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Zeitgeist: Addendum - Part Three - Page 2

Author: Edward L Winston
Added: August 16th, 2009

This is the second page of part three in my series of articles on Zeitgeist: Addendum. Please refer to the introduction if you were lead to this page.

[Jacque Fresco]

"What's in it for me?" is the way people think. And so if a man makes money selling a certain product, naturally he is going to fight the existence of another product that may threaten his institution. Therefore people cannot be fair and people do not trust each other. A guy will come over to you and say, "I've got just the house you're looking for."

Some time ago I was visiting some family and one of my aunts was talking about volunteering and how she enjoys it. Her daughter, my cousin, who was about 21 at the time said, "The reason I don't volunteer is because there's nothing in it for me, nobody volunteers for me." 

He's a salesman. When a doctor says, "I think your kidney has to come out." I don't know if he's trying to pay off a yacht or that my kidney has to come out; it's hard in a monetary system to trust people.

It also likely depends on the country you're in. I'd be less likely to trust a doctor in the US than in Canada.

If you came into my store and I said this lamp that I've got is pretty good, but the lamp in the next store is much better, I wouldn't be in business very long. It wouldn't work. If I were ethical, it wouldn't work. So when you say industry cares for people, that's not true. They can't afford to be ethical. So your system is not designed to serve the well being of people. If you still don't understand that, there would be no outsourcing of jobs if they cared about people. Industry does not care. They only hire people because it hasn't been automated yet. So, don't talk about decency and ethics, we cannot afford it and remain in business.

I'm reminded of an episode of The Simpsons where Ned Flanders opens his left handed store, but because of his ethical nature he ends up losing money.

I've seen a few cases where non-automation is used as a way to market at higher prices. Several television shows I've seen such as Unwrapped and Modern Marvels where production of items such as food takes place and systems such as packing, that could be automated, are not automated and instead done by hand. On the one hand I'm glad at this time that these people have jobs, but on another I think it's ridiculous because of my "instinct" that if it can be automated, it should be automated.

[Narration]

It is important to point out that regardless of the social system, whether fascist, socialist, capitalist or communist, the underlying mechanism is still money, labor and competition.

In Soviet style economies, often referred to as "communist", the use of money was used as a way to track purchasing and control distribution. The Soviet ruble worked much like food stamps in the United States and had very limited power as everything had price controls due to central planning anyway[5].

Communist China is no less capitalistic than the United States. The only difference is the degree by which the state intervenes in enterprise.

This is more or less true. Unlike the USSR, China is open to free enterprise on some level, and depending on where you are it may be open completely.

The reality is that "monetary-ism", so to speak, is the true mechanism that guides the interests of all the countries on the planet.

The most aggressive and hence dominant variation of this monetary-ism is the free enterprise system. The fundamental perspective, as put forth by early free market economists like Adam Smith, is that self-interest and competition leads to social prosperity, as the act of competition creates incentive, which motivates people to persevere.

I believe a lot of people misinterpreted the works of Adam Smith and incorrectly apply them to today. Adam Smith lived in a pre-industrial agrarian world[6] where economies were more or less more stable and growth was slow. Free enterprise in such an economy can only move so far and is more readily obtainable by regular people on some level. Today it's the exact opposite, with the need of mechanization, mass production, distribution, and capital.

However, what isn't talked about is how a competition-based economy invariably leads to strategic corruption, power and wealth consolidation, social stratification, technological paralyses, labor abuse, and ultimately a covert form of government dictatorship by the rich elite.

Regardless of competition this tends to happen anyway. For example, there wasn't much competition in the feudalist era, yet there was still a government elite. Even prior to that in the feudal system and monetary system, with the trade and barter system you had an elite as well. I really view this as a broader problem of the domination of one human over another for no purpose other than because they're a "higher class[7]."

The word corruption is often defined as moral perversion.

If a company dumps toxic waste into the ocean to save money, most people recognize this as corrupt behavior. 

On a side note: If you ask your average libertarian, anarcho-capitalist, etc they will simply reply that governments and people pollute far more than companies do. Regardless of who pollutes more, libertarians and other free market capitalists refer to things such as pollution as "externalities", not corruption. This really just removes the emotional element from the equation and is indeed one of the things that feed corruption[8][9].

On a more subtle level, when Wal-Mart moves into a small town and forces small businesses to shut down, for they are unable to compete, a gray area emerges. For what exactly is Wal-Mart doing wrong? Why should they care about mom and pop organizations they destroy? 

This is indeed a product of the free market. If one cannot survive competition, then they are fed to the lions, so to speak.

Yet, even more subtly, when a person gets fired from their job, because a new machine has been created which can do the work for less money, people tend to just accept that as the way it is, not seeing the inherent, corrupt inhumanity of such an action.

The reason I think it's important and "good" when a person is replaced with a machine is because it furthers humanity down the road to something like Technocracy/The Venus Project. This happens because, as predicted by Technocracy, Inc., further automation leads to more unemployment. While it's obviously not good that people are unemployed, it does help people realize that eventually there will be a point when automation will cause most people to be unemployed. Then and only then will people actually listen to technocrats.

Because the fact is, whether it is dumping toxic waste, having a monopoly enterprise, or downsizing the workforce, the motive is the same: profit. 

They are all different degrees of the same self-preserving mechanism, which always puts the well being of people second to monetary gain. Therefore, corruption is not some byproduct of monetary-ism, it is the very foundation. And while most people acknowledge this tendency on one level or another, the majority remains na´ve as to the broad ramifications of having such a selfish mechanism as the guiding mentality in society.

As I said previously the concept of corruption and elitism exists regardless of money and is a broader problem in the history of humanity.

[Clip of Scarborugh Country on MSNBC:

News anchor: Internal documents show that after this company positively, absolutely knew that they had a medication that was infected with the AIDS virus, they took the product off the market in the US and then they dumped it in France, Europe, Asia, Latin America. The US government allowed it to happen, the FDA allowed this to happen. And now the government is completely looking the other way. Thousands of innocent hemophiliacs have died from the AIDS virus. This company absolutely knew that it was infected with AIDS. They dumped it because they wanted to turn this disaster into a profit.]

Contaminated blood products were a large problem in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This is primarily due to the fact that HIV was not screenable. In January 1983 Bayer acknowledged that there was evidence to say HIV had passed through their blood plasma products. Heat treatment helped the virus become undetectable, but certain countries such as France kept using the pre-heat treated product anyway. Bayer's Cutter division reportedly told countries like Hong Kong to use up their "current stocks before switching to the new, safer product"[10]. 

The word "dumping" refers to "dumping the product on third world countries", some conspiracy theorists spin this (but not the movie) to say it was "dumped in the water supply" but this isn't true and HIV cannot last outside the human body or a specialized environment for more than a few hours[11]. It wasn't until May 1985 that the FDA came to task and forced Bayer to comply, however the FDA wanted the whole situation to stay quiet but be done quickly. By July 1985 the original product had finally stopped being shipped and used all together[10]. Unfortunately no corporate executives have yet to be investigated and probably never will be.

[Jacque Fresco]

So you see, you have built in corruption. We are all chiseling off each other, and you can't expect decency in that sort of thing.

Some people do still expect it, but that's becoming more rare. The great irony is young people seem to have the "what's in it for me" mentality, regardless of money, however they still believe companies care about them.

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