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PART I – AN INTRODUCTION
- The Scientific Worldview
- Sourcing Solutions
- Logic vs Psychology
- The Case for Human Unity
- The Final Argument: Human Nature
PART II – SOCIAL PATHOLOGY & THE ANTI-ECONOMY
- Defining Public Health
- History of Economy
- Market Efficiency vs Technical Efficiency
- Value System Disorder
- Structural Classism, the State and War
PART III – SUSTAINABILITY: A NEW TRAIN OF THOUGHT
- True Economic Variables
- The Design Revolution
- Industry & The Real Market
- Redefining Government
- Natural Law/Resource-Based Economy
- Freedom, Utopia & The Humanity Factor
PART IV – THE ZEITGEIST MOVEMENT
- Understanding Collapse
- The Revolution of Values
- Engaging The Group Mind
- Transition & The Hybrid Economy
- TZM: Structure and Processes
- A: Vocabulary List
- B: The Scientific Method
- C: Reading List
- D: Common Objections
- E: TZM Quick Start
- F: 2009 Orientation Reduction
- G: Select Lectures
“The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where only one grew before.”
Origin of the name:
“The Zeitgeist Movement” (TZM) is the existing identifier for the Social Movement described in the following essays. The name has no relevant historical reference to anything culturally specific and is not to be confused/associated with anything else known before with a similar title. Rather, the title is based upon the semantic meaning of the very terms, explicitly. The term “Zeitgeist” is defined as the “general intellectual, moral and cultural climate of an era.” The Term “Movement” simply implies “motion” or change. Therefore The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) is an organization which urges change in the dominant intellectual, moral and cultural climate of the time.
The following text has been prepared to be as concise and yet comprehensive as possible. In form, it is a series of essays, ordered by subject in a manner which works to support a broader context. While each essay is designed to be taken on its own merit in evaluation, the true context resides in how each issue works to support a larger Train of Thought with respect to the most efficient organization of human society. It will be noticed by those who read through these essays in a linear fashion that a fair amount of overlap exists with certain ideas. This is deliberate as such repetition and emphasis is considered helpful given how foreign some of the concepts might seem to those with no prior exposure to such material.
Also, since only so much detail can be afforded to maintain comprehension given the gravity of each subject and how they interrelate, great effort has been made to source relevant 3rd party research throughout each essay, via footnotes and appendices, allowing the reader to follow through with further study as the interest arises.
The Organism of Knowledge:
As with any form of presented research we are dealing with serially generated data composites. Observation, its assessment, documentation and integration with other knowledge, existing or pending, is the manner by which all distinguishable ideas come to evolve. This continuum is important to understand with respect to the way we think about what we believe and why, for information is always separate in its merit from the person or institution communicating or representing. Information can only be evaluated correctly through a systematic process of comparison to other physically verifiable evidence as to its proof or lack thereof.
Likewise, this continuum also implies that there can be no empirical “Origin” of ideas. From an epistemological perspective, knowledge is mostly culminated, processed and expanded through communication amongst our species. The individual, with his or her inherently different life experience and propensities, serves as a custom processing filter by which a given idea can be morphed. Collectively, we individuals comprise what could be called a “Group Mind” which is the larger order social processor by which the effort of individuals ideally coalesce. The traditional method of data transfer through literature, sharing books from generation to generation, has been a notable path of this Group Mind interaction, for example.
Issac Newton perhaps put this reality best with the statement: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” This is brought up here in order to focus the reader on the critical consideration of data – not a supposed “Source” – as there actually is no such thing in an empirical sense. Only in the temporal, traditional patterns of culture, such as with literary credits in a textbook for future research reference, is such a recognition technically relevant.There is no statement more erroneous than the declaration that: “This is my idea.” Such notions are byproducts of a material culture that has been reinforced in seeking physical rewards, usually via money, in exchange for the illusion of their “proprietary” creations. Very often an ego association is culminated as well where an individual claims prestige about their “credit” for an idea or invention.
Yet, that is not to exclude gratitude and respect for those figures or institutions which have shown dedication and perseverance towards the expansion of knowledge itself, nor to diminish the necessity of importance of those who have achieved a skilled, specialized “expert” status in a particular field. The contributions of brilliant researchers, thinkers and engineers such as R. Buckminster Fuller, Jacque Fresco, Jeremy Rifkin, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Sapolsky, Thorstein Veblen, Richard Wilkinson, James Gilligan, Carl Sagan, Nicola Tesla, Steven Hawking and many, many more researchers, past and present, are quoted and sourced in this text and serve as part of the larger data composite you are about to read. Great gratitude is expressed here towards all dedicated minds who are working to contribute to an improving world.Yet, once again, when it comes to the level of understanding, information itself has no origin, no loyalty, no price tag, no ego and no bias. It simply manifests, self-corrects and evolves as an organism in and of itself through our collective “Group Mind” to which we are all invariably a component vehicle.
That understood, “The Zeitgeist Movement” claims no origination of any idea it promotes and is best categorized as an activist/educational institution which works to amplify a context upon which existing/emerging scientific findings may find a concerted social imperative.
Websites and Resources:
The Following 10 Websites are officially related to The Zeitgeist Movement’s global operations:
-Main Global Hub: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com
This is the main website and hub for TZM related actions/events/updates.
-Global Chapters Hub: http://www.tzmchapters.net/
This is the main global hub for Chapter information and materials. It includes maps, a Chapters tool kit and more.
-Global Blog: http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/
This is the official blog which allows submissions of editorial style essays.
-Global Forum: http://www.thezeitgeistmovementforum.org/
This is our official forum for members to discuss projects and share ideas from across the world and share ideas.
-Zeitgeist Media Project: http://zeitgeistmediaproject.com/
The Media Project Site hosts and links to various audio/visual/literary expressions of TZM Members. Users donate their work for posting and it is often used as a resource Toolkit for flyer graphics, video presentations, logo animations and the like.
ZeitNews is a news style service which contains articles relating to socially relevant advancements in Science and Technology.
-Zeitgeist Day (“Zday”) Global: http://zdayglobal.org/
This site becomes active annually to facilitate our “Zday” Global Event, which occurs in March of each year.
-Zeitgeist Media Festival: http://zeitgeistmediafestival.org/
This site becomes active annually to facilitate our “Zeitgeist Media Festival”, which occurs in August of each year.
-Global Redesign Institute: http://www.globalredesigninstitute.org/
The Global Redesign Institute is a virtual graphic interface “Think Tank” project which uses map/data models to express direct technical changes in line with TZM’s train of thought in various regions.
-TZM Social Network: http://tzmnetwork.com/
TZM Social is an interlinked website that bridges many popular online social networks, creating a more central hub for communication through various mediums.
General Social Networks:
TZM Global on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/tzmglobal
TZM Global on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tzmglobal
TZM Global Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TZMOfficialChannel
Footnotes for “Preface”:
 In Carl Sagan’s work “Cosmos”, he stated with respect to the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, noted as the largest and most significant library of the ancient world: “was as if the entire civilization had undergone some self-inflicted brain surgery, and most of its memories, discoveries, ideas and passions were extinguished irrevocably.“ Cosmos, Sagan, Books, New York, 1980, Chapter XIII
 The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, Volume 1, edited by HW Turnbull, 1959, p416
“Neither the great political and financial power structures of the world, nor the specialization-blinded professionals, nor the population in general realize that…it is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on earth at a “higher standard of living than any have ever known”. It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary and henceforth unrationalizable as mandated by survival. War is obsolete.”
-R. Buckminster Fuller
Founded in 2008, The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) is a Sustainability Advocacy Group which operates through a network of Regional Chapters, Project Teams, Public Events, Media Expressions and Charity Operations.
TZM’s activism is explicitly based on non-violent methods of communication with the core focus on educating the public about the true root sources of many common personal, social and ecological problems today, coupled with the vast problem solving and humanity improving potential science and technology has now enabled – but yet goes unapplied due to barriers inherent in the current, established social system.
While the term “Activism” is correct by its exact meaning, TZM’s awareness work should not be misconstrued as relating to culturally common, traditional “activist protest” actions such as we have seen historically. Rather, TZM expresses itself through targeted, rational educational projects that work not to impose, dictate or blindly persuade – but to set in motion a train of thought that is logically self-realizing when the causal considerations of “sustainability” and “public health” are referenced from a scientific perspective.
However, TZM’s pursuit is still very similar to traditional Civil Rights Movements of the past in that the observations reveal the truly unnecessary oppression inherent in our current social order, which structurally and sociologically restricts human well-being and potential for the vast majority of the world’s population, not to mention stifles broad improvement in general due to its established methods.
For instance, the current social model, while perpetuating enormous levels of corrosive economic inefficiency in general, as will be described in further essays, also intrinsically supports one economic group or “class” of people over another, perpetuating technically unnecessary imbalance and relative deprivation. This could be called “economic bigotry” in its effect and it is no less insidious than discrimination rooted in gender, ethnicity, religion or creed.
However, this inherent “bigotry” is really only a part of a larger condition which could be termed “Structural Violence”, illuminating a broad spectrum of “built in” suffering, inhumanity and deprivation that is simply accepted as “normality” today by an uninformed majority. This context of “Violence” stretches much farther and deeper than many consider. The scope of how our socioeconomic system unnecessarily diminishes our public health and inhibits our progress today can only be recognized clearly when we take a more detached “technical” or “scientific” perspective of social affairs, bypassing our traditional, often blinding familiarities.
The relative nature of our awareness often falls victim to assumptions of perceived “normality” where, say, the ongoing deprivation and poverty of over 3 billion people might be seen as a “natural”, inalterable social state to those who are not aware of the amount of food actually produced in the world, where it goes, how it is wasted or the technical nature of efficient & abundant food production possibilities in the modern day.
This unseen “Violence” can be extended to cultural Memes as well where social traditions and their psychology can, without direct malicious intent, create resulting consequences that are damaging to a human being. For instance, there are religious cultures in the world that opt out of any form of common medical treatment. While many might argue the moral or ethical parameters of what it means for a child in such a culture to die of a common illness that could have been resolved if modern scientific applications were allowed, we can at least agree that the death of such a child is really being caused not by the disease at that point, but by the sociological condition that disallowed the application of the solution.
As a broader example, a great deal of social study has now been done on the subject of “Social Inequality” and its effects on public health. As will be discussed more so in further essays, there is a vast array of physical and mental health problems that appear to be born out of this condition, including propensities towards physical violence, heart disease, depression, educational deficiency and many, many other detriments – detriments that have a truly social consequence which affect us all.
The bottom line here is that when we step back and consider newly realized understandings of causality that are clearly having detrimental effects on the human condition, but go unabated unnecessarily due the pre-existing traditions established by culture, we inevitably end up in the context of “Civil Rights” and hence social sustainability.
This new Civil Rights Movement is about the sharing of human knowledge and our technical ability to not only resolve problems, but to also facilitate a scientifically derived Social System that actually optimizes our potential and well-being. Anything less will create imbalance and social destabilization as the neglect of such issues are simply a hidden form of oppression.
So, returning to the broad point, TZM works not only to create awareness of such problems and their true systemic roots; hence logic for resolution, it also works to express the potential we have, beyond such direct problem solving, to greatly improve the human condition in general, solving problems which, in fact, have not yet even been realized.
This is initiated by embracing the very nature of scientific reasoning where the establishment of a near empirical train of thought takes precedence over everything else in importance. A train of thought by which societal organization as a whole can find a more accurate context for sustainability on a scale never before seen, through an active recognition (and application) of The Scientific Method.
TZM’s broad actions could be summarized as to Diagnose, Educate and Create.
Diagnosis is “the identification of the nature and cause of anything.” To properly diagnose the causal condition of the vast social and ecological problems we have today is not merely to complain about them or criticize the actions of people or particular institutions. A true Diagnosis must seek out the lowest causal denominator possible and work to source at that level for resolution.
The central problem today is that there is often what could be called a “truncated frame of reference” where a shortsighted, misdiagnosis of a given consequence persists. For instance, the traditional, established solution to the reformation of human behavior for many so-called “criminal acts” is often punitive incarceration. Yet, this says nothing about the deeper motivation of the “criminal” and why their psychology led to such acts to begin with.
At that level, such a resolution becomes more complex and reliant upon the symbiotic relationship of their physical and cultural culmination over time. This is no different than when a person dies of cancer, as it isn’t really the cancer that kills them in a literal sense, as the cancer itself is the product of other forces.
As an educational movement that operates under the assumption that knowledge is the most powerful tool/weapon we have to create lasting, relevant social change in the global community, there is nothing more critical than the quality of one’s personal education and their ability to communicate such ideas effectively and constructively to others.
TZM is not about following a rigid text of static ideas. Such confined, narrow associations are typical of Religious and Political Cults, not the recognition of emergence that underscores the “anti-establishment” nature of TZM. TZM does not impose in this sense. Rather it works to make an open ended train of thought become realized by the individual, hopefully empowering their independent ability to understand its relevance on their own terms, at their own pace.
Furthermore, education is not only an imperative for those unfamiliar with the Train of Thought and Application Set related to TZM, but also for those who already subscribe to it. Just as there is no “utopia”, there is no final state of understanding.
While certainly related to the need to adjust human values through education so the world’s people understand and see the need for such social changes, TZM also works to consider how a new social system, based on Optimum Economic Efficiency, would appear and operate in detail, given our current state of technical ability.
Programs such as the Global Redesign Institute, which is a digital think tank that works to express how the core societal infrastructure could unfold based on our current state of technology, working to combine that technical capacity with the scientific train of thought so as to calculate the most efficient technical infrastructure possible for any given region of the world, is one example.
It is worth briefly noting that TZM’s advocated “governance” approach, which has little semblance to the current manner of governance known today or historically, originates out of a multi-disciplinary bridging of various proven methods for maximum optimization, unified through a counter-balancing “Systems” approach that is designed to be as “adaptive” as possible to new, emerging improvements over time.
As will be discussed later, the only possible reference that could be considered “most complete” at a given time is one that takes into account the largest interacting observation (System) tangibly relevant. This is the nature of the cause and effect synergy that underscores the technical basis for a truly sustainable economy.
Natural Law/Resource-Based Economy
Today, various terms exists to express the general logical basis for a more scientifically oriented Social System in different circles, including the titles “Resource-Based Economy” or “Natural Law Economy.” While these titles are historically referential and somewhat arbitrary overall, the title “Natural Law/Resource-Based Economy” (NLRBE) will be utilized here as the concept descriptor since it has the most concrete semantic basis.
A Natural Law/Resource-Based Economy is to be defined as: “An adaptive socio-economic system actively derived from direct physical reference to the governing scientific laws of nature.”
Overall, the observation is that through the use of socially targeted research and tested understandings in Science and Technology, we are now able to logically arrive at societal approaches which could be profoundly more effective in meeting the needs of the human population. We are now able to dramatically increase public health, better preserve the habitat, while also strategically reduce or eliminate many common social problems present today which are sadly considered inalterable by many due to their cultural persistence.
Since the dawn of scientific recognition, this general reasoning is nothing new in gesture and various notable individuals and organizations, past and present, have alluded to such a scientific re-orientation of society on one level or another. Notable examples are Technocracy Inc., R. Buckminster Fuller, Thorstein Veblen, Jacque Fresco, Carl Sagan, H.G Wells, The Singularity Institute and many others.
Train of Thought
Likewise, many such figures or groups have also worked to create temporally advanced technological applications, working to apply current possibilities to this train of thought in order to enable new efficiencies and problem solving, such as Jacque Fresco’s “City Systems” or R. Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House.
Yet, as obviously important as this applied engineering is, it is still critical to remember that all specific technological applications can only be transient when the evolution of scientific knowledge and its emerging technological applications are taken into account. This makes all current applications of technology obsolete over time.
Therefore, what is left can only be a train of thought with respect to the underlying causal scientific principles. TZM is hence loyal to this train of thought, not figures, institutions or temporal technological advancements. Rather than follow a person or design, TZM follows this self-generating premise of understanding and it hence operates in a non-centralized, holographic manner, with this train of thought as the origin of influence for action.
Superstition to Science
A notable pattern worth mentioning is how the evolution of mankind’s understanding of itself and it’s habitat also continues to expand away from older ideas and perspectives which are no longer supported due to the constant introduction of new, schema altering information.
A worthy keyword to denote here is superstition, which, in many circumstances, can be viewed as a category of belief that once appeared to be adequately supported by experience/perception but can no longer be held as viable due to new, conflicting data.
For example, while traditional religious thought might seem increasingly implausible to more people today than ever in the West, due to the rapid growth in information and general literacy, the roots of religious thought can be traced to periods where humans could justify the validity and accuracy of such beliefs given the limited understanding they had of their environment in those early times.
This pattern is apparent in all areas of understanding, including modern “academia”. Even so-called “scientific” conclusions which, again, with the advent of new information and updated tests, often cannot be held as valid anymore, are still commonly defended due to their mere inclusion in the current cultural tradition.
Such “Established Institutions”, as they could be called, often wish to maintain permanence due to reasons of ego, power, market income or general psychological comfort. This problem is, in many ways, at the core of our social paralysis. So, it is important to recognize this pattern of transition and realize how critical being vulnerable really is when it comes to belief systems, not to mention coming to terms with the very dangerous phenomenon of “Established Institutions” which are culturally programmed to seek self-preservation rather than evolve and change.
Tradition to Emergence
The perceptual clash between our cultural traditions and our ever growing database of emergent knowledge is at the core of what defines the “zeitgeist” as we know it and a longterm review of history shows a slow grind out of superstitious cultural traditions and assumptions of reality as they heed to our newly realized benchmark of emergent, scientific causality.
This is what The Zeitgeist Movement represents in its broadest philosophical context: A movement of the cultural zeitgeist itself into new, verifiable and more optimized understandings and applications.
Hence, while we certainly have witnessed vast and accelerating changes in different areas of human awareness and practice, such as with our vast material technology, it appears our Social System is still long behind. Political Persuasion, Market Economics, Labor for Income, Perpetual Inequality, Nation States, Legal Assumptions and many other staples of our current social order continue to be largely accepted as normality by the current culture, with little more than their persistence through time as evidence of their value and empirical permanence.
It is in this context that TZM finds its most broad imperative: Changing the Social System. Again, there are many problem solving technical possibilities for personal and social progress today that continue to go unnoticed or misunderstood. The ending of war, the resolution of poverty, the creation of a material abundance unseen in history to meet human needs, the removal of most crime as we know it, the empowerment of true personal freedom through the removal of pointless-monotonous labor, and the resolution of many environmental threats, including diseases, are a few of the calculated possibilities we have when we take our technical reality into account.
However, again, these possibilities are not only largely unrecognized, they are also literally restricted by the current social order for the implementation of such problem-solving efficiency and prosperity stands in direct opposition to the very mechanics of how our social system is operating at the core level.
Therefore, until the social system tradition and its resulting social values are challenged and updated to present day understandings; until the majority of the human population understands the basic, underlying train of thought technically needed to support human sustainability and good public health, as derived from the rigor of objective scientific investigation and validation; until much of the baggage of prior false assumptions, superstition, divisive loyalties and other socially unsustainable, conflict generating, cultural hindrances are overcome – all the life improving and problem resolving possibilities we now have at hand will remain largely dormant.
The real revolution is the revolution of values. Human society appears centuries behind in the way it operates and hence what it values. If we wish to progress and solve the mounting problems at hand and, in effect, reverse what is an accelerating decline of our civilization in many ways, we need to change the way we think about ourselves and hence the world we inhabit.
The Zeitgeist Movement’s central task is to work to bring this value shift to light, unifying the human family with the basic perspective that we all share this small planet and we are all bound by the same natural order laws, as realized by the method of science.
This common ground understanding extends much farther than many have understood in the past. The symbiosis of the human species and the synergistic relationship of our place in the physical world confirms that we are not separate entities in any respect and that the new societal awakening must show a working social model that is arrived at from this inherent logic if we expect to survive and prosper in the long term. We can align or we can suffer. It is up to us.
Footnotes for “Overview”:
 Critical Path, R. Buckminster Fuller, St. Martin’s Press, 1981, Introduction, xxv
 The term “Sustainability”, generally defined “as the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sustainability) is often today commonly referenced/understood within an Environmental Science context. TZM’s context extends farther, however, including the notion of Cultural or Behavioral Sustainability which considers the merit of belief systems in general and their less obvious causal consequences.
 The term “Public Health”, generally defined as “The science and practice of protecting and improving the health of a community, as by preventive medicine, health education, control of communicable diseases, application of sanitary measures, and monitoring of environmental hazards” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/public+health?s=t) is used in this text as a basis of measure for considering the physical, psychological and hence sociological well-being of a societies’ people over time. This is to be considered the ultimate barometer of the success or failure of an applied social system.
 The term “Structural Violence” is commonly ascribed to Johan Galtung, which he introduced in the article “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research” (Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 6, No. 3, 1969, pp. 167-191) It refers to a form of violence where some social structure or social institution harms people by preventing them from meeting their basic needs. It was expanded upon by other researchers, such as criminal psychiatrist Dr. James Gilligan, who makes the following distinction between “Behavioral” and “Structural” Violence: “The lethal effects of structural violence operate continuously, rather than sporadically, whereas murders, suicides…wars and other forms of behavioral violence occur one at a time.” (James Gilligan, Violence, G.P. Putnam, 1996, p192)
 http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats (Sourcing 2008 World Bank Development Indicators)
 Meme: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meme)
 Recommended Reading: The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Penguin, March 2009
 More on this issue will be presented in a following essay entitled “Sourcing Solutions”.
 The correlation between human behavior (in this context behavior of a socially offensive nature as determined by the laws of society) and the environmental influence of a person’s upbringing/life experience is now without debate. A related term to note is the “Bio-Psycho-Social” nature of the human organism.
 The term “Anti-Establishment” is usually used in a context implying opposition to an existing, established group. Used here, the context is more literal in that TZM itself works to not “institutionalize” itself as a rigid entity but rather be understood as more of a gesture; a symbol of a new manner of thought or worldview that simply has no boundaries.
 The terms “Train of Thought” and “Application Set” will be used frequently in this text as they are interrelated. Please see the Vocabulary List, Appendix A, for clarification.
 Please see the Vocabulary List – Appendix A for clarification of this term. More will also discussed in Part III.
 See Part III for more on the subject of “Government”.
 The term “Resource-Based Economy” can be literally interpreted as ‘an economy based on resources’. This has historically drawn confusion in that one could argue that all “economies”, by definition, are “based” on “resources”. The term itself also has a strong association to an organization called The Venus Project which claims to have originated the term & idea, seeking at one time to trademark the name (http://tdr.uspto.gov/search.action?sn=77829193). The Term “Natural Law/Resource-Based Economy” is considered more complete here not only to avoid such possible associative confusion but also because of the more semantic accuracy of the NLRBE term itself, since it more clearly references Nature’s Physical Law System and Processes rather than just Planetary Resources.
 Jacque Fresco, The Best That Money Can’t Buy, Global Cybervisions, 2002, Chapter 15
 The inverse relationship of literacy/knowledge accumulation to superstitious belief is clear. According to the United Nations’ Arab Human Development Reports, less than 2% of Arabs have access to the Internet. Arabs represent 5% of the world’s population and yet produce only 1% of the world’s books, most of them religious. According to researcher Sam Harris: “Spain translates more books into Spanish each year than the entire Arab world has translated into Arabic since the ninth century.” It is axiomatic to assume that the growth of the Islamic Religion in Arab Nations is secured by a relative lack of outside information in those societies.
 A Nobel Prize for what is known as “Lobotomy” was awarded to Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz in 1949. Today, it is considered a barbaric and ineffective procedure. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4794007)
 The financial support inherently needed in the perpetuation of a given business, “for profit” or even so-called “not for profit”, sets up a dissonance between the business’s sold product or service and the actual necessity or viability of that product or service over time. In fact, the obsolescence of any given product/service, which implies often the obsolescence of the producing business or corporation, appears inevitable as new technical advancements emerge. The consequence is a perpetual stifling of new ideas/invention that will disturb or override those pre-existing, or “Established Institutions”, resulting in a loss of income. A cursory glance at the state of technological possibility today, whilst also considering the question as to why those improvements are not immediately made, illuminates the paralyzing nature of income requiring institutions.
(3) The Scientific Worldview
“Almost every major systematic error which has deluded men for thousands of years relied on practical experience. Horoscopes, incantations, oracles, magic, witchcraft, the cures of witch doctors and of medical practitioners before the advent of modern medicine, were all firmly established through the centuries in the eyes of the public by their supposed practical successes. The scientific method was devised precisely for the purpose of elucidating the nature of things under more carefully controlled conditions and by more rigorous criteria than are present in the situations created by practical problems.”
Generally speaking, the evolution of human understanding can be seen as a move from surface observations, processed by our limited five physical senses, “intuitively” filtered through the educational framework & value characteristics of that period of time – to a method of objective measuring and self-advancing methods of analysis which work to arrive at (or calculate) conclusions through testing and retesting proofs, seeking validation through the benchmark of scientific causality – a causality that appears to comprise the physical characteristics of what we call “Nature” itself.
The “Natural Laws” of our world exist whether we choose to recognize them or not. These inherent rules of our universe were around long before human beings evolved a comprehension to recognize them and while we can debate as to exactly how accurate our interpretation of these laws really is at this stage of our intellectual evolution, there is enough reinforcing evidence to show that we are, indeed, bound by static forces that have an inherent, measurable, determining logic.
The vast developments and predictive integrity found in mathematics, physics, biology and other scientific disciplines proves that we as a species are slowly understanding the processes of nature and our growing inventive capacity to emulate, accentuate or repress such natural processes confirms our progress in understanding it. The world around us today, overflowing with material technology and life-altering inventions, is a testament as to the integrity of the Scientific Process and what it is capable of.
Unlike historical traditions, where a certain stasis exists with what people believe, as is still common in religious type dogma today, this recognition of “Natural Law” includes characteristics which deeply challenge the assumed stability of beliefs which many hold sacred. As will be expanded upon later in this essay in the context of “Emergence”, the fact is, there simply cannot exist a singular or static intellectual conclusion with respect to our perception and knowledge except, paradoxically, with regard to that very underlying pattern of uncertainty regarding such change and adaptation itself.
This is part of what could be called a scientific worldview. It is one thing to isolate the techniques of scientific evaluation for select interests, such as the logic we might use in assessing and testing the structural integrity of a house design we might build, and another when the universal integrity of such physically rooted, causal reasoning and validation methods are applied to all aspects of our lives.
Albert Einstein once said “The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge”.
While cynics of Science often work to reduce its integrity to yet another form of “religious faith”, demean its accuracy as “cold” or “without spirituality” or even highlight consequences of applied technology for the worst, such as with the creation of the Atomic Bomb (which, in actuality, is an indication of a distortion of human values rather than engineering), there is no ignoring the incredible power this approach to understanding and harnessing reality has afforded the human race. No other “ideology” can come close in matching the predictive and utilitarian benefits this method of reasoning has provided.
However, that is not to say active cultural denial of this relevance is not still widespread in the world today. For example, when it comes to Theistic Belief, there is often a divisive tendency that wishes to elevate the human being above such “mere mechanics” of the physical reality. The implied assumption here is usually that we humans are more “special” for some reason and perhaps there are forces, such as an intervening “God”, that can override such Natural Laws at will, making them less important than, say, ongoing obedience to God’s wishes, etc.
Sadly, there still exists a great human conceit in the culture which assumes, with no verifiable evidence, that humans are separate from all other phenomena and to consider ourselves connected or even a product of natural, scientific forces is to demean human life.
Concurrently, there is also a tendency for what some call “Metamagical” thinking which could be considered a schizotypal kind of personality disorder where fantasy and mild delusion helps reinforce false assumptions of causality on the world, never harnessing the full rigor of The Scientific Method. Science requires testing and repeat replication of a result for it to be validated and many beliefs of seemingly “normal” people today exist far outside this requirement. Apart from traditional religions, the concept of “New Age” is also commonly associated with this type of superstitious thought. While it is extremely important that we as a society are aware of the uncertainty of our conclusions in general and hence must keep a creative, open mind to all postulations, the validation of those postulations can only come through measurable consistency, not wishful thinking or esoteric fascination.
Such unvalidated ideas and assumptions pose a frame of reference that is often secured by “Faith” not Reason, and it is difficult to argue the merit of Faith with anyone since the rules of Faith inherently refuse argument itself. This is part of the quandary within which human society exists in today: Do we simply believe what we have been traditionally taught by our culture or do we question and test those beliefs against the physical reality around us to see if they hold true?
Science is clearly concerned with the latter and holds nothing sacred, always ready to correct prior false conclusions when new information arises. To take such an inherently uncertain – yet still extremely viable and productive approach to one’s day to day view of the world – requires a very different sensitivity – one that embodies vulnerability, not certainty.
In the words of Prof. Frank L. H. Wolfs (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, NY) whose “Introduction to The Scientific Method” is reproduced in Appendix B of this text for reference: “It is often said in science that theories can never be proved, only disproved. There is always the possibility that a new observation or a new experiment will conflict with a long-standing theory.”
At the heart of The Scientific Method is skepticism and vulnerability. Science is interested in the closest approximation to the truth it can find and if there is anything Science recognizes explicitly, it is that virtually everything we know will be revised over time as new information arises.
Likewise, what might seem far-fetched, impossible or even “superstitious” upon its first culmination, might prove to be a useful, viable understanding in the future once validated for integrity. The implication of this constitutes an Emergence of Thought – an Emergence of “Truth”, if you will. A cursory examination of History shows an ever-changing range of behaviors and practices based upon ever updating knowledge and this humbling recognition is critical for human progress.
A 2nd point deeply characteristic of the Scientific Worldview worth bringing up in this regard has to do with the Symbiotic nature of things as we know them. Largely dismissed as “common sense” today by many, this understanding holds profound revelations for the way we think about ourselves, our beliefs and our conduct.
The term “Symbiotic” is typically used in the context of interdependent relationships between biological species. However our context of the word is more broad, relating to the interdependent relationship of everything. While early, intuitive views of natural phenomena might have looked upon, say, the manifestation of a Tree as an independent entity, seemingly self-contained in its illusion of separation, the truth of the matter is that the Tree’s life is entirely dependent on seemingly “external” “input” forces for its very culmination and existence.
The water, sunlight, nutrients and other needed interactive “external” attributes to facilitate the development of a “Tree” is an example of a symbiotic relationship. However, the scope of this symbiosis has become much more revealing than we have ever known in the past and it appears the more we learn about the dynamics of our universe, the more immutable its interdependence.
The best concept to embody this notion is that of a “System”. The term “Tree” is really a reference to a perceived System. The “Root”, “Trunk”, “Branches”, “Leaves” and other such attributes of that Tree could be called “Sub-Systems”. Yet, the “Tree” itself is also a sub-system, it could be said, of, perhaps, a “Forest”, which itself is a sub-system of other larger, encompassing phenomena such as an “Ecosystem”. Such a distinction might seem trivial to many but the fact is, a great failure of human culture has been not to fully respect the scope of the “Earth System” and how each sub-system plays a relevant role.
The term “Categorical Systems” could be used here to describe all systems, seemingly small or large, because such language distinctions are ultimately arbitrary. These perceived systems and the words used to reference them are simply human conveniences for communication. The fact is, there appears to be only one possible system, as organized by Natural Law, which can be legitimately referenced since all the systems we perceive and categorize today can only be sub-systems. We simply cannot find a truly closed system anywhere. Even the “Earth System”, which intuitively appears autonomous, with the Earth floating about the void of space, is entirely reliant on the Sun, the Moon and likely many, many other symbiotic factors we have yet to even understand for its defining characteristics.
In other words, when we consider the interactions that link these perceived “Categorical Systems” together, we find a connection of everything and, on a societal level, this system interaction understanding is at the foundation of likely the most viable perspective for true human sustainability. The human being, like the tree or the earth, again intuitively appears self-contained. Yet, without, for example, oxygen to breathe, we will not survive. This means the human system requires interaction with an atmospheric system and hence a system of oxygen production and since the process of photosynthesis accounts for the majority of the atmospheric oxygen we breathe, it is to our advantage to be aware of what affects this particular system, and work to harmonize our social practices with it.
When we witness, say, pollution of the oceans or the rapid deforestation of the Earth, we often forget how important such phenomena really are to the integrity of the human system. In fact, there are so many examples of environmental disturbances perpetuated by our species today due to a truncated awareness of this symbiotic cause and effect that links all known categorical systems, volumes could be dedicated to the crisis. The failure to recognize this “Symbiosis” is a fundamental problem and once this Principle of Interacting Systems is fully understood, many of our most common practices today will likely appear grossly ignorant and dangerous in future hindsight.
This brings us to the level of Thought and Understanding itself. As noted prior, the very language system we use isolates and organizes elements of our world for general comprehension. Language itself is a system based upon categorial distinctions which we associate to our perceived reality. However, as needed as such a mode of identification and organization is to the human mind, it also inherently implies a false division.
Given that foundation, it is easy to speculate as to how we have grown so accustomed to thinking and acting in inherently divisive ways and why the history of human society has been a history of imbalance and conflict. It is on this level that such Physical Systems we have discussed come into relevance with Belief/Thought Systems.
While the idea of “sustainability” might be typically associated with technical processes, eco-theory and engineering today, we often forget that our values and ideas precede all such ideas and applications. Therefore, true sustainability starts with our values and beliefs – we need our cultural orientation to be sustainable – we need sustainable values and beliefs and that awareness can only come from a valid recognition of the laws of nature to which we are bound.
Can we measure the integrity of a Belief System? Yes. We can measure it by how well its principles align with Scientific Causality, based upon the feedback resulting. If we were to compare outcomes of differing belief systems seeking a common end, how well those perspectives accomplish this end can be measured and hence these systems can then be qualified and ranked against each other.
As will be explored in detail later in this text, the central belief system comparison in this text is between the “Monetary-Market Economy” and the aforementioned “Natural Law/Resource-Based Economy.” At the core of these systems is essentially a conflicting belief about causality and possibility and the reader is challenged here to make objective judgments about how well each perspective actually accomplishes common end human goals.
That noted and in the context of this essay, specifically the points about Emergence & Symbiosis, it could be generalized that any Belief System that (a) does not have built into it the allowance for that entire belief system itself to be altered or even made completely obsolete due to new information, is an unsustainable belief system; and (b) any belief system that supports isolation and division, supporting the integrity of one segment or group over another is an unsustainable belief system.
Sociologically, having a Scientific World View means being willing and able to adapt both as an individual and a civilization when new awarenesses and approaches emerge that can better solve problems and further prosperity. This worldview likely marks the greatest shift in human comprehension in history. Every modern convenience we take for granted is a result of this method whether recognized or not as the inherent, self-generating, mechanistic logic is found to be universally applicable to all known phenomena.
While many in the world still attribute causality to gods, demons, spirits and other non-measurable “faith” based views, a new period of reason appears to be on the horizon where the emerging scientific understanding of ourselves and our habitat is challenging the traditional, established framework we have inherited from our less informed ancestors.
No longer is the “technical” orientation of science demeaned to mere gadgets and tools – the true message of this Worldview is about the very philosophy by which we are to orient our lives, values and social institutions.
As will be argued in other essays associated with this text, the Social System, its Economic Premise along its Legal & Political structure has become largely a condition of “faith” in the manner it is now perpetuated. The Monetary System of economy, for example, is argued to be based on little more than a set of now outdated, increasingly inefficient assumptions, no different than how early humans falsely assumed the world was flat, demons caused sickness, or that the constellations in the sky were fixed, static, two-dimensional, tapestry-like constructs. There are enormous parallels to be found with traditional religious faith and the established, cultural institutions we assume to be valid and “normal” today.
Just as The Church in the Middle Ages held absolute power in Europe, promoting loyalties and rituals which most would find absurd or even insane today, those a number of generations from now will likely look back at the established practices of our current time and think the exact same thing.
*See Appendix B which further explains the The Scientific Method.
Footnotes for “The Scientific Worldview”:
 Quoted in: All the Questions You Ever Wanted to Ask American Atheists, by Madalyn Murray O’Hair, Amer Atheist Press, 1986
 Stanford University Behavioral Biology Professor, Dr. Robert Sapolsky is likely most notable with his use of the term “MetaMagical”. His work is recommended: http://benatlas.com/2009/12/robert-sapolsky-on-metamagical-schizotypal-thinking/
 See Appendix B for an Introduction to The Scientific Method
 The term New Age is generally defined as “A broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture, with an interest in spirituality, mysticism…”
 Carl Sagan was most famous for confirming the definition of Faith as “Belief without Evidence”.
 The Term “External” in this context is framed as relative to a perceived object. The broader point here is that there is no such thing as “external” or “internal” in the context of larger order systems.
 A “System” is defined as: “a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network.” It is worth noting up front the importance of this concept as the relevance of the “System” or “Systems Theory” will be a returning theme with respect to what frame of reference actually supports true human sustainability in our habitat.
 This Term is a variation on the more common notion of “Categorical Thinking” which is thinking by assigning people or things to categories and then using the categories as though they represented something in the real world.
 To be expanded upon in greater detail in Part 3 of this text.
 See Appendix A, Vocabulary List
 The Neolithic Revolution is a notable marker for a dramatic change in social operation and human relationships as civilization went from foraging and hunting – living in subservience to natural processes – to a profound ability to control agriculture for food and create tools/machines to ease human labor. It could be argued that human society has not been mature enough to handle this ability and the perpetuation of fear and scarcity led to hoarding, privatization, nation “gangs” and other divisive tendencies for group self-preservation on various levels.
 For philosophical clarity, it could be argued that all outcomes of human perceptions are projected – even the laws of nature themselves. However, this doesn’t change the efficacy that has been seen with respect to the immense control and understanding we have through the method of science.
 The notion of the “common end” or “common ground” will be repeated in this text and it is a critical awareness to average the needs, intents and consequences of the human being. A central premise of TZM’s advocation is that human beings are more alike than they are different as we share the same basic quantifiable needs and reactions. In many ways this is the unifying attribute that could comprise what is called “Human Nature” and, as will be described more so in later essays, human beings indeed have shared, predictable, common reactions to positive and negative influences both psychological and physiological. Therefore, the intelligent, humane organization of a society is required to take this into account directly for the sake of public health – something the current monetary-market system does not do.
 As will be prolific in this text, the term “Technical”, while virtually synonymous with “Scientific”, is employed to better express the causal nature of all existing phenomena – even including human behavior and psychology/sociology itself. A central premise of TZM’s advocation is that problem resolution and the manifestation of potential is a “technical” evaluation and this approach, being applied to all societal attributes, is at the core of the new social model advocated.
(4) Sourcing Solutions
“A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.”– Albert Einstein 
A central consideration inherent to TZM’s perspective on societal change for the better regards understanding “Progress” itself. There appear to be two basic angles to consider when it comes to personal or social progress: Manifesting Potential and Problem Resolution.
Potential & Resolution
Manifesting Potential is simply the improvement of a condition which was not considered prior to be in a problematic state. An example would be the ability to improve human athletic performance in a particular field through targeted strengthening, diet and refining techniques and other means which were simply not known before.
Problem Resolution, on the other hand, is the overcoming of an issue that has currently recognized detrimental consequences and/or limitations to a given affair. A general example would be the discovery of a medical cure for an existing, debilitating disease so that said disease no longer poses harm.
However, taken in the broad view, there is a distinct overlap with these two notions when the nature of knowledge development is taken into account. For example, an “improvement” to a given condition, a practice that then becomes normalized and common in the culture, can also potentially be part of a “problem” in the same context, which requires resolution in the event that new information as to its inefficiency is found or new advancements make it obsolete in comparison.
For example, human air transportation, which is fairly new in society, expanded transport efficiency greatly upon its application. However, at what point will modern air transport be seen more as a “problem” due to its inherent inefficiency in comparison to another method So, efficiency is relative in this sense as only when there is an expansion of knowledge that what was once considered the “best” approach becomes “inferior”.
This seemingly abstract point is brought up to communicate the simple fact that every single practice we consider normal today has built into it an inevitable inefficiency which, upon new developments in science and technology, will likely produce a “problem” at some point in the future when compared to newer, emerging potentials. This is the nature of change and if the scientific patterns of history reflect anything, it is that knowledge and its applications continue to evolve and improve, generally speaking.
So, back to the seemingly separate issues of Manifesting Potential & Problem Resolution, it can hence be deduced that all problem resolutions are also acts of manifesting potential and vice versa.
This also means that the actual tools used by society for a given purpose are always transient. Whether it is the medium of transportation, medical practices, energy production, the social system – etc. These practices are all manifest/resolutions with respect to human necessity and efficiency, based upon the transient state of understanding we have/had at the time of their creation/evolution.
Root Purpose & Root Cause
Therefore, when it comes to thinking about any act of invention or problem solving, we must get as close to the Root Purpose (Manifest) or the Root Cause (Problem) as possible, respectively, to make the most accurate assessment for action. Just as tools and techniques for potential are only as viable as the understanding of their foundational purpose, actions toward problem resolution are only as good as the understanding of the root cause. This might seem obvious, but this concept is devoid in many areas of thought in the world today, especially when it comes to society. Rather than pursuing such a focus, most social decisions are based around traditional customs that have inherent limits.
A simple example of this is the current method of human incarceration for so called “criminal behavior”. For many, the solution to “offensive” forms of human behavior is to simply remove the individual from society and “punish” them. This is based on a series of assumptions that stretch back millennia.
Yet, the science behind human behavior has changed tremendously over time with respect to understanding causality. It is now common knowledge in the social sciences that most acts of “crime” would likely not occur if certain basic, supportive environmental conditions where set for the human being. Putting people in prisons is not actually resolving anything with respect to the causal problem. It is actually a mere “patch”, if you will, which only temporarily stifles some effects of the larger problem.
Another example, while seemingly different than the prior but equally as “technical”, is the manner by which most think about solutions to common domestic problems, such as traffic accidents. What is the solution to a situation where a driver makes a mistake and haphazardly changes lanes, only to impact the vehicle next to it, causing an accident? Should there be a huge wall between them? Should there be better training? Should the person simply have his or her drivers license revoked so they cannot drive again? It is here, again, where the notion of “root cause” is often lost in the narrow frames of reference commonly understood by culture as solutions.
The root cause of the accident can only partially be the question of integrity of the driver with the more important issue the lack of integrity of the technology/infrastructure being used. Why? – because human fallibility is historically acknowledged and immutable. So, just as early vehicles did not have driver/passenger “Airbags” common today, which now reduce a large amount of injuries that existed in the past, the same logic should be applied to the system of vehicle interaction itself, taking into account new technical possibilities for increased safety, to compensate for inevitable human error.
Just as the Airbag was developed years ago as the evolution of knowledge unfolded, today there is technology that enables automated, driverless vehicles which can not only detect every necessary element of the street needed to operate with accuracy, the vehicles themselves can detect each other, making collision almost impossible. This is the current state of such a “solution” when we consider the root cause and root purpose, overall.
Yet, as advanced as that solution may seem, especially given the roughly 1.2 million people who unnecessarily die in automobile accidents each year, this thought exercise may still be incomplete if we continue to extend the context with respect to the goals.
Perhaps there are other inefficiencies which relate to the transport infrastructure and beyond that need to be taken into account and overcome. Perhaps, for example, the use of individual automobiles, regardless of their safety, have other inherent problems which can only be logically resolved by the removal of the automobile application itself. Perhaps in a city, with an expanding mobile population, such independent vehicle transport becomes unnecessarily cumbersome, slow and generally inefficient.
The more viable solution in this circumstance might become the need for a unified, integrated mass transit system that can increase speed, reduce energy use, resource use, pollution and many other related issues to the effect that using automobiles in such a condition then becomes part of the emerging “problem”.
If the goal of a society is to do the “correct” and hence sustainable thing, reducing threats to humans and the habitat, ever increasing efficiency – a dynamic, self-generating logic unfolds with respect to our technical possibility and design approaches.
Our Technical Reality
Of course, the application of this type of problem solving is far from limited to such physical examples. Is “politics” the answer to our social woes? Does it address root causes by its very design? Is money and the market system the most optimized method for sustainable progress, problem resolution and the manifesting of economic potential? What does our modern state of science and technology have to contribute in the realm of understanding cause and purpose on the societal level?
As further essays will denote later in great detail, these understandings create a natural, clear train of thought with respect to how much better our world could be if we simply follow the logic created via The Scientific Method of thought to fulfill our common goal of human sustainability. The 1 billion people starving on this planet are not doing so because of some immutable natural consequence of our physical reality. There is plenty of food to go around. It is the social system, which has its own outdated, contrived logic, that perpetuates this social atrocity, along with countless others.
It is important to point out that TZM is not concerned with promoting “patches” as its ultimate goal, which, sad to say, is what the vast majority of activist institutions on the planet are currently doing. We want to promote the largest order, highest efficiency set of solutions available at a given time, aligned with natural processes, to improve the lives of all, while securing the integrity of our habitat. We want everyone to understand this “train of thought” clearly and develop a value identification with it.
There is no single solution – only the near empirical Natural Law reasoning that arrives at solutions and purpose.
Footnotes for “Sourcing Solutions”:
 From “Atomic Education Urged by Einstein”, New York Times, May 25th 1946
 A notable modern example is new transport technology such as “Maglev” transport that uses less energy and moves substantially faster than commercial airlines http://www.et3.com/
 Again, this reality is embodied by the term “Application Set” throughout this text.
 Suggested reading: Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes, Dr. James Gilligan, 1996
 The ‘Merva-Fowles’ study, done at the University of Utah in the 1990s, found powerful connections between unemployment and crime. They based their research on 30 major metropolitan areas with a total population of over 80 million. Their findings found that a 1% rise in unemployment resulted in: a 6.7% increase in Homicides; a 3.4% increase in violent crimes; a 2.4% increase in property crime. During the period from 1990 to 1992, this translated into: 1,459 additional Homicides; 62,607 additional violent crimes; 223,500 additional property crimes. [ Merva & Fowles, Effects of Diminished Economic Opportunities on Social Stress, Economic Policy Institute, 1992 ]
 See Appendix G, Ben McLeish lecture: “Out of the Box: Prisons”
 A 1996 NHTSA study found the fatality reduction benefit of air bags for all drivers at an estimated 11 percent. http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/regrev/evaluate/808470.html
 A slow, general shift, even in modern commercial society, from “ownership” to “access” is beginning to find favor today. http://gigaom.com/2011/11/10/airbnb-roadmap-2011/
 Major international organizations have stated statistically that there is enough food for everyone and that starvation is not caused by a lack of resources. [http://www.wfp.org/hunger/causes] In combination with efficiency improvements which will be noted more so in Part 3, the possibly for absolute global food abundance of the highest nutrient quality is also possibly today.
 This comment is not meant to demean any well-meaning social institution working to help within the bounds of the current socio-economic method. However, as will be described more so in Part 2, the current social model inherently restricts a vast amount of possible prosperity/problem solving due to its very design and hence activist and social institutions which avoid this reality and can only be working to help “patch” problems, not fix them, since they originate from the social system itself. A common example is charity organizations that wish to provide food to the poor. These organizations are not usually addressing why those people are poor to begin with and hence are not truly working to resolve the root problem(s).
(5) Logic vs Psychology
“We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.”
A powerful yet often overlooked consequence of our environmental vulnerability to adapt to the existing culture is that our very identity and personality is often linked to the institutions, practices, trends and hence values we are born into and exist in. This psychological adaptation and inevitable familiarity creates a comfort zone which, over time, can be painful to disrupt, regardless of how well reasoned the data standing to the contrary of what we believe may be.
In fact, the vast majority of objections currently found against The Zeitgeist Movement, specifically the points made with respect to solutions and hence change, appear to be driven by narrow frames of reference and emotional bias more than intellectual assessment. Common reactions of this kind are often singular propositions which, rather than critically addressing the actual premises articulated by an argument, serve to dismiss them outright via haphazard associations.
The most common classification of such arguments are “projections” and it becomes clear very often that such opponents are actually more concerned with defending their psychological identity rather than objectively considering a new perspective.
In a classic work by authors Cohen and Nagel entitled “An Introduction to Logic and The Scientific Method”, this point is well made with respect to the process of logical evaluation and its independence from human psychology.
“The weight of evidence is not itself a temporal event, but a relation of implication between certain classes or types of propositions…Of course, thought is necessary to apprehend such implications…however [that] does not make physics a branch of psychology. The realization that logic cannot be restricted to psychological phenomenon will help us to discriminate between our science and rhetoric – conceiving the latter as the art of persuasion or of arguing so as to produce the feeling of certainty. Our emotional dispositions make it very difficult for us to accept certain propositions, no matter how strong the evidence in their favor. And since all proof depends upon the acceptance of certain propositions as true, no proposition can be proved to be true to one who is sufficiently determined not to believe it.”
The term “Mind Lock” has been coined by some philosophers with respect to this phenomenon, defined as ‘the condition where one’s perspective becomes self-referring, in a closed loop of reasoning’. Seemingly empirical presuppositions frame and secure one’s worldview and anything contradictory coming from the outside can be “blocked”, often even subconsciously. This reaction could be likened to the common physical reflex to protect oneself from a foreign object moving towards your person – only in this circumstance the “reflex” is to defend one’s beliefs, not body.
While such phrases as “thinking outside the box” might be common rhetoric today in the activist community, seldom are the foundations of our way of thinking and the integrity of our most established institutions challenged. They are, more often than not, considered to be “givens” and assumed inalterable.
For example, in the so-called democracies of the world, a “President”, or the equivalent, is a common point of focus with respect to the quality of a country’s governance. A large amount of attention is spent toward such a figure, his perspectives and actions. Yet, seldom does one step back and ask: “Why do we have a President to begin with?” “How is his power as an institutional figure justified as an optimized manner of social governance?” “Is it not a contradiction of terms to claim a democratic society when the public has no real say with respect to the actions of the President once he or she is elected?”
Such questions are seldom considered as people tend, again, to adapt to their culture without objection, assuming it is “just the way it is”. Such static orientations are almost universally a result of cultural tradition and, as Cohen and Nagel point out, it is very difficult to communicate a new, challenging idea to those who are “sufficiently determined not to believe it”.
Such traditional presuppositions, held as empirical, are likely a root source of personal and social retardation in the world today. This phenomenon, coupled with an educational system that constantly reinforces such established notions through its institutions of “academia”, further seals this cultural inhibition and compounds the hindrance to relevant change.
While the scope of this tendency is wide with respect to debate, there are two common argumentative fallacies worth noting here as they constantly come up with respect to the Application-Set and Train of Thought promoted by TZM. Put in colorful terms, these tactics comprise what could be called a “Value War” which is waged, consciously or not, by those who have vested emotional/material interest in keeping things the same, opposing change.
The “Prima Facie” Fallacy
The first is the “Prima Facie” association. This simply means “upon first appearance”; “before investigation”. This is by far the most common type of objection.
A classical case study is the common claim that the observations and solutions presented by TZM are simply rehashed “Marxist Communism”.
Let’s briefly explore this as an example. Referencing “The Communist Manifesto” Marx and Engels present various observations with respect to the evolution of society, specifically the “class war”, inherent structural relationships regarding “capital”, along with a general logic as to how the social order will transition through “revolution” to a stateless, classless system, in part, while also noting a series of direct social changes, such as the “Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State”, “Equal liability of all to labour.” and other specifics. Marx creates players in the schema he suggests like the ongoing battle between the “Bourgeoisie and Proletarians”, expressing contempt for the inherent exploitation, which he says is essentially rooted in the idea of “private property”. In the end, the accumulated goal in general is in seeking a “stateless and classless society”.
On the surface, reformations proposed in TZM’s promoted solutions might appear to mirror attributes of “Marxism” if one was to completely ignore the underlying reasoning. The idea of a society “without classes”, “without universal property”, and the complete redefinition of what comprises the “State” might, on the surface, show confluence by the mere gestures themselves, especially since Western Academia commonly promotes a “duality” between “Communism” and “Capitalism” with the aforementioned character points noted as the core differences. However, the actual Train of Thought to support these seemingly similar conclusions is quite different.
TZM’s advocated benchmark for decision making is not a Moral Philosophy, which, when examined at its root, is essentially what Marxist philosophy was a manifestation of.
TZM is not interested in the poetic, subjective & arbitrary notions of “a fair society”,”guaranteed freedom”, “world peace”, or “making a better world” simply because it sounds “right”, “humane” or “good”. Without a Technical Framework that has a direct physical referent to such terms, such moral relativism serves little to no long term purpose.
Rather, TZM is interested in Scientific Application, as applied to societal sustainability, both physical and cultural.
As will be expressed in greater detail in further essays, the Method of Science is not restricted in its application within the “physical world” and hence the social system, infrastructure, educational relevance and even understanding human behavior itself, all exist within the confines of scientific causality. In turn, there is a natural feedback system built into physical reality which will express itself very clearly in the context of what “works” and what doesn’t over time, guiding our conscious adaptation.
Marxism is not based on this “calculated” worldview at all, even though there might be some scientifically based characteristics inherent. For example, the Marxist notion of a “classless society” was to overcome the capitalist originating “inhumanity” imposed on the working class or “proletariat”.
TZM’s advocated train of thought, on the other hand, sources advancements in human studies. It finds, for example, that social stratification, which is inherent to the capitalist/market model, to actually be a form of indirect violence against the vast majority as a result of the evolutionary psychology we humans naturally posses. It generates an unnecessary form of human suffering on many levels which is destabilizing and, by implication, technically unsustainable.
Another example is TZM’s interest in removing Universal Property and setting up a system of “Shared Access”. This is often quickly condemned to the Marxist idea of “Abolishing Private Property”. However, generally speaking, the Marxist logic relates the existence of private property to the perpetuation of the “bourgeois” and their ongoing exploitation of the “proletariat”. He states in the Manifesto “The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property.”
TZM’s advocated logic, on the other hand, relates the fact that the practice of universal, individual ownership of goods is environmentally inefficient, wasteful and ultimately unsustainable as a universal practice. This supports a restrictive system behavior and a great deal of unnecessary deprivation, and hence crime is common in societies with an unequal distribution of resources.
At any rate, such “prima facie” allegations are very common and many more could be expressed. However, it is not the scope of this section to discusses all alleged connections between Marxism and TZM’s advocated Train of Thought.
The “Straw-Man” Fallacy
The second argumentative fallacy has to do with the misrepresentation of a position, deliberate or projected, commonly referred to as a “Straw-Man”. When it comes to TZM, this usually has to do with imposed interpretations which are without legitimate evidence to be considered relevant to the point in question.
For example, when discussing the organization of a new social system, people often project their current values and concerns into the new model without further considering the vast change of context inherent which would likely nullify such concerns immediately.
A common straw-man projection in this context would be that in a society where material production were based upon technological application directly and not an exchange system requiring paid human labor, people would have no monetary incentive to do anything and therefore the model would fail as nothing would get done.
This kind of argument is without testable validity with respect to the human sciences and is really an intuitive assumption originating from the current cultural climate where the economic system coerces all humans into labor roles for survival (income/profit), often regardless of personal interest or social utility, generating a psychological distortion with respect to what creates motivation.
In the words of Margaret Mead: ”If you look closely you will see that almost anything that really matters to us, anything that embodies our deepest commitment to the way human life should be lived and cared for, depends on some form of volunteerism.”
In a 1992 Gallup Poll, more than 50% of American adults (94 million Americans) volunteered time for social causes, at an average of 4.2 hours a week, for a total of 20.5 billion hours a year.
It has also been found in studies that repetitive, mundane jobs lend themselves more to traditional rewards such as money, whereas money doesn’t seem to motivate innovation and creativity. In later essays, the idea of Mechanization applied to mundane labor to free the human being will be discussed, expressing how the labor for income system is outdated and restrictive of not only industrial potential and efficiency, but also human potential overall.
Another common, contextual example of a “Straw-Man” is the claim that if the transition to a new Social System was acted upon, the property of others must be forcefully confiscated by a “ruling power” and violence would be the result. This, once again, is a value projection/fear, imposed upon TZM’s advocated logic without validation.
TZM sees the materialization of a new socio-economic model happening with the needed consensus of the population. Its very understanding along with the “bio-social pressures” occurring as the current system worsens, is the basis of influence. The logic does not support a “dictatorial” disposition because that approach, apart from being inhumane, wouldn’t work. In order for such a system to work, it needs to be accepted without active State coercion. Therefore, it is an issue of investigation, education, and broad personal acceptance in the community. In fact, the very specifics of social interaction and lifestyle actually demand a vast majority acceptance of the system’s mechanics and values.
Similarly, and final example here of the “Straw-man”, is the confusion about how a transition to a new system could happen at all. In fact, many tend to dismiss TZM’s proposals on that basis alone, simply because they don’t understand how it can happen. This argument, in principle, is the same reasoning as the example of a sick man who is seeking treatment for his illness but does not know where he can get such treatment, when it would be available, or what the treatment is. Does his lack of knowing how and when stop his need to seek? No – not if he wants to be healthy. Given the dire state of affairs on this planet, humanity must also keep seeking and a path will inevitably come clear.
“Prima Facie” and “Straw-man” arguments are the bedrock of the vast majority of objections found towards TZM and in Appendix D – “Common Objections” – more examples can be found for reference.
In the end, it is worth reiterating that the battle between Logic and Psychology is really a central conflict in the arena of societal change. There is no context more personal and sensitive than the way we organize our lives in society and an important objective of TZM, in many ways, is to find techniques that can educate the public as to the merit of this mechanistic, logical train of thought, overcoming the baggage of outdated psychological comforts which serve no progressive, viable value role in the modern world.
Footnotes for “Logic vs Psychology”:
 Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s Greatest Philosophers, 1926
 Sigmund Freud was first to make famous the idea of Psychological Projection, defined as ‘a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people.’ However, the use of the term is more general in this context, reflecting the simple notion of assuming to understand an idea based on a false or superficial relationship to prior understandings – usually in a defensive posture for dismissal of validity.
 The term “Cognitive Pathology” is a suggested descriptor of this phenomena. A common characteristic is ‘circular reasoning’ where a belief is justified by merely re-referencing the belief itself. For example, to ask a Theist why they believe in God, a common answer might be “Faith”. To ask why they have “Faith” often results in a response like “because God rewards those who have Faith”. The causality orientation is truncated and self-referring.
 Logic and The Scientific Method, Cohen and Nagel, Harcourt, 1934, p19
 Suggested reading: The Cancer Stage of Capitalism, John McMurtry, Pluto Press, 1999, Chapter 1
 Criticism here of “Academia” is not to be confused with its standard definition, meaning a ‘community of students and scholars engaged in higher education and research.’ The context here is the inhibiting nature of “schools” of thought which all too often evolve to create an ego unto itself where conflicting data is ignored or haphazardly dismissed. Also, there is a risk common to this mode of thought where “theory” and “tradition” take prominence over “experience” and “experiment” very often, perpetuating false conclusions.
 Suggested reading: Value Wars: The Global Market Versus the Life Economy: Moral Philosophy and Humanity, John McMurtry, Pluto Press, 2002
 Written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848 this text is widely considered the definitive ideological expression of Marxist Communism. “Communism” is said to be the practical implementation of “Marxism”. Text Online: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm
 Defined as ‘the branch of philosophy dealing with both argument about the content of morality and meta-ethical discussion of the nature of moral judgment, language, argument, and value.’ [http://www.thefreedictionary.com/moral+philosophy]
 The argument that Science is not a Philosophy is certainly open to semantics and interpretation but the point being made here is that notions of “right and wrong” and other “ethical” distinctions common to philosophy take on a very different light in the scientific context as it has more to do with utility and balance than mere concepts of “morality” as it is classically defined. In the view of Science, human behavior is best aligned with the inherent causality discovered in the natural world, validated by testing, building inference and logical associations to justify human actions as “appropriate” to a given purpose. Again, this is always ambiguous on some level and likely the most accurate context of philosophy as related to science is as a precursor to validation during investigation and experimentation.
 The term “physical world” is often used to differentiate between the “mental” processes of the human mind or sociological type phenomena, and the physical environment which exists outside of the cognitive processes of human perception. In reality there is nothing outside the “physical world” as we know it, as there is to be found no concrete example where causal relationships are simply voided.
 Feedback from the Environment could be said to be the “correction mechanism” of nature as it relates to human decisions. A simple example would be the industrial production of chemicals which produce negative retroactions when released into the environment, showing incompatibility with environmental needs for life-support – such as was the case with CFCs and their effect on Ozone Depletion.
 Suggested reading: The Spirit Level, Kate Pickett & Richard Wilkinson, Bloomsbury Press, 2011
 This concept will be explored more in Part 3 but it is worth noting that the type of “access” enabled by the suggested social system (NLRBE) does not rule out legal relationships to secure the use of goods. The idea of reducing the current property system to one of ‘protected access’ where, for example, a camera obtained from a distribution center is given legal status upon it rental to that person, is not to be confused with the Capitalist notion of Property, which is a universal distinction and a great source of industrial inefficiency and imbalance.
 See Appendix D, Common Objections
 Likely the best description of this is to imagine a fight in which one of the opponents sets up a man made of straw, attacks it, then proclaims victory. All the while, the real opponent stands by untouched.
 “Have you noticed…”, Vital Speeches of the Day, Robert Krikorian, 1985, p 301
 Giving and Volunteering in the United States: Findings from a National Survey, Hodgkinson & Weitzman, 1992, p2
 Suggested reading: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink, Riverhead, 2011
 More on the subject of Transition in Part IV
(6) The Case for Human Unity
My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”-Thomas Paine 
A critical conclusion present in the logic that defines TZM’s advocation is that human society needs to unify its economic operations and work to align with the natural dynamics of the physical world as a single species sharing one habitat if we intend to resolve problems, increase safety, increase efficiency and further prosperity. The world economic divisions we see today are not only a clear source of conflict, destabilization and exploitation, the very manner of conduct and interaction itself is also grossly inefficient in a pure economic sense, severely limiting our societal potential.
While the nation-state, competition based structure is easy to justify as a natural outgrowth of our cultural evolution given the resource scarcity inherent historically and the long history of warfare in general, it is also natural to consider that human society could very well find purpose in moving away from these modes of operation if we were to realize that it is truly to our advantage as a whole group.
As will be argued here, the detriments and inefficiencies of the current model – when compared to the benefits and solutions possible – are simply unacceptable and the efficiency and abundance possibilities, extrapolated within TZM’s advocation for a new socioeconomic system, rest, in part, on a concerted effort by the human population to work together and share resources intelligently, not restrict and fight as we do today by design.
Beyond that, the social pressures and risks now emerging today around technological warfare, pollution, environmental destabilization and other problems show not only a logical gravitation for true global organization – they show a rational necessity – and the xenophobic and mafia-like mentality indigenous to the nation-state today, often in the form of “patriotism”, is a source of severe destabilization and inhumanity in general, not to mention, again, the substantial loss of technical efficiency.
As noted in prior essays, the core basis of our survival and quality of life as individuals and as a species on the planet earth revolves around our understanding of Natural Law and how it relates to our method of economy. This premise is a simple referential understanding where the physical laws of nature are considered in the context of economic efficiency, both on the human and habitat levels.
It is only logical that any species present in and reliant on the habitat in which it exists should conform all conduct to align with the natural orders inherent to that habitat, as best they can be understood at the time. Any other orientation is irrational by definition and can only lead to problems.
Understanding that the planet earth is a symbiotic/synergistic “System” with resources existing without nationalistic bias in all areas, coupled with the provably inherent, underlying causal scientific order that exists in many ways as a logical “guide” for the human species to align with for the greatest societal efficacy, we find that our larger context as a global society transcends virtually all notions of traditional/cultural division, including no loyalty to a country, corporation or even “political” tradition.
If an “economy” is about increasing efficiency in meeting the needs of the human population while working to further sustainability and prosperity, then our economic operations must take this into account and align with the largest natural relevant “system” that we can understand. From this perspective, the nation-state entities are clearly false, arbitrary divisions, perpetuated by cultural tradition, not logical, technical efficiency.
The broad organization of society today is based on multi-level human competition: nation-states compete against each other for economic/physical resources; corporate market entities compete for profit/market-share; and average workers compete for wage providing occupations and hence personal survival itself.
Under the surface of this competitive social ethic is a basic psychological disregard for the well- being of others and the habitat. The very nature of competition is about having advantage over others for personal gain and hence, needless to say, division & exploitation (of both human and environment) are fundamental attributes of the current social order. Virtually all so-called “corruptions” which we define as “crime” in the world today are based upon the very same mentality assumed to guide “progress” in the world through the competitive value.
It is no wonder, in fact, given this framework and ongoing shortsightedness, that various other detrimental superficial social divisions are still pervasive – such as race, religion, creed, class or xenophobic bias. This divisive baggage from early, fear-oriented stages of our cultural evolution simply has no working basis in the physical reality and serves now only to hinder progress, safety and sustainability.
Today, as will be described in later essays, the possible efficiency and abundance-producing methods that could remove most human deprivation, increase the average standard of living greatly and perfect public health and ecological sustainability greatly – are left unacknowledged due to the older social traditions in place, including the nation-state concept. The fact is, there is technically only one race – the Human Race; there is only one basic habitat – Earth; and there is only one working manner of operational thought – Scientific.
Origins and Influence
Let’s quickly consider the root origins of the competitive/divisive model. Without going into too much detail, it is clear that the evolution of human society has included a history of conflict, scarcity and imbalance. While there is debate as to the nature of society during the period of time preceding the Neolithic Revolution, the earth since that time has been a battlefield where countless lives have been taken for the sake of competition, whether material or ideological.
This recognized pattern is so pervasive in fact that many today attribute the propensity for conflict and domination to an irreconcilable characteristic of our human nature with the conclusion that the human being is simply unable to operate in a social system that is not based upon this competitive framework and any such attempt will create vulnerability that will be exploited by one power over another, expressing this apparent competitive/dominance trait.
While the subject of human nature itself is not the direct focus of this essay, let it be contextually stated that the “empirical power abuse” assumption has been a large part of the defense of the competitive/divisive model, using a general broad view of history as its basis for validity. However, the specifics of the conditions in those periods, coupled with the known flexibility of the human being are often disregarded in these assessments.
The historical patterns of conflict throughout history cannot be taken into account in isolation. Detailed reference to the conditions and circumstances are needed. In fact, it’s likely accurate to say that the dominance/conflict propensity which is clearly a possible reaction for nearly all humans in our need for preservation and survival in general is being provoked by social influence more than being the source of such a reaction. When we wonder how the massive Nazi Army where able to morally justify their actions in World War II, we often forget the enormous propaganda campaign put out by that regime which worked to exploit this essentially biological vulnerability.
The notion of “self-interest” is clearly inherent to the human being’s common urge to survive. This is obvious enough and it is easy to see historically how the raw necessity of personal survival, often extending to family and then the “tribe” (local community), set the stage for the complex, divisive paradigm we exist in today. It should have been expected from the standpoint of history that vast economic theories would be based upon the notion of competition and inequality, such as in the work of Adam Smith. Considered the father of the free market, he made popular the assumption that if everyone had the ethic to look out for themselves only, the world would progress as a community.
This “Invisible Hand” notion of human progress arising from narrow personal self-interest alone might have been a workable philosophy many years ago when the simplicity of the society itself was based on everyone being a producer. However, the nature of society has changed greatly over time with population increases, entirely different role structures and exponentially advancing technology. The risks associated with this manner of thought are now proving to be more dangerous than beneficial, and the definition of “self-interest” is taking a larger context than ever before.
Is it not in your self-interest to protect and nourish the habitat that supports you? Is it not in your self-interest to take care of society as a whole, providing for its members, so that the consequences of deprivation, such as “crime” are reduced as much as possible to ensure your safety? Is it not self-interest to consider the consequences of imperialist wars that can breed fierce jingoistic hatred on one side of the planet, only to have, say, a suitcase bomb explode behind you at a restaurant as a desperate “blow-back” act of abstract retribution?
Is it not self-interest to assure all of societies’ children – not just yours – have the best upbringing and education so that your future and the future of your children can exist in a responsible, educated, and increasingly productive world? Is it not in your self-interest to make sure industry is as organized, optimized and scientifically accurate as possible, so that we do not produce shoddy, cheap technology that might perhaps cause a social problem in the future if it fails?
The bottom line is that things have changed in the world today and your “self-interest” is now only as good as your “societal interest”. Being competitive and going out for yourself, “beating” others only has a negative consequence in the longterm, for it is denying awareness of the whole system we are bound within. A cheaply made nuclear power plant in Japan might not mean much to people in America. However, if that plant was to have a large scale technical failure, the fallout and pollution might make its way over to American homes, proving that you are never safe in the long run unless you have a global consciousness.
In the end, only an earth-humankind conscious view can assure a persons true “self-interest” in the modern world today and hence, in many ways, assure our social “evolutionary fitness” when such considerations are taken into account. The very idea of wishing to support “your country” and ignoring or even enjoying the failure of others, is a destabilizing state of affairs.
The days of practical warfare are long over. New technology on the horizon has the ability to create weapons that will make the Atom Bomb look like a roman catapult in its destructive power. Centuries ago, warfare could at least be minimized to the waring parties overall. Today, the entire world is threatened. There are over 23,000 Nuclear Weapons today which could wipe out the human population many times over.
In many ways, our very social maturity is being questioned at this time. Sticks and stones as weaponry could tolerate a great deal of human distortion and malicious intent. However, in a world of nano-tech weapons that could be constructed in a small lab with enormous destructive power, our human “self-interest” needs to take hold and the institution of war needs to be systematically shutdown. In order to do this, nations must technically unify and share their resources and ideas, not hoard them for competitive self-betterment, which is the norm today.
Institutions like the United Nations have become complete failures in this regard because they naturally become tools of empire building due to the underlying nature of country divisions and the socioeconomic dominance of the property/monetary/competition based system. It is not enough to simply gather global “leaders” at a table to discuss their problems – the structure itself needs to change to support a different type of interaction between these regional “groups” where the perpetual “threat” inherent between nation-states is removed.
In the end, there is no empirical ownership of resources or ideas. Just as all ideas are serially developed across culture through the “group mind”, the resources of the planet are equally as transient in their function and scientifically defined as to their possible purposes. The earth is a single system, along with the laws of nature that govern it. Either human society recognizes and begins to act on this logic inherent, or we suffer in the long run.
Footnotes for “The Case for Human Unity”:
 Rights of Man, Thomas Paine, 1791, p162
 One example of this would be the patriotic economic bias that often influences the actions of regional industry. In physical reality, there is technically only one economy when working with the planet earth’s resources and Natural Laws. The idea of “Made in America”, for instance, generates an immediate technical inefficiency, for proper goods production is a global affair on all levels, including the usufruct of world knowledge. To intentionally restrict labor and materials use/acquisition to only within the borders of a given country is economically counterproductive in the truest sense of the word “economy”.
 In the field of human genetics, “Mitochondrial Eve” refers to the matrilineally most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of modern humans. In other words, she was the most recent woman from whom all living humans today descend, on their mother’s side. We are one family. Also, all characteristics of race difference (facial features/skin color) have been found to be linked to the environmental conditions where such sub-groups of humans lived/evolved. Hence it is a false distinction as a means for superficial discrimination.
 Sometimes also called the Agricultural Revolution, it was the world’s first historically verifiable revolution in agriculture. It was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement which supported an increasingly large population and the basis for modern social patterns today.
 In the 20th Century alone, statisticians put the human death toll from war between 180 to 220 million, with some challenging those numbers by claiming evidence puts the toll 3 times higher in many regional cases: [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080619194142.htm]
 A classic text that employed this basic fear was Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom”. “Human Nature” had a very clear implication, justified fundamentally by historical trends of totalitarianism suggested to be linked to collaborative/planned economies.
 See the essay: The Final Argument: Human Nature.
 The Nature/Nurture Debate has been well established as a false duality in behavioral biology/evolutionary psychology fields of study. The reality is that of a perpetual interaction with the gravity of relevance shifting on a per case basis. However, what is relevant here is the study of the human being’s “range of behavior” and exactly how adaptable and flexible we are. Suggested Reading: Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, Robert Sapolsky, W. H. Freeman, 1998
 Commonly termed: “The fight-or-flight response” (or the acute stress response) and was first described by American physiologist Walter Bradford Cannon.
 “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” -Hermann Göring [A leading member of the Nazi Party; From an interview with Gilbert in Göring’s jail cell during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (18 April 1946)]
 “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages”- Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature & Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol 1
 Sociologist Thorstein Veblen, writing in 1917, made this acute observation with respect to the changes in society and how they reflect the original premise of the Market Economy.“The standard theories of economic science have assumed the rights of property and contract as axiomatic premises and ultimate terms of analysis; and their theories are commonly drawn in such a form as would fit the circumstances of the handicraft industry and the petty trade… These Theories …appear tenable, on the whole, when taken to apply to the economic situation of that earlier time… It is when these standard theories are sought to be applied to the later situation, which has outgrown the conditions of handicraft, that they appears nugatory or meretricious.” [An Inquiry Into The Nature Of Peace And The Terms Of Its Perpetuation] He also foreshadowed the rise of the “investment class” as today non-producing financial institution like banks & the stocks market have become more rewarding profit-wise than the actual manufacturing of true goods.
 Evolutionary Fitness is a biological term generally defined as “The probability that the line of descent from an individual with a specific trait will not die out.” In this context we are linking human actions, socially, to the idea of species survival.
 Ref: http://crnano.typepad.com/crnblog/2005/05/applicationsfo.html
 Ref: http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/dbarticle.php?article_id=253
(7) The Final Argument: Human Nature
“Man acquires at birth, through heredity, a biological constitution which we must consider fixed and unalterable, including the natural urges which are characteristic of the human species. In addition, during his lifetime, he acquires a cultural constitution which he adopts from society through communication and through many other types of influences. It is this cultural constitution which, with the passage of time, is subject to change and which determines to a very large extent the relationship between the individual and society.”-A. Einstein 
The “Train of Thought” and “Application-Set” presented in TZM’s materials are technical by nature, expressing the interest of applying the method and merit of Scientific Causality to the social system as a whole.
The benefits of this approach are not only to be taken on their own merit but should also be considered in contrast to today’s established, traditional methods and their consequences. It will likely then be noticed that our current societal methods are not only grossly outdated and inefficient by comparison – they are increasingly dangerous and inhumane – with the necessity for large scale social change becoming ever more important. This isn’t about “Utopia” – it is about truly practical improvements.
The overall basis of the Monetary-Market (Capitalist/Free-Market) concept has to do fundamentally with assumptions related to human behavior, traditional values and an intuitive view of history – not emergent reasoning, actual public health measures, technical capacity or ecological responsibility. It is a non-technical, philosophical approach which merely assumes that human decisions made through its internal logic and incentive system will produce a responsible, sustainable and humane outcome, driven by the illusive notion of “freedom of choice” which, on the scale of societal functionality, appears tantamount to organizational anarchy.
This is why the monetary-market model of economics is often considered religious by nature in TZM materials as the causal mechanism is really based on virtually superstitious assumptions of the human condition with little linkage to emerging scientific understandings about ourselves and the rigid symbiotic/synergistic relationship of our habitat and its governing Natural Laws.
When presenting TZM’s solution-oriented Train of Thought to those unfamiliar, it is usually just a matter of time before, at a minimum, the basic scientific premise is understood and accepted in abstraction. For example, the isolated technical reality that we have the resources and industrial methods to easily feed everyone on the planet earth, so no one has to starve, rarely finds argument in and of itself. If you were to ask an average person today if they would like to see an end to the 1+ billion people in chronic starvation on the planet, they would most likely agree from the standpoint of “morality”.
However, it is when the logic runs its course and starts to depict the type of large scale social and economic reformations needed to facilitate true system support for those 1+ billion people that many find contempt and rejection. Apart from stubborn, temporal “value” associations – where people essentially refuse to change anything they have become used to in their lives, even if that change clearly supports a better outcome in the long term – there is one argument so common that it warrants a preliminary discussion in and of itself.
That is the argument of “Human Nature”. This argument might also be said to be the only real objection left, if you think about it, outside, again, of the near arbitrary cultural lifestyle practices people are afraid to change due to their identity associations and conditioned comforts.
Are humans compatible with a truly sustainable, scientific socio-economic system or are we doomed to the world we have now due to our genetics?
Everything is Technical
The case for a new social system based directly on a scientific view for understanding & maximizing sustainability and prosperity, technically, really cannot be contradicted by another approach, as bold as such a statement may seem. Why? Because there simply isn’t one when the unifying, natural law logic of The Scientific Method is accepted as the root mechanism of physical causality and interrelationship.
For example, great surface variation (ornament) might exist with the design of an airplane, but the mechanics which enable flight are bound by physical laws and hence so must the overall physical design of the airplane in order to align with such laws and function.
Constructing such a machine to perform a job with the goal of optimized performance, safety and efficiency is not a matter of opinion, just as no matter how many ornaments we may place around our homes, the physical structure of the building must adhere to the rigid laws of physics and natural dynamics of the habitat for safety and endurance and hence can have little respective variation in a technical sense.
The organization of human society can be no different if the intention is integrity and optimization. To think of the functional nature of a working society is to think about a mechanistic schematic, if you will. Just as we would design an airplane to work in the best way possible, technically, so should our approach be to the social system, which is equally as technical in its operation.
Unfortunately, this general perspective has never been given a real chance in history and today our world is still run in an incongruous manner where the principal incentive is more about detached, immediate, shortsighted personal gain and differential advantage than it is about proper, strategic industrial methods, ecological alignment, social stability, public health considerations and generational sustainability.
This is all pointed out, again, because the Human Nature argument against such an approach is really the only seemingly technical argument that can possibly defend the old system we have today; it is really the only argument left when people who wish to uphold this system realize that nothing else they logically argue can possibly be viable given the irrationality inherent to every other claim against a natural law based social system.
Boiling it down, this challenge can be considered in one question: “Is the Human Species able to adapt and thrive in a technically organized planned system, where our values and practices align with the known laws of nature in practice, or are we confined by our genes, biology and evolutionary psychology to operate in only the way we know today?”
While many today argue the specifics of the Nature vs Nurture debate – from “Blank Slate” Behaviorism to Genetic Determinism  – it has become clear, at a minimum, that our biology, our psychology and our sociological condition are inexorably linked to the environment we inhabit, both from the standpoint of generational evolutionary adaptation (Biological Evolution), to short-term biases and values we absorb from our environment (Cultural Evolution).
So, before we go into detail on this issue, it is well worth noting that our very definition as a human being in the long and short term view is based upon a process of adaptation to existing conditions, including the genes themselves. This is not to discount the per-case genetic relevance itself but to highlight the process to which we are a part, for the gene-environment relationship can only be considered as an ongoing interaction, with the outcomes largely a result of the environmental conditions in the long and short term in general. If this wasn’t the case, there is little doubt the human species would have likely perished long ago due to a failure to adapt.
Moreover, while it is clear we humans still appear to maintain ‘hardwired’, predictable reactions for raw, personal survival, we have also proven the ability to evolve our behaviors through thought, awareness and education, allowing us to, in fact, control/overcome those impulsive, primitive reactions, if the conditions for such are supported and reinforced. This is an extremely important distinction and is what separates the variance of human beings from their lesser evolved primate family in many ways.
A quick glance at the diversity in historical human conduct we see throughout time, contrasted with the relatively slow pace of larger structural changes of our brains & DNA  over the past couple of thousand years, shows that our adaptive capacity (via thought/education) is enormous on the cultural level.
It appears that we are capable of many possible behaviors and that a fixed “human nature”, as an unalterable, universal set of behavioral traits/reactions shared by all humans without exception, cannot be held as valid. Rather, there appears to be a spectrum of possible behaviors and predictable reactions, all more or less contingent upon the type of development, education, stimuli & conditions we experience.
The social imperative in this respect cannot be emphasized enough for environmental influence is a massive factor that grooms not only our decision-making preferences in both the long and short term, but the overall environmental interaction with our biology in general also has powerful effects on personal well-being and hence broad public health in many specific ways.
It has been found that environmental conditions, including factors such as nutritional input, emotional security, social association  and all forms of stress in general can influence the human being in many more ways than previously thought. This process begins In Utero, through the sensitive post-natal and childhood “planned learning” adaption periods, and carries on throughout life on all physiological and psychological levels.
For example, while there is evidence that depression as a psychological disorder can have a genetic predisposition, it is the environment that really triggers it or not. Again, this is not to downplay the influence of biology on our personalities but to show the critical importance of understanding these realities and adapting our social system and macro influences to support the most positive outcome we can.
Changing The Condition
The idea of changing society’s influences/pressures to bring out the best of the human condition rather than the worst is at the core of the social imperative of TZM and this idea is sadly lost in the culture’s social considerations today. Enormous evidence exists to support how the influence of our environment is what essentially creates our values and biases and while genetic/physiological influences can set propensities and accentuations for certain behaviors, the most active influence regarding our variability is the life experience and condition of the human being, hence the manner of interaction between the “internal”(physiological) and “external” (environmental).
In the end, the most relevant issue is stress. Our genes, biology and evolutionary psychology might have some hangups, but they are nothing compared to the environmental disorder we have created in our culture. The enormity of now unnecessary stress in the world today – debt, jobs insecurity, increasing health risks, both mental and physiological – and many other issues have created a climate of unease that has been increasingly making people sick and upset.
However, the scope of this view isn’t just about various temporal pressures that can trigger this or that propensity in a narrow sense – it is more about the broad educational, religious/philosophical, political and social values and ideas they perpetuate and reinforce. If we were faced with an option to adapt our society in a way that can provably better public health, would we not just do it? To think human beings as a society are simply incompatible with methods that can increase their standard of living and health is extremely unlikely.
In conclusion to this section, let it be stated that the subject of “Human Nature” is one of the most complex subjects there is when it comes to specifics. However, the broad and viable awareness with respect to basic public health improvement via reducing stress, increasing quality nutrition and stabilizing society by working toward abundance and ease rather than strife and complexity – is not susceptible to much debate.
We now have some refined truths about the human condition that give enough evidence to see that we are not only generating poor reactions and habits due to the influence of the current socio-economic order, we are also greatly disrespecting the habitat as well, creating not only a lack of sustainability in an ecological sense, but, again, in a cultural sense as well. To think humans are simply incompatible with these resolutions, even if it means changing our world greatly, defies the long history of adaptation we have proven to be capable of.
Footnotes for “The Final Argument: Human Nature”:
 “Why Socialism?” http://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism
 These terms are detailed in the Vocabulary List – Appendix A. The “Train of Thought” has to do with the underlying reasoning that arrives at the conclusions of TZM’s advocation – while the “Application-Set” is simply the current state of applied technology today. The difference between the two is that the former is near-empirical while the latter is transient since technological tools are always undergoing change.
 Much can be said on the subject of economic organization and mechanisms for industrial production and more will be described in Part 3. However, let it be stated here that the “Price Mechanism”, which is the central catalyst for economic unfolding today, is inherently anarchistic due to the lack of efficient system relationships within macro-industrial practices. Production, distribution and resource allocation is not “strategic” in a technical, physical sense by any stretch of the imagination – the only strategy employed, which is the defining context of “efficiency” in the market economy, has to do with the profit and loss/labor cost/expense type monetary parameters which have no relationship to physical efficiency at all.
 This has been confirmed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme. This site is recommend for reference: http://overpopulationisamyth.com/food-theres-lots-it#header-1
 The notion of the “Blank Slate” was made popular by Thomas Hobbes but can be linked back to the writings of Aristotle. This is the idea that, in short, individuals are born without built-in mental orientation and everything is learned. Now largely debunked as a broad view due to proven “programmed learning” and humans’ inherent “evolutionary psychology”, the idea still persists in general.
 The view that human beings are substantially more affected by Genes and Biology than environmental conditioning with respect to human behavior is still a heated debate, not to mention a frequent intuitive reaction by many to certain human patterns. The phrase “It’s just human nature” is all too often tossed out by the layman. Authors such as Steven Pinker are notable for promoting the dominance of evolutionary psychology over environmental conditioning.
 An “adaptation” in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of ‘natural selection’. In short, this occurs due to pressures existing on the organism in the environment. Likewise, “Epigenetics” is a fairly new awareness and study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence. In short, it is a shorter-term “expression” adaptation influenced by the environment as well. As far as culture, this is more simple to understand. For instance, the language you speak is an adaptation to the existing cultural group, just like the religion you might be taught and hence many of the values you hold are directly a result of the cultural conditions you are within.
 The notion of an “Instinctual Reaction” could be applied here. However, the differentiation of what is or isn’t instinctual has become increasingly ambiguous in the study of human behavior. Yet, it is clear in a fundamental sense that there are very specific patterns in common regarding the human species, especially in the context of survival and stress influence. Faced with pressing danger, very common biological/endocrinological reactions occur almost universally and these often generate behavioral propensities which are also predictable consistently across the species as a whole.
 The term “Behavioral Plasticity” can be applied here as an extension of “Neuroplasticity” which refers to active changes in neural pathways and synapses. Just as the brain used to be considered a static organ, human behavior – the expression of brain activity – clearly also undergoes change. As complex a subject as “free-will” and decision processes are to the psychological sciences, the nature of the human mind shows clear adaptability and vulnerability to input conditions. Unlike our primate ancestors, our advanced Neocortex* appears to be a center for conscious thought and in the words of Dr. Robert Sapolsky, Neuroscientist from Stanford University: “On a certain level, the nature of our nature is not to be particularly constrained by our nature.” [ from 2011 film Zeitgeist: Moving Forward ]
 *More on the Neocortex, an advanced area of the human brain attributed to consciousness can be found here: http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v10/n10/abs/nrn2719.html
 DNA mutation rates vary from species to species and have historically been very difficult to estimate. Today, with Direct Sequencing it is now possible to isolate exact changes. In a study performed in 2009, two distant male-line relatives – separated by thirteen generations – whose common ancestor lived two hundred years ago, were sequenced, finding only 12 differences among all the DNA letters examined. “The two Y chromosomes were still identical at 10,149,073 of the 10,149,085 letters examined. Of the 12 differences…only four were true mutations that had occurred naturally through the generations.” [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827123210.htm ] As far as the Human Genome, it is estimated that the genome might undergo only a few 100 changes over tens of thousands of years.
 A classical example is the “Dutch Hunger Winter”. A study tracking people who suffered severe malnutrition as fetuses during World War II found that in their adult life they suffered from various metabolic syndromes and metabolism problems due to the “programming” which occurred during that In Utero period. Ref: Famine and Human development: The Dutch hunger winter of 1944-1945. New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press.
 Dr. Gabor Maté in his work “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” (North Atlantic Books, 2012) presents an enormous amount of research regarding how ’emotional loss’ occurring at young ages affects behavior in later life, specifically the propensity for addictions.
 The relevance of the nature of social interaction is more profound than once thought. The correlation between different macro-societal factors and public health issues such as life expectancy, mental disorder, obesity, heart disease, violence and many other sociological issues were well summarized in the book The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Penguin, March 2009.
 A unique study of premature infants in incubators found that by simply stimulating them during that time (or showing “affection” by simple touch) their longer term physiological health was greatly improved compared to those untouched. Ref: Tactile/kinesthetic stimulation effects on preterm neonates, Pediatrics. 1986
 Ref: The Structure of Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors for Common Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders in Men and Women, Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2003;60
(8) Defining Public Health
“We are all responsible for all.” -Dostoyevsky
What is the true measure of success for a society? What is it that makes us happy, healthy, stable and in balance with the world around us? Is not our success really our ability to understand and adapt to the realities of our world for the best outcome possible for any given circumstance? What if we were to find that the very nature of our social system was actually reducing our quality of life in the long term?
As will be argued in this essay, modern social structures, values and practices have deviated away from, or are largely ignorant of, what true societal health means. What our social institutions today give priority to or discount by design, coupled with the goals and motivations associated with personal “success”, which are all too often clearly “decoupled” from what true life support and advancement means, is a subject given little thoughtful consideration in the world today. In fact, most “prosperity” and “integrity” measures for the human condition are now haphazardly equated to mere economic baselines such as GDP, PPI or employment figures. Sadly, these measures tell us virtually nothing about true human-well being and prosperity.
The term Public Health is a medical classification, essentially defined as: “The approach to medicine that is concerned with the health of the community as a whole.” While often narrowly used in relationship to transmittable disease and related broader social conditions, the context here will extend into all aspect of our lives, including not only physiological health but mental health as well. If the value of a social system is measured by the health of its citizenry over time, assessing and comparing conditions and consequences through simple trend analysis and factor accounting should give insight into what can be changed or improved on the social level.
The central context here is how the social condition itself – the socioeconomic system – is affecting human health on the whole. In the words of physician Rudolph Virchow: “Medicine is a social science and politics nothing but medicine on a large scale.” Virchow recognized that any public health issue is invariably related to society as a whole. Its structure, characteristics and value reinforcements have a profound influence on the health and behavior of a society and arguments regarding the merit of new social ideas inevitably come down to a rational assessment of quality through comparison.
Since each respective component of Public Health has its own characteristics and causality, we can also work to consider alternative approaches to a given problem resolution or improvement, which might not be currently in practice, but clearly should be. An analysis of current Public Health components to understand what is happening over time and in different circumstances, coupled with a per case evaluation of each issue with an inferential consideration of what could “fix” or “improve” these results on the largest possible scale is the basis of the Train of Thought expressed here.
It is the conviction of TZM that the existing social model is a cause of “Social Pathology”, with a perpetuation of imbalance that is unnecessarily generating both physiological and psychological disorders across the population, not to mention systemically limiting human potential and problem resolution in many ways. Of course, this context also naturally extends into environmental health, meaning the state of the planet, as such ecological problems/pressures/alleviations always have an effect on our Public Health in the long-term. However, that will not be focus in this essay.
This analysis will separate the issue of Public Health into two general categories – Physiological and Psychological – with each category broken into subjects that represent dominant problems seen in a relevant percentage of the population overall.
Let it be well understood that physiological and psychological outcomes rarely, if ever, have singular causes. There is a “Bio-Psycho-Social” relationship to virtually all human phenomena, illuminating, once again, the multi-level symbiosis characteristic of the human being. In other words, while the problem being focused on might be considered “physiological” in general, the underlying cause of that outcome might very well be “psychological” or “sociological” in part and vice versa.
The Economic Factor
As noted, the main thesis of this essay is to show the deep effect our global socioeconomic system has on public health, with a more specific focus on the power of poverty, stress and inequality. If you take a quick glance at the major causes of death globally, as put forward by the World Health Organization, clear differences based on the economic state of a region, such as the fact that Cancers are more common in high income societies while Diarrhoeal diseases are more common in low income societies, gives insight as to how the broad context of socioeconomic position can affect public health.
Mahatma Gandhi once said “Poverty is the worst form of violence.” His context relates to the unnecessary deaths caused by poverty in the sense of the broad limitations such severe financial restrictions have on health. This idea was later encompassed in a term called Structural Violence, defined by Dr. James Gilligan as “…the increased rates of death and disability suffered by those who occupy the bottom rungs of society.” He differentiates Structural Violence from Behavioral Violence, where the former “operates continuously rather than sporadically”
Please note that the term “Violence” in this context is not limited to the usual classification of physical harm such as person-to-person combat or abuse. The context extends to include the often unseen social oppression that, through the chain of causality characteristics inherent to our social system, leads to the unnecessary harm of people, both physical, psychological or both. Examples of this can range from obvious to complex in the chain of cause and effect.
A simple “macro” example would be the prevalence of Diarrhoeal diseases in poverty-stricken societies. These diseases kill about 1.5 million children alone every year. It is completely preventable and treatable and while the infection itself is spread through contaminated food or drinking-water, or from person-to-person as a result of poor hygiene, its very preventability and rarity in first world nations by comparison shows that the real cause is now not the disease itself, but the poverty condition that enables it to flourish unabated. However, the causality doesn’t stop there as we then need to ask the question “what is causing the poverty?”
A more abstract “micro” example would be human development problems when adverse pressures in family or community structures occur. Imagine a single mother who, due to the financial need to raise her child, must work for income a great deal in order to make ends meet, limiting her availability for the child personally. The pressures not only reduce needed support and guidance for the child’s development, she also develops tendencies for depression and anxiety due to the ongoing stress of debt, bills and the like, and frustration-driven abuse begins to materialize in the family. This then causes severe emotional loss in the child and the development of neurotic and unhealthy mental states emerge, such as a propensity for drug addition. Years later, still suffering from the pain felt in those early periods, the now adult child dies in a heroin overdose. Question: what caused the overdose? The heroin? The mother’s influence? Or the economic circumstance the mother found herself which disallowed balance and thoughtful care of her child?
Clearly, there is no utopia for the human condition and to think we can adjust the socio-economic system to thwart all such “structurally” related issues, macro and micro, 100% of the time, is absurd. However, what is possible is a dramatic improvement of such public health problems by shifting the nature of the socioeconomic condition in the most strategic manner we can. As we proceed with the per case analysis of major mental and physical disorders in the world, it will be found that the true imperative for public health improvement rests almost entirely on this socioeconomic premise of causality.
According to Gernot Kohler and Norman Alcock in their 1976 work An Empirical Table of Structural Violence, a dramatic 18 million deaths were extrapolated to occur each year due to Structural Violence and that study was over 30 years ago. Since that time the global gap between rich and poor has more than doubled, suggesting now that the death toll is even much higher today. In effect, Structural Violence is the most deadly killer on the planet. The following chart shows rates of death of a specific demographic, revealing the more broad correlation of low-income and increased mortality.
G. D. Smith, J. D. Neaton, D. Wentworth, R. Stamler and J. Stamler, ‘Socioeconomic differentials in mortality risk among men screened for the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial: I. White men’, American Journal of Public Health (1996) 86 (4): 486-96.
The core physiological problems of the human population today include major mortality producing epidemics such as cancer, heart disease, stoke, etc. Relatively minor problems that not only reduce quality of life, but also often precede those major illnesses include high blood pressure, obesity and other issues which, while less critical by comparison, are still usually a part of the process that can lead to major illnesses and death over time. Again, it is important to remember that the causality of these “physical” diseases is not strictly “physical” in the narrow sense of the word as modern study has found deep psychosocial stress relationships to seemingly detached physiological issues.
According to the World Health Organization, the most common shared major causes of death in low, middle and high income countries are Heart Disease, Lower respiratory infections, Stoke, & Cancer. While each of these illnesses (and many more) can be found related to the causal points that follow, for simplicities sake Heart Disease will be a focus here.
Case Study: Heart Disease
While the treatment of Heart Disease has led to a recent mild global decline in heart attacks and deaths overall, the diagnosis of Heart Disease has not subsided and by some regional studies is on the rise, or on pace to increasing substantially. Coronary Heart Disease is still considered by the WHO as the “leading cause of death” globally and it has been found that while there are genetic factors in play, 90% of those dying “have risk factors influenced by lifestyle”26 and overall the disease is widely considered preventable if lifestyle adjustments are made.
In short, well established relationships to high fat diets, smoking, alcohol, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and other risk factors allow us to extend the causality of Heart Disease and when we follow the influences, the most profound broad influence found has to do not only with absolute income – but relative socioeconomic status.
The WHO makes it generally clear that on the global scale, lower socioeconomic status breeds more heart disease and naturally more of the risk factors that lead to it. This, on one side, depicts a direct economic relationship to the occurrence of disease. There is no evidence to show that genetic differences between regional groups could be responsible for these variations and it is obvious to see how a lack of purchasing power leads people into lifestyles that include many such risk factors.
A 2009 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology called “Life-Course Socioeconomic Position and Incidence of Coronary Heart Disease” found that the longer a person remains in poverty, the more likely he or she is to develop heart disease. People who were economically disadvantaged throughout life were more likely to smoke, be obese, have poor diets and the like. In an earlier study by epidemiologist Dr. Ralph R. Frerichs, focusing specifically on the socioeconomic divide in city of Los Angeles, CA, USA found that the death rate from heart disease was 40 percent higher for poor men over all than for wealthier ones.
Given our original thesis to consider a link from the social system itself to the prevalence of disease and their associated risk factors, we need to consider the direct relationship of stress & purchasing power.
Beginning with the latter, which is more simple, clearly poor health habits occur in lower income environments due to the lack of funds for better nutrition, medical attention and education. Many of the high fat, high sodium risk factor foods, for example, leading to heart disease, are also the most inexpensive food found in stores.
It is worth noting that our socioeconomic model produces goods based upon the purchasing power abilities of targeted demographics. The decision to produce poor quality food goods is made for the interest of profit and since the vast majority of the planet is relatively poor, it is no surprise that in order to meet that market, quality must be reduced to allow for competitive buying. In other words, there is a market for each social class and naturally the lower the class, the lower the quality. This reality is an example of a direct social system link to causality for such a disease. While education about the difference between quality food products could help the decision process of a poor person to eat better, the financial restrictions inherent to their condition could easily make that decision difficult if not impossible as, again, such goods are more expensive on average.
In an age where food production and human nutrition is a well understood scientific phenomenon as far as what works and what doesn’t – what is healthy and what isn’t on the whole – we have to wonder why the abundance of deliberately unhealthy foods and detrimental industrial methods exist at all. The reasoning is that human health is not the pursuit of industrial food production and never has been due to the isolated interest to generate income. More on this incentive disorder inherent to the Monetary-Market Economy in later essays.
The Stress Factor
Let’s now consider the role of Stress. Stress has more of an effect on Heart Disease than previously thought and this isn’t just referring to the statistical fact that lower income peoples tend to have a propensity to cope by smoking, drinking, manifesting high blood pressure and hence disregard their bodies and well-being due to the ongoing struggle for income and survival. While those factors are clearly evident and, again, found tied to the inevitable stratification found in the Monetary-Market Economy, the most detrimental form of stress comes in the form of psychosocial stress, meaning stress relating to psychological interaction with the social environment.
Professor Michael Marmot of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University College of London directed two important studies relating social status to health. Using the British Civil Service system as the subject group, they found that the gradient of health quality in industrialized societies is not simply just a matter of poor health for the disadvantaged and good health for everyone else. They found that there was also a social distribution of disease as you went from the top of the socioeconomic latter, to the bottom and the types of diseases that people would get would change on average.
For example the lowest rungs of the hierarchy had a fourfold increase of heart disease based mortality, compared to the highest rungs. Even in a country with universal health care, the worse a person’s financial status and position in the hierarchy, the worse their health is going to be on average. The reason is essentially psychological as it has been found that the more stratified a given society, the worse the public health is in general, specifically for the lower classes.
This pattern has been corroborated with many studies over the years including a deep collection of research organized by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. In their work, “The Spirit Level – Why Equality is Better for Everyone”, they source hundreds of epidemiological studies on the issue, outlining how more unequal societies perpetuate a vast array of public health problems, both physiological and psychological.
Heart Disease aside, some Cancers, chronic lung disease, gastrointestinal disease, back pain, obesity, high blood pressure, low life expectancy and many other problems are also now found to be linked to socioeconomic status in the broad view, not just singular risk factors. There is a “social gradient”, it could be called, in health across society and where we are placed in relation to other people has a powerful psychosocial effect – those above us have better health on average while those below us have worse health on average.
A statistical comparison of public health between countries with high levels of income inequality (such as the United States) and those with lower levels of income Inequality (such as Japan) reveals these truths quite obviously.
However, such generally deemed “physical” illnesses are only part of the public health crisis generated by inequality which, again, is yet a consequence unto itself originating out of the direct, immutable stratification inherent to our global social system.
Perhaps more profound in its public health implication is the result of social inequality on our mental or psychological health. This extends into behavioral reactions and tendencies such as acts of violence or abuse, along with emotional issues like depression, anxiety and personality disorders in general.
A general trend assessment of Depression and Anxiety in developed countries, countries that many intuitively would think would have more joy and ease due to the material wealth available, reveals a much different reality.[147, 148] A British study examining depression among people in their 20s found that it was twice as common in 1970 than it was in 1958. An American study of about 63,700 college students found that five times as many young adults are dealing with higher levels of anxiety than in the late 1930s. A 2011 study presented at the American Psychological Association showed that mental illness was more common among college students than it was a decade ago.
Psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego University located 269 related studies measuring anxiety in the United States sourced between 1952 and 1993 and the aggregate assessment shows a dramatically clear trend in the rise of anxiety over this period, with, for example, the conclusion that by the late 1980s the average American child was more anxious than child psychiatric patients in the 1950s.
A 2011 NCHS report reveals that the rate of antidepressant use in America among teens and adults (people ages 12 and older) increased by almost 400% between 1988–1994 and 2005–2008. Antidepressants were the third most common prescription medication taken by Americans in 2005–2008.
While a genetic component for depression may have relevance, the trend rate clearly shows an environmental causality as the driving force. In the words of Richard Wilkinson:
“[A]lthough people with mental illness sometimes have changes in the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, nobody has shown that these are causes of depression, rather than changes caused by depression…although some genetic vulnerability may underlie some mental illness, this can’t by itself explain the huge rises in illness in recent decades – our genes can not change that fast.“
It appears our relative social status has a profound effect on our mental wellbeing and this tendency can also be found in what could be declared as the evolutionary psychology of similar primates as well. A 2002 study performed with Macaque monkeys found that those who were subordinate/lower in a given social hierarchy had less dopamine activity than the dominant ones and this relationship would change as different sets were regrouped. In other words, it had nothing to do with their specific biology – only the social arrangement that reduced or elevated their dopamine levels. It also found that lower hierarchy monkey would use more cocaine to compensate. This is revealing as low dopamine levels in primates (including humans) are found to have a direct correlation to depression.
The pattern has become very clear and while direct stressors such as job security, debt and other largely economic factors inherent to the social system play a major role, the relevance of socioeconomic status itself is still dominant.
The following chart is a comparison of overall Mental Health and Drug Use by country. It includes nine countries sourcing data from the WHO surveys, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, impulsive disorders, addictions and others. One can clearly see that the United States, which also has the highest level of inequality, has an enormous level of mental heath and drug disorders as well by comparison to the less stratified countries, Italy being the lowest in mental health disorders of the group.
Even perceived social status, such as the caste relationships found in countries like India, can have a profound effect on confidence and behavior. “A study performed in 2004 compared the problem-solving abilities of 321 high caste Indian boys against those of 321 low caste Indian boys. The results demonstrated that when caste was not publicly announced before the problem solving began, both sets of boys achieved similar results. The second round, before which the caste of each group was publicly announced, the lower caste group fared much worse, and the high caste much better, producing very divergent data compared with the first round. People are greatly influenced by their perceived status in their society and often when we expect to be viewed as inferior, very often we perform as such.
In conclusion to this subsection regarding the psychosocial, inequality-based phenomenon that shows a clear relationship to psychological well-being, it is important to quickly make clear the vast range of issues found related. While further study of such issues can be found in the Reading List (Appendix C) of this text with the works of Sapolsky, Gilligan, Maté and Wilkinson highly recommended, let it be stated generally here that when it comes to Education, Social Capital (trust), Obesity, Life Expectancy, Teen Birth, Imprisonment and Punishment, Social Mobility, Opportunity, and even Innovation – countries with less income inequality do better than those with more income inequality. Put another way, they are more healthy societies.
Case Study: Behavioral Violence
Coupled with the above issues relating to inequality in society, there is one that deserves a deeper look – Behavioral Violence. Criminal Psychological Dr. James Gilligan, former head of the Centre for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School, wrote a definitive treatment on the subject in his work “Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and its Causes”. Dr. Gilligan makes it very clear that extreme forms of violence are not random or genetically induced, but rather complex reactions that originate from stressful experiences, both in the long and short term.
For example, child abuse, both physical and emotional, along with increasingly difficult levels of personal stress, have a direct correlation to both premeditated and impulsive acts of violence and while men have a statistically higher propensity towards violence due to largely endocrinological characteristics that, while not causing violence reactions, can exaggerate them upon the stress influence, the common theme is the influence of the environment and culture.
This is not to discount the relationship of hormones or even possibly genetic propensities but to show that at the origin of this behavior is clearly not our biology, but the condition upon which a human exists and experiences endured. Other common assumptions of causality, such as “Instinct” are also far too abstract and vague to hold any operational validity.
“I am suggesting that the only way to explain the causes of violence, so that we can learn how to prevent it, is to approach violence as a problem in public health and preventive medicine, and to think of violence as a symptom of life-threatening pathology, which, like all form of illness, has an etiology or cause, a pathogen” -Dr. James Gilligan
In Dr. Gilligan’s diagnosis he makes it very clear that the greatest cause of violent behavior is social inequality, highlighting the consequence of shame and humiliation as an emotional characteristic of those who engage in violence. Thomas Scheff, a emeritus professor of sociology in California stated that “shame was the social emotion”. Shame and humiliation can be equated with the feelings of stupidity, inadequacy, embarrassment, foolishness, feeling exposed, insecurity and the like – all largely social or comparative in their origin.
Needless to say, in a global society with not only growing income disparity but inevitably “self-worth” disparity – since status is touted as directly related to our “success” in our jobs, bank accounts levels and the like – it is no mystery that feelings of inferiority, shame and humiliation are staples of the culture today. The consequence of those feelings have very serious implications for public health, as noted before, including the epidemic of the behavioral violence we now see today in its various complex forms. Terrorism, local school and church Shootings, along with other extreme acts which simply did not exist before in the abstracts they find context today reveals a unique evolution of violence itself. Dr. Gilligan concludes: “If we wish to prevent violence, then, our agenda is political and economic reform.”
The following Chart shows rates of homicide across wealthy nations with varying states of social inequality. The United States, which is likely the largest “anti-socialist” advocate with little structural safeguards in place (such as a lack of universal health care), while also pushing the psychological ethic that “independence” and “competition” are the most important ethos – shows a massive level of violence. While debates over gun control and the like still persist in the American political landscape with respect to the epidemic, clearly that has nothing really to do with causality.
This essay has attempted to give a concise overview of core causal relationships to human health on both the psychological level and the psychological level. The theme is how the socioeconomic condition in general improves or worsens public health overall, alluding to ideal conditions which would improve happiness, reduce general disease and alleviate epidemic behavioral problems, such as violence.
While direct economic relationships are very clear in how they reduce human health and wellbeing in the form of absolute deprivation, such as an inability to obtain quality food, labor-related time restraints that reduce emotional and developmental support for children, loss of education quality due to regional funding problems, along with case by case turmoil such as the fact that most marriages end due to monetary problems, the relative deprivation issue has been more of a focus due to the fact that it is also a cause of most absolute deprivation itself.
Put into the structural, socioeconomic context, this reality firmly challenges the ethos that competition, class and other “Capitalist” notions of incentive and progress are drivers of social progress and health. The more we learn about this phenomenon, the stronger the argument becomes that the nature of our socioeconomics system is backwards in its focus and intent. Human progress and success is clearly not defined by the constant influx of market goods, gadgets and material creations for purchase. Public Health and well being is based on how we relate to each other and the environment on the whole.
The result is a hidden form of violence against the population and hence the public health crisis we see is really a civil & human rights issue. When we see clear genocide in the world we object strongly on purely moral grounds. But what if there existed a constant genocide that is unseen but very real – perpetuated not by a specific person or group but by a psychological disorder born out of stress generated by the traditional method of human interaction and economic ordering that has been created and codified?
As will be argued in the following essays, mere adjustments to the current socioeconomic system are not enough in the longterm to substantially resolve these problems. The very foundational principles of our current model are bound by the hierarchical economic and competitive orientations and to truly work to remove those attributes and consequences is to completely transform the entire social system.
Footnotes for “Defining Public Health”:
 Paraphrased, from Karamazov Brothers, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1880, p316
 The point here relates to how modern society rewards and reinforces certain behaviors over others. For instance, in the Western World more financial reward comes to non-producing financial institutions than from true good and service production. This has generated an incentive problem which also includes environmental disregard and the ignoring of public health in general. As will be alluded to later in this text, the psychology of the market economy actually opposes life support.
 In recent years other attempts have been made to quantify “happiness” and well-being, such as the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Indicator which conducts measures via periodic surveys http://www.grossnationalhappiness.com/
 Public Health defined: http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5120
 The Evolution of Social Medicine, Rudolph Virchow: Rosen G., from the Handbook of Medical Sociology, Prentice-Hall, 1972
 Sociological phenomena will be grouped in the Psychological category here for the sake of simplicity, as the result of a sociological condition is the aggregate psychological states of individuals.
 Bio-Psycho-Social means the interaction of biological, psychological and sociological influence on a given consequence. For example, Obesity, on the surface, simply relates to eating. If a person eats too much, they gain weight. However, there is a large degree of evidence now (as will be presented later in this essay) that shows how a person’s psychology can be effected to crave the comfort of consuming due to external factors – such as a deprived emotional history or poor bodily adaption where bad habits are formed and expected. These latter notions which influence one’s psychology are a result of the sociological condition.
 Quoted in A Just Peace through Transformation: Cultural, Economic, and Political Foundations for Change, International Peace Association, 1988
 Suggested Reference: An Empirical Table of Structural Violence, Gernot Kohler and Norman Alcock, 1976 http://jpr.sagepub.com/content/13/4/343.extract
 Violence, James Gilligan, Grosset/Putnam, New York, 1992, p192
 The term emotional loss relates to severe emotional trauma experienced, mostly as a child, that persist in effect. In the words of Dr. Gabor Maté “The greatest damage done by neglect, trauma or emotional loss is not the immediate pain they inflict but the long-term distortions they induce in the way a developing child will continue to interpret the world and her situation in it.” In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts”, North Atlantic Books, 2012, p512
 As noted prior, the work of Gabor Maté is highly recommended on the subject of addiction resulting from emotional loss in childhood and feelings of insecurity. “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts”, North Atlantic Books, 2012
 The work Mental Illness and the Economy, by M.H. Brenner is recommended. Abstract: “By correlating extensive economic and institutional data from New York State for the period from 1841 to 1967, Harvey Brenner concludes that instabilities in the national economy are the single most important source of fluctuations in mental-hospital admissions or admission rates.”
 See “Humanity Factor” in the Vocabulary List, Appendix A
 A study for reference in the same basic context is The Effect of Known Risk Factors on the Excess Mortality of Black Adults in the United States, Journal of the American Medical Association, 263(6):845-850, 1990. This epidemiological study found that two-thirds of african-american deaths noted in context could only be accounted for due to low socioeconomic status itself and its direct/indirect consequences.  An Empirical Table of Structural Violence, Gernot Kohler and Norman Alcock, 1976
 Psychosocial defined: Involving aspects of both social and psychological behavior; Interrelationship http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/psychosocial
 The top ten causes of death, WHO http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/index.html
 U.S. Trends in Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke, PRB http://www.prb.org/Articles/2002/USTrendsinHeartDiseaseCancerandStroke.aspx
 Heart disease to rise 25% by 2020 http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/heart-disease-to-rise-25-by-2020-16177410.html
 New European Statistics Released On Heart Disease and Stroke [ http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120929140236.htm ]
 The Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke, WHO & CDC, Part 3, Global Burden of Coronary Heart Disease
 Ibid., Chapter 11, Socioeconomic Status
 Life-Course Socioeconomic Position and Incidence of Coronary Heart Disease, American Journal of Epidemiology, April 1, 2009.http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2009/01/29/aje.kwn403
 Heart Disease Tied to Poverty, New York Times, 1985 http://www.nytimes.com/1985/02/24/us/heart-disease-tied-to-poverty.html
 Quote from the study “Can Low-Income Americans Afford a Healthy Diet? “Many nutritional professionals believe that all Americans, regardless of income, have access to a nutritious diet of whole grains, lean meats, and fresh vegetables and fruit. In reality, food prices pose a significant barrier for many consumers who are trying to balance good nutrition with affordability.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2847733/
 Reference: Medical costs push millions of people into poverty across the globe, WHO http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2005/pr65/en/index.html
 Reference: “Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say”, NY Times 2012 [ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?pagewanted=all ]
 Class stratification is an immutable part of the current socioeconomic model due to both the incentive system generated that disproportionately distributes income, strategical favoring the upper tiers of the hierarchy – such as in 2007, Chief executives of the largest 365 US companies received well over 500 times the pay of the average employee. This can be coupled with practices of macroeconomic monetary policy which structurally reward the wealthy and punish the poor through the interest system. (The wealthy gain interest income off investment while the poor, lacking investment capital, take loans for the majority of large purchases, paying interest. Put in abstraction, the poor are forced to give the rich their money through this mechanism.)
 A qualifier here to note is that this phenomenon relates more so to relatively wealthy societies in general than it does to inherently poverty stricken societies.
 Reference: Social Determinants of Health: The Solid Facts, R.G. Wilkinson & M. Marmot, World Health Organization, 2006
 A summary PDF of regression line charts extracted from the work of R. Wilkinson and K. Pickett can be found here for reference: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tantor.com%2FExtras%2FB0505SpiritLevel%2FB0505SpiritLevelPDF1.pdf&ei=GiqPUJyWEYL3igK6wICgBQ&usg=AFQjCNH-A12L8z6iT6VGr1PnI7CSHUIEuw&cad=rja
 Reference: The Dramatic Rise of Anxiety and Depression in Children and Adolescents, Peter Gray, 2012 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201001/the-dramatic-rise-anxiety-and-depression-in-children-and-adolescents-is-it
 Anxiety Disorders Are Sharply on the Rise, Timi Gustafson R.D [http://timigustafson.com/2011/anxiety-disorders-are-sharply-on-the-rise/]
 Time Trends in child and adolescent mental health, Maughan, Collishaw, Goodman & Pickles, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2004
 Sourcing the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, this article is a recommend summation: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39335628/ns/health-mental_health/t/why-are-anxiety-disorders-among-women-rise/#.UI9PRoUpzZg
 Depression On The Rise In College Students, NPR, 2011 [http://www.npr.org/2011/01/17/132934543/depression-on-the-rise-in-college-students]
 The age of anxiety? Birth cohort change in anxiety and neuroticism, J.M. Twenge, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2007
 Antidepressant Use in Persons Aged 12 and Over: United States, 2005–2008, Laura A. Pratt, NCHS, Oct 2011 [http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db76.htm]
 The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Penguin, March 2009, p65
 Social dominance in monkeys: dopamine D2 receptors and cocaine self-administration, Morgan & Grant, Nature Neuroscience, 2002 5(2): 169-74
 Suicide rates rocket in wake of economic downturn recession, Nina Lakhani, The Independent, Aug 15 2012
 Chart from The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Penguin, March 2009, p67
 Belief Systems and Durable Inequalities, Policy Research Working Paper, Waskington DC: World Bank, 2004 | Chart from The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Penguin, March 2009, p113-114
The hormone testosterone has been commonly “blamed” for male aggression. However it has been found that inter-individual differences in levels of testosterone do not result in proportional differences in levels of aggressive behavior when tests on the general population were conducted. It has been found that rather than testosterone causing aggression levels to rise, it is essentially the other way around. See The Trouble with Testosterone, Robert M. Sapolsky, Simon & Schuster, 1997, p147-159
 See: Violence—A noxious cocktail of genes and the environment, Mariya Moosajee, J R Soc Med. 2003 May; 96(5): 211–214 | Notes a study in New Zealand where an apparent genetic link found to violent behavior would only manifest if a great deal of abuse in childhood took place to trigger an expression of that apparent genetic propensity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC539471/
 Violence, James Gilligan, Grosset/Putnam, New York, 1992, p210-213
 Ibid, p92
 Ibid, Chapter 5
 Shame and conformity: the defense-emotion system, T.J. Scheff, American Sociological Review, 1988, 53:395-406
 Violence, James Gilligan, Grosset/Putnam, New York, 1992, p236
 Money Fights Predict Divorce Rates, Catherine Rampell http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/07/money-fights-predict-divorce-rates/
(9) History of Economy
“It is a telling symptom of our condition that no established school, discipline or general theory of social analysis has grounded itself in life requirements…Instead, some social construct is invariably adopted as the ultimate reference body – set of ideas, the state, the market, a class, technological development,or some other factor than the life-ground itself” -John McMurtry
Economics is likely the most critical, relevant and influential societal characteristic there is. Virtually every aspect of our lives, often without conscious recognition, has a relationship to the historical development and present practice of economic thought on one level or another, molding our most basic social institutions, core beliefs and values. In fact, the very essence of how we as a society think about our relationship to each other and the habitat which supports us is, in large part, a direct result of the economic theories and practices we perpetuate.
Thoughtful review of historical religious & moral philosophies, governmental development, political parties, legal statutes and other social contracts and beliefs that comprise a given social system and its culture, reveal the deep impact economic assumptions have and continue to have in shaping of the “Zeitgeist” of a time.
Slavery, classism, xenophobia, racism, sexism, subjugation and many other divisive & exploitative notions still common to human cultural history will be found to have kernels of origin or perpetuation in many generally accepted economic philosophies to one degree or another. History is fairly clear with respect to how the social condition is groomed by the prevailing economic assumptions of a given period and this broad sociological consideration is sadly not given much gravity in the world today when thinking about why the world is the way it is and why we think the way we do.
As a preliminary point, a point which will reemerge later in this essay, there has commonly been a duality noted in most modern economic thought where the “Capitalist Free-Market”, meaning the “free” actions of independent producers, laborer and traders, working in aggregate to buy, sell and employ, is to be contrasted to that of the “State”, meaning a unified system of delegated power that has the capacity to set legal policy and economic mandates that can inhibit the actions of the “Free-Market” through interference. Most economic debates today revolved around this duality on one level or another with the “Laissez-faire” interests, or those who wish to have a completely non-regulated market economy, constantly at war with the “Statists”, or those who think some kind of centralized government control and decision making over economic planning and policy is best.
The Zeitgeist Movement takes neither side, even though many who hear TZM’s proposals have a knee-jerk reaction to assume the latter association (Statism). As with many traditionalized belief systems, polarized perspectives and defenses are common and the idea that there is no other possible frame of reference with respect to how an economic system can be developed and administered, is to close oneself off dogmatically to many relevant and emerging considerations.
The following, brief treatment is about the “Historical” development of economics. We will trace the general history of economic thought from roughly the 17th century onward, highlighting the core influences that gave birth to the modern, “Free-Market Capitalist” system. However, as will be expanded upon more so in Part III, a different perspective will also be alluded to. We will call this the “Mechanistic” view. The mechanistic perspective of economic factoring takes a different look at the causal, scientific realities of human existence and our habitat and builds a model of economic theory from the standpoint of strategic reason – not historical tradition.
The bottom line is that modern economic thought is really not modern at all and the vast majority of assumptions still held as ‘given’, such as “property”, “money”, “classism”, theories of “value”, “capital” and other concepts that run through virtually all contextually relevant historical arguments, are really outdated in their underlying premises. Rapid development in the industrial, informational and human sciences, which have gone largely ignored by the established economic tradition, are posing critical reconsiderations and new relationships which simply do not exist in the traditional models.
With respect to the ever mutating “schools” of thought that have brought the economic debate to where it rests today, the academic, often formulaic, traditionalized evolution of established economic theory (and practice) appears to have developed a self-referring frame of reference. In other words, the most common “mainstream” economic considerations discussed/accepted today, those most propagated in the prestigious academic schools and governmental conferences, will be found to derive their importance from the mere fact that they have been considered important for so long. As a metaphor, it is similar to viewing the engine of an automobile and assuming the structure of that engine’s components are immutable and only variation among those existing components parts is possible, as opposed to the radical idea of redesigning the entire engine structure from the ground up, perhaps based upon new technology and information that serves the utility more efficiently and successfully.
“Modern” economic thought and practice is an old engine with generations of imminent “experts” working to administer old components parts, refusing to accept the possibility that the entire engine is outdated and perhaps increasingly detrimental. They continue to publish arguments, theories and equations that reinforce the false importance of that old engine (old “frame of reference”), ignoring new advents in science and technology that contradict their traditionalism. It is no different than the long history of other “established” ideas, such as abject human slavery, where the society at large really didn’t question the practice, and considered such established structures, imposed and codified, as “natural” to the human condition.
Taking an historical perspective, Europe of the Middle Ages is generally a decent ideological starting point as the most central ideas characteristic of modern Capitalism, which later spread across the world, appear to have taken hold during this period. It is from the 17th century onward that we find most of the influential philosophers highly regarded today in traditional history books of economics. While historians have found that the basic gestures of “property” and the act of “trading for profit” go back to the second millennium BC, its core developmental foundation and institutionalization appears to rests around the Late Feudal/Early Mercantilist periods.
Rather than discuss the various differences between the socioeconomic systems which preceded modern Capitalism, it is more worthwhile to note the general similarities. In this broad context, the Capitalist system appears to be a manifest evolution of what are mostly deeply ingrained historical assumptions of human nature and human social relations.
Firstly, it will be noticed throughout this evolution that a class divide has been recognized and employed to one degree or another. People have generally been divided into two groups. Those that produce for minimal reward and those who gain from that production. From ancient Egyptian slavery, to the peasant farmer toiling in subsistence for his Lord in Medieval Feudalism, to the codified oppression of the market merchants by the state monopolies of Mercantilism, the theme of inequality has been very clear and consistent.
A second feature held in common to these dominant Western socioeconomic philosophies is that of a basic disregard (or perhaps ignorance) of critical relationships between the human species and its governing, supportive habitat. While certain exceptions can be found with indigenous tribes such as with precolonial, Native American societies, Western economic thought has been almost devoid of such considerations, absent the more recent and mounting ecological problems which have forced some public/government response and a very general interest in “reform”.
A third and final broad feature to note is the general dismissal of the social recognition of a person’s well-being on the level of human need and hence public health. Advancements in the human sciences, which occurred largely after the core doctrines of economic thought were traditionally codified, have found that human wants and human needs are not the same and the deprivation of the latter can create many negative consequences not only for the individual but for the society itself. Anti-social, “criminal” and violent behavior, for example, have been found sourced to many forms of social deprivation rooted in the socioeconomic tradition. Put more generally, the system ignores such social consequences by design, relegating these outcomes as mere “externalities” in most cases.
This reality was further compounded in the 18th century where the “Socially Darwinistic” undertone of the “labor-for-reward” premise increasingly reduced the human being to an object that was to be defined and qualified by his or her contribution to the system of labor. If the average person is unable to obtain labor or engage successfully in the market economy, there exists no real safeguard with respect to one’s survival or wellbeing, except for “interference” coming from the “State” in the form of “Welfare”. In the modern day, this reality is of great controversy where the claim of “socialism” has become a knee-jerk condemnation reaction whenever governmental policy attempts to provide direct support for a citizenry without the use of the market mechanism of sales and/or labor.
Dawn of Free-Market Capitalism
Medieval Feudalism (roughly from the 9th to 16th centuries) was the dominant socioeconomic system that essentially preceded “Free-Market Capitalism” in Western Europe, with what was later to be called “Mercantilism” serving as what could be considered a transition stage.
Feudalism was based on a system of mutual obligations and services going up and down a set social hierarchy, with the entire social system resting essentially on an agricultural foundation. Medieval society was mostly an agrarian society and the social hierarchy was based essentially on peoples’ ties to the land. The basic economic institutions were the “Guilds” and if someone wanted to produce or sell a good or service, they would generally join a guild. A great deal could be stated in detail about this extensive period of history and as with most history it is subject to various interpretations and debate. However, for the sake of this essay, we will only present a very general overview with respect to the economic transition to “Free-Market” Capitalism.
As agricultural and transport technology improved, the expansion of trade occurred and by the 13th century, with the advent of the four-wheeled wagon, for example, the range of market interaction rapidly increased. Likewise, increased labor specialization, urban concentrations and population growth also occurred. These changes, coupled with the resulting, increasing power of the “merchant-capitalists”, as they could be called, slowly weakened the traditional, customary ties that held the feudal social structure together.
Over time, more complex cities began to emerge which were successful in obtaining independence from the Feudal lords and increasingly complex systems of exchange, credit and law began to emerge, many of which are found to mirror many basic aspects of modern Capitalism. In the customary Feudal system, generally the “handicraft” producer was also the seller to the buyer of use. However, as the evolution of the market continued around these new urban centers, the craftsman began to sell at a discount in mass to non-producing merchants who would resell in distant markets for a “profit”- another feature later to be held common to Market Capitalism.
By the 16th century, the “handicraft” industry common to Feudalism had been transformed into a crude mirror of what we know today, with the outsourcing of labor, singular ownership of production, along with many finding themselves more and more in the position of being “employed” rather than producing themselves (“working class”). Eventually, the logic surrounding monetary profit began to be the core deciding factor of overall action in a systemic way and the true seeds of Market Capitalism took root.
Mercantilism, which essentially dominated Western European economic policy from the 16th to the late 18th centuries, was characterized by State-driven trade monopolies to ensure a positive “balance of trade”, coupled with many other extensive regulations for production, wages and commerce emerging over time, further increasing the power of the State. Collusion between the State and these emerging industries were common and many wars occurred due to these practices since it was based on trade restrictions between nations which often took the effect of economic warfare.
Adam Smith, who will be discussed later in this essay, wrote an extensive criticism of Mercantilism in his classic 1776 text, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. It is here where it could be declared that the idealogical birth of “Free-Market” Capitalism really took root in theory, with the rejection of what is often called “State” Capitalism in modern terms, where the State “interferes” with the “freedom” of the market – a defining feature of Mercantilism.
Today, “Capitalism”, as a singular term, is generally defined culturally in the theoretical context of “Free-Market” not “State” Capitalism, although many will argue in great detail as to which type of system we really have today, among other variations of the term. In reality, there is no pure “Free-Market” or “State” based system in existence but a complex fusion between the two, generally speaking. Again, as noted at the beginning of this essay, the vast majority of economic debates and blame regarding economic unfolding often revolve around these polarized ideas.
Capitalism as we know it in specifics today, including not only its economic theory but powerful political and social effects, emerged in form, as noted, rather slowly over a period of several centuries. It should be stated upfront that there is no complete agreement amongst economic historians/theorists as to what the essential features of Capitalism really are. We will, however, reduce its historical characterization (which some will likely find debatable) to four basic features.
1) Market-Based Production/Distribution: Commodity production is based around rather complex interrelationships and dependencies that do not involve direct personal interactions between producers and consumers. Supply and demand is mediated by the “Market” system.
2) Private Ownership of Production Means: This means that society grants to private persons the right to dictate how the raw materials, tools, machinery, and buildings necessary for production can be used.
3) Decoupling of Ownership and Labor: In short, a constant class divide is inherent where on the top level, “Capitalists”, by historical definition, own the means of production, but yet have no obligation to contribute to production itself. Everything produced by the Laborers, who only own their own labor, is owned by the Capitalist, by legal authority.
4) Self-Maximizing Incentive assumed: Individualistic, competitive and acquisitive interests are necessary for the successful functioning of Capitalism since a constant pressure to consume and expand is needed to avoid recessions, depressions and other negatives. In many ways, this is the “rational” behavioral view held where if all humans acted in a certain assumed way, the system would function without inhibition.
Locke: Evolution of “Property”
A deep philosophical undercurrent to the Capitalist system is the notion of “Property”. English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) is a pivotal figure. Also sourced in Adam Smith’s more influential Wealth of Nations, Locke not only defines the idea in general, he presents a subtle yet powerful contradiction.
In Chapter V, entitled “Property”, of Locke’s Second Treatise of Government published in 1689, he poses an argument with respect to the nature of property and its appropriation.
He states: “The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are strictly his. So when he takes something from the state that nature has provided and left it in, he mixes his labour with it, thus joining to it something that is his own; and in that way he makes it his property.” This statement (supporting in gesture what was later to associate with the “Labor Theory of Value”), proposes the logic that since labor is “owned” by the laborer (since he owns himself), any energy expelled through his labor transfers that ownership to the product made.
His philosophical disposition is essentially derived from a Christian perspective, stating: “God gave the world to men in common; but since he gave it to them for their benefit and for the greatest conveniences of life they could get from it, he can’t have meant it always to remain common and uncultivated.”
Given this declaration of the “common” nature of the earth and its fruits to all of humanity before its “cultivation” via appropriation in the form property, he also derives that owners are required to not allow anything to spoil (“Nothing was made by God for man to spoil or destroy.”) and they must leave enough for others (“This appropriation of a plot of land by improving it wasn’t done at the expense of any other man, because there was still enough [and as good] left for others…”).
These values, in simplistic form, seem socially justifiable in general. He makes it clear up until this point that the ownership context is relevant only in so far as the owner’s needs and ability to cultivate, or produce.
However, in Section 36, he reveals a unique reality, the implications of which Locke likely did not anticipate and, in many ways, nullifies all prior arguments in his defense of private property. He states: “The ‘one thing’ that blocks this is the invention of money, and men’s tacit agreement to put a value on it; this made it possible, with men’s consent, to have larger possessions and to have a right to them.”
Now, in effect, his original premise, summarized in part here, that: “Anyone can through his labour come to own as much as he can use in a beneficial way before it spoils; anything beyond this is more than his share and belongs to others” becomes very difficult to defend as money now not only allows “[men] to have larger possessions”, implicitly voiding in context the idea that “anything beyond this is more than his share and belongs to others”, it also further implies that money can buy labor, which voids the idea that “he [in this case the buyer] mixes his labour with it, thus joining to it something that is his own; and in that way he makes it his property.”
Finally, the proviso “Nothing was made by God for man to spoil or destroy” is nullified with a new association that money, being gold or silver at that time, simply cannot spoil. “That is how money came into use – as a durable thing that men could keep without its spoiling, and that by mutual consent men would take in exchange for the truly useful but perishable supports of life.”
It is here where we find, at least in the medium of literary discourse, the true seed of Capitalist ownership justification where the use of money, treated as an abstract commodity in and of itself (in effect, an assumed embodiment of “labor”), allowed an evolution of thought and practice to emerge which increasingly shifted the focus from relevant production (Locke’s“cultivation”) to mere ownership mechanics and the pursuit of profit.
Adam Smith (1723-1790) is often credited as one of the most influential economic philosophers in modern history. His work, while naturally based on the philosophical writings of many before him, is often considered a starting point for economic thought in the context of modern Capitalism. Reaching maturity at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Smith lived at a time where it could be argued that the inherent features of the Capitalist “mode of production” were becoming ever more striking, given the introduction of concentrated, centralized production factories and markets.
As noted, in 1776 Smith published his now world famous An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Among many relevant observations, he appears to be the first to recognize the three principal categories of income at the time – (a) profits, (b) rents and (c) wages – and how they related to the main social classes of the period – (a) capitalists, (c) landlords, and (c) laborers. It is worth noting that the role of landlords/rent, which is seldom discussed today in modern economic treatments, was a common point of focus then since the pre- industrial systems where still largely agrarian, highlighting the landlords (which later dissolved into the classification of simply owners in future market theories).
Smith’s most noted contribution to the philosophy of Capitalism was his general advocation that even though individuals might act in a narrow, selfish manner on their personal behalf or on the behalf of the class or group to which they are a part, and even though conflict, both individual or class based, seemed to be the result of these actions, there was what he called an “Invisible Hand” that secured a positive social outcome from singular, selfish, non-social intents. This concept was presented both in his works The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations.
He stated in the latter: “As every individual, therefore, endeavors as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it…he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.”
This nearly religious ideal had a powerful effect on the post-Smith era, giving a very social vindication for the inherently self-maximizing, anti-social behavior common to Capitalist psychology. This basic philosophy was to develop, in part, as the foundation of “Neoclassical” economics beginning in the late nineteenth century.
Smith, knowing quite well the class conflicts inherent to Capitalism, goes on to discuss the nature of how some men gain “…superiority over the greater part of their brethren”, reinforcing what was to increasingly be considered a “law of nature” regarding human power and subjugation by further theorists. His view of property was in harmony with John Locke, elaborating on how society itself is manifest around it. He stated “Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”
Property, as an institution, also requires a means to justify respective value. To this end, various “Theories of Value” have been and continue to be postulated. Often sourced in origin back to Aristotle’s Politics, Smith’s contribution is still widely referenced as a pivotal influence. In effect, Smith builds upon Locke’s “mixing labor” premise of production/ownership and extends from there, creating a “Labor Theory of Value”.
He states “Labour was the first price, the original purchase money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased; and its value, to those who possess it, and who want to exchange it for some new productions, is precisely equal to the quantity of labour which it can enable them to purchase or command.” Many Chapters of Book I of Wealth of Nations work to explain the nature of prices/values respective to his denoted income/class categories of “wages”, “rents”, and “profits”. However, it will be found that his logic is rather circular in specifics as the price assessments are found to originate merely from other price assessments in a chain with no real starting point, other than the loose distinction of applied labor, which has, of course, no intrinsic, static monetary qualification. This problem of ambiguity in both the dominant “labor” and “utility” theories of value common to Capitalist market theory will be addressed in detail later in this essay.
Overall, Smith’s economic theory supported “Laissez-faire” Capitalism as the highest mode of socioeconomic operation, stating that: it was a “system of natural liberty” and “Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man, or order of men.” This later concept, as will be argued in the essay, “Value System Disorder”, is a rather naive assumption of human behavior and, in effect, a contradiction in terms.
Malthus and Ricardo
Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) and David Ricardo (1772-1823) were two well acknowledged, leading theorists of political economy of the early 19th century. They were “friendly rivals” by some comparison but from the broad view of history they shared virtually the same perspective, closely tied to Adam Smith’s.
The late Industrial Revolution in Europe and America was a period of extensive conflict between laborers and capitalist owners. Numerous revolts and strikes in response to abhorrent and abusive working conditions for not only men, but women and children, were common. This gave rapid rise to the now common Labor Unions and a general battle between “labor and owners” has continued ever since. To emphasize the extent of this class warfare, in England, the Combination Act of 1799 was imposed which basically outlawed any combination of workers to group together for power in order to, in effect, exert influence or inhibit the interests of their employers.
Historian Paul Mantoux, writing of this period, commented on “the absolute and uncontrolled power of the capitalist. In this, the heroic age of great undertakings, it was acknowledged, admitted and even proclaimed with brutal candor. It was the employer’s own business, he did as he chose and did not consider that any other justification of his conduct was necessary. He owed his employees wages and once those were paid the men had no further claim on him.” It was in the midst of all this that Malthus and Ricardo invariably contextualized their economic and social views.
Beginning with Malthus, his classic work An Essay on the Principle of Population orients around essentially two assumptions. The first is that the class structure of wealthy proprietors and poor laborers would inevitably reemerge no matter what reforms where attempted. He considered it a law of nature. The second idea, something of a corollary to first, was simply that poverty and suffering and hence economic divides were inevitable consequences of natural law.
His thesis on population rests upon the very simple assumption that “Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio.” Therefore, if the standard of living of everyone in society was increased, the vast majority would respond by increasing the amount of children they have. In turn, the population would very soon be pushed back to poverty by “population” outpacing “subsistence”. It was only through “Moral restraint”, a social quality which he implies to belong to the more upstanding upperclass, that this problem is checked by behavior. Evidently, the difference between the wealthy and the poor was the high moral character of the former and the base morality of the latter.
Again, as noted prior in this essay, the intuitive cultural condition has had a great deal to do with the prevailing premises of thought that have guided economic operations into the modern day. While many today might dismiss Malthus and these clearly outdated ideas, the seeds were deeply planted in the economic doctrines, values and class relationships which occurred during and after his time. In fact, variations of his population theory are still commonly cited when dealing with economically less-developed countries by those of a more “conservative” mindset.
Malthus, along with Locke and Smith, also held deeply Christian convictions in their frames of reference, whether directly extracted from scripture or based on personal interpretation. Malthus frames his “moral restraint” with the implication that a true Christian would righteously denounce such base vices and also accept the inevitable misery necessary to keep population from outstripping resource subsistence.
Likewise, just as there is enormous debate today with respect to laws pertaining to the notion and use of “Welfare” or “Public Aid” programs” to help the poor, Malthus, naturally, was a big proponent of the abolition of what were then called the “Poor Laws”, as was David Ricardo.
Moving on to Ricardo, he essentially accepted Malthus’ population theory and conclusions regarding the nature and causes of poverty, but disagreed with certain economic theories, such as elements of Malthus’ Theory of Value, Theory of Gluts and certain class assumptions. Since most of these disagreements in detail are superfluous to this broad discussion at hand (and arguably outdated in general), Ricardo’s most notable contributions to economic thought will be the point of focus.
In 1821, Ricardo finished the 3rd edition of his influential Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. In the preface, he states his interest: “The produce of the earth…all that is derived from its surface by the united application of labour, machinery, and capital, is divided among three classes of the community, namely, the proprietor of the land, the owner of the stock of capital necessary for its cultivation, and the laborers by whose industry it is cultivated. To determine the laws which regulate this distribution is the principal problem in Political Economy.”
While critical of certain aspects of Adam Smith’s “Labor Theory of Value”, he still supported the basic distinction, stating: “Possessing utility, commodities derive their exchangeable value from two sources: from their scarcity, and from the quantity of labour required to obtain them.” In common with Smith, he elaborates: “If the quantity of labour realized in commodities regulates their exchangeable value every increase of the quantity of labour must augment the value of that commodity on which it is exercised, as every diminution must lower it.”
Consequently, Ricardo viewed society and the class divisions of his time from the labor perspective and it logically went that the interests of workers and capitalists were opposed. “If wages should rise,” he often stated, “then… profits would necessarily fall.” Yet, even though this disharmony alludes to an underlying interest of each class to work to gain advantage over the other for their benefit, often resulting in general imbalance in large part due to the power of the Capitalist owners to control labor (and set policy), coupled with the advent of mechanization (machine application) which systematically reduced the need for human labor in applied sectors, he alludes to the conviction that the theory of “Capitalism”, if correctly applied, should always create full employment in the long run.
On the specific issue of machine application displacing human labor for the advantage of the manufacturer, he states: “The manufacturer…who…can have recourse to a machine which shall… [lower the costs] of production on his commodity, would enjoy peculiar advantages if he could continue to charge the same price for his goods; but he…would be obliged to lower the price of his commodities, or capital would flow to his trade till his profits had sunk to the general level. Thus then is the public benefited by machinery.”
However, as with other aspects of his writing, contradiction is common. While maintaining the basic idea that the general public would benefit from the introduction of labor displacing machinery under the assumption that market prices would cleanly decline and those displaced would always smoothly relocate, in the third edition of his Principles, Ricardo starts Chapter 31 by stating: “Ever since I first turned my attention to questions of political economy, I have been of the opinion that…an application of machinery to any branch of production as should have the effect of saving labour was a general good…[but] that the substitution of machinery for human labor is often very injurious to the interests of the class of laborers.”
He later re-qualifies the argument by stating “The statements which I have made will not, I hope, lead to the inference that machinery should not be encouraged. To elucidate the principle, I have been supposing, that improved machinery is suddenly discovered, and extensively used; but the truth is, that these discoveries are gradual, and rather operate in determining the employment of the capital which is saved and accumulated, than in diverting capital from its actual employment.”
His general dismissal of the issue of humans beings displaced by machines, later to be called “technological unemployment” will also be found in common with many other economists that followed him, including John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), who stated, in line with Ricardo’s general assumption of “adjustment”:
“We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not yet have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come – namely, technological unemployment. This means unemployment due to our discovery of means of economizing the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour. But this is only a temporary phase of maladjustment. All this means in the long run that mankind is solving its economic problem.”
The subject is brought up here as an accent of focus because it will be revisited in Part III of this text, presenting a context of technological application apparently unrealized or disregarded by the major economic theorists of modern history who, again, are often locked into a narrow frame of reference.
As a final point regarding Ricardo, he is also credited for his contribution to international “free- trade”, specifically his Theory of Comparative Advantage, along with perpetuation of the basic “Invisible Hand” ethos of Adam Smith. Ricardo States: “Under a system of perfectly free commerce, each country naturally devotes its capital and labour to such employments as are most beneficial to each. This pursuit of individual advantage is admirably connected with the universal good of the whole. By stimulating industry, by rewarding ingenuity, and by using most efficaciously the peculiar powers bestowed by nature, it distributes labour most effectively and most economically: while, by increasing the general mass of productions, it diffuses general benefit, and binds together, by one common tie of interest and intercourse, the universal society of nations throughout the civilized world.”
Theories of Value and Behavior
Up until this point, the broad contributions of four major historical figures and inevitably the central characteristics inherent to the Capitalist philosophy have been briefly discussed. It will be noticed that underlying these views rest assumptions of human behavior, social (class) relationships, coupled with a “metaphysical” market logic where everything will work out just fine if certain values and a generally “selfish” perspective is taken by the players of the market game, along with little “restriction” of the market itself.
As a brief aside, nowhere in the writings of these thinkers, nor in the vast majority of works produced by later theorists in favor of “Free-Market” Capitalism, is the actual structure and process of production and distribution discussed. There is an explicit disconnect between “Industry” and “Business”, with the former related to the technical/scientific process of true economic unfolding, with the latter only pertaining to the codified market dynamics and pursuit of profit. As will be discussed more-so in a moment, a central problem inherent to the Capitalist mode of production is how advancements in the “industrial approach”, which can allow for increased problem resolution and the furthering of prosperity, have been blocked by the traditional, seemingly immutable tenets of the “business approach”. The latter has governed the actions of the former, to the disadvantage of the former’s potential.
This kind of disconnect or truncated frame of reference is also to be found in other areas of focus, such as the dominant theories of labor, value and human behavior which inevitably serve to justify the institution of Capitalism. As noted prior, the “Labor Theory of Value”, made popular in general by its implications via Locke, Smith and Ricardo, is a generalized proposal stating that the value of a commodity is related to the labor needed to produce or obtain that commodity. As acceptable as this idea is in general from an intuitive perspective, there are many levels of ambiguity when it comes to quantification. Many historical objections have persisted, such as how different types of labor having differing skills and wage rates could not be properly combined, along with how to factor in natural resources and “working” investment capital itself.
The growth of “Capital Goods” in the 20th century, such as machine automation of labor, also present challenges for the rather simplified Labor Theories’ concept of labor derived value since, after a certain point, the labor value inherent to production machines, which today often function to produce more machines with diminishing human effort over time, presents an ever diluted transfer of value in this context. It has been suggested by some economists today, focusing on the rapidly advancing fields of information and technological sciences, that the use of machine automation, coupled with “artificial intelligence”, could very well move humans out of the traditional “labor force” almost entirely. Suddenly, Capital has become Labor, so to speak.
This ambiguity extends also to competing theories of value postulated by economists, including most notably what is called the Utility Theory of Value. While the Labor Theory basically takes the perspective of labor or production, the Utility Theory takes what we could call the “market perspective”, meaning that value is derived not from Labor but by the purpose (or utility) derived by its use (use value) by the consumer, as perceived by the consumer.
French Economist Jean-Baptiste Say (1737-1832) is notable with respect to Utility Theory. A self- proclaimed disciple of Adam Smith, he differed with Smith on this issue of value, stating: “After having shown…the improvement which the science of political economy owes to Dr. Smith, it will not, perhaps, be useless to indicate…some of the points on which he erred…To the labour of man alone he ascribes the power of producing values. This is an error.”
He goes on to explain how the “exchange value” (price), of any good or service depends entirely on its “use value” (utility). He states: ”The value that mankind attaches to objects originates in the use it can make of them…[To the] inherent fitness or capability of certain things to satisfy the various wants of mankind, I shall take leave to affix the name utility…The utility of things is the ground-work of their value, and their value constitutes wealth…Although price is the measure of the value of things, and their value the measure of their utility, it would be absurd to draw the inference, that, by forcibly raising their price, their utility can be augmented. Exchangeable value, or price, is an index of the recognized utility of a thing.
The Utility Theory of Value is different from the Labor theory not only in its derivation of Value, but also in its implication regarding a kind of subjective rationalization with respect to human decisions in the market. Utilitarianism, which has become deeply characteristic of the microeconomic assumptions put forward by Neoclassical economists today, is often modeled in complex mathematical formulas in an effort to explain how humans in the market “maximize their utility”, specifically around the idea of increasing happiness and reducing suffering.
Underlying these ideas of human behavior, as with most of economic theory itself, are, again, traditionalized assumptions and values. Economist Nassau Senior (1790–1864) supported a common theme reoccurring today that human wants were infinite: “What we mean to state is, that no person feels his whole wants to be adequately supplied: that every person has some unsatisfied desires which he believes that additional wealth would gratify.” Such declarations of human nature are constant in such treatments, with notions of greed, fear and other hedonistic reflex mechanisms which assume, among other things, that material acquisition, wealth and gain are inherent to happiness.
Today, the dominant and largely accepted microeconomic perspective is that all human behavior is reducible to rational, strategic attempts to maximize either profits or gain and to avoid pain or loss. Ever expansive utilitarian arguments of this nature continue to be used to morally justify competitive, “Free-Market” Capitalism. One example of this is the notion of “voluntarism” and the suggestion that all acts in the market are never coerced and therefore everyone is free to make their own decisions for their own gain or loss. This idea is extremely common today, as though such “free exchanges” existed in a void with no other synergistic pressures; as though the pressures of survival in a system with clear tendencies toward basic class warfare and strategic scarcity would not generate an inherent coercion to force laborers to submit to capitalist exploitation.
Overall, the Utilitarian (hedonistic, and competitive and “forever dissatisfied”) model of Human Nature is likely the most common defense of the capitalist system today. It is, in many ways, both a psychological theory of how people behave and an ethical theory of how they ought to behave, arguably supporting a retroactive logic that often puts market theory before human behavioral reality, conforming the latter to the former.
In reality, when the utilitarian perspective is fully considered, two serious problems emerge. First, it is virtually impossible to find predictability in such “pleasure and pain” boundaries after a certain degree on the social level. There is no empirical means of comparing the intensity of one individual’s sense of pleasure with those of another individual, beyond the very most basic assumption of wanting “gain” over “loss”. While the Utility Theory of Value might be logical in a purely abstract, generalized view, without quantification, the mechanics of such emotional dynamics are, in reality, susceptible to severe variation.
The entire life experience of a person, compared to another person, might find some very basic common ground with respect to their personal conditioning to pleasure and pain responses, but seldom will a parallel concordance be found in any detail. Since individual pleasures are deemed the ultimate “moral” criteria in utilitarianism, there is really no way one can make such judgments between the pleasures of two individuals. Economist Jeremy Bentham, often considered the father of utilitarianism, actually recognized this in passing, writing: “Prejudice apart, the game of push- pin is of equal value with the arts and sciences of music and poetry. If the game of push-pin furnish more pleasure, it is more valuable than either.”
The second problem is the shortsighted nature of the assumed emotional reaction. Human beings have historically expressed the rational interest to suffer in the present in order to gain (or hope to gain) in the future. Altruism, which has undergone extensive philosophical debate, might very well be rooted in forms of “pleasure” obtained by the selfless (painful) acts for the benefit of others. As will be discussed later, the pain/pleasure premise put forward by such arguments, reinforced by an impulsive reaction for gain, has become a socially rewarded pattern. This has generated a mentality where short term gain is sought after often at the true expense of long term suffering.
Yet, in abstraction, utilitarianism also offers a bizarre kind of equalizer, since it can be identified with the perspective of “mutual exchange” and hence a way to always see Capitalism as a system of social harmony, rather than of warfare. Coming back to the Labor Theory vs the Utility Theory of Value, the former clearly shows conflict as the Labor Theory takes into account the cost- efficiency sought by the capitalist, at the expense of wages for the laborers. The Utility Theory, on the other hand, removes these ideas overall and states that everyone is seeking the same thing and therefore, structure aside, everyone is equal. In other words, all exchanges become mutually beneficial to everyone in a narrow, absurdly abstract generalized logic. All human actions are reduced to this system of “exchange” and hence all political or social distinctions disappear in theory.
The “Socialist” Uprising
Socialism, like Capitalism, has no universally accepted definition in general public conversation but is often technically defined as “an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy.” The root of Socialist thought appears to go back to 18th century Europe, with a complex history of “reformers” working to challenge the emerging Capitalist system. Gracchus Babeuf (1760-1779) is a notable theorist in this area, with his “Conspiracy of Equals” which attempted to topple the French Government. He stated “Society must be made to operate in such a way that it eradicates once and for all the desire of a man to become richer, or wiser, or more powerful than others.”243 French Socialist- Anarchist Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865) is famous for declaring that “Property is Theft” in his pamphlet An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government.
By the early 19th century, Socialist ideas were expanding rapidly, commonly in response to perceived moral and ethic problems inherent to capitalism, such as class imbalance and exploitation. The list of influential thinkers is vast and complex, so only three individuals, noting their most relevant contributions, will be discussed here: William Thompson, Karl Marx & Thorstein Veblen.
William Thompson (1775-1833) was a powerful influence on Socialist thought. He was in support of the idea of “Cooperatives”, made famous by Robert Owen as something of an alternative to the Capitalist business model and philosophically took a utilitarian perspective when it came to human behavior. He was very influenced by Bentham but his use/interpretation of utilitarianism was rather different. For instance, he believe that if all members of society were treated equally, rather than engage class warfare and exploitation, they would have equal capacities to experience happiness.
He argued extensively for a kind of “Market” Socialism, where egalitarianism and equality prevailed in his famous An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth Most Conducive to Human Happiness. He made it clear that Capitalism was a system of exploitation and insecurity, stating: “The tendency of the existing arrangement of things as to wealth is to enrich a few at the expense of the mass of producers, to make the poverty of the poor more hopeless.” However, he went on to recognize that even if such a hybrid of Capitalism & Socialism did emerge, the underlying premise of competition was still a serious problem. He wrote at length about the problems inherent to the nature of market competition, outlining five issues which have been common rhetoric of Socialist thought ever since:
The first problem was that every “labourer, artisan and trader [viewed] a competitor, a rival in every other…[and each viewed] “a second competition, a second rivalship between…[his or her profession] and the public.” He went on to state it would be “in the interest of all medical men that diseases should exist and prevail, or their trade would be decreased ten, or one hundred, fold.”
The second problem was the inherent oppression of women and distortion of the family, noting that the division of labor and overarching ethic of competitive selfishness further secured the drudgery of women in the household and gender inequality.
The third problem associated with competition was the inherent instability generated in the economy itself, stating: “The third evil here imputed to the very principle of individual competition is, that it must occasionally lead to unprofitable or injudicious modes of individual exertion…every man must judge for himself as to the probability of success in the occupation which he adopts. And what are his means of judging? Every one, doing well in his calling, is interested in concealing his success, lest competition should reduce his gains. What individual can judge whether the market, frequently at a great distance, sometimes in another hemisphere of the globe is overstocked, or likely to be so, with the article which inclination may lead him to fabricate?…And should any error of judgment…lead him into an uncalled for, and, therefore, unprofitable line of exertion, what is the consequence? A mere error of judgment…may end in severe distress, if not in ruin. Cases of this sort seem to be unavoidable under the scheme of individual competition in its best form.”
The fourth problem noted is how the selfish nature of the competitive market presented insecurity around core life support consequences, such as security in old age, sickness and from accidents.
The fifth problem denoted by Thompson regarding market competition was that it slowed the advancement of knowledge. “Concealment, therefore, of what is new or excellent from competitors, must accompany individual competition…because the strongest personal interest is by it opposed to the principle of benevolence.”
Karl Marx (1818-1883), along with many others, was influenced by Thompson’s work and is likely one of the most well known economic philosophers today. With his name often used in a derogatory manner to gesture the perils of Soviet Communism or “totalitarianism”, Marx is also likely the most misunderstood of all popularized economists. While most famous in the general public mind for presenting treatises on Socialist-Communist ideas, Marx actually spent most of his time on the subject of Capitalism and its operations. His contribution to understanding Capitalism is more vast than many realize, with many common economic terms and phrases used today in conversations about Capitalism actually finding their root in Marx’s literary treatments. His perspective was largely historical, and featured particularly detailed scholarship about the evolution of economic thought. Due to the immense size of his work, only a few influential issues will be addressed here.
One issue to denote was his awareness of how the Capitalist characteristic of “exchange” was principled as the ultimate basis for social relationships. He stated in his Grundrisse: “Indeed, insofar as the commodity or labour is conceived of only as exchange value, and the relation in which the various commodities are brought into connection with one another is conceived of as the exchange of these exchange values…then the individuals…are simply and only conceived of as exchangers. As far as the formal character is concerned, there is absolutely no distinction between them…As subjects of exchange, their relation is therefore that of equality.”
“Although individual A feels a need for the commodity of individual B, he does not appropriate it by force, nor vice versa, but rather they recognize one another reciprocally as proprietors…No one seizes hold of another’s by force. Each divests himself of his property voluntarily.”
Again, as noted prior with respect to the reoccurring theme of human relations and class assumptions (or denials), Marx emphasized what could be argued as three core delusions: the delusion of Freedom, Equality and Social Harmony, as reduced to an extremely narrow association around the idea of “mutually beneficial exchange”, which was to be the only real economic relationship by which the whole of society is to be assessed.
“It is in the character of the money relation – as far as it is developed in its purity to this point, and without regard to more highly developed relations of production – that all inherent contradictions of bourgeois society appear extinguished in money relations as conceived in a simple form; and bourgeois democracy even more than bourgeois economists takes refuge in this aspect…in order to construct apologetics for the existing economic relations.
His work Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Marx extensively analyzes many factors of the Capitalist system, namely the nature of commodities themselves, the dynamics between Value, Use Value, Exchange Value, Labor Theory and Utility, along with a deep investigation of what “Capital” means, how the system evolved and ultimately the nature of roles within the model. An important theme to denote is his view regarding “Surplus Value”, which, in gesture of Ricardo’s “Labor Theory of Value”, is the assumed value appropriated by the Capitalist in the form of Profit, which is in excess of the value (cost) inherent to labor/production itself.
He stated with respect to dismissing this “Surplus” origin in exchange: “Turn and twist then as we may, the fact remains unaltered. If equivalents are exchanged, no surplus-value results, and if non-equivalents are exchanged, still no surplus-value results. Circulation, or the exchange of commodities, begets no value.”
He then argues, in short, differentiating between “labor” and “labor power”, with the latter consisting of both a “use value” and an “exchange value”, that a worker is only compensated for meeting his needs for subsistence, which is represented in his wages, while everything past that value is a “surplus”, which theoretically translates into the “profit” made by the capitalist, finalized by the price “mark up” in market exchange. This point, which he further extends to the context & dynamics inherent to the circulation/application of different forms of capital (capital defined still as a means of production but in this case mostly in its monetary form), poses the conclusion that an exploitation of the workers was inherent to the creation of “surplus value” or “profit”. In other words, by implication, this was a form of basic inequality built into the Capitalist system and as long as one small group of “owners” controlled the surplus value created by the working class, there will always be rich and poor, wealth and poverty.
Marx further extends this idea to a reassessment of “property”, which was essentially now the legal foundation of “capital” itself, explicitly allowing for the coercive expropriation of “surplus labor” (that part of labor which generates the surplus value) stating: “At first the rights of property seemed to us to be based on a man’s own labour. At least, some such assumption was necessary since only commodity-owners with equal rights confronted each other, and the sole means by which a man could become possessed of the commodities of others, was by alienating (giving up) his own commodities; and these could be replaced by labour alone. Now, however, property turns out to be the right, on the part of the capitalist, to appropriate the unpaid labour (surplus labor) of others or its product, and to be the impossibility on the part of the labourer, of appropriating his own product. The separation of property from labour has become the necessary consequence of a law that apparently originated in their identity.”
Marx develops these kinds of arguments extensively in his writing, including the idea that working class labor cannot be “voluntary” in this system – only coercive – since the ultimate decision to apply labor for a wage was in the hands of the Capitalist. He stated “The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels outside himself. He is at home when he is not working, and when he is working he is not at home. His labour is therefore not voluntary but coerced; it is forced labour. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need; it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to it.”
In the end, it was this complex, multifaceted degradation, exploitation and dehumanization of the average worker that bothered him so and pushed him toward reform. He even invented a phrase – “The Law of the Increasing Misery” – to describe how the general working population’s happiness was inverse to the accumulation of wealth for the capitalist class. In the end, Marx was convinced that pressures inherent to the system would push the working class to revolt against the Capitalist Class, allowing for a new “Socialist” mode of production where, in part, the working class operated for their own benefit.
Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) will be the final so-called “Socialist” whose influential ideas regarding the development and flaws of Capitalism will be explored here. Like Marx, he had the advantage of time with respect to the digestion of economic history. Veblen taught economics at a number of universities during his time, prolifically producing literature on various social issues.
Veblen was very critical of the Neoclassical economic assumptions, specifically regarding the applied utilitarian ideas of “Human Nature”, seeing the idea that all human economic behavior was to be reduced to a hedonistic interplay of self-maximization and preservation as absurdly simplistic. He took what we could call an “evolutionary” view of human history, with change defined by the social institutions that took hold or were surpassed. He stated with respect to the current (what he deemed “materialistic”) state of the time:
“Like all human culture this material civilization is a scheme of institutions – institutional fabric and institutional growth…The growth of culture is a cumulative sequence of habituation, and the ways and means of it are the habitual response of human nature to exigencies that vary incontinently, cumulatively, but with something of a consistent sequence in the cumulative variations that so go forward – incontinently, because each new move creates a new situation which induces a further new variation in the habitual manner of response; cumulatively, because each new situation is a variation of what has gone before it and embodies as causal factors all that has been effected by what went before; consistently, because the underlying traits of human nature (propensities, aptitudes, and what not) by force of which the response takes place, and on the ground of which the habituation takes effect, remain substantially unchanged.”
Veblen challenged the basic foundation of the Capitalist mode of production by questioning many of the factors that had been essentially “given” or made empirical by the centuries of economic debate. The now ingrained institutions of “Wages”, “Rents”, “Property”, “Interest”, “Labor” were disturbed in their supposed simplicity by a view that none of them could be held as intellectually viable, outside of the purely categorical association with extreme limits of application. He joked about how “a gang of Aleutian Islanders slushing about in the wrack and surf with rakes and magical incantations for the capture of shell-fish are held, in point of taxonomic reality, to be engaged in a feat of hedonistic equilibration in rent, wages, and interest. And that is all there is to it.”
He saw production and industry itself as a social process where lines were deeply blurred, as it invariably involved the sharing of knowledge (usufruct) and skills. In many ways, he viewed such categorial characteristics of Capitalism to be inherent to Capitalism alone and not representative of physical reality, hence a vast contrivance. He found that the dominant Neoclassical theory existed, in part, to obscure the fundamental class-warfare and hostility inherent, to further secure the interests of what he called the “Vested Interests” or “Absentee owners” (Capitalists).
He rejected the idea that “private property” was a “natural right”, as assumed by Locke, Smith and the others, often joking about the absurdity of thought that leads the “Absentee Owners” to claim “ownership” of commodities produced, in reality, by the labor of the “common worker”, highlighting the absurdity of the long held principle that from labor, comes property. He went further to express the inherent social nature of production and how the true nature of skill and knowledge accumulation completely voided the assumption of property rights in and of itself, stating:
“This natural-rights theory of property makes the creative effort of an isolated, self-sufficing individual the basis of ownership vested in him. In so doing it overlooks the fact that there is no isolated, self-sufficing individual…Production takes place only in society – only through the co- operation of an industrial community. This industrial community may be large or small…but it always comprises a group large enough to contain and transmit the traditions, tools, technical knowledge, and usages without which there can be no industrial organization and no economic relation of individuals to one another or to their environment…There can be no production without technical knowledge; hence no accumulation and no wealth to be owned, in severalty or otherwise. And there is no technical knowledge apart from an industrial community. Since there is no individual production and no individual productivity, the natural-rights preconception…reduces itself to absurdity, even under the logic of its own assumptions.
As with Marx, he saw no other way to distinguish the two major classes of society than between those who work and those who exploit that work with the profit making portion of capitalism (the “Business”) completely separate from production itself (“Industry”). He makes a clear distinction between Business and Industry and refers to the former as functioning as a vehicle of “sabotage” for industry. He saw a complete contradiction between the ethical intent of the general community to produce efficiently and with high service, and the laws of private property which had the power to direct industry for the sake of profit alone, reducing that efficiency and intent. The term “sabotage” in this context was defined by Veblen as the “conscientious withdrawal of efficiency.”
He states: “The industrial plant is increasingly running idle or half idle, running increasingly short of its productive capacity. Workmen are being laid off…And all the while these people are in great need of all sorts of goods and services which these idle plants and idle workmen are fit to produce. But for reasons of business expediency it is impossible to let these idle plants and idle workmen go to work—that is to say for reasons of insufficient profit to the business men interested, or in other words, for the reasons of insufficient income to the vested interests.”
Furthermore, Veblen, as opposed to the vast majority of people in the modern day who condemn acts of “corruption” on ethical grounds, did not see any of the problems of abuse and exploitation as an issue of “morality” or “ethics”. He saw the problems as inherent – built into the nature of Capitalism itself. He states: “It is not that these captains of Big Business whose duty it is to administer this salutary modicum of sabotage on production are naughty. It is not that they aim to shorten human life or augment human discomfort by contriving an increase of privation among their fellow men…The question is not whether this traffic in privation is humane, but whether it is sound business management.”
With respect to the nature of Government, Veblen’s view was very clear: The government by its very political construct existed to protect the existing social order and class structure, reinforcing private property laws and by direct extension reinforcing the disproportionate ownership (ruling) class. “Legislation, police surveillance, the administration of justice, the military and diplomatic service, all are chiefly concerned with business relations, pecuniary interests, and they have little more than an incidental bearing on other human interests”, he stated.
The idea of Democracy was also deeply violated by Capitalist power in his view, stating “constitutional government is a business government.” Veblen, while aware of the phenomenon of “lobbying” and the “buying” of politicians commonly seen today as a form of “corruption”, did not see this as the real nature of the problem. Rather, government control by Business was not an anomaly – it was simply what government had manifested to be by design. By its very nature, as an institutionalized means for social control, Government would always protect the “rich” against the “poor”. Since the “poor” always greatly outnumbered the “rich”, a rigid legal structure favoring the wealthy (propertied interests) had to exist to keep the class separation and benefit to the Capitalist interests intact.
Likewise, he also recognized how the Capitalist State government very much needed to keep social values in line with their interests – what Veblen called a “Pecuniary Culture”. Therefore, the predatory, selfish and competitive habits typical of “success” in the underlying social warfare inherent to the Capitalist system, naturally reinforced those values by default. To be giving and vulnerable was of little use to “success” in this context, as the ruthless and strategically competitive were icons of social reward.
In a broad assessment, Veblen worked to critically analyze the core structure and values of the Free-Market Capitalist model, posing what could be argued as some profoundly sociologically advanced conclusions with respect to its inherent contradictions, technical inefficiency and value disorders. His work is very much encouraged for review by all interested in the history of economic thought, specifically for those skeptical of the premise of Free-Market Capitalism.
In Conclusion: Capitalism as “Social Pathology”
The history of economic thought is, in many ways, the history of human social relationships, with the pattern of certain mere assumptions gaining prominence to the effect of being considered sacrosanct and immutable over time. This element of traditionalism, culminating from values and belief systems of earlier periods, has been a core theme in this short review of economic history. The central point being that the attributes taken as “given” to the dominant theories of economy today are actually not based on direct physical support, such as would be needed to find validation via the method of science, but rather based on the mere perpetuation of an established ideological framework which has evolved to intricately self-refer to its internal logic, justifying its own existence by its own standards.
Today, it is not what embodies the Capitalist ideology in specifics that is most problematic, but rather what it omits by extension. Just as early religions saw the world as flat and had to adjust their rhetoric once it was proven round by science, the tradition of market economics is faced with similar trials. Considering the simplicity of the agrarian and eventually primitive approaches to industrial production, there was little awareness or needed concern about its possible negative consequences over time on not only the habitat (ecological) level, but also on the human level (public health).
Likewise, the market system, with its very old assumptions regarding possibility, also ignores (or even fights) the powerful breakthroughs in science and technology which express capacities to solve problems and create elevated prosperity. In fact, as will be explored in the essay “Market Efficiency vs. Technical Efficiency”, such progressive actions and harmonious recognitions regarding the habitat and human well-being reveals that “Free-Market” Capitalism literally cannot facilitate these solutions, since its very mechanics disallow or work against such possibilities by default.
Generally speaking, the resolution of problems and hence increasing of efficiency is, in many ways, anathema to the market’s operation. Solving problems in general means no more ability to gain income from the “servicing” of those problems. New efficiencies almost always mean a reduction of labor and energy needs and while that may seem positive with respect to true earthly efficiency, it also often means a loss of jobs and reduction of monetary circulation upon its application.
It is here where the Capitalist model begins to take the role of a social pathogen, not only with respect to what it ignores, disallows or fights against by design, but also with respect to what it reinforces and perpetuates. If we go back to Locke’s statement about how the nature of money, given its tacit consent by the community, was to essentially serve as a community in and of itself, it is easy to see how this once mere “medium of exchange” has evolved into its present sociological form, where the entire basis of the market serves, in fact, not with the intent to create and assist with human survival, health and prosperity, but to now merely facilitate the act of profit and profit alone. Adam Smith never would have fathomed that in the present day, the most lucrative, rewarded fields would be not the production of life supporting/improving goods, but rather the act of moving money around – hence the “work” of financial institutions such as banks, “Wall St.” and investment firms – firms that literally create nothing, but hold immense wealth and influence.
Today, the only real Value Theory in place is what could be called the “Money Sequence of Value”. Money has taken on a life of its own with respect to the reinforced psychology moving it. It has no direct purpose in intent but to work to manifest more money out of less money (investment). This “money seeking money” phenomenon has not only created a value system disorder where this interest in monetary gain trumps everything, leaving truly relevant environmental and public health issues secondary and “external” to the focus of economy, its constant propensity to “multiply” and “expand” truly has a cancerous quality where this idea of needed “growth”, rather than steady-state balance, continues its pathological effect on many levels.
Much could be said about the debt system and how virtually all the countries on the planet earth are now indebted to themselves to the extent where we, the “human species”, actually do not have the money in circulation to pay ourselves back from what we have borrowed out of thin air. The need for more and more “credit” to fuel the “market” is constant today due to this imbalance, which means, like cancer, we are dealing with an intent of infinite expansion and consumption. This simply cannot work on a finite planet.
Furthermore, the scarcity-driven, competitive ethos inherent to the model continues to perpetuate divisive class warfare which keeps not only the world at war with itself via empire imperialism and protectionism, but also within the general population. Today, most walk around afraid of each other since exploitation and abuse is the dominant, rewarded ethos. All humans have adapted in this culture, unnecessarily, to see each other as threats to one’s own survival in increasingly abstract “economic” contexts. For example, when two people walk into a job interview, seeking life support, they are not interested in the well-being of the other, since only one will gain the job. In fact, empathic sensitivities are negative pressures in this system of advantage and go completely unrewarded by the financial mechanism.
Likewise, the assumption that “fairness” could ever exist in such a competitive environment, particularly when the nature of “winning” and “losing” means a loss of life support or survival, is a deeply nai?ve ideal. The legal statutes in existence that work to stop monopoly laws and financial “corruption” exist because there is literally no possible safeguard for such so-called “corruption” in this model. As implied by Smith and Veblen in this essay, the “State” is really a manifestation of the economic premise and not the other way around. The use of State power for legislation to ensure the security and prosperity of one class over another, is not a distortion of the Capitalist system, it is a core feature of the free-market competitive ethic.
Many in the libertarian, Laissez-faire, Austrian, Chicago and other Neoclassical offshoots constantly tend to talk about how “State Interference” is the problem today, such as with having protectionist import/export polices or the favoring of certain industries by the state. It is assumed that somehow the market can be “free” to operate without the manifestation of monopoly or the “corruptions” inherent to what has been deemed today “crony capitalism”, even though the entire basis of strategy is competitive or, in more direct terms, “warring”. Again, to assume the State would not be used as a tool for differential advantage – a tool for business – is absurd.
In the end, these overtly and unnecessarily selfish values have been at the root of human conflict since its inception and, as noted, the historical notion of human warfare on the class level is seen by most as “given”, “natural” or “immutable”. In the existing social model, extracted from an inherently scarcity-driven, xenophobic and racist frame of reference, there is no such thing as peace or balance. It simply isn’t possible in the Capitalist model. Likewise, the illusion of equality between people in the so-called “democratic” societies also persists, assuming that somehow political equality can manifest out of the explicit, economic inequality inherent to this mode of production and human relations.
Early in this essay the distinction between the “Historical” and “Mechanistic” view of economic logic was mentioned in passing. The importance of the “Mechanistic” (scientific) perspective, which will be explored in later essays, is critical with respect to understanding how deeply out of date and flawed the Market Economy really is. When we take the known laws of nature, both on the human and habitat levels, and start to calculate what our options and possibilities are, technically, without the baggage of such historical assumptions, a very different train of thought emerges. In the view of TZM, this is the new worldview by which humanity needs to align in order to solve its current, mounting sociological and ecological problems, along with opening the door to enormous possibilities for future prosperity.
Footnotes for “History of Economy”:
 The Cancer Stage of Capitalism, John McMurtry, Pluto Press, 1999, p.viii
 A less generalized definition of the “Free-Market” is as follows: “An economic system in which prices and wages are determined by unrestricted competition between businesses, without government regulation or fear of monopolies.” [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/free+market]
 As will be described in later essays, TZM’s often false categorization of being “Statist” is rooted in its general opposition to Market Principles, which it finds to be unsustainable and often counterproductive. Statism, which can take many forms, such as Communist, Fascist or Socialist, advocates a “central authority” to decide how the economic/political process is to unfold, with little to no relevant influence occurring via the general population. TZM supports an open decision making process in general, under the imposition of basic, proven laws of scientific sustainability and efficiency.
 The notion of an “Externality”, which will be noted later in this essay, is a case in point. Most environmental and social costs systemic to the Market approach, along with arguably the loss of efficiency and hence prosperity, are dismissed in the theoretical equation of the Market, among many other relevant issues.
 Economic philosopher John McMurtry stated generally on this issue: “This tendency prevails from the Continental Rationalists on. Leibniz, Spinoza, Descartes, Berkeley, Kant and Hegel, for example, more or less entirely presupposed the social regime of their day and its constituent forms as in some way the expression of the divine Mind, which they see it as their rational duty only to accept or to justify.” The Cancer Stage of Capitalism, Pluto Press, 1999, p.7
 Aristotle (384 BC– 322 BC), while credited with extensive scientific, logical and philosophical contribution, was also in favor of slavery, justifying the reality with what could be argued as bias, not reason. He stated: “But is there any one thus intended by nature to be a slave, and for whom such a condition is expedient and right, or rather is not all slavery a violation of nature? There is no difficulty in answering this question, on grounds both of reason and of fact. For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.” Politics, Book I, Chapters III through VII
 The term “Middle Ages” generally refers to the period of European history that lasted from the 5th until the 15th centuries.
 For a detailed study of the medieval economic system and society, the following work is suggested: The Agrarian Life of the Middle Ages, J.H. Chapman and Eileen E. Powers, eds., 2d ed., The Cambridge Economic History of Europe, vol. 1 London, Cambridge University Press, 1966
 Macroeconomics from the beginning: The General Theory, Ancient Markets, and the Rate of Interest, David Warburton Paris, Recherches et Publications, 2003 p.49
 The “Emergent” consideration of economic development appears to be a relatively new concept, introduced most popularly by Thorstein Veblen in the early 20th century. Suggested reading on the subject of economic evolution: The Evolution of Institutional Economics: Agency, Structure and Darwinism in American Institutionalism, Geoffrey M. Hodgson, London, Routledge, 2004
 The distinction of “classes” in specific categories is without exact meaning, historically. The point here is the ongoing presence of a clearly dominant class, whether that of ancient nobility, for example, or the modern financial oligarchy.
 Suggested reading, The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery, Junius P. Rodriguez, Vol I, Section E
 Suggested Reading: Mediaeval Feudalism, Carl Stephenson, Cornell University Press, 1956
 A History of Economic Theory and Method, Robert B. Ekelund; Robert F. He?bert, New York: McGraw–Hill, 1975
 Suggested Reading: Defending Mother Earth: Native American Perspectives on Environmental Justice, Jace Weaver, Orbis Books, 1996
 To list the ecological problems now facing humanity, from climate destabilization, to pollution, to resource depletion, to loss of biodiversity and other invariably public health threats, would be too extensive to detail here. In the view of TZM, these issues are largely a result of the Capitalist premise and its accepted approaches and values.
 Consumption patterns in modern society have shown an arbitrary nature with respect to “Human Wants”, such as the powerful shift in values which occurred in the early 20th century with the application of modern Western advertising. “Human Needs”, however, are basic necessities, largely shared by all humans, which maintain physical and psychological health.
 See the prior essay “Defining Public Health”.
 “Social Darwinism” is a very general ideology that seeks to apply biological concepts of Darwinism or of “survival of the fittest” type theory to sociology and politics. The term was popularized in the United States in 1944 by historian Richard Hofstadter. The intuition of this concept, however, appears long before Darwin’s time in philosophical thought.
 Suggested Reading: Mediaeval Feudalism, Carl Stephenson, Cornell University Press, 1956
 Suggested Reading: The Economy of Early Renaissance Europe, 1300–1460, Harry A. Miskimin, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1969, p.20
 Suggested Reading: Studies in the Development of Capitalism, Maurice H. Dobb, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1946, Chapter 4
 The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, David R. Henderson, Liberty Fund, Inc, 2002, “Mercantilism”
 A positive balance of trade is also known as a “trade surplus” and it consists of exporting more than is imported in monetary value. This act by the State is often called “Protectionism” today.
 The Growth of Economic Thought, Henry William Spiegel, Duke University Press, 3rd Ed, 1991, pp.93-118.
 An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, 1776, Book IV: Of Systems of Political Economy
 Murray Rothbard, a featured economist of the modern “Austrian School”, summarized the “Statist” perspective and criticism: “Mercantilism, which reached its height in the Europe of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was a system of statism which employed economic fallacy to build up a structure of imperial state power, as well as special subsidy and monopolistic privilege to individuals or groups favored by the state. Thus, mercantilism held exports should be encouraged by the government and imports discouraged.” [Mercantilism: A Lesson for Our Times?, Murray Rothbard, Freeman, 1963]
 As will be argued in the essay “Value System Disorder”, this is a false duality and moot with respect to the underlying problems commonly attributed to the polarized debate.
 From here on in this essay, we will use the term “Capitalism” in its most common cultural form, implying the “Free- Market” theoretical context.
 While a “Capitalist” can be considered a person in favor of this approach to economy, a more accurate definition denotes “a person who has capital, especially extensive capital, invested in business enterprises.” [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/capitalist] In other words, this is a person who owns or invests capital for a return or profit, but yet has no obligation to contribute to actual production or labor in anyway.
 A corollary to this are the various “Rational Choice” & “Utility Theories” common to Free-Market microeconomic theory which attempts to quantify human actions around various behavioral models. More on this later in the essay.
 Second Treatise of Government, John Locke, Chapter V, Section 27, 1689
 Ibid., Chapter V, Section 34
 Ibid., Chapter V, Section 31, 1689
 Ibid., Chapter V, Section 33, 1689
 Locke States: “Nature did well in setting limits to private property through limits to how much men can work and limits to how much they need. No man’s labour could tame or appropriate all the land; no man’s enjoyment could consume more than a small part; so that it was impossible for any man in this way to infringe on the right of another, or acquire a property to the disadvantage of his neighbor…” [Second Treatise of Government, John Locke, Chapter V, Section 36, 1689]
 Ibid., Chapter V, Section 36, 1689
 Ibid., Chapter V, Section 31, 1689
 Ibid., Chapter V, Section 27, 1689
 Ibid., Chapter V, Section 31, 1689
 Ibid., Chapter V, Section 47, 1689
 The Stock Market and increasing power of the investment/financial powers around the world in the 21st century reflects this culmination well. It appears that the mere act of ownership and trade via money alone, without any need for production cultivation and human service, has become the most profitable industry in the world today.
 The Industrial Revolution occurred from about 1760 to some time between 1820 and 1840 starting in Europe, according to various historians, and was essentially the transition/application to new, technology based manufacturing processes.
 “The rich only select from the heap what is most precious and agreeable. They consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity, though they mean only their own conveniency, though the sole end which they propose from the labours of all the thousands whom they employ, be the gratification of their own vain and insatiable desires, they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species.” [The Theory of Moral Sentiments par. IV.I.10, 1790]
 An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, 1776, par. IV.2.9
 There is no static definition of “Neoclassical Economics”. However, a general, culturally common summary includes the broad interest in “free”, unregulated markets, focusing on the determination of prices, outputs, and income distributions in markets through supply and demand, often mediated through a hypothesized maximization of utility by income-constrained individuals and of profits by cost-constrained firms.
 Ibid., par. V.1.2
 Ibid., par. IV.9.51
 This power of Capitalist interests to engage and, in many ways, become the government to serve their own competitive advantage will also be discussed in the later essay: “Value System Disorder”
 The Industrial Revolution in the Eighteenth Century, Paul Mantoux, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1927, p.417
 He states: “No possible sacrifices of the rich, particularly in money, could for any time prevent the recurrence of distress among the lower members of society, whoever they were” [An Essay on the Principle of Population, Thomas Malthus, 1798, Chapter 5]
 He states: “It has appeared, that from the inevitable laws of our nature some human beings must suffer from want. These are the unhappy persons who, in the great lottery of life, have drawn a blank.” [An Essay on the Principle of Population, Thomas Malthus, 1798, Chapter 10]
 An Essay on the Principle of Population, Thomas Malthus, 1798, Chapter 1
 From his 2nd Edition of An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1836, Principles of Political Economy, vol. 1, p.14. New York, Augustus M. Kelley, 1964.
 It is worth nothing that the Malthusian Population Theory is actually very inaccurate with respect to factors pertaining to population growth, based on statistical understandings today. Apart from the effect technology has played in expanding production capacity and efficiency exponentially, particularly with respect to food production, the generalization that higher standards of living increase population proportionally is not supported by regional comparison. Poor countries statistically reproduce faster today than wealthy countries. The issue appears to be a cultural, religious and educational phenomenon, not a rigid “law of nature” as Malthus concluded.
 Ref: Abolishment of Welfare: An Idea Becomes a Cause [http://www.nytimes.com/1994/04/22/us/abolishment-of- welfare-an-idea-becomes-a-cause.html]
 The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, David Ricardo, 1821, Dent Edition, 1962, p.272
 Ibid., p.5
 Ibid., p.7
 Ibid., p.64
 Ibid., p.53
 Ibid., p.263-264
 Ibid., p.267
 From the essay: Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes, 193
 The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, David Ricardo, 1821, Dent Edition, 1962, p.81
 “Capital Goods” are generally defined as: Any tangible assets that an organization uses to produce goods or services such as office buildings, equipment and machinery. Consumer goods are the end result of this production process. [http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/capitalgoods.asp#axzz2Gxg1RmR6]
 Suggested Reading: The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era, Jeremy Rifkin, Putnam Publishing Group, 1995
 A Treatise on Political Economy, Jean-Baptiste Say, Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1863, p.xi [Translation is from the fourth French edition, published in 1821.]
 Ibid., p.62
 Jeremy Bentham, a notable proponent of “Classic Utilitarianism”, stated: “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do… By the principle of utility is meant that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever according to the tendency it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question: or, what is the same thing in other words to promote or to oppose that happiness. I say of every action whatsoever, and therefore not only of every action of a private individual, but of every measure of government.” [An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Jeremy Bentham, 1789, Dover Philosophical Classics, 2009. p.1]
 An Outline of the Science of Political Economy, Nassau Senior, 1836, London, Allen and U., 1938, p.27
 More on this issue will be discussed in the essay “Structural Classicism”.
 Rationale of Reward, Jeremy Bentham Book 3, Chapter 1
 The Defense of Gracchus Babeuf before the High Court of Vendo?me, University of Massachusetts Press, 1967, p.57
 An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth Most Conducive to Human Happiness, William Thompson, London, William S. Orr, 1850, p.17
 Ibid., p.xxix
 Ibid., p.259
 Ibid., pp.260-261
 Ibid., pp.261-263
 Ibid., p.263
 Ibid., p.267
 Grundrisse, Karl Marx, tr. Martin Nicolaus, Reprint Vintage Books, New York, 1973 p.241
 Ibid., p.243
 Ibid., p.240-241
 Capital, Karl Marx, Foreign Languages reprint , Moscow, 1961, vol. 3, p.163
 Ibid., p.176
 Ibid., vol. 1,pp. 583–84
 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Karl Marx, Moscow, Progress, 1959, p. 69
 “Why Economics Is Not an Evolutionary Science,” Place of Science in Modern Civilization and Other Essays, Thorstein Veblen, pp.73-74.
 “The Limitations of Marginal Utility,” The Place of Science in Modern Civilization and Other Essays, Thorstein Veblen, New York, Russell and Russell, 1961, p.241-242
 “Professor Clark’s Economics”, Place of Science in Modern Civilization, Thorstein Veblen, p.193
 Absentee Ownership and Business Enterprise in Recent Times, Thorstein Veblen, Augustus M. Kelley, New York, 1964, p.407
 “The Beginnings of Ownership”, Essays in Our Changing Order, Thorstein Veblen, p.32.
 “The Beginnings of Ownership”, Essays in Our Changing Order, Thorstein Veblen, pp.33-34
 “The Instinct of Workmanship and the Irksomeness of Labor”, Essays in Our Changing Order, Thorstein Veblen, pp. 188-190
 The Engineers and the Price System, Thorstein Veblen, New York, Augustus M. Kelley, 1965, p.1
 Ibid., p.12
 Absentee Ownership and Business Enterprise in Recent Times, Thorstein Veblen, New York, Augustus M. Kelley, 1964, pp.220-221
 The Theory of Business Enterprise, Thorstein Veblen, New York, Augustus M. Kelley, 1965, p.269
 Ibid., p.285
 Ibid., p.286-287
 Ibid., p.404-405
 The Theory of the Leisure Class, Thorstein Veblen, New York, Augustus M. Kelley, 1965, pp.229-230
 A simple example of this is the amount of funding and employment that has been generated from the serving of cancer. If cures for cancer where to actually emerge, the downsizing of these massive medical institutions would naturally result. This means that the solving of problems can result in the loss of livelihood for many who worked to service those problems. This is create a perverse reinforcement to keep things the same – avoiding change in general.
 This phrase was put forward by John McMurtry in his work The Cancer Stage of Capitalism, Pluto Press, 1999
 The creation of money out of debt, coupled with its multiplication via the Fractional Reserve lending system, a near universal practice of the central banks of the world, continues to seek infinite growth by its very mechanics.
 It is worth pointing out that “Market Discipline”, or the corrective nature of the market by which all business are supposed to be susceptible, only really applies to the lower classes today. As noted historically by the “too big to fail” rhetoric and recent (~2008) bank bailouts amounting to well over 20 trillion dollars, the wealthy sectors are protected by the gesture of so-called given “Socialism”, not Capitalism.
(10) Market Efficiency vs. Technical Efficiency
“The synergetic aspect of industry’s doing ever more work with ever less investment of time and energy per each unit of performance…has never been formally accounted as a capital gain of land-situated society. The synergistic effectiveness of a world-around integrated industrial process is inherently vastly greater than the confined synergistic effect of sovereignly operating separate systems. Ergo, only complete world desovereignization can permit the realization of an all humanity high standard support.” -R. Buckminster Fuller
Scientific development, while evolving in parallel with traditional economic development over the past 400 years or so, has still been largely ignored and seen as an “externality” to economic theory. The result has been a “decoupling” of the socioeconomic structure from the life support structure to which we are all tied, and upon which we all depend. In most cases today, apart from certain technical assumptions with respect to how a system not based on market dynamics and the “price mechanism” could function, the most common argument in support of Market Capitalism is that it is a system of “freedom” or “liberty”.
The extent to which this is true very much depends on one’s interpretation, even though such generalized terms are often ubiquitous in the rhetoric of proponents of the model. It appears such notions are really reactions to prior attempts at alternative social systems in the past which generated power problems like “totalitarianism”. Hence, ever since, based on this fear, any model conceived outside of the Capitalist framework is often impulsively relegated to the supposed historical tendency towards “tyranny” – and then dismissed.
Be that as it may, this underlying gesture of “freedom”, whatever its implication in subjective use, has generated a neurosis or confusion with respect to what it means for a species such as ours to survive and prosper in the habitat – a habitat clearly governed by natural laws. What we find is that on the level of our habitat relationship we are simply not free and to have an overarching value orientation of supposed freedom, which is then applied toward how we should operate our global economy, has become increasingly dangerous to human sustainability on the planet earth.
The difficultly of social relationships aside, humans, regardless of their traditional social customs, are strictly bound by the natural, governing laws of the earth and to stray from alignment with these is to invariably inhibit our sustainability, prosperity and public health. It should be remembered that the core assumptions of our current socioeconomic system developed during periods with substantially less scientific awareness of both ourselves and our habitat. Many of the negative consequences now common to modern societies simply didn’t exist in the past and it is now this clash of systems which is further destabilizing our world in many ways.
It will be argued here that the integrity of any economic model is actually best measured by how well aligned it is with the known, governing laws of nature. This natural law concept is not presented here as anything esoteric or metaphysical, but as fundamentally observable. While it is true that the laws of nature are constantly refined and altered in our understandings over time, certain causal realities have stood, and continue to stand, as definitively true. There is no debate that the human organism has specific needs for survival, such as the need for nutrition, water and air. There is no debate with respect to the fundamental ecological processes that secure the environmental stability of our habitat which must go undisturbed in their symbiotic-synergistic relationships. There is also no debate, as complex as it is, that the human psyche has, on average, basic predictable reactions when it comes to environmental stressors and hence how reactions of violence, depression, abuse and other detrimental behavioral issues can manifest as a result.
This scientific, causal or technical perspective of economic relationships reduces all relevant factors to a frame of reference and train of thought relating to our current understanding of the physical world and its natural, tangible dynamics. This logic takes the science of human study, hence, again, the shared nature of human needs and public health, and combines it with the proven rules of our habitat, to which we are synergistically and symbiotically connected. Put together, a “ground up”, rational model of economic operation can be generalized with very little need, in fact, for the centuries of traditionalized economic theory.
This isn’t to say those historical arguments do not possess value with respect to understanding cultural evolution, but rather to say that if a truly scientific worldview is taken with respect to what “works” or “doesn’t work” in the strategy of efficiency demanded by the chess-game of human survival, there is very little need for such historical reference in abstraction. This view sits at the core of TZM’s reformist logic and will be reviewed again in Part III of this text.
The bottom line is that these points of near-immutable scientific awareness are almost completely without recognition in the economic model dominant today. In fact, it will be argued that the two systems are not only decoupled, they are diametrically opposed in many ways, alluding to the reality that the competitive market economy is actually not “fixable” as a whole, and hence a new system based directly on these “natural law” realities needs to be constructed from the ground up.
This essay will examine and contrast a series of “economic” considerations from both the perspective of the market system (market logic) and this noted mechanistic or “technical” logic. It will express how “efficiency” takes on two very different meanings in each perspective, arguing that “market efficiency” works only to be efficient with respect to itself, using man-made rule- sets related mostly to classical economic dynamics that facilitate profit and growth, while “Technical Efficiency”, referencing the known laws of nature, seeks the most optimized manner of industrial unfolding possible to preserve the habit, reduce waste and ultimately ensure public health, based on emerging scientific understandings.
Cyclical Consumption & Economic Growth
Free-Market Capitalism in basic operation can be generalized as an interaction between Owners, Laborers and Consumers. Consumer demand generates the need to produce via the Owners (“Capitalists”), who then employ Laborers to perform the act of production. This cycle essentially originates with “demand” and hence the real engine of the market is the interest, ability and act of everyone buying in the market place. All recessions/depressions are a result, on one level or another, of a loss of sales. Therefore the most critical necessity for keeping people employed and hence keeping the economy in a state of “stability“ or “growth”, is constant, cyclical consumption.
Economic Growth, which is generally defined as “an increase in the capacity of an economy to produce goods and services, compared from one period of time to another” is a constant interest of any national economy today and, consequently, the global economy in general. Many macroeconomic tactics are often used during times of recession to facilitate more loans, production and consumption in order to keep an economy functioning at or ideally beyond its current level. The business cycle, a period of oscillating expansion and contraction, has long been recognized as a characteristic of the market economy due to the nature of “market discipline”, or correction, which, according to theorists, is partly a natural ebb and flow of business successes and failures.
In short, the rate (increase or decrease) of consumption is what generates the business cycle’s periods of growth or contraction, with macroeconomic monetary regulation generally increasing and decreasing ease of liquidity (often via interest rates) in order to “manage” the expansions and contractions. While modern, monetary macroeconomic policy is not the subject of this essay, it is worth pointing out here, as an aside, that mutual respect toward both the expansion and contraction periods of the business cycle has not existed historically. Periods of monetary expansion (often via cheaper credit), which usually correlate to periods of economic expansion (as more money is being put to use) are hailed by the citizenry as national successes for society, while all contractions are seen as policy failures.
Therefore, there has always been an interest by the political establishments (who want to look good) and major, influential market institutions (protecting corporate profits) to preserve periods of expansion for as long as possible and fight all forms of contraction. This perspective is natural to the value system inherent to Capitalism for “pain” is to be thwarted at all times, often in a shortsighted manner. No company willingly wants to downsize nor does any political party willingly want to “look bad”, even though traditional economic theory tells us that these periods of contraction are “natural” and should be allowed.
The result has been, in short, a constant increase in the money supply (i.e. purchasing power and capital) during times of recession, with the end result being massive global debt, both public and private. The reality is that all money comes into existence through loans and each of those loans is made with interest attached, where the loan must be paid back with the interest fee accrued (bank’s profit); meaning that the very nature of money creation automatically entails a negative balance by default. There is always more debt in existence than there is money in circulation.
So, returning to the main point with respect to the need for demand/consumption to keep the economy working, this process of exchange and general focus on growth is at the heart of the market’s context of “efficiency”. It doesn’t matter what is being produced or the effect on the state of human or earthly affairs. Those are all, again, “externalities”. As a concentrated example of this logic, the stock market, which is itself nothing more than the trading of money and its now numerous “derivatives”, generates enormous GDP and “growth” through resultant sales/profit.
Yet, these acts arguably produce nothing of tangible, life supporting value. The stock market system and the now massively powerful financial institutions are completely auxiliary to the real, producing economy. While many argue that these investment institutions facilitate businesses and jobs with their application of capital, this act is, once again, only systemically relevant in the current system (market efficiency) and utterly irrelevant in terms of real production (technical efficiency).
In short, when it comes to market logic, the more turnover or sales, the better – and that is that – regardless if the item sold is credit, rocks, “hope” or flapjacks. Any pollution, instances of waste or other such detriments are, again, “external”. There is no consideration for the technical role of actual production processes, strategies for efficient distribution, design applications or the like. Such factors are assumed to culminate metaphysically in the best interest of the people and the habitat simply because that is what the “invisible hand” of the market implies.
Yet, the growing “more with less” revolution in the industrial sciences has created a new reality where the advancement of industrial technology has reversed the pattern of “cumulative material effort” with respect to efficiency. The logic that “more labor, more energy and more resources” will produce proportionally more effective results has been challenged. In increasingly more circumstances, the reduction of energy, labor and materials to accomplish certain tasks has been the outcome, given our modern scientific, technical applications.
For instance, satellite-based communication today, while intellectually sophisticated, embodying a great deal of evolved knowledge, is, in physical reality, rather simple and resource efficient in comparison to the prior alternatives for communication, which in global application, involved enormous amounts of cumbersome materials, such as heavy copper wires, along with the difficult, often risky task of laying out such materials by human labor power. What is accomplished today with a set of generally small, global satellites in orbit is truly amazing by comparison. This design revolution, which gets to the heart of what true economic (technical) efficiency means, stands in direct opposition to the cyclical consumption, growth-based economic model.
Again, the intention of the Market System is to maintain or elevate rates of turnover, as this is what keeps people employed and increases employment and so-called growth. Hence, at its core, the Market’s entire premise of efficiency is based around tactics to accomplish this and hence any force that works to reduce the need for labor or turnover is considered “inefficient” from the view of the Market, even though it might be very efficient in terms of the true definition of economy itself, which means to conserve, reduce waste and do more with less.
If we hypothetically reduced our global society to a single, small island with a respectively small population, with very limited technology as compared to today, finding that only x number of food/survival items were possible in the natural regeneration of the land, would it be a good idea to employ an economic system that sought to increase the use and turnover of the island’s resources as fast as possible for the sake of “growth”? Naturally, the ethic of strategic use and preservation would develop as an ethos in such a condition. The idea would be to reduce waste, not accelerate it, which, again, is what the true definition of “economy” means – to economize.
Unnecessary Obsolescence: Competitive and Planned
When we think of obsolescence, we often might consider the rapid technological changes occurring in the world today. Every few years it seems our communication and processing devices, namely computer technology, undergo rapid development. “Moore’s Law”, for example, which essentially denotes how processing power doubles every 18-24 months, has been extended to apply to other, similar technological applications, illuminating the powerful trend of scientific advancement in general.
However, when it comes to goods production, two forms of (eventual) obsolescence occur today which are not based on the natural evolution of technological capacity, but rather result from (a) the contrived, competitive rule structure of the market system, along with (b) the driving urge for market “efficiency” in seeking turnover and reoccurring profit.
The first (a) could be called “Competitive Obsolescence”. This is obsolescence resulting from the consequential nature of a competitive economy, as each producing entity works to maintain differential advantage over another by reducing expenses in production in order to keep the price “competitively” low for consumer purchase. This mechanism is traditionally termed “cost efficiency” and the result is products that are relatively inferior the moment they are made. This competitive need permeates every step of production, with, in effect, a reduction of technical efficiency along the way via using cheaper materials, means and designs.
Imagine, hypothetically, if we took into account all of the material requirements for, say, the creation of a car, seeking to maximize its efficiency, durability and quality in the most strategically optimized way, based on the materials themselves – not the cost of those materials. The life cycle of the car would then be determined only by its natural wear and tear with a very deliberate design focus on upgrading attributes of the car when they have become obsolete or damaged by natural-use circumstances. The result would be a production designed to last, hence reducing waste and invariably increasing efficacy of utility. It is safe to assume that many in the world today believe this is what actually happens in the design and production of goods but that simply isn’t the reality. It is mathematically impossible for any competing company to produce the strategically best good, technically, in a market economy, as the “cost efficiency” mechanism guarantees a less-than-optimal production.
The second form (b) of obsolescence is known as “Planned” and this production technique to ensure cyclical consumption gained interest in the early 20th century when industrial development was advancing efficiency at an accelerating rate, producing better goods, faster. In fact, there was not only a need to encourage more purchases by the general public, the problem of resulting increased lifespan and general efficiency of goods was also slowing consumption. Again, the “more with less” phenomenon was surfacing in a rapid way.
Rather than allow for a good’s lifespan to be determined by its natural capacity, with the logical natural law intention for it to exist as long as possible, given limited resources on a finite planet and a natural interest to save energy, both material and human, corporations decided it was instead best to create their own “lifespans” for goods, deliberately inhibiting efficiency for the sake of repeat purchases.
In the 1930s, some even wanted to make it mandatory for all industries, legally, where life cycles were decided not by the natural state of technological ability but by the mere ongoing need for labor and increased consumption. In fact, the most notable historical example of this period was the Phoebus light bulb cartel of the 1930s where, in a time where light bulbs were able to last up to about 25,000 hours, the cartel forced each company to restrict light bulb life to less than 1000 hours to assure repeat purchases. Today, every major manufacturer strategizes to limit good life cycles based on marketing models for cyclical consumption and the result is not only the reprehensible waste of finite resources, but a constant waste of human labor and energy as well.
Outside the dynamics of the market economy, it is extremely difficult to argue against the need for optimum design of goods. Sadly, the nature of market efficiency disallows such technical efficiency by default.
Property vs Access
The tradition of personal property has become a staple of modern culture with little financial incentive in the long run to utilize a system of sharing or access. While a few examples of community sharing of commodities do exist in the modern day, the general ethic of “ownership” and the inherent value/investment characteristics of property itself make such approaches more costly in the long run by the user than to engage in direct purchase.
From the standpoint of market efficiency, this is a good thing, as the more direct purchases of goods, the better. Generally speaking, if 100 people wish to drive a car, having 100 people purchase those cars is more efficient for the market than if 100 people shared 20 cars in a system of strategically designed access, enabling utilization based on actual use time.
If we analyze patterns of actual use of any given good on average, many types of products are found to be used intermittently. Transport vehicles, recreational equipment, project equipment and various other genres of goods are commonly accessed at relatively distant intervals, making the task of ownership not only somewhat of an inconvenience given the need to store these items, but also clearly inefficient in the context of true economic integrity, which seeks a reduction of waste at all times.
Every year, countless books are borrowed virtually for free from libraries around the world and returned, not only saving an enormous amount of material resources over time, but also facilitating knowledge access to those who might otherwise have no means to obtain it. Yet, this practice is a rare exception in the market efficiency driven world today as clearly it is to the disadvantage of the market to have anything available without direct purchase on a per-person basis.
However, let’s hypothetically extend this idea of the sharing of knowledge to the sharing (enabled access) of material goods. From the standpoint of market efficiency, it would be extremely inhibiting. While profit would still be generated in the Capitalist model by the loaning of items to people on the basis of their need, it would be enormously disproportionate when compared to the profit/consumption rates of a society based on separate, personal ownership of each good.
Yet, on the other hand, the technical efficiency would be profound. Not only would fewer resources need to be utilized (along with less labor power) since less of each good would need to be created to meet the use time of citizens, the availability of such goods could very well extend to many who otherwise would not have the ability to afford the purchase to begin with, only the “rental” fee (still assuming a market system). In this regard, the technical efficiency has two levels – environmental and social. From the environmental standpoint, a dramatic reduction of resource use; from the social standpoint (all things being equal), an increase in the access availability of such goods could also occur.
So, from the standpoint of technical efficiency, at the deep expense of market efficiency, a shared access rather than universal property oriented society would be exceptionally more sustainable and beneficial. Of course, such a practice would naturally challenge some deep value identifications common to the “propertied” culture today.
Competition vs Collaboration
The question of society pursuing a competitive or collaborative culture has been a running debate for centuries, with assumptions of human nature common to the defense of competition. Today, competition is mostly discussed by economists as an incentive necessary to continue innovation, along with the generally implied assumption that there simply isn’t enough to go around on this planet and hence everyone has no choice but to fight on some level, with inevitable losers. Such assumptions noted, the themed context here of market vs. technical efficiency will be explored with respect to the competitive benefits and/or consequences.
There are two core angles to consider: the first is (a) how competition affects industrial production itself; the second is (b) how it actually effects innovation or creative development.
(a) If we examine the layout of industrial production today, we see a complex global system of interaction, moving resources, components and goods constantly from one location to another for various production or distribution purposes. Business, in its pursuit of profit and cost efficiency, invariably seeks out inexpensive labor, equipment and facilities at all times to remain competitive in the market. This can take the form of local immigrant labor at minimum wage, a “sweatshop” production facility overseas, a relatively cheap processing factory across the country, etc.
The bottom line is that from the stand point of market efficiency, the cost-to-profit ratio is all that matters, even if the actual act of this global processing is using disproportionately wasteful amounts of fuel, transport resources, labor power and the like. The notion of “proximal efficiency”, meaning in this case the efficiency derived from the distance between industrial production/distribution points, is not considered and the practice of globalization today engages in a vast amount of wasteful resource movement around the world based almost entirely on the interest of saving money, not optimal, technical efficiency.
This ignoring of the importance of “proximal efficiency” in industrial action, whether domestic or international, is the source of some very wasteful realities. Today, industrial production is almost entirely international, especially in the technological age. The degree to which this is needed, from a technical perspective, is slight, at best.
While agricultural production has historically been regional given the propensity of certain regions to produce certain types of goods, or perhaps facilitate a more conducive environment for other such cultivations, these issues are very few in proportion to the vast majority of industrial good productions, discounting as well various technological possibilities today to overcome such regional requirements.
“Localization”, meaning the deliberate reduction of distance between and around all facets of production and distribution, is the most technically efficient manner for a community to operate, taking into account the obvious exceptions, such as how, for example, mineral extraction clearly must begin at its point of origin in the earth, etc. It is simple to see, especially with respect to modern technical applications which currently go unused, how the vast majority of life-sustaining goods can be generated in close proximity overall to where they are to be utilized.
As will be described in further detail in Part III of this text, there is a technically efficient train of thought with respect to the utilization of proximity when it comes to extraction, production, distribution and recycling/waste disposal. The end result would be enormous levels of resource and human energy preservation – preservation of a capacity which, in fact, could be reallocated if need be to further advancing projects, rather than squandered as mere waste via the market model today.
As a final note on this subject of how competition limits the technical efficiency of industrial production, increasing waste – the reality of good “multiplicity” is another issue. While all production by competing companies is typically oriented around historical statistics regarding what their “market share” is and how many goods they can sell on average, per region, the very fact of multiple corporations, working in the same genre of good production, producing nearly identical products with only mild variation, only adds to the sources of unnecessary waste.
As will also be described in the next sub-section, the idea of, for example, multiple cell phone companies competing for market share by mere design variation, generating consequentially relative inefficiencies in design due to different strategies to gain cost efficiency, coupled with the general lack of compatibility of components given the financial benefit of pushing proprietary standards and system compatibilities, creates another complex web of inefficiency.
Clearly, from the standpoint of technical efficiency, one collective cell phone company, working to produce the strategically best, most adaptable, universally compatible design, would not only be more respectful of the environment, it would also create a tremendous ease and use efficiency as well since the problem of seeking proprietary repair parts and overcoming compatibility problems, would be dramatically reduced.
It is often argued, however, that the pursuit of competition and the product variations that arise in the quest for market share by competing businesses is a way to introduce new ideas to the public. However, such a method could also be achieved by systems of direct, mass feedback from the public with respect to what is needed, coupled with an emergent awareness campaign about what is now possible given the empirical evolution of technological advancement.
(b) The second issue here, as noted, has to do with how competition affects innovation or creative development itself. While the assumption still persists today that differential reward for one’s contribution motivates other people to seek that reward, which is also a common justification of the existence of “classes”, modern sociological study finds a number of conflicting views. The idea that humans are motivated inherently by a need to “beat” others by, for example, gaining material-financial rewards in excess of others, is without credible vindication, outside of the intuitive view drawn from the existing, highly competitive, scarcity driven market condition in which humanity finds itself today, by design.
However, once again, the sociological debate can be set aside as the context here is how competition relates to market & technical efficiency directly. In short, the competitive system seeks secrecy when it comes to business ideas, often universally against the open flow of knowledge. The use of patents and proprietary rights or “trade secrets” perpetuates not an advance of innovation as many proponents of the competitive market assume – but a retardation.
It is very interesting to think about what knowledge means, how it generates and how odd it is for anyone to rationally claim “ownership” of an idea or invention. At no time in human history has any singular individual culminated an idea that was not serially generated by many before them. The historical culmination of knowledge is a social process and therefore, any claims of ownership of an idea by a person or corporation is intrinsically faulty. The common semi-economic term used today is “usufruct”, which means “the legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another.“ In reality, however, all attributes of every idea in existence today, in the past and forever in the future, has without exception a distinctly social, not personal point of origin.
It becomes obvious that the notion of intellectual property, meaning ownership of mere thoughts and ideas, has manifest out of the vast period of human history where one’s creativity has become tied to one’s personal survival. In an economic system where people’s ideas have the capacity to generate income for them personally, the idea of such ownership becomes relevant. After all, if you “invent” something in the modern system which could generate sales and hence help your personal economic survival, it would be extremely inefficient, in the market sense of the word, to allow that idea to be “open-source”, since others, seeking survival themselves, would likely quickly seize that invention for their own financial exploitation.
It is also easy to see how the phenomenon of “ego” has manifest around the idea of intellectual ownership as well, since the basis of reward in such a system invariably has a psychological tie to one’s personal sense of self-worth. If a person “invents” something, files for intellectual ownership, exploits it for profit and then manifests a large house and extensive property, their “status” as a human being is traditionally elevated as far as the standards set by culture – he/she is considered a “success”.
Yet, if we were to think about it in general, the sharing of knowledge has no negative recourse outside of the economic premise of ownership for profit exploitation. There is nothing to lose and, indeed, an enormous amount to be gained socially by the sharing of information. Coming back to the prior example in this essay of competing cell phone companies, we will notice that within the confines of boardroom meetings where often marketers, designers and engineers consider how to improve their product in general, the sharing of their ideas is paramount.
However, imagine if that meeting was extended to all competing cell phone companies at once, where not only could they remove their contrived, utility-less “marketing” angles devised to gain the market share of other competitors (such as aesthetic gimmickry), they could work to produce the cumulative “best” in concert. Extending even more so, what if all designs were “public domain” in the sense that anyone in the world who had an interest to help improve an idea was able to?
The schematics of a cell phone design could be posted publicly with a system of technical interaction where people from all around the world could help, if they had the ability, with the technical efficiency and utility of the design. While this is an abstract hypothetical example, it is clear that the result of such an open approach to the sharing of information could facilitate an explosion of creativity and productivity never before witnessed. As will be discussed in Part III, the removal of the monetary-market system is critical to the facilitation of this capacity.
Labor for Income
At the core of the Market System is the selling of an individual’s labor as a commodity. In many ways, the ability of the Market to employ the population has become a measure of its integrity. However, the advent of “mechanization”, or the automation of human labor, has become an ever- increasing point of interference over time. Historically, the application of machine technology to labor has been seen as an issue of not only social progress but “economic” progress, in the market sense, mainly due to the increase in productivity.
The basic assumption is that mechanization (or more broadly – technological innovation) facilitates industrial expansion and hence an inevitable reallocation of labor displaced by machine into new, emerging sectors. This is a common defense. Historically speaking, there appears to be some truth to this, where the reduction of the human work force in one sector, such as was the case with the automation of agriculture in the West, has been overcome to a degree by the advancement of other employment sectors, such as the modern service sector. However, this assumption that technological innovation will generate new forms of employment in tandem with those displaced by it, creating an equilibrium, is actually very difficult to defend when the rate of change of innovation, coupled with the cost saving interests of business is taken into account.
As for the latter, the “role” of mechanization from the standpoint of market efficiency exists almost solely to assist “cost-efficiency”. Robotics in the modern day have far exceeded the physical capacity of the average human being, along with rapidly advancing calculation processes which continue to vastly exceed human thought. The result is the ability of industry to employ machines which invariably have more productive capacity than human labor, coupled with the extremely notable financial incentive of reduced liability for the business owners in many ways. While machines might require maintenance, they do not need health insurance, unemployment insurance, vacations, union protection and many other attributes common to human employment today. Therefore, in the narrow logic inherent to the pursuit of profit, it is only natural for businesses to seek out mechanization at all times, given its long term cost benefits and hence market efficiency.
As far as the suggestion that an equilibrium will always be found eventually between new labor roles and displaced labor due to technological innovation, the problem is that the rate of change of technological development far exceeds the rate of new job creation. This problem is unique as it also assumes that human society would always want new employment roles. It is here where subjective cultural values should be considered. Given that our current sociological condition demands human employment as the backbone of market sustainability, hence market efficiency, the ethic of “work” and its identity associations, culturally, have perpetuated a force where the actual function of the labor role – its true utility – becomes less important than the mere act of labor itself.
Just as market efficiency has no consideration for what is actually being bought and sold in general, so long as it keeps cyclical consumption at an acceptable rate, the labor roles taken on today in production are equally as arbitrary in the view of the market. In theory, we could envision a world where people are being paid to do what could be considered “pointless” occupations, when it comes to utility, generating high levels of GDP with virtually no true social contribution. In fact, even today we could step back and ask ourselves what the social role of many institutions really is and perhaps come to the conclusion that they serve only to keep moving money around, not to create or actually contribute anything tangible for the benefit of society.
These are complex philosophical questions as they challenge dominant traditional ethics and the very nature of what “progress” really means in many ways. For instance, the following thought exercise is worth considering. Imagine if we were to revert our social system back to the 16th century, where many modern (21st century) technological realities were simply unheard of. The population of that era would naturally have expectations of what would be technically possible that would be far below what is generally accepted as possible today.
If this society was able to superimpose, overnight, the massive technological capacity of the modern era, there is little doubt that virtually everything related to the core survival of the population could be automated. The question then becomes, what do they now do with their new- found freedom? What becomes the cultural focus of their lives if the basic drudgery of fundamental survival was removed? Do they invent new jobs simply because they can? Do they elevate themselves, preserving and embodying this new freedom by altering their social system itself, removing this previously demanded “labor for income” requirement? These questions get to the root of what progress and personal/social goals and success really are.
Nevertheless, a dominant cultural value today is that of “earning a living”, and the application of mechanization, in the sense of market efficiency, is actually a double-edged sword. While cost- efficiency is inherent to mechanization and hence the general improvement of profit by reducing costs for the business owners, the displacement of human workers, known today as “technological unemployment”, actually works against market efficiency to the extent that those unemployed workers are now unable to contribute to the needed cyclical consumption that powers the economy, since they have lost their purchasing power as “consumers”.
This contradiction within the Capitalist model is unique. From the stand point of market efficiency, mechanization hence poses both a positive and negative outcome in this sense and when we realize that the rate of technological change will, in all probability, displace people increasingly faster than new sectors of employment can be created, mechanization as an inhibiting factor to Capitalism becomes ever more apparent. It is, in total, decreasing market efficiency in this circumstance.
However, on the other hand, from the standpoint of technical efficiency, once again, we see vast improvement and immense possibilities on many levels. The production capacity enabled by this application clearly shows a powerful increase in efficiency regarding not only the effect of industrial production, but also a general increased efficiency of the goods themselves by extension of the accuracy and integrity inherent in production. Also, an implication of this new level of production efficiency is that meeting the needs of the global population was never more possible. It is easy to see that without the interference of market logic on this new technical capacity, which invariably inhibits its full potential, what could be relatively deemed an “abundance” of most life sustaining goods could be facilitated for the global population.
Scarcity vs Abundance
“Supply and Demand” is a common market relationship which expresses, in part, how the value of a resource or good is proportional to how much of it is in existence or accessible. For example, diamonds are considered quantitatively more rare and hence of higher value than water, which can be found in a general abundance on the planet. Likewise, certain human creations, if created in short supply, are also subject to this dynamic, even if the perception of rarity is culturally subjective, such as with a single canvas painting by a renowned artist which might fetch many, many times its actual resource value in a sale.
From the standpoint of market efficiency, general scarcity is a good thing overall. While extreme scarcity is, indeed, destabilizing both for an industry or an economy as a whole (“shortages”), the most optimized state within which the market system can exist is in a sort of balanced scarcity pressure, hence the assurance of sales-producing demand. Again, the life requirements of humans are not recognized in this equation. Meeting human needs in the form of food, housing, low-stress circumstances for mental health, etc., is utterly “external” here and has no direct relationship to market efficiency. Meeting human needs in a direct sense would, again, be inefficient to the market’s logic as it would remove the scarcity pressure that fuels cyclical consumption. Put another way, there is a need for imbalance in order to fuel this demand pressure and this imbalance can come in many forms.
Debt, for example, is a form of imposed scarcity which puts a person in a position to which they must often submit to labor which may be of a more “exploitative” nature – meaning the reward (usually the wage) is grossly disproportionate to what is needed to keep a healthy standard of living in one’s circumstance. In this respect, the debt system facilitates a distinct form of market efficiency as it benefits the employer since the ease of lowering wage rates (cost efficiency) naturally increases as private debt levels increase.
The more in debt people are, the more likely they will submit to low wage labor and hence generate more profit for the business owners. In fact, the same logic can be applied to the use of legally unregulated “sweatshop” labor in the third world which is frequently “exploited” by Western companies. Excessive work hours coupled with notoriously low wages are common – yet these people have literally no choice but to submit as there are no other options for survival in their region, often due to debt resulting from austerity measures.
In fact, the regulation of the money supply in total is based on a general scarcity since, as noted before, all money today is made out of debt and this debt-money is sold into the market as a commodity through “loans”, with the mark-up of interest attached to generate a profit for the banks. Yet, this “interest” profit, which is money itself, is not created in the money supply itself. For instance, if an individual takes out a loan for 100 dollars and pays 5% interest on the loan, that individual is required to pay back 105 dollars. But, in an economy where all money comes into existence through loans, which is the reality, only the “principal” ($100) exists in the money supply with the “interest income” ($5) uncreated.
Therefore, there is always more debt in existence than there is money to pay for it. Furthermore, since the poor are responsible for taking more loans in general for their home/cars/etc. than the wealthy, who maintain a financial surplus, this overall debt pressure tends to fall on the lower classes, compounding the inherently insurmountable problem of being in debt and hence with limited options. In this model, bankruptcy, for example, is not a result of some poor business judgements – it is an inevitable consequence – like a game of “musical chairs”.
So, coming back to the central point, the reality of scarcity in the current economic system is a source of great efficiency in the market sense for if people had their basic need mets, or if they were able to meet those needs without the external pressure of unresolvable debt which keeps the imbalances – cyclical consumption, profit and growth would suffer. As insidious as it may seem to our intuition and humanity, that keeping people deprived is actually a positive precondition for the workings of the market, this is the reality.
Needless to say, from the standpoint of technical efficiency, seeing the human being as a bio- chemical machine in universal need of basic nutrition, stability and other psychosocial requirements which, if unattained, can result in sickness both physical and psychological, we can recognize the decoupled state of human/social well-being with this “market logic”.
As a final point on this issue, the market seeks the servicing of problems at all times. In fact, it could be stated generally that technical inefficiency is the driver of market efficiency. Problem resolution is not sought by the market as it then creates an income void and hence a loss of monetary gain and movement. The result of this, in part, is a perverse reinforcement of incentive to seek or even advance problems in general. A century ago the idea of selling bottled water would have been strange given its general, unpolluted abundance. In the modern day, it is a multimillion dollar industry annually, derived mostly from the water pollution which has occurred due to irresponsible industrial practices. The profit and jobs now associated with this technically inefficient reality of resource pollution and destruction, has improved, once again, the economic market efficiency needed to keep cyclical consumption going.
Market efficiency, generally speaking, takes on a “macro” and “micro” reality. On the macro scale, anything that can increase sales, growth or consumption, regardless of the originating pressure for demand or what is actually being bought and sold, is deemed efficient in this context. On the micro scale, this efficiency takes the form of enabling conditions that can increase profit and reduce input costs (“cost efficiency”) on the part of business.
This “efficiency” inherent to Capitalism operates without any respect for the social or environmental costs of its process to keep cyclical consumption and profit going and the world you see around you – full of ecological disorder, human deprivation and general social and environmental instability – has been the result. On the other hand, technical efficiency, which one could characterize as, in fact, a hindrance to market efficiency, seeks to maintain the environment, maintain human health and essentially keep balance in the natural world. The reduction of waste, resolution of problems and the maintaining of alignment with natural law is the common sense logic embodied.
It is unfortunate to realize that today we have two opposed systems of economy working at once – working against each other, in fact. The market system, embodying its archaic, traditionalized logic, is utterly out of sync with the natural (technical) economy as it exists. The result is vast discord and imbalance with ever-mutating problems and consequences for the human species. It is clear which system will “win” in this battle. Nature will persist with its natural rules regardless of how much we theorize this or that validation of the way we have traditionally organized ourselves on this planet.
Nature doesn’t care about our vast monetary economic ideas, its theories of “value”, sophisticated financial models or detailed equations regarding how we think human behavior manifests and why. The technical reality is simple – learn, adapt and align to the governing laws of nature, or suffer the consequences. It is absurd to think that the human species, given its evolution within the same natural laws to which our economic practice (and values) must align, would be incompatible with such laws. It is merely an issue of maturity and awareness today.
As a final point, as well as a general aside, there has emerged a trend in the 21st century, in the wake of all the growing and persisting ecological problems, that claims to seek what is called a “Green Economy”. Some have even divided this economic view into sectors, including applications for renewable energy, eco-buildings, clean transportation and other categories of focus. It will be noticed that all of those awarenesses and sought applications are generally in line with the technical or scientific awareness perspective discussed in this essay.
Sadly, as positive as the intent of these new organizations and business planners may be, the inefficiency inherent to the Capitalist model of economics – with all its need for certain forms of contrived “efficiency” to maintain itself – immediately pollutes and deeply limits all such attempts, which explains why such technical efficiency approaches have still yet to really be applied. The sad reality is that while some improvement can be made, such progress will be inherently limited to an ever-increasing degree since, as described, the very structural basis of the way market Capitalism works is actively opposed to the efficiencies inherent in the natural law view. The only logical solution is to rethink the entire structure if any real efficiency, elevated prosperity and problem resolution is to be achieved in the long run.
Footnotes for “Market Efficiency vs Technical Efficiency”:
 Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, R. Buckminster Fuller, 1968, Chapter 6
 Ludwig von Mises in his famous work Economic Calculation In The Socialist Commonwealth argues that the “price mechanism” is the only possible means to understand how to “efficiently” create and move goods around an economy. This criticism of any kind of “planned” system has been touted as sacrosanct by many today and a vindication of the Capitalist system. This issue will be addressed in Part III.
 An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, 1776, par. IV.9.51
 A classic text that employed this basic fear was F.A. Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom”. “Human Nature” had a very clear implication, justified fundamentally by historical trends of totalitarianism suggested to be linked to collaborative/planned economies.
 Suggested Reading: “A Safe Operating Space for Humanity”, Nature, 461, 472-475, 24 September 2009, doi:10.1038/461472a
 While some historians often place the dawn of the scientific method in ancient Greece, The Renaissance, starting around the 16th century, appears to be a major period of significant discovery and acceleration. Galileo (1564 – 1642) is today considered by some as the “father” of modern science. However, very little interest was shared in the economic realm by these emerging understandings.
 The disruption of ecosystem processes by human action has shown clear negative consequences. Pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and many other common characteristics of the current state of the world today reveals a deep misalignment with the immutable symbiotic/synergistic realities of our habitat to which we are bound. Ref: http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/kling/ecosystem/ecosystem.html
 Please see the prior essay: “Public Health”
 Please see the prior essay: “History of Economy”
 Note: The use of the term “Market Efficiency” here is not to be confused with other historical meanings. The concept is novel to this essay. Traditional meaning: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/02/101502.asp#axzz2H9lWlQwR
 The term ‘economy’ in Greek [Oikonomia] means “management of a household; thrift”. Hence to E·con·o·mize, or “Increase Efficiency”.
 Recessions are typically defined as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy.” [http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/08/cause-of-recession.asp#axzz2HzEmQsvq]
 ‘Economic Growth’ defined: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/economicgrowth.asp#axzz2H9lWlQwR
 A common reaction of central banks during times of recession is to increase “liquidity” in the economy. Liquidity is simply the amount of capital that is available for investment and spending. The Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, typically manages liquidity, by adjusting interest rates.
 The Business Cycle is often thought about in five stages: growth (expansion), peak, recession (contraction), trough and recovery. [http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/businesscycle.asp#axzz2IGANj1hr]
 According to a 2010 report by the World Economics Forum, global credit (or in effect, debt) doubled from $57 trillion to $109 trillion from 2000 to 2010. It also forecasts $210 trillion in global credit (debt) by 2020. [http://www.weforum.org/reports/sustainable-credit-report-2011]
 According to the Federal Reserve, as of 2009 total US (Public and Private) debt was about $51 trillion. [https://www.federalreserve.gov/datadownload/Download.aspx? rel=Z1&series=654245a7abac051cc4a9060c911e1fa4&filetype=csv&label=include&layout=seriescolumn&from=01/01/ 1945&to=12/31/2010] If we compare this to the existing money supply, as measured by M3, which is the broadest measure, we find that as of Dec. 2012 it was about $15 trillion.* http://www.shadowstats.com/charts/monetary-base- money-supply
 For example, in the US, the “Venture Capital” industry, which essential invests money in new businesses, was 21% of GDP in 2010. [http://www.nvca.org/index.php?option=comcontent&view=article&id=255&Itemid=103] According to a 2012 article in The New Republic: “the largest six banks in our (us) economy now have total assets in excess of 63% of GDP” [http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/shooting-banks#]
 Please see the essay “History of Economy” where Adam Smith’s notion of the “invisible hand” is discussed.
 As an historical note, engineer R. Buckminster Fuller used this phrase (“more with less”) in his discussion of the phenomenon in his work “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”, 1968
 The famous ENIAC computer of the 1940s contained 17,468 vacuum tubes, along with 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors, 1,500 relays, 6,000 manual switches and 5 million soldered joints. It covered 1800 square feet of floor space, weighed 30 tons, consumed 160 kilowatts of electrical power. It cost about $6 Million in modern value. Today, a cheap, pocket size cellphone computes substantially faster than ENIAC. [http://inventors.about.com/od/estartinventions/a/Eniac.htm]
 Suggested Reading: The Law of Accelerating Returns, Ray Kurzweil [http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-law-of- accelerating-returns]
 The notion of “strategically optimized” will be addressed in Part III but it is worth noting here that the equation which decides what is to be used in the construction of anything, technically, not only involves the properties of the “ideal” materials, but the relative utility of related materials (with similar properties) which may alter the necessary material component for use due to other “efficiency” related factors, such as resource supply.
 Charles Kettering, Director of General Motors in 1929, wrote of the need to ‘keep the consumer dissatisfied’ (1929) [http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/archive/resources/documents/ch2702.htm]. Wall Street banker Paul Mazur wrote: “We must shift America from a needs to a desires culture. People must be trained to desire. To want new things even before the old have been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality in America.” [Harvard Business Review, 1927]
 In 1932, industrialist Bernard London propagated a well-known pamphlet entitled “Ending the Depression through Planned Obsolescence” which outlined the need for the model.
 As a simple example, the sharing of bikes in Europe has become common. [http://www.treehugger.com/cars/bike- sharing-now-in-100-european-cities.html]
 As an aside, the only reason this library exception has persisted is because of a tradition put in place long ago which saw the need for this sharing of knowledge as critical to human development. The tradition of shared libraries go back 1000s of years.
 In his work, The Age of Access, Jeremy Rifkin poses similar questions, stating “In a society where virtually everything is accessed, however, what happens to the personal pride, obligation, and commitment that go with ownership? And what of self-sufficiency? Being propertied goes hand in hand with being independent. Property is the means by which we gain a sense of personal autonomy in the world. When we access the means of our existence, we become far more reliant on others. While we become more connected and interdependent, do we risk at the same time becoming less self-sufficient and more vulnerable?” (P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2000, p.130)
 Suggested Reading: The Influence of Social Hierarchy on Primate Health, Robert M. Sapolsky, Science 29 April 2005: Vol. 308 no. 5722 pp. 648-652 DOI: 10.1126/science.1106477 [http://www.sciencemag.org/content/308/5722/648.abstract]
 Suggested Reading on traditional defenses of competition as a source of innovation: Competition and Innovation: An Inverted U Relationship [http://www.nber.org/papers/w9269]
 See the prior essay “History of Economy” and its treatment in Thomas Malthus, who viewed the world as unable to support the population and was influential in his view.
 Canadian economist Jeff Rubin made this observation well with respect to oil cost trends: “What we’re going to find is it’s not going to make sense to produce things on the other side of the world, no matter how cheap labor costs are there, when it’s so expensive to transport things.” [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104466911]
 This is mentioned in passing to point out the extensive modern breakthroughs in agricultural methods that are not based on traditional arable land masses. “Vertical Farming”, for example, has been shown to have immense possibilities on a global scale, removing the common regional restrictions to agricultural production. Suggested Reading: The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century, Dickson Despommier, Thomas Dunne Books, 2010
 It is critical to note, as will be discussed in Part III, that this notion of turning the inefficiency or wasted resources and energy inherent to the market economy into actual productivity sits at the core of human society’s ability not only to transcend the scarcity-ridden environment we have today, but far exceed it with an abundance.
 The closest thing today which attempts to overcome the problems and waste generated by proprietary components, meaning components that can only come from the manufacturer, is the ISO Standard System. However, this system, in reality, does very little to overcome the true problem and is mostly about compliance with basic quality standards, not universal adaptability of components across global industry. [Ref: http://www.iso.org/iso/home.html]
 Suggested Reading: No Contest: The Case Against Competition, Alfie Kohn, Boston, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986
 Usufruct defined: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/usufruct
 A glance at US historical labor statistics by sector shows the pattern of machine automation replacing human labor definitively. In the agricultural sector, almost all traditional workflow is now done by machine. In 1949, machines did 6% of the cotton picking in the South. By 1972, 100% of the cotton picking was done by machines. [Source: The Cotton Harvester in Retrospect: Labor Displacement or Replacement?, Willis Peterson, St Paul, 1991, pp 1-2] In 1860, 60% of America worked in agriculture, while today it is less than 3%. [Source: Why job growth is Stalled, Fortune, 3/8/93 p.52] In 1950, 33% of US workers worked in Manufacturing, while by 2002 there was only 10%. [Source:http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2002-12-12-manufacturex.htm] The US steel industry, from 1982 to 2002 increased production from 75m tons to 120m tons, while steel workers went from 289,000 to 74,000. [Source: Will ‘Made in the USA’ fade away?, Nelson D. Schwartz, Fortune Nov 24th 2003, p. 102] In 2003, Alliance Capital did a study of the world’s largest 20 economies at that time, ranging from the period of 1995 to 2002, finding that 31 million manufacturing jobs were lost, while production actually rose by 30%. [Source: US Weekly Economic Update: Manufacturing Payrolls Declining Globally: The Untold Story, Alliance Bernstein Oct 2003] This pattern of increasing productivity and profit, coupled with decreasing employment, is a new and powerful phenomenon.
 See the subsection on economist David Ricardo in the essay: “History of Economy”
 Economist Stephen Roach warned in 1994 that ”The service sector has lost its role as America’s unbridled engine of job creation.” [Source: Interview, 3/15/94, noted in book The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin, Penguin p. 143] Examples of this include: From 1983-1993, banks cut 37% of their human tellers, and by the year 2000, 90% of all bank customers used teller machines (ATMs) [Source: “Retooling Lives”, Vision, 2000 p. 43] Business phone operators have almost all been replaced by computerized voice answering systems, post office tellers are being replaced by self-service machines, while cashiers are being replaced by computerized kiosks. McDonalds, for example, has been talking about full automation of its restaurants for many years now, introducing kiosks to replace the front of house staff, while using automated cooking tools, such as burger flippers, for the back of house staff.[Source: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20030801/1345236F.shtmls] The fact that they haven’t done so is likely a public relations issue, for they know how many jobs would be cut in the event that such automation should be adopted in the most uninhibited way.
 Suggested Reading: The Law of Accelerating Returns, Ray Kurzweil [http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-law-of- accelerating-returns] While the context of this article regarding exponentially advancing technological capacity does not reference mechanization, it is clearly axiomatic to assume its relevance in this way, particularly with respect to what could be called “cybernation”, which is the combination of machines and computers distinctly, creating “intelligence” in machines.
 The link between having a “job” and one’s self-worth has become increasingly powerful. See: Joblessness And Hopelessness: The Link Between Unemployment And Suicide [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/15/unemployment-and-suicide_n_849428.html]
 This is not a utopian concept as very basic statistical extrapolations prove this vast improvement of efficiency and production capacity on many levels. A simple example, while not exhaustive in its variables, is the obsolescence of “work hours” in industrial factory production. The 8 hour day common to human labor could manifest to nearly 24 hour labor via machine automation. This crude example shows how an “abundance” can be created of core life supporting goods.
 Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” sold for $119 million in 2012. If we were to compare the actual material value of the work in physical form, it was sold for about 10-15,000 times its material value in paint and canvas. [http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/03/edvard-munchs-the-scream-_n_1473129.html]
 Suggested Reading: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-perkins/economic-chaos-loans-gree_b_901949.html
 Suggested Reading: Web of Debt, Ellen Hodgson Brown, Third Millennium Press, 2008
 Please see the prior essay: “Public Health”
 Suggested Reading: Water and Air Pollution [http://www.history.com/topics/water-and-air-pollution]
 “Green Economy” Ref: http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/blogs/how-do-you-define-the-green- economy
(11) Value System Disorder
“I believe that greed and competition are not a result of immutable human temperament; I have come to the conclusion that greed and fear of scarcity are in fact being continuously created and amplified as a direct result of the kind of money we are using…The direct consequence is that we have to fight with each other in order to survive.” -Bernard Lietaer
Given the relatively slow rate of change of the human being with respect to biological evolution, the vast societal changes which have occurred over the past 4000 years of recorded history have occurred due to the evolution of knowledge – hence “cultural evolution”. If we were to search for a mechanism for cultural evolution, the notion of the “meme” is useful to consider. Defined as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture”, memes are considered to be sociological or cultural analogues to genes, which are “functional (biological) units controlling the transmission and expression of one or more traits”.
While genes basically transmit biological data from person to person through heredity, memes transmit cultural data – ideas – from person to person via human communication in all forms.  When we recognize, for example, the power of technological advancement over time and how it has dramatically changed our lifestyles and values and will continue to do so, we can view this overall, emergent phenomenon as an evolution of ideas, with information replicating and mutating, altering the culture as time moves forward.
Given this, we could gesturally view the human mental state and its propensities for action as a form of program. Just as genes encode a set of instructions which, in concert with other genes and the environment produce sequential results, the processing of memes by the intellectual capacity of human beings, in concert, create patterns of behavior in a similar way. While “free will” is certainly a complex debate to be had with respect to what actually triggers and manifests human decisions, it is fundamentally clear that people’s ideas are limited by their input (education). If a person is given little knowledge about the world, their decision process will be equally as limited.
Likewise, just as genes can mutate in ways which are detrimental to their host, such as the phenomenon of cancer, so can memes with respect to ideological/sociological transmissions, generating mental frameworks which serve as detriments to the host (or society). It is here where the term “disorder” is introduced. A disorder is defined as “a derangement or abnormality of function”. Therefore, when it comes to social operation, a disorder would imply institutionalized idealogical frameworks which are out of alignment with the larger governing system. In other words, they are inaccurate with respect to the context in which they attempt to exist, often creating imbalance and detrimental destabilization.
Of course, history is full of initially destabilizing, transitioning ideas and this ongoing intellectual evolution is clearly natural and necessary to the human condition as there is no such thing as an “absolute” understanding. However, the differentiation to be made here is the fact that when ideas persist for a long enough period, they often create emotional connections on the personal (“identity”) level and institutional establishments on the cultural level, which tend to perpetuate a kind of circular reinforcement, generally resisting change and adaptation.
Recognizing our intellectual evolution as a process with no end and being open to new information to help better align ourselves for sustainable practices is clearly a core ethic needed both on the personal and social level if we expect to keep adapting for the better in the context of cultural evolution. Sadly, there are powerful cultural forces which work against this interest in the world today. Structures, both ideological and encoded in the current social infrastructure actively work against this critical necessity of cultural adaption. An analogy would be the starvation of our biological cells by removing oxygen from the environment – only in this case we are restricting our vulnerability to learn and adapt, with knowledge being the “oxygen” by which we as a species are able to solve problems and continue progress.
This disorder is, as will be described, inherent to the Free-Market Capitalist tradition. It is not only the actual decisions being made against the interests of adaptation, knowingly or not, that perpetuate detrimental effects on many levels – it is also the value system – the employment of “identity” and a normalized sense of custom, which bears a powerfully problematic force. This is compounded even more so when the purpose served (or appears to be served) by such intents directly ties to our survival and existence. There is nothing more personal to us than how we identify ourselves and the economic system we encompass is invariably a defining feature of our mentalities and worldview. If there is something wrong with this system, then it implies there is something wrong with ourselves, given that we are the ones who perpetuate it.
Value System Disorder
Just like cancer is, in part, an immune system disorder, sociological traditions which persist with ever-increasing problem generation for society could be called a value system disorder. This disorder has to do with a kind of structured psychology where certain assumptions have been given credence over time based merely on their cultural persistence, coupled with an inherent reinforcement of itself in operation. The larger the social context of the disorder, often the more difficult its resolution, not to mention mere recognition itself.
On the scale of a social system, it becomes very difficult as the society as a whole is constantly being conditioned into the dynamics of its own framework, often creating powerful self- preservation reactions whenever its integrity is challenged. These, what could be called “closed intellectual feedback mechanisms”, are what comprise the vast majority of arguments in defense of our current socioeconomic system, just as they have in generations prior. In fact, it appears to be a general sociological trend since, again, people’s very identity is invariably associated with the dominant belief systems and institutions they are born into.
In the words of John McMurtry, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Guelph, Canada: “In the last dark age, one can search the inquiries of this era’s preserved thinkers from Augustine to[…]Ockham, and fail to discover a single page of criticism of the established social framework, however rationally insupportable feudal bondage, absolute paternalism, divine right of kings and the rest may be. In the current final order, is it so different? Can we see in any media or even university press a paragraph of clear unmasking of a global regime that condemns a third of all children to malnutrition with more food than enough available…? In such a social order, thought becomes indistinguishable from propaganda. Only one doctrine is speakable, and a priest caste of its experts prescribes the necessities and obligations to all…Social consciousness is incarcerated within the role of a kind of ceremonial logic, operating entirely within the received framework of an exhaustively prescribed regulatory apparatus protecting the privileges of the privileged. Methodical censorship triumphs in the guise of scholarly rigor, and the only room left for searching thought becomes the game of competing rationalizations.”
Such reactions are also common with respect to established practices in specific fields. For instance, Ignaz P. Semmelweis (1818 -1865), a Hungarian physician who discovered that puerperal fever could be drastically cut by the use of simple hand washing standards in obstetrical clinics, essentially foreshadowing the now fully accepted germ theory of disease, was shunned, rejected and ridiculed by his finding. It wasn’t until long after his death his now very basic realization was respected. Today, some use the phrase, “The Semmelweis Reflex” as a metaphor for the reflex-like tendency to reject new evidence or new knowledge because it contradicts established norms, beliefs or paradigms.
Overall, once a given set of ideas is entrusted by a large enough number of people, it becomes an “institution”- and once that institution is made dominant in some way, such as existing for a certain period of time, that institution could then be considered an “establishment”. “Institutional establishments” are simply social traditions given the illusion of permanence and the longer they persist, often the stronger the defense of their right to exist by the majority of culture.
If we examine the institutional establishments we take for granted today – from macrosystem attributes such as the financial system, the legal system, the political system and major religious systems – to microsystem attributes such as materialism, marriage, celebrity, etc. – we must remind ourselves that none of these ideas are actually real in the physical sense. These are temporal meme structures we have created to serve our purposes given conditions at certain points in time and no matter how much we emotionally attach to such issues; no matter how large an institution may become; no matter how many people may believe in such institutions – they are still impositions of thought and transient by nature.
So, coming back to the context here of the value system disorder, the Free-Market Capitalist system, while arguably being deeply decoupled from physical reality and a root source of the vast majority of the social woes in the world today, keeps itself in place through a set of culturally reinforced values and power establishments upon which the society is ultimately conditioned and generally inclined to defend. This is made increasingly powerful in its persuasion since the dominant value system disorder at hand today is born out of assumptions relating to critical human survival itself.
Characteristics of Pathology
In order to critically evaluate an existing framework of thought, a basic, mutually accepted benchmark needs to be generated. “Cultural Relativism” is an anthropological notion that refers to the fact that different cultural groups generate different perceptions of “truth” or “reality”. “Moral Relativism”, which is a similar notion, has to do with the variance of what is considered “correct” or “ethical”. Over the course of human history, these distinctions have become increasingly narrow since the scientific revolution of causal thought, from the Renaissance onward, has increasingly reduced the “relative integrity” of various beliefs.
The fact is, beliefs are not equal in their validity. Some are more true than others and hence some are more dysfunctional than others in the context of real life. The scientific method of arriving at conclusions is the ultimate benchmark upon which the integrity of human values can be measured and this modern reality demystifies the common “relativism” defense of subjective human belief. It is not about “right” and “wrong” but what works or doesn’t work. The integrity of our values and beliefs is only as good as how aligned they are with the natural world. This is the common ground which we all share.
This concept ties in directly with sustainability in the broad context of human survival itself as a sustainable social system naturally must have sustainable values to facilitate and perpetuate the structure. Unfortunately, the evolutionary baggage of our cultural history has maintained value structures which are so powerful, yet so clearly decoupled from reality, that our personal and societal assumptions of happiness, success and progress itself continue to be deeply perverted and exist in discordance with the governing laws of our habitat and human nature. The human being indeed has a common nature and while nothing appears 100% universal across the species, certain pressures and stressors can generate, on average, serious public health problems. Likewise, if our values support behaviors which are not in accordance with our physical sustainability on the planet Earth, then naturally we can expect ever increasing problems on that environmental level as well.
The dominant value system which the Capitalist socioeconomic model perpetuates is arguably deeply pathological to the human condition as the mechanisms related to survival and general reward compound emotional attachments and forms of self-preservation which are essentially rooted in a kind of primitive desperation and fear. The fundamental ethos is that of an anti-social, scarcity driven pressure which forces all players of the game to be generally exploitative and antagonistic both of others and the habitat. It also has built-in pressures to avoid socially easing interests due to a resulting loss of profit, furthering this stress-induced emotional disparity. The result is a vicious cycle of general abuse, narrow-minded selfishness, and social and environmental disregard.
Of course, historically, these caustic characteristics are usually defended as simply “the way it is” – as though our evolutionary psychology must be stuck in this state. In fact, if the touted psychological doctrines of traditional market theory hold true (“Neoclassical Utilitarianism”) regarding our apparent limits with respect to a “workable” social structure, then imbalance, environmental destruction, oppression, violence, tyranny, personality disorders, warfare, exploitation, selfish greed, vain materialism, competition and other such divisive, inhumane and destabilizing realities are simply inalterable and therefore the whole of society should do nothing but work around such inevitabilities with whatever “controls” we can put in place to “manage” these realities of the human condition. It is as though the human being is deemed to have a severe, incurable mental disorder – a firm retardation – which simply cannot be overcome, so everything in society must be altered around it in an attempt to deal with it.
Yet, the more we live as human beings; the more history we are able to see of ourselves over generational time; the more we are able to compare the behaviors of different cultures across the world and across history – the more clear it becomes that our human capacity is being inhibited directly by an archaic reward and survival structure which continues to reinforce primitive, desperate values and while such values might have served a positive evolutionary role in the past, the present and foreshadowed future arguably lays these behavioral patterns bare as detrimental and unsustainable, as this overall text has expressed at length.
While each of us generally wishes to survive and do so in a healthy state, naturally prepared to defend that survival when need be, self-preservation in the current socioeconomic condition unnecessarily extends this tendency in ways that severely inhibit social progress and problem resolution. In fact, it could be said that this short-term preservation occurs often at the cost of long-term integrity.
The most obvious example of this has to do with the fundamental nature of seeking and maintaining income, the life blood of the market system and, by extension, human survival. Once a business succeeds in gaining market share, typically supporting employees along with the owners, the business naturally gravitates to an interest to preserve that income generating market share at all costs. Deep value associations are generated since the business is not just an arbitrary entity that produces a good or service – it is now a means of life support for everyone involved.
The result is a constant, socially debilitating battle, not only with the competitors who also seek the same consumer market, but with innovation and change itself. While technological progress is a constant, fluid progression on the scientific level, the market economy sees this emergence as a threat in the context of existing, currently profitable ideas. Vast levels of historical “corruption”, cartel and monopoly generation and other defensive moves of existing businesses can be found throughout history, each act working to secure income production regardless of the social costs.
Another example has to do with the psychological neurosis built out of the credit-based reward incentive inherent to the market system. While it is intellectually clear that no single person invents anything given the reality that all knowledge is serially generated and invariably cumulative over time, the market economy’s characteristic of “ownership” creates a tendency not only to reduce information flow via patents and “trade secrets”, it also reinforces the idea of “intellectual property”, despite the true fallacy of the notion itself.
On the value system level, this has mutated into the notion of “credit” entitlement and hence often “ego” associations to presented ideas or “inventions”. In the world today, this phenomenon has taken a life of its own with a tendency for many who contribute often seeking status elevating “credit” for the idea, even though they are, again, clearly part of a continuum larger than themselves. While appreciation for the time and labor of a given person working towards the progress of an idea is a productive social incentive and fundamental to our sense of purpose in action, the perversion of intellectual ownership and all its contrived attributes extend this operant satisfaction into distortion.
In fact, on the largest scale of knowledge culmination, such acts of “appreciation” inevitably become irrelevant in the memory of history. Today, for instance, when we use a modern computer to assist our lives, we seldom think about the thousands of years of intellectual study that discovered the core scientific dynamics related, nor the enormous amount of cumulative time spent by virtually countless people to facilitate the “invention” of such a tool, in its current form.
It is only in the context of manifest ego and monetary reward security that this becomes a “natural” value issue with respect to the market system. If people do not claim “credit”, they will not be rewarded and hence they will not gain survival from that contribution in the market. So, the condition has compounded this neurosis which is invariably stifling towards progress via the sharing of knowledge.
Furthermore, disorders associated with market “self-preservation” can take many other forms, including the use of government as a tool, the pollution of academia and information itself346, and even common interpersonal relationships. The fear inherent to the loss of livelihood naturally overrides almost everything and even the most “ethical” or “moral” person, when faced with the risk of non-survival, can usually justify actions that would be traditionally called “corrupt”. This pressure is constant and is the source, in part, of the vast co-called “criminality” and social paralysis we see today.
Competition, Exploitation and Class Warfare
Building on the prior point, exploitation, which is inherent to the competitive frame of mind, has permeated the very core of what it means to “succeed” in general. We see this “taking advantage” rhetoric in many facets of our lives. The act of manipulation and exploitation for competitive gain has become an underlying force in modern culture, extending far beyond the context of the market system.
The attitude of seeing others and the world as merely a means for oneself or a particular group to “conquer” and keep ahead of is now a driving psychological distortion to be found in romantic relationships, friendships, family structures, nationalism and even how we relate to the habitat we exist within – where we seek to exploit and disregard the physical environment’s resources for short term personal gain and advantage. All elements of our lives are necessarily viewed from the perspective of “what can I get out of it personally?”
A study performed at the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011 found that: “…upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals…upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision- making tendencies, take valued goods from others, lie in a negotiation, cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize, and endorse unethical behavior at work than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.”
Studies of this nature are very interesting as they reveal that the common human nature argument in its extreme context, that of people inevitably “being competitive and exploitative”, when defending the current social system, is bypassed. Class relationships are not genetic relationships, even though the nuances of individual propensities could be argued. This study expresses a cultural phenomenon overall since it is axiomatic to assume that the general attitude of disregard for external negative consequences, or so-called “unethical behavior” expressed by the upper class, is a result of the type of values needed to achieve the position of actually making it to the “upper class”.
In common poetic rhetoric, this intuition has held true for centuries, with the observation that those who achieve “success” in the business sense, are often “desensitized” and “ruthless”. There appears to be a general loss of empathy by those who achieve such “success” and it is intuitively obvious why this is the case, given the value system disorder of competitive disregard inherent to the market system psychology. Overall, the more caring and empathic you are, the less likely you are to succeed financially – no different from a general sport where you are not going to help an opposing player achieve their goals for it means you are more likely to lose.
Overall, the lower classes are found to be more socially humane in many ways. For example, it has also been found that the poor give a higher percentage of their income (4.3%) to charity than rich people (2.1%). A 2010 study found that: “…lower class individuals proved to be more generous[…]charitable[…]trusting[…]and helpful[…]compared with their upper class counterparts. Mediator and moderator data showed that lower class individuals acted in a more prosocial fashion because of a greater commitment to egalitarian values and feelings of compassion. Implications for social class, prosocial behavior, and economic inequality are discussed.” 
A study conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy using tax-deduction data from the Internal Revenue Service, showed that households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 year give an average of 7.6% of their discretionary income to charity. That compares to 4.2% for people who make $100,000 or more. In some of the wealthiest neighborhoods, with a large share of people making $200,000 or more a year, the average giving rate was 2.8%. 
Success & Status
Underlying the Capitalist model is an implied assumption that those who contribute the most must gain the most. In other words, it is assumed that to become say, a billionaire, you must have done something important and helpful for society. Of course, this is clearly untrue. The vast majority of extremely wealthy people originate their wealth out of mechanisms which are not socially contributive on any direct, creative level when broken down and analyzed.
The act of engineering, problem solving and creative innovation almost always occurs on the level of the laborer in the lower echelons of the corporate complex, only to be capitalized upon by those at the top (owners) who are skilled at the contrived game of generating a “market”. This is not to discount the intelligence or hard work of those who hold vast wealth, but to show that the rewards of the system are displaced, allocated to those who exploit the mechanisms of the market, not those who actually engineer and create. In fact, one of the most rewarded sectors of the global economy today is that of investment and finance. This is a classic example as to be a “hedge fund” manager, moving money around for the mere sake or gaining more money, with zero contribution to creative development, is one of the highest paid occupations in the world today.
Likewise, the very notion of “success” in the culture today is measured by material wealth, in and of itself. Fame, power and other gestures of attention go hand in hand with material wealth. To be poor is to be abhorred, while to be rich is to be admired. Across almost the entire social spectrum, those of high levels of wealth are treated with immense respect. Part of this has to do with a system-oriented survival mechanism, such as the personal interest in gaining insight into how to also become such a “success” – but overall it has morphed into a strange fetish where the idea of being rich, powerful and famous, by whatever means necessary, is a guiding force.
The value system disorder of rewarding, in effect, generally the most ruthless and selfish in our society, both by financial means and then by public adoration and respect, is one of the most pervasive and insidious consequences of the incentive system inherent to the Capitalist model. It not only works to bypass true interests in types of innovation and problem-solving which inherently do not have monetary return, it also reinforces the market system’s own existence, justifying itself by way of high status attainment for those who “win” in the system, regardless of true contribution or the social and environmental costs.
Sociologist Thorstein Veblen wrote extensively on this issue, referring to this value “virtue” as predatory: “As the predatory culture reaches a fuller development, there comes a distinction between employments…The “honorable” man must not only show capacity for predatory exploit, but he must also avoid entanglement with occupations that do not involve exploit. The tame employments, those that involve no obvious destruction of life and no spectacular coercion of refractory antagonists, fall into disrepute and are relegated to those members of the community who are defective in the predatory capacity; that is to say, those who are lacking massiveness, agility, or ferocity…Therefore the able-bodied barbarian of the predatory culture, who is mindful of his good name…puts in his time in the manly arts of war and devotes his talents to devising ways and means of disturbing the peace. That way lies honor.”
William Thompson, in his An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth Most Conducive to Human Happiness restates the reality of this associative influence: “Our next position is, that excessive wealth excites the admiration and the imitation, and in this way diffuses the practice of the vices of the rich, amongst the rest of the community; or produces in them other vices arising out of their relative situation to the excessively rich. On this point, nothing is more obvious than the universal operation of the most common principle of our nature – that of association. The wealth, as a means of happiness[…]is admired or envied by all; the manner and character connected with the abundance of these good things, always strike the mind in conjunction with them…”.
Classes and class warfare are a natural outgrowth of this as the value associations to wealth and power, manifest by the current system, become an issue of emotional identity over time. The status-interest begins to take on a life of its own and it generates actions of self-preservation on the part of the upper class which seek to maintain (or elevate) their status in ways that might not even relate to money or material wealth anymore. Self-preservation, in this case, extends to a kind of drug addiction. Just as a chronic gambler needs the endorphin rush of winning to feel good, those in the upper class often develop similar compulsions in relationship to the state of their perceived status and wealth.
The term “greed” is often used to differentiate between those who exploit modestly and those who exploit excessively. Greed is hence a relative notion, just as being “rich” is a relative notion. The term “Relative Deprivation” refers to the discontent people feel when they compare their positions to others and realize that they have less of what they believe themselves to be entitled to. This psychological phenomenon knows no end and within the context of the material success incentive system of Capitalism, its presence as a severe value system disorder is apparent on the level of mental health.
While maintaining a needs-meeting, quality standard of living is important for physical and mental health, anything beyond that balance in the context of social comparison has the capacity to create severe neurosis and social distortion. Not only is there no “winning” in the end when it comes to the subjective perception of status and wealth, it often serves to decouple those figures from the majority of the human experience, generating alienation and dehumanization in many ways. This empathic loss has no positive outcome on the social level. The predatory reward values inherent to the market system virtually guarantee endless conflict and abuse.
Of course, the myth is that this neurosis of seeking “more and more” status and wealth is the core driver of social progress and innovation. While there might be some basic truth to this intuitive assumption, the intent, again, is not social contribution but advantage and financial gain. It is like saying being chased by a pack of hungry wolves ready to eat you is good for your health since it is keeping you running. While certain accomplishments are clearly occurring, the guiding force (intent) again has little to do with those accomplishments and the detrimental byproducts and larger-order paralysis inherent nullifies in comparison the idea that the values of competition, material greed and vain status is a legitimate source of societal progress.
In fact, epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson has extrapolated a comparison of wealthy nations oriented by the income disparity present in each population. It was found that those nations with the least income disparity actually were more innovative and when we consider that the competitive value drive has a large role with respect to how severe the gap between the rich and poor is, it is axiomatic to consider that the values of egalitarianism and collaboration have more creative power than the traditional economic incentive rhetoric would claim.
As a final point in this subsection, the subject of materialism and status can be extended to the similar issue of vanity as well. While a mild deviation from our point, the vanity-based culture we have today finds a direct relationship to these drives for status and measures of “success” rooted in the psychological value incentives inherent to the Capitalist system. Given that the value system of “acquisition” is, in fact, necessary for the consumption model to work, it is only natural that marketing and advertising generate dissatisfaction continually, including in the way we feel about our physical appearance.
In fact, a study was conducted some years ago on the island of Fiji, in which Western television was introduced to a culture which had never experienced the medium before. By the end of the observation period, the effect of materialistic values and vanity took a powerful toll. A relevant percentage of young women, for example, who prior had embraced the style of healthy weight and full features became obsessed with being thin. Eating disorders which were virtually unheard of in this culture began to spread and women specifically were transformed.
Ideological Polarization & Blame
When the subject of what has “gone wrong” with the world today is broached – given the poverty, ecological imbalance, inhumanity, general economic destabilization and the like – a polarized debate often ensues. Dualities such as “the Right or the Left” or “Liberal or Conservative” are common, implying that in the range of human comprehension and preference, there is a rigid guiding line that embodies all known possibilities.
Paired with this is also the older, yet still common duality of “Collectivism vs Free-Market”. In short, this duality assumes that all options of economic preference must adhere to the idea that society should either be based on the supposed democratic will of all the people in the form of “free-trade” – or that a small group of people should be in control and tell everyone else what to do. Due to the dark history of totalitarianism which plagued the 20th century, a fear based value orientation which rejects anything that even remotely hints at the appearance of “collectivism” is extremely common today, with the related word “socialism” often used in a derogatory way.
As noted prior in this essay, people’s sense of possibility is directly related to their knowledge – what they have learned. If traditional educational and social institutions present all socioeconomic variation within the confines of such boxed frames of reference, people will likely mirror this assumption (meme) and perpetuate it in thought and practice. If you are not “abc”, then you must be “xyz” – this is the common thought meme. Even the political establishment of the United States exists in this paradigm, for if you are not a “Republican”, you must be a ”Democrat”, etc.
In other words, there is a direct inhibition of possibility and, in this context, it often manifests a value structure that builds emotional attachments to false dualities. These values are extreme barriers to progress today on many levels. In fact, as an aside, if the intention of a ruling class was to limit any interference from the lower classes, they would protectively work to limit people’s sense of possibility. For example, the supposed problem of “state intervention” of the free-market, a constant theme of Capitalist apologists, essentially says that since various policies and practices of the government limit free-trade in some way, this is the source of the problem generating market inefficiency. This blame game actually goes back and forth between those who claim it is the market that is the problem and those who claim it is the State’s interference with the market.
What isn’t talked about is the duality-shattering reality that the state, in its historical form, is an extension of the Capitalist system itself. The government did not create this system – the system created the government. All socioeconomic systems root themselves in the basis of industrial unfolding and basic survival. Just as Feudalism, being based on an agrarian society, oriented its class structure in relationships to the livelihood-producing land, so do the so-called “democracies” in the world today. Therefore, the very idea the state government is detached or without the influence of Capitalism is a purely abstract theory with no truth in reality. Capitalism essentially molded the governmental apparatus’s nature and unfolding – not the other way around.
So, when people argue that government regulation of the market is the root of the problem and that the market should be “free” without structural or legal inhibition, they are confused in their associative understanding. The entire legal system, which is the central tool of government, will always be “infiltrated” and used to assist in competitive tactics by business to maintain and increase advantage since that is the very nature of the game. To expect anything else is to assume that there are actually “moral” limits to the act of competition. Yet, this is completely subjective. Such moral and ethical assumptions have no empirical basis, especially when the very nature of the socioeconomic system is oriented around power, exploitation and competition – all considered to be, in fact, ideal virtues of the “good businessman”, as noted before.
If a profit seeking institution can gain power in the government (which is the exact intent of “corporate lobbying”) and manipulate the governmental apparatus to favor their business or industry to gain advantage, then that is simply good business. It is only when the competitive attacks reach peak levels of unfairness that action is taken to preserve the illusion of “balance”. We see this with anti-trust laws and the like. These laws are, in reality, not to protect “free- trade” or the like – but to settle extreme acts of competitive intent inherent in the market place, with all sides jockeying for advantage by whatever means possible.
Even the very constituents of all governments in the world today are invariably of the corporate- business class. Hence, deep business values are clearly inherent in the mindsets of those in power. Thorstein Veblen wrote of this reality in the early 20th century: “The responsible officials and their chief administrative officers – so much as may at all reasonably be called the “government” or the “administration” – are invariably and characteristically drawn from these beneficiary classes; nobles, gentleman or business men, which all come to the same thing for the purpose in hand; the point of it all being that the common man does not come within these precincts and does not share in these counsels that are assumed to guide the destiny of the nations.”
So, to argue that the Free-Market is not “free” due to intervention is to misunderstand what the nature of “free” really means with respect to the system. The “freedom” is not the freedom of everyone to be able to “fairly” participate in the open-market and all the utopian rhetoric we hear about today by apologists of the Capitalist system – the real freedom is actually the freedom to dominate, suppress and beat other businesses by whatever competitive means possible. In this, no “level playing field” is possible. In fact, if the government did not “interfere” by way of monopoly/anti-trust laws or the “bailing out” of banks and the like – the entire market complex would have self-destructed a long time ago. In part, this inherent instability of the Free-Market is what economists like John Maynard Keynes basically understood, but arguably to a limited extent.
Individuality & Freedom
All too often people speak of “freedom” in a way that is more of an indescribable gesture than a tangible circumstance. We hear this rhetoric in the political and economic establishments constantly today where associations of “democracy” are made to this “freedom”, both on the level of the traditional practice of voting and the movement of money itself via independent free-trade. These sociopolitical memes are also reinforced in a polarized way, relatively, which often uses examples of oppression and the loss of freedom and liberty in prior social systems to defend the current state of affairs.
These values have been further compounded by the creative works of philosophers, artists and writers who have been influential in furthering various ideological notions of this “freedom”, often at the expense of societal vulnerability, increasing this dogmatic polarization. In short, a great deal of fear and emotional power exists around the notion of social change and how it might effect our lives in the way of liberty and individuality.
Yet, if we step back and think about what freedom means away from these cultural memes, we find that notions of freedom can be argued as relative given human history, along with standards of living and even personal expression itself. Therefore, in order to decide what freedom is and how to qualify it, we need to measure it from an (a) historical perspective on one side and with respect to (b) future possibility on the other.
(a) Historically, the fundamental concern is based on the fear of power and the abuse of power. Human history, in part, is certainly one of perpetual power struggles. Fueled by deeply divisive religious and philosophical beliefs and values which manifested abject slavery, the subjugation of women, periodic genocide, prosecution for heresy (free speech, or what was and still is known as “freethought”), the divine right of kings and the like, it could be argued that human history in this context is a history of dangerous, unfounded superstitions made sacrosanct by primitive values/understanding in those periods of time, at the expense of human well-being and social balance. The fear and scarcity of these earlier periods appears to have amplified the worst of what we might consider “human nature”, often seeking power as a way to avoid the abuse of power in a vicious cycle.
Yet, it is critically important to notice that we have been in a process of transition away from these archaic values and beliefs overall, with the global culture and its institutions slowly embracing scientific causality and its merit with respect what is real and what isn’t. With this, certain positive trends have become clear.
We have moved from the “divine”, ultimate power of genetically determined kings and pharaohs into a system of very limited, yet general public participation via a so-called “democratic process” in most of the world. Human exploitation, subjugation and abject slavery has lost its common defenses of religious, racial or gender superiority and improved to the extent that the slavery today overall takes the less severe form of “wage labor” – in the larger context of “class” associations – as determined by one’s place in the economic hierarchy. The market economy, in all its historical forms, has also been able to overcome the race-like “caste” predeterminations as well since it does allow a level of (limited) social mobility in the community where income gained facilitates more general “freedom”.
Such progressive realities need to be taken into account as Capitalism, with all its flaws, has served to help improve certain things in the social condition. Yet, what hasn’t changed is the underlying premise which is still elitist and bigoted in how it favors one group over another, both structurally and sociologically. Only in this case the “group” favored has nothing much to do with gender, race or religion anymore – but to do with a kind of forceful expedience and competitive mentality that pushes itself to the top of the class hierarchy, at the inevitable expense of others.
Capitalism, it could well be argued, is really is a post-modern slavery system, with a new value orientation of “competitive freedom” holding it in place. This reinvented notion of “freedom” basically says that we are all “free” to compete with each other and take what we can. Yet, as noted before, such a state of “open freedom”, existing without abuse, oppression and structural advantage – is clearly impossible. So, while proponents of Capitalism may adduce the social improvements which have occurred since its advent as evidence of its social efficacy, we must acknowledge that its root form is not in the interest of human freedom, but an echo of social bigotry which has been polluting culture for thousands of years, rooted in a general psychology of elitism and scarcity.
Today, true freedom is directly related to the amount of money you have. Those below the poverty line have severe limitations on personal freedom as compared to the wealthy. Likewise, while proponents of the Free-Market often talk about “coercion” in the context of state power, the reality of economic coercion is ignored. Traditional economic theorists constantly use rhetoric that suggests that everything is an issue of choice in the Free-Market and if a person wishes to take a job or not, it is their choice.
Yet, those in poverty, which is the majority, face a severe reduction of choice. The pressures of their limited economic capacity creates a powerful state of coercion by which they not only must take labor roles they might not appreciate to survive, they are often subject to vast exploitation in the form of low wage rates due to that same desperation. In fact, general poverty, in this context, is a very positive condition for the Capitalist class for it ensures cost-efficiency in the form of cheaper labor.
So again, while we may have seen some societal improvement over time, this improvement is really just a variation of a common theme of general elitism, exploitation and bigotry. The long history of assumed resource scarcity and limits on production have also compounded this idea, in the Malthusian sense, where the idea of everyone finding some level of economic equality was deemed simply impossible.
(b) Yet, modern science and the exponential development of technical application, along with a deeper awareness of our human condition, has opened the door to future possibilities for social improvement and, in fact, a further elevation of freedom in ways never before seen. This awareness presents a problem since the possibility of achieving this new level is deeply inhibited by the values and establishments set forth by the traditional Capitalist social order. In other words, the market system simply cannot facilitate these improvements because the nature of their culmination is against the very mechanisms of the system.
For example, the efficiency made possible on the technical, scientific level today, if correctly applied, could provide a high standard of living for every human on earth, coupled with the removing of dangerous and monotonous labor through the application of cybernated mechanization. In the world today, the vast majority of people spend most of their life working an occupation and sleeping. Many of these occupations are not enjoyed and are arguably irrelevant with respect to true personal or social contribution and development.
So, if we wish to think about what freedom means on a basic level, it means being able to direct your life in the way you wish, within reason. Being able to live your life without worrying about your basic survival and health, nor that of your family, is the first step. Likewise, the labor for income system is one of the most “unfree” institutions that could exist today not only with respect to the inherent economic coercion, but also with respect to the corporate structure itself, which is quite literally a top-down, hierarchical dictatorship.
Sadly, even with these possibilities present and real, the value system disorder built from the Capitalist model and its rather paranoid fear of anything outside of it, has and will continue to fight these possibilities for more elevated states of freedom. In fact, the very idea of providing basic social support in the form of “welfare” or the like is attacked, in part, on the basis of its avoidance of facilitating the open market – the very market that, in reality, likely created the impoverished state of those who need such assistance.
As a final note on the subject of “freedom”, Capitalist theory, both historical and modern, is devoid of any relationship to the Earth’s resources and its governing ecological laws. Apart from the most primitive awareness of scarcity, which is a marker of the common “supply and demand” value theory, the scientific nature of the world is absent in this model – it is “external”. This omission, paired with the exploitation and cost reducing reality inherent to the incentive system of the market, is what has generated the vast environmental problems, from soil depletion, to pollution, to deforestation, to virtually everything else we can think of on the ecological level. In analyzing the early development of this philosophy, we can logically speculate about how this came to be. Given the largely agrarian base of production and the minimalism of early “handicraft” type good production, our capacity at that time to negatively affect the environment was inherently limited. We simply did not pose as much of a threat since the vast edifice of industry as we know it today had not evolved.
This development reveals that under the surface of Capitalism is an old perspective which is growing increasingly out of date with ever-occurring repercussions resulting as our technological capacity increases our ability to affect the world. A parallel would be the institution of war. Competitive values and warfare were a tolerable reality when the damage done was limited to primitive muskets centuries ago. Today, we have nuclear weapons which can destroy everything. So, taking an evolutionary view, Capitalism has been a practice and value orientation that did help progress in certain ways, but all trend evidence now shows that the inherent immaturity of the system will lead to ever increasing problems if it persists.
The “Marketization” of Life
As a final point of this essay, the trend of the ever increasing marketization of life has created a deep distortion of values in the world. Since “freedom” has been culturally associated with “democracy” and democracy in the economic sense has been associated with the ability to buy and sell, the commodification of just about everything one can think of has been occurring.
Traditional values and rhetoric of prior generations have often viewed the use of money in some ways as something of a “cold” necessity, with some elements of our lives considered “sacred” and not for sale. The act of prostitution, for example, in which people sell intimacy for money is a situation where cultural values usually find alienation. In most countries the act is illegal, even though there is little legal justification since sexual engagement itself is legal. It is only when the element of purchase comes into play, is it deemed reprehensible.
However, such sanctities that have been culturally perpetuated are becoming increasingly overturned by the market mindset. Today, whether legal or not, nearly anything can be bought or sold. You can buy the right to bypass carbon emissions regulations, you can upgrade your prison cell for a fee, buy the right to hunt endangered animals, and even buy your way into a prestigious university without meeting testing requirements.
It becomes a strange state when some of the most normal, natural acts of human life become incentivized by money as well, such as how it is being used to encourage children to read, or encourage weight loss. Psychologically, what does it mean for a child when they are reinforced with money for their most basic actions? How will this affect their future sense of reward? These are important questions in a world for sale, with the guiding value principle that it is only when one makes money from an action, is that action worth doing.
Such market values appear as a clear social distortion as the very essence of human initiative and existence is being transformed. While we might not take much extreme concern over seemingly trivial issues such as the fact one can purchase access to the carpool lane while driving solo, the larger manifestation of a culture built on the edifice of everything being for sale, is the dehumanization of society as everyone and everything is reduce to a mere commodity for exploit.
Today, as shocking as it is, there are actually more slaves in the world than anytime in human history. Human trafficking has and continues to be a massive industry for profit, selling men, women and children into various roles.
The US Department of State has published “It is estimated that as many as 27 million men, women, and children around the world are victims of what is now often described with the umbrella term “human trafficking.” The work that remains in combating this crime is the work of fulfilling the promise of freedom—freedom from slavery for those exploited and the freedom for survivors to carry on with their lives.”
In the end, while most people who believe in the Free-Market Capitalist system would ethically stand in outrage at these vast human abuses occurring in the world, usually making distinctions between “moral and “amoral” forms of trade, the fact of the matter is that the commodification concept itself can draw no objective lines and such “extreme” realities are, in truth, simply a matter of degree with respect to application. From a purely philosophical standpoint, there is no technical difference between any form of market exploitation. The psychology inherent – the value system disorder – has and will continue to perpetuate a predatory disregard within the culture and it is only when that structural mechanism is removed from our very approach to societal organization, will the aforementioned issues find resolution.
Footnotes for “Value System Disorder”:
 Bernard Lietaer is an economist, author and professor most notable for his work to help design the EU currency system. Quote from YES! Magazine, Interview with Bernard Lietaer, “Beyond Greed and Scarcity”, Sarah van Gelder [http://www.transaction.net/press/interviews/lietaer0497.html]
 Meme defined source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meme
 Gene defined source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gene
 Richard Dawkins’ book The Selfish Gene introduced the term “meme”. Dawkins cites as inspiration the work of geneticist L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, anthropologist F. T. Cloak and ethologist J. M. Cullen.
 The inverse relationship of literacy/knowledge accumulation to superstitious belief is clear. According to the United Nations’ Arab Human Development Reports, less than 2% of Arabs have access to the Internet. Arabs represent 5% of the world’s population and yet produce only 1% of the world’s books, most of them religious. According to researcher Sam Harris: “Spain translates more books into Spanish each year than the entire Arab world has translated into Arabic since the ninth century.” It is axiomatic to assume that the growth of the Islamic Religion in Arab Nations is secured by a relative lack of outside information in those societies.
 Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. [http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/cancerlibrary/what-is-cancer]
 Disorder defined source: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/disorder
 To clarify the notion of “encoded”, this refers to structural attributes such as needing, for example, “to compete” in order to succeed in the market economy. It is built into the system’s framework, or encoded.
 To clarify the phrase, the term “Value” refers to an ethical preference in a personal or cultural sense, generally considered subjective. It becomes a basis for action. For example, a person who believes in a certain religious philosophy might establish values in favor of certain behaviors. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures.
 The Cancer Stage of Capitalism, John McMurtry, Pluto Press, 1999, p.6
 General biography of Ignaz P. Semmelweis: http://semmelweis.org/about/dr-semmelweis-biography/
 “Cultural Relativism” is a principle that was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century.
 Similar to “Cultural Relativism”, “Moral Relativism” is generally defined as: “any of several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures.”
 Please see the prior essay: “Defining Public Health”
 A general example would be the consumer values prevalent in the world today. The act of increasing ownership is common as more property is equated to increased success and more consumption is related to economic growth. Yet, such an un-conservative ethic can be considered un-sustainable given we live on a finite planet with finite resources. In fact, it has been argued by many that the “standard of living” of the United States would be, in the current scheme of things, technically impossible to extend to the rest of the world. According to some surveys: “Humanity is now using resources and producing carbon dioxide at a rate 50 percent faster than the Earth can sustain…” [ More: http://www.business-biodiversity.eu/default.asp?Menue=49&News=233 & http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/08/opinion/08friedman.html ]
 It should be understood that the more problems in the world, the more there is to service and capitalize upon. The more true problem resolution, the less capacity there is to capitalize and hence less to maintain or increase economic growth.
 A well established example of inhibited progress for the maintaining of existing profit establishments was the successful effort made by the oil industry and, by extension, the US government to slow progress toward fully electric vehicles in the 1990s. [Suggested viewing: “Who Killed the Electric Car?”: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0489037/synopsis]
 Corporate Lobbying, by its very nature, is a means to use money to influence political decisions. Suggested Reading: “Corporate Lobbyists Threaten Democracy”, Julio Godoy, IPS: [http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/08/corporate-lobbyists- threaten-democracy/]
 A unique example of this was the 2007 case in which Microsoft Corporation, dissatisfied with the information on the public encyclopedia “Wikipedia” worked to hire an editor to change the public information in their favor. [Microsoft Offers Cash for Wikipedia Edit [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- dyn/content/article/2007/01/23/AR2007012301025.html]
 A study by a Connecticut wealth management firm showed that many will get married simply for money, with the average ‘price’ that people would marry for being around $1.5 million. [http://www.yourtango.com/20072778/survey- most-people-would-marry-for-money]
 See Study: Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior, Piffa, Stancatoa, Co?te?b, Mendoza-Dentona, Dacher Keltnera, University of Michigan, 2012 [http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/02/21/1118373109]
 Ref: “How Wealth Reduces Compassion”, Daisy Grewal, Scientific American, 2012 [http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-wealth-reduces-compassion]
 “Having Less, Giving More: The Influence of Social Class on Prosocial Behavior”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2010, Vol. 99, No. 5, 771–784, 2012 [http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/phd/file/Piffetal.pdf]
 Ref: Study: Poor Are More Charitable Than The Wealthy, NPR, 2012 [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php? storyId=129068241]
 Ref: The Rich Are Less Charitable Than the Middle Class: Study, CNBC, 2012 [http://www.cnbc.com/id/48725147]
 Ref: “America’s poor are its most generous givers”, Frank Greve/McCLatchy analysis, 2009 [http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2009/05/19/68456/americas-poor-are-its-most-generous.html]
 Suggested Reading: The Engineers and the Price System, Thorstein Veblen, 1921
 Ref: “The 40 Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers”, Nathan Vardi, Forbes [http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2012/03/01/the-40-highest-earning-hedge-fund-managers-3/]
 There is a common argument that the financial sector is relevant to industrial production because it facilitates the capital by which production is originated by investment. However, that facilitation is a contrivance since the act of production in physical reality, absent the Capitalist model, has nothing to do with money or investment at all – it has to do with education, resources and engineering. Investment and finance is not real as it does not produce – it is not needed with respect to the real components of production.
 “The Instinct of Workmanship and the Irksomeness of Labor,” in Essays in Our Changing Order, Thorstein Veblen, pp. 93-94
 An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth Most Conducive to Human Happiness, William Thompson, London, William S. Orr, 1850, p.147
 Relative Deprivation: Specification, Development, and Integration, Iain Walker, Heather J. Smith, Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-521-80132-X, Google Print
 More in the essay: “Structural Classism, the State and War”
 Ref: The Importance of Economic Equality, Eben Harrell, Time, 2009 | Also See: The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Penguin, March 2009
 “Study Finds TV Alters Fiji Girls’ View of Body”, Erica Goode, The New York Times, 1999 [http://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/20/world/study-finds-tv-alters-fiji-girls-view-of-body.html]
 Example: “Pat Robertson: Obama A ‘Socialist,’ Wants To ‘Destroy’ The United States”, Paige Lavender, The Huffington Post, 2012, [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/14/pat-robertson-obaman2301228.html]
 Much controversy has existed with respect to continual decline of Western education, specifically in America. Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, former Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education, has written about what she calls The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, Conscience Press, 1999
 Example: Ronald Reagan: Protectionist, Sheldon L. Richman, 1988 [https://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx? control=489]
 A notable statement by the famous economist Milton Friedman on this issue: “Government has three primary functions. It should provide for military defense of the nation. It should enforce contracts between individuals. It should protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property. When government – in pursuit of good intentions tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the costs come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player.”
 Even Adam Smith in his writings implies that businessmen use every means at their disposal to avoid competition and to secure monopolies: “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” [An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, New York, Modern Library, 1937 p. 128]
 Economist Thomas Hodgskin wrote in the early 19th century: “It is not enough, in the eyes of legislators, that wealth has of itself a thousand charms, but they have[…]given it a multitude of privileges. In fact, it has now usurped all the power of legislation, and most penal laws are now made for the mere protection of wealth.” [Travels in the North of Germany, Describing the Present State of Social and Political Institutions, the Agriculture, Manufactures, Commerce, Education, Arts and Manners in That Country, Particularly in the Kingdom of Hanover, Thomas Hodgskin, T. Edinburgh, Archibald Constable, 1820, vol. 2, p. 228]
 An Inquiry into the Nature of Peace and the terms of its Perpetuation, Thorstein Veblen, Harvard Law, pp.326-327
 Keynesian economics, unlike the more libertarian, free-market liberation schools of economic thought, such as the Austrian School, sees, in part, government intervention as periodically needed to avoid certain problems. In the words of the online Business Dictionary: “This theory further asserts that free markets have no self-balancing mechanisms that lead to full employment. Keynesian economists urge and justify a government’s intervention in the economy through public policies that aim to achieve full employment and price stability.” [http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/Keynesian-economics.html]
 Ayn Rand’s famous novel “Anthem” is a notable, influential example of this artistic culmination of values. It takes place in a dystopian future where mankind has entered another dark age characterized by irrationality, collectivism, and socialistic thinking and economics. The concept of individuality has been eliminated. For example, the use of the word “I” is punishable by death.
 Social Mobility is structurally inhibited in the Capitalist system, with a very small percentage actually attaining upward mobility, statistically. Mobility in the United States, home of the “American Dream”, has also been increasingly declining. See: “Exceptional Upward Mobility in the US Is a Myth, International Studies Show”, Science Daily [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905141920.htm] Also See: “Harder for Americans to Rise From Lower Rungs”, New York Times, 2012 [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/us/harder-for-americans-to-rise-from- lower-rungs.html?pagewanted=all]
 While the poverty line standard is relative based on the region of application, over 50% of the world as of a 2005 World Bank Study live on less than 2.50 a day, or about $912.00 a year. [http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats]
 See the section on Malthus and Ricardo in the essay “History of Economy”.
 Clarification: Socially causal or psychosocial effects of the human-society relationship have proven some powerfulrealities about the origins of aberrant or destructive behavior. Please see the essay “Defining Public Health” for more explanation.
 A detailed extrapolation will be presented in Part III of this text.
 A detailed extrapolation will be presented in Part III of this text.
 Ref: New Survey: Majority of Employees Dissatisfied, Forbes, Susan Adams 2012 [http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/05/18/new-survey-majority-of-employees-dissatisfied/]
 Naturally, there can be no “pure” freedom in the natural world which is governed by the laws of nature, nor can unlimited freedom exist in a social condition that deals with life standard requirements for social stability. For example, one is not “free” to murder another in a direct sense. Such social contracts and values exist around not abusing others because they ease imbalance and destabilization.
 Albert Einstein was quoted as saying “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” [The New Quotable Einstein, Alice Calaprice, Princeton University Press. 2005 p.173]
 Suggested Reading: What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Michael J. Sandel, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
 This can be viewed online with respect to the EU at www.pointcarbon.com
 “For $82 a Day, Booking a Cell in a 5-Star Jail”, New York Times, April 29, 2007
 “Saving the Rhino Through Sacrifice”, Brendan Borrell, Bloomberg Businessweek, December 9, 2010
 “At Many Colleges, the Rich Kids Get Affirmative Action: Seeking Donors”, Daniel Golden, Wall Street. Journal, February 20, 2003
 “Is Cash the Answer”, Amanda Ripley, Time, April 19, 2010, pp.44-45
 “Paying people to lose weight and stop smoking”, Kevin G. Volpp, Issue Brief, L.D. Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania, vol. 14, 2009
 “Paying for VIP Treatment in a Traffic Jam”, Wall Street Journal, June 21 2007
 Trafficking in Persons Report 2012, US Department of State [http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2012/192351.htm]
(12) Structural Classism, the State and War
“Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood of his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man”- with his mouth.” -Mark Twain
Human conflict has been a consistent characteristic of society since the beginning of recorded history. While justifications of this have ranged from assumptions of immutable human propensities towards aggression and territoriality, to the religious notion of polarized metaphysical powers at work, such as forces of “good” and “evil”, history has revealed that cases of conflict generally have a rational correlation to environmental circumstances and/or cultural conditions. From the immediate, fearful stress reaction of our “fight or flight” propensity, to the calm, calculated planning of strategic national warfare, there is always a reason for such conflict and the general public’s interest to reduce conflict naturally requires we fully assess causality as deeply as we can to consider tangible solutions.
This essay will examine two general categories of “warfare”: “imperial warfare” and “class warfare”. While perhaps seemingly different, it will be argued that the root psychological mechanisms of these two categorizations are basically the same, along with how some of the actual mechanisms of “battle” are actually much more elusive or covert than many recognize. Overall, the central thesis is that the source of these seemingly immutable realities resides within the socioeconomic premise itself – in the context of a certain reinforced psychology and hence sociological schemata – not rigid determinations in our genes or lack of some moral aptitude.
Put another way, these present realities are not fueled by ideologically isolated groups such as, for example, a rogue country’s government or some exceptionally “greedy” business mentality – but rather by the most fundamental, underlying values inherent to virtually everyone’s lives in the current socioeconomic condition we perpetuate as culturally “normal”. The only difference is the degree to which these values are harnessed and for what purpose.
Imperial War: Rise of the State
The Neolithic Revolution some 12,000 years ago marked a pivotal turning point for human society as it transitioned us from almost exclusively “living off the land” – limited to the habitat’s natural regeneration – to an accelerating trend of environmental control and resource manipulation. The development of agriculture and the creation of labor-easing tools was the beginning of what can be observed today, where the spectrum of the human capacity to utilize science for the alteration of the world for our advantage appears virtually unlimited.
However, this initially slow technological adaptation has set in motion certain patterns and changes which have arguably generated many of the problems we recognize as all too common today. An example would be how imbalance through relative poverty and economic stratification has taken hold as an apparent consequence of this new capacity. In the words of neuroscientist and anthropologist Dr. Robert Sapolsky: “Hunter-gatherers [had] thousands of wild sources of food to subsist on. Agriculture changed all that, generating an overwhelming reliance on a few dozen food sources…Agriculture allowed for the stockpiling of surplus resources and thus, inevitably, the unequal stockpiling of them, stratification of society and the invention of classes. Thus it has allowed for the invention of poverty.”
Likewise, the rather nomadic lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer slowly became replaced with settled, protectionist tribes and then eventually localized city-type societies. In the words of Richard A. Gabriel in the work A Short History of War: “The invention and spread of agriculture coupled with the domestication of animals in the fifth millennium B.C. are acknowledged as the developments that set the stage for the emergence of the first large-scale, complex urban societies. These societies, which appeared almost simultaneously around 4000 B.C. in both Egypt and Mesopotamia, used stone tools, but within 500 years stone tools and weapons gave way to bronze. With bronze manufacture came a revolution in warfare.”
This is also the period that the concept of the “state” as we know it and the permanence of the “armed force” emerged. Gabriel continues: “These early societies produced the first examples of state-governing institutions, initially as centralized chiefdoms and later as monarchies…At the same time, centralization demanded the creation of an administrative structure capable of directing social activity and resources toward communal goals…The development of central state institutions and a supporting administrative apparatus inevitably gave form and stability to military structures. The result was the expansion and stabilization of the formerly loose and unstable warrior castes…By 2700 B.C. in Sumer there was a fully articulated military structure and standing army organized along modern lines. The standing army emerged as a permanent part of the social structure and was endowed with strong claims to social legitimacy. And it has been with us ever since.”
Imperial War: Illusions
“Imperialism” is defined as: “the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas.”
While traditional culture might generally think of imperial war as a variation of war in general, assuming other forms of armed, national conflict, it is argued here that the root basis of all national wars are actually imperial in nature. The literally thousands of wars in recorded human history have had to do mostly with the acquisition of resources or territory, where one group is either working to expand its power and material wealth, or working to protect itself from others trying to conquer and absorb their power and wealth.
Even many historical conflicts which on the surface appear to be for the purposes of pure ideology are often actually hidden imperial economic moves. The Christian Crusades of the 11th century, for example, are often defined as strictly religious conflicts or expressions of ideological fervor. Yet, a deeper investigation reveals a powerful undertone of trade expansion and resource acquisition, under the guise of the “religious” war. This is not to say that religions have not been a source of tremendous conflict historically, but to show that there is often an oversimplification found in many historical texts, with the economic relevance often missed or ignored. Regardless, the notion of the “moral” crusade as a form of cover for national, economic imperialism continues to this day.
In fact, there is a deeply coercive tendency witnessed throughout history when it comes to gaining public support for the act of national warfare. For instance, a cursory review of history will find that all “offensive” acts of war, meaning war initiated by a given power for whatever reason (not a response to direct invasion), originate from the constituents and associates of the governmental body – not the citizenry. Wars tend to begin with some kind of announced suggestion emanating from state power; then fueled by the corporate-state supported media; with the citizenry slowly groomed to appreciate the suggestion. It also helps the state a great deal if there is some form of emotionally striking provocation as well, which can be manipulated to further justify the intended war.
Such tactics for the manipulation of a citizenry can take many forms. The use of fear, honor (revenge), patriotic paternalism, morality, and the “common defense” are likely the most common ploys. In fact, invariably all acts of war are justified as “defensive” in the public sphere, even if there is no rational, tangible public threat to be found. Yet, there is, indeed, a core truth to this notion of “defensive” war, since acts of imperial mobilization are based on a very real, yet obscure form of economic and/or political fear – the fear of losing control or power. In other words, while there may not be a direct, immediate threat to a given, aggressor nation – the long term competitive need to continually re-secure its existing power from possible future loss is a very real and founded fear. So, in effect, this “defense” is that of elitist, upperclass self- preservation and hence usually morally unjustifiable to the public in its true terms; hence these ploys are used instead to gain public approval.
Economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen, in his famous 1917 work An Inquiry Into The Nature Of Peace And The Terms Of Its Perpetuation wrote the following on the subject of public persuasion: “Any warlike enterprise that is hopeful to be entered on must have the moral sanction of the community or of an effective majority in the community. It consequently becomes the first concern of the warlike statesman to put this moral force in train for the adventure on which he is bent. And there are two main lines of motivation…the preservation or furtherance of the community’s material interest, real or fancied – and vindication of the national honor. To these should perhaps be added a third, the advancement and perpetuation of the nations culture.”
This last point on the perpetuation of the nation’s culture is best exemplified with the common, modern Western imperial claims of seeking to spread “Freedom and Democracy”. This claim takes a paternal position, positing the idea that the current political climate of a targeted nation is simply too inhumane and intervention to “help” its citizens becomes a “moral obligation” of the invading power.
Veblen Continues: “Any Patriotism will serve as ways and means to warlike enterprise under competent management, even if [the people are] not habitually prone to a bellicose temper. Rightly managed, ordinary patriotic sentiment may readily be mobilized for warlike adventure by any reasonably adroit and single-minded body of statesmen – of which there is abundant illustration.” “…it is [also] quite a safe generalization that when hostilities have once been got fairly underway by the interested statesman, the patriotic sentiment of the nation may confidently be counted on to back the enterprise, irrespective of the merits of the quarrel”.
In American, the phrase “I’m against the war but support the troops” is common among those who oppose a given conflict but wish to be viewed as still respectful of their country in general. This phrase is unique as it is actually irrational. To logically “support the troops” would mean to support the role of being a “troop”, hence the acts that are required by that role. The implicit gesture, of course, is that one supports the need for war and hence supports the men and women of the armed forces who assist that need. Yet, the statement itself is fully contradictory and exists as a form of “doublethink” as to disagree with the existence of a certain war is to wholly disagree with actions of those who engage it. It is similar to saying “I’m against cancer killing people but I support cancer’s right to life”.
The armed forces have historically been held in high public esteem by a citizenry and this is continually glorified by the government to the extent that the assumption of “honor” takes on an irrational life of its own. In fact, it is compounded psychologically by a built-in ceremonialism. Honor is formalized through awards, metals, parades, postures of respect and other adornments which impress the public as to the supposed value of the actions of the soldiers and hence the institution of war. This further reinforces the cultural taboo where to insult any element of the war apparatus is seen as showing disrespect for the sacrifice of the armed forces.
From the standpoint of true protection and problem resolution, as would be the “honorable” case of a firefighter who saves a child from a burning building, this admiration is warranted. The selfless, altruistic position of putting one’s life at risk for the benefit of another is naturally a noble act. However, in the context of historical warfare, the personal altruism of a soldier does not justify broad acts of national, imperial aggression, no matter how well-intentioned the soldiers may be.
Furthermore, this fear-oriented power preservation by the established governmental apparatus also naturally generates a “sub-war” against the domestic citizenry itself, almost always amplified in times of war. Those who challenge or oppose a given national conflict have historically been met with direct oppression and, by cultural extension, public resentment. The common yet ambiguous legal violations of “treason” and “sedition” are historical examples of this, along with the pattern of suspending the rights of citizens during times of war, sometimes even including free speech.
Socially, the use of “patriotism”, as noted before, is also very common to the effect that those who do not support a war are often dismissed as not supporting the national citizenry by extension, creating alienation. More recently, those in opposition and perhaps engaging in protest actions have been considered “terrorists” by the state, a powerful incrimination with severe legal consequences if deemed true by the authorities.
However, this “sub-war” can be deconstructed into an even deeper mechanism – what could be called a kind of social control in support of imperial intent. In many countries today, either by obligation from birth or by persuasion to legally binding contracts the pressure or motivation to join the military itself is manipulative on many levels. Advertising tactics such as “money for college” or “personal accomplishment” are common, arguably targeting the lower rungs of the economic hierarchy. The United States is on record for having at times spent billions a year ($4.7 billion in 2009) on global public relations in assist pubic image and recruitment.
Imperial War: Source
When the traditional, propagandized illusions in defense of the act of organized human murder and resource theft have been overridden, dismissing such shallow justifications as paternal patriotism, honor and protectionism, we find that war today is actually an inherent characteristic of the propertied, scarcity-driven business system. It would be false to say that war is a product of Capitalism in and of itself since the practice of war predates Capitalism extensively. However, when we deconstruct the premise itself we see that war is, indeed, a central, immutable feature of Capitalism as it is simply a more sophisticated manifestation of these same, divisive, competitive, archaic values and practices.
Just as a corporation competes with other corporations of the same genre for income survival, invariably seeking monopoly and cartel when it can, all governments on the planet are fundamentally premised on the same form of survival by extension. Using America as a case study, in 2011 the country gained about $2.3 trillion in federal income tax revenues alone. These revenues are important to the operation of what is, in effect, the business institution known as “America”, in the same way the annual earnings of Microsoft affect its ability to function. America is, in truth, a corporation in function and form, with all the registered businesses existing in its domestic legal web to be considered subsidiaries of this parent institution we traditionally call the “US government”.
Therefore, all actions of the US government, along with all competing governments in the world, must naturally keep an acute business acumen in operation. However, what separates this “parent corporation” (America) from its subsidiary sectors (corporations) is the scale of its capacity to preserve itself and keep a competitive edge. Its necessity to preserve the core drivers of its economy is crucial and a cursory glance at history regarding how the US was able to gain and maintain its status of a global “empire”, shows this business acumen clearly. The manifestation is really little different in principle than how a specific corporation seeks to gain a commercial monopoly. Only in this case the ideal of global monopoly (empire) is not restricted by legal mandate as is commonly claimed by the domestic legal restraint – it is forcefully executed in the theater of imperial war.
In fact, interestingly enough but not unexpectedly, the very act of this self-preservation through military might have itself become a powerfully lucrative business venture which often improves the economic state of the nation and hence profits to its corporate constituents. Today, we can extend these economic benefits to the massive military expenditures  along with the reconstruction of war-torn areas by the conquering states’ commercial subsidiaries, the slow prodding of a country’s integrity through trade tariffs, sanctions and debt impositions for the sake of population subjugation for the benefit of transcontinental industries  and many other modern “economic war” conventions.
This point was likely best expressed by one of America’s most decorated army officers of the 20th century: Major General Smedley D. Butler. Butler was the author of a famous book released after World War I titled “War is a Racket”, and stated the following with respect to the business of war: “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”
He also wrote in 1935: “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
John A. Hobson’s (1858-1940) monumental work Imperialism: A Study described the tendency as a “social parasitic process by which a moneyed interest within the state, usurping the reins of government, makes for imperial expansion in order to fasten economic suckers into foreign bodies so as to drain them of their wealth in order to support domestic luxury.”
Now, many would think about these acts of abuse as a form of “corruption” but this reasoning is difficult to justify in the broad view. The ethical and moral argument of “fair” and “unfair” has no cogent integrity within the system framework inherent to Capitalism. This is one of the unfortunate failures of realization by those who are active in the message of “world peace” or “anti-war” activism but yet still defend the competitive market model. In other words, “world peace” appears simply not a possibility within the currently accepted model of economic practice.
Every step of the application of global Capitalism, starting from its European inception, has been associated with vast violence, exploitation and subjugation. European colonialism, the capture of African “slaves” for use and sale, the forced subjugation of countless colonial peoples, and the creation of privileged sanctuaries of profiteering and power for the many government-created or government-protected businesses, only touches the surface of its inherent character as a “war system” of thought.
Thorstein Veblen, again writing from 1917, makes the direct connection to what he called the “pecuniary” or monetary foundation of war: “It has appeared in the course of the argument that the preservation of the present pecuniary law and order, with all its incident of ownership and investment, is incompatible with an unwarlike state of peace and security. This current scheme of investment, business, and [Industrial] sabotage, should have an appreciably better chance of survival in the long run if the present conditions of warlike preparation and national “insecurity” were maintained, or if the projected peace were left in a somewhat problematic state, sufficiently precarious to keep national animosities alert[…]”. So, if the projectors of this peace at large are in any degree inclined to seek concessive terms on what the peace might hopefully be made enduring, it should evidently be part of their endeavors from the outset to put events in train for the present abatement and eventual abrogation of the rights of ownership and of the price-system in which these rights take effect.”
Further evidence of this context can be found in the more modern forms of indirect violence. These include “economic warfare” approaches, as mentioned before, which can serve as complete acts of aggression in and of themselves, or as a part of a procedural prelude to traditional military action. Examples come in the form of trade tariffs, sanctions, debt by coercion, and many other lesser known, covert methods to weaken a country.
Global financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF have heavy vested state and hence business interests behind them and they have the power to allocate debt to “bailout” suffering countries at the expense of the quality of life of its citizenry, often taking charge of natural resources or industries through select privatization or other manners which can weaken a country’s ability to the effect that it becomes reliant on others, to the advantage of commercial outsiders.
This is simply a more covert manner of subjugation than was seen, say, with the British Empire’s imperial expansion through its “East India Company” – the commercial force that took advantage of the newly conquered regional resources and labor in Asia in the 17th century. However, unlike British empire expansion, American empire expansion did not gain its status through military action alone, even though such a presence is still enormous globally. Rather, the use of complex economic strategies that repositioned other countries into subjugation to US economic & geo- economic interests was made common.
Class War: Inherent Psychology
Moving on to the “class war” this notion has been noted in historical literature for centuries based partly on assumptions of human nature, partly on assumptions of a lack of capacity of the Earth and production means to meet everyone’s needs and partly on the more relevant awareness that the system of market Capitalism inevitably guarantees class division and imbalance due to its inherent mechanisms, both structurally and psychologically.
Founding Free-Market economist David Ricardo’s statement that “If wages should rise…then… profits would necessarily fall” is a simple acknowledgment of the structural assurance of class conflict as the wage relates to the lower “working class” and the profits the upper “capitalist class” and as one gains, the other loses. Likewise, even Adam Smith in his canonical The Wealth of Nations clearly expresses the nature of power preservation on the behavioral (psychological) level, stating: “Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”
However, the true use of government for the purposes of the upper or business class seems to be stubbornly ignored by Smith, Ricardo and even many of today’s economists, who seem unable or unwilling to take into account present-day events. Even the most committed, laissez-faire market economist still expresses the need for government and its legal apparatus to exist as something of a “referee” to keep the game “fair”. Terms such a “crony-capitalism” are often used under the assumption that “collusion” between a governmental constituency and the seemingly detached corporate institutions is of an unethical or “criminal” nature.
Yet again, as noted before, it is illogical to assume that the nature of government is anything else at its core than a vehicle to support the businesses that comprise the wealth of that country. The business apparatus really is the country in technical form, regardless of the surface claim that a “democratic” country is organized around the interests of the citizenry itself. In fact, it can be well argued that no government in recorded history has ever offered its citizens a legitimate place in governance or legislation and within the context of modern Capitalism, which is still a manifestation of centuries old values and assumptions with a clear elitism in intent, it is interesting how this myth of “democracy” perpetuates itself today in the way that it does.
To further this point, one of the architects of the US Constitution of the United States, James Madison, expressed his concern very clearly regarding the need to oppress the political power of those in the lower classes. He stated: “In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability.”
So, starting with this awareness that the very premise of global “democracy” is deeply inhibited by the Capitalist incentive system to competitively maintain power on the level of the state to assist the upper class in preserving political and, by extension, financial power, a clearer picture of how deep this class war runs is obtained. Likely the most striking aspect of this is how such mechanisms of class division exist in our every day lives but yet go unseen since they are structurally built in to the financial, political and legal apparatus itself.
Class War: Structural Mechanisms
In the modern day, with 40 percent of the planet’s wealth being owned by 1 percent of the world’s population, we find that both in terms of system structure and incentive psychology, powerful mechanisms exist to maintain and even accelerate this grossly disproportionate global wealth imbalance. Needless to say, given the financial basis of everything in the world today, with great wealth comes great power. Hence, as described prior, this power enables a more robust strategy for competitive gain and self-preservation and consequently it has hence extended into the very structure of the social system itself, assuring that the upper class has great ease in maintaining their vast wealth security, while the lower classes face enormous structural barriers to attaining any basic level of financial security.
Some mechanisms of this class war oppression are fairly obvious. For instance, the debate over taxation, and how there has been an historical favoring of the corporate rich over the working poor, is one example. The argument of the establishment usually revolves around the idea that since the rich are also the “ownership class” and are partly responsible for the generation of general employment, they should be given more financial freedom. As an aside, it is easy to see that there is very little true merit in this one-sided argument since the financial oppression through pubic taxation is actually limiting the purchasing power of the general public, creating an arguably more powerful impediment to economic growth than the mere limiting of the coffers of the corporate “employers”. The only exception to this, which transcends the argument of the rich as “job creators”, is the advent of plutonomy, which will be addressed towards the end of this essay.
Class favoring taxation aside, four other more critical structural factors will be discussed: (a) Debt, (b) Interest, (c) Inflation and (d) Income disparity.
(a) Debt is a misunderstood social practice in that most assume debt is an option in society today. In reality, the entire financial system is built out of debt, quite literally. All money is brought into existence through loans in the modern economy, coming from central and commercial banks who essentially create the money out of demand itself. This basic mechanism of monetary creation is a powerful force of economic oppression. Household debt today tends to consist of credit card loans, housing loans, car loans and student (educational) loans. Those in the lower classes naturally hold higher levels of this consumer debt than the upper class since the very nature of being unable to pay outright for basic social staples, such a car or home, forces the need for banks loans.
The result is that the pressure of debt is constant in the lives of the vast majority.   The general wage and income rates being what they are on average, naturally as low as possible to assist with the dominant Capitalist ethos of cost-efficiency upon which the entire society is engineered, the wage income made by the average employee tends to only barely meet the basic loan servicing requirements while in concert with meeting basic, everyday survival needs. Hence a form of “running in place” is constant and the possibility of social mobility up the class hierarchy is deeply impeded, let alone the difficulty of simply getting out of debt itself.
(b) Interest: Coupled with debt is the profit attribute associated the sale of money itself. Since the Capitalist market economy supports the general commodification of virtually everything, it is no surprise that money itself is sold into existence for profit and this comes in the form of interest. Whether it is a central bank creating money in exchange for government securities or a commercial bank making a mortgage loan to an average person, interest fees are almost always attached.
As mentioned in previous essays, this creates the condition where more debt is generated than actual money in circulation to cover it. When a loan is made, only what is termed the “principal” is produced. The money supply of any country consists of this principal in form, which is the aggregate value of all loans made (money creation). The interest fee, on the other hand, is not in existence. This means that, on the social level, all those taking interest bearing loans must find money from the preexisting money supply in order to cover it when paying the loan back. In this process, since all interest paid is being pulled from the principal, it is a mathematical eventuality that certain loans simply cannot be repaid. There simply isn’t enough money in the system at any one time.
The result is an even more powerful downward class pressure on those holding such basic, common loans since there is always this basic scarcity in the money supply itself and everyone working to service their loans have to contend with the inevitable reality that someone fail to meet their loan repayment in the long run. Bankruptcy is a common result in those segments of society that get this “short end of the stick”. Even more troubling is how the banking mechanism reacts to those who are unable to fulfill their loan obligation. The loan contract and legal system support the power of banks, in most case, to “repossess” the physical property of those who cannot pay.
If we think deeply about this ability to “repossess”, it is arguably an indirect form of theft. If it is inevitable that some will succumb to not meeting their loan repayment due to the inherent scarcity in the money supply, with the possible result of the physical property obtained from that loaned money being repossessed by the bank via contractual agreements, then the bank’s acquisition of such true, physical property is inevitable over time. This means the banks, which are always owned by members of the upper class to be sure, are taking houses, cars and property of the lower classes, simply because the money they created out of thin air in the form of a loan is not being returned to them. This is, in essence, a covert form of physical wealth transfer from the lower to the upper class.
However, returning to the subject of interest itself, such realities are of little direct concern to the upper class. Given the wealth surplus inherent to their financial status, coupled with the lack of necessity to even take loans most of the time due to this surplus, the scarcity pressure inherent to the money supply due to interest fees always falls on the shoulders of the lower classes. At the same time, the wealthy are actually further class-protected as the phenomenon of investment income via interest earned from large savings accounts, certificates of deposit and other means, turns this vehicle of social oppression for the poor into a vehicle of financial advantage for the rich.
(c) Inflation is generally defined as “The rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising, and, subsequently, purchasing power is falling.” Unfortunately this common definition gives no insight into its true causality. While there has been debate as to the true causes of inflation in different economic schools, the “Quantity Theory of Money” has been proven as the most relevant. In short, this theory simply recognizes that the more money in circulation, the more inflation or rising prices. In other words, all things being equal, if we double the money supply, price levels will also double, etc. The new money dilutes the value of the existing money in a variation of the supply-demand theory of value.
The consequence of this is what we could call a “hidden tax” on people’s savings and fixed income rates. For example, let us assume the inflation rate is 3.5% a year. If you have $30,000, in ten years it will only buy about $21,000 worth of goods. While this might appear to have an equal effect for the whole of society, the reality is that it deeply effects the poor much more than the rich when it comes to survival. A person with 3 million dollars in savings is not much hindered by the 3.5% loss of purchasing power. However, a person with only $30,000 in savings, working to perhaps put a downpayment on a home in the future, is deeply affected by this hidden tax. is going to In the context of structural classism, where fixed attributes of the system itself assist in the oppression of the poor and helping of the rich, the mechanism of this hidden tax in also immutably built in. The scarcity in the money supply to meet debt obligations force new loans constantly in the economy. Coupled with that is the now globally utilized monetary expansion process known as the Fractional Reserve Lending system.
Contrary to popular belief, most loans are not given from a bank’s existing deposits. They are invented in real time, limited only by a set percentage of their existing deposits. In short, due to this process over time, it is currently possible that for every $10,000 deposited, about $90,000 can be created from it through the process of ongoing loans and deposits across the entire banking system. This pyramiding of money, coupled with the interest pressure that creates scarcity in the money supply, reveals that the system is inherently inflationary.
(d) Income differences across society also have both a psychological and structural causality. Psychologically, they are driven, in part, by the basic profit and cost preservation incentive necessary to remain competitive and functional in the market. In many ways this incentive could be considered cognitively structural, as there is a behavioral threshold which all players in the market economy must adhere when it comes to survival. In turn, this interest of self-preservation though cost-efficiency and maximizing profits, while basic to the Capitalist game at its core, shows a clear tendency to extend as an overall survival philosophy or human value system in general.
In other words, social values become altered by this economic need for constant self-preservation and very often it manifests itself into behavior which, in abstraction, might be condemned as “excessive”, “selfish” or “greedy” – when, in fact, such deemed characteristics are mere extensions or matters of degree with respect to this basic conditioning to “stay ahead”.
Therefore, the overall trend of increasing income inequality in general should not be a surprise. While the United States, with its deeply competitive nature, is a highlight of extreme class inequality today, the trend is still very much a global phenomenon. While the debate about historical trends vs current trends can be made regarding why this period of time, the early 21st century, is showing such extensive increases in the wealth gap – we might conclude that certain structural factors have made their way into the system and these factors are assisting the disparity. We may also conclude that these mechanisms are not anomalies of the system – but rather represent a natural evolution of Capitalism through time.
For example, the vast income now coming from “capital gains” is a case in point. While seemingly a minor nuance of general income, some economic analysts have deemed capital gains to be the “key ingredient of income disparity in the US”. Capital gains are defined as “[t]he amount by which an asset’s selling price exceeds its initial purchase price. A realized capital gain is an investment that has been sold at a profit.” Its most common context is with respect to the selling of stocks, bonds, derivatives, futures and other abstract “trading” vehicles.
It has been found that in the United States alone, the top 0.1 percent of the population earns about half of all capital gains, and such gains account for about 60 percent of the income of the top 400 richest citizens. The class mechanism of capital gains is interesting because it is a privileged form of income. While the stock market might be used for conservative mutual fund and retirement investment by the general public, it is really an upper class person’s game when it comes to substantial returns due to the high level of capital initially needed to facilitate such high value returns. Like the elitism of high level interest income, capital gains is a class securing mechanism fueled by preexisting substantial wealth.
Then we have the differences in income with respect to one’s position in the corporate hierarchy. In a study performed by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, it was found that Canada’s top CEOs make an average worker’s yearly salary in 3 hours. In the United States, according to research by the Economic Policy Institute “the average annual earnings of the top 1 percent of wage earners grew 156 percent from 1979 to 2007; for the top 0.1 percent they grew 362 percent. In contrast, earners in the 90th to 95th percentiles had wage growth of 34 percent, less than a tenth as much as those in the top 0.1 percent tier. Workers in the bottom 90 percent had the weakest wage growth, at 17 percent from 1979 to 2007.”
They continue: “The large increase in wage inequality is one of the main drivers of the large upward distribution of household income to the top 1 percent, the others being the rising inequality of capital income and the growing share of income going to capital rather than wages and compensation. The result of these three trends was a more than doubling of the share of total income in the United States received by the top 1 percent between 1979 and 2007 and a large increase in the income gap between those at the top and the vast majority. In 2007, average annual incomes of the top 1 percent of households were 42 times greater than incomes of the bottom 90 percent (up from 14 times greater in 1979), and incomes of the top 0.1 percent were 220 times greater (up from 47 times greater in 1979).”
Similar patterns can be found in other industrialized nations. In fact, in 2013 even China has been discussing their growing income gap problem with proposals to ease the disparity. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in a 2011 report found that countries with historically low levels of income inequality have experienced significant increases over the past decade. 
Causality in the form of clearly defined structural mechanisms are more difficult to pin down with respect to this general trend of employment related income imbalance. The combination of the psychological incentive of self-preservation and self-maximization inherent to the value system of Capitalism, coupled with the ever-changing legal, tax and financial policy related variables in play, along with the basic strategic edge maintained by the upper classes due to their existing wealth security, creates a complex, synergistic mechanism of class preservation and external oppression.
A subtle yet revealing statistical point to also note is how during recent recessions in the United States, the wealth gap has actually widened. It is axiomatic to conclude that if the system of economy was without structural interference in favor of the wealthy, a national recession on the scale of the what occurred from 2007 onward should have affected most everyone negatively, regardless of social class. Yet, it was reported in 2010 that “the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year…Families at the $50,000 median level slipped lower.”
As a final point on the issue of income inequality, it is important to note how national economic growth often relates to those of the upper class itself, reducing the general economic relevance of the lower classes. The term “plutonomy” is appropriate in this case. A “plutonomy” is defined as “Economic growth that is powered and consumed by the wealthiest upper class of society. Plutonomy refers to a society where the majority of the wealth is controlled by an ever-shrinking minority; as such, the economic growth of that society becomes dependent on the fortunes of that same wealthy minority.”
Perhaps the best way to describe the nature of plutonomy and its relevance to the modern day, is to consider the words of those who embrace it. In 2005, Citigroup, a powerful global banking institution, produced a series of internal memos on the subject and they were quite candid in their analysis and conclusions.
They stated: ”The world is dividing into two blocs – the Plutonomy and the rest. The U.S., UK, and Canada are the key plutonomies – economies powered by the wealthy.” “In a plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”. There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.” “We should worry less about what the average consumer – say the 50th percentile – is going to do, when that consumer is (we think) less relevant to the aggregate data than how the wealthy feel and what they are doing. This is simply a case of mathematics, not morality.”
With 20% of the American population controlling 85% of the country’s wealth, it is clear that those utilizing that 85% are more important to the GDP or growth of the economy. What this means is that the financial system has little incentive to care about the actions or financial well-being of most of the public.
It continues: “the heart of our plutonomy thesis [is] that the rich are the dominant source of income, wealth and demand in plutonomy countries such as the UK, US, Canada and Australia… Secondly, we believe that the rich are going to keep getting richer in coming years, as capitalists (the rich) get an even bigger share of GDP as a result, principally, of globalization. We expect the global pool of labor in developing economies to keep wage inflation in check, and profit margins rising – good for the wealth of capitalists, relatively bad for developed market unskilled/outsource-able labor. This bodes well for companies selling to or servicing the rich.”
With respect to the relevance of the rest of the population, the memo states: “We see the biggest threat to plutonomy as coming from a rise in political demands to reduce income inequality, spread the wealth more evenly, and challenge forces such as globalization which have benefited profit and wealth growth.” “Our conclusion? The three levers governments and societies could pull on to end plutonomy are benign. Property rights are generally still intact, taxation policies neutral to favorable, and globalization is keeping the supply of labor in surplus, acting as a brake on wage inflation.” 
While plutonomy itself might not exactly be a source of class conflict it is certainly a result. Chrystia Freeland, author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else makes a point about the nature of this framed psychology inherent to those of the opulent minority: “You don’t do this in a kind of chortling, smoking your cigar, conspiratorial thinking way. You do it by persuading yourself that what is in your own personal self-interest is in the interests of everybody else. So you persuade yourself that, actually, government services, things like spending on education, which is what created that social mobility in the first place, need to be cut so that the deficit will shrink, so that your tax bill doesn’t go up. And what I really worry about is, there is so much money and so much power at the very top, and the gap between those people at the very top and everybody else is so great, that we are going to see social mobility choked off and society transformed.”
A great deal more could be said with respect to the multi-level battling occurring on the planet Earth, mostly centric to financial and market power and its institutional preservation. From physical violence to subtle legal manipulation, the theme is consistent and dominant.
It could even be argued that progress itself has war waged against it since established corporate institutions who maintain powerful market share in a given industry, will often work to ruthlessly shut down anything that can compete with them, even if the product is progressively better or more sustainable in utility. Change and progress itself, in real terms, are not readily welcomed in the capitalist system as it often disturbs the success of established institutions. The incredibly slow rate of application of new, sustainability improving technological methods is a case in point.
In fact, on the corporate level, there is not only a perpetual war to reduce such competition but there is also the ongoing exploitation of the public in general. Adam Smith actually made this point in his The Wealth of Nations, stating: “The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public[…]To narrow the competition is always the interest of dealers[…]But to narrow the competition…can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow- citizens.”
On the national level, “peace” today seems to be merely a pause between conflicts on the stage of global civilization. There is a war going on somewhere virtually all the time and when there isn’t, the major powers are busy building more advanced weapons and/or selling off the old ones to other countries who are posturing in the same way, all under the name of not only protection but in the name of “good business” as well.
Even nations themselves have taken on a form of class hierarchy with dominant 1st world nations subjugating poor 3rd world nations. Common gradient terms such as superpowers, powers, sub- powers and vassal states can be found in historical literature with respect to the national class hierarchy and the structural mechanisms which keep this gradient in form are not very different in intent than what keeps the social classes in order.
For example, while the debt and interest systems, as described, do very well to keep downward pressure on the lower classes, structurally limiting prosperity and social mobility, the same effect occurs to repress a nation via the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Even John Adams, the second president of the United States pointed this out with his statement: “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”
On the broadest scale, the real war being waged is on problem resolution and human harmony. The real war is on a balance of power and social justice. The real war, in effect, is on the institution of economic equality.  In the words of former supreme court justice, Louis D. Brandeis: “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
All across the world today people talk about the need for equality. Most literate people in the world have no respect for gender or racial bias. The idea of being sexist or racist has become a deeply abhorred view, even though it was not that long ago in the Western world such cultural views were considered “normal”. There appears to be a course of evolution which wishes to equalize society which is, by definition, what the underlying gesture of “democracy” is supposed to denote.
Yet, in the midst of all this, the most oppressive form of segregated human suffering continues largely unnoticed in its true context. Today, it is not race, gender or creed which keeps one most oppressed – it is the institution of class. It is now an issue of “rich” and “poor” and, like racism, these ideological and ultimately structural forms of oppression discriminate and divide the human species in deeply powerful and destructive ways.
In the broad view, this theatre of multidimensional warfare – truly a world at war with itself – is wholly unsustainable. It is becoming more and more clear, given the accelerating social problems at hand, that the ethos of all-out competition and narrow self-preservation at the expense of others – whether on the personal, corporate, class, ideological or national level – will not be the source of any resolution or long term human prosperity. It is going to take a new type of thinking to overcome these sociological trends and at the heart of such dramatic cultural change rests the change of the socioeconomic premise itself.
Footnotes for “Structural Classism, the State and War”:
 What is Man? And other Irreverent Essays, “Man’s place in the animal world”, Mark Twain, 1896, p.157
 “The fight-or-flight response” (or the acute stress response) was first described by American physiologist Walter Bradford Cannon. His theory states that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system, priming the animal for fighting or fleeing.
 Sometimes also called the Agricultural Revolution, it was the world’s first historically verifiable revolution in agriculture. It was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement which supported an increasingly large population and the basis for modern social patterns today.
 Suggested Reading: Exponentially Accelerating Information Technologies Could Put an End to Corporations [http://scienceprogress.org/2011/06/exponentially-growing-information-technology-will-put-an-end-to-corporations/]
 Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, Robert Sapolsky, W. H. Freeman, 1998, p.383
 A Short History of War: The Evolution of Warfare and Weapons, Richard A Gabriel, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, Chapter 1, 1992
] “Imperialism” definition source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imperialism
 Ref: Economic Development of the North Atlantic Community, Dudley Dillard, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1967, pp.3- 178.
 The use of religion to generate political support for imperial acts of war is quite common historically. Even in the United States today, a general undertone of religious war or of acting on the behalf of “God” has consistently been made by politicians with respect to recent military actions. Islamic and Jewish states appear to do the same thing, along with states. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for example, which is generally acknowledged as a deeply religious conflict for “holy” territory, reveals, upon closer inspection, that religion, while perhaps a real factor in the public mind overall, is actually not the root of the conflict. The real root appears to be elite imperialism and resource acquisition in general, with religion used as means to foster and maintain public support. Suggested Reading: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/globebeyond/israel-palestine-not-a-religious-conflict/558353
 State supported media is commonly defined as media produced by direct funding from a country’s government. While this is still common in the world and often subject to state propaganda, in the United States, a similar yet more obscure form has emerged – something we could call corporate-state supported media. Corporate statism is a form of “corporatism” whose adherents hold that the corporate group is the basis of society and the state. The poetic tradition of the “free press” in the US, being without “regulation” or “interference”, is a long standing value and assumption. Yet, when we factor in the reality of the increasing concentration of major media outlets, such as the fact that as of 2012 six corporations control 90% of them* – coupled with the basic understanding that there is little to no separation between the government and its corporations by default in the Capitalist rooted socioeconomic model between the government and its corporations – it is difficult to defend the idea that the most dominant news outlets exist without ideological influence towards preserving the status quo since they are so bound up with it. With respect to the initiation of war, a statistical review of historical media for the past 100 years will show a deep support by all major news outlets towards the government’s interests. [*http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media- in-america-2012-6]
 Former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski understood this well, and stated in his famous work The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives: “The attitude of the American public toward the external projection of American power has been much more ambivalent. The public supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (Basic Books Publishing, 1998, pp. 24-5) “…as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”(Basic Books Publishing, 1998, p.211)
 The term paternalism is defined as : “a system under which an authority undertakes to supply needs or regulate conduct of those under its control.” [http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paternalism] The term “patriotic paternalism” denotes the assumption that a sovereign nation knows better than another and hence it works to influence and take control of the nation for the supposed benefit of its people.
 In the modern day, the term “preemptive war” is commonly used to justify an act of aggression by the claim it is a defensive move to thwart a looming attack of some kind by the target.
 Former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski expresses this “paternalistic defense” clearly in his work The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. He states with respect to the need for America to essentially remain in control of the world: “America is now the only global superpower, and Eurasia is the globe’s central arena. Hence, what happens to the distribution of power on the Eurasian continent will be of decisive importance to America’s global primacy and to America’s historical legacy.” (Basic Books Publishing, 1998, p.194) “To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.” (Ibid., p.40) “Henceforth, the United States may have to determine how to cope with regional coalitions that seek to push America out of Eurasia, thereby threatening America’s status as a global power.” (Ibid., p.55)
 An Inquiry Into the Nature of Peace and the Terms of Its Perpetuation, Thorstein Veblen, Echo Library, 1917 p.16
 Ibid. p.7
 Ibid. p.16
 Ref: Can You Support the Troops but Not the War? Troops Respond [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-rieckhoff/can-you-support-the-troop_b_26192.html]
 “Doublethink” a term coined by George Orwell which describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct.
 “Treason” is defined as: “the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance” [http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/treason]
 “Sedition” is defined as: “incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority” [http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/sedition]
 From World War II’s Japanese-American Internment camps which imprisoned over 127,000 US citizens, [http://www.ushistory.org/us/51e.asp] to the suspension of civil liberties as such as “habeas corpus”, [http://www.salon.com/2009/04/11/bagram_3/] to the prosecution for mere speech, [http://www.history.com/this- day-in-history/us-congress-passes-sedition-act] rights violations during wartime is an historical constant.
 A recent example of this was the “Occupy Movement” uprising which was later revealed to be considered a possible “terrorist threat” by the FBI. [http://www.justiceonline.org/commentary/fbi-files-ows.html]
 Israel, for example, enforces near full conscription of its citizens. [http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/07/20127853118591495.html]
 Ref: Why Is Getting Out of the U.S. Army So Tough? [http://nation.time.com/2012/05/04/why-is-getting-out-of-the- u-s-army-so-tough/]
 Ref: Military recruiters target isolated, depressed areas [http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2002612542recruits09.html]
 Source: Pentagon Spending Billions on PR to Sway World Opinion [http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/02/05/pentagon-spending-billions-pr-sway-world-opinion/]
 Source: Federal Revenues by Source [http://www.heritage.org/federalbudget/federal-revenue-sources]
 Ref: The 25 Most Vicious Iraq War Profiteers [http://www.businesspundit.com/the-25-most-vicious-iraq-war- profiteers]
 Ref: Ten Companies Profiting Most from War [http://247wallst.com/2012/02/28/ten-companies-profiting-most-from- war/]
 Ref: Advocates of War Now Profit From Iraq’s Reconstruction [http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jul/14/nation/na- advocates14]
 Ref: Deadly Sanctions Regime: Economic Warfare against Iran [http://www.globalresearch.ca/deadly-sanctions- regime-economic-warfare-against-iran/5305921]
 Ref: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions [http://www.democracynow.org/2004/11/9/confessions_of_an_economic_hit_man]
 Ref: Banana Wars: Major General Smedley Butler [http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/1900s/p/Banana-Wars-Major- General-Smedley-Butler.htm] 425 War is a Racket, Smedley D. Butler, William H Huff Publishing, 1935, Chapter 1, p.1
 Originally in Common Sense, 1935. Reproduced in Hans Schmidt’s Maverick Marine: General Smedley D. Butler and the Contradictions of American Military History. University Press of Kentucky, 1998 p.231
 Imperialism: A Study, J.A. Hobson, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1965, p.367
 Ref: Western Colonialism defined: [http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/126237/colonialism-Western]
 An Inquiry Into the Nature of Peace and the Terms of Its Perpetuation, Thorstein Veblen, B.W. Hubsch, 1917 pp.366- 367
 Ibid. p.367
 Ref: Our Economic Warfare [http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/70162/percy-w-bidwell/our-economic-warfare]
 As noted by research by the STWR regarding the World Bank: “In most of its client countries, it is virtually the only doorway to access international trade, development finance and private investment capital. It derives its power and policy agendas from its wealthiest shareholders –governments that comprise the G-7…who routinely use the Bank to secure lucrative trade and investment deals in developing countries for their respective transnational corporations (TNCs).” Ref: IMF, World Bank & Trade [http://www.stwr.org/imf-world-bank-trade/corporate-power-and-influence-in-the-world- bank.html]
 Ref: East India Company [http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/176643/East-India-Company]
 As of 2011, the US military exists in over 140 countries, with an estimated 660+ bases. Ref: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/sep/14/ron-paul/ron-paul-says-us-has-military-personnel- 130-nation/
 Ref: Why the Developing World Hates the World Bank [http://tech.mit.edu/V122/N11/col11parek.11c.html]
 The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, David Ricardo, 1821, Dent Edition, 1962,p.64
 An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, 1776, par. V.1.2
 Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787, Robert Yates, Alston Mygatt, p.183
 Ref: One percent holds 39 percent of global wealth [http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/05/31/one-percent-holds-39- percent-of-global-wealth/]
 Ref: Poor Americans Pay Double The State, Local Tax Rates Of Top One Percent [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/21/poor-americans-state-local-taxes_n_1903993.html]
 Ref: Don’t Tax the Job Creators [http://www.cnbc.com/id/48290347/Don039tTaxtheJobCreatorsRomney]
 Ref: Private Debt Kills the Economy [http://www.globalresearch.ca/private-debt-kills-the-economy/5303842]
 For full treatment on the creation of money, see: Modern Money Mechanics, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 1961
 Ref: U.S. Credit Card Debt Grows, Fewer Americans Make Payments On Time [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/19/us-credit-card-debt-grows_n_2158010.html]
 Ref: Drowning In Medical Debt? Filing For Bankruptcy Could Be Your Life Raft [http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-01-27/news/30669714_1_bankruptcy-filers-medical-debt-credit-score]
 Ref: The Debt That Won’t Go Away [http://www.cnbc.com/id/40680905]
 A common objection to this analysis is the assumption that interest income is also output into the money supply through savings accounts, C.D.s and other such investments. However, this assumes that that money is being created during the time of payment. This is not true. Interest income payments are generated by the existing profits of the financial institution so the assumption does not change the equation. The interest fee required for payment simply doesn’t exist in the money supply.
 It is interesting to point out as an aside that banking institutions by which loans are obtained for a purchase – such as a home – are able to take the full property regardless of the value paid in prior. Even if 99% of the loan is paid off, they can still take 100% of the property if the final payments are not made.
 For example, a person who deposits $1 million into a C.D. at 3% interest annually will generate $30,000 a year merely for that deposit alone. In terms of percentage, 3% may not seem as that dramatic. In terms of absolute value, compared to the income of the vast majority, it is quite dramatic.
 “Inflation” defined source http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/inflation.asp#axzz2JypjmRJs
 Suggested reading Macroeconomics: Theory and Policy, Robert J. Gordon, ”Modern theories of inflation” McGraw-Hill, 1988
 “Quantity Theory of Money” defined source: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/05/010705.asp#axzz2JypjmRJs
 3.5% annual depreciation after 10 years. Original Value $30,000. Year 1: $28,950; Year 2: $27,937; Year 3: $26,960; Year 4: $26,017; Year 5: $25,107; Year 6: $24,229; Year 7: $23,381; Year 8: 22,563; Year 9: $21,774; Year 10 $21,012
 For a full treatment on the Fractional Reserve Lending, see: Modern Money Mechanics, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 1961
 To quote Modern Money Mechanics, a text produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago: “Of course, they [the banks] do not really pay out loans from the money they receive as deposits. If they did this, no additional money would be created. What they do when they make loans is to accept promissory notes in exchange for credits to the borrowers’ transaction accounts…Reserves are unchanged by the loan transactions. But the deposit credits constitute new additions to the total deposits of the banking system” [Modern Money Mechanics, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 1961]
 To quote Modern Money Mechanics: “The total amount of expansion that can take place…Carried through to theoretical limits, the initial $10,000 of reserves distributed within the banking system gives rise to an expansion of $90,000 in bank credit (loans and investments) and supports a total of $100,000 in new deposits under a 10 percent reserve requirement.” [Modern Money Mechanics, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 1961]
 Suggested Reading: U.S. Income Inequality: It’s Worse Today Than It Was in 1774 [http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/09/us-income-inequality-its-worse-today-than-it-was-in- 1774/262537/]
 Ref: The Unequal State of America: a Reuters series [http://www.reuters.com/subjects/income- inequality/washington]
 Ref: Income Inequality Around the World Is a Failure of Capitalism [http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/05/income-inequality-around-the-world-is-a-failure-of- capitalism/238837/]
 Ref: The Top 0.1% Of The Nation Earn Half Of All Capital Gains [http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertlenzner/2011/11/20/the-top-0-1-of-the-nation-earn-half-of-all-capital-gains/]
 “Capital Gain” defined source: [http://www.investorwords.com/706/capitalgain.html]
 Ref: Capital gains tax rates benefiting wealthy feed growing gap between rich and poor [http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/capital-gains-tax-rates-benefiting-wealthy-are-protected-by-both-parties/2011/09/06/gIQAdJmSLK_story.html]
 Ref: Questioning the Dogma of Tax Rates [http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/20/business/questioning-the-dogma-of- lower-taxes-on-capital-gains.html?pagewanted=all&r=0]
 Ref: Top Canadian CEOs make average worker’s salary in three hours of first working day of year [http://business.financialpost.com/2012/01/03/top-canadian-ceos-make-average-workers-salary-in-three-hours/]
 Ref: CEO pay and the top 1% [http://www.epi.org/publication/ib331-ceo-pay-top-1-percent/]
 Ref: China Issues Proposal to Narrow Income Gap [http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/world/asia/china-issues- plan-to-narrow-income-gap.html]
 Ref: Society at a Glance 2011 – OECD Social Indicators [http://www.oecd.org/social/socialpoliciesanddata/societyataglance2011-oecdsocialindicators.htm]
 Ref: 10 Countries With The Worst Income Inequality: OECD [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/23/10-countries-with-worst-income-inequality_n_865869.html#s278244&title=1_Chile]
 U.S. Census data revealed:”The top-earning 20 percent of Americans – those making more than $100,000 each year – received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent made by the bottom 20 percent of earners, those who fell below the poverty line, according to the new figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968. At the top, the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year, the data show. Families at the $50,000 median level slipped lower.” [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/28/income-gap-widens-census-_n_741386.html]
 Ref: Income Gap Widens: Census Finds Record Gap Between Rich And Poor [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/28/income-gap-widens-census-_n_741386.html]
 “Plutonomy” defined source: [http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/plutonomy.asp#axzz2K4wDOCp1]
 Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalance, Citigroup Internal Memo, October 16th 2005, p.1
 Ibid., p.2
 The Plutonomy Symposium — Rising Tides Lifting Yachts, Citigroup Internal Memo, September 29, 2006, p.11
 Ref: Wealth, Income, and Power [http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html]
 Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer, Citigroup Internal Memo, March 5th, 2006, p.11
 The Plutonomy Symposium — Rising Tides Lifting Yachts, Citigroup Internal Memo, September 29, 2006, p.11
 Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalance, Citigroup Internal Memo, October 16th 2005, p.24
 For a more detailed analysis of these documents by Citigroup, see: http://www.insideriowa.com/en/opinion/index.cfm?action=display&newsID=17761
 National Public Radio (October 15, 2012) “A Startling Gap Between Us And Them In’Plutocrats'”[http://www.npr.org/2012/10/15/162799512/a-startling-gap-between-us-and-them-in-plutocrats]
 A well established example of inhibited progress for the maintaining of existing profit establishments was the successful effort made by the oil industry and, by extension, the U.S. government to slow progress toward fully electric vehicles in the 1990s. [Suggested viewing: “Who Killed the Electric Car?”: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0489037/synopsis]
 Ref: Oil Giants Loath to Follow Obama’s Green Lead [http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/business/energy-environment/08greenoil.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0]
 An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, Modern Library Reprint, 1937, New York, p.250
 Ref: The U.S.: Arms Merchant to the Developing World [http://nation.time.com/2012/08/28/theres-no-business-like- the-arms-business-2/
 Ref: Structural Adjustment—a Major Cause of Poverty [http://www.globalissues.org/article/3/structural-adjustment-a-major-cause-of-poverty]
 Quote: http://www.john-adams-heritage.com/quotes/
 Ref: ‘Extreme’ Poverty in US Has More Than Doubled, Study Says [http://www.moneynews.com/Economy/Extreme- Poverty-US/2012/03/06/id/431627]
 Ref: Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% [http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent- 201105]
 As quoted by Raymond Lonergan in Mr. Justice Brandeis, Great American (1941), p.42