Economic Mirages

Disproportionate access to nutritious diets, quality housing, industry-recognized education, employment opportunities, and healthcare services would not in itself sow the seeds of rebellion were it not for the possessiveness of the privileged over their resources. Selfishness towards privilege is engendered through  fear of having to share what one possesses. An individual’s right to private property has been scapegoated to obscure a cultural obsession with commodification, and a philosophy that reduces human reality to an uninhabited marketplace. “Pure capitalism” and “Laissez-faire” market are coinages held up to prevent wide-spread questioning of the merits of “economic growth” as the purpose of social life. The view that reality is an exchange of commodities on a social marketplace reduces human relations to products, capital, and profits in a mutually exploitative fashion and has been mistaken for a substantive claim to self-identity by some in the 21st century. A debasing culture, value-system, and worldview has become pervasive. This world view objectifies every element of its surroundings into an object for domination, exploitation, and profit, be it earth, property, product, or people themselves. Adam Smith’s “invisible hand of the market” is as unreal today as it has been impotent historically. Children refuse to accept tales of invisible saviors, why have grown women and statesmen fallen for such costly fairy tales? Theories that scarcely applied to a time when international industries, sophisticated financing, and advertising propaganda were absent, cannot be seriously relied upon for guiding today’s economy.

Limitless consumption is a right, some aver, earned through individual “effort” and the courage to endure economic “risk”. If others lack commodities, it is simply because they are lazy and cowardly. But what does access to education and employment opportunities have to do with effort and entrepreneurial courage? The truth of the matter is that the poor work much harder and with much more resourcefulness than the rich on average. Of course those with superior access and opportunity do not perceive their advantage as having issued from a type of privilege which excludes and denigrates others. More surprisingly, they do not perceive how institutional complacency with this injustice numbers them historically as backwards, ignominious and primitive. How will posterity evaluate the empathy, nobility, and vision of our privileged generation? Unabashed before the specter of their own selfishness, they resort to passivity behind the laws of the status quo that safeguard and drag their feet to create inequality. Material things contain a fire within them. Hoarders suffocate within their smoldering homes. Agency is forfeited. Humans become slaves to possessions. Desire is an inglorious master.

A habit of the mind gone voracious, the insatiable hoarders of commodities become afflicted with the conviction that they can transform everything into objects of their purchasing power. Hence their strictly materialistic conception of reality. A vapid conviction that deprives reality, economic and social , of its intrinsic meaning. Money is the measure of all things, and profit the primary goal. Whereas the opposite should be true: price determines value. The consciousness, now neurotic, feels that what is worthwhile is to have more—always more. Especially to be halted are those ingrates who may steal priceless technologies to barter in exchange for their daily bread. Laws must be enacted – to protect “private property”. And yet, the argument has already become deranged once it is cast in terms of private property or the struggle to justify or redeem it. Private property is a right. That is irrelevant  This is rather a question of oppression, not rights. Oppression is not a right. Exploitation is not a right. Slavery is not a right. Calling these things pure capitalism, lassaiz-faire, or private property does not change their moral nature. Inequalities of access and opportunity do not allow people to work for their own betterment or for that of the community. This is not justice.

The status quo is protected by law and maintained by the institutionalization of inequality. To call for justice amounts to a call for institutional reform. Institutions legislate laws, educate police forces, and mechanize a system of coercing and normalizing the inequality. When caught between his own dignity and the steel of the system, a young worker becomes devitalized, made complacent, and in-animated. He becomes inanimate before the eyes of the law as well as the benefactors of that system that created both his crime and engineered the low estate that forced him into it. The power to devitalize, the specialty of the privileged class, is completely consistent with the ideology of commodification. Inanimate objects are naturally more possessable and manipulable. Psychologically, the drive to possess, and in possessing, to devitalize, is akin to the psychiatric diagnosis of sadism. Sadism is the derivation of pleasure from the domination and objectification of a sentient life form. Sadism therefore is a love of death, since in objectifying and dominating we deprive a life of its inalienable quality – freedom. Love of power, is the source of all evil, and a perversion of human drives. Privatization of possessions is not a path which must lead to the deification of commodities, the rise of consumerism, and the psychological obsession with domination and sadism. This path leads towards a cultural love of death. Therefore, it is necrophilia. Dead men, oppressed objects of the perpetuated system of inequality under which they patiently languish, are owned by the plutocratic minority, lacking any purpose except what is prescribed unto them by their privileged masters.