What a Douchebag Article… Here are the thoughts of a Socialist-Global-Warming-Alarmist. An Bot….
June 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m. EDT
Commentary: A metaphor for free market’s deadly war against planet
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, the prequel to Brad Pitt’s “World War Z” is already playing live, at a theater near you, today. And the prequel, “Zombie Capitalism,” is raging out-of-control, an app in full 3-D Technicolor.
Yes, it went into production decades ago, at the Wall Street Studios. Jeremy Grantham, the brilliant mind behind the $110 billion GMO money management team, touches on it in “The Race of Our Lives,” his seventh special report, where he warns:
Our civilization is “in a race for our lives, as our global economy, reckless in its use of all resources and natural systems, shows many of the indicators of potential failure that brought down so many civilizations before ours … it is likely a close race.”
Yes, this clash of ideologies is the prequel, a long-running reality show we call “Zombie Capitalism,” paralleling civilization’s mad dash for survival, an ongoing war between the free market and the planet, where the relentless race for growth and profits is defeating the environmentalists.
We’ve followed Grantham through these reports, as he analyzes the impact of this toxic war that began over a generation ago with the rise of free-market capitalism and will continue for the current generation, peaking in 2050.
Contrasting the two, Brad Pitt’s “World War Z” is obviously metaphorical. Both, however, are very real in our minds, for while Pitt’s zombies are infected by toxic flesh-eating pathogens, Grantham’s zombies are infected with a self-destructive capitalist pathogen.
Zombies-are-us: economics, banks, mortgages, zombie capitalism
Yes, “World War Z” is a powerful metaphor for today’s out-of-control capitalism, also covered in books like John Quiggin’s “Zombie Economics.” Recently Bennett Sims, author of “A Questionable Shape,” also explained to Washington Post readers: “Zombies embody the modern anxiety about globalization and societal collapse, which might explain their appeal as metaphors for these crises,” where “economic meltdowns are said to be caused by zombie banks and zombie mortgages.”
Future historians will reveal how this deadly capitalist virus spread so rapidly, consuming our civilization, turning humans into a new zombie species whose brain functions atrophy … losing moral reasoning, losing the sense of what’s right and wrong in the world … while simultaneously their mortal bodies become consumed by materialism … demanding more of everything … addicted in a new zombie mind-set where more money, profits and power, more of the latest lifestyles, technologies, entertainments, pleasures, excitement, more of the next new thing, more of everything is now a global obsession … and where more is never enough.
In its accelerating evolution this past generation — across America, across the entire world — the human race has actually created a symbiotic relationship with the virus. Yes, we are now all zombie capitalists. The virus has transformed into a biomachine incapable of stopping, endlessly inventing, advertising and gorging us with more and more new commercial apps and addictions, disgorging more profits for insatiable shareholders.
Yes, we are in the race of our lives and the end game is collapse
How will the race end? Very badly. And soon. Perhaps in a decade. Borrowing heavily from William Ophuls’s new book “Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail,” Grantham lists several triggers that resulted in the collapse of earlier societies, nations, cultures and entire civilizations throughout recorded history:
- Overexpansion driven by an obsession with growth at any cost …
- Loss of their original moral spirit giving way to material softness …
- Failure to balance benefits for the people with limited resources …
- Geological misfortunes suddenly wiping out natural resources …
- The failure to plan ahead for natural shocks, droughts, famines …
- Demanding near impossible results from average citizens …
- Going beyond sustainable limits, exposing a society to vulnerabilities where “even modest shocks that could in earlier days have been easily withstood.”
- But the biggest cause for collapse: Arrogance, a “growing hubris and overconfidence: the belief that their capabilities after many earlier tests would always rise to the occasion and that growing signs of weakness could be ignored as pessimistic.” The prequel that triggers a civilization’s collapse.
While Grantham searches for a small ray of hope, Ophuls’s end game is clearly doomsday, the dark conclusion that our greatest enemies are not coming from outside but rather the human race is “actually hard wired to self-destruct: programmed to be overconfident, to keep on pushing for growth until limits are overstepped and risks accumulated to the breaking point.”
Get it? We’re all infected with the “Zombie Capitalism” virus. We cannot stop our compulsive need to drive en masse off the cliff. Our human brains, both Wall Street and Main Street, individually and collectively with all other humans on the planet, are programmed to self-destruct. The virus is actually trapped in the human DNA.
Our destiny: One and all will eventually perish. A horrible fate, but the capitalist virus is a zombie creator, the host and transmitter of this insatiable obsession, where more is never enough, which eventually backfires when enough is no more.
Grantham’s certain doomsday scenario has a small glimmer of hope
Actually Grantham sees a third ray of hope, beyond declining fertility rates and alternative-energy technologies: Yes, Grantham says Ophuls’s “Fall of Civilization” may not be terminal, not the end of all life on Earth. Grantham’s earlier six special reports did leave us with the clear sense there would be no happy ending to capitalism’s war on the planet. But in his seventh report, there is hope, for a resurrection, for humans to arise from the ashes of violent wars, natural-resource destruction, famines, pandemics, death.
But, out of the ashes civilization will be left with a smaller, manageable population, perhaps cut to five billion people who will, in Grantham’s utopia, “have acquired the good sense to be less overreaching, less hubristic, a lot humbler about growth and our use of resources, and more determined to live in balance with the natural energy we receive from the sun and the heat, food, and water.”
Living on a renewed healthy regenerated Earth sufficient to sustain us, working as one.
Yes, there is an alternative to total annihilation of human civilization … but likely only after the collapse, wars, famine, pandemics, great loss of life, a total wake up call.
Undoubtedly most readers will vehemently reject this scenario, that only after “The Race” ends … after “the collapse of civilization” … only after humans “self-destruct” can a new world order rise from the ashes. Is this destiny trapped in our brains?
Ask yourself: Can humans possibly avoid all this misery, blood, tears? Can America and the world beat the historical odds, come to our senses, avoid the pain, develop a vaccine against “Zombie Capitalism,” and win “The Final Race?”
Civilizations fail because brains are programmed to self-destruct
Beat the odds? Win? Unlikely. In his “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed,” anthropologist Jared Diamond also sees a possibility, a show-stopper to the Ophuls’s doomsday scenario. Diamond says we can avoid collapse if political leaders show “the courage to practice long-term thinking” and “make bold, courageous, anticipatory decisions at a time when problems have become perceptible but before they reach crisis proportions.”
Unfortunately, Diamond says history tells us that societies fail because politicians are driven by narrow ideologies and self-interest, they fail to engage the long view, they lack the courage to do the right thing. Throughout history political leaders respond best to immediate crises, fail at planning for long-term needs. As a result, eventually they are caught off guard, without plans and defenses, and their worlds suddenly collapse.
When mulling over this seemingly inevitable doomsday scenario, try calculating the risks of your next investment decisions while thinking about American politicians and their dysfunctional decision-making process.
One example; last week our self-destructive politicians decided that it made sense to kill a bill to subsidize farmers favored by one party because they also wanted to kill food stamps for poor kids favored by their political opponents. Now ask yourself: Are our political leaders really wired to save civilization for future generations, in time to avoid total collapse?
Bottom line: There’s little difference in the human mind between “World War Z” and its ongoing prequel, “Zombie Capitalism.” But one has a very bad ending. And after the other is over, you can leave the theater and live for another dinner.
Paul B. Farrell is a MarketWatch columnist based in San Luis Obispo, Calif.