Day 30: May 1st 2014
MAY DAY! MAY DAY! Abandon ship! Abandon ship!
Everything is for sale in today’s world. The price may or may not be understood by all involved in the transaction but everything IS for sale.
We rarely do anything that does not in some capacity serve us first, for as a race we are selfish. It is an instinctual mechanism to be self-serving, but we can be smart and selective about how we help ourselves to all that this planet sustains. As Richard Saul Wurman once mentioned to me, life is all about “the intelligent pursuit of self-interest.”
This article intends to appeal to precisely this inherent nature in us all, it specifically speaks to the covetous, narcissistic mercenaries of our capitalistic era, by speaking the dialect they understand best- Money. In order to understand why despite an inundation of abysmal statistics, detailed reports, campaigns, viral videos, and slogans we haven’t yet taken concrete steps toward enforcing comprehensive conservation efforts to save our natural resources and in turn ourselves, we need to understand money.
What is money? Early on money could be defined as pieces of paper or metal bearing an inscribed promise from the government issuing and authenticating its value, assuring citizens that the currency they are carrying is inextricably linked to protected, tangible assets & securities. Initially these tangible assets & securities referred to the indigenous ecological wealth of the land. This meant that people factored their inherent dependence on the topography they inhabited into their daily arithmetic pertaining to goods & services; their day to day growth & math was implicitly tied into reality. Overtime however, this changed; money grew less anchored in the substantial and more rooted in the theoretical. Albeit at first its value was commodity based, it eventually evolved a more theoretical definition for itself to suit the age of intellectual economies, or as I like to call it ‘the era of all fluff and no stuff’. Central banking systems such as the Federal Reserve System has over numerous presidential tenures, hired many a-Fiction-Reeling-Swindlers to help spin fiscal significance to attribute to their nation’s “legal tender.”
At present, money’s value can best be described as illusive, as it is evaluated against purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP is an economic model that compares pots against kettles to ascertain which shade of hollow black reigns supreme. Thanks to the continuous introduction of multifarious, wholly delusional, risky financial instruments into the trading system, the pecuniary outfit of the zeitgeist contains as many holes in its framework as Swiss cheese. With each passing day money gets further detached from actuality, and this crucial shift in foundation from factual to fictional is rendering real assets and productive activity as vestigial appendages of a bygone epoch. Unfortunately for humanity, capitalism’s degrees of separation from the tactile world directly determine the extent of glocal (global+local) denudation. Thus, the more money has meandered away from the physical economies of nations worldwide, the more human beings have looted and raped the earth of its finite, non-renewable principal.
We thrive in an extremely fragile ecological bubble of deceit and denial, which perpetuates the mirage of abundance to keep itself from collapsing. What the Wall-Street mindset fails to compute in its current paradigm’s algorithms is the fact that the bubble is likely to implode anyway, because we are merely feeding and expanding a failing model of subsistence. We relentlessly exploit and expend our planet’s capped capital for short-sighted commercial gains because we suffer from the Cornucopia complex; a state of fantasy that requires us to believe that everything will be available to us endlessly. We have been proved wrong time and again but that doesn’t stop us from electing to remain ignorant, the reason for this is the only way we can carry on exhausting our predetermined allotment of geological treasures without conscience is by disconnecting ourselves from the reality of compounding consequences.
We are operating on the premise of credit cards, with figurative fortunes to our name, giving rise to a type of debt that cannot be paid out at a later date, because whether we acknowledge it or not, “extinction is forever”. In other words we are now eating into leveraged collateral having already devoured our earnings and savings, without any regard for worst case scenarios, but it’s impossible to see the worst case scenario when you are in the eye of the storm. Nature furnished us with a secured time loan with preset terms, a shot at the future in exchange for the sustainable use of her holdings, instead of playing by her rules we have made up ones we can default on, and we have built time extensions into our self-eroding schematic.
In short, collateral is a security deposit for the lender in case the borrower defaults. We are in immense debt to our planet, we have a small window in the present day to make it right, but we are using that window to default on our payments en masse. This planet cannot rely on the collateral pledged as even that has been harvested from its expanse. We are paying debt with other debt, and somehow deem the model viable. Everything has been and continues to be borrowed at an obscene leverage ratio, and there is no one to step in and reprimand humanity for deliquency.
I once read somewhere that if one were to truly calculate the worth of a cappuccino from clearing land to serving stand no one person could afford to purchase a cup. The same is true of everything else we consume or commit, but we seldom realize this. We are cost blind but price perceptive, which means we don’t take stock of the genuine merit of anything and thus stand to lose everything.
We have to rise above the maximum price we are willing to pay for organic capital, and re-price all that we rapaciously raze just to nosh our escalating appetites in an inclusive manner that reflects the true cost of harnessing the environment as intensively as we have been. We can no longer afford to be price sensitive, we need to turn cost sensitive, and estimate the actual fee of draining our oceans of its heart beat and our lands of its alluvial vitality. If we were to do this however we wouldn’t be able to move muscle, as everything we do in this day and age is entirely too expensive to continue doing when priced at real cost. Since we cannot re-tag & renovate the mammon mold we now conform to our only option is to opt for a complete economic revolution, because the Machiavelli monetary monologue we presently impose upon the globe simply does not have the promise of a tomorrow inscribed in its avaricious formula.