Some Modern Myths

Dominant and Unquestioned Myths Heard Every Day in the Media:

  1. Public well-being can only be maintained by continuously increasing economic production, the national growth rate.
    Too much is produced; it is destroying the planet; the problem is rather unequal distribution: the growth rate must become permanently negative.

  2. Social inequality is the differential ability of people to consume goods.
    Money is power: to influence what people think and to decide what work is done and what resources are used. Each individual consumer purchase decision, in its small way, determines what work will be done, whereas each investment decision has major influence on work allocation. The very rich can only possibly conspicuously consume perhaps 0.1% of their income; they use the rest to influence and control other people.

  3. One of the principal aims of all democratic governments is to reduce unemployment.
    High unemployment is actively and systematically used to keep wages low.

  4. A prime aim of private enterprise is to create jobs.
    The prime aim of private enterprise is to make profits, that is to obtain more money to increase control over the activities of people. Private sector job creation is the extension of the control of the rich over the activities of other people.

  5. Private enterprise maximises efficiency, producing the cheapest goods and services.
    Privately produced goods and services are much more expensive than public production because their prices must include profits, costs of advertising and lobbying governments, and higher borrowing (interest) charges. 'More efficient' in fact means imposing temporary jobs with high work stress and minimal wages.

  6. Only private enterprise can produce important innovations.
    All of the most important innovations of recent decades - antibiotics, the electronic digital computer, nuclear power, the internet, the World Wide Web (WWW), the Global Positioning System (GPS), lithium-ion batteries, and so on - were originally developed in the public sector. Private enterprise usually simply parasites public research.

  7. Complex technology can be used to solve the modern world's major problems.
    Technology is rarely, if ever, the solution to societal problems; technology is often the problem for two reasons: bugs and viruses. When complex technology is involved, the software errors (bugs) can never all be eliminated (e.g. Boeing 737 Max) and cyber-attacks (viruses such as Stuxnet, Wannacry, etc.) can never all be repelled (e.g. shut-down of the national electricity grids in the Ukraine and in Venezuela, destruction of Iranian centrifuges, pollution of drinking water in Florida, USA). Not to mentions spyware (Pegasus...).

  8. Individual self-driving vehicles will solve our transportation problems.
    Such vehicles will greatly increase traffic jams and gridlock, as well as promoting urban sprawl, while they spy on their occupants' every move. The solution is not more individual vehicles but rather getting more people into fewer vehicles: public transportation.

  9. Communication over the internet is like telephone conversation, only more convenient and flexible.
    At least in democratic countries, interception of telephone conversations is illegal without a court order and thus privacy at least theoretically guaranteed. NO country provides such protection for the internet. Both private enterprise (Google, Facebook, Microsoft Windows 10...) and public administrations can and do spy on and record ALL people's actions when they are connected to the internet or using a cell (spy-)phone. Big Other is not only watching you but also subtly modifying your behaviour.

  10. It is wonderful that internet services such as search engines and social media are free.
    Search engines and social media 'services' are extremely expensive, paid for by advertising revenues, hence greatly increasing the prices of all advertised goods, as 'private enterprise taxes' paid by all buyers whether they use these 'services' or not.

  11. Modern internet conveniences, such as search engines and (music, video, game) streaming are 'green' technologies because they have little or no material support (paper, plastic, etc.).
    Such technologies require enormous parks of computer servers using (wasting) incredible amounts of energy, as well as spying on every move people make.

  12. Bailouts to (poor) countries in economic trouble are costly gifts from the rich countries.
    Bailouts are loans which must be repaid with interest, further transferring money from the poor to the rich, as well as imposing austerity and privatization conditions.

  13. Economic and military crises are bad.
    For the rich and powerful, crises provide an opportunity to implement austerity (for the others) and drastic unpopular legislative and institutional changes ("there is no alternative"), as well as to make lots of money.

Some Relevant Texts

Back to Some Proposals

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