Cancer cells donâ€™t know they are cancerous! Though this may be an obvious fact even a so what fact to many, if we think more critically about this we realize that it is quite significant. Why? Unlike other cells, cancer cells grow uncontrollably and without limit and in so doing attack the viability of the body they live in thus leading to the death of both their host and themselves. So if they knew they were cancerous then theyâ€™d stop killing the body upon which they so much depend. No reasonable cell would behave in a way that diminishes its viability.
So to stop cancer all we have to do is let these cells know that (their) uncontrolled growthâ€”using up the bodyâ€™s supply of energyâ€”is detrimental to the viability of the living system they live in and in turn to their very own ability to continue to exist; that is, such behavior would be suicidal. If only we could educate and reason with cells that unlimited growth and the exploitation of oneâ€™s environment is self-destructive! While this sounds so simple a solution, the problem with it is that cells havenâ€™t the capability of self-awareness and for learning at this level. Cells arenâ€™t so evolved that they can critically examine their own purposes and behavior relative to the environment within which they exist.
Analogously business executives seeking increasing growth in profit through theexploitation of people and Nature are committed to purposes and behaviors that are unavoidably self-destructiveâ€”business is not outside of society but a part of society. The good news is that unlike cells that donâ€™t know they are cancerous these people do have the capability for self-awareness and learning at a higher level; they have the capacity to understand how deeply interconnected we (as human beings) are to each other and Nature.
Yet, although the deleterious effects of such actions have been explained it unfortunately appears these executives donâ€™t care to exercise their ability to understand. Seemingly they wonâ€™t let go of what they know that ainâ€™t so to understand the implications of their parasitic behavior and the need for theirstewardship.
Large Scale Irrationality
Nowhere is this irrationality more evident than in the governments of many of the industrialized countries adhering to austerity â€”even in the face of evidence showing it to be a falsehood. The fervor for austerity is connected in ideology to the notion that the cause of economic difficulty lies largely with governmentâ€”an idea fromFrancois Quesnay and the physiocrats in the 18th centuryâ€”and in a peculiar way its practice is somewhat analogous to bloodletting. Bloodletting is ancient medical practice for riding the body of â€˜bad bloodâ€™â€”oneâ€™s humor is out of proportionâ€”that was believed to be the cause of a personâ€™s ill health.
Quesnay, a physician, arguing against mercantilism viewed the economic system as if it was an organism. The essence of the argument rests on the notion that similar to the natural order in organisms there is a natural order in the economic system and thus no need for interference by government. Underlying this analogy is the false belief that the economic system is a divinely provided or discovered naturally occurring system and not a human created system. That said, continuing with the analogy the economic system just as an organism produces and distributes throughout the body according to need, so too will the economic system if unencumbered by government.
Two critical issues often not recognized by ardent followers of this view is a) government is part of the system and b) moneyâ€”the medium of exchangeâ€”like blood in the body must flow freely through the system. On the first point, government is an employer providing services to citizens of society. Hence reducing government in effect reduces employment along with much needed services citizens depend uponâ€”the services are a needed benefit to citizens in a society. In regard to the second point, the value of money to society is in its flow, not its accumulation. No societal value is realized if it is channeled solely to or hoarded by one part of the systemâ€”all segments of the system must have access to its nourishment according to need for the organism to remain healthy.
What Concerns Us
The intent of bloodletting in the economic form is to rid the system of public services thus reducing the government to a size of anemic proportions (if not kill it) so it canâ€™t muster the power to supplement the shortcomings of capitalism and to regulate self-interest behavior. It took some time for the evidence to be accepted that bloodletting as a general practice was ineffectiveâ€”in spite of the many principles developed and followed for effective bloodletting. In the recent economic bloodletting precipitated by the sequestration, the ill-effects from cuts that impingedupon air travelâ€”a service politicians and business rely uponâ€”was very quickly countermanded (in less than 3 days by our elected representative) but the effects upon the poor, the ill and the elderly have gotten no such counter measure.
Like cancerous cells the decision-makers in these austerity-bent governments are pursuing somethingâ€”likely prosperity or unhealthy growthâ€”but surely it is not viability. The only question remains is for whom is the prosperity sought?
Self-serving behavior is like a cancer in society that will grow its way toward destroying society and in turn it self. If only there were self-aware people holding decision-making authority, weâ€™d be able to educate and reason with them! It israther revolting, donâ€™t you think?
It seems weâ€™ve numbed our self to our humanity. If only the industrialized world would understand the system of economics to which they are addicted is a self-serving systemâ€”like a cancer it destructively serves only itselfâ€”and that there can be a more humanly productive system for economic activity.
That is, the system is not divinely planned rather it is a human creation and thus can be re-created. If only there was the will to change, if only there was an understanding of what the real crisis is. If only we would re-think our fixed system.