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17 Oct, 2013

Multinationals, economists and media they control will continue to lead people astray

By OP Rana

Beijing, 2013-10-15, (China Daily) – This world of ours is flush with ideas, ideas that generate in the minds of ordinary people as well those who occupy the opulent interiors of glitzy edifices. One would imagine that the ideas engendered by all the minds would combine to chart the course of the world. But if that were to happen we would be living in an ideal society, a utopia, a la Thomas More.

Since our society (in the global sense of the term) is far from being ideal, the ideas, along with the rights and interests, of the hoi polloi and their champions are of little or no consequence to the way the world is forced to function. The world has sadly been shaped by those inhabiting the opulent edifices, and we have been made to accept and follow the laws they have meticulously devised with Machiavellian ingenuity. And as would be expected, many of these laws contradict, and blatantly at that, the infallible laws of nature.

Not surprisingly, economics, rather economists, has played the most devastating role in this Machiavellian scheme to crush, albeit unsuccessfully, the laws of nature. The people who conceive and write these anti-nature laws in the confines of plush buildings do not have the foggiest of what the real world is like.

But the “geniuses” who devise such laws, thanks to shameless patronage of the rich and powerful, audaciously proclaim themselves to be the “messiahs” of humankind. The hoi polloi know not what is good for them, say the “geniuses”, and the “geniuses” are honorable men (and women, to be politically correct).

They are honorable because they were born and brought up in little boxes (as Malvina Reynolds wrote in her, Little Boxes, so intoxicatingly sung by Pete Seeger). These holier-than-thou, beyond-reproach “geniuses” all “went to the university, where they were put in boxes, and they came out all the same there’s doctors and lawyers, and business executives (and if one may add, economists, CEOs and spin doctors), and they’re all made out of ticky tacky, and they all look (and think) the same”.

It is these business executives, economists, the CEOs and their spin doctors that are now out to deny the monumental work of thousands of scientists who have reached the irrefutable conclusion that the world we live in and the laws that govern it are not at all suitable for life in the “long run”, to borrow a favorite term from the economists’ paraphernalia.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which the thousands of scientists work, has said that climate change is real, the world is warming despite attempts of skeptics to prove otherwise, and human beings are squarely to blame for that. Their findings, however, require a small, but significant, appendage: the entire human race is not to blame for the devastating future that our planet faces; instead, a handful of people – especially, those running big businesses and devising or influencing the laws of the world – are responsible for the environmental mess we find ourselves in today.

The naive would have thought that these disciples of Mammon would pull back their punches, at least temporarily, after the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report made it clear that, among other things, there is a limit to the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) we can dump into the atmosphere, and at the present rate of GHG emission we would have crossed the limit by 2029. But big business, which finances climate skeptics and controls a good part of the so-called independent media worldwide, responds by saying that the IPCC report has allayed fears over climate change. One example from a leading Western media outlet: the IPCC is “more confident that no warming-induced catastrophe will occur during the 21st century”.

What the IPCC report says is, the world has seen the warmest 30 years on record and it can handle an increase in temperature only up to a certain degree (and definitely not above 2 Centigrade). The media group, perhaps the largest in the world, which unashamedly declared that “no warming-induced catastrophe” will occur in the 21st century, twisted the IPCC warning into a slogan for indulgence.

The tragedy is that multinationals, and the economists and media they control, will continue to lead the people astray to keep on earning profits. They will continue to propagate that unbridled economic growth even at the cost of the environment is what the world needs to survive. They will continue to defend their policies, even if it means that we continue to waste one-third of the food we produce, to keep counting the dollars.

It is time people woke up to the reality of an impending catastrophe if business as usual continues, because things will change only if people agree to a different lifestyle than what the mainstream economists prescribe.

The author is a senior editor with China Daily. email: oprana@hotmail.com