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Masculine Pathology and the Death of Capitalism

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Message Wanda Woodward

Masculine Psychosocial Pathology and the Death of Capitalism

I confess at the onset of my letter my bias toward an egalitarian world, one in which there is a more transcendent collective consciousness; a world in which social and economic justice rest gently among the two genders, and amongst the many diverse cultures, ethnicities, and religions. Who would argue that we fall far short of this ideal in contemporary society? What concerns me is that mainstream economists, sociologists, public policy experts, and ecologists seem to have overlooked one of the most pressing issues of our time: the mutual exclusivity between capitalism and overpopulation.

All things evolve. That is an immutable law and only fools ignore it. Capitalism replaced mercantilism as a natural evolution. Socialized democracy will replace capitalism. It is the inevitable evolution of economic systems. Marx was correct when he said that the seeds of destruction were built into capitalism because he knew that greed or limited resources would eventually cause its demise. Socialism failed in the Soviet Union for the simple, but tragic fact that its male leaders were fascists who were only interested in feathering their own beds while ignoring the good for the all. They were narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths and, thus, fell somewhere on the spectrum of masculine pathology. Capitalism will fail for those same reasons and because our planet cannot tolerate unfettered consumerism. Capitalism is predicated upon the theory of "unlimited growth." Unlimited growth is based on unbridled consumerism. Unbridled consumerism is based upon a theory of unlimited natural and mineral resources. And so here we find the end of capitalism.

The world's population in 1600 was at 500 million (Leakey & Lewin, 1995). Two hundred years later in the year 1800, it had doubled to one billion. By 1940, another 140 years, the global population tripled to 3 billion. From 1940 to present day, 66 years later, the world's population has more than doubled to 6.6 billion. It is projected to be around ten billion by 2050. Today, most of the world lives in poverty. With 6.6 billion people, we have decimated large swathes of forest, fished out 90% of the large fish in our oceans, poisoned massive amounts of soil from toxins in landfills and from agricultural run-off, polluted our oceans with waste and toxins which has resulted in the killing of significant marine life, heated and acidified the oceans from the rise in carbon dioxide emitted from overuse of fossil fuels and forest decimation, and placed at risk significant amounts of potable water such that 2/3 of the people on this planet will not have access to potable water by 2030. Global warming-the nexus between overpopulation, capitalism, excess consumption, and wanton pollution and destruction of the environment----has accelerated the speed at which the ice caps in the polar regions are melting at alarming rates. According to World Wildlife Fund Director-General, James Leape, we would need a total of five planets to sustain the world's population if everyone on the planet had the same consumption rate as America. This finding was reported in the 2006 Living Planet Report which is the outcome of an annual study that has been conducted since 1998 to determine the rate of change in global biodiversity and the pressure on the biosphere which manifests from the human consumption of natural resources (World Wildlife Federation, 2006). The 2006 Report also noted that in 2003, the world exceeded biocapacity by 25%. This means that with a global population of 6.6 billion people, the world is currently consuming at a rate of 25% more than what the earth is capable of regenerating. What will that rate be when the world has 10 billion people?

The IPCC report says that, by 2080, 1.1 to 3.2 billion people will experience water scarcity, 200-600 million will be starving, and 2 to 7 million people each year will experience coastal flooding (cited in Vidal, 2007). As many as one billion people, or 17% of the world's population, may be forced to abandon their homes over the next 50 years and migrate to another more habitable geographical area. Most of these people will be from poor and undeveloped countries. A combination of social, civil and military conflicts, large-scale development projects, and global environmental decline will make life inhabitable for hundreds of millions of people, mostly from Africa, south Asia, and the Middle East where, ironically, the least amount of consumption takes place.

According to a Washington Post article in 1998, a poll was conducted by the New York Museum of Natural History which found that seven out of ten scientists from the American Institute of Biological Sciences are convinced that a mass extinction is underway and that within 30 years, one fifth of all living species could become extinct (Warrick, 1998). Scientists tell us that there have been five extinctions on this planet; however, they were all thought to be caused by factors other than by human imprints. The next extinction to which we are headed will almost certainly be anthropogenic whether by global warming or nuclear annihilation.

More than 75 percent of workers in most of the industrial nations are performing work that is primarily simple and repetitive (Rifkin, 2004). In the United States, out of 124 million workers, more than 90 million jobs are at risk for replacement by machines. Currently, 3.6 billion out of 5.4 billion people in the world lack adequate cash or credit to purchase goods and services (Barnet & Cavanagh, 1994). Human androids are being made that will, one day, be indiscernible to a real human being (Whitehouse, 2005). Will they have a conscience? Not only will these androids take over work because of their slavish, blind obedience to authority and the wealthy capitalists, how will billions of unemployed real human beings survive and how will a real human being know if they are marrying a human being or an android? Will androids have legal and political rights? If so, without a conscience, how will they vote and what will they demand? If they become leaders, what will become of the world?

The outlook for humankind and the environment goes from dark to the abyss. Let us state what no mainstream economist, ecologist, sociologist, or public policy expert has yet to acknowledge: Capitalism and overpopulation are mutually exclusive. In fact, overpopulation is mutually exclusive with oligarchies, plutarchies, and monarchies because, in these systems, the few who have everything in excess can pay for water, food, privacy, safety, and security while the remaining masses are at risk for abject poverty, disease, hunger, and death. As more billions are added to the global population, this disparity grows and, more importantly, it becomes more obvious to more people. The masses of people on this tiny planet will, at some point, connect the dots and realize that either hundreds of millions of people must die or capitalism must die. When that realization dawns is unknown, but it will occur. The few privileged males in those worldly positions of power who quite literally rule this planet, I suspect, have known this for decades. That would be one reason why all the media outlets have been purchased by multinational corporations or extremely wealthy individuals in an attempt to hide the truth from the masses of people and to keep people in a perpetual state of senseless consumerism. Keeping people uninformed would ostensibly prevent mass revolutions, uprisings, and civil wars which would overthrow the current power structures should people become informed of the stark and sobering reality of both the deception by the powerful elite and the uncomfortable choices that now face humankind. Had the male leaders informed people decades ago and made alternative business decisions to avert what must have been statistically probable should the world continue down the path we have tread, our choices would have likely been less painful. Pigs-at-the-trough male corporate and political leadership, through avaricious decision-making, have guaranteed that the entire human race will face this dilemma.A choice between hundreds of millions of people dying or capitalism dying? We need not enter into a discussion about which option Napoleon, Asaka, Pavelic, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Amin, Montt, Mengistu, Taylor, Bagosora, Milosevic, Mladic, Karadzic and their ilk preferred. Narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths gravitate toward the most powerful positions in the world because a diagnostic criteria that must be met with these three clinical populations is their obsession with control and power over others. The psychopath, the morbid pathological state in the spectrum of masculine pathology, actually seeks to destroy "other" and does so without conscience. Ninety nine percent (99%) of psychopaths are males. Approximately 90% of sociopaths are males. It has been shown that, of the clinical population that seeks treatment, 75% of those diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are males (Vaknin, 1999). Psychopaths and sociopaths have no conscience to preclude them from the use of outright murder and war in order to achieve their egomaniacal and pathological objectives of total and absolute control. These are the types of male leaders who have risen to power since time began. We still have abundant numbers of them in contemporary societal leadership, albeit with varying degrees of masculine pathology on a spectrum from mild to severe. What is more important is to postulate which choice the several thousand privileged and powerful males who, quite literally, rule our world in contemporary society would choose since these men are governing and ruling, and will decide our fate unless enough people rise up against them. In America's capitalist society, those who are extremely wealthy and rely on capitalism to maintain their massive fortunes will derive the most benefit if millions of people die. They stand to lose the most if capitalism dies. This is not to say that every person who is wealthy prefers mass human death to the death of what has become a de facto toxic economic system. But it is consonant with the history of the behavior and leadership of the male gender, and more specifically males in positions of political and economic power, that he would likely prefer---with little or no confrontation to his conscience---that hundreds of millions of people die while he lives. Males have a long history of preferring to solve problems not through collaboration and mutual cooperation, but through aggression and war which, of course, have outcomes of pain, suffering, and death.

Naomi Klein's (2007) theory of disaster capitalism in which wars are intentionally fought for profit accomplishes a tri-fold objective of killing millions of people, keeping capitalism alive, and maximizing profits of corporations. Disaster capitalism, however, fails to protect natural and mineral resources. It even fails to protect human beings. The god of capitalism is money. As a result, this strategy will not prevent humankind from facing the sobering reality of extinction of animal and plant species and, ultimately, of course, the potential extinction of all life species on the planet including the human species. More importantly to the powerful elite (which is mostly male), disaster capitalism achieves the overarching myopic goal of maintaining the male supremacist power structure. Ebeneezer Scrooge's uncharitable comment in A Christmas Carol about being rid of the "excess population" closely depicts the sentiments of males who have the most power in our global political, corporate, economic, and legal systems. In U.S. corporations, according to Catalyst (2003), a research organization which studies gender dynamics in corporations, there are only 1.2% female Fortune 500 CEOs versus 98.8% male Fortune 500 CEOs. Additionally, 5.2% of Fortune 500 top earners are females versus 94.8% male Fortune 500 top earners. Last, 13.6% of females are Fortune 500 Board Directors versus 86.4% male Fortune 500 Board Directors (Catalyst, 2003). Without adequate factual data of the global percentage of male CEOs, an educated guess of 99% would likely be realistic. As for heads of world governments, we could make a conservative estimate of 95%.

Paul Krugman (2002), an economist at MIT and regular columnist for The New York Times, reports that in a 29 year period between 1970 and 1999, the average annual salary in America rose ten percent (10%) whereas, during the same period, according to Fortune magazine, the average real annual compensation of the top CEOs in America rose more than 1,000 times the pay of ordinary American workers. Krugman (2005) reports that the average income of the top one percent (1%) of Americans has doubled since 1973 and the income of the top 0.1% has tripled. Doug Henwood (1998), in Wall Street: How It Works and for Whom, writes that the richest 5% of Americans own 95% of all stock shares and the top 1% of the population owns 25% of the productive capital and future profits of corporate America. In Henwood's (2003) After the New Economy, he exposes that the richest 10% of Americans possess over ┬ż of all the wealth in America and the bottom 50% has almost none of the wealth, but notes that they do have substantial debt. In a recent government study, the group which had the largest growth in total income between 2000 and 2005 was the top 0.001% individuals who make $1 million or more (Johnston, 2007). Meanwhile, 90% of Americans make less than $100,000 per year and 66% of American make less than $50,000 annually. If the richest 5% of Americans own 95% of all stock shares and the top 1% of the population owns 25% of the productive capital and future profits of corporate America, it does not take a math genius to deduce that President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy have overwhelmingly benefited 5% of Americans and have resulted in vastly deteriorated economic outlooks for the other 95%. The Citizens for Tax Justice reports that out of 134 million American taxpayers, those who make $10 million or more-a total of 11,433 taxpayers---saved almost $1.9 million each. As an aggregate, these 11,433 Americans saved $21.7 billion in taxes on their investments as a direct result of Bush's tax cuts for the top wealthiest in America while the other 90% of Americans who make less than $100,000 a year saved an average of $318 on each investment.

As we know, the CEO is the position which decides the strategy, mission, and values of the corporation and the heads of governments are responsible for the allocation of the funds in the public treasure chest. Thus, it is safe to say that 98% of the economic world is governed by males. Who holds the money, holds the power to govern and rule the world. Corporate power and state power are euphemisms for "male power." Capitalism is a masculine system because its objective is to foster infinite competition so that there are hierarchies with a few privileged at the top who have nine-tenths of the economic pie while the masses of people have the remaining one-tenth of the pie. With corporations now taking governments as willing mistresses all over the world, male power has magnified geometrically. Globalization is unmistakably a male movement of economics on a worldwide scale. In frank terms, it is a global reach of unprecedented greed by males at the top of the food chain to engage in virtually unfettered domination, exploitation, and economic control over people, and vast pillaging and plundering of the environment in order to enrich themselves and to maintain their secure repository of global wealth. While there are favorable outcomes in which everyone could benefit from a globalization process that would be controlled by state power that implements and enforces reasonable standards, regulations, limitations, and exclusions regarding the exploitation of labor and natural resources, no such limitations have been developed by the governments. Certainly, the senior executives of the corporations have failed to exercise self-restraint on the corporate side, but it would not be expected for them to do so given their legal allegiance to shareholders. However, it is economic blasphemy to the dignity, welfare, and sovereignty of people that governments-the very institution whose mandate is to protect the common good---have forsaken the citizenry by abdicating its expected role of allegiance to the economic welfare of the public and its oversight over the public treasure. It is not so much that globalization, in and of itself, is detrimental to the progress and well being of humankind. Rather it is the unfettered greed of corporations and nation states in rejecting limitations and exclusions as pertains to the fair, reasonable, and humane use of natural resources and labor that makes the global economy a world theatre of masculine psychosocial pathology. If women were in charge of globalization, there would be fairness and humane treatments of labor and land. The nature of women is to care for the good of the all. The globalization process that has been occurring over the past twenty plus years with males in charge has been anything but good for middle class and the poor. As mentioned previously, the media (which is owned by male power) has collaborated with corporate male power to ensure that the masses remain ignorant of the overwhelming disparities between the few wealthy elite and the rest of the world population. The masculine consciousness that has aggressively rejected virtually any and all restraints upon their wanton desire to secure as much money and resources to enrich its benefactors has, without conscience, forsaken humanity and the natural environment. Globalization is being defined in a myriad of different ways as different people view the construct through a different prism. Rodrik (as cited in Anderson, in press) defines it primarily in economic terms as the "international integration of markets for goods, services and capital" (p. 1), whereas Friedman (as cited in Anderson, in press) perceives it through a hologram of shifting lens, "the integration of capital, technology and information across national borders, in a way that is creating a single global market and, to some degree, a global village" (p. 2). Still others such as the sociologist Malcolm Waters (cited in Anderson, in press) perceives it as a "social process in which the constraints of geography on social and cultural arrangements receded and in which people become increasingly aware that they are receding" (p. 3). As a mental health professional who sees the world through the lens of the human psyche, I am particularly fond of sociologist's Roland Robertson's (as cited in Anderson, in press) definition as "the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole" (p. 5). Anderson (in press) appropriately highlights the common and "widespread confusion about what globalization is" as people debate each other because they have such "profound different images of what's happening" (p. 1). Barnet and Cavanagh (1994), highlighting the multi-faceted and complex nature of globalization, compare it to the verbalizations of the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland saying "it means precisely whatever the user says it means" (p. 14). Ursula Franklin (1996), in her 1995 Lois and John Dove Memorial Lecture in Toronto, refers to the "global commercial hegemony," of the "struggle against the arrogance and ignorance of power, against impending destruction, occupation, and conquest" (p. 13). On the most basic level, she speaks of globalization as "a war against people" (p. 13) and "from a historical perspective, we are in the middle of a market-driven war on the common good" (p. 15). Whatever the definition, it has become glaringly obvious that multinational corporations, and the senior executives who manage them, are-by far---the clear winners (Barnet & Cavanagh, 1994; Henderson, 1991; Korten, 2001; Rifkin, 2004) holding a barrel full of carrots with egregiously excessive compensation packages that are in the multi-millions (sometimes hundreds of millions including stocks options), 20-30% average annual corporate boardroom wage increases (Toynbee, 2007), hidden "soft" benefits such as use of the corporate jets for personal matters and residential renovations costing tens of thousands of dollars, and tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthy. Governments have passed laws that have relaxed corporate standards, increased corporate tax breaks, and deregulated the economy to the extent that political leaders are losing much of their power as corporations assume the role of worldwide dictatorships. With an ungoverned and unresponsive global system, the 21st century senior corporate executives have become vultures feeding off a rotting capitalist economy, raping and pillaging the environment, and enslaving the majority of people on the planet in economic servitude. What used to commonly be called "conventional wisdom" as pertains to economic truths is no longer applicable. Economic theories, once accepted as gospel, have broken down to become outdated relativisms.

The modern corporation is a descendent of the merchants of the 15th and 16th centuries in England and Holland (Korten, 2001). Wealthy English landowners and merchants during the 17th and 18th century passed laws to protect their private property and to ensure their monopoly of wealth. The birth of America was a revolt against the tyranny of the British monarchy and the wealthy merchants who were used by the king to maintain control over the colonial economies. Initially when corporations were formed in America, they were under governmental control. They also were headed by men who, for the most part, had a moral conscience about the common good. In the 19th century, legal struggles took place between corporations and civilians regarding the right of people to revoke or amend corporate charters. It was fairly common for states to amend, revoke, or fail to renew corporate charters until the mid 1800s as the louder voice of the people who argued that corporations were formed to serve a public good. The premise was that corporations were public, not private, legal entities. It was after the Civil War that corporate rights shifted. Gradually, corporations were able to gain control over state legislatures so that laws were rewritten giving them limited liability and greater power. In 1886, the Supreme Court ruled in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad that a private corporation is a natural person under law. It marked the beginning of corporate enjoyment of the full legal rights of a person while also being exempted from many responsibilities and limiting liabilities that American citizens had to shoulder. This was the legal birth of the pathological corporation we know today and Joel Bakan's (2005) book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Power and Profit, provides an excellent comparison between diagnostic features of psychopathology and corporate systems, the latter referred to by Noam Chomsky as "unaccountable tyrannies." The corporation uses the legal definition, however, only when it is convenient to do so. When a corporation reaps benefits by referring to itself as a "legal person," it defines itself as a person. When the corporation wants to externalize blame and escape responsibility (one clinically diagnostic intrapsychic feature of narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy) for an unethical or unlawful act, it reverts to the self-description of not being a human. This sleight of identity is a way to split itself into two separate identities so as to manipulate and gain advantages, a diagnostic tactic common in psychopathy. As Korten (2001), author of When Corporations Rule the World, says:

...the history of corporate-government relations...has been one of continuing pressure by corporate interests to expand corporate rights and to limit corporate obligations...corporations have emerged as the dominant governance institutions on the planet, with the largest among them reaching into virtually every country of the world and exceeding most governments in size and power. Increasingly, it is the corporate interest rather than the human interest that defines the policy agendas of states and international bodies (pp. 60-61).
Ninety eight percent of CEOs in corporations around the world are male, thus, the entire world is powered by masculine ways of doing business, trading goods and services, determining economic systems, establishing at the macrolevel the methodologies of economic rewards, and, of course, who gets the most gold at the end of the rainbow. Seager (1993) refers to the masculinist corporate structure this way: "Attributes for success in the corporate world---a privileging of emotional neutrality, of rationality, of personal distancing, loyalty to impersonal authority, team playing, scientific rationality, and militarized paradigms---reflect characteristics that define 'manliness' in our culture" (p. 102). Even when a female is in a position of power, the sociocultural norms and the masculine ideologies in every fabric of society overwhelm her and force her to, more or less, adopt masculine ways of rule, leadership, strategies, and objectives. Failure to incorporate that into her style subjects her to serious scrutiny if not ridicule. The covert and insidious ways in which the entire socio-cultural tapestry is dominated by masculine ways and methods, while largely unseen, confront her relentlessly. Those who say that there is no more need for women to seek power and equality are either those who are above, not below, the glass ceiling, or those hypnotized by masculine ideologies who simply cannot perceive the pathological construct of masculine domination and power. We need to state the obvious: males rule, so males win and he who wins, gets to rule and he who rules makes up the rules. It's a gender Ponzi scam that has been played for thousands of years.What is needed is for the legal system to bring consistency between the legal definition of corporations and their actions. In other words, if a corporation is to be defined as a human, then they should be held to the same responsibilities that all humans have to the environment. A person is fined if they throw trash onto the highway. A person is jailed for trespassing if they go onto another's land. An individual is arrested if they destroy public property. The same should be true of corporations. There should be laws in place which restrict corporations from plundering and pillaging the natural environment. Most of the world's population would prefer that capitalism die its natural death. It is the only thing that will save the planet and end corporate fascism. Of course, then we would need to be wary of masculine pathology surfacing in a fascist government. I suspect that the handful of males who are in the most powerful positions in the world, who have a stranglehold on power, and who rule this planet know that more people are coming to understand the choice between either the death of millions of people or the death of capitalism. And as a result of knowing this truth, more people will revolt against the powers of corruption, deception, exploitation, domination, and destruction so that we can forge a new stage in the evolution of economic systems and, thus, a new stage in the evolution of human consciousness. This will be a consciousness which seeks to share power between genders, races, ethnicities, religions, and nations. It is a more mature consciousness which wants to empower others and collaborate toward a common good for the all instead of maintaining excess and privilege for a few versus exploitation and poverty for the rest of the world. This mature consciousness exists in both males and females although there are not an appreciable number of them in leadership positions across the globe.There are, at root, two major forces operating in the world today: those who wish to solve our global problems in an effort to ameliorate suffering and move closer toward social and economic justice for all versus those who are disinclusive and want to garner more social and economic benefits for their group while others have appreciably less. Those in the first group are both males and females willing and eager, by and large, to share power. They also tend to be more willing to share across ethnic, racial, and religious divides. The second group is led virtually exclusively by males. This second group led by males who believe they are superior is perpetually in conflict because it is powered by masculine ideologies of division, separation, competition, and hierarchies believed to be the "natural and immutable order." The females in this group have, for the most part, adopted and acquiesced to this patriarchal power system. In addition, this group fails to understand and internalize the need for collaboration and mutual interdependent exchanges as a way to solve problems and as a way of living. There are millions of factions in the second group because they cannot be whole. They cannot be whole because they believe in division, separation, competition, and hierarchies. Conflicts are rampant in this group because males believe in their inherent superiority over females, one race believes in the superiority of it over others, one religion believes in its superiority over other religions, and all of this leads to the belief in an inevitable class schism whereby those who are "superior" deserve to be rich while those who are "inferior" deserve to be poor. Capitalism is an economic system that mirrors the psyche of those in the highest positions of power. In other words, capitalism is an economic system of hierarchies in which one group is superior over another. It is a system created by males who believe in masculine power and racial superiority. As within, so is without. The pathologically masculine psyche----with its obsession to control, have power over, dominate, exploit, and destroy others----is the only psyche which could wholeheartedly continue to advocate unfettered consumerism and unbridled capitalism while the human species and the entire ecological system are seriously threatened with extinction. Masculine pathology is the malignant consciousness which will detonate a nuclear bomb, allow capitalism to continue until all life on the planet is extinct, or ensure that millions of people die in wars so as to "get rid of excess population." It is the scourge of our time and since time immemorial. Will males mature psychologically in sufficient numbers to avoid total annihilation? That is the question of our time.

Anderson, W. (in press). The two globalizations: Notes on a confused dialogue.


Bakan, J. (2005). The corporation: The pathological pursuit of profit and power.

Columbus, OH: The Free Press.

Barnet, R.J. & Cavanagh, J. (1994). Global dreams: Imperial corporations and the new world order. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Catalyst. (2007). Census of Women Board of Directors. Retrieved 7/17/07, from

Franklin, U. (1996). Peace, technology and the role of ordinary people. Peace

Magazine: Science for Peace, 12(1), 13-15.Henderson, H. (1991). Paradigms in progress: Life beyond economics. Indianapolis, IN:Knowledge Systems, Inc.

Henwood, D. (1998). Wall Street: How it works and for whom. New York: Verso.

Henwood, D. (2003). After the new economy. New York, NY: The New Press.

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Wanda Woodward, M.S., is author of The Anatomy of the Soul: An Authentic Psychology which posits an original theoretical model of the Soul, or Transcendent Psyche. She is currently writing her second book, Malignant Masculine Power: The (more...)
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