imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

Activist Video

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - json version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles
link:

Vulgar Materialism: The Madness of Growth and the Casino

by Ulrike Herrmann Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 at 6:04 AM
marc1seed@yahoo.com

Renouncing on growth or tolerating a shriveling economy is hard. Greece is a shocking example. Many people cut down the last trees because they could not afford heating oil. Nature is the first victim in an economic crisis. Whole generations are traumatized.

VULGAR MATERIALISM. THE MADNESS OF GROWTH AND THE CASINO

By Ulrike Herrmann

[This article “Wachsinn Wachstum” published 12/21/2012 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.taz.de/1/archiv/?dig=2012/12/21/a0092. Ulrike Herrmann is an economics editor at taz. In 2010, Westend published her book “Hurrah, we can pay. The Self-Deceit of the Middle Class” (Hurra, wir durfen zahlen. Der Selbstbetrug der Mittleschicht.]

Jesus was not a capitalist. Modern capitalism first arose 1800 years after Jesus’ birth. Nevertheless Christmas has long been a symbol of the abundance produced by this capitalism.

The German environmental ministry has counted how many objects the average German citizen owns. They are 10,000. At least half of these things are never used but frittered away to the limit polluting the environment – first in production and then as waste.

LIFE WITHOUT PLUNDER

A simple solution presses. Everyone should only buy half as much. This would be liberation, not renunciation. The plunder that is never tackled would be gone at last. Our capitalist economy would obviously not grow any more but shrivel. Why doesn’t this happen? The environment would be rescued.

This is not simple as the Euro crisis shows. One way out was recommended in unison to the crisis countries: generate growth! Political conflict only rages over the question how this growth can be best produced. Chancellor Merkel demands austerity programs while the French president emphasizes economic assistance. But everyone agrees: there must be a boom in the Euro zone. I have also commented repeatedly that the crisis countries need growth. Many readers sent letters that pointed out: the world is finite and the economy cannot grow infinitely.

That is true. However renouncing on growth or even tolerating a shriveling economy is hard. Greece is a shocking example. Many people cut down the last trees because they could not afford any heating oil. Nature is the first victim in an economic crisis.

It is hardly conceivable that crisis countries will remain democracies when unemployment is at 20 percent and youth unemployment is at 50 percent. Insecurity and lack of perspective is the worst. Poverty is not the worst that can happen though it is terrible. Whole generations are traumatized and may turn to a supposed rescuer if new jobs do not arise soon.

Thus capitalism, functions differently than the advertising suggests. The commodities that we consume and give as gifts on Christmas are not central. The products are only expedients for a higher goal. The ultimate goals are the jobs. We work so others can work. Only the one who works has income, security and acknowledgment. In his book “The Affluent Society,” (1958) the economist John Kenneth Galbraith referred to a strange phenomenon. In an economic crisis, there is never regret that many goods do not arise because the factories are not used to full capacity. No one worries over this loss in material wealth. The declining quantity of goods does not matter. Instead there is only criticism about the jobs that are eliminated in the crisis. We seemingly consume to death but this is a false perception. We produce to death. The goal is full employment, not full consumption.

THE COMMODITY BECOMES THE FETISH

Employees are not the only ones urging growth. Savers and investors also want to see profits. Every German does not have assets as the latest German Poverty- and Wealth report shows. The bottom half of the population has nothing. That the top half accelerates even greater panic hardly means the economy could collapse. The Euro crisis has not come to Germany but real estate is frantically bought.

The commodity becomes a fetish. Different from what Karl Marx thought, security is central, not practical value or exchange value. We produce and invest so an unknown future can be controlled.

HARTZ IV RECIPIENTS DO NOT GO HUNGRY

Thus the task appears insoluble. We must bid farewell to growth if we do not want our environment to be completely ruined. Still every economic collapse triggers existential fears.

This dilemma can only be overcome if society no longer insists every individual is alone responsible for his or her security – by getting hold of a job or “private provisions.” Both force growth. Thus the environment is rescued by the right social- and fiscal policy, not by environmental policy.

What must happen so citizens feel secure? “Security” is an ambivalent concept in rich societies like Germany. Obviously avoiding death from starvation is the main challenge. Hartz IV recipients also have enough to eat. Nevertheless the middle class falls into panic as soon as it imagines it could be counted as poor. The middle class knows it will then lose its dignity, be despised and treated like a child.

People only feel secure when no one can crash them – since poor and rich are not so far apart. Environmental care is only possible with that security, as worldwide comparative studies confirm. The egalitarian Scandinavians lead the way while the polarized US is far behind. How wealth is distributed is important for pollution control, not how rich a society is. It may be surprising but high taxes for top earners are active environmental care. This recalls Jesus who emphasized again and again to his disciples that riches do not create security. As he says in the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not pile up treasures on earth where moth and rust devour.” Jesus did not know capitalism. Still his commands are current and burning issues if we want to survive. High taxes for top earners are active environmental care.

RELATED LINKS:

Duff McDuffee, “If capitalism is sociopathic, how should we make a living,” December 19, 2012
http://beyondgrowth.net/social-criticism/if-capitalism-is-sociopathic-how-should-we-make-a-living/

Donella Meadows Institute, “Life Beyond Growth”
http://www.donellameadows.org/archives/life-beyond-growth/

http://www.freembtranslations.net

http://www.socialistproject.ca

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

Kassim Alhimidi convicted of murder A17 8:33PM

Members of Bundy Family Explain Bundy Ranch Stand-Off With Bureau of Land Management (BLM) A17 1:03AM

Here's some interesting privatization connections in regards to the LAUSD District 1 race A15 4:25PM

Rock, Rap & Speakout vs Poverty, Prisons & War A13 3:16PM

Report Back: 4th Annual Hahamongna Walkabout A13 2:33PM

Pacifica Exe Director position is in confusion still putting KPFK at risk A10 3:52PM

Bernard Duncan, prior GM of KPFK is still in play A08 5:01PM

San Diego May Dai Workers Film Festival A06 5:11PM

Southern California Joins Worldwide Wave Of Action A05 2:31AM

Pacifica board members named here, who attempted ousting ED A04 1:06PM

LA Weekly promotes a slanted view of Pacifica/ KPFK A04 10:36AM

More Info about Pacifica, which holds KPFK's license, etc. A03 2:08PM

Listen to KPFK's staff talking to Pacifica Exe Director M29 7:31PM

Pacifica IS also KPFK, so let's not ignore what going on M29 5:42PM

Reported excerpts of Pacifica's - and that's KPFK's - incidents happening - update M29 5:14PM

Repost from Counterpunch re Pacifica - KPFK too involved M29 2:10PM

Forever intertwined: KPFK, WBAI, Gary Null ? M28 4:10PM

Why is KPFK still failing to thrive ? M28 3:32PM

GLOBAL DAY of ACTION for the Indonesian Rainforests! M27 3:06PM

Opponents of SB County Jail's Letter Ban to Share Progress, Next Steps M27 9:58AM

Pacifica Radio, Rwanda, and DR Congo M26 2:29PM

International Multicultural Literary Magazine Features Armenia in Spring Issue M25 11:14AM

Why is KPFK still failing to thrive ? M24 9:10PM

Home-less-free occupying is not a free ride either M24 8:46PM

The US Occupy Movement - Since the Eviction from the Squares M21 6:32AM

Protest Against Latest U.S. Meddling M20 9:17PM

FOIA Request Results for LVIMC M20 12:22PM

black activista, white racists meet to discuss civil rights M01 12:55PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Arythmie du capital A19 5:33AM

Dissent within after article, Profound Arrogance at UN. A19 4:20AM

Arythmie du capital A19 4:06AM

Dissent within after article, Profound Arrogance at UN. A19 3:25AM

Kiev Violates Four-Party Agreement A19 12:50AM

Fake Donetsk Letter Circulating A19 12:49AM

Dissent within after article, Profound Arrogance at UN. A18 7:43PM

Michael Ruppert dead. A18 6:17PM

Pacifica voting in secret with no accountability? Is this part of KPFK ? A18 3:39PM

Flashback to 2003: "Major combat in Iraq is over, U.S. warns rogue Syria" A18 11:40AM

Supreme Court Hears Argentina Predatory Hedge Fund Discovery Case A18 10:28AM

The Shortwave Report 04/18/14 Listen Globally! A17 4:50PM

Four-Party Agreement on Ukraine A17 1:35PM

An Event for All Musicians... and Bring Your Dad for FREE! A17 11:08AM

LION ARK ROARS AND THE AUDIENCE PURRS: RESCUE DOCUMENTARY PICKS UP SIXTH AWARD A17 11:03AM

Ukraine on the Brink A17 12:39AM

More NATO Forces for Eastern Europe A17 12:36AM

Obama Heads for War in Ukraine A16 12:44AM

Israel Seeks Regional Anti-Iranian Alliance A16 12:39AM

Duplicitous Human Rights Misinformation on Ukraine A15 12:12PM

The Augean Stables Of US Justice From Prosecutors To Supreme Court A15 9:21AM

Paraphysique des droites A15 8:51AM

Public Relations - Propaganda as an Economic Branch A15 5:44AM

Duplicitous Obama Civil Rights Hyperbole A15 12:48AM

Ukrainians Resist A15 12:47AM

Navi Pillay: US Imperial Tool A14 12:55PM

The Neoliberal Model: Profits without Investments A14 5:46AM

Celebrate the RH victory in the Philippines, continue the struggle A14 2:21AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy