Occupy World Street

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* Book: Occupy World Street. A Global Roadmap for Radical Economic and Political Reform. by Ross Jackson. Chelsea Green, 2012.

URL = http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/occupy_world_street/


Description

"Ordinary citizens the world over have long paid the price for the swashbuckling behavior of the corporate and political elite. We’ve seen the reigning establishment widen the gap between rich and poor, champion endless growth on a finite planet, wreak havoc on developing nations, and ravage ecosystems in a mad race for natural resources.

Now, as demonstrators worldwide demand change, Occupy World Street offers a sweeping vision of how to reform our global economic and political structures, break away from empire, and build a world of self-determining sovereign states that respect the need for ecological sustainability and uphold human rights.

In this refreshingly detailed plan, Ross Jackson shows how a handful of small nations could take on a leadership role; create new alliances, new governance, and new global institutions; and, in cooperation with grassroots activists, pave the way for other nations to follow suit." (http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/occupy_world_street/)


Ross Jackson:

"This ideal society would put a high priority on living in decentralized, diverse, human scale communities with a high degree of local democracy. Such a society would insist on the rights of the developing countries, who are considered part of the “global family”, to real development, including control over their economies and cultures. Protecting the environment is not sufficient without specifying the means to do so. Therefore respect for Nature, as reflected in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and respect for the human rights of all world citizens—for example, as defined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights——are essential ingredients.

Thus the international structure in my ideal world would be a universe of small, independent sovereign states in which a limited degree of sovereignty is delegated to a global governance body, namely the right of this body to issue binding directives deemed necessary to ensure long-term sustainability of the planet and the observance of human rights in all member states. All other aspects of sovereignty would remain with the individual sovereign states. In this way, a flowering of diverse cultures respecting local preferences and priorities will be allowed to evolve within a structure that guarantees long-term survival and basic human rights. Such an overall structure is independent of ideology, and is rather dictated by the fundamental premises that we started with: sustainability, human rights, democracy and freedom. In principle, a sovereign country in such a society could be anything from a socialist state to a capitalist state to a religious-based state, anything from a high-tech industrialized state to a low-tech primarily agricultural state, provided only that the ground rules guaranteeing sustainability and human rights are respected." (http://www.occupyworldstreet.org/about-ross-jackson/read-ross-jacksons-blog/entry/imagining-an-ideal-world)


The proposed institutions for the new Gaian world order:

'* a Gaian Trade Organisation, replacing the WTO and applying principles the exact reverse of free trade, ensuring that member states control their own import policies;

  • A Gaian Clearing Union to regulate international trade, based on the model proposed by John Maynard Keynes, with a new international currency called the eco playing the role Keynes envisaged for his bancor;
  • a Gaian Development Bank replacing the IMF and World Bank to finance real nonexploitative development;
  • a Gaian Congress to define international law for members states;
  • a Gaian Commission, the executive organ of the Gaian League, headed by a secretary- general;
  • a Gaian Court of Justice;
  • A Gaian Resource Board, an agency under the Commission charged with administering members’ use of non-renewable and renewable resources, the first step being to control Global CO2 emissions. The board would have the exclusive right to issue permissions to introduce non-renewable resources into the global economy and to access resource sinks;
  • a Gaian Council, a small elected council of “wise elders”."

(http://www.feasta.org/2012/03/19/occupy-world-street-a-global-roadmap-for-radical-economic-and-political-reform-review/)


Review

By Feasta's John Jopling:

what can we do about the fact that we live in an unacceptably unjust and hopelessly unsustainable world?

"The book addresses the question in six stages: one, what are the problems we face today? Two, what are the drivers of the current system that have created these problems? Three, who is in charge and what are they about? That’s half the book. The other half: four, what will a just and sustainable system look like? Five, how might it be organised? Six, how could we get there? The format makes sense and is easy to follow.

Part one sets the scene – our growing ecological footprint, over-population, global warming, species extinction, growing inequality, global injustice, genetic engineering etc, plus the failure to heed the many clear warnings of scientists. The author is in no doubt about the seriousness of the situation and the dangers ahead if current trends continue. And now, in the short term, we face a new and different kind of threat: that of energy descent, likely to result in the collapse of civilisation as we know it, a collapse that will continue to play out over several decades. In Joseph Tainter’s words, there is bound to be “a return to the normal human condition of lower complexity”, which the author explains means simpler, so what we are really talking about here is “a return to a simpler, more satisfying, more sustainable lifestyle”.

How did we get here? The dominant paradigm has been the Cartesian/Newtonian worldview – the reductionist, mechanical approach to problem solving inspired by Newton and others combined with Descartes’ concept of the separation of humankind and nature. Economics has been deceptively presented as an objective science whose consequences we must passively accept. People have been assumed to be motivated primarily by the desire for gain when in fact gain as motive is a relatively recent concept. It is pointed out that David Ricardo’s concept of comparative advantage, generally relied on to explain why countries benefit from trade, requires the immobility of capital across borders. The author also shows how countries that got rich (like Great Britain in the 19th century and USA in the 20th) only did so by a combination of colonialism, or an equivalent, and protectionism. The final chapter in this part describes the disastrous rise of neoliberal economics and its implementation through the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO and deregulation during the Reagan-Thatcher years.

This is an interesting account of what lay behind the trends we have experienced but for me it isn’t comprehensive enough: the defects of today’s dominant system, that make it incompetent to handle the ‘wicked problems’ facing humanity in the 21st century, include, in my opinion, three factors not stressed by this author: a top-down, command-and-control, essentially violent paradigm of government; the bank-created debt-money system which requires growth to avoid crashing; and an inter-national – meaning composed of nation states – model of world order, as opposed to a cosmopolitan one, which includes nation states but also many other players including people, local communities, NGOs and, very significantly, corporations.

Part three is a welcome recognition of the deliberate nature of the developments described in part two. As the author illustrates with the secret advice given to the US government by George F Kennan in 1948, these developments were not in fact intended to create a just and sustainable world: if the USA with 6.3% of the world’s population was to continue to control 50% of the world’s resources, Kennan’s firm advice was that it would have to be completely unscrupulous in the way it operated. As indeed it has been ever since, a fact the author illustrates with examples of US action in Iran, Guatemala, Brazil and Chile. Nor is the Kennan doctrine implemented for the benefit of US citizens generally: it is a doctrine of the ruling elite, as the author illustrates with a description of politics in the USA, emphasising the power of money, and extent of inequality there.

The political/economic system, which Jackson calls the Empire, both within countries and globally, is run for the benefit of the rich. That truth is, in my experience, seldom recognised by writers with expertise in economic and environmental fields comparable to that of this author.

The conclusion at the end of the first half of the book is that the present economic system lacks any concept of limits to growth. “That system is driving our planet to ruin and must be replaced by a new economic system that is more in line with science and the real needs of people.” This, Jackson asserts, will require “completely new international institutions to regulate law, trade, environmental protection and real development in the developing countries.” And as the existing institutions are incapable of reform, “We must begin with a clean slate. We must design new institutions to deal with international finance that respect the needs of all states on a more equal basis. This must include better control of destabilising international speculation, and a critical review of the role of the US dollar, which is a major pillar supporting the Empire’s power structure”. And at the domestic level, safeguards are required to prevent a takeover by elements (commercial companies, for example) whose interests are not aligned with the vast majority.

That reasoning accurately reflects the analysis that precedes it. I agree with the author when he writes that “the initiative for change will never come from those who are the major beneficiaries of the current system, certainly not from the Empire. The initiative must come from elsewhere. Radical new thinking is required”. That’s the first answer to the basic question “What can we do…?”. The book is important and well worth reading just for that. I am not so sure that Jackson is right when he goes on the say “It is necessary in the first instance to design a new international political and economic structure that can achieve the desired result, and in the second instance to develop a strategy to bring it about.” My own view is that a more iterative process is probably more realistic.

When looking to the future Ross Jackson is confident that the basic conditions for a sustainable system already exist. The old Cartesian/Newtonian paradigm has been dying for the last eight decades and is already being replaced by the Gaian paradigm based on James Lovelock’s theory of the Earth and its atmosphere and life on earth as a single self-regulating complex system. The values of the new paradigm are embraced by a fast-increasing number of people identified by sociologists Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson as ‘Cultural Creatives’ now estimated at 35% of the population of USA, Europe and Japan, up from 4% in the 1970s. Similar values are represented by millions of diverse NGOs described in Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest. Recent international developments in South America are cited as signs of dissatisfaction with the current world order.

Moreover sustainable living is perfectly practicable if we see ourselves as part of the Gaian system, switch the emphasis from competition to cooperation and adopt the basic principles of ecological economics described by economists such as Herman Daly, Kenneth Boulding, EF Schumacher and Hazel Henderson. Some companies will impose limits on themselves. A formal regulatory framework will be required, the author says, to define the playing field for commercial actors generally.

The author’s most challenging view is that the necessary transformation cannot happen unless we establish a new international framework designed to regulate intergovernmental relations in a Gaian world order. This is envisaged as a world of many self-determining, cooperating small sovereign states under a common umbrella of protection of the environment. States (states are still envisaged as the main actors on the global stage) would delegate a degree of sovereignty to a global governance body responsible for ensuring longterm sustainability of the planet and the observance of human rights in all members states. This should be the longterm goal. In the meantime what we can do is to design the institutions that would allow such a Gaian world order to evolve.

...

The author’s descriptions of how these institutions would work is the subject of the next sixty pages. The author claims that it is a realistic vision, based on principles of ecological sustainability and human rights and using sound economics. Whilst accepting that it will take time to evolve, he is confident that it will do so. As an example of international institutional change, he cites the European Union which has taken several decades to develop into its present form. The trouble about this as a precedent for the possibility of establishing a Gaian world order, it seems to me, is that the EU was in harmony with, and indeed was intended to implement, the values of market/corporate dominated governments, whereas a Gaian world order would implement values that are at odds with those of the governments that currently dominate the world.

Jackson recognises that the necessary initiatives to create a Gaian world order will not come from the USA and other governments who control the Empire. Nor is there any sign of the NGO community implementing an international project of this scale. The only realistic possibility, he believes, is a combination of cooperation between top-down and bottom-up agents for change – a handful of small nations from the top and the grassroots of the world from the bottom. Jackson suggests a number of countries which might be founding members of a Gaian League and explains why in each case. He then outlines how they might set about creating the new order, with the support of civil society.

This is an important book, a tough read perhaps, some of which you may or may not agree with, but a clearly thought out and well written analysis of the extremely grave state we are in and some clear proposals about what could and should be done to change the system as a whole. Most commentators, having described the current situation and what needs to be done about it, throw up their hands and say: what’s missing is the political will. That leads to campaigns to persuade governments to act. The end result is that the trends continue inexorably. Jackson, by contrast, says: humanity has a problem, let’s analyse it, decide on a plan and then implement it. There are enough Cultural Creatives in the world to make it happen. It’s a response one can only admire. As the author writes in the Afterword, “A bold initiative is necessary to shake up the logjam that is preventing global solutions from emerging in our contemporary world”." (http://www.feasta.org/2012/03/19/occupy-world-street-a-global-roadmap-for-radical-economic-and-political-reform-review/)



Excerpts

Introduction: We need a Gaian League

Jackson proposes that the a Gaian Development Bank, Gaian Clearing Union, and Gaian Trade Organization must replace the World Bank, IMF, and WTO (among others). These new institutions would be based on a new Gaian worldview that incorporates the human with the natural world. Therefore, the institutions would run on a system of ecological economics that takes the limits of an ecosystem into account to better ensure economic and environmental sustainability. [1]


Ross Jackson:

"In Occupy World Street, I have put forward not only the outline of a new, sustainable and just world order, but, more importantly, have proposed a strategy to get it underway.

Actually, the design phase—including a new economic system and new international institutions, is the easiest part. The most difficult part is to plant the seed of what I call the Gaian World Order without the support of, and possibly with opposition from, the strongest industrial states. I call it the breakaway strategy, because it requires a few of the still independent smaller states to break away from the oppressive system that is holding them in bondage and preventing a change in course. In particular, they must break away from the WTO, which is a major barrier to a sustainable future, to real development and to the self-determination of the developing countries. But these breakaway states cannot do it alone. They need allies, and they are ready and willing to be called upon—namely the so-called “99%” across the world, including the USA, most of whom I expect will support such an initiative if it is launched properly.

In a nutshell, the breakaway strategy requires that these few small states form a scalable prototype—quite small initially—consisting of a new set of international institutions. I call it the Gaian League, which is specifically designed to satisfy the needs of all 7 billion world citizens. Such a design must, in my opinion, allow each member state to be master of its own fate, having full control over its own economy and cultural priorities, with only two exceptions. A degree of sovereignty must be surrendered to the Gaian League in the areas of sustainability and human rights. In other words, the overarching objective is to build a sustainable future for our species in a humane way. This approach is both radical and non-ideological. Sovereign states can determine their own preferences for rule, whether it be capitalist, socialist, religious or something else, as long as they respect the rights of others to do the same without interference.

Once formally established, and this will undoubtedly happen only after considerable negotiations and planning, other states will be invited to join as equal partners. It is here that the street demonstrators’ role becomes critical. They must pressure their political leaders to hold a national referendum on joining the Gaian League—a demand that is reasonable, democratic, concrete and most important—local! In this way, a collaboration between a few small states and reform-willing citizens across the world can hopefully accomplish what neither could do alone—create the framework for a new civilization that will not only survive, but work for everyone." (http://www.occupyworldstreet.org/about-ross-jackson/read-ross-jacksons-blog/entry/changing-course-part-2)


Miscellaneous

Excerpts via http://occupyoakland.org/2012/02/blockbuster-book-occupy-world-street-a-global-roadmap-for-radical-economic-and-political-reform/ :


'The period from 1945 to 1980 was, in retrospect a period characterized by relative peace, rapid economic growth, no major financial crisis, a general sense of social cohesiveness in most nations, with the coming to power of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and the ascendency of the neoliberals, everything changed. The subsequent period from 1980 to the present has been characterized by a deterioration of social cohesiveness, environmental destruction, increasing stress, increasing criminality, a shift from solidarity to individualism, a ‘greed is good” mentality, a dramatic widening of the gap between rich and poor, and not least, a series of major financial crisis resulting from the ‘financialization’ of the world economy, recall, that 1980 was also the point at which the marginal costs of growth began to exceed the marginal benefits, the point at which a global collapse may well have begun. It is as if the dominant culture entered a final stage of frenzy, denial, absurdity and fantasy to stave off the reality that its way of life was coming to an end. Nowhere was this truer than in the field of finance, which removed itself further and further from any contact with the real world. In reality basic financial and accounting principles were ignored.

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Deregulation – The basic problem with removing government regulations from markets was pointed out in the 1700s by Adam Smith, who did not trust the morality of a merchant class that had no concept of restraint or social responsibility. Since human ingenuity is limitless, any relaxation of rules will inevitably lead to unintended and unforeseen exploitation by profit-seeking businessmen, typically at the expense of the non-profit seeking parts of society – local communities, working people and the environment. History has shown that repeatedly that markets are not self-regulating as the neoliberal ideology has shown, on the contrary, unregulated markets tend to go to extremes until they eventually crash. The deregulation and removing of safeguards caused an entirely predictable result as it allowed new profit driven unscrupulous investors to get their hands on the enormous assets built up over several decades from local community savings and engage in an unregulated and irresponsible speculative frenzy as they invested in all kinds of dubious get-rich-quick schemes characterized by conflicts of interests, incompetence, highly speculative investments and criminal activities using other people’s money. The ruling concept was: head we win, tails the taxpayers pay.

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Unrestricted capital Flows – Free capital flow (including free flow of goods across borders) is both the source of strength and the Achilles heel of neoliberal politics. Unrestricted capital flows systemically cause financial crises in two ways, firstly, they allow investor of one country to create a financial crisis in another that would otherwise not have occurred and secondly, they act like a virus that allows a crisis in one country to spread to other countries and example is the US subprime loan crisis. These unrestricted capital flows are also the reason for systemic recurrence of financial crisis, because the foreign markets in which the “players” invest, even though large enough and liquid enough in normal markets are extremely illiquid in a crisis.

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The Financial Crisis of 2007-8 – This most recent crisis had elements of all three “culprits”, deregulation, over-gearing of naked derivatives at the national level in the United States and unrestricted capital movements, which spread like a virus to the rest of the world. A major deregulation event that paved the way for the crisis was the repeal of the American Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 under pressure from the financial elite who wanted more freedom to operate, this act was passed originally back in 1933 to prevent the kind of irresponsible and unregulated speculation that was identified at that time as a major cause of the 1929 stock market crash. The administartion of George W. Bush went even further cutting market oversight to almost nothing. The subprime housing market is often cited as the major cause of the crisis, but this is misleading because the problem is systemic. With Glass-Seagall out of the way, the post-1999 financial world became even more of a casino, unrelated to the underlying economy. Money was not being used productively but for naked speculation. the current global financial system is systemically unstable and flawed and continues to be an accident waiting to happen. The only unknowns are when and how the next accident will be precipitated.

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The Kennan Doctrine – The guiding doctrine followed by the American political leadership over the past half century and the reasoning behind it, was formulated in a remarkably clear statement by George F Kennan (in 1948) ” We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population, This disparity is particularly great between the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming, and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives…….” we see here a classic attitude of the worldview of separation. there is no sense of global solidarity or sharing. Kennan’s doctrine is a blueprint for Empire. There is only one wish to control 50% of the world’s resources at the expense of everyone else. Other countries might as well be enemies from outer space. But a dilemma is created by this doctrine, because the proclaimed values of the United States for which it has been widely admired the past 200 years are precisely those values that must be sacrificed, and that in practice have been sacrificed, “human rights, the raising of living standards [of developing countries] and democratization”, therefore the doctrine must not be announced openly to the American people, who would never accept it if they had choice in the matter. It is the doctrine of the ruling elite (1%).

Thus the US leadership has been forced to be hypocritical, cynical, even schizophrenic, saying one thing while doing another.

In the subsequent 200-plus years, the power struggle between the “opulent minority” and the great majority has continued unabated. Though the trend has been towards democracy in the past, the coming of neoliberalism in the 1980′s, the trend has been reversed, evolving into the situation, as we know today, with the minority owners of great private wealth enjoying unprecedented influence while a frustrated majority experiences disempowerment and a constant deterioration in their freedoms and quality of life. Most observers would agree that merely having elections every four years is not sufficient evidence that a nation is democratic. Do voters have real choice or are we looking at a one-party system? There are serious questions about the degree of true democracy present in twenty-first-century United States.

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On 1 % – Inequalities – Increasing inequality is not just a moral issue, there is a causal link between capitalism and inequality on the one hand, and between inequality and social problems on the other that is critical to our understanding of the role of the economic system in social breakdown. The single most important cause of inequalities is the ‘private ownership of income-generating property’. Unemployment is identified as the second important factor, and has been linked to increased rates of mental illness, suicide, homicide, divorce, heart attack deaths, stroke deaths, aggression etc.

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Assault on Nature – Today, crisis is all around us. We are living right on the edge of breakdown, our well being, if not our survival, is threatened by climate change, resource depletion, toxic pollution, social breakdown, genetically modified foods, hunger, environmental degradation and a rate of species extinction not seen in 65 million years. Powerful forces are driving our civilization to a deep abyss, behind all of them is a simple reality; ecosystem overload. Too many people with too-powerful technologies are undermining the basis of our existence. As a global population, we are living beyond our means, living off our natural capital, consuming more than Nature can replenish.

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Energy Descent – the peak in global oil production and the subsequent decline in oil supplies is not a threat to our survival as such, but is going to cause a more immediate crisis that is a threat to our whole way of life, we are consuming more oil than we are discovering, it is just a matter of time before demand exceeds supply, when this happens, the consequences will overshadow everything else on the political agenda.

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The Collapse of Civilizations – why is our civilization threatened? an example is where the tendency of civilizations to destroy the ecological foundation of life by cutting down forests and destroying topsoil which results in short-term gains but inevitably leads to long-term disasters. Another example is the human failure to adjust populations to match the level that is sustainable, an example is Ethiopia, which has one of the world’s highest death rates and a devastated environment yet population continues to rise, driven by each family’s attempt to survive. In he’s book “Collapse” Jared Diamond states that from our lessons of history, environmental degradation is a prime cause of collapse. Historian Joseph Tainter on the other hand states that the overriding reason for collapse is economic, more specifically, collapse is an example of the law of diminishing returns i.e. declining benefits to the population. Another reason is the role of energy, it is only energy that can sustain a civilization, every time a civilization increases complexity, more energy is required to maintain the same level of benefits, we are reaching that stage of post cheap-oil era, with substantially higher costs and correspondingly diminishing returns.

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The evidence strongly suggests that our global civilization is undergoing a collapse that will continue to play out over several decades. There can be little doubt that we are on a journey toward a different world for the simple reason that this one is on an unsustainable path.

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So what is driving our civilization toward ruin? Ecosystem overload, over-population, unsustainable growth, species extinction, growing inequality, global injustice, global warming, peak oil – we are so familiar with all these things that it does not occur to us to ask ourselves if there is a common thread linking them. The so-called Cartesian/Newtonian worldview came to dominate the way Western civilization looked at the world from roughly the seventeenth century to the present, and not without good reason. The reductionist, mechanical approach to problem solving inspired by Newton and others, combined with Descarte’s concept of the separation of humankind and nature, proved to be a powerful tool in the development of the Industrial Revolution and modern science. It is generally considered to have been a resounding success as on of the key factors in increasing the general standard of living, particularly in industrialized countries. However, it successes have not come without costs. Often these costs appear elsewhere in the global system than we might intuitively expect, for example, in damage to the environment and human settlements from, and outside the field of vision of, the centers of the industrialized world of the west. In this regard, it is important to realize that, until recently, the vast majority of people in the world were far less influenced by this worldview e.g. China, India, Africa, the Middle East and South America.


Many of these peoples experienced only the negative effects of this paradigm through colonialism, environmental degradation and commercial explanation. Our civilization has held the Cartesian/Newtonian worldview for too long. The strategies of this paradigm, which work so well in a “new frontier” society, work no longer in a “spaceship Earth” society. In a world where man is considered to be separate not only from nature but also separate from other humans, it is no wonder that a civilization has evolved that is based on the exploitation of nature and the weaker parts of human society.

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The Role of Economics – Central to this evolution is the role of economics. Indeed, if the objective of someone was to drive our civilization to ruin, then nothing could do it more effectively than the invention of the currently dominant economic system – neoliberalism. Since roughly the end of the Second World War, the primary goal of almost nations has been to maximize economic growth, without the least regard for either ecological overload or peak oil. There are two fundamental flaws in the reigning version of economics. The first one is the treatment of the environment as a subset of economics. rather than the reverse, treating economics as a mechanism of resource allocation that operates within the physical restrictions of ecological space. In other words, economists perceive the environment as a collection of resources for humanity’s use rather than seeing humanity as an integral part of, and inseparable from, a living and complex organism we call Nature. The consequences of this error are enormous, a direct conflict with one of the most fundamental and irrefutable laws of physics, the second law of thermodynamics This law states a fundamental fact about the irreversibility of nature. The nonrenewable resources of our world, once used up (oil) then they are no longer available to do any work.

This flaw allows economist to ignore problems of limited resources , ecosystem overload and energy descent. Economists can literally not see these problems because they are not included in their differential equations. It is as if or civilization is sailing down the Niagara River, and our economic guides, who are servants of the political leadership, have neither compass nor map. They will not see the problems unti w go over the waterfall. The second major flaw is he way in which economist model growth. This is especially dangerous because the ruling elite tends to pay more attention to economists than to physicists. The political power of the business community has been increasing steadily for two hundred years to the point tht today, we can no longer separate politics from business, particularly in the world’s dominant economy, the United states. The combination of powerful business interests, political allies and popular support makes it almost impossible to stop the growth bubble from bursting either when the ecosystem can no longer take the pressure, or more likely, when the reality of the coming period of energy descent hits the financial markets.

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International Monetary Fund – IMF – how does it exploit and put a stranglehold on developing countries ? – IMF loans to developing countries were made conditional upon acceptance of policies of neoliberal ideology (no wonder poor, developing countries, remain in an endless spiral of debt and under-development) For the typical developing-country client, this meant they had to (1) reduce their tariffs on western industrial products without compensating tariff cuts by the industrialized countries; (2) devalue their currency and expose it to short-term speculation by gigantic Wall street hedge funds far larger than their central banks; (3) sell off key public facilities to western corporations at ridiculously low prices; (4) raise interest rates, throwing hundreds of companies into bankruptcy; (5) remove food subsidies to their poor while being forced to accept the right of the West to dump subsidized food products on their market, destroying their small farmers in the process (6). charge fees for school, resulting in massive school-dropout rates. (7). cut social welfare programs in order to force an unnecessary balanced budget and pay interest on their debt to the IMF (8). switch from import substitution to production of export-oriented materials of value to the West (North). What we see here is a conscious attempt by the IMF to impose on client states an ideology that was by no means universally accepted, and in most cases not even appropriate. The result was nothing less than a crude transfer of sovereignty from member states to the IMF, and hence to the United States, not de jura, but de facto.

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World Bank – supported by associated donor countries and elite organizations like the Paris Club imposed on developing countries by granting them loans that were not really needed by making alliances with wealthy elites and corrupt political leaders in developing countries, who were allowed to pocket a sizable chunk of funds for personal use and for their companies, which were awarded lucrative contracts for unnecessary prestige projects. Most of the money actually returned to the West in the form of contracts with American and European engineering consultancies (Middle Eastern countries are prime examples of this). US Treasury officials openly admitted that two dollars came back for every one dollar contributed to the World Bank in the form of procurement contracts for US exporters. The prime goal of the World Bank and G7 countries is to use developing countries as a cheap source of labor and raw materials and to keep them in an endless spiral of debt.

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World Trade Organization – WTO – The WTO has a Charter written by corporations for corporations, a charter that puts commercial interests above all, a charter to allow the strong to exploit the weak. Constitutions of countries are generally based on the sovereignty of people and countries, every constitution has protected life above profits, but the WTO protects profits above the right to human life and other species. The WTO “free trade” regime is in reality a “forced trade” regime, because developing countries are forced to accept exploitative conditions that put high tariffs on their otherwise competitive exports, while allowing subsidized Western products to undercut local production, this gives the country with the strongest capital base and smallest social and environmental costs a competitive advantage, in this case the United States. The WTO does not support any environmentally friendly practices, example taxes on CO2 emissions, in reality, the WTO system encourages destruction of natural capital, the vey basis of human existence. (profits at all costs).

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Growth is good, not really, only ecologically sustainable growth is good, but an economic system that treats ecology as a subordinate rather than the other way around can never be sustainable. Thus, neoliberal economics confuses capital depletion and return of capital, treating depletion of natural resources as part if it were part of the economic return, an elementary error in basic investment theory.

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“Free markets benefit all, including the poor” – nothing is further from the truth, the last thing that neoliberals want (Western countries) is competitive developing countries, they want cheap labor and cheap raw materials for their industrialized countries and a market for their finished industrial products. The current system is rapidly creating greater inequalities in the world, more poverty among the poorest and more wealth among the wealthiest."

About the author

"Ross Jackson, an expert in international finance and operations research, has long been an innovative leader in both the business and NGO worlds. He is chairman of Gaia Trust, a Danish-based foundation that supports the Global Ecovillage Network and Gaia Education, as well as hundreds of sustainability projects in forty countries. He is also director and owner of Urtekram, Scandinavia's largest wholesale organic-food company, and former chairman of Gaiacorp, foreign-exchange consultants and hedge fund managers. Jackson is the coeditor of When No Means Yes: Danish Visions of a Different Europe and Gaian Economics: Living Well Within Planetary Limits." (http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/occupy_world_street/)