Catastrophic Change

Beyond the narrower and smaller groups which a person can be part of or affiliated with, there are two broader and perhaps overarching and systemic groups which encompass the whole of humanity, as the 20th century psychoanalyst Viktor Frankl argued. For one, there are the “Saints” of the world. And then, there are the “Pigs” who make up most of the population. There are also perhaps those who are ‘on the fence’ or in between the two groups. When I look back at the book I wrote and published about four and a half years ago, I was somewhere in between and ‘on the fence’ when one considers some of comments I made in the book and some of the thoughts which I expressed. The issue of whether I have gotten better or worse since I published the book is something I will leave for my readers who have been following my evolution since that time to decide, and I will refrain from passing any judgment or opinion of myself. But to suggest that the passage of time since then has been free of psychological turbulence, mistakes, and pain would be an utter lie and is something for my readers to consider. Frankl argued that there were far too many “Pigs” in the world and too few “Saints.” If there were more “Saints” and less “Pigs,” there would be far less problems in the world, Frankl argued. 

Change and reform are also deeply intertwined with the attitude and the way of life which a person adopts. It follows that piecemeal or trivial changes which can make things worse rather than better – such as the “single-tax” of Henry George or slapping a “capital gains tax” on upper middle-class or middle class people while those at the top are left scot-free – are essentially meaningless changes unless there is a deeper change of attitude and way of life on the part of those who are situated at the top of the economic, political, and social pyramid. 

And as mentioned before, the most effective and potent tool or instrument at the disposal of those at the top of the economic, political, and social pyramid which is then used to foster and maintain class disparities and inequality is the law and “law enforcement.” In essence, the law and “law enforcement” are the most potent tools and instruments used to create, protect, and shield private capital and private wealth from “competitive market forces” which then brings down the entire economy as well as 99 percent of people in the process. Thus, it follows that the law is “the very cloth from which capital is cut.” 

The creation, protection, and shielding of private capital and wealth through the law while bringing down the entire economy and screwing everyone else in the process was best demonstrated by the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. Moreover, the laws which create, protect, and shield private wealth while bringing down the entire economy and essentially screwing everyone else are global in scope and are essentially hidden, which in turn renders private capital and private wealth as “above the law” both on a domestic level and on a global level. As Katharina Pistor wrote in a book titled “The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality,” there is essentially an “empire of law, which stretches far beyond the territory of a single state and encompasses the globe” and is ‘Anglo-American’ in its origins. Central governments and states like Washington are essentially paralyzed and vexed in their attempts and efforts at changing the law so that there is a balance between corporate and popular interests. Pistor also wrote:

“Global capital exists and thrives without a global state or a global law. The explanation for this is that law has become portable; it is possible to code assets in the modules of one legal system and still have them respected and enforced by courts and regulators of another country.”

In terms of the Anglo-American origins of such laws, Pistor wrote:

“In this way, a single domestic system could sustain global capitalism; in practice there are two that dominate it, as mentioned above: English and New York State law. Most of the true masters of the code harken from one of these common law systems, or have received additional training there, as reflected in the large number of master students from abroad who are trained at law schools in the United Kingdom and the United States.” 

Moreover, the law is not just a tool or instrument of private capital and wealth. Rather, the law is also a creation of private capital and wealth. In turn, those outside of private capital and wealth are treated unfairly and unjustly by the law, while those who are inside of private capital and wealth or are closely affiliated with private capital and wealth are rendered “above the law.” And as mentioned before, the life of private capital and capitalism in general consists of three stages which make up the concept known as the “Periodization of Capitalism.” For one, there is the “competitive” stage of capital where it develops and grows. Second, there is the “imperialistic” stage of capital where it extracts the capital and wealth of other peoples and nations and exploits other peoples and nations. And third, there is the “late” stage of capitalism whereby private capital dominates and rules over everyone. Currently, the United States and perhaps the entire world is in the “late” stage of capitalism whereby private capital is clinging onto power before the transition into a “post-capitalist” world where either socialism, anarchy, or “de-growth” becomes the governing principle over the international economy and international society.

Given that world history is essentially in a transitional phase between what is seemingly the third and final stage of capitalism on one hand and a “post-capitalist” world on the other hand, the political and social turbulence and turmoil on a global scale and scope along with the “revolutionary current” that is lingering amidst the political and social atmosphere in many places are byproducts and outcomes of this transition. One can argue that the assumption and generalization which private capital makes about the masses and the ’99 percent’ is that cruelty, fear, repression, and suppression would be a scientific way of controlling their emotions and feelings, thus enabling private capital to dominate and rule over the 99 percent and the masses. But as Gustave Le Bon wrote regarding the political and social atmosphere during the time of the French Revolution (which one must note is quite relatable to our current situation):

“The present age is not merely an epoch of discovery; it is also a period of revision of the various elements of knowledge. Having recognized that there are no phenomena of which the first cause is still accessible, science has resumed the examination of her ancient certitudes, and has proved their fragility. Today she sees her ancient principles vanishing one by one. Mechanics is losing its axioms, and matter, formerly the eternal substratum of the worlds, becomes a simple aggregate of ephemeral forces in transitory condensation.” 

Hence, one of the “catastrophic outcomes” or “catastrophic changes” resulting from the supposedly “scientific” approach and attitude of ‘high finance’ and their media mouthpieces towards the 99 percent is the political and social turmoil we are now witnessing on a global scale. And as the American author Alfred McCoy argued, this supposedly “scientific” approach of high finance and their media mouthpieces toward the world has fostered the main byproduct or symptom of the decline and gradual disintegration of the prevailing global order and the political and social turmoil that comes with such a phenomenon, namely, climate change and environmental degradation. And as McCoy wrote, both the decline of the Washington-led global order and the relative rise of China vis-à-vis the United States will be overshadowed by the reality of climate change and environmental degradation:

“If Washington’s current world order indeed fades around 2030, Beijing’s hyper nationalist hegemony will have just a couple of decades of dominance before it too begins to suffer the calamitous consequences of unchecked global warming. From clear scientific evidence, it seems likely that the accelerating pace of climate change will affect China so adversely by 2050 that it will be compelled to retreat from many of its foreign commitments, abandoning whatever sort of global system it might have constructed. And so, as we peer dimly into the decades beyond 2050, the international community will have good reason to forge a new kind of world order unlike any that has come before.”

In sum, a ‘global order’ that is underpinned primarily by the free and unbridled extraction and exploitation of capital and wealth by a very small group of people and the rationalization of their cruel and unjust domination and rule over 99 percent of the world’s people because of a peculiar attitude and mentality which in turn is the direct cause and impetus of climate change and environmental degradation, public and mental health crises, and war and social strife on a global scope and global scale must be replaced with something that is socially constructed and mutually beneficial for all people, lest the specter of climate change and environmental degradation as well as all the other dangers and perils end up engulfing the world to the point where the world becomes utterly uninhabitable for people. It follows that the full extent and full impact of climate change as well as the extent and impact of the other dangers and perils which have been mentioned are things that have yet to be fully actualized or realized by the international community and international society. 

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