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"I did a lot of talking during the business meeting," I said to the woman standing before me. "It's just so wrong. We make an excellent product, and we've stood behind it for 44 years."
My boss was sympathetic. "Don't think we haven't tried and tried. We don't want this to happen, but what can we do? The outfit in Malaysia can supply a similar product for less than half our cost."


As you have no doubt heard, we are on the cusp of a new world, and most of us are either in denial or rebellion, or have our heads somewhere else.
" The inventions of the past 200 years
" The vast land to be claimed and tamed
" The noble experiment in self governance
" The ingenuity, resourcefulness and neighborly
cooperation once so essential
" Individual success as the motivating force of a life ...
... all this has changed. We don't live in that world today. We face a different set of paradigms that need a different response. This new world is quite changed, and if we mourn for the old ways, I'm afraid that the crass and heartless expression applies here ... we will have to 'get over it.' What has changed is so all encompassing that there is no turning back the clock.

" This new world is corporation run.
" Greed is the motivating factor.
" The labor force resides mostly in undeveloped
" Skilled labor is losing or has lost its value
and benefits
" International norms, banks, and trade
agreements supercede national interests
" Work in developed countries is changing in
character from production to service -
Doctors service ill bodies
Lawyers service people with complaints
Teachers service children's minds
Clerics and managers service a wide array of insurance, public relations, mortgage, travel, and investment accounts
Distribution/fulfillment centers send goods on their way
Lobbyists and journalists service the interests of their parent corporation
Non-profits service their core issue and constituency
Maintenance crews service grounds, buildings, equipment
Bureaucracy grows

We are challenged to react to a situation that we hardly understand, purveyed by a sly government of whose actions we have little knowledge. We are challenged to develop a modus operandi, a philosophy to deal with a new and strangely monstrous world.

The starkness of the change begs a plethora of questions.
" How can we approach this monster?
" How can we wrap our minds around what appears
to be incomprehensible?
" Can we influence anything at all? Affect any
" Can we inject any of our cherished human
values into the new system?
" Can we tame greed?
" What is our personal value? Are we as
individuals flotsam in the new world order,
our essential purpose being to use the
services and bring home the goods that keep
the monster alive?
" Do we need a new chart by which to navigate
our lives.. a new political party?
" Is there any role for democracy? For

The brute facts of this new world are that a few corporations control almost everything. Some examples:
the world food chain _ Cargill, AGM, Philip Morris, Heinz
world oil reserves _ Shell, BP, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, French Total
world health supplies, aka Big Pharma _ Pfizer, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb, Wyeth, UK GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Swiss Novartis, Roche, French Aventis
world seed stocks _ DuPont, Monsanto, Swiss Syngenta/Novartis, Mexico's Seminis, UK Advanta, Dow, Delta and Pine Land, [source: Rural Advancement Foundation International]
world money & finance _ Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Bank of America, USB, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of Scotland [source: Wikipedia]
world media _ AOL-Time-Warner, Disney, Bertelsman, Viacom, Vivendi, GE, Sony, News Corporation (Rupert Murdoch) [source: The Nation].

Keep in mind that mergers are occurring continuously, changing and usually reducing the players. A word about the current state of each of these activities:

* Industrial agriculture promotes mono-cropping, soil depletion, and heavy chemical inputs. Small farmers everywhere are squeezed out because factory farms in general run along soil destroying and animal exploitive principles, not soil building or humane animal husbandry. "The history of the twentieth century was dominated by the struggle against totalitarian systems of state power. The twenty-first will no doubt be marked by a struggle to curtail excessive corporate power." Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation

* Battles are waged, regimes are changed, and environments destroyed in the manic pursuit of oil. Need I say more?

* Some of the most fraudulent research is done in support of new drugs while government regulators look the other way. Follow the money. Researchers obtain the results wanted by those who pay the bills. Negative results are fodder for the document shredder.

* Seed companies have one goal .. to patent every life form, including those plants and seeds used for centuries by indigenous farmers, and to replace farmers' home-grown seed with expensive, genetically modified, patented 'intellectual' property.

* It is reported that the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, working together, impose severe conditions upon borrowing countries, reducing them even further to poverty. Chief among the imposed conditions are the requirement to privatize [read: sell cheaply to international corporations] the country's public utilities such as oil and gas refineries, electric generating plants, water resources, and to cut employment and reduce wages. [source Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.]

* Political news is so heavily censored that when something real gets through to us, we question its validity. Print media certainly suffers this censorship; some electronic media such as the internet clings precariously to freedom.

As is very obvious in this brief survey of a few important and fundamental aspects of our world, the new system is designed for short term manipulation and profit, not for long term sustainability. The new world dynasty cares nothing for the environment, nothing for the well being of the planet, nothing for the populations living here. Corporations see people [us] as pawns in their world chess game.

Previous dramatic changes, i.e. buggies to autos, cannons to rocket launchers, have been largely technical. Excepting the time of the Great Depression in the 1930s, a relatively small percentage of jobs were discontinued. When the village hoop maker, wheel wright, or blacksmith went out of business, it was likely a 1-2 man shop, a different scale than when one manufacturer lays off hundreds at a time, and now that manufacturer may be going out of business, too. What we are seeing now is the emergence of a new ruling class that denigrates people in general. A greater percentage of us are falling into the position of having no more value than our buying pattern, or a cipher in account books.

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Anne Mendenhall Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I am a retired Biodynamic farmer, a retired farm certification director, and a lifelong community activist.
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