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  • There we go. We got it, Bob! Hi! Sorry, we're running a little bit late.

  • Excuse me a second.

  • Hey Bob, think fast! [Glass breaking] [Shouting]

  • Sorry, man!

  • Welcome to 'Culture in Decline'. My name is Peter Joseph.

  • This show is designed for those that want to be a little bit more skeptical

  • about society, because perhaps, you're like me.

  • As you stumble around this experiment we call global society,

  • you can't help but feel an increasing sense of unease,

  • perhaps even frustration, with respect to how we, the human family,

  • have chosen to organize ourselves on this little planet.

  • The late astronomer and well-known advocate of scientific thought, Carl Sagan,

  • in his famed PBS series 'Cosmos', once invited the question:

  • "If we were visited by a superior species from another part of the galaxy,

  • and we were forced to explain to them our stewardship of our planet,

  • not to mention the state of human affairs today,

  • would we be proud of what we described?"

  • How would we frame our explanation of how almost half of the world,

  • over 3 billion people, are either barely surviving in abject poverty and sickness,

  • or are simply dying off unnecessarily

  • at a rate of about one person every couple of seconds,

  • all occurring in the wake of an advanced technological reality,

  • where we could easily feed, clothe and house every family on Earth

  • in a respectable standard of living?

  • How would we frame the global warfare:

  • 230 million killed by their fellow man in the past 100 years alone

  • based on what, meaningless territoriality, resources,

  • dogmatic, obsolete ideologies?

  • Again, this all occurring in the shadows of a looming scientific recognition,

  • that we are indeed simply one family sharing one household,

  • bound by the exact same laws of nature,

  • and hence the same unifying operational ideology.

  • How about our economic system, the bedrock of what defines our society,

  • not to mention our dominant motivations?

  • How would we explain the reality that, rather than organizing ourselves efficiently

  • as a single system to properly manage this household we share,

  • we childishly divide and compete and exploit each other

  • through an archaic, completely environmentally decoupled game.

  • A game, by the way, which not only appears to perpetuate

  • a vast spectrum of social atrocities,

  • but now seems to be further destabilizing society,

  • decreasing our public health.

  • Sorry to say, as an individual,

  • I really don't care what you believe, nor do I particularly respect it.

  • Why? Because I don't really respect what I believe either.

  • There is no evidence to show that any of the traditional values,

  • establishments, social structures or common practices

  • we have today, will be relevant tomorrow.

  • The only thing that appears to stand the test of time is this very notion of change,

  • the ever-evolving understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit.

  • Perhaps, some might think that that's actually the definition of human intelligence.

  • What do you think about that? Less about what we know,

  • more about how vulnerable we are.

  • So, when you look out your window, ask yourself.

  • Do you see intelligence or do you see dogma?

  • Do you see a culture listening and working to realign itself

  • with the ever-emerging natural orders as they unfold,

  • or do you see desperately stubborn efforts by many,

  • particularly those in positions of power,

  • trying to keep everything the same to the detriment

  • of the entire human experiment?

  • You know, like you,

  • I might be only one member of this family that is now 7 billion strong;

  • and like most families, sometimes it's hard for us to agree,

  • but sometimes, things get so bad we need serious intervention.

  • The following series is that intervention

  • in the hope to salvage what is clearly, a culture in decline.

  • It's an election year in the United States

  • and some may say it's an election year for the whole world.

  • Still the dominant empire, the United States' political system

  • has spent roughly 25 billion dollars in the past decade alone.

  • An amount of money, if averaged and distributed annually,

  • could house and feed every homeless person in America,

  • effectively ending the epidemic.

  • Perhaps, like me, by the end of this program,

  • you'll find that money will be better well-spent.

  • Be that as it may, the 2012 presidential election

  • is gearing up to be one of the most expensive,

  • and ostensibly important elections of all time,

  • given the ongoing debt crisis, the unemployment crisis,

  • and the vast destabilization we see across society.

  • However, I'm not particularly interested in the left or the right,

  • or am I interested in any candidate's political merit.

  • What I'm interested in, is the entire idea of global democracy

  • in the tradition as it exists, and how it is blindly accepted

  • by the vast majority of people on this planet, as being the only option

  • to satisfy their interests and create good well-being,

  • and hence societal management in its optimum state.

  • That's what interests me.

  • (P. Joseph) So, rather than debate about who should be the next president,

  • why don't we step back and consider some broader issues?

  • Such as, I don't know,

  • maybe, why we even have a President to begin with?

  • What is this, medieval feudalism?

  • I thought the days of kings, dictators, and giving one person enormous power

  • was coming to an end. Or, more generally,

  • doesn't it seem a little absurd to claim a participatory democracy,

  • when the public itself actually has zero say,

  • when it comes to the actual decisions made by those elected?

  • It's bad enough that those voted in have literally no legal responsibility

  • to do anything they might have claimed on the campaign trail,

  • but if you examine history, you will find the historical fact

  • that the public good has always been secondary to other interests,

  • mainly, financial and business interests.

  • Of course, this is common knowledge now, right?

  • Why did the US government, completely against all known public interest,

  • allow the private banking system,

  • a system which actually creates nothing,

  • to be bailed out to the tune of 13 trillion dollars?

  • You have a 14-million-dollar ocean front home in Florida.

  • You have a summer vacation home in Sun Valley, Idaho.

  • You and your wife have an art collection filled with million-dollar paintings.

  • (PJ) While the public was left out to dry with overflowing private debt,

  • job losses and a stagnating economy.

  • If we're going to persist with this silly little game we've concocted

  • called the growth economy, where the movement of money defines everything,

  • it might be a good idea to do the math regarding what might actually help

  • this economic system operate at some passable level.

  • Therefore, if you raise taxes on the so-called rich,

  • you're really raising taxes on the job creators,

  • and if the goal is private sector growth,

  • you have to recognize that the best way to create that growth

  • is to leave capital in the treasuries of the job creators.

  • (PJ) If that money spent on the bank bailout was spent on

  • relieving private household debt instead,

  • while letting Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan

  • and all of the other technically meaningless, non-producing financial institutions

  • experience the failure and bankruptcy they deserved,

  • simultaneously nationalizing the entire US banking system as a whole,

  • the US economy might have had a chance. Why?

  • Because banks don't actually contribute anything. People with jobs do.

  • [If] you want growth in this type of system, you need jobs.

  • If you want jobs you need demand,

  • and demand requires people having free money to spend.

  • By helping the public debt burden,

  • you would plant the true seeds of economic growth.

  • As obvious as that may seem, many forget one thing:

  • The bailout had nothing to do with helping the US economy,

  • nor does it or will it work to help

  • any hurting sovereign economy in the world.

  • Why? Because we live in a plutocracy, not a democracy,

  • and the only true power is actually behind the curtain, not in front.

  • The financial and business powers not only own and control this country,

  • they own and control the whole planet;

  • and no, it's not a conspiracy. It's a value-system disorder.

  • As long as a dollar sign is associated with every blade of grass,

  • every plot of land, every fleeting thought or invention,

  • not to mention judging the merit of individuals

  • for their right to life through labor, we should expect nothing less.

  • Since the inception of the state itself,

  • coupled with the underlying power of money

  • as the ultimate driver of human decisions, and hence persuasion,

  • the true power has always been financial,

  • and those little people you elect into office every couple of years,

  • they have owners too, and don't you forget it.

  • - Democracy: Is that something you believe in as it exists today in America?

  • - When you say as in 'believe in', does it exist? Like forest fires, God,

  • or the devil?

  • - What is your opinion of the American democratic system as it exists? - It's broken.

  • It's deeply, deeply broken. - Democracy, goes, of course, to Greece

  • and it's the theory that the people own the government. Is it in practice

  • happening, in 2012, in this country? Not close! It's a corporatocracy.

  • (PJ) All of this considered, let's now think a little more accurately

  • about this whole democracy deal.

  • Since the tradition of our democracy has to do with representatives

  • elected to apparently do our thinking for us,

  • a critical question becomes: Where did these people come from?

  • Why are they the ones on your TV and not others?