My impression is that we currently see the emergence of a new war - the culmination of a cold war that commenced hundreds of years ago and may well have spawned a number of hot wars throughout modern history. In the west we believe that we live in democracies, and certainly it can be argued that we live in the best states that have ever existed on the face of the Earth - from an ordinary citizen's point of view. Certainly the United States, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and also the Japan of the late 20th century were as close to paradise as one could ever have dreamt.
But something is wrong behind the scenes, there is a rotten smell oozing out from behind the stage. We were - and are - brought up to believe we are free. We are brought up to believe we live in democracies. But is that really true? How many of the decisions that influence our daily lives are democratic? The lives of most people are not shaped by government decisions, by plebiscites, by whatever happens transparently in the European parliament or the US Congress - most lives are shaped on a daily base by corporate policies, and, as it happens, corporations are in no way democratic. In fact most of us cannot even decide when to get up in the morning. Corporations internally are dictatorships or oligarchies. People who lose their job and, in turn, lose their house and basically their lives do not experience freedom, they experience the ruthless logic of the system. The financial system is involved in every human activity in capitalist nations. Democratic decisions are not. Everything, really everything, requires money. Even romantic love involves money, as conventions require expensive presents, and money is also known to be sexier than even the best shaped six pack.
Money rules and it rules
ruthlessly. When we look more precisely, we are not ruled by democratic
institutions or by people - we are ruled by a mathematical apparatus, and this
apparatus basically consists of a set of functions requiring exponential fiscal
growth in order to work properly. There is only growth or decline, and even a
small decline, as the logic of the apparatus defines it, results in economic
disaster. Unfortunately the exponential growth of the virtual fiscal values has
to be matched by an equally exponential growth of real, physical values. And in
the end the artificial requirements of an out of control financial apparatus
will collide with the rules of physics on a small and plundered planet - of
reality that is.
However - as dead cold as the apparatus might be, it is mainly in private hands, which is not a conspiracy theory but a fact. Banks are private corporations, and even in states where the money creation itself is controlled by independent state banks, individuals do not engage in business with state banks but with private banks who directly profit big time from the very creation process of money. Whenever we talk about state subsidies, we should look at banks first, as the banking system of our time basically is state funded and backed in its entirety. When people cry "Socialism", they should a) try to understand what the term means and b) explain why banks and corporations should be subsidized and protected, enabling them to pay out humongous bonuses, while children, sick people, poor people are to live without welfare, free education or free healthcare, all of which is normal in Western Europe, and I feel more free here than in the US, because I feel less fear. (The words of Lt. Governor Andre Bauer are ringing in my ears, which compared poor people to stray animals who should not be fed to avoid that they reproduce).
Here in Europe,
even if I lose my job, my children are entitled to free high end healthcare
until the age of 18, while we grownups would still be entitled to free basic
healthcare, and from the unemployment insurance I would receive enough income
to allow my family and me to survive in a relatively decent way. If I am to
believe American conservatives, that is an evil thing. Here we call it the
"solidarity principle". As it happens, the people who pay into the
system tomorrow can be the ones benefitting form it. Are these logics too
difficult to understand?
The question is: do we live in capitalism, in timocracies, so to say, or do we live in democracies? I more and more get the impression that at least the masters of the money universe, who have long confused this with the real universe, believe they are the rulers of the world, and this attitude may well date back to the Fuggers and the Medici, reaching all the way to the Ackermanns and Blankfeins of our time. The latter said he was doing God's work, and I always get an itch when powerful people involve God to justify their own questionable actions. Meanwhile President Obama is enraged and displays his righteous anger. But then the Supreme Court decides that there ought to be no limit to corporate spending for election campaigns, saying, effectively, that anyone who has enough money can buy elections and political opinions. The going gets tough, the events are accelerating, and the hidden dark forces are beginning to show their face. We are witnesses to a power struggle that might well take very unpleasant forms in the not so far future.
The question rephrased is: who rules the world? Democratically elected governments or corrupt governments in unison with completely undemocratic banks and corporations with no transparency whatsoever? The self proclaimed doers of God's work and masters of their own invented Universes will - like the rest of us - have to learn the hard way that, to quote Philip K. Dick, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." And when it comes to a final battle between the virtual economy and the ultimate reality of nature, the finance sector will look like a card house - a card house hit by a meteor. And it will be blown away like the seeds of a Dandelion in a Hurricane. Together with the rest of our mighty globalized money civilization where human life only counts, when a sack of bank notes is attached to it.
Stefan Thiesen is a Germany, UK and USA educated earth and space scientist and science writer. He is an expert in marine science, climatology and planetary sciences, author of several popular science books in German and English as well as a novel and numerous short pieces. During the last years his professional work focused on solar energy and solar energy based water desalination and treatment solutions with projects in Europe, Africa and Asia. One of his Water Projects was a finalist in the World Bank Development Marketplace Competition of 2006. Other fields of interests include marine protected areas and traditional land and ocean management. He was invited speaker on international conferences, including EU and NATO advanced research workshops. Stefan lives on an ancient farm in Westfalia/Germany together with his Wife, two daughters Sophie Maris (meaning "Wisdom of the Sea") and Liv Moana (meaning "Sea Life") and their dog Amie.