Archive for the ‘What humans do’ Category

Free will is best – and possible

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Men have great capacity for thinking and doing – but increasingly it seems we do less and less of that. The general picture is obviously one of passive and conforming behaviour, absence of new thinking, passing by or just being supersettled, like put into concrete.

Men are becoming machines, mechanical men, working hard to get by, but with no time or energy for exceptional maneuvres – mental or practical. Why is this happening? Are we being led into this, why have we lost our independence?

So practice observed is clear for all to see – we are increasingly becoming limited beings – we box ourselves in.

What we eat is controlled by big corporations, media are enormously concentrated and full of silly entertainment, spin and agendas and found everywhere, work takes most of our time, consumption takes the rest of it. And the story goes on – all we seem to want is more of the same.

We put limits on ourselves, and others are trying to put limits on us, practicalities limit us – we are framed or we live in boxes – little ones.

When you are born your head is empty except for an essence of pure emotion, instincts. You will never fully experience this essence, because your personality will be built rapidly from impressions of many kinds. Personality is built as you go along, gradually and almost imperceptibly. You learn what is right, what you should do, concepts of goodness, badness and the rest of it. Gradually you are formed and become what you are.

Few people are conscious about what is happening to them and how they are formed. You have to work on yourself continuously to to see this, and work very hard to have an effect on what is happening.

All your emotion, logic, movement, instincts, learning can drive you in many directions, let you develop into a fully free person, and independent too. You will see that you are not one person, but many – you are not a constant being. If you do not work on seeing who you are your life will be troublesome and full of unconscious behaviour.

Gradually we all adapt to this complexity by conforming to all the strong forces around us, we slip into conformity and comfort zones. You are no longer unique, you are moving into the box, you do what everybody else does. The forces around shape you, and you let them!

Instead of leading a conscious life you become a mechanical man. You become lazy, cowardly, soft thinking, stale and you just get by. Your thinking, doing, eating, making a living is standardized, you hardly live and there is visible boredom.

You are a routine human being living a routine life, you are slowly dying and you do not care. Your life’s aims are lost, your free will is being eroded. You are one of the masses, driven by herd instincts, unable to take part in rational discourse.

It is nice to know that this can be changed fundamentally if you se the danger and care to take action.

Getting out of the box requires aims, work on yourself and will. It is not easy, but an exciting, conscious life is possible.

Start the work now, start to try to understand yourself and see who you are. Encourage others to do the same and all will go forward. Your imagination is the limit! Do not conform, develop your free will, raise your consciousness.

Go get, now. You can be unique!

There is no universal truth. The only truth is personal and is what you yourself sense now.

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

The concept of truth is traditionally important in many ways.

It is an important factor in philosophy where lines of reasoning, logic steps are based on the concept of true assumptions.

The fact is that there is no such thing as an universal truth: absolute, relative, objective, subjective or whatever. The concept of truth has often been associated with power play, government, politics, science as a tool of conformity and suppression, or as a means to gain advantage over others.

The use of the concept of truth is also a hindrance to further development of many matters. When something is declared true further search for meaning and understanding often stops. As an example there can be no political truth, and scientific truth is nowhere to be found as science is perpetually changing into new forms.

Factually there is no such thing as a common truth. We are all individuals living in our own world, which is a world being constantly recreated in your own minds. As you live and grow through experience and deeper insight, your picture of the world develops, constantly taking new forms.

Your reality which is also your truth also constantly  changes. This makes it possible to reach higher levels of consciousness, and to live a richer life, a happier life. You do not remember the past, you do not worry about the future, you just live in the now.

You must always seek out your own truth, and if you accept other peoples version of the truth you will grow increasingly confused and dazed. The only truth for you in the world is what you yourself find. Do not accept anything else. This is also the the way  to independence and free will, to higher levels of consciousness.

Nobody can give a free person the truth because there is no such thing. To become a free person, a happy person you must live by your own facts or truth. It is exactly the same with all knowledge – it must be all of your own making. The news in the media, the science, what people say, what you learn at school are not your truth, your knowledge -you do not have to learn it or heed it.

To learn the truth you must work hard, and you can only do the work yourself, although you may seek references among others. The present way is wrong: we have all been told, we have accepted what we were told, and we end up being locked in and dare nothing, meekly following along.

Authority must always be questioned: who are these people, what do they really know, what are their interests, where is their documentation, what are they aiming to achieve, why should we accept what they say. Always be the one who knows or say that you don’t.

To be happy the only aim you will ever have is to follow your own mind, live your own truth. If we keep listening to authorities of all sorts we will never be happy – which is the only aim. This is all really about thinking independently. This we must all do – each one of us – so that the common good is achieved. All illusions are created by others, we believe many things, we do not use logic, we feel, we hope we pray.

There is hard work ahead for you. Remember you work for your own good, your own happiness. Surely that is what we all want? Being your own true person could be very satisfactory.

Or maybe there is one basic truth: The notion of essence or oneness – it all comes back to One?

The Chinese going forward – with the rest of the world

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

The US is grappling with its budget – there will  be massive cuts in military expenses, the health insurance will cost and must be taken into the budget, and creation of jobs is not moving briskly. An election is coming, so the big issue short term is winning there.

In China a new leadership will come onstage late this year and early next year. The big changes are rolling : massive urbanization, move into industry, developing services and bringing along everybody in the process. There is talk about a welfare state for all based on elements from tested models from the Nordic countries. This could be a make or break development, with obvious difficulties when done on such a large scale.

Chinese military spending is going up fast. SIPRI states that it is now probably about US $ 160 billion, but that it possibly will overtake the US in about 25 years time.

The positioning in the Asia region continues with both China and US jockeying for friends and relations and resources. The Chinese must match the US military presence in the area at first, and possibly in the rest of the world later. The South China Sea developments are of particular interest – many nations are involved, many interests are played out like oil, fisheries, other resources and also the question of security. US relative strength is going down, and China will be a different player in a few years time.

So everybody is thinking out their own strategy for the coming change. No doubt the new centre of power politics will be in this area. So called global security is in play and a rebalancing will be seen.

Most important however will be the inner workings of the Chinese state. There are many comments in the Western press about intellectual freedom. Artists and dissidents have been harassed, the police are controlling citizens and politicians as well, Chinese internal security is of great interest in the West, and speculation about the forces, the realities of it all is being given wide publicity.

So is a welfare state being pondered – or perhaps already in the works? This could be a hugely important issue, and determine the development of the Chinese status in the world. In here we also have factors like social structure, economic models, private freedom. In a good state you should be able to say what you think, do what you want to do?

The cohesion of Chinese society is another aspect. Moving in the direction of 1 – 99 is surely no use!

Welfare plans are probably now being laid, health and social security for all, trade unions with a job to do and being allowed to do it. The election system, local, central has been under debate, especially in Hong Kong where changes are expected.

Transparent political processes are part of it all in the long run too, acceptable conditions for artists, writers, intellectuals, acceptable working conditions, acceptable procedures for strikes and incidents, economic equality and equality between the sexes…..

There surely are many things to consider. The Chinese will surely move along nicely, with some ruffled  feathers maybe, but the continued existence and good development of the Chinese state is not in jeopardy. The future of the US as we know it is much more difficult to assess.

How energetic are you?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Tiredness and lack of activity is a common state – both of mind and body. There are many songs about tiredness, it has been written about in books and magazines, people go to the doctors because they are tired. Are you a slouching couch potato or a you a blazing, active doer of things with body and mind energized for action at all times? You feel like doing nothing – just passing time? It varies a lot, you say – you are not stable or consistent?

When you get tired you have a little nap or rest or you meditate or you take a cold shower, but strangely enough the mechanisms involved are not fully understood. The effects are however well known and these techniques are used by all.

What is it that make such great variety possible? What is tiredness about?

Our consciousness about these matters should be considered – you know: maybe we can raise it to a higher level so you know what is going on, so you know what you do, so you know why you do things or why not, so you can fix it, so you can have it the way you really want it.

The effort we put into the world is a great variable – sometimes we act up and sometimes we are just lazing around. Some people are constantly active, others are always passive. Increased consciousness about the whys of these matters could help you achieve what you desire, find the best level of mental and physical activity for yourself.

If you manage to be more active, amazing things could happen – most things can be done. It seems you can control the level of activity to a large degree if you want to. You must just learn how to. You must know the “handles” to turn or use – what factors it is that matter.

Your brain and your body are turned on from the moment you are born – some say even before that in your mother’s womb – and it never stops till you die. At night it turns itself down, but the processes are all there. The paradox is that often the brain will not help us do what we ought to do, there is some kind of resistance involved. We all experience tiredness, lack of concentration, staleness, boredom, drowsiness, could not care attitude, lack of interest, unwillingness, wretchedness – many things are there to stop us from doing things – if we let them.

It is both about physical things and mental states of mind – it is complex, we must have knowledge to understand it and to be able to change it.

Some people are ill to some extent, and many illnesses are great drags on what you can do, what you manage to do. Examples are diabetes, thyroid problems, depressions, heart problems, sleep disorders – the list is long. Some illnesses are chronic and are hard to tackle.

For others the work of getting things done is also about a lot of things: your level of consciousness, inspiration, clearness of mind, physical tiredness, food, blood sugar levels, your aims and intentions.

The main factor is possibly what drives you, what are your aims, are you able to do what you love to do. If you are able to achieve having clear aims and also being able to work towards it the energy will surely get a boost. This is probably the main driving force in our lives. Get a grip on your aims and the juices will flow!

Food is involved too as it may make you drowsy or attentive. The level of blood sugar, the water you drink, coffee or other drinks may have an effect to some extent. Eat so that your metabolism can work in a stable manner.

The fitness of your body counts and if you do not easily get physically tired you are better off and a good fit body can stay alert for longer. A bit of daily exercise, using your body every day is what does it, juggling balls, walking, biking, dancing …. Or play some music, sing a song.

Mental activity can be stimulated by uncluttering your mind, getting rid of irritation and nuisances, tackling worries, being good to others. Understanding yourself, seeing how your mind works, how your upbringing, codes, habits or instincts play with you is of great importance. There are numerous energy thieves involved – and you can learn to control them all.

The little things matter to:  splash some water in your face, have a drink, eat an apple, swing your arms or bend your knees for some minutes, watch the birds or girls, change your clothes, be angry and shout, share some jokes with people.

Habits of cozyness are habits of laziness, they become habits of emptiness, you become an observer, a passive bystander. Your life is passing you by.

So the task is to energize yourself and push yourself into conscious work. It is so easy to say. Give it a try – push yourself into it. Now – this second: Search for meaning, develop aims, enthuse, inspire, find what leads you on: Search and go!

Remember living is about doing – being energetic is a great way to live. Set out your wishes, enable yourself to do it, then do it!

Thinking is destroying your life

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Philosophy used to be great, important and many people spent their lives philosophizing.  It is all totally useless as it does not get you anywhere. The only thing to think about is being happy, that is your only aim, and that is achieved by doing.

So the only thing that matters is what you do. Then the realities are there for you and all to see, and there is no need to talk and describe and tell others about anything. All that counts is what you have done.

When you are measured in the end, by yourself and others, the things you factually did are what matters. Your thinking should be kept to a minimum and purely to yourself. Do not share anything with anybody, do not tell others  about your intentions, do not opine on any matter. Discussing, having opinions, identifying yourself with causes or issuing proclamations big or tiny does not matter at all. It is a total waste for yourself and everybody else. Just be kind to others, play along, be non-committal.

The only matter in your life that is important is what you do – what you partake in – what you achieve. This is also your aim and what makes you happy, alert, loving, more conscious. So always be involved in deliberate action, plan for what you will do, do things on impulse or the spur of the moment, be ready for what will surely come next. If you stop doing things you stop living, you lose the moment of here and now. So line them up – do what you love to do all the time. Do not fret, do not tell anybody about your doubts, just keep on doing.

Philosophy, grand thoughts and dreams are useless and wasteful – there are no visible results.

Make a list in your thoughtroom of what you want to do and then execute.

You will surely be happy, your mind will be focused, your life will have an aim. The devils inside you will be put to rest, you will start to master yourself.

This is how simple it is. Your mind should help you do things, you must not ever let it be allowed to wander freely about in endless themes and hypotheses. You must control it, be the master of your own intellect and emotions so that your life can have direction and aims.

Do not sit there aimlessly, controlled by others, boxed in by conventions, standardized wisdom, following the thought of others, pressurized by the media, scared of offense, brought to silence by your own timidity, afraid of being alone.

Every day must be full of small and big things that you do – there is no stopping that.

What you do at work to make money is not enough, that is merely a chore that may distract you from your real task of being happy, independent, creative in all matters, building consciousness and elevating yourself, becoming a free soul,  a happy human being.

It is not easy at all, the comfort of thinking is like a wet dream come true, facing the challenge of growing  by doing is what it is about. Stop thinking so much, start doing all you can.

A changing world – will it ever be peaceful?

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Many nations are coming up, the others are staying put – or relatively speaking going down?

A historic change is taking place in the world, evolving not so slowly, and the US is obviously feeling the heat. It is seeking out what it thinks is the biggest contender for supremacy in the world, and making all sorts of movements and noise to make sure there is or will be a conflict stewing or brewing. The chosen contender is China – the biggest nation population-wise. The other big one India is for the moment left out.

US dominance, the well-known policeman of the world, is no longer so certain. This is not due to great incidents or situations, but China, and also many other nations like India, Brazil, some of the Eastern Europeans, even African nations are improving the lot of their populations day by day. Things are going well for them. The US is doing fairly well also – much the same as it has done for some time, but elements of crisis have been seen.

The US is 5% of the world by inhabitants, China and India are about 20% each. The force of the numbers is changing the world.

Economically the US is disproportionately big, but others are finding their place. China is probably already the biggest economy in the world. It is easy to se that one day the Chinese economy will be much bigger than the US – there is no reason to doubt that. What about twice as big in 50 years time?

A lot of focus is now put on China by the West, even if India is practically the same size. We can say that China has been chosen as the big adversary of the US on the world stage. So the West is playing along with the US in this build up, the media are fully coordinated and blasting away: arms build up, human rights weaknesses, exchange accusations, demography speculations, political unrest. Dissidents are getting a lot of attention and messrs Wei, Li, Chen and others are meticulously followed by the foreign press (where do they get all this information in a country that is so strongly censored?). Terrible stories are told, some of it is possibly true, some are possibly fabrications by journalists or other capable writers.

So be careful what you believe – check it out for yourself if you can or be soundly sceptical.

Positioning is taking place: The US is playing down NATO, playing up their contacts in Asia and near. The Eastern Strategy of the US is unfolding – and amazing stuff it is. Vietnam, Australia, the Philipines, S. Korea, Taiwan are now all dear friends, US vessels are cruising around in the South China Sea – far away from home. There are planes and surely more, including naval exercises.

It is all rather sad and primitive – it is not human culture at its very best. A game of military power is staged with the US clearly challenging China. The US military budget is huge – about US $ 700 billion with China weighing in at about US $ 60 billion (2008 figures The Economist The world in figures).

We all have to sit watching this ritual unfolding – the manysplendoured forces of the US are let loose. Let us hope there will be no incidents wrecking havoc in the world.

But maybe this is all about appearances only? What is that is so important for the US to prove? It surely is not about human wellbeing? Is it about US thoughts of empire – 5% of the worlds people dominating the other 95 %?

The US is a construction that is about 300 years old, being dominant about the last 60 years. China has been going for many thousands of years, maybe more than 5 thousands, and the US is surely not going to change that?

Living is not about competition where you either win or lose. It is much easier than that. It is about understanding yourself, understanding others, helping all find sensible ways – cooperating, sharing, having fun.

So to the US – stop your relentless maCHINAtions, have fun. Please disassemble your military machine before there is an accident – possibly on a world scale. Remember what almost happened in Cuba? And think also about how much cheaper it is to be peaceful – you can easily save a billion a day. What you want to do in the world you should do in your own backyard.

Let us hope China can be patient with the US – it is such an immature nation, so young.

The food chains and webs – the ecological system around us

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Humans eat many things, there is diversity around the world, and diversity could even be much bigger. Some foods are considered basic – grains, meat – although nobody seems to know why. The reasons are probably historic, geographic, economic, social. It would be wise to think anew – the human food systems are not sustainable, health-wise non-optimized or unconsciously arrived at, even unhealthy. A big change must come, and we should start thinking about improvements now.

All organisms are naturally involved in food chains where the food is found naturally, it is produced as part of the system. Plants grow and are naturally harvested and nourished, organisms eat and get eaten, and humans may live off the abundance offered to them. If we combine food chains to see where organisms are found, and see the combinations and interactions, we have a food web. So everything is originally part of an ecosystem where organisms live off each other and support each other. Natural ecosystems provide food for all participating organisms functioning together.

Humans were once part of these systems too, finding food via growths, fisheries, hunting. This still goes on, but the extent of harvesting from nature’s  food chains is being reduced. Some say it will soon be reduced to near nothing.

The human food chain is becoming very special, and is largely made up by growing plants and breeding animals solely for human consumption. These plants and animals, including seafood are grown artificially by means of oilbased fertilizer, chemicals, large petrol based machines, masses of water and manpower.

We disrupt everything: large scale isolated breeding of animals, fish, plants, mining/quarrying, fuel use, artificial ecosystems, building cities, spreading chemicals, altering water lanes/rivers, transporting things all over the world, back and forth.

The ecosystems are taken away, food production is becoming fully industrialized. This is clearly not sustainable.

The alternative is harvesting natural ecosystems, nurturing them, supporting them, changing our ways of food production into natural ones. The recent emergence of permaculture, eco foods, small scale farming, city farming are showing the way.

This has to be combined with a better understanding of how foods  work in our bodies, how a sound diet really is put together. Many variations are possible, but the knowledge is not yet there. We must find what we really need to include in a good diet: It seems everything works, meat or no meat, vegetarian, fruitarians etc. and all seem to live well.

Food is all about energy and how fast it burns in our bodies and how much energy you consume via the activities you engage in. If you consume more energy equivalents than you need in a given space of time, long term your health will be affected. And all the rest – vitamins, minerals, trace substances – must be there too.

It is time to start putting human food into context of ecology again – get it into the food webs, make it natural. As usual it starts with each one of us – it comes from the individuals – do a little of your own food production – it will be a start and a help for you and all.

The ecological system is there – let us harvest.

The lacking originality of our minds

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

The huge questions concerning why we are here do not get much attention. We  do not take an interest in how the cosmos is influenced by what we do and how we fit into the larger picture. The obvious oneness of everything is not a theme anymore. We are no longer trying to progress into areas of possible higher consciousness.

Metaphysics is not a popular pastime. Our thinking in this area has stalled.  We all think inside boxes that are made for us, or that we make ourselves. It is all about irrelevant matters, we prefer attending to our day to day businesses so that we may live comfortably. That is all.

The thoughts and themes circulating in the vicinity of anybody is a set of limited views,  displaying limited knowledge, things that we have heard or learnt from somebody else. Once we have acquired knowledge we use it again and again, and we jump at matters coming up, turning it around for useless purposes like making more money, small talk, jokes or jibes.

Workwise we are all engineers, tinkering, making things, moving things, servicing things, making money for more things. The use of the cosmos in a wide sense is not what we do, utilizing the abundance offered to us.

The older we get the more clearly this can be seen. Fresh, original thinking is nowhere present because we can not find the energy for original thinking, and other people do not like the challenges of original thinking if you want to share it with them. Be mindless, be comfortable, do not disturb yourself or anybody else.

This situation is rather amazing. Of course our thinking should always be fresh and original. What we say or write should always be original, never heard or read before. What we have in our minds should not be endless ruminations, repetitions or endless variations on the same content or ideas.

The way we live now we do not use our minds at all. What we have in our minds should be truly original, created by ourselves. That is the challenge. If you do not do this you must strive to get near this situation. What you have in your mind must never be unsubstantiated content that you have picked up somewhere, content that has been created by others and that has not been verified by you. The media and their proclaimed need for news and information is a big lie – you can completely do without it.

The basis for it all is working to understand yourself, how you function, what you do. Then you must see how your relation to others is and how you fit into the big picture. This work can create the basis for true independence, higher levels of being.

The noise from others is irrelevant and should never be listened to ever. You must make your own world where you live in the now, where you are near yourself.  Your relations to others are made on terms you decide, there can be no influencing taking place. There is nothing really to worry about, nothing to fear – you can do without everything.

The development of your thinking is entirely your own business, you are under just one obligation and that is to be happy. So think and do what makes you happy. It is not easy at all , the forces you meet are strong so you will have to put up a big fight.

It is about waking up , seeking higher levels of consciousness, becoming one. The aim really is stillness so you can see your essence, find your personality, balance it all, finding the absolute truth – what that is for you and nobody else.

Quote: ” Being prepared to receive what thought is not prepared to think is what deserves the name of thinking”. (Jean-Francois Lyotard)

The US is laying groundworks for the future

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The US is a young nation, it has been the leader on the world stage for about 60 years. Now how long will this last?

The future of the US nation should be considered, to prepare for what can possibly happen in that ambitious and increasingly stratified country.

The US has been under an official State of National Emergency since Sept 14, 2001 – a state that President Obama last year extended to Sept 14, 2012. The war against terrorism has been going on since then, and is expected to continue. What they have is in effect a martial law situation.

The executive order signed by Obama March 16, 2012, now authorizes widespread federal (and often military) control and manipulation of the national economy and resources “under both emergency and non-emergency conditions” as well as the right to install “government owned equipment” in private industrial facilities.

The US has for many decades now been a warring country, is leaving IRAQ, warring in Afghanistan, preparing for confrontation with Iran, having a military presence all over the world, including 6 big cruisers each with at least 5000 men, about 90 planes and lots of other arms and munitions. The costs of this is hellish, and is carried by US taxpayers.

The US is running the Guantánamo Bay camp in violation of international law. It has been there since 1903. The camp is supposed to have been closed down, but the arrangement goes on. The prisoners are held there indefinitely without charge or trial.

There is a deficit budget in the US, unemployment is high at 8.3%, the economic differences in the country are very high as referenced by the 1% and 99% debate, the military expenses are high, the costs of empire are high, there are numerous industry problems surfacing especially within resources and energy supply.

Many parts of the country are, however, doing well.

There is widespread speculation concerning conspiracy theories in the US about what is going on. Lately there has been reports of FEMA camps being built – concentration camps – in five places and already being set up to be ready.

Militia groups are said to be working in the country with the express intention of safeguarding themselves against happenings, including government action of any kind. Articles about nonviolent civilian defence groups making it difficult for the government to rule have been published.

The legal and formalistic aspects are debated, but more important is what will happen in the near future. The pessimists say the groundwork for a totalitarian state is in place.  Senator Ron Paul is very harsh in his description. The major media are very quiet about this.

Reasonable precautions and preparations should be taken for defense and emergency conditions, preparation of decentralized energy and industrial capacity.

We should ponder the implications for the economy, for democracy and liberty, for international relations like helping friendly dictators or organizing wars against countries who control “strategic materials” that the US want, for the military industrial complex, for the prospects for the nation in the near future.

The President now has widespread power that has been compared to what Hitler had in Germany. Hitler also instigated acts of terror – he burnt the Reichstag – and blamed it on the Communists . Will similar happenings and accusations be produced here? Hitler also had an enabling act allowing him to use government resources like the military according to his wishes – the general laws of the nation being overruled.

The world of Homeland Security, war on terrorism, martial law, arrest by the army, indefinite detention without charge or trial is theoretically possible now.

There is also the possibility of a big spin being played out – say the conspiracy theorists – a situation being created – just like Hitler did. And what did Hitler do after that?

“The president has the power to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense…under both emergency and non-emergency conditions” (Section 201a and b)”

“The president has the power, through his cabinet secretaries, to control the general distribution of any material (including applicable services) in the civilian market.” (Section 201e)

“The Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of the Interior…are each delegated the authority of the President… to encourage the exploration, development, and mining of strategic and critical materials and other materials.” (Section 306)

“There is established in the executive branch a National Defense Executive Reserve (NDER) composed of persons of recognized expertise from various segments of the private sector and from Government (except full time Federal employees) for training for employment in executive positions in the Federal Government in the event of a national defense emergency. The head of an agency may activate an NDER unit, in whole or in part, upon the written determination of the Secretary of Homeland Security that an emergency affecting the national defense exists and that the activation of the unit is necessary to carry out the emergency program functions of the agency.”  (Section 501a&e)

This definitely does not seem good! The land of “We the people” is going where?

See Tom Atlee

The future of world trade

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

There are changes afoot in world trade – the resources, the products of industry and agriculture, the services – as more and more players are realizing what the present system is about: The total domination by the western world in all matters.

The globalization debate is also in there as well as economic theory and practice. The old masters of the world are being overtaken by new entrants. The western world led by the US is not going to push more things through as other nations like the BRICS and more are starting to find their voice.

The case of the the rare earths is illustrative. China has much of the world’s resources of these 17 specialties – Rare Earth Elements – and we have had to buy them there. China now needs more and more of the stuff for themselves and have put restrictions on exports. So there is a case being mounted with the WTO – give us the stuff or we will force you. The outcome is clear – China has it and has no obligation to hand it out to others. So the solution to this little matter is to find more of the stuff elsewhere.

Many other issues are surfacing – industrial production, agriculture and jobs suffer in many Western countries. They have been trying to borrow their way out of it, and the US and EU are now trying to use quantitative easing to find their way back to health. Currency wars are looming as the rates of exchange are pegged too high or too low. There are always two sides to a currency, the reserve currencies are important references, and here there are changes coming. These processes are slow, almost imperceptible, glacierlike.

The Chinese are building an international presence not only in the South China Sea, but in Africa where they now are the biggest lender, they are upping their military presence, seeking new transport routes in northern waters – including building new icebreakers, making deals about resources all over. Very busy they are fostering the welfare of their own people.

The question of globalization may be up for a new debate as well. This is based on the mantra of free trade, comparative advantage running its course, the big players with their big finances having free access to all markets. A grand system of deals has been made over the years, domination have been allowed to become the norm, the old capitalist ideas of equal players competing under equal conditions have been allowed to lapse and become a monster. Tariffs, quotas, subsidies are part of the picture. It is all very complex, some would say incoherent.

The intended effect of making the cake bigger has been achieved in many areas, but sadly only to the benefit of some – there are still too many that are not sharing.

The old saying of being master in your own house is coming back. Too much outside influence, even downright outside economic and/or political government, is not desirable and should be avoided.

Producing everything on a large scale in faraway places make a jumble of many local economies – the jobs disappear, socially rich societies crumble, diversity disappears, cultures wither, the reason for being is lost.

The ethics is coming up too – see the problems of Nike, Apple and all the others – using factories with a substandard wages and working conditions. Large scale agriculture that is not sustainable is also part of the picture.

The economic theory must be revised – it is just a pretty picture missing out on several counts – especially on the sustainability bit, the culture, the cost to society, the management of your own destiny.

The fight over resources is increasing too, new thinking is needed, the concept of balanced trade have come up.

The beneficiaries of the present system is clearly many producers and many consumers, but the effects on the rest of the roles we have in society is not acceptable – out of jobs, being ruled by outside forces is not what people want or should have. The plethora of cheap goods is a bonus, but nothing worthwhile in the long run. The bad taste of coercion, colonialism or imperialism lingers.

The emergence of new nations is good. We must not, however, let there be new masters in place of the old – the aim must be a more broadly participative, balanced, reasonable world.

So the new thinking has to start about the practice of the new ethics of fairness, balance, sustainability, about local governance and responsibility for your own destiny.

This is heavy stuff – there are many forces against – but fairness will be the norm one day. Surely.