Sunday, 27 May 2007

Cought in a loop - some thoughts on the illusion of economic freedom

The hidden truth about capitalism: it is for capital, not for people.

Whilst we grow in our ability to produce material wealth and develop ever better means of enjoying ourselves, surrounded by the trappings of democracy and the freedom to choose products and exercise consumer power, we become more uneasy and frustrated. We are increasingly aware of a feeling of impotence and the ultimate futility of all our efforts. We can choose between fifty channels of entertainment but feel powerless in our individual lives and in society. We know that we have to go to work in order to keep the choices we have. We know that at work we have to obey the boss and the boss has to obey the rules and the rules are the rules of the marketplace. But the marketplace is what gives us our power as consumers. We are not given anything that is not taken away from us. We are not the holders of power, but merely the conduits, cycling power around the system - receiving it as consumers and giving it up as producers.

No one is really in control - power flows around in cycles, but it is pumped by special interest groups, in particular the interests of capital. This pumping is a reinforcement cycle which magnifies the influence of the interest group behind it, even though comparatively light pressure may be used.

We all live in a system. We live by the system, we live under the system, we live for the system. We define ourselves according to how the system uses us. We are told that we are free, but real freedom is not the experience felt by many in 'Western' society, and where it is felt, it is probably illusionary. This is a fact of life we have all grown used to. In the sense that we live in society, our being part of a system is inevitable. An essential prerequisite for the existence of human society is that people give up a degree of self-determination for the common good in return for the benefits of inclusion in that common good. As long as the system is human in its nature, that is as long as it is human society, this is healthy and normal. But this 'system' has changed from being fundamentally human in nature to being fundamentally non-human. This non-human system is governing us and controlling the behaviour of society, and that is bad for us all. It is a mega-machine and we have all been given roles as cogs within it. The new purpose of life is to be the machine, to make it work and work harder and faster. Why?

It is time for humanity to re-assert itself and master the economy rather than allowing the economy to master us. Will you join in that effort?

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