Some Proposals to Counter Global Destruction

Some Modern Myths

  • The Ideology of Representative Democracy
    Expensive publicity campaigns and/or corruption determine who can be a candidate and who is elected in 'democratic' elections. Big money inordinately influences political decisions.
    Allow each citizen to be a candidate for a given political position (eg MP) only once, whether eventually elected or not. Submit all major decisions to universal referendum (simple and virtually costless through the Internet in countries with electronic Identity Cards). Ban all lobbying.
    Which famous economist (1904) wrote "Representative government means, chiefly, representation of business interests."?
    Which well-known Prime Minister (2011) said "When it becomes serious, you have to lie."?
    And which well-known President (1981) said "Government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem."?

  • The Ideology of a Free Press
    News coverage is everywhere heavily influenced, if not strictly controlled, by huge financial interests or dispotic governments or both.
    A system must be developed by which journalism is financed directly by the publc, independently of both business and government interests.
    Which famous economist (1904), wrote "The first duty of an editor is to gauge the sentiments of his readers, and then tell them what they like to believe. By this means he maintains or increases his circulation. His second duty is to see that nothing is said in the news items or editorials which may discountenance any claims or announcements made by his advertisers, discredit their standing or good faith, or expose any weakness or deception in any business venture."?

  • The Ideology of Consumer Free Choice
    Human beings in rich countries over-consume and entice those in the poorer countries to imitate them. Advertising does not inform; it convinces, hence radically distorting the 'free' market. Programmed obsolescemce adds to this waste.
    Eliminate advertising for all consumer goods and make a ten-year guarantee mandatory to promote repair instead of replacement.
    Which famous author (1889) said "Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising"?
    And which other such author (1907) said "Advertising is legalized lying."?
    And still another (1886) who said "If advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising then they wouldn't have to advertise them."?
    Which adman (1934) said "A democratic system of education ... is one of the surest ways of creating and greatly extending markets for goods of all kinds and especially those goods in which fashion plays a part."

  • The Ideology of an Infinite Planet
    People will buy almost anything if the price is right, but that price does not take into account the externalities of environmental and climate effects of production and consumption.
    Hold manufacturers responsible for all environmental and climate effects of their products in a way similar to how the pharmaceutical industry is supposed to be made responsible for medical effects: reuse not recycle.
    Which famous broadcaster (2013) said "Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth on a planet with finite resources is either a madman or an economist."?
    And which famous activist said "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed."?

  • The Ideology of Carbon Emissions Trading
    The very rich can each produce more greenhouse gases in 10 minutes than does a poor person in a poor country in a lifetime.
    Set non-negotiable, non-tradable quotas for consumption of natural resources and for pollution by each individual and by each organisation, identical for everyone, first within each country, later globally.
    Which famous politician (2008) said "The struggle against poverty in the world and the challenge of cutting wealthy country emissions all has a single, very simple solution... Here it is: Put a price on carbon."

  • The Ideology of Waste Disposal
    Petrol-based plastics contain toxic materials (many of which are zero tolerance: bisphenol A, phthalates, etc.). In contrast to nuclear wastes, plastic never disappears but disintegrates into tiny particles that climb back up the food chain.
    Forbid plastic in contact with food and children, as well as all other single-use products such as non-reusable packaging and discardable goods, the manufacturer and distributor being socially and financially responsible for any toxicity or items found discarded.
    Which Nobel Prize winner (1974) said "Our era will be remembered as the era of polymers. ... [They] will be essential for the human progress."?

  • The Ideology of Risk Management
    The leading innovative risk-taker has always been the State. Private risk-taking is inevitably bailed out be public funds.
    To curtail private risk-taking, limit all interest and dividend rates to the inflation rate plus say 1% and oblige lenders to hold assets equal to 100% of the amount lent.
    Which Regulatory Agency chief said "Consenting adults in private? That's their problem."
    Which Central Bank chief (1991) said "If we closed down a bank every time we found an instance of fraud, we would have rather fewer banks."
    And which well-known Finance Minister (2015) said "Elections cannot be allowed to change economic policy."?

  • The Ideology of Comparative Advantage
    Unnecessary transportation is a major source of environmental destruction and climate change. (No country taxes aviation or marine shipping fuel!)
    Stop importation of any item that can be produced within a country.
    Which famous economist (1933) said "But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible."
    And which economist (1987) said "Comparative advantage comes to be defined as whose labor force will work for the lowest wage."

  • The Ideology of Free Market Competition
    Duplication of suppliers to provide 'competition' produces enormous wastes, vastly increasing costs.
    Eliminate all competition over "natural" monopolies and publically control them (see point 1 above): natural resources, public transportation and communication (including internet search engines and social networks), energy distribution networks, and so on.
    Which famous venture capitalist (2014) said "Competition is for losers."?
    Which famous philosopher (1848) said "All the labor-saving machinery that has hitherto been invented has not lessened the toil of a single human being."
    And which famous economist (1993) said "If we can teach undergraduates to wince when they hear someone talk about competitiveness, we will have done our nation a great service."?

  • The Ideology of Trickle-down Economics
    The mantra is that more economic growth will solve all problems. But rich countries over-produce whereas millions in poorer countries continue to die from starvation or curable diseases.
    Transfer the result of all growth in production in rich countries to the people in the poorer countries.
    Which famous economist (1982) said "If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows."?

  • The Ideology of Just Taxation
    The proportion of income spent on essentials increases as income decreases.
    Eliminate all taxes on consumption goods and replace by a strongly progressive income tax.
    Which famous politician (1935) said ""Taxation according to income is the most effective instrument yet devised to obtain just contribution from those best able to bear it."
    Which famous novelist and philosopher (1938) said "Note, besides, that it is no more immoral to directly rob citizens than to slip indirect taxes into the price of goods that they cannot do without."

    The incriminated authors:
    David Attenborough, Albert Camus, Howard Davies, Paul John Flory, John Kenneth Galbraith, Mahatma Gandhi, Al Gore, Jean-Claude Juncker, John Maynard Keynes, Paul Krugman, Robert Kuttner, Robin Leigh-Pemberton, John Stuart Mill, Ronald Reagan, Franklin Roosevelt. James Rorty, Will Rogers, Wolfgang Schäuble, Peter Thiels, Mark Twain, Thorstein Veblen, H.G. Wells

    Some Relevant Texts

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