THURSDAY, AUGUST 13, 2015
Eric Lee, A-SOCIATED PRESS
TOPICS: CORPORATE, FROM THE WIRES, GLOBAL HEGEMON, GROWTH CULTURE, HISTORY
TUCSON (A-P) — Corporations began to subsume nation-states by the mid 19th century.
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country..... corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” — President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together." — farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 17, 1961
Despite the soldier turned part-time politician's warning, who couldn't say what he saw until his farewell address, the global hegemon could claim the end of WWII as the end of nation-state empire building and the beginning of their effectively unchallenged global corporate hegemony. Some areas took a bit longer to subsume, but consider the Russian billionaires and the 7+% growth rate of China, who recently used more concrete in three years than the U.S. used in the 20th century. Any question of whose memes subsumed China to enrich Communist Party members?
The conquest of public narrratives by political ideology (replacing the dominant religious narratives of earlier centuries), for better or worse, has been by the more virulent and profitable ideology of growth (aka prosperity) for its own sake. The ultimate heresy involves noting the conquest, the exponential growth, and then asking, "And then what?"
To ask is to subvert. The power of the growther system depends on its narratives being believed in. Once its lack of clothes is noted (when humans are forced to take note), support will pass away. But until then, everyone 'knows' what feels good to believe and doubting verities is disconcerting, so only a few ask and are politely ignored until they "get over it." The media serves best (maximizes viewers) by telling us what we want to hear or at least must end any potentially troubling story on a positive spin. The media, including social, isn't valued just for the milk and cheese and profit it brings.
To understand the corporate entities among us, imagine giant amoeboid creatures blobbing about the planet pursuing only the contingencies of profit. Amoeba are not noted for their intelligence. They blob about pursuing only the contingencies of eatable: Is this eatable? No, move away. Is this eatable? Yes, then subsume it. Something in the way? Blob around it...
The internal biodynamics of an amoeba may be quite complex, sophisticated, implying a high level of evolved intracellular intelligence, but in the world they just blob about engulfing what is eatable. Corporations are the same. The humans within the corporate body may be very clever apes, but basically the body corporate only responds to the opportunities of profit and avoidance of interference. Blaming corporations or getting angry with them gives them too much credit. They are inhuman. They are as predictable as amoeba. They will blob about the planet until all the energy and resources are used up. That there will be no tolerable planet to live on means nothing to amoeboid entities lacking foresight intelligence as only the short-term contingencies of profit matter.
Not listening to Lincoln, Eisenhower, others, or to one's own still small voice was a mistake and still is. Humans need to correct the mistake and sooner will be better. As H.G. Wells noted, it comes down to a "race between education and catastrophe." Those attempting to educate are marginalized and if they become prominent, media fast guns for hire will hammer them down as they have hammers and anyone who sticks up looks like a nail.
To know thy enemy, consider this offering from John
Oliver's comedy tonight. The last journalists to retain a
toehold within the media are comics, valued for their
entertainment value and ratings. Those paying attention
may note a bit of subversive truth within the Colbert,
Stewart, and Oliver style comedy. But comics, for some
reason, aren't being taken seriously. If they were ever to
actually interfere with, much less threaten, business as
usual, they'll be hammered
If you think the tobacco multinationals are in any way
different in their business as usual modus operandi
from all other corporations, then you haven't been paying
attention as the years go by. Perhaps a new world order
won't be so bad.
Imagine Phillip Morris had been informed by its own
scientists that there was some evidence smoking could be
harmful. Executives, certain that smoking was mostly
healthful, wanted to know if smoking could somehow cause
some harm, however small, which they could avert by
developing a completely healthy cigarette. If science were
to find evidence that cigarettes posed some risk, they
wanted to be the first to market a fully safe and
proven healthy product and profit immensely. They believed
in their product and in their science. They put together a
brain trust of the best scientists money could buy to
research tobacco safety. They even allowed their
scientists to publish early studies that showed tobacco
use involved serious health risks. But when their
scientists merely confirmed the growing consensus within
the scientific community that smoking cigarettes had no
health benefits, Phillip Morris cease to fund their
research, hired "better" scientists to inform the public
of the truth, and were reduced to hiring people with "MD"
after their name to do TV ads asserting that they smoked
Phillip Morris cigarettes and urged their patients to as
Phillip Morris, like other corporations, never actually
wasted money going real science that wouldn't help them
make more money. One corporation, however, did. In the
late 1970's Exxon's scientists told them about global
funded research, allowed early findings to be published,
then defunded their brain trust and became leaders in
So, shall it be business as usual? Seven billion growthers can't be wrong, right? Oh, and don't forget to ask, "And then what?"
It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. — Isaac Asimov
Democracy no longer means what it was meant to. It has been taken back into the workshop. Each of its institutions has been hollowed out, and it has been returned to us as a vehicle for the free market, of the corporations, for the corporations, by the corporations.... Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. —Arundhati Roy
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. — Arthur Schopenhauer. That there are limits to growth is still in the first stage. By the time this is self-evident, people will likely be eating each other.