SOCIALISM, CAPITALISM AND CORPORATISM May 18, 2010Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth.
Processes are often disconnected from events, and the outcome is incomprehension. Aside from carelessness, why is that sufficient care was not taken to avoid the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?
Part of the reason that we human beings, although we a biologically individuals, are yet connected to others. For example, I overhead an elderly person at the Rehabilitation Hospital reporting that she gets depressed when she has nobody to talk to. Partly, the calculation with respect to the elderly is that they do better if left in their homes and it is cheaper. To isolate people in this way, is to deny their human nature. All of us, I think, are caught up in cultural systems, technological systems and natural systems. Why is that natural systems are not valued? After all at a basic level they are key to our survival as species on this planet.
I find Chris Hedges views interesting. Can empathy be so important, not just for other human beings but for nature? He writes in Truthdig:
Cultures that do not recognize that human life and the natural world have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, cannibalize themselves until they die. They ruthlessly exploit the natural world and the members of their society in the name of progress until exhaustion or collapse, blind to the fury of their own self-destruction. The oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, estimated to be perhaps as much as 100,000 barrels a day, is part of our foolish death march. It is one more blow delivered by the corporate state, the trade of life for gold. But this time collapse, when it comes, will not be confined to the geography of a decayed civilization. It will be global.
Those who carry out this global genocide—men like BP’s Chief Executive Tony Hayward, who assures us that “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume’’—are, to steal a line from Ward Churchill, “little Eichmanns.” They serve Thanatos, the forces of death, the dark instinct Sigmund Freud identified within human beings that propels us to annihilate all living things, including ourselves. These deformed individuals lack the capacity for empathy. They are at once banal and dangerous. They possess the peculiar ability to organize vast, destructive bureaucracies and yet remain blind to the ramifications. The death they dispense, whether in the pollutants and carcinogens that have made cancer an epidemic, the dead zone rapidly being created in the Gulf of Mexico, the melting polar ice caps or the deaths last year of 45,000 Americans who could not afford proper medical care, is part of the cold and rational exchange of life for money.
The corporations, and those who run them, consume, pollute, oppress and kill. The little Eichmanns who manage them reside in a parallel universe of staggering wealth, luxury and splendid isolation that rivals that of the closed court of Versailles. The elite, sheltered and enriched, continue to prosper even as the rest of us and the natural world start to die. They are numb. They will drain the last drop of profit from us until there is nothing left. And our business schools and elite universities churn out tens of thousands of these deaf, dumb and blind systems managers who are endowed with sophisticated skills of management and the incapacity for common sense, compassion or remorse. These technocrats mistake the art of manipulation with knowledge.
“The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else,” Hannah Arendt wrote of “Eichmann in Jerusalem.” “No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such.”
Reason, perhaps especially deductive reason, tends to eschew the sense of the sacred – the sense of preciousness, of interconnectedness and fragility. And yet science transcends reason through the intuitive leaps of imagination of the great scientists. Ideologies typically ignore the sense of the sacred in nature.
What is Chris Hedges missing?
Michael Klare at Tom Dispatch is not optimistic that regulation and other measures will stop future disasters as has befallen the Gulf of Mexico. He concludes:
The Deepwater Horizon explosion, we assuredly will be told, was an unfortunate fluke: a confluence of improper management and faulty equipment. With tightened oversight, it will be said, such accidents can be averted — and so it will be safe to go back into the deep waters again and drill for oil a mile or more beneath the ocean’s surface.
Don’t believe it. While poor oversight and faulty equipment may have played a critical role in BP’s catastrophe in the Gulf, the ultimate source of the disaster is big oil’s compulsive drive to compensate for the decline in its conventional oil reserves by seeking supplies in inherently hazardous areas — risks be damned.
So long as this compulsion prevails, more such disasters will follow. Bet on it.