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One hand washes the other :-)

After all, the early promotion of chemical pesticides and artificial fertilisers was the work of chemical and mining corporations looking for a place to dump their toxic waste products (after they started to get complaints about dumping them straight into rivers and lakes).  Poisons aggressively marketed for use on "pests" then became antipersonnel gases during WWI, which were refined and developed and then marketed again as improved pesticides between the wars, then repackaged and marketed again as antipersonnel weapons in WWII (the sorry history of Zyklon-B and IG Farben is worth a revisit).

The Galenic (heroic/toxic) school of medicine that eclipsed the nurturing ethics of Hippocrates was battlefield medicine (Galen the war surgeon);  the use of poisons in quack remedies persisted and still, imho, deeply informs the modern materia medica and the med mafia's fascination with toxic chemicals as weapons of "war" against disobedient cells (viruses, parasites, cancers, bacteria).  The use of dangerous toxins requires an urgent justification (to cover up weak justifications like profit and macho daredevil posturing) -- what's a more urgent justification than War, War, War against sinister enemies (be they dusky furriners or "pests")?

In a sense the pharma/phood/military complex is all one, the result of a guild war in which the warrior and financier/merchant guilds (boosted by the miners' and alchemists' guild) conquered and has almost exterminated the farmer/peasant/artisan guilds.  The result is that all the activities in the culture are now modelled as some variant on mining, trade, or war:  farming is an extractive activity, mining soils and animal life for maximal (trade) value, and waging "war" on bugs and all other fauna.  Our animal farming operations now resemble POW camps more than anything recognisable to my parents' generation as a farm.

We have become unable to think about social problems or even personal life except in the language of commerce and war:  we talk about "investment" in relationships rather than commitment or covenant, for example, and even programmes attempting to alleviate poverty are marketed as "War on Poverty".

Anyway, long train of thought... seems to me that a healthy culture like a healthy ecosystem requires the balance of many guilds in tension and in harmony, each with its own world-model, jargon, skill set and so on;  if one guild (priestly, warriorly, tradely, whatever) manages to take over and impose just one mental model and language on all activities and thinking, that model will be inappropriate for many/most of those activities and there will be some kind of dysfunction (even beyond the obvious dysfunction of a power grab of this kind).  I think Jacobs explored this theme in Systems of Survival, but she divided all cultural work into just two overarching guilds:  guardian and commercial, each with its own moral system.  When the commercial moral system was applied to government (which should be a guardian-caste activity), she claimed, the result was social illness, corruption, abuse.

For a start, pursuing this line a bit OT, it seems to me that any person who owns a company larger than X employees, or serves on the board of such a company, or holds more than X stock in such companies, should be barred for life from holding public office.  The curse of our times is being ruled covertly by businessmen, by way of the revolving door between the boardroom and the assembly house.  People should choose their career, imho -- to get rich in business or to serve their community as policy makers, peacekeepers and mediators in government -- and the two roles cannot be mixed without disastrous corruption, enormous temptations to the misuse of position and privileged information to which few people would be immune.

Any takers?  The notion is so utterly radical -- shocking even -- and this itself reveals something about the mindset that the C19 capitalists succeeded in creating:  that the commercial caste somehow has the right to run the world.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Sun May 3rd, 2009 at 12:20:47 PM EST
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