cj#1000> Global Collapse and the Capitalist End-Game

1999-10-24

Richard Moore


                Global Collapse and the Capitalist End-Game

              - a dialog about the collapse of the world sytem

                            (c) rkm 1999


    X: "Things ARE going to change. The current system is going to
    collapse catastrophically."

Dear X,

The 'capitalist system' is our self-appointed 'system governor' -  it makes
the rules and governs the operation of all of our various 'support
systems'.   These 'support systems' include the ecosystem, our societal
structures, our national economies, and our populations (re:
overpopulation, famines, etc).  These support systems are not only _likely
to collapse, but are _already collapsing - the process is pretty far along.
For example in many parts of Africa, such as Rwanda, the 'total collapse'
has already occurred, and a massive die-off of the populations is happening
right before our eyes.  Atlantic fisheries, which were once the most
bountiful in the world, are now essentially non-existent.  The national
economy of Korea already suffered a 'total collapse'.  Whole pieces of our
support systems _are collapsing, and _all pieces of our support systems are
deterioriating.  In this regard I couldn't agree with you more!

Now let's consider the 'capitalist system' itself.  Obviously if the
support systems collapse utterly, then capitalism collapses with them.  No
debate there.  I suggest that we think about how the 'end-game' is likely
to be played out by the capitalist elite - that top echelon of bankers and
planners that guide our global system on behalf of the handful of people
who own most of it.  How are they likely to deal with the final stages of
collapse?

There are really two parts to the capitalist system.  The first is the
economic system of exploitive development, the second is the
political-military system of capitalist elite hegemony.  The two support
one another, and may seem totally inseperable, but the distinction turns
out to be of central importance.

You continue...

    ...The fortress is going to collapse on its own. The Titanic
    analogy is not quite accurate. We are going to the bottom
    because capitalism is blowing holes in the hull. The
    "corporate elite" are sinking their own ship.

Allow me to rephrase this, making use of the distinctions I've suggested...

    The capitalist elite, in pursuing their agenda of exploitive
    development, are destroying the support systems upon which
    they, and the rest of us, are dependent.  If the process
    continues unchecked, the support systems will collapse,
    the economic system will cease operating, and the elite
    will have sunk the whole ship, including their own command deck.

I hope I haven't distorted your essential meaning, although I've obviously
modified the emphasis for the purposes of analysis.  (:<)

At this point, certain historical precedents become relevant.  The collapse
of Rome, of the Inca empire... in fact the collapse of most previous
civilizations.  In all these cases, their systems operated according to
certain principles of operation, one of the most important being their
methods of agriculture and irrigation.  When those systems could no longer
be supported, the societies could not, or would not, change their methods
of operation - and they succumbed.  In some cases the regions simply could
not support the population levels indefinitely - by any means then known.
In other cases, solutions were available - but rigidity of thinking on the
part of leadership elites prohibited them from being considered.  Instead
of responding to the need for change, they buried their heads in the sand
and kept right on doing what they were doing until the final end - like
Hitler in his bunker moving imaginary divisions on his maps.

Is the capitalist elite operating under such denial delusions?  Are they
simply burying their head in ticker tape quotes and hiding from the
collapse the rest of us can see so clearly?   I believe there is
considerable evidence to the contrary - evidence that well thought out
responses are being deployed, evidence that elite planners are not ignoring
the collapse scenario, but instead are preparing to deal with it using
drastic methods - methods almost unimaginably diabolical.

Keep in mind that it was only about a century ago that Native Americans
were being systematially exterminated - to provide room for capitalist
expansion.  We may tend to blame it on some kind of wild-west pioneer
mentality, but to the land speculators, the railroad builders, and the
east-coast bankers, it was a fully-conscious program of business expansion
through genocide.  I ran across a confidential letter written by Thomas
Jefferson, for example, in which he gave advice to an official about how
the natives could be most efficiently killed off (it had to do with
encouraging them to get into debt.)

Let's look at some of the things the West, especailly the US, is doing in
African countries such as Rwanda and many of its neighbors.  First of all,
the IMF has systematically destroyed the economies - in some cases utterly.
From this cause alone, large-scale famines began.  Then civil strife
'arose'.  Indeed strife did 'arise' out of the abysmal economic conditions
- but it was helped along with a strong push from US military advisors, and
with shiploads of modern Western armaments.

        The training emphasis was on 'security operations', which
translates into the creation of death-squad militias, much like those in
East Timor - which were also US trained.  Out of these Western-sponsored
civil-wars, futher genocide occurred, partly from increased famine due to
disorder, and partly from slaughter.  No massive 'humanitarian'
intervention effort was considered, I suggest, because what was happening
is exactly what was intended to happen - genocide _is the fundamental
agenda being carried out!  Hence the corporate global media simply reports
these events as unfortunate, unavoidable, due to ancient ethnic hatreds or
draughts, etc. etc.

Another thing the IMF and World Bank are doing is dismantling health-care
facilities in these parts of Africa.  Under IMF structural requirements,
the budget for health care is limited to something on the order of $3 per
person per year.  A new 'philosophy' of health care has been adopted.
Under this philosophy professional health care is seen as being an 'elite
institution', and the population instead is to depend on untrained lay
people to provide their care.  Of these events, the elite media is simply
silent.

And then there's AIDs.  Some people claim to have proof that AIDS was
invented via biotech methods for the purposes of genocide.  Perhaps.  What
we do know for sure is that the West is doing nothing to deal with the
epidemic in Africa.  Pharmaceutical research is aimed at expensive curative
treatments, not at the kind of vaccines that would be needed in the African
scenario.  Nor is the West making any effective effort to spread an
understanding about needles and condoms in Africa.  Nor is the magnitude of
the AIDS epidemic featured in our media.  Everyone knows AIDS is a serious
problem in the West, and victims are portrayed sympathetially in the media,
but Africa is generally ignored.  The de-facto Western response to African
AIDS is to simply wait for them all to die.

So we have economic collapse, famine, civil war, and no health care - all
systematically promoted by the West, and explained away or ignored by the
corporate media.  And then we have AIDS, with no Western response at all.
Does this or does this not add up to a conscious policy of genocide?

---

What I'm suggesting is that this is _one example of how our elite planners
are dealing with the collapse scenario.  In this case, their thinking can
be characterized this way:  "Too much population?  No problem... let's just
pick some groups that aren't contributing much to the global economy and
kill them off.  There'll be fewer mouths to feed, more land to grow food
for the rest of us, and more water to irrigate the crops."   Do you perhaps
reject that anyone could think that way?  Do you think all of the West's
systematic actions came from nowhere?  When one economy collapsed, or one
civil war broke out, it could be counted up to error.  Not when it becomes
a systematic pattern.

Genocide in Africa represents  part of a 'final solution' to the problem of
over-population under an economic-growth paradigm.  So that the survivors
can continue gobbling resources, some will have to be sacrificed.  And the
ones sacrificed are those who consume the _least resources, the ones _least
responsible for the problems of excessive growth.  Such are the ones who
contribute least to global economic growth.  By the measure of GDP, they
simply have no value.  Just like the Native Americans and Australian
Aboriginals before them.

In Russia - where the birth rate is down, the death rate is up, the economy
is in shambles, and famine is an increasing possibility in many regions -
we may well be seeing a similar strategy unfolding, even if it isn't
carried out quite so thoroughly.  A significantly reduced Russian
population, with the economy owned by the West, would permit most of
Russia's vast resources to be exploited for Western 'needs'.

If any kind of nuclear exchange develops, in the region of India, Pakistan,
and China for example, that could used to accomplish a great deal of
additional genocide all at once.  In such a scenario, management of media
would be absolute, and whole cities or regions could be anniahilated (using
neutron weapons which kill people and leave resources intact) without us
hearing about it.  The full magnitude of such a war might only reach the
light of day much later.  Most people in the US, for example, have no idea
of the magnitude of the genocidal suffering caused by the Iraqi sanctions,
nor the extent of damage in Yugoslavia.

---

I am not claiming that these kinds of genocidal policies are an effective
(albeit abhorrent) solution to the collapse scenario.  What I am suggesting
is that the elite are _not ignoring the collapse crisis, but instead are
taking drastic measures of various kinds in conscious response to that
crisis.  They may be reckless drivers, but they _are endeavoring
intelligently to steer around the obstacles in their path.  They are awake,
not asleep - even if they are demonic.  We need to pay closer attention to
how they are playing this 'end game'.

You continue...

    That the corporate fortress is desperate can been seen in
    its "humanitarian" bombing in Yugoslavia and its continuing
    depraved sanctions against the people of Iraq. The corporate
    empire's production expansion is faultering and it is
    turning more and more to an economy based on military
    consumption.

The arms industry is certainly a major segment of the economy, but it is
not growing at a rate - even with these recent adventures - to make a
qualitative difference in the overall problem of glutted global markets.
Instead, I suggest that your examples reveal other objectives - objectives
which have more payoff than simply the military-related profits.

In the case of Iraq, I've already suggested that the genocidal sanctions
are part of a 'final solution' to the over-population problem.  In
addition, keeping Iraqi oil off the market leads to many billions of
dollars of increased profits to the oil TNCs - far more significant than
the arms-industry profits from Desert Storm itself.  And after Sadam is
finally ousted, the devestated nation will provide profits from
re-development, as in Russia, and will be brought under the control of the
IMF so that its resources can be systematically bled dry by outside
'investors' and the West.


Because drastic actions have been undertaken, you conclude that the
"corporate fortress is desperate".  I suggest instead that the "corporate
fortress" is revealing the extent to which it will go in defending itself,
and the deviousness with which it is capable of pursuing its objectives.
It would indeed reveal desperation, _if the military payoff was their only
benefit from these escapades.  But they're not.  A deeper game is being
played.

The collapse of Southeast Asian economies was the result of a speculator
raid on the currencies - combined with an inappropriate but _predictable
response from the state banks.  The IMF rushed in and systematically
destroyed the economies.  At first glance this economic crisis may look
like a "hole in the ship" of global capitalism - evidence for its collapse.
But I suggest it is simply one more conscious drastic action, aimed at
_maintaining the Western-based "corporate fortress".  By intentionally
bankrupting Asian economies, two benefits were obtained.  Their productive
assets could be purchased at pennies on the dollar by Western interests,
and their production output was taken off the glutted global markets.  The
whole operation was an effective project aimed at providing growth room for
Western TNC's in the short run, and at reducing the region to the status of
colonial dependency - facilitating resource confiscation in the long run.

---

Putting this all together, we can see that one of the strategic elite
responses to the environmental-collapse scenario is to return to a drastic
version of Western imperialism.  The third world (to which new nations are
being added every day) is to simply be milked dry so that the West can
continue longer in its consumptive growth mode.  Poverty, disease, famine -
and outright genocide - are all totally acceptable if they facilitate this
milking-dry process.

Population growth in the West itself is relatively stable and manageable -
so to our elite leaders there _is no_ immediate crisis of over-population!
"Billions of 'them' will die - so what?  Like dinasaurs and Aboriginals,
they didn't adapt.  Such is life.  Their women shouldn't have had so many
kids.  It's their own fault."  If you think this can't happen, then just
consider the response of Western publics to the genocide _already going on.
They don't even know it's happening, or else they shrug it off with a
shallow rationalization, handily provided by the media.

---

At a more systematic level, elite planners have set up institutions which
are actively measuring and quantifying all of the Earth's resources,
creating an 'end game' budget of resources.  They're using the latest
satellite technology to map every water source, every acre of arable land,
every mineral site, etc.  These can be correlated with population data,
consumption statistics, and other databases, so as to work out an accurate
time-sequence of the end-game of our support systems - based on current
trends.  You might say they're making a multi-dimensional video of the end
of the world.

Most assuredly, our capitalist leaders are not asleep at the wheel.  They
are not going to retire to the first-class Titanic deck and fatalistically
watch their video while the water pours in.  They're going to use this
information to figure out which populations should be culled when, so as to
keep the West on its consumption binge for as long as possible.  As regards
petroleum for example, the IMF has already set prices at a level where many
parts of the third world can no longer afford to use it for transportation,
and hence remaining supplies are being channeled toward the West and the
other remaining industrialized nations.   Our leaders have demonstrated
conclusively that they will use whatever means are necessary to implement
whatever measures are deemed advantageous by their spreadheet analysis.  No
sacrifice is too great to insure the survival of capitalism, as long as
someone else pays the price.

In Candada, I'm sure you're aware of the controversy regarding water
rights.  As part of a global water-consolidation program - the result no
doubt of the kind of resource surveys described above - initiatives have
been launched to privatize water resources globally, and to modify the
rules by which water resources are allocated.  The scheme in Canada seems
to be aimed at stealing Candada's water, and making it available to US
agribusiness - possibly to alleviate the effects of climate changes
expected from global warming.  As water is confiscated by such means in the
third world, most likely to be used to irrigate corporate plantations, we
can expect massive famines as a direct consequence.  These no doubt will be
reported in the media as being the result of 'drought' - sad, but
unavoidable.  Again, drastic measures - but diabolical and effective - not
desperate.

---

You said:

    We must plan for the collapse of the economic commons and
    prepare to refill the social commons as fast as we can.

What I've been trying to show is that this strategy is inappropriate.  The
way the scenario is being played out, it will be take longer than you think
to reach a point where we in the West are likely to experience a full
collapse of the economic commons.  Long before that - if we wait in the
wings - we will have permitted global human suffering on a scale that would
make the Holocaust look insignificant by comparison.   If we believe that
the 'average German' was in any way morally culpable for Nazism, then we
must similarly judge ourselves today.  Especially if we are aware of the
death camps, such as exist already in Iraq and Rwanda.  We cannot wait in
the wings, or at least I certainly hope we don't.

But even if we set that aside - and say that unfortunately we can do
nothing for 'them' - there is no guarantee that the economic commons in the
West will _ever fully collapse.  We may get skin cancer from no ozone, some
of our coastal cities may be flooded due to global warming, and we will
surely have to give up automobiles - and yet our economic commons may
continue to function.

At our current phase of the end-game, drastic measures have been taken and
effective results obtained - room has been created for the West to continue
its consumptive growth for longer than we would have otherwise predicted.
Comprehensive surveys are being made, so that these kinds of system
manipulations can be strategically timed to best effect.  New media
rationales for military intevention are being artfully developed
(Yugoslavia, East Timor) - and have been institutionalized in the Clinton
Doctrine.  This assures that a heavy hand will be available in support of
future system adjustments.

They are learning as they go, trying out ideas, looking at the results,
learning from their mistakes.  Weapons systems are being refined,
propaganda techniques polished, destabilization programs perfected, and
economic consequences carefully charted.  The end-game is being dealt with
like a modern engineering project.  It took such a project only a few years
to develop the atom bomb, and only ten years to get a man on the moon.  The
end-game project has been going on for, I'd estimate, about twenty years.
With Reagan and Thatcher you can see the groundwork being laid to create
the kind of centralized global control that is necessary to play such a
game.  I'd say we're pretty far into the end-game project already, and that
it is at a fairly mature stage of effectiveness.

We simply cannot afford to let this game take its course.   Too many people
will be sacrificed before they 'come for us' in the West.   Of course they
are already coming for _some of 'us', as we can see with all the homeless,
those without medical care, and in our soaring prison populations.  But
these circumstances are not perceived by most as being a collapse of the
economic commons.

One of our problems is that we continually lower our expectations as our
conditions worsen.  When I was a kid it would have been shocking and
horrifying to know there was a homeless family in our neighborhood.  It
would have been in the newspapers, and some kind of accomodation would have
been found - or they might have been arrested as vagrants - but they
wouldn't have been left on the streets.  It would have been publicly
unacceptable.  Now we pass by daily and simply avoid their glance.  From my
perspective, our economic commons _has collapsed - it has collapsed to a
level I consider outrageously unacceptable - but our consensus perception
seems to define this level as being 'still operating'.

At some point we must adjust our expectations upwards.  Otherwise we may
rationalize our way to being the last slave serving the last ear of corn to
the last capitalist, grateful to the end that our own economic commons had
not yet collapsed.  There will never be any defining moment of collapse
here in the West - not if we continue to adjust ourselves to planned
incremental degradation.  In this way, waiting for the collapse of the
economic commons becomes almost equivalent to those millenial cults, who
wait for flying saucers or second comings.  It becomes a way to buffer
ourselves from the unacceptability of the reality around us, and a way to
forgive ourselves for not being able to do anything about it.

---

This ungodly endgame scenario can be challenged only if we stand up and
claim our humanity and collectively demand to control our own destinies and
those of our communities and socieities.  And, as they say on some Pink
Floyd track, you will 'hear no starting gun', instead 'ten years will pass'
and we'll find ourselves accepting conditions that today would have us all
out on the streets.

The defining moment can only come from inside ourselves.  We must decide
we've had enough.  And if we can't do that now, I suggest, there's no
reason to see why it will be any different later.

Which brings us back to your point about a need-to-plan mindset.   _Yes, we
need to begin planning immediately to rebuild the social commons!   But
instead of planning for a post-collapse commons, let's begin building that
commons right now - and let's call that commons a 'grass-roots
revolutionary movement' (for a democratic renaissance?).  For activists, I
suggest, our greatest 'need to plan' is in the area of
how-to-get-the-movement-started.  We can't wait to agree on ideology first
- harmonizing agendas must be part of the movement process.  There is
nothing to wait for - whenever we're ready we can begin.  The job only
becomes more difficult the longer we wait.

solidarity,
rkm


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