Nov 21, 2010

Freedom or Delusion? The Feudal Elements in Modern Capitalism. Enslaved by Debt-Based Economics. A Wake Up Call on the Verge of a Revolution and/or Total Collapse

Shilled into Capitalistic ideology. We, modern people, tend to think that Feudalism is a thing of the past. That today in our advanced societies we enjoy freedoms and rights, not accessible to our unfortunate predecessors. Yes, today individuals in modern societies do enjoy new-found freedoms that were unthinkable before. Like gender equality, right to assembly and public protests, freedom to express your opinion, to trade and generally live your life the way you feel like living it. Of course, all those freedoms and rights do come with certain clauses and prepositions attached. The truth is, that all of the above are still emerging and although constitutionally accepted, those rights are not fully applied in practice. They are more or less fictional and formal, even though the average consumer may not see it this way. Perhaps, the biggest illusion in today’s world is that there is a Democracy. When in reality, there is Capitalism, which is the modern form of Feudalism.

History is a complex and entangled topic. But in history are the roots that laid today’s world. Due to a complexity of reasons, USA, with its economic ideology of Capitalistic prosperity and the American Dream, has placed itself as a world standard for social advancement, serving as an example for emerging economies. And despite all of its numerous flaws, a lot of governments do strive to follow in its footsteps, including ours, here in Bulgaria. Which I find a wrong thing to do. Indeed, whether due to a lack of alternatives or because of the short-sightedness of people in power, American Capitalism and US society had established as a world role model. But, hasn't this role model proved to be wrong?

In reality, USA was a land of prosperity and freedom, in the past. Today, it has turned into a highly exploitative system that completely excludes the “social” element and a global military aggressor. United States sits on old glory, because today’s reality is much different than the image they still project onto the world. In fact, USA is the world leader in hypocrisy and cynicism. Reprimanding corrupt foreign governments, when the US government works for corporations, instead for the people. Speaking against terrorism and military aggression, when the US foreign policy is one of the most terror-oriented and aggressive in the world. Talking about Global Warming and environment preservation, when US corporations are some of the major pollutants and destroyers of environment both on US territory and abroad.

Abusing non-renewable resources, as if the end of the world is just around the corner. Producing enormous amounts of waste, both organic and synthetic, that spill into rivers, oceans and all nature. The entire concept of perpetually expanding economic growth is wrong and unsustainable. A virtual economic prosperity, that still remains unexposed, but will not remain like this forever. Why virtual? Because, it is debt-based.

It is a strange thing that USA imports much more, than they export. Yet, Americans can afford a rather higher standard of life on the average. This is a controversy. And this is where the American credit system comes in the scene.

The land of the debt, where the average citizen has 8 credit cards and about a thousand dollars of debt on each one of those plastics. Americans are spending beyond their means and this situation puts American economy ahead of its actual GDP, thus this higher standard of living is somewhat artificially created with a lot of blink. The average American has higher rate of spending, than making money.

There are much unhealthy elements in the way US society ended up being set. Not to mention high rates of obesity, probably highest in the world, and GMO food treated with highly toxic chemicals (produced by Monsanto, the same Monsanto who produced Agent Orange for the Vietnam war) with side effects yet to be established, such as endocrine disruptive ones, both for humans and animals alike.

It may seem a great thing to be American, but is this only the façade? Behind the glamour there are shady mechanisms at work. Liberty, it seems, has been lost somewhere on the way.

Americans, today, are enslaved by corporations and banks. Banks lure people in taking credits with overwhelming advertisements, great offers and discounts, counting on the average person’s ignorance. Terms and clauses are intentionally complicated and written so that contracts be as less clear to the consumer as possible. Government, on the other hand, makes sure it keeps propaganda up, motivating society to be good consumers. However, the average American doesn’t make enough money to be that good a consumer, that is why they need to spend on credit, in order to fulfill the consumer-quota required from them. Modern consumerism, on the whole, is based on deception and misleading. A legalized fraud. Unfortunately, this model propagates itself overseas as well. For instance, here in Bulgaria, six years ago there were no mortgage credits, there were no credit advertisements on TV and on street banners. And today, already there are lots and lots of people in debt, caught in the spider web of banks and debt economics.

Banks use various strategies to keep their customers well in debt. They gladly would refinance your mortgage, so that you may fail to pay it off this time. They would even reprimand you, if you pay off your credit too fast. They don’t like you when you pay on time, thus avoiding interest. Ideally, banks want you to make minimal monthly payments forever. And, don’t worry, you can always go bankrupt and balance out your credit bills.

While, I’m not sure if all that bank credit system is such a bad thing after all. Since, if there were no credits available to the average working individual, the whole consumer-based society wouldn’t be possible. Not at these rates at least. But, what about the social side-effects of this aggressive Capitalism? What about the continuing and growing trends of inhumane practices of corporations, like sweatshops and death salaries? And what about the complete lack of care about the environment? What about taking responsibility for future generations yet unborn? What legacy are “we” leaving to them? A shattered and poisoned world? Why sustainable economy and renewable production is kept only in theory? Why are corporations waiting for the last drop of oil to dry out, in order to really invest in those new technologies? Greed is a great barrier to social advancement. Among other primitive behavioral patterns of human beings.

What about the growing inequality between rich and poor? Is the middle class diminishing? Where will that lead? Isn’t it time to officially declare Capitalism a mistake and move forward? Or is it that people must change their mindset first, in order that we move forward.

The presumption of constantly expanding economy is just irrational, not to mention unsustainable, and it will inevitably turn into a black hole, crushing down under its own weight

In one speech of his, J.W.Bush says that “Americans enjoy economic independence” Wow, I was truly stunned by this outlandish conclusion, what’s more, the sitting crowds in front of him actually clapped their hands joyfully. Amazing. It is amazing how much appreciation empty words can bring about. Of course, manipulative governments all around the world knew that effect long ago Bush was even born.

Title: Maxed Out

I do agree that people's own ignorance and lack of rational thought is the main reason to find themselves in such debt-overwhelmed situations. The banks having lied and deceived them into taking the bait is another element, but not really the main one. I mean, do live within your means people or at least close to it. Time to realize that the American Dream is not wealth that simply falls from the sky, it's about opportunities to earn. However, such opportunities are to be found all over the world today, so it's an old concept overall. And what about Liberty?

It is a strange thing that there are a lot of movies, articles and analyses over the past decades raising those issues and yet as if all of them are somehow kept on the background, shut and silenced with very little public attention drawn to them, like some kind of dissidents that are unfavorable to the ruling government, because, well, they are too objective and speak the truth. Preposterous.  Here is another documentary related to Freedom and Liberty in USA that I recommend watching, some of the regulations that it criticizes are truly disturbing. Like the ban on growing vegetable in your back yard. I mean, this is a fundamental human right to grow food on Earth, banned. Crazy world. 

Title: The End of Liberty (2010)

You can watch it here

And another one, examining this transition in a historical restrospection and embarking on quite a provoking trip in search of answers from some of the most notorious US institutions. Nearly a century later.. US society still walks oblivious to all this. Watch the following documentary, it is highly recommended and spread the word. Stand up and fight, for your freedom, for your rights!

Title: America: From Freedom to Fascism (2006) 

What we see in the above documentary is just gruesome. It is shocking and deeply, deeply disturbing. So ridiculous when people say that "USA is the freest country." Umh, think again. This sounds like the "Americans enjoy economic independence" line of Bush's. Utter and complete hot air words with absolutely no resonance in reality. Yeah, the truth is that Liberty in United States died at the beginning of the 20th Century and it is up to people now to resurrect it back. Say no to self-imposed ignorance! Informed and intelligent is cool. Dumbness is dull (not to mention highly manipulative). Wake up people.

Title: Stupidity (2003)    

"Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a mad man or an economist" Kenneth Boulding