Saving Capitalism or Saving the Planet? • Global Research

Source: https://www.globalresearch.ca/saving-capitalism-saving-planet/5761570

The UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team helped to push the public towards accepting the COVID narrative, restrictions and lockdowns. It is now working on ‘nudging’ people towards further possible restrictions or at least big changes in their behaviour in the name of ‘climate emergency’. From frequent news stories and advertisements to soap opera storylines and government announcements, the message about impending climate catastrophe is almost relentless.

Part of the messaging includes blaming the public’s consumption habits for a perceived ‘climate emergency’. At the same time, young people are being told that we only have a decade or so (depending on who is saying it) to ‘save the planet’.

Setting the agenda are powerful corporations that helped degrade much of the environment in the first place. But ordinary people, not the multi-billionaires pushing this agenda, will pay the price for this as living more frugally seems to be part of the programme (‘own nothing and be happy’). Could we at some future point see ‘climate emergency’ lockdowns, not to ‘save the NHS’ but to ‘save the planet’?

A tendency to focus on individual behaviour and not ‘the system’ exists.

But let us not forget this is a system that deliberately sought to eradicate a culture of self-reliance that prevailed among the working class in the 19th century (self-education, recycling products, a culture of thrift, etc) via advertising and a formal school education that ensured conformity and set in motion a lifetime of wage labour and dependency on the products manufactured by an environmentally destructive capitalism.

A system that has its roots in inflicting massive violence across the globe to exert control over land and resources elsewhere.

In his 2018 book ‘The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequalities and its solutions’, Jason Hickel describes the processes involved in Europe’s wealth accumulation over a 150-year period of colonialism that resulted in tens of millions of deaths.

By using other countries’ land, Britain effectively doubled the size of arable land in its control. This made it more practical to then reassign the rural population at home (by stripping people of their means of production) to industrial labour. This too was underpinned by massive violence (burning villages, destroying houses, razing crops).

Hickel argues that none of this was inevitable but was rooted in the fear of being left behind by other countries because of Europe’s relative lack of land resources to produce commodities.

This is worth bearing in mind as we currently witness a fundamental shift in our relationship to the state resulting from authoritarian COVID-related policies and the rapidly emerging corporate-led green agenda. We should never underestimate the ruthlessness involved in the quest for preserving wealth and power and the propensity for wrecking lives and nature to achieve this.

Commodification of nature

Current green agenda ‘solutions’ are based on a notion of ‘stakeholder’ capitalism or private-public partnerships whereby vested interests are accorded greater weight, with governments and public money merely facilitating the priorities of private capital.

A key component of this strategy involves the ‘financialisation of nature’ and the production of new ‘green’ markets to deal with capitalism’s crisis of over accumulation and weak consumer demand caused by decades of neoliberal policies and the declining purchasing power of working people. The banking sector is especially set to make a killing via ‘green profiling’ and ‘green bonds’.

According to Friends of the Earth (FoE), corporations and states will use the financialisation of nature discourse to weaken laws and regulations designed to protect the environment with the aim of facilitating the goals of extractive industries, while allowing mega-infrastructure projects in protected areas and other contested places.

Global corporations will be able to ‘offset’ (greenwash) their activities by, for example, protecting or planting a forest elsewhere (on indigenous people’s land) or perhaps even investing in (imposing) industrial agriculture which grows herbicide-resistant GMO commodity crop monocultures that are misleadingly portrayed as ‘climate friendly’.

FoE states:“Offsetting schemes allow companies to exceed legally defined limits of destruction at a particular location, or destroy protected habitat, on the promise of compensation elsewhere; and allow banks to finance such destruction on the same premise.”

This agenda could result in the weakening of current environmental protection legislation or its eradication in some regions under the pretext of compensating for the effects elsewhere. How ecoservice ‘assets’ (for example, a forest that performs a service to the ecosystem by acting as a carbon sink) are to be evaluated in a monetary sense is very likely to be done on terms that are highly favourable to the corporations involved, meaning that environmental protection will play second fiddle to corporate and finance sector return-on-investment interests.

As FoE argues, business wants this system to be implemented on its terms, which means the bottom line will be more important than stringent rules that prohibit environmental destruction.

Saving capitalism

The envisaged commodification of nature will ensure massive profit-seeking opportunities through the opening up of new markets and the creation of fresh investment instruments.

Capitalism needs to keep expanding into or creating new markets to ensure the accumulation of capital to offset the tendency for the general rate of profit to fall (according to writer Ted Reese, it has trended downwards from an estimated 43% in the 1870s to 17% in the 2000s). The system suffers from a rising overaccumulation (surplus) of capital.Reese notes that, although wages and corporate taxes have been slashed, the exploitability of labour continued to become increasingly insufficient to meet the demands of capital accumulation. By late 2019, the world economy was suffocating under a mountain of debt. Many companies could not generate enough profit and falling turnover, squeezed margins, limited cashflows and highly leveraged balance sheets were prevalent. In effect, economic growth was already grinding to a halt prior to the massive stock market crash in February 2020.

In the form of COVID ‘relief’, there has been a multi-trillion bailout for capitalism as well as the driving of smaller enterprises to bankruptcy. Or they have being swallowed up by global interests. Either way, the likes of Amazon and other predatory global corporations have been the winners.

New ‘green’ Ponzi trading schemes to offset carbon emissions and commodify ‘ecoservices’ along with electric vehicles and an ‘energy transition’ represent a further restructuring of the capitalist economy, resulting in a shift away from a consumer oriented demand-led system.

It essentially leaves those responsible for environmental degradation at the wheel, imposing their will and their narrative on the rest of us.

Global agribusiness

Between 2000 and 2009, Indonesia supplied more than half of the global palm oil market at an annual expense of some 340,000 hectares of Indonesian countryside. Consider too that Brazil and Indonesia have spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid from the UN to prevent it.

These two countries gave over $40bn in subsidies to the palm oil, timber, soy, beef and biofuels sectors between 2009 and 2012, some 126 times more than the $346m they received to preserve their rain forests.

India is the world’s leading importer of palm oil, accounting for around 15% of the global supply. It imports over two-­thirds of its palm oil from Indonesia.

Until the mid-1990s, India was virtually self-sufficient in edible oils. Under pressure from the World Trade Organization (WTO), import tariffs were reduced, leading to an influx of cheap (subsidised) edible oil imports that domestic farmers could not compete with. This was a deliberate policy that effectively devastated the home-grown edible oils sector and served the interests of palm oil growers and US grain and agriculture commodity company Cargill, which helped write international trade rules to secure access to the Indian market on its terms.

Indonesia leads the world in global palm oil production, but palm oil plantations have too often replaced tropical forests, leading to the killing of endangered species and the uprooting of local communities as well as contributing to the release of potential environment-damaging gases. Indonesia emits more of these gases than any country besides China and the US, largely due to the production of palm oil.

The issue of palm oil is one example from the many that could be provided to highlight how the drive to facilitate corporate need and profit trumps any notion of environmental protection or addressing any ‘climate emergency’. Whether it is in Indonesia, Latin America or elsewhere, transnational agribusiness – and the system of globalised industrial commodity crop agriculture it promotes – fuels much of the destruction we see today.

Even if the mass production of lab-created food, under the guise of ‘saving the planet’ and ‘sustainability’, becomes logistically possible (which despite all the hype is not at this stage), it may still need biomass and huge amounts of energy. Whose land will be used to grow these biomass commodities and which food crops will they replace? And will it involve that now-famous Gates’ euphemism ‘land mobility’ (farmers losing their land)?

Microsoft is already mapping Indian farmers’ lands and capturing agriculture datasets such as crop yields, weather data, farmers’ personal details, profile of land held (cadastral maps, farm size, land titles, local climatic and geographical conditions), production details (crops grown, production history, input history, quality of output, machinery in possession) and financial details (input costs, average return, credit history).

Is this an example of stakeholder-partnership capitalism, whereby a government facilitates the gathering of such information by a private player which can then use the data for developing a land market (courtesy of land law changes that the government enacts) for institutional investors at the expense of smallholder farmers who find themselves ‘land mobile’? This is a major concern among farmers and civil society in India.

Back in 2017, agribusiness giant Monsanto was judged to have engaged in practices that impinged on the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food and the right to health. Judges at the ‘Monsanto Tribunal’, held in The Hague, concluded that if ecocide were to be formally recognised as a crime in international criminal law, Monsanto could be found guilty.

The tribunal called for the need to assert the primacy of international human and environmental rights law. However, it was also careful to note that an existing set of legal rules serves to protect investors’ rights in the framework of the WTO and in bilateral investment treaties and in clauses in free trade agreements. These investor trade rights provisions undermine the capacity of nations to maintain policies, laws and practices protecting human rights and the environment and represent a disturbing shift in power.

The tribunal denounced the severe disparity between the rights of multinational corporations and their obligations.

While the Monsanto Tribunal judged that company to be guilty of human rights violations, including crimes against the environment, in a sense we also witnessed global capitalism on trial.

Global conglomerates can only operate as they do because of a framework designed to allow them to capture or co-opt governments and regulatory bodies and to use the WTO and bilateral trade deals to lever influence. As Jason Hickel notes in his book (previously referred to), old-style colonialism may have gone but governments in the Global North and its corporations have found new ways to assert dominance via leveraging aid, market access and ‘philanthropic’ interventions to force lower income countries to do what they want.

The World Bank’s ‘Enabling the Business of Agriculture’ and its ongoing commitment to an unjust model of globalisation is an example of this and a recipe for further plunder and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few.

Brazil and Indonesia have subsidised private corporations to effectively destroy the environment through their practices. Canada and the UK are working with the GMO biotech sector to facilitate its needs. And India is facilitating the destruction of its agrarian base according to World Bank directives for the benefit of the likes of Corteva and Cargill.

The TRIPS Agreement, written by Monsanto, and the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, written by Cargill, was key to a new era of corporate imperialism. It came as little surprise that in 2013 India’s then Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar accused US companies of derailing the nation’s oil seeds production programme.

Powerful corporations continue to regard themselves as the owners of people, the planet and the environment and as having the right – enshrined in laws and agreements they wrote – to exploit and devastate for commercial gain.

Partnership or co-option?

It was noticeable during a debate on food and agriculture at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that there was much talk about transforming the food system through partnerships and agreements. Fine-sounding stuff, especially when the role of agroecology and regenerative farming was mentioned.

However, if, for instance, the interests you hope to form partnerships with are coercing countries to eradicate their essential buffer food stocks then bid for such food on the global market with US dollars (as in India) or are lobbying for the enclosure of seeds through patents (as in Africa and elsewhere), then surely this deliberate deepening of dependency should be challenged; otherwise ‘partnership’ really means co-option.

Similarly, the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) that took place during September in New York was little more than an enabler of corporate needs. The UNFSS was founded on a partnership between the UN and the World Economic Forum and was disproportionately influenced by corporate actors.

Those granted a pivotal role at the UNFSS support industrial food systems that promote ultra-processed foods, deforestation, industrial livestock production, intensive pesticide use and commodity crop monocultures, all of which cause soil deterioration, water contamination and irreversible impacts on biodiversity and human health. And this will continue as long as the environmental effects can be ‘offset’ or these practices can be twisted on the basis of them somehow being ‘climate-friendly’.

Critics of the UNFSS offer genuine alternatives to the prevailing food system. In doing so, they also provide genuine solutions to climate-related issues and food injustice based on notions of food sovereignty, localisation and a system of food cultivation deriving from agroecological principles and practices. Something which people who organised the climate summit in Glasgow would do well to bear in mind.

Current greenwashed policies are being sold by tugging at the emotional heartstrings of the public. This green agenda, with its lexicon of ‘sustainability’, ‘carbon neutrality’, ‘net-zero’ and doom-laden forecasts, is part of a programme that seeks to restructure capitalism, to create new investment markets and instruments and to return the system to viable levels of profitability.

Colin Todhunter, independent writer and analyst specialising in development, food and agriculture based in Europe/India, Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

Great Reset: Covid, Cybernetics, And The New Normal • WRENCH IN THE GEARS

Source: https://wrenchinthegears.com/2021/06/05/covid-cybernetics-and-the-new-normal/

This is a guest post written by a humanities teacher and freelance writer who holds a masters degree from the School of African and Oriental Studies, a public research university in London. It lays out over fifty concerns regarding pandemic policy implementation and plans for a cybernetic future, full spectrum dominance of life on the planet by defense, bio-tech, and finance interests. I’m glad to be able to share my platform so this detailed analysis can be more widely distributed.

In light of the political and economic developments which have transpired since Covid-19 was first declared a pandemic, it is becoming clearer by the day how this public health crisis is being exploited to usher in a new global system of technocratic population control and compliance.

We must wake from our stupor and identify what is shaping up to be an incredibly dystopian reality.

I invite everyone to consider how in one fell swoop, this pandemic has served as a catalyst for the following:

Accelerating a multilateral drive towards a global surveillance apparatus and control grid where digital health certificates tied to blockchain technology will be used as a cover for the biometric ID of every vaccinated person on the planet

Scaling the adoption of blockchain technology to lay the global infrastructure for Social Impact Investing, enabling global financiers to use the aggregated data harvested through blockchain’s interoperable ledger to efficiently track the impact of their investments and interventions for returns on investment

Encouraging nations to enlist in the UN’s E-Government Development Index (EGDI) through the rollout of digital IDs, which will not only enable citizens to access public e-services but more importantly determine their value as human capital by global financiers

Promoting biometric passports (Digital IDs) to manufacture consent for a social credit system-akin to the Chinese technocratic model-which will presage a new era of thought control, by managing, monitoring, punitively profiling and predicting the trustworthiness of citizens through an overarching system of punishments and rewards in a future which will resemble a behaviourist panopticon

Encouraging impact investors to risk score citizens through coded interventions and preference specific behavioural outcomes on e-wallets, forcing citizen compliance and group-think on a range of metrics tied predominantly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as education, healthcare, climate security and employment.

Controlling a person’s access to strings attached Universal Basic Income (UBI) and social welfare which will be distributed via blockchain ledgers and conditioned on the compliance with behaviour management systems overseen by social impact investors, thus undermining the ability of cryptocurrency recipients to make autonomous economic choices

Enabling a form of collectivist planning of the world’s economy which will undergo a top-down reorganization by an unelected minority, who will seize control of the global means of production, distribution and ownership

Centralizing power in the hands of ‘stakeholder capitalists’ under the guise of reinventing capitalism to make it fairer and greener, using deceptive slogans like ‘Build Back Better’

Aligning global investments with the UN’s SDGs so that new international markets can be built on the disaster and misery of millions of people suffering from the pandemic

Redirecting the flow of global capital by configuring asset allocations as Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) compliant to achieve achieve predetermined outcomes for profits

Facilitating pay for success government contracting where the ‘green’ interventions and pre-emptive investments of stakeholder capitalists which are aligned to the UN’s SDGs will accrue massive rates of return, thus advancing the UN Agenda 21

Using the Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure which has significantly expanded as a result of remote working to monitor our digital footprint and drive profitable investments for predatory social impact investors by making the world’s population fuel for an emergent social impact economy

Crafting specific legislation and standards for companies to integrate an ‘impact’ framework and measurement system within their core operations which will permit harvesting data extracted from the Internet of Things (IoT) to not only surveil the planet but also establish new markets for vulture philanthropists

Entrusting stakeholder capitalists with managing debt operations and pandemic relief packages as part of an unprecedented fiscal shock therapy, where entire nations risk being hollowed out of sovereignty through global ‘structural adjustment’

Exploiting global poverty by shifting the mandate on eminent domain, resulting in the mass confiscation of private property and thus reversing the democratization of home and land ownership

Precipitating the greatest transfer of wealth in history, with corporations eliminating competition and aggregating the market share of many unviable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which have been driven into bankruptcy

Squeezing the property-owning middle classes who will have little choice but to settle for debt release in exchange for total asset forfeiture in the years ahead

Using the furlough scheme as a phased introduction for a guaranteed basic income to pacify the civil unrest which will naturally accompany massive layoffs caused by lockdowns

Narrowing the scope for self-sufficiency by significantly increasing dependence on government subsidies, which will lead to a highly stratified neo-feudal order

Expediting the march towards a cashless society by fuelling an enormous reliance on technology, causing the masses to recoil further from paper money

Heralding a Bretton Woods moment which promises to transform the operation of international banking and macroeconomic cooperation through the future adoption of central bank digital currencies which will interface with health passports

Monetizing on the data from our transactions, which will no longer remain anonymous in a cashless society

Exposing creditors to central bank manipulation through a reshuffling of capital, bail-ins and coercive burden sharing agreements once digital currencies are integrated into the international economy

Restructuring global profit centres to open new equity markets tied to preventative healthcare, thus radically overhauling the global approach to public health to feed global impact investments

Crossing the threshold into biocapitalism where our cellular structures will be mined for health data to feed futures markets in human capital. Genetic engineering tied to quarterly returns. Just wait and see.

Conditioning the globe for inevitable top-up vaccines to deal with resistant variants as a test bed for piloting next-generation experimental gene altering therapies and personalised healthcare based on nanotechnology and neurotechnology

Amplifying the lingering threat of deadly variants to justify unfettered access to our bodies through intrusive pharmaceutical interventions, such as wirelessly networked medication consisting of wearable, implantable and ingestible technologies in “smart” environments, eventually integrating humans into the Internet of Bodies in a biosecurity surveillance state

Holding freedom and liberty to ransom by making our inalienable rights including property ownership, education, banking, work, travel, housing and special movement and access privileges conditional on the acceptance of medical interventions with potentially devastating consequences for our health, personal agency and bodily autonomy

Loosening the statutory constraints on state surveillance activities, thus encouraging the normalisation of authoritarian public measures and the return of ‘Big Government’ in the absence of any executive accountability

Reforming governance models by undermining the principles of self-determination and national sovereignty and legitimating the governance of unelected bureaucrats and private regulators (technocracy) who operate without a mandate and rely on emerging technologies instead of the rule of law to maintain public order and control

Socially engineering the public by convincing them that suffering and deprivation through draconian lockdowns and social distancing is for their own betterment, thus cementing acceptance of a new protocol which can be activated in response to any sensationalized public health threat-real or perceived-which will pave the path for future ‘climate lockdowns’ under the pretext of ‘saving the planet’

Exploiting fear and hysteria to recalibrate the public’s distaste for measures traditionally associated with totalitarian regimes, such as invasive technologies for pandemic preparedness, militarised officers to ensure quarantine compliance and operational use of drones for policing the public.

Re-writing the rules of the digital ecosystem by significantly expanding the tentacles of Big Tech and monopolising the information pipelines through mass censorship of dissenting voices which do not conform to the mainstream narrative

Suppressing the freedom of association/assembly by prohibiting demonstrations and protests in many parts of the world, thereby criminalising and immobilising effectively anything that amounts to collective resistance against the ‘new normal’

Destroying the current city space by clearing out offices and non-essential businesses, allowing Big Tech to restructure entire neighbourhoods and rebuild urban centres as carbon-neutral, high-tech digital surveillance panopticons called ‘smart cities’ under the benevolent guise of environmental sustainability and public health, as part of the UN Agenda 2030

Encouraging the framing of urban planning ordinances and statutes so that cities are controlled by cloud-based applications and embedded sensor networks which can predict the behaviour of entire populations, through scanning copious volumes of data for behavioural patterns and real-time tracking of citizens

Assigning citizens virtual perimeters in real-time (geofencing) inside future smart cities based on biometric data and algorithmic predictions, where GPS coordinates linked to nano-robotic biosensors can track compliance with wearable technologies to alert authorities if non-compliant citizens stray beyond ‘safe areas’

Legitimising the eco-propaganda of ‘green’ capitalists by stoking mass fears of zoonotic illnesses owing to human activity and in order to drive a wedge between wildlife and rural human settlements

Promoting the World Bank’s One Health program by monopolising the discourse on decarbonisation as well as containment strategies and preventive disease mitigation for zoonotic illnesses, to justify the uprooting of indigenous people from their territories, thus legislating the separation of humans from nature and paving the path for the annexation of rural settlements

Advancing agendas like the New Deal for Nature in the name of biodiversity, to move rural inhabitants into mega housing complexes, vacant office spaces, abandoned retail floors and devalued properties all of which have been induced by lockdowns , as part of an urban densification strategy to integrate the masses into algorithm driven public spaces and controlled habitation zones in future smart cities for full spectrum surveillance, resulting in the mass land theft of original inhabitants

Incentivising agribusiness and tech giants to transform and privatise the global food supply system and push plant based synthetic meats as part of the ‘green farming’ agenda pursued by climate cultists, which will decimate regenerative meat and dairy farming practices and displace entire livestock farming communities

Ushering the growth of a digital ‘platform economy’ where tech titans are the primary beneficiaries of the seismic changes and disruptions to the way we trade, work and socialise

Diminishing the footfall of traditional brick and mortar businesses and institutions through social distancing and lockdowns in order to change the muscle memory of consumption habits and consolidate the gains of online business giants

Restructuring employment protocols in a way that minimises human contact in order to accelerate the relentless march of workforce automation, which will be touted as not only more scalable but also safer and greener in a world threatened by viruses and environmental crises

Marking the transition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) from pilot programmes to large-scale operations at organisational and industry levels in the next decade, which will bankrupt many businesses which are unable to integrate AI into its operations

Propelling the role of disruptive technologies leading to the dramatic downsizing of the global workforce which will threaten hundreds of millions of blue and white collar jobs, resulting in the greatest and fastest displacement of jobs in history

Forcing a global economic underclass into micro-work contracts and low-wage jobs in an emerging gig economy, much of which will involve telepresence labour using haptic robotic controlled technologies to advance the next era of globalisation

Promoting social distancing and lockdowns as a safer, cheaper and ‘greener’ means of reimagining business models, to fuel dependency on digital innovations and e-strategies

Allowing global financiers to digitize several aspects of public service delivery through predatory public-private partnerships and scalable technology based solutions to create new markets for social impact investors

Converting the education system into a magnet for tech interests through a soft-transition to e-learning

Using the blended learning and hybrid teaching model as part of a long term agenda to replace brick and mortar schools and face-to-face education with personalised AI learning programmes in virtual learning environments

Feeding children to deep-learning algorithms via smart-learning platforms to harvest their cognitive-behavioural data and soft skills such as social-emotional intelligence through a blockchain credentialing system, using coded nudges and smart badges to ensure they only acquire the skills which social impact investors deem desirable for maintaining the planned economy

Integrating children into cradle-to-career pathways and lifelong learning ecosystems so they can build their portfolios on blockchain and track their economic output to their education over time, thus serving the interests of social impact investors who can pursue plans to reform early childhood development interventions using financial mechanisms like social impact bonds and collect impact payments

Promoting smart-learning platforms to determine workforce preparedness for future generations who will be competing with an international workforce for remote on-demand AI assigned work in a gig economy

Justifying income sharing agreements with impact investors and the garnishing of wages through smart contracts due to the financing required for constant reskilling, rendering much of the globe as securities and commodities for speculative investment leading to the emergence of human capital bond markets

Conditioning children and student populations into accepting a cybernetic future, where simulation-based learning applications, virtual reality training for gig jobs and device-based education will acclimatise forthcoming generations for a life which resembles a gamified mixed augmented reality simulation where they can be sifted and sorted on blockchain and mined as data commodities on the dashboard of global financiers

Acclimatising the global population for the cybernetic mediation of social and professional relationships and an inevitable progression towards transhumanism by depersonalising, disconnecting and alienating individuals from free and spontaneous social interactions due to social distancing

Ushering the dawn of the most dangerous juncture in humanity where technologies will be gradually harnessed to eventually transcend our biological limitations to trigger the singularity

Going by the footprint of this virus, it dovetails so neatly with the globalist aspiration for full spectrum dominance and is the perfect smokescreen for The Fourth Industrial Revolution, a.k.a. The Great Reset.

If we allow fear and hysteria to be weaponized against us, it will simply fog our perception of events and break our grasp on reality.

We are currently on the precipice between freedom and serfdom and it is the responsibility of anyone with a conscience to expose the dystopia into which we are sleepwalking.

Forewarned is forearmed.