|Limbotomy: Leaves you with the heart of a chicken and the soul of a pig.|
Today on ATOL's website, an article by Henry CK Liu, entitled "Beijing requires retail revolution", called for the Chinese to form a GSE to encourage retail outlets for Chinese consumers as a counterpoint to Walmart et.al's market power and stranglehold on their economy.
It sounds good on paper, perhaps, but as evidenced by US consumers, it takes an environment of excess to foster the kind of mindless consumerism that underpins the US economy.
The cigarette economy is one in which considerations for the future: your retirement, children's education, rainy-day fund, are all sacrificed to the desire of the moment for stimulus and the pleasure derived from satisfying the immediate, completely artificial, needs of that moment.
Opening up K-marts all over China isn't going to change that, because Chinese peasants aren't going to spend their children's future on Revlon Foundation, high heels, pantyhose, perfume, bottled water and soft drinks, cigarettes (well, maybe cigarettes), and the panoply of other money-sucking habits that on any particular day seem inconsequential but that over a year, and subsequently over a generation, means the difference between reaching old-age with resources and getting there with nothing to show but a huge, sagging gut-&-butt, splotchy, besmeared complexion and high, tinted hairdos with manicured nails to match, the better to scratch the eyes out of your fellow Walmart shoppers as you rush to get fleeced.
The example that appears the most illustrative of the kind of disconnect of modern society from the very accoutrements that make it so, is refrigeration. A boon to mankind and to storing food without spoilage when it was invented, the presence of one in every kitchen in the USA and Great Britain, has had the effect of sucking more electricity than any other appliance in the household, even while INcreasing the amount of food thrown on to the rubbish heap every year to the tune of more than $2200/year/household in discarded nutrition. This is Sustenance: it's worked for, payed for, transported, and often times prepared, all of which are additional energy inputs, all so it can simply be discarded. Food for rats and other vermin. It would be much more rational to burn the paper money, using it as cooking fuel, than to treat food, that we worked hard to earn the money to pay for, as garbage.
Instead, writers like Henry CK Liu, (whose got a very good website, BTW, if you want the history of Capitalism, Dollar hegemony and how it works, etc., I simply disagree with him on this particular point) pretend that the road to prosperity is via the same route that the West took, a route that included in its beginning, and now in its dieing days, slavery, beatings, employer debauchery of its employees (including hiring thugs to mow them down), and mostly, inextricably, luxuriantly, orgiastic-ally, War.
War is the main ingredient at the heart of Capitalism. Without constant war mongering and continual arms buildup, concomitant with infinite stoking of Nationalistic pride and patriotic fervor, Capitalism would soon show the ugly face it hides behind its veil of propaganda and disguises with altruistic phrases and paeans to the liberating effects of capitulating to the siren song of everlasting, ego-driven, untrammeled Greed. Only Greed can set you free: You deserve everything your heart desires, no matter how many times you've achieved it only to see its attainment turn to dust in your hands, its promises of happiness, proven empty.
There's always some one thing more that's needed to reach that goal of satiety so cravenly desired. Is this really the best mankind can do? Is this that American Dream that's supposed to be the be-all and end-all of our earthly existence? Well, it just might be. But before destroying another continent in its mindless pursuit, shouldn't some little consideration be given to other ideas? Can't some objective besides TV's for all be allowed to be expressed and worked for?
Because if nothing else has been demonstrated to the world as they watched the latest in the Superpower's "debate" debacle, it's that the West has given up on everything: Democracy, egalitarianism, pensions, healthcare, education, decent wages, a place to live, even Justice: no criminal prosecution for those highly-placed individuals and avatars of inherited wealth who use their unmerited, privileged positions to create fraudulent schemes to steal every bit of savings of those considered their inferiors, and therefore deserving of nothing:
"Bushonomics is the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands."
George Bush Sr, November 1992
Lenin has been proven right: give Capitalism enough rope ...
As they say on the streets of Moscow, "Everything the Communists told us about communism was a lie. Unfortunately, everything they told us about Capitalism was true."