If modern humanity has indeed lost its way, destroying itself and life all around,
can we identify clearly the most key, singular problem and address it? Are we to
attack it? Tolerate it critically?
Assuming money, greed, materialism and
exploitation are part of one main threat to our existence, and we call this
threat the market, have we included whatever else threatens us? What is The
enemy? Is it a "what" or a "who"?
When we see and hear a polluting motor
vehicle, disturbing the air, water, sound and our safety, or when we see
deforestation take its toll on the environment and climate, have we dealt with
these threats by simplifying the focus to the market? Or, does overpopulation
answer our question?
questions vex us, it is tempting to acquiesce to tolerating the market by
instead blaming technology or "human nature."
If we are hopelessly, insufficiently evolved, we
can pass ourselves off as children in a long evolutionassuming we have a long
time to keep evolving and are not cutting out story short! Regardless, the market seems to cover almost everything we can see as inimical to our
survival as natural, social beings. The market has not been around much of our
time as a species walking on two legs. The market even deigns to cover such a
basic real, necessity of lifeland. Land is for sale and becomes part of
Landlordism is another example of harm
done by the market, as a tendency in opportunistic/predatory human interactions.
A landlord, even a nice one, exploits the basic need (or right) for
shelter, without required concern for the common weal. To make money is the
purpose, and if people are freezing outside or uprooted from their homes, so be
it in the market system.
When Marxism questioned who ruled by
virtue of owning the means of production, this line of logic could have stopped
there as to allowing the market. So, to question the legitimacy of the market
we are going deeper than "who rules." We may be saying no one should
rule, or that everyone should "rule" (rule themselves).
Militarists and other exponents of regimentation in our culture would hate that,
but self rule doesn't rule out organized defense of a homeland.
Free trade has been sanctified as the
alternative to war. But wars happen largely because of desire for more trade or
to protect or expand markets. Warfare predated the market, but anthropological
evidence suggests that primitive war is more ceremonial than genocidal. With the
growth of the market and global capitalism and "free trade" oligarchy,
genocide has become more frequent, although it has been couched in terms of
liquidating foes of democracy (read, foes of the "free" market).
It would be a mistake to target
"the problem" as the United States of America, when many other
globally ambitious, resource-devouring nations have their own corrupt power
games installed in government and other institutions. It is just as foolish to
isolate George Bush as "the problem." He has many imitators,
colleagues and rivals. Al Gore as vice president was, for example, part of the
effort to rig up China with more nuclear power plants. When I pointed out
to him the problem of 240,000 years of plutonium's half-life, he threw up
his hands and said "Sorry."
Our ecological deterioration so
uncontrolled and devastating may be attributed to the market. Yet, if we decide
our main goal is to, say, cut fossil fuels use globally, we must identify clear
sources of the harmful behavior(s) at issue, and develop a clear solution to
stop or greatly curtail such harm.
Who has the answer? Or, Is there an
answer? Some concerned people advocate non-market social systems. These people
may call themselves anarchists, but if anarchy is rule by no one, i.e., no
government, does that mean there is still the market? "Libertarians"
advocate the market. "Socialists" may do so as well.
Does small entrepreneurship mean there
must be The Market? In todays exaggerated market economy, with massive
corporate chain stores and unbelievably large quantities of commodities bought,
sold and shipped globally, small-town farmers markets are for most shoppers and
sellers an exhilarating alternative: human beings can interact and trust each
other while getting the most basic product of all: good, local food. In Arcata,
California the farmers market is a tradition dating back almost three decades,
and the same spirit that started it has resulted in a ban on any additional
formula restaurants. Next may be an attempted ban on new retail chain stores.
To deal with the problem of the market,
to target it, a simple unified theory or system of living would be needed. It could
even take the form of a religion. Such a religion or spiritual movement could be
already extant or is yet to be devised and revealed. Jesus did kick over the
benches of the money lenders. The long-term solution to his spiritualism-in-action, from the marketeers point of view, was to co-opt the religion and
construct churchescollect money from the market and land-owning class to
build rich towers for Jesus.
Imagine theres no market
I wonder if you can
- to paraphrase John Lennon. He of course benefited greatly from the market.
Imagining daily life without the market
may be a healthy, productive exercise and even a run-up to our near future.
Self-sufficient communes dont have a market within them. It is hard to
imagine a typical town in the U.S. having no market system. Yet, in removing the
market from the picture, we are left with direct dealings between people for
exchange and cooperation to meet essential goals. If buying a lot of material
things is one's purpose, then disappointment, objection and subversion would
surface. But a market-free society, perhaps thereby needing to be low in
population size, sounds good to me. I would
appreciate hearing from you..