Design Science - Toward a
      Peaceful Millennium  

WHERE ARE WE GOING — IN THIS PANDEMIC & ECONOMIC COLLAPSE?


by Mike Nuess                                                                                              teleologics.org

 

The US has 5% of world’s population yet suffers 30% of the world’s covid-19 deaths. Less than 5% of US citizens have been tested. This is clear evidence that the preparation for this pandemic and the response to it by government and private capital has been abysmal, even criminal. FINCAP (financial capitalist class) has made it explicitly clear that we citizens are intended to pay for our tests, treatments, vaccinations and other services from the private medical-pharmaceutical-health insurance complex.

We are also entering the worst depression in US history. For the past 40 years—after over a century of rising real wages—wages of the vast majority of working people have either remained flat, or declined. Putting more family members to work did not keep up with rising costs. Neither did extensive borrowing. Over 25% of US adults must now borrow or sell something to pay an unexpected expense of $400, have no retirement savings and/or have skipped needed medical care because they can’t afford it.

44 million US workers (over one-fourth the workforce) are unemployed. Those working are desperate to keep their jobs, so they are now even more vulnerable to additional employer demands for wage and benefit reductions. FINCAP has also made it clear that Wall Street and major corporations will be bailed out while smaller businesses and the 165 million US workforce are intended to “suffer as they must,” as former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis states so eloquently.

There were over 7 million foreclosures per year during the 2008-10 great recession. Eviction rates vary widely but have been 8-16% of rented homes in some areas. The potential is much worse now as more millions of people are quickly approaching foreclosures or evictions. If this is not addressed they’ll end up in overcrowded residences or in the streets, helpless and raging. Upwards of 30 million lack health insurance, and more may lose the expensive insurance they now have.

Today’s growing swell of unprecedented uprising, sparked by and reflecting centuries of racial oppression, is also expressing reaction to a broad range of felt injustices, such as the lack of universal health care; access to a basic sustainable income for all; safe, clean and sustainable energy and environments; debt-free education and information; freedom from oppression, war and nuclear weapons; etc. It’s a long but finite list.

Could it be that the diverse and sometimes discordant tentacles of class, social, identity, environmental, antiwar, etc. issues are now converging into a common vision of the world we want, a much better world of sustainable abundance for all?

Ibram X. Kendi argues that racist ideas grow out of deliberate policies, that their foundation is neither ignorance and hate nor inferiority, but the self-interest of the oppressor. It’s applied as a policy tool for the unfair extraction of wealth; a tool to divide and conquer the working class—other tools include divisions by gender, ethnicity, nationality and wealth inequity.

We’re all born naked and helpless onto this planet and we must earn our keep. The greatest synergy lies in cooperating equitably to accomplish the necessary labor of creating and enjoying humanity’s now available sustainable abundance. So, like Kendi says, it all comes down to policy, to what institutions we will build to bring into being the kind of world we want.

One of the most important policies, one that FDR’s New Deal let slip away, is one of supplanting tyranny in the workplace with democracy in the workplace. It is insane, and in fact suicidal, that a small group of remote directors and owners gets to decide to relocate a computer, automobile, ventilator, mask or medicine production facility to get cheaper labor elsewhere and lay off 5000 or more workers; or to install cheaper but polluting equipment. That tyranny is lethal to the workers, community and environment. What if workers in either service or production facilities spent a day each week evaluating and deciding what, how, when and where to produce? Would they relocate, uprooting their homes and community? Would they pollute, poisoning their own families? Would they lay off one-fourth of their workers/owners in a pandemic, or would they reduce everyone’s paid workshare to get all through the hard time? Would they pay top management over 300 times what they pay lowest-paid workers? They would not. In fact, worker-owned Mondragon, the largest co-op in the world, pays top management about 10 times what the lowest paid worker receives. Richard Wolff is an excellent resource on this issue and a leading advocate of worker owned enterprises. Here he offers an historical perspective on America in Revolt.

Universal healthcare is another policy that was proposed by FDR but didn’t make the cut over 80 years ago. Now, all ‘advanced’ nations except the US have it, and deliver better outcomes at half the cost. Ralph Nader offers an analysis of what may now be an unstopable Medicare for All Movement.

A third critical baseline policy is a basic but sustainable income for every person. It’s been proposed for a long time, as well. Thomas More 500 years ago, Tomas Paine over 200 years ago, Martin Luther King and economist Robert Theobald were among advocates of a universal basic income (UBI) to eliminate the scarcity of poverty because they understood as Rutger Bregman says, “Poverty isn't a lack of character; it's a lack of cash.” It can be summed in 2 words: Scarcity Mentality.

 Not only would a UBI greatly reduce poverty and enable a more educated population but it would also grow the economy. One study found that a UBI of $1000/month would add $2.5 trillion to the US economy in eight years. A larger UBI would add even more. Several countries are conducting trials. Cuba already has minimally subsidized living, in addition to free healthcare and education. Nicaragua strives to maintain what it calls the Basic Basket of Goods, despite being the 2nd poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Spain just passed a UBI, the first European country to do so. Humanity has had engineering proof since early in the last century that humanity has the ability to sustainably feed, clothe and shelter everyone well beyond current poverty standards. Shouldn’t a sustainable, healthy and comfortable living now be a human right? Buckminster Fuller defined true wealth as the number of assured forward days of such a secure and comfortable life but the existential crises of climate turbulence and nuclear war leave none of us with any assured forward days.

A forth critical baseline policy stems from recognizing that police behavior is directed from the top. FINCAP, just like the slave-masters and genocidal murderers of ameirca’s indigenous, has imprisoned most of us under the “illusion of being the ‘exceptional’ nation called upon to ‘shape’ the world,” says Diana Johnstone in her book, Queen of Chaos. We are deluded by FINCAP’s policymakers and collaborating media into thinking our foreign policy is one of spreading ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ by destroying ‘dictators’ from Castro and Chavez to Putin, but that’s a fabricated cover for FINCAP’s ruthless and brutal ‘primitive accumulation’ of material resources. Nations seeking to use the resources of their homeland for their own people have been subjugated to the same brutality, though much more extreme, as that applied by our domestic police. Thoroughly referenced research by James Lucas determined the US has killed 20-30 million people in 37 nations since WWII. And the US spends $1 trillion per year on military and defense, half of the $2 trillion spent by all nations, and over half its own discretionary budget. The world do much better without those 800 US military bases in 80 countries—there to protect FINCAP’s corporations, from Cargill and Monsanto to ExxonMobil—“keeping the pieces.” Johnstone wonders in Queen of Chaos if “the only thing that can liberate Americans from their warlike fiction would be economic collapse. This not a cheerful prospect. It is hard to hope for an economic catastrophe as the only way to avoid nuclear annihilation.”

Our foreign policy must be redirected toward what Sergi Lavrov suggested in 2014: “Leadership in this world can be assured not by persuading oneself of one’s exclusiveness and God-given duty to be responsible for everyone, but only by the ability and craft in forming a consensus.” Then we can redirect one-quarter of that trillion on a UBI to lift every person in the US above poverty, another portion to end worldwide starvation and hunger (now that’s foreign policy!), other portions for free education, renewable energy sustainability, environmental sanity, etc. But we cannot end police brutality and foreign regime-change wars until we, from the bottom up, redirect the brutality at the top.

Things are going to get worse. Working people have been pressured to ‘reopen’ their workplaces and subject themselves to increased risk of exposure to Covid-19. After a month of reopening, 21 states are now seeing a sharp rise in infections and deaths. Ten states “have recorded their highest seven-day averages since the pandemic began.” If workers stay home they lose unemployment: more foreclosures and evictions, more health insurance losses. They face a serious health risk if they work. A difficult choice and one that should not have to be made in this wealthy country.

It’s certainly possible to come up with the money. The US Treasury can simply issue it debt free (sometimes called helicopter money). If issued directly to you, me and the other 90% at the bottom income levels it will be used pay rents and mortgages (so landlords and lenders will also get paid), to buy insurances, purchase computers, vehicles, water heaters, furnaces, solar panels, etc. If directed toward restoring and growing the productive domestic economy, that growth will prevent the feared hyperinflation.

As the Bank of England, the mother of all central banks, acknowledged in 2014, money is digitally ‘created’ by the banks when people and businesses borrow. The overall money supply then increases by the loan amount. But FINCAP charges interest on that money that's digitally created 'out of thin air' (note the illusion that FINCAP is tying up some of its wealth to make the loans and therefore gets to earn interest). The charged interest means more money has to be paid back than was created. For awhile, borrowing will increase to make up the difference but the eventual result is some borrowers will have to default, leading to cyclical economic recessions or depressions—about every 7 years on average. Then homes are lost, businesses go down, pension funds melt away and the people “suffer as they must”—as FINCAP grows richer­ from this inherent scarcity built into capitalism.

In the 2008 great recession the joint Treasury-Federal Reserve created an overall bailout over $14 trillion to Wall Street and the too-big-to-fail corporations while millions in the bottom 90% lost homes, health care and pensions. And now Ellen Brown tells us that the Wall Street banks are doling out 4-plus trillion CARES Act benefits to their largest clients, “emptying the trough before many smaller businesses could drink there.” Ellen Brown is another thought leader with policies that will work, like public banks (including postal banking) and a Universal Basic Income plan that will work.

The revolt will grow. The capitalist class and their media will try to divide us, playing all their cards against an increasingly desperate workforce: using race, gender, job scarcity, left vs. right, token improvements, lies and obfuscations, false flag violence, etc.

Eisenhower warned of the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), but FINCAP’s tentacles are much wider. Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst for 27 years (Kennedy to H. W. Bush) has accurately broadened the term to MICIMATT, the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think Tank complex.

We’ve grown much more aware of their deceitful narratives so perhaps we won’t be fooled again?

 

Know Your Enemy

Hopefully we’ll continue growing in solidarity, insisting on the baseline policies of health care and economic fairness (UBI) for all US citizens, Indigenous nations and workers, and then moving forward from there toward worker owned enterprises. One suggestion by Richard Wolff builds on FDR’s New Deal policy of employing the millions fired by private employers. Wolff is suggesting the government could organize the unemployed into worker-owner co-ops performing socially useful work under contract with the government, which could develop a new sector of worker-owned enterprises. Then the US public could experience their “working conditions, product quality and price, civic responsibility, etc.

It’s time for an Economic Bill of Rights, because if we jettison the inherent scarcity of capitalism and build the now available sustainable economic abundance for all, those fear-based policies of subjugation, class, racism and hatred will become useless and will simply fade away. Legislating both Universal Health Care and a Universal Basic Income to include the 90% at the bottom would lead to more democratic use of our country's resources because we would fund the production of water heaters, furnaces, ventilators, masks, medicines, solar panels, etc. (hopefully reducing taxes directed toward regime-change wars which have greatly increased our homeland's insecurity). Your fellow citizens would not threaten your livelihood because they have one, too. Sure, a few would be freed to sit at home, drink too much and waste their lives; but most of us would be freed to creatively pursue personally and socially useful activities. Only then can humanity begin to say it may be becoming successful.