Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Hard Rain Journal 6-6-07: Future Economic Security, Both Short Term & Long Term, Requires Choosing Conscience & Common Sense Over Racketeering
Image: Frida Kahlo, Love Embrace of the Universe
We must get the corporations to redefine themselves, and I think it’s very realistic that we can do so. Every corporate executive out there is smart enough to realize that he’s running a very failed system. As an economist, as a rational person, nobody can conclude anything otherwise. If you look at the fact that less than 5% of the world's population live in the United States and we consume more than 25% of the world's resources and create over 30% of its major pollution, you can only conclude that we’ve created a very flawed and failed system. This is not a model that can be sold to the Chinese or the Indians or the Africans or the Middle Easterners or the Latin Americans. We can’t even continue with it ourselves. It has to change. And corporate executives know that. They’re smart individuals. I believe that they want to see change. Amy Goodman Interviews John Perkins on "The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption," Democracy Now!, 6-5-07
Hard Rain Journal 6-6-07: Future Economic Security, Both Near Term & Long Term, Requires Choosing Conscience & Common Sense Over Racketeering
By Richard Power
In the short-term, there is trouble just up ahead:
The United States dollar is facing imminent collapse in the face of an unsustainable debt, the United Nations warned ...
United States debt, which had now deepened to well over $3 trillion, might turn out to be unsustainable in the rest of 2007 or next, putting further downward pressure on the United States dollar, Rob Vos, the Director of the Development Policy and Analysis Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), told correspondents at a Headquarters press conference.
He pointed out that since its peak in 2002, the dollar had depreciated vis-à-vis the major currencies by some 35 per cent and by 25 per cent against a broader range of other currencies.
US debt could trigger dollar collapse, UN warns, 5-31-07
But out beyond this trouble, in the not-so-long-term, there is much more trouble to be reckoned with, e.g., the double-whammy of drastic climate change and the end of peak oil.
This trouble cannot be reckoned with in any healthy, lasting way unless the human race rises above the rackets that are increasingly running this world, and turns, instead, to conscience, common sense and the oneness of all life.
Here is some fuel for both introspection and action.
In a three part series for Inter Press Service (IPS), environmental journalist Stephen Leahy explores vital issues and articulates some needed actions:
Humanity is facing historic and truly unprecedented challenges from climate change and the rapid decline of ecosystems that sustain life.
The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) found that 83 percent of the planet's natural systems are in serious decline or on the brink. Adding to this already dire situation are the twin pressures of population growth and increasingly consumptive lifestyles. ... So how can we find our way around the global calamity the human race seems to be hurtling towards? ... Since humanity is facing unprecedented challenges in a markedly changed world from 50 years ago, there is a vital need to create new institutions. One idea is the creation of Ecosystem Service Districts to protect and maintain natural capital at the local level in ways that support human need.
Local protection won't be enough, so on a larger scale the report recommends Biome Stewardship Councils. Biomes are large ecosystems with similar climate, soils, plants, and animals -- like woods, deserts, mountains, grasslands and tundra. The MA identifies 15 biomes and a stewardship council for each would maximise ecosystem protection and human welfare within a biome.
Since ecosystems are vital to poverty reduction and achieving other U.N. Millennium Development Goals by 2015, there is also a need to create a Commission on Macroeconomics and Ecosystem Services for Poverty Reduction. This commission would broadly communicate the fact that healthy ecosystem services are fundamental to reducing poverty and achieving economic development and provide guidance on development projects so that they would protect and enhance ecosystem services.
At the highest level, something more inclusive than the current G8 is also needed. ... What these proposed institutions have in common is that they integrate knowledge about ecosystem services into daily decision making rather than the current silos of information trapped in separate government departments such as agriculture, environment, economic development and so on, says Ranganathan.
Stephen Leahy, Toward a Green Economy, Inter Press Service, 5-31-07
In a Democracy Now! interview with Amy Goodman, John Perkins, author of Economic Hit Man, talks about his new book, The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption, and in the process sheds light into the shadows of our way of life. Here is a brief excerpt with a link to the full text, but I urge you to download the podcast and listen to the entire interview:
AMY GOODMAN: In your book, The Secret History of the American Empire, you talk about taking on global power at every level. Right now, we’re seeing these mass protests taking place in Germany ahead of the G8 meeting. Talk about the significance of these.
JOHN PERKINS: Well, I think it’s extremely significant. Something is happening in the world today, which is very, very important. Yeah, as we watched the headlines this morning, you know, what we can absolutely say is we live in a very dangerous world. It’s also a very small world, where we’re able to immediately know what’s going on in Germany or in the middle of the Amazon or anywhere else. And we’re beginning to finally understand around the world, I think, that the only way my children or grandchildren or any child or grandchild anywhere on this planet is going to be able to have a peaceful, stable and sustainable world is if every child has that. The G8 hasn’t got that yet. ... And what we’re seeing now in Europe -- and we’re seeing it very strongly in Latin America, we’re seeing it in the Middle East -- we’re seeing this huge undercurrent of resistance, of protest, against this empire that’s been built out of this. And it’s been such a subtle empire that people haven’t been aware of it, because it wasn’t built by the military. It was built by economic hit men. Most of us aren’t aware of it. Most Americans have no idea that these incredible lifestyles that we all lead are because we’re part of a very vicious empire that literally enslaves people around the world, misuses people. But we’re beginning to understand this. And the Europeans and the Latin Americans are at the forefront of this understanding. ...
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about Congo.
JOHN PERKINS: Oh, boy. The whole story of Africa and the Congo is such a devastating and sad one. And it’s the hidden story, really. We in the United States don’t even talk about Africa. We don’t think about Africa. You know, Congo has something called coltan, which probably most of your listeners may not have even heard of, but every cell phone and laptop computer has coltan in it. And several million people in the last few years in the Congo have been killed over coltan, because you and I and all of us in the G8 countries demand low -- or at least we want to see our computers inexpensive and our cell phones inexpensive. And, of course, the companies that make these sell them on that basis, that “Oh, here, mine’s $200 less than the other company.” But in order to do that, these people in the Congo are being enslaved. The miners, the people mining coltan, they’re being killed. There’s these vast wars going on to provide us with cheap coltan.
And I have to say, you know, if we want to live in a safe world, we need to be -- we must be willing, and, in fact, we must demand that we pay higher prices for things like laptop computers and cell phones and that a good share of that money go back to the people who are mining the coltan. And that’s true of oil. It’s true of so many resources that we are not paying the true cost, and there’s millions of people around the world suffering from that. Roughly 50,000 people die every single day from hunger or hunger-related diseases and curable diseases that they don’t get the medicines for, simply because they’re part of a system that demands that they put in long hours, and they get very, very low pay, so we can have things cheaper in this country. And the Congo is an incredibly potent example of that. ...
AMY GOODMAN: John Perkins, what do you see as the solutions right now?
JOHN PERKINS: ... We must get the corporations to redefine themselves, and I think it’s very realistic that we can do so. Every corporate executive out there is smart enough to realize that he’s running a very failed system. As an economist, as a rational person, nobody can conclude anything otherwise. If you look at the fact that less than 5% of the world's population live in the United States and we consume more than 25% of the world's resources and create over 30% of its major pollution, you can only conclude that we’ve created a very flawed and failed system. This is not a model that can be sold to the Chinese or the Indians or the Africans or the Middle Easterners or the Latin Americans. We can’t even continue with it ourselves. It has to change. And corporate executives know that. They’re smart individuals. I believe that they want to see change.
Amy Goodman Interviews John Perkins on "The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption," Democracy Now!, 6-5-07
Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
Global Warming, Energy Security, Environmental Security, Alternate Energy, Sustainability, Green Power, Renewable Resources, Climate Change, John Perkins,Amy Goodman, Stephen Leahy, UN, 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Vietnam, Iraq, G-8,Congo, DESA, 2007 World Economic Situation and Prospects Richard Power, Words of Power