Saturday, November 30, 2013

On Water

The following is an excerpt from a much longer essay entitled "The Root of All Evil" which is about money. It will be released in book form on December 16, 2013

On Water:

I can't believe we're going to have this conversation. I can't believe that this planet has been beaten by a viral spread of humans to the point where the very gifts the planet gives us have been rendered into poison, or perhaps worse yet, expropriated only for profit. 

My Father told me, when I was about ten, about how his Father told him when he was a boy, that "someday they would be coming for our water." What he meant was someday there would be no drinkable water for some large group of folks and because we happen to live in Canada, one of the largest, wettest, cleanest places left on the planet, I might have to literally stand on a line, with a gun, and say "turn around pilgrim." (Luckily for the thirsty, I'm not really in agreement with my generational threat.) It is not so much that I think Dad and Grandpa were wrong, we do have the most clean water on the planet and corporations are running around the globe poisoning the well, but I have a hope that the thirsty will ask for our help, rather than take it. Of course, my naivete has been trumped, not by some gun toting invading force, or even parched immigrants, but by the Coca-Cola company and my own government.

At the moment, at least in British Columbia, anyone can set up shop at a clean water source, start bottling it up and shipping it out, for free. Nestle, (owned by Coke) is currently doing this near the town of Hope. Hope is nestled at the foot of the mountains in the southern portion of the province. There's a lot of water there. Nestle is not being charged, in any way, for the water they are bottling up and selling at 100% profit. They're not even being taxed. This is just one example of corporate shenaniganism leading to the death of the planet. There's a lot of water in Hope, the people who live there are not being shorted. Nestle is taking a few drops out of a very large bucket, but they are just taking it, and that's the point. Water is a resource like any other, it, at the very least, must be regulated. 

I suspect that Nestles' free for all will come to an end soon because, like all other concerns, the government will want its nickel and they will get it. However, the government itself is extremely guilty of misappropriating our wettest resource in the name of another. Our next door neighbours, the province of Alberta is currently wasting nine barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced from the tar sands. These nine barrels of water are used to separate the sand from the oil, which is a process that renders the nine barrels into toxic waste. Then those barrels are dumped back into the water supply, in what is known as tailing ponds. This contaminated water then spreads out, leaking both into other waterways and into the soil. The price of a barrel of oil? Who gives a shit! The price of not having water to drink? Death. Does the government care? What do you think?

These are just a couple of examples how a resource rich nation can cash in foolishly, without any foresight, for sake of profit now in one category and with wilful ignorance in another. We, of course, should not be surprised by this fact. The government is not in charge, in this or any other country. Corporations are in control, because profit is in charge and the making of money trumps all other concerns. It's not only happening in Canada, every country on this planet has water concerns. Some don't have water at all, some have it but it's unusable. Then there are those folks currently being held hostage by corporations, because of deals made with national and municipal politicians. These folks have water, but don't have access to it. Imagine living in a village somewhere in Africa where the river water is no longer safe for consumption. Along comes a man in a suit, he buys a small patch of dust in the village and digs a well. "Wow, that's great. What an altruistic move. Maybe Nestle's not so bad." Yes, it's true, the village has clean water now. The first problem is that the pump Nestle put in is coin operated, everyone has to plunk in some money to get a bucketful. The second problem is none of these folks have any money. When asked about the ethics of cashing in on this scenario, the man in the suit says, "Well, they can always go back to not having water." 

Water is a requirement for life. It is any individual's right to have access to clean water, for free, regardless of any other concern. To withhold water in any fashion should be a crime. To charge people for the water that the Earth provides should be a crime. To contaminate any water source should be a crime. The solution to any water problem has to be a response to corporatism and politics at the end of those doing the damage, as well as education for those of us currently suffering due to a mere lack of water. The water problem, like all our major concerns, is wholly concerned with money and the making of it. We needn't worry about protecting our resources from the thirsty, we need to protect them from the greedy.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

On Food.

The following is taken from a much longer essay about the root of all evil, money. It will be released in book form on December 16 2013.

On Food: You might think that our food problem is directly related to our poverty problem, but it is only in that the impoverished need food too. Food does however present problems unique to our discussions about poverty. Food is: finite, expensive, suffering from degrading quality, wasted, genetically modified, difficult to transport... Odds are most of our food problems will harken back to our money problems, (remember, we've separated money problems from poverty.)

Food, be it plant or animal, requires the same things to exist that we do, air, water, soil, minerals (for nutrients) and sunlight. Foods, like humans, are the products of chemical processes. To interfere with any aspect of any particular process presents a danger. These dangers do not always present themselves readily and it might take generations for, as an example, a particular group of people to realize that the industrialization of beef reduces the nutrients that can be gleaned from eating it, or that a diet might actually be turning a nation diabetic, or that genetically modified food genetically modifies its consumers as well. These things are of no concern to food producers as food is produced, not directly to feed people, but rather to make money by feeding people. Income concerns in the realm of food production are the reason that food production suffers and therefore why we suffer, eating it. This is again returning us to our original conclusion that money is the cause of all suffering. When those who look at food production systems are not concerned with the food or the consumption of it, but rather how they can improve the income margin of the food produced, the world stops making sense.

I happen to live in a very fertile part of the world, various food plants and food animals are mass produced (and grow wild.) Yet most of the food I buy in grocery stores comes from elsewhere and by "elsewhere" it would seem we could say "as far away as possible." This is because of trade regulations, food legislation and especially corporatism, which all suffer from systemic cronyism, (like most organizations,) that don't look at supply, unless it's directly quantified against demand and of course, profit. Such is it that I can't buy a locally grown apple, because it's a better business decision for our apples to go south and southern apples to come north. I understand it, I get it: You need to pay orchardists, pickers, packers, shippers, traders, taxes, tariffs, duties, warehousers, grocers, etc. If you don't create something for these people to do, unemployment will rise. In modernity, if you don't "grow the business" you are not even doing business. The problem here is that I have perfectly good apples in my town. I can have them at a fraction of the cost of the apples you're importing, just so that you can keep the wheels spinning. The wheels only spin because you have set them in motion without any concern about the end result. You only care about the income that can be generated. In the mean time, I can't afford apples. Why is it you can't be satisfied with less?

Well, you know the answer why. It's going to keep coming up over and over again: Money. The solution to food problem is fairly straightforward, produce foods naturally and locally. You'll still be able to get bananas, you'll just have to pay more for them because they had to travel from Central America, but not everything need be so expensive. I don't need apples from New Zealand.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

On Poverty

This essay is taken from a much longer work that will be released in book form in December.

Poverty can not be described by simply claiming "I have no money to feed my family," because if you live in an area with fertile soil, fresh water to drink and animals to hunt, you have no need for money. (This assumes that you don't have someone stopping you from growing food, taking water or killing animals.) However, the poverty stricken African living in a straw hut is quite different than the poverty stricken American living in Detroit. How you came to be poor is of no consideration for our discussions. (For instance, we are talking only about the issues that seem out of our control. If you are just poor, living on the street because of a mental problem or drug addiction, you are excluded from our discussion, destitution due to a lack of effort or ability is merely a result of weakness. Get help. Steal if you must. There are three meals a day in jail, go get them. What you may judge as harshness is mere evolutionary correction rendering your concerns irrelevant.) What matters is that money doesn't always have to factor into the quantification of our problems. 

Many communities, such as Native North Americans, flourished for thousands of years without even the concept of money. Certain African, Indian and Asian communities live the same way now that they have all along, without money. For our purposes, the word Poverty must mean a lacking of the ability to provide the basic necessities of life. Such as it is, if you have these necessities, by any means, you are not actually poor. It might seem strange, but the homeless man in the big city, living in a box in an alleyway, eating at a Church or even digging in dumpsters may seem poverty stricken, he is not. In such a case the man is poor, certainly, but he is still able to provide the necessities. In Canada, the "poverty line" is at about $18,000 per year. This amount would feed an entire village of destitute people in India. Money must be taken out of our concerns about poverty as it is imaginary and relative to the power we give it. We will discuss money, but as for the concept of poverty it must remain mutually exclusive. 

So what are the problems that lead to poverty? Simply put, the answer is "that which inhibits us from providing for ourselves." The reasons normal, healthy humans are unable to provide for themselves can be many and varied, but we are addressing only those that are naturally unavoidable: Bad soil, bad water, no resources for shelter and, of course, our old friend war. Excluding war, for now, is there anything to be done about bad soil and water, (or lack of?) Yes, the most useful combatant is knowledge. If you don't know how to grow food in dust, it is only because you haven't learned how yet. If you don't know about irrigation, it is only because you haven't learned about it yet. The Earth goes through natural, (and unnatural) changes that render certain areas infertile, this is going to continue with or without our help. Sometimes a people must migrate, this is also going to continue. However there are things that can be done to assist any people, anywhere. It's simply a question of getting the right information to the right people. Information is free, or at least it should be. This is the part of the poverty problem that harkens back to the money problem again. Not because the poverty stricken lack money, but because the rest of the world thinks it takes money to solve a problem. (Or rather, no one is interested in solving problems that they can't cash in on.) One doesn't need to provide UNICEF food drops to a village resting beside a river polluted beyond providing fish and water, if one simply chose to stop the factories from polluting the river. Thus we come full circle to the money problem again, in that the making of it trumps all other concerns. 

Solving the problem of poverty is going to be accomplished by free education, reason and willpower. Some dirt will not grow anything, sometimes you will have to move, sometimes the Earth will rear up and remind you who is boss by, for instance, flooding you out, but more often than not you will be poverty stricken because either you or someone near you has done something stupid. (Such as ruining your immediate environment, or forcing you out of a successful environment.) This "stupidity" might take the form of corporatism, (old fashioned greed,) it might even be a lack of foresight. It might happen all at once or take decades. Don't be tricked into thinking that just because you have no money you are poverty stricken. The truly poverty stricken are not fighting for income, they're fighting for their lives. You could throw money at poverty all day every day, it won't fix a damn thing, only knowledge and effort will. So the solution to poverty is education and foresight.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

On War.

The Following is taken from a much larger work that will be released in Book form in December.

On War: Usually when we fight a war, (which we will define as one large group of people fighting another, with some degree of organization) it is to fight a perceived injustice. Such is it that we qualify unjust and just wars. The problem often becomes a matter of defining justice. Sometimes our decisions are easy: I'm sure the number of people supporting the ideology that led the German people to become Nazis will remain low for the remainder of history. Sometimes your country uses any excuse to march all over the world taking what it wants, often to help "liberate your people from their own tyranny." War resides in a fog of action based on unclear economic desire. War is almost always built upon a lie. Modern wars are fought for perceived ideologies and actual power and in modernity, power is money. This is why America moves into certain countries to "help them democratize" while it leaves other neighbouring countries alone. These other countries are no less despotic, their citizens are no less endangered, they simply don't have any resources America wants, like oil. 

Wars of the past, when we used to fight man to man, weren't as effective as they are today because men are inherently adverse to killing other men, believe it or not. However, with the advent of psychology and technology, soldiers are now more removed from their kills, both inside their psyches and on the battlefield, meaning they are more effective, meaning a higher kill ratio. (Still, not enough removed to get the Veteran suicide rate from being far higher than average.) Consider the following quote: "Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. ... the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." - Hermann Goring at the Nuremberg trials, 1946.

Here we should note that when one looks at the totality of the history of all known wars fought on the planet, only a fraction of one percent were begun by the populace. The vast majority of people, even soldiers, wish to live their lives in peace. It could be easily argued that any war could have been avoided by either conciliatory gestures by the warring parties' leaders, or in fact, as in the old music video for Two Tribes by Frankie goes to Hollywood, we simply throw those leaders into a ring and let them duke it out. The reason this does not happen is simple: War is business. War keeps the wheels of industry greased. War makes money, for manufacturers, for the military, for governments, for countries. This is not even taking into account the so-called spoils of war, merely the machinations of the military industrial complex. 

All wars can be avoided. I'm not even suggesting that there aren't people who need to be stopped from committing this or that atrocity, I just think it can be done much more efficiently. If, for instance, you have some charismatic nutter running your country and drumming up fear about a neighbouring country, it would be fairly simple and cheap to remove him from office, (one way or another,) at least compared to the price of war. The reason wars continue to happen is merely that the folks in power want them to happen. What does that say about them? 

“The organizing principle of any society is for war. The basic authority of the modern state over its people resides in its war powers. Today its oil, tomorrow water. Its what we like to call the God business; Guns, Oil, and Drugs. But there is a problem, our way of life, its over. Its unsustainable and in rapid decline, that’s why we implement demand destruction. We continue to make money as the world burns. But for this to work the people have to remain ignorant of the problem until its too late. That is why we have triggers in place, 9-11, 7-7 , WMDs. A population in a permanent state of fear does not ask questions. Our desire for war becomes its desire for war. A willing sacrifice. You see fear is justification, fear is control, fear is money.” quoted from the film the Veteran.

There is always the opportunity to fight the cause of the war, rather than the war itself. We are not ants, nor chimpanzees, the intellectual gifts of the human should be passed forward unto others, rather than insulted in the name of nature, disguised as patriotism. Wars need not flourish any longer.