Saturday, April 16, 2011

Capitalism saves

A brief disclaimer: If you read this closely, you'll not think I'm a crazy person.

I’ve long been of the mind that civilization as we know it is teetering on some dreadful precipice of which the bottom reflects no light. Why? Consumption, consumption, consumption; greed, greed, greed; me, me, me. That’s why. It sickens me to hear people deliberating over the necessity of some new product. “Why do I need this?” they say. Aloud. It’s not a matter of need, of course. It’s want. They want more and more and more. Why buy one, when I can buy three for the same price? Because you only need one, you asshole. But that’s what we do. Why does a family need two cars? Why does one need three? It might be a convenience but ask human viability in its manifest form (an E. coli tainted McDonald’s “beef” patty) if it’s convenient for us and the answer will be a resounding grumble of starvation.

Deep breath. 180.

I’ve been one of the crazies to suspect that we might have reached peak oil some time ago but after listening to a podcast on oil speculation cornering and inflating the cost of everything, I’ve come to an almost philosophical rest regarding our collapse.

Here it is.

See, with or without oil, we’re going to eat shit. There’s a loooot of dread in the back of a loooot of people’s minds but no one can say exactly why. I guess that’s what dread is, huh? Not being sure what’s around the corner but knowing that it’s either a hoard of brain hungry zombies or just good old fashioned fire and brimstone. Maybe both. Anyway, this collective dread has been fascinating to me for a long time. Collectivity in itself has been fascinating me for a while. Bear with me a moment. Anyone who’s read at least three posts of mine knows that I think American capitalism is just as evil as Soviet communism was. But on a macro level, I’m beginning to think that perhaps the innate greed in people might actually save us from total destruction. Is this unapologetic greed simply a pressure value of some collective human unconsciousness where this foreboding sense of dread resides? It would make sense if Soviet-style communism and American capitalism were reflexive actions by the human race to preserve itself but I guess you could make the same case with war and individually murderous derangement. If oil speculation is driving up prices in everything that uses oil . . . which everything, then people, more specifically the average consumer, won’t be able to buy, buy, buy because everything will become too expensive. Populations (of post-industrial societies) would retract their hedonistic explosions and in two generations, perhaps we’d be sustainable again? Or at least have figured out a way off this cosmic island to exploit another star system.

Hmmm, I think I’m describing social Darwinism.* Blast! I take it all back. But hey, it wouldn’t technically be social Darwinism if it’s a mechanism of the human unconsciousness.** It’d be natural selection on a massive scale! Is everyone following me? I’m not.

In short, greed puts the brakes on oil consumption through highly unethical speculation (Stalinist communism would have done the same by simply withholding and of course, strong-arming). That doesn’t mean I’m going to start wearing a Stars and Bars trucker cap or attend any Tea Party rallies. I’m just saying that it’s happening. Of course that doesn’t mean that speculation won’t cause a total collapse but it’s less abysmal for me to know that we haven’t sucked the earth dry of a resource that is second only to water.

Hi, Julie.

*A quick verification on the definition of Social Darwinism revealed the term, “Darwinist Collectivity” which paradoxically marries the “survival of the fittest” dictum to a collectivist’s recognition that as a species, we have an interdependency on one another and survival of the species trumps individualism. Translation: I’m a goddamned genius.

**A second verification on human unconsciousness revealed Carl Jung and affirmed my previously mentioned autodidactic genius.


Julie Buz. said...

This is more than a salutation, Carlos, isn't it? :oD


I think you're describing a process known in economics as price adjustment. (Sort-of-kind-of, although I do get what you mean.)

C. Andres Alderete said...

Any reference to you, Ms. Pie, is ALWAYS more than it is. This particular one was bait that was not taken. Once again, the bubble still occupies only two delusional people ;)

Mwahaha said...

I'm going to sound like I'm kissing ass, but I totally agree. The drone mindset of "Work, Buy, Consume, Die" has such a stranglehold on the consumers of America that it's nauseating.

If you haven't read George Orwell's novel 1984, I'm sure you'd enjoy it. There's a lot of depth to it, but one aspect I enjoyed was how the government used excess. Rather than just selling it to folk, over-production was focused on products for war (though war itself is dramatically different, but that's a long story). By using all the extra supplies in a non-stop war, citizens always had an enemy to act as centripital force, and patriotism was always high. Then, citizens were kept in a constant state of lack, based on a system of ration distribution. It makes a lot more sense in the book, the principle-that over-production in many MDCs is just such a damn shame-holds very true.

Also, even if you hate Michael Moore like so many others, his doc on capitalism was fantastic, and highly reccomended by yours truly. Which means it must be good.

JennAventures said...

I like this.

I've been fascinated by the news lately (and enraged). The "greed" factor is a bit nauseating-but I honestly think its going to be pushed too far (more cash breaks for corporate companies...less resources for people) and there is going to be some

C. Andres Alderete said...

Mwahaha, read it and seen it, but that's for the 1984 recap. It's been a good 12 years since I picked it up. If you'd like to fuel your hate, I recommend an EXCELLENT documentary called The Corporation and any literature by Howard Zinn. Remember that name. Howard Zinn.

Jenna, nice David Bowie reference. Read my comment to Mwahaha, then have a virtual slice of apricot pie with Julie and discuss what you find there.

carma said...

Carlos says wha??

Chindiana said...

It does makes sense O Tired One! Lets see what happens. Btw in Singapore they're already drinking their own piss. It's recycled and repackaged under the brand Nu Water. Hope the markets readjusts itself before Malaysia has to do the same ( i dont trust our public health officials as the Singaporean authorities)

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