disengaged from heart. Yet, in the long run, which culture is sustainable? Only one of them respects natural laws that, among a few other basics, revere water as the source of life for all.

An opposing reaction to industrial take-over, if it isn't to be hopelessly piecemeal, comes down to a cultural change. This is much more rare and systemic than reforms. "Difficult" isn't quite the right word, but "inevitable" must be, when culture change encompasses and assures so much.

When the big entities take over the small and the good, and when big-that's-bad becomes known as good, what kind of a world do we have when bad is good and good is bad? Orwellian and most unstable.

Condoning this is acceptance of the supposed just course of Western Civilization. But some of us cannot continue to revel in modernity, such as the often questionable wonders of technology and other features of anthropocentric culture. It all goes together: the lifestyle of consuming, enjoying endless convenience, amenities for entertainment and transitory pleasure, individual isolation and alienation (part of divide and conquer) -- and the drive to extinction.

Either you can get behind this news or you cannot: "U.S. Corporate Profits Hit Record in Third Quarter" (New York Times, Nov. 23). More and more people cannot stomach it, even when such news seemingly negates concerns over peak oil, climate destabilization, and infinite funny-money from Wall Street and the Federal Reserve. You have opinions and may be alarmed, but what say do you have?

The choice is to keep your head down, hoping the trough is kept full enough for the growing number of mouths, or, stand aside in resistance, picking up acorns or diving in dumpsters. I have personally tended toward the latter. Truth is sustenance. Oh, and send money of course.

Can the resisters be swallowed up like the business competition has been? Yes, swallowing up or buying off is a prime tool of the Establishment. There are many other means that range in severity and overtness. Given this winnowing out of the competition (not so much of business but of minds), the hope for mass change is for a critical mass of participants. The first purpose of the Establishment is to discourage this. Maintaining the power structure, as it pushes life over the ecological cliff and whips our hard-working backs in the process -- playing with our minds with images of sex and wealth -- is the name of the game from the top on down.

The most effective swallowing up of the competition has been corporate media consolidation in the last couple of decades. Gotta love that Democrat, Bubba Slick Willy. Six entities now own almost every major outlet in the U.S.; this reaches abroad. The independent outlets claiming to represent the taxpayer have dubious names for their acronyms: NPR is called National Propaganda Radio and PBS is the Petroleum Broadcasting System. As children in the U.S. we were taught that freedom of the press and of free speech is perhaps the main foundation of our democracy. But we've lost it, and carry on somewhat aimlessly to the cliff. We march like sheep, if sheep could march, hearing the megaphone of the corporate state's message: "Fear terrorists! You get to vote! Freedom is to shop as dutiful workers! Tough luck for the poor and sick, we're the greatest nation! Don't worry about the environmental crisis when we'll always have technological progress!"

Those of us with a radical critique -- whether bitter foes of the system and/or the positive-sounding activists -- don't have a loud alternative megaphone. The cost of magazine production and distribution, and paper from trees, went up and up so that the ownership of a printing press -- defined wryly as enabling a true, free press -- has become almost completely impractical. The advantages of a magazine in one's hand, over electronic screens, include low-tech access, tactile experience, low-cost and efficient sharing, and inserting scents (although only done by corporate purveyors of petrochemicals).

When left-brain approaches to opposing the false values of our artificial world don't get traction -- i.e., by forming a growing movement -- and are dependent on money and other rules of the dominant game, it must be time for a new day of the right-hemisphere of the brain. This means our hearts participate with our minds to find and offer the true path for humanity and the survival of species. There is not one "true path," but can we agree on sustainability and mutual respect while sharing a finite planet?

Art, music, street theater, and joyful rejection of globalism and consumption promise everything. They even deliver it. I have proposed a strategy several times publicly for many years: if enough people don't buy new cars, and just buy used ones if they must, this will keep money local and starve the corporate economy within months, so as to bring it to its knees. Yes, jobs will be lost -- as they will anyway as petrocollapse intensifies. But with more mutual aid and focus, we can hasten and maximize the meaningful work needed globally for resilient neighborhoods and self-reliant communities.

Let's say we don't try to achieve it until forced by collapse. But if things somehow go in a better direction, even local autonomy can be regained in far greater measure (if that has appeal). With industrialism as well as its habit of swallowing up coming to an historic end, we may reconnect intimately with the interdependent and balanced universe that appears to want to be our friend (we're alive, right?). May you tread upon this path with loved ones and with joy and good health.

* * * * *

......_\ \>,

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"My arguments in support of self-government, as opposed to society under a state, may have little point, of course: if people do not choose the state, but, as I think, simply have it imposed on them, then it makes no practical difference that the state is unnecessary to solve any particular kind of problem and that life without the state would be superior (Holcombe 2004). Life without cancer would be superior, too, but so far we have not found a way to get rid of it, and we have no guarantee that we ever will find a way, so we can only strive to make the best of a bad situation. We need also to consider the likely outcome if our society had no state but another society did, and that state had the capacity to harm us greatly and, for whatever reason, sought to do so. I am not convinced that this particular problem is insoluble, and indeed I believe that the state’s defenders may have blown it out of proportion, but I do not dismiss it entirely. The Irish monks may have had the better argument, but it availed them little when Henry VIII decided to rip the roof off the monastery.

Here, however, I have tried only to show how we may think more clearly about the choice between a society under the state and a society composed of self-governing individuals. Assuming that we really had such a choice, the better option seems to me fairly obvious. If the reader takes anything away from my arguments here, however, I hope that it will be an appreciation of how highly warranted is an application of the precautionary principle in choosing between anarchy and the state. Fire has proven to be a magnificent aid to human beings, but a fire that cannot be contained portends our utter destruction, and the state is precisely such a fire."
~ Robert Higgs, 'If Men Were Angels: The Basic Analytics of the State versus Self-government'
June 11, 2007

Jan, fear not, I'm(/we're) working on a response (solution?).
If you have any questions and want to collaborate, I/we could use your help, so feel free to contact me via email.

~ æ
Cælan MacIntyre
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With industrialism as well as its habit of swallowing up coming to an historic end, we may reconnect intimately with the interdependent and balanced universe that appears to want to be our friend (we're alive, right?). May you tread upon this path with loved ones and with joy and good health.
I suspect that only a small minority will survive what's coming - and it will be those who have already embraced nature and the universe and a simple life who will be best adapted to survive. Forewarned is forearmed. Yes, universe wants to be our friend! I really appreciate your sentiments here :) For those of us who are awake to what is happening, this "civilization" is increasingly looking like the depths of hell. Things can only get better :)
Ian Howie Mackenzie
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The establishment loves its money and power and monoply. The intelligensia wants to keep its monoply over knowledge and ridicule the peasants whenever they think something different. Don't let anyone become self-suffient and independent! They like to think cancer will never be cured when in fact it already has many times over by much greater people than they are. And they know it. Thats the other side of "civilization" the elites know the truth and they know we can figure it out, but they ever work agaisnt us in their quest for money and power. How else do you think they came to power?
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