Beyond Reforms and Markets

click here for videoReformists try to make a better world while working within the current socioeconomic system. They fail, because the problems they see are symptoms of deeper problems they don’t see: The system itself is wrong in its basic principles, and must be replaced altogether.

california fireFirst, let’s list the biggest symptoms. Millions of our cousins are refugees and innocent victims of war, and billions are poor and hungry. The climate worsens faster than the press says; some crop failures have already begun. And if we continue the arms race, a nuclear war is sure to happen eventually — we’ve had many close calls. Climate or nukes will kill us all — even the rich in their bunkers will quickly run out of canned food. For decades we’ve talked about decarbonizing and disarming, but it hasn’t happened; let’s think about why.

plutocracy-croppedRegardless of elections, the rich get the public policies they want and the rest of us don’t. That was demonstrated statistically by Gilens and Page. Their data only cover a couple of decades, but if you put aside all the flag-waving, an unbiased look at history shows the USA has been a plutocracy thinly disguised as a democracy ever since its origin in land theft, genocide, and slavery. It’s like ancient kings, but with smoother lies.

Property and high rank buy each other. We’ll only end rule by the wealthy class when we no longer have a wealthy class. But that’s not about to happen, for an economic system based on not sharing increases inequality and concentrates power. Power corrupts, as we see in workplace bullying, prison torture, killer cops, ecocidal externalities, unnecessary wars. See how corrupt our plutocrats are: The wars are mass murders based on lies to make a few rich men richer. And for decades, oil companies have lied to us and bribed politicians, who in turn have subsidized oil, ignored climatologists, and delayed carbon laws. We’d have fewer lies to sort through if we ended their incentive, private profit.

capitalism-as-fishThe market is cruel. Our workplaces are dictatorships that objectify, exploit, and discard us; that’s why we hate Mondays. Property separates us. Our myths say competition brings out our best, but the opposite is true: Competition kills empathy, leaving fear, hate, lies, greed, racism, sexism, authoritarianism, loneliness, madness, shootings.

Don’t the plutocrats care that they’ll have no habitable place to enjoy their loot? Well, actually they have little say in the matter: They too are ruled by the market, forced to compete against each other. They can’t see past the short-term private profits keeping them in power for another day. So only you and I and millions more can bring change. And the main struggle is not over guns, but over awareness.

caring sharingFor 12,000 years we’ve based our lives on private property, and now it’s hard to imagine anything else. But that’s just a cultural overlay. For the previous 200,000 years we cared and shared as friends and equals. That’s still what we teach our kids, still where we turn in crisis, still who we are genetically. We can and must return to sharing. Help spread the word: Call a meeting, carry a sign, record a video, write an essay, or repost THIS essay if you like it.


2021 Oct 26, version 5.11. The leaflet fits on two sides of 1/2 page.

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