Means and Ends
Posted by Prodigeek
Q: What is the purpose of an economic system?
A: To provide the goods and services people need.
Period. End of story.
Profits were meant to be a motivator to drive the creation of those goods and services as a self-selecting response to the needs of people. Somewhere along the line, they started convincing us that the means were more important than the ends. The means have supplant their intended ends and taken up the throne as an ultimate end unto themselves.
Yet, some of us still have to live in this real world where everything has cause and effect. The real world, where people lose their homes, their livelihoods, and die without adequate care. We can’t afford to live in the bubble these people have created for themselves where profits are the self-referential moral reward for the mere act of having acquired them. That bubble has run out of room to grow. That bubble needs to burst.
I’m going to be a bit radical and suggest that we stop acting surprised.
Let’s stop acting surprised when Wall Street has a meltdown and we find out they’ve been squandering everyone’s livelihoods. Let’s stop acting surprised when we find corporations institutionalizing young people in prison for years for extremely minor incidents. Let’s stop acting surprised when global corporations bully farmers into either buying their GMO seeds or suing them into the ground. Let’s stop acting surprised when buy out state senators to be pawns for their agenda. Let’s stop acting surprised every time there’s a dirty deal, a cover-up, infiltration of legislative bodies, broken regulations and outright murder of every day people.
We may find it shocking, as well we should, but it should not be surprising. If you actually discern the nature of our economic and ideological systems, these are all “natural” progressions of those values and ideas.
Corporations and even government systems with the same values, are extremely efficient.
What are they efficient at? They are efficient at maximizing SHORT TERM PROFITS… and NOTHING ELSE! PERIOD! The next time you see some shocking example of “corruption”, just remember this, and everything will become crystal clear!
Can we please stop deluding ourselves that there is some kind of moral fix to be applied to a “few bad apples”?
Can we please break out of our own bubble? It’s time that we paid attention to what’s happening. It’s time we started thinking for ourselves.
There is a flip-side to this however. There is a means of resistance not often talked about.
Every time they go into the world and tilt the playing field more in their favour, through lobbying and infiltration of our legal systems, infiltration of regulatory agencies, and every other kind of backroom deal, they put pressure on the public. Pressure to meet basic needs. Pressure to live free of suffering. Pressure to live!
You might recognize some of the signs:
– Depression and other mental health issues.
– Racial and class segregation.
– Increased isolation and decline of local community.
– Violent crime
– Drug use
All of these are either created or aggravated by social and economic pressures, sometimes creating inter-generational feedback effects. We are socially trained to write other people off and dehumanize them, to tell them to pull up their own bootstraps, the we deserve everything we’ve “earned for ourselves” (sound familiar?) and convince ourselves that taking care of only me and mine is not just OK, but a duty.
I am coming to believe that when we do this, we are complicit. We take up our place as a brick in the wall, a support for the hierarchy that we ourselves are suffering under. It’s not just a fluffy notion about karma, but about being an actual node in a great system of cause and affect.
It’s time that found some new motivators. It’s time we took responsibility for our own awareness. It’s time we created our own world to benefit all. We need to do this globally and systemically.