Thanks to the hysteria over peak oil and global warming, the new buzz words are now “sustainability” and “proportion”. Both terms are part of a tree hugging plot to weaken our rock-solid economy and spread poverty and want among our corporatist elites.
I am particularly disturbed by an article, “The Cancer of Growth” by Gustavo Esteva. His argument is that in nature, growth is finite and controlled. An organ grows until it reaches what he calls its “correct proportion” and then it stops.
George, it is enough to make a grown man cry. Let’s face it; cancer had gotten some pretty bad press so the public fails to appreciate its contribution. Cancer culls the herd by neutralizing those who are too weakened by the disease to lead productive lives. Besides, who wants to work next to an emaciated wreck with no hair?
Capital, however, is a bird of another feather. Like the cancer cell it is capable of unlimited growth no matter how limited the environment. Capital is a furry shrew that must eat eighty to ninety percent of its weight each day to survive. Once one food source is exhausted, it moves on to another. Some species are venomous and all species attack anything that moves.
To prohibit unfettered growth is to destroy capital. This idea of “correct proportion” is for the weak and the fastidious who dab their lips with a napkin after every bite. Capital gorges itself on the raw flesh of the dead as it ignores the red fluid coating its chin and chest. Such is its appetite that it doesn’t even bother to kill its prey before it starts tearing off slabs of flesh.
That is why capital is such a turn-on.
Capital has always been about sucking wealth to the top of the pyramid. This need is all the more intense as the glob warms and oil peaks (even though they really aren’t, but they are great excuses for increased exploitation and socially acceptable theft.) Capital must act as if the world is an overcrowded lifeboat. Survival requires throwing most of the passengers overboard while saving a few who will be used as food to keep the strongest in the boat alive.
Esteva is a heretic when he argues that, "We need to recover a sense of proportion that is simply another form of common sense (emphasis mine) that exists in community. To struggle against a culture of waste, disposability, destruction and injustice, and the culture that has produced global warming to which disasters caused by irresponsibility are now attributed, we can reclaim the sensible and responsible rejection of what is unnecessary in the name of socially viable goals, and discard forever the idolatry of economic growth."
His heresy is not in his condemnation of “the idolatry of economic growth” but in his appeal to common sense. We live by the cult of the expert whom we worship just as the ancients worshiped their priests and seers. This is made possible by marginalizing common sense. We have reduced common sense to a subset of our perceptual senses. These, we are told are totally unreliable because they habitually deceive us. Were we to rely on our senses alone, we would be quite correct in assuming that the earth sits at the center of the universe. This is one of those charming little scams that keep the proles in their place. It is a true half truth. Perception exists on a spectrum, and our senses do indeed deceive us at the polar ends of the spectrum, the micro and the macro. The earth does not sit at the center of the universe, and a rock is not static, but is a conglomeration of molecules moving with such speed that they give the illusion of solidity. Between these poles, our senses are more than adequate.
Common sense works which is why we need experts to discredit it.
The economy lives to grow, and in its insatiable growth it transcends the limitations of the biological by destroying it. Our elites do not take kindly to decline and it is society’s duty and obligation to make sure they are never forced to drink of its bitter cup.