The limits of nature.
The 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic has been another demonstration that the natural world has limits and that not every limit can be definitively overcome. However, this microscopic life-form has not ‘caused‘ the crisis. It merely placed a proverbial straw onto an already top-heavy, overburdened, crisis-prone capitalist system. Blaming an invisible virus or China for economic crisis is simply political spin.
The current economic collapse is fundamentally a further result of the faulty foundations upon which capitalism is built. Again (as in 1929, 1939-50 and 2008) capitalist industry and commerce has to be bailed out by a series of public measures. The representatives of privatisation and capitalist society have socialised a capital created crisis by massive grants of state created loans and cash.
This latest socialistic type rescue mission has occurred because pro-capitalists consider not even economic ideology is more important than the capitalist mode of production itself. To them, nature is not more important, family is not more important, community is not more important, human life is not more important; even the planet is not more important, than extracting profits from economic activity.
To maintain profitability the capitalist system and it’s supporters have over two generations; destroyed natural habitats, decimated families, uprooted communities, bombed nations and some plan to colonise other planets once this one is ruined.
The limitations of capital.
Capital, Profit and Production have become the real-world trinity for capitalists – the secular and economic equivalent of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost of Christianity. However, the holy ghost of capitalist production has disturbed nature in ever increasing ways. Wide-spread floods, repeated famines, extensive forest fires and new global diseases, have been triggered by missionary work dedicated to capital and profit. The mentality of homo-technophile, (species: profito-sapien), continues to assume that nature’s limits are simply barriers to be overcome.
In overcoming natural and social barriers, science and technology, harnessed to the profit motive, has left large areas of the planet devastated and rendered sections of humanity intellectually impervious to the deteriorating condition of the whole of nature. However, the natural world is not simply a resource to be exploited.
Nature is a complex interaction of organic and inorganic material, which once sufficiently disrupted, has unintended consequences beyond the ability of humanity to control. Yet vested interests still sufficiently dominate the upper and middle sectors of humanity making them unwilling to view what should be increasingly obvious.
The limitations of mainstream media.
Nowhere has this failure of vision been more audible and visible than in mainstream media broadcasts during the Covid-19 lock-down. There has been an unending stream of commentators on radio and television networks who are unanimous in avoiding seeing their own varied – yet crucial – role in this crisis or the others we face.
On TV and radio, presenters, politicians, hand-picked, medical experts and celebrities strut their stuff and enthusiastically promote the myth that lock-down is just a temporary blip before a return to their one-sided form of ‘normality’.
For weeks – as people were actually dying – media appearances by comedians, musicians, documentary producers, film directors, politicians, bankers and sports men and women have glossed over tragedy and expressed their desire to get back to jetting around the world and accumulating their disproportionate slice of annual wealth, derived from their gigs, conferences, festivals and locations.
The equally narcissistic sports fraternity and ‘game’ commentators, voiced anticipation of many international flights to ‘matches’ and ‘races’ staged around the world – when its all over!
During my eight weeks of lock-down listening and watching, not one contributor across many channels, stations and bulletins has shown an inkling that their combined activities based on the extraction and burning of fossil fuels is a substantial part of the problems (including Covid-19) faced by humanity as a whole.
In over two months of mainstream broadcasting and print, it has not, to my knowledge, crossed any of the collective or individual contributors minds that the natural world and humanity may need a permanent rest from all this hedonistic and self-destructive so-called economic activity.
The limitations of celebrity.
It may not be true that Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned, but we have a modern equivalent of that possibility in wall to wall, self-absorbed celebrities and politicians ignoring the contribution they have made to the planets many disorders. These battalions of well positioned and intellectually ‘conditioned’ apostles of mammon are an enormous conservative weight upon the efforts to defeat Covid-19 and change the mode of production for a better one.
They manage to ignore the fact that the capitalist system which pays celebrity so handsomely also creates poverty – and poverty kills just as effectively as a virus!
We need to learn to detach our admiration for individual celebrities from their taken-for-granted entitlement to disproportional rewards compared to those who continually supply our food, water, electricity, sewage disposal, transport and heal our damaged bodies. We also need to remove our support for the ‘entitlement’, assumed by celebrity, political, financial, economic and military status, to use their wealth to dis-proportionally damage and pollute land, air and water resources.
The limiting of dissent.
Also to my knowledge, not one seriously dissenting voice or radical pen has yet been allowed on any mainstream media outlet. Mainstream media has been a constant gushing forth of self-obsessed middle-class economic and political mediocrity. The Internet has been the only source of radical dissent and that has meant sifting past the imaginative inventions of those, who only prove that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
Being certain of something and repeating it with little or no independent evidence to support it is exactly what the political and governing elites are doing. Being no different in this regard is to be no different in general and a refreshing difference by honesty and humanity is what is desperately needed as we consider the future.
Well honed ‘crap detectors’ and the internet are still important attributes for us to develop and to wield as we survive 2020 and go beyond.
Roy Ratcliffe (May 2020)