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When I was a young man...
growing up in New York City...
I refused to pledge allegiance to the flag.
Of course I was sent to the principal's office.
And he asked me "Why don't you want to Pledge Allegiance"?
Everybody does!'
I said, "Everybody once believed the earth was flat...
but that doesn't make it so".
I explained that America owed everything it has...
to other cultures...
and other nations...
and that I would rather pledge allegiance...
to the earth...
and everyone on it.
Needless to say, it wasn't long...
before I left school entirely...
and I set up a lab in my bedroom.
There I began to learn about science...
and nature.
I realized then...
that the universe is governed by laws...
and that the human being...
along with society itself...
was not exempt from these laws.
Then came the crash of 1929.
Which began what we now call...
"The Great Depression".
I found it difficult to understand why millions...
were out of work homeless, starving...
while all the factories were sitting there.
The resources were unchanged.
It was then that I realized
that the rules of the economic game...
were inherently invalid.
Shortly after came World War II...
where various nations took turns...
systematically destroying each other.
I later calculated that all the destruction...
and wasted resources...
spent on that war...
could have easily provided for every...
human need on the planet.
Since that time I have watched humanity...
set the stage for its own extinction.
I have watched as the precious finite resources...
are perpetually wasted and destroyed...
in the name of profit and free-markets.
I have watched the social values of society be reduced...
into a base artificiality of materialism...
and mindless consumption.
And I have watched as the monetary powers...
control the political structure...
of supposedly free societies.
I'm 94 years old now.
And I'm afraid my disposition...
is the same as it was...
75 years ago.
This shit's got to go.
So you're a scientist
and somewhere along the way, hammered into your head...
is the inevitable "nature versus nurture"...
and that's at least up there with Coke versus Pepsi...
or Greeks versus Trojans.
So, nature versus nurture: This, by now...
utterly over-simplifying view of...
where influences are...
influences how a cell deals with...
an energy crisis up to...
what makes us who we are on the most individualistic...
levels of personality.
And what you've got is this complete false dichotomy...
built around nature as deterministic...
at the very bottom of all the causality.
Life is DNA and the code of codes...
and the Holy Grail, and everything is driven by it...
At the other end is a much more...
social science perspective which is...
We are 'social organisms'...
and biology is for slime molds.
Humans are free of biology...
and obviously both views are nonsense.
What you see instead is that...
it is virtually impossible to understand...
how biology works...
outside of the context of environment.
One of the most crazy...
yet widespread and...
potentially dangerous notions is:
"Oh, that behavior is genetic".
Now what does that mean?
It means all sorts of subtle stuff if you...
know modern biology, but for most people...
out there, what it winds-up meaning is:
A deterministic view of life,
one rooted in biology and genetics,
genes equal things that cannot be changed,
genes equal things that are...
inevitable and you might as well not...
waste resources trying to fix,
might as well not put societal energies into trying...
to improve because it's inevitable and it's unchangeable...
and that is sheer nonsense.
It is widely though that conditions like...
ADHD are genetically programmed...
That conditions like schizophrenia are genetically programmed.
The truth is the opposite.
Nothing is genetically programmed.
There are very rare diseases...
a small handful...
extremely sparsely represented in the population...
that are truly genetically determined.
Most complex conditions...
might have a predisposition that has a genetic component...
but a predisposition is not the same as a predetermination.
The whole search for the source of diseases in the genome...
was doomed to failure before anybody even thought of it...
because most diseases are not genetically predetermined.
Heart disease, cancers, strokes...
rheumatoid conditions, autoimmune conditions in general...
mental health conditions, addictions...
none of them are genetically determined.
Breast cancer, for example, out of 100 women with breast cancer...
only seven will carry the breast cancer genes.
93 do not...
and out of 100 women who do have the genes...
not all of them will get cancer.
Genes are not just things that make us behave...
in a particular way regardless of our environment.
Genes give us different ways of responding to our environment.
And, in fact, it looks as if some of the early...
childhood influences and the kind of child rearing...
affect gene expression...
actually turning on or off different genes...
to put you on a different developmental track...
which may suit the kind of world you've got to deal with.
So for example.
A study done in Montreal with suicide victims...
looked at autopsies of the brains of these people...
and it turned out that if a suicide victim...
these are usually young adults...
had been abused as a child, the abuse actually...
caused a genetic change in the brain...
that was absent in the brains of people who had not been abused.
That's an epigenetic effect.
Epigenetic means on top of, so that...
the epigenetic influence is what happens...
environmentally to either activate or deactivate certain genes.
In New Zealand, there was a study...
that was done in a town called Dunedin...
in which a few thousand individuals...
were studied from birth into their 20s.
What they found was that they could identify...
a genetic mutation, an abnormal gene...
which did have some relation to...
the predisposition to commit violence...
but only if the individual had also...
been subjected to severe child abuse.
In other words, children with this abnormal gene would...
be no more likely to be violent than anybody else...
and, in fact, they actually had a lower rate of violence...
than people with normal genes...
as long as they weren't abused as children.
Great additional example of the ways...
in which genes are not "be all-end all".
A fancy technique where you can...
take a specific out of a mouse...
and that mouse and its descendants will not have that gene.
You have "knocked out" that gene.
So there's this one gene that encodes...
for a protein that has something to do...
with learning and memory and with this fabulous demonstration...
you "knock out" that gene and you...
have a mouse that doesn't learn as well.
"Oh! A genetic basis for intelligence"!
What was much less appreciated in that landmark study...
that got picked up by the media left and right...
is take those genetically impaired mice...
and raise them in a much more enriched
stimulating environment than your normal mice in a lab cage...
and they completely overcame that deficit.
So, when one says in a contemporary sense that...
"oh, this behavior is genetic"...
to the extent that that's even a valid sort of phrase to use...
what you're saying is: There is a...
genetic contribution to how this...
organism responds to environment,
genes may influence the...
readiness with which an organism will...
deal with a certain environmental challenge.
You know, that's not the version most people have in their minds...
and not to be too 'soap-boxing'...
but run with the old...
version of "It's genetic"!
And it's not that far from the history of eugenics...
and things of that sort.
It's a widespread misconception...
and it's a potentially fairly dangerous one.
One reason that the...
biological explanation for violence...
one reason that hypothesis is...
potentially dangerous, it's not just misleading...
it can really do harm...
is because if you believe that...
you could very easily say:
"Well, there's nothing we can do...
to change the predisposition...
people have to becoming violent,
all we can do is punish them - lock them up
or execute them...
but we don't need to worry about changing the...
social environment or the social preconditions...
that may lead people to become violent because...
that's irrelevant".
The genetic argument allows us the luxury of ignoring...
past and present historical and social factors...
and in the words of Louis Menand...
who wrote in the New Yorker...
Very astutely, he said:
"It's all in the genes... an explanation for the way things are...
that does not threaten the way things are.
Why should someone feel unhappy
or engage in antisocial behavior
when that person is living in the
freest and most prosperous nation on Earth?
It can't be the system.
There must be a flaw in the wiring somewhere".
Which is a good way of putting it.
So, the genetic argument is simply a cop-out
which allows us to ignore
the social and economic and political factors...
that, in fact, underlie...
many troublesome behaviors.
Addictions are usually
considered to be a drug-related issue...
but looking at it more broadly...
I define addiction as any behavior...
that is associated with craving...
with temporary relief...
and with long-term negative consequences...
along with an impairment of control over it so that the person...
wishes to give it up or promises to do so...
but can't follow through...
and when you understand that, you see that...
there are many more addictions...
than simply those related to drugs.
There's workaholism; addiction to shopping;
To the Internet, to video games...
There's the addiction to power. People that have power but they...
want more and more, nothing is ever enough for them.
Acquisition, corporations that must own more and more.
The addiction to oil...
or at least to the wealth and to the products made...
accessible to us by oil.
Look at the negative consequences on the environment.
We are destroying the very earth that we...
inhabit for the sake of that addiction.
Now, these addictions are far more...
devastating in their social consequences...
than the cocaine or heroin habit of my downtown Eastside patients.
Yet, they are rewarded and considered to be respectable.
The tobacco company executive that shows a higher profit...
will get a much bigger reward.
He doesn't face any negative consequences legally or otherwise.
In fact he is a respected member of...
the board of several other corporations.
But, tobacco smoke related diseases...
kill 5 and million people around the world every year.
In the United States they kill 400,000 people a year.
And these people are addicted to what? To profit.
To such a degree that they are addicted...
that they are actually in denial...
about the impact of their activities...
which is typical for addicts, this denial.
And that's a respectable one. It's respectable...
to be addicted to profit, no matter what the cost.
So, what is acceptable and what is respectable...
is a highly arbitrary phenomenon in our society...
and it seems like the greater the harm...
the more respectable the addiction.
There is a general myth that drugs, in themselves, are addictive.
In fact, the war on drugs is predicated on the...
idea that if you interdict the source of...
drugs you can deal with addiction that way.
Now, if you understand addiction in the broader sense...
we see that nothing in itself is addictive.
No substance, no drug is by itself addictive...
and no behavior is by itself addictive.
Many people can go shopping without becoming shopaholics.
Not everyone becomes a food addict.
Not everyone who drinks a glass of wine becomes an alcoholic.
So the real issue is what makes people susceptible...
because it's the combination of a susceptible individual...
and the potentially addictive substance or behavior...
that makes for the full flowering of addiction.
In short, it's not the drug that's addictive...
it's the question of the susceptibility of the individual...
to being addicted to a particular substance or behavior.
If we wish to understand what...
then makes some people susceptible...
we actually have to look at the life experience.
The old idea, although it's old but it's still...
broadly held, that addictions are due to some genetic cause...
is simply scientifically untenable.
What the case is actually is that certain life experiences...
make people susceptible.
Life experiences that not only shape the person's...
personality and psychological needs...
but also their very brains in certain ways.
And that process begins in utero.
[Prenatal]
It has been shown, for example...
that if you stress mothers during pregnancy...
their children are more likely to have...
traits that predispose them to addictions...
and that's because development is shaped...
So the biology of human beings is very much affected by...
and programmed by the life experiences beginning in utero.
Environment does not begin at birth.
Environment begins as soon as you have an environment.
As soon as you are a fetus, you are subject to whatever...
information is coming through mom's circulations.
Hormones, levels of nutrients...
A great landmark example of this is...
something called the Dutch Hongerwinter.
In 1944, Nazis occupying Holland...
for a bunch of reasons, they decide to...
take all the food and divert it to Germany,
for three months everybody there was starving.
Tens of thousands of people starve to death.
What the Dutch hunger winter effect is:
If you were a 2nd or 3rd trimester fetus during the starvation...
your body 'learned' something very unique during that time.
As it turns out, 2nd and 3rd trimester is when your body is...
going about trying to learn about the environment:
How menacing of a place is it out there?
How plentiful? How much nutrients am I getting...
by way of mom's circulation?
Be a fetus who was starving during that time and your body...
programs forever after to be...
really, really stingy with your sugar and fat and...
what you do is you store every bit of it.
Be a Dutch Hunger Winter fetus and half a century later...
everything else being equal...
you are more likely to have high blood pressure...
obesity or metabolic syndrome.
That is environment coming in a very unexpected place.
You can stress animals in the laboratory when they're pregnant...
and their offspring will be more...
likely to use cocaine and alcohol as adults.
You can stress human mothers. For example, in a British study...
women who were abused in pregnancy...
will have higher levels of...
the stress hormone cortisol in their placenta at birth...
and their children are more likely to have conditions that...
predispose them to addictions by age 7 or 8.
So in utero stress already prepares the gun...
for all kinds of mental health issues.
An Israeli study done on children...
born to mothers who were pregnant...
prior to the onset of the 1967 war...
These women, of course, were very stressed...
and their offspring have a higher incidence of schizophrenia...
than the average cohort.
So, there is plenty of evidence now that prenatal...
effects have a huge impact on the developing human being.
The point about human development and...
specifically human brain development...
is that it occurs mostly under the impact of the environment...
and mostly after birth.
Now, if you compare us to a horse...
which can run on the first day of life...
we see that we are very undeveloped.
We can't muster that much neurological coordination...
balance, muscle strength, visual acuity...
until a year and a half, two years of age.
That's because the brain development in the horse...
happens in the safety of the womb...
and in the human being, it has to happen after birth...
and that has to do with simple evolutionary logic.
As the head gets larger, which is what makes us into human beings...
the burgeoning of the forebrain is...
what creates the human species, actually.
At the same time, we walk on two legs. So, our pelvis narrows...
to accommodate that. So now we...
have a narrower pelvis, a larger head...
Bingo! We have to be born prematurely.
And that means the brain development that in other animals...
occurs in utero...
in us, occurs after birth...
and much of that under the impact of the environment.
The concept of Neural Darwinism simply means...
that the circuits that get the appropriate input from the environment...
will develop optimally and the ones that don't...
will either not develop optimally or perhaps not at all.
If you take a child with perfectly good eyes at birth...
and you put him in a dark room for five years...
he will be blind thereafter for the rest of his life...
because the circuits of vision require light waves for their development...
and without that even the rudimentary...
circuit's present and active at birth...
will atrophy and die and new ones will not develop.
There is a significant way in which...
early experiences shape adult behavior...
and even and especially early...
experiences for which there is no recall memory.
It turns out that there are two kinds of memory:
there is explicit memory which is recall...
this is when you can call back facts...
details, episodes, circumstances.
But the structure in the brain which is called the hippocampus...
which encodes recall memory...
doesn't even begin to develop fully until a year and a half...
and it is not fully developed until much later.
Which is why hardly anybody has...
any recall memory prior to 18 months.
But there is another kind of...
memory which is called implicit memory...
which is, in fact, an emotional memory...
where the emotional impact and the interpretation the child makes...
of those emotional experiences are ingrained in the brain...
in the form of nerve circuits ready to fire...
without specific recall.
So to give you a clear example...
people who are adopted have a...
lifelong sense of rejection very often.
They can't recall the adoption.
They can't recall the separation of the birth mother...
because there's nothing there to recall with.
But the emotional memory of separation and rejection...
is deeply embedded in their brains.
Hence, they are much more likely...
to experience a sense of rejection...
and a great emotional upset...
when they perceive themselves as being rejected...
by other people.
That's not unique to people who are...
adopted but it is particularly strong in them...
because of this function of implicit memory.
People who are addicted, given all the...
research literature and in my experience...
the hard-core addicts virtually were all...
significantly abused as children...
or suffered severe emotional loss.
Their emotional or implicit memories...
are those of a world that's not safe...
and not helpful, caregivers who were not to be trusted...
and relationships that are not...
safe enough to open up to vulnerability...
and hence their responses tend...
to be to keep themselves separate from...
really intimate relationships,
not to trust caregivers...
doctors and other people who are trying to help them...
and generally see the world as an unsafe place...
and that is strictly a function of implicit memory...
which sometimes has to do with incidents they don't even recall.
Infants who are born premature or often in incubators...
and various types of gadgetry and...
machinery for weeks and perhaps months,
it's now known that if these...
children are touched and stroked on the back...
for just 10 minutes a day that promotes their brain development.
So, human touch is essential for development...
and, in fact, infants who are never picked up will actually die.
That is how much of a fundamental...
need being held is to human beings.
In our society, there is an unfortunate tendency...
to tell parents not to pick up their kids, not to hold them...
not to pick up babies who are crying for fear of spoiling them...
or to encourage them to sleep through the night...
you don't pick them up...
which is just the opposite of what the child needs...
and these children might go back to sleep because they give up...
and their brains just shut down as a...
way of defending against the vulnerability...
of being abandoned really by their parents...
but their implicit memories will be...
that of the world that doesn't give a damn.
A lot of these differences are structured very early in life.
In a way, the parental experience of adversity...
how tough life is or how easy it is...
is passed on to children...
whether through maternal depression...
or parents being bad tempered with...
their kids because they have had a hard day...
or just being too tired at the end of the day...
and these have very powerful effects programming...
children's development, which we know a lot about now...
But that early sensitivity isn't just an evolutionary mistake.
It exists again in many different species.
Even in seedlings there's an early adaptive process...
to the kind of environment they are growing up in...
but for humans, the adaptation is to the quality of social relations.
And so, early life:
How nurturing, how much conflict, how much attention you get...
is a taster of the kind of world you may be growing up in.
Are you growing up in a world where...
you have to fight for what you can get,
watch your back, fend for yourself, learn not to trust others...
or are you growing up in a society where you depend on...
reciprocity, mutuality, cooperation, where empathy is important...
where your security depends on good relations with other people...
and that needs a very different...
emotional and cognitive development...
and that's what the early sensitivity is about...
and parenting is almost, quite unconsciously...
a system for passing on that experience to children...
of the kind of world they are in.
The great British child psychiatrist, DW Winnicott, said
that fundamentally, two things can go wrong in childhood.
One is when things happen that shouldn't happen...
and then things that should happen but don't.
In the first category, is the dramatic, abusive...
and abandonment experiences of my...
downtown Eastside patients and of many addicts.
That's what shouldn't happen but did.
But then there is the non-stressed...
attuned, non-distracted attention...
of the parent that every child needs...
that very often children don't get.
They're not abused. They are not neglected...
and they're not traumatized...
but what should happen...
the presence of the emotionally available nurturing parent...
just is not available to them because of the...
stresses in our society and the parenting environment.
The psychologist Allan Surer calls that "Proximal Abandonment"...
when the parent is physically present...
but emotionally absent.
I have spent...
roughly the last 40 years of my life...
working with the most violent of people our society produces:
Murderers, rapists and so on.
In an attempt to understand what causes this violence.
I discovered that the most violent of the criminals in our prisons...
had themselves been victims...
of a degree of child abuse that was beyond the scale of...
what I ever thought of applying the term child abuse to.
I had no idea of the depth...
of the depravity with which children in our society...
are all too often treated.
The most violent people I saw were themselves the survivors...
of their own attempted murder often at the hands of their parents...
or other people in their social environment...
or were the survivors of family members who had been killed...
their closest family members, by other people.
The Buddha argued that everything depends on everything else.
He says 'the one contains the many and the many contains the one'.
That you can't understand anything in isolation from its environment.
The leaf contains the sun, the sky and the earth, obviously.
This has now been shown to be true, of course...
all around and specifically when it comes to human development.
The modern scientific term for it...
is the "bio psycho social" nature of human development...
which says that the biology of human beings...
depends very much on their interaction with...
the social and psychological environment.
Specifically, the psychiatrist and researcher...
Daniel Siegel at the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA...
has coined a phrase "Interpersonal Neurobiology"...
which means to say that the way...
that our nervous system functions...
depends very much on our personal relationships.
In the first place with the parenting caregivers and in the...
second place with other important attachment figures in our lives...
and in the third-place, with our entire culture.
So that you can't separate the...
neurological functioning of a human being...
from the environment in which he or she grew up in...
and continues to exist in...
and this is true throughout the lifecycle.
It's particularly true when you are...
dependent and helpless when your brain is developing...
but it's true even in adults and even at the end of life.
Human beings have lived in almost every kind of society.
From the most egalitarian... hunting and gathering societies...
seem to have been very egalitarian...
for instance, based on food sharing, gift exchange...
Small bands of people living predominately...
off of foraging and a little bit of hunting...
predominantly among people you have...
at the least, known your entire life...
if not surrounded by third cousins or closer,
in a world in which there is a great...
deal of fluidity between different groups,
in a world which there is not a...
whole lot in terms of material culture...
this is how humans have spent most of their hominid history.
And no surprise, that makes for a very different world.
One of the things you get as a result of that is far less violence.
Organized group violence is not...
something that occurred at that time...
of human history and that seems quite clear.
So where did we go wrong?
Violence is not universal.
It is not symmetrically distributed throughout the human race.
There is a huge variation in the amount of violence in different societies.
There are some societies that have virtually no violence.
There are others that destroy themselves.
Some of the Anabaptist religious...
groups that are complete strict pacifists...
like the Amish, the Mennonites, the Hutterites...
among some of these groups, the Hutterites
there are no recorded cases of homicide.
During our major wars, like World War II...
where people were being drafted...
they would refuse to serve in the military.
They would go to prison rather than serve in the military...
In the Kibbutzim in Israel...
the level of violence is so low that the criminal courts there...
will often send violent offenders...
people who have committed crimes...
to live on the Kibbutzim in order to...
learn how to live a non-violent life...
because that's the way people live there.
So, we are amply shaped by society.
Our societies, in the broader sense including our theological...
our metaphysical, our linguistic influences, etc.
our societies help shape us as to whether or not we think...
life is basically about sin or about beauty,
whether the afterlife will carry a price for...
how we live our lives or if it's irrelevant.
In a broad sort of way different large societies could...
be termed as individualistic or...
collectivist and you get very different people...
and different mindsets and I suspect...
different brains coming along with that.
We, in America, are in one of the most individualistic of societies.
With capitalism being a system that allows you to go...
higher and higher up a potential pyramid and...
the deal is that it comes with fewer and fewer safety nets.
By definition, the more stratified a society is...
the fewer people you have as peers, "the fewer people with whom...
you have symmetrical, reciprocal relationships"...
and instead, all you have are differing spots and endless hierarchies...
A world in which you have few reciprocal partners...
is a world with a lot less altruism.
So, this brings us to a total impossible juncture which is...
to try to make sense in perspective science...
as to what that nature is of human nature.
You know, on a certain level...
the nature of our nature is not to be...
particularly constrained by our nature.
We come up with more social...
variability than any species out there.
More systems of belief, of styles of family structures...
of ways of raising children. The capacity...
for variety that we have is extraordinary.
In a society which is predicated on competition...
and really, very often, the ruthless exploitation...
of one human being by another...
the profiteering off of other people's problems...
and very often the creation of...
problems for the purpose of profiteering...
the ruling ideology will very often justify that behavior...
by appeals to some fundamental and unalterable human nature.
So the myth in our society is...
that people are competitive by nature...
and that they are individualistic and that they're selfish.
The real reality is quite the opposite.
We have certain human needs.
The only way that you can talk about human nature concretely...
is by recognizing that there are certain human needs.
We have a human need for companionship and for close contact...
to be loved, to be attached to, to be accepted...
to be seen, to be received for who we are.
If those needs are met, we develop...
into people who are compassionate...
and cooperative and who have empathy for other people.
So...
the opposite, that we often see in our...
society is, in fact, a distortion of human nature...
precisely because so few people have their needs met.
So, yes you can talk about human nature...
but only in the sense of basic human needs...
that are instinctively evoked...
or I should say, certain human needs...
that lead to certain traits if they are met...
and a different set of traits if they are denied.
So, one might ask where did this all begin?
What we have today... really a world in a state of...
cumulative collapse.
You get it started with John Locke.
And John Locke introduces property.
He has three provisos for just private right and property.
And the three provisos are:
There must be enough left over for others...
and that you must not let it spoil...
and that you, most of all, must mix your labor with it.
It seems justified... you mix your labor with the world...
then you are entitled to the product
and as long as there's enough left over for others
and as long as it doesn't spoil...
and you don't allow anything to go to waste then that's okay.
He spends a long time on this and his famous treatise of government...
and it's since been the canonical text...
for economic and political and legal understanding.
It is still the classic text that's studied.
Well... after he gives the provisos...
and you're almost thinking at the time whether you...
are for private property or not...
he has given a very good and powerful defense...
of private property here...
Well, he drops them!
He drops them like that. Right in one sentence.
He says, 'Well, once the introduction...
of money came in by men's tacit consent...
then it became'...
and he doesn't say all the provisos are canceled or erased...
but that's what happens.
So, now we have not...
product and your property earned by your own labor...
oh no- money buys labor now.
There is no longer consideration...
whether there is enough left over for others,
there is no longer consideration of whether it spoils...
because he says money is like...
silver and gold and gold can't spoil...
and therefore money can't be responsible for waste...
which is ridiculous. We are not talking about money...
and silver, we are talking about what its effects are.
It's one non sequitur after another.
Just the most startling...
logical legerdemain that he gets away with here...
but it fits the interests of capital owners.
Then Adam Smith comes and what he adds...
is the religion to this...
Locke started with God made it all this way...
this is God's right...
and now we get also with Smith
saying 'it's not only God's'...
well, he's not actually saying this but...
this is what's happening philosophically, in principle...
he's saying that 'it is not only a question of private property'...
That's all now 'presupposed'... It's Given!
And that there's 'money investors that buy labor' "Given"!
There's no limit to how much they can buy of other men's labor...
how much they can accumulate, how much 'inequality'...
that's all given now.
And so he comes along and what his big idea is...
and again it's just introduced in parentheses, in passing...
You know, when people put out goods for sale... the supply...
and other people buy them... the demand and so forth...
how do we have supply equaling demand...
or demand equaling supply?
how can they come into equilibrium?
and that is one of the central notions of economics...
is how do they come into equilibrium...
and he says: It's the "Invisible Hand of the Market"...
that brings them into equilibrium.
So, now we have "God is actually imminent".
He just didn't give the rights to property...
and all its wherewithal and its "natural rights"...
regarding what Locke said...
now we have the system itself as "God".
In fact, Smith says, when he talks...
and you have to read the whole of the...
Wealth of Nations' to find this quote.
He says: 'The scantiness of subsistence...
sets limits to the reproduction of the poor...
and that nature can deal with this in no other way...
than elimination of their children'.
So he anticipated evolutionary theory in the worst sense...
this is well before Darwin.
And so he called them the 'Race of Laborers'.
So you can see: There was inherent racism built-in here...
there was an inherent life blindness to kill...
innumerable children...
and he thought: 'That's the Invisible Hand making supply...
meet demand and demand meet supply'.
So, see how wise "God" is?
So you can see a lot of the really virulent...
life destructive, eco-genocidal things...
that are going on now have, in a way,
a 'thought gene' back in Smith too.
When we reflect on the original concept of...
the so-called free market capitalist system...
as initiated by early economic philosophers...
such as Adam Smith...
we see that the original intent of a "market"...
was based around real, tangible, life supporting goods for trade.
Adam Smith never fathomed that the most...
profitable economic sector on the planet...
would eventually be in the arena of financial trading...
or so-called investment...
where money itself is simply...
gained by the movement of other money...
in an arbitrary game which holds
zero productive merit to society.
Yet, regardless of Smith's intent...
the door for such seemingly anomalous advents...
was left wide open by one fundamental tenet of this theory:
Money is treated as a Commodity, in and of itself.
Today, in every economy of the world...
regardless of the social system they claim...
money is pursued for the sake of money and nothing else.
The underlying idea, which was mysteriously qualified...
by Adam Smith with his religious declaration of the...
'Invisible Hand'...
is that the narrow, self-interested pursuit...
of this fictional commodity...
will somehow magically manifest...
human and social well-being and progress.
The reality is that the monetary incentive interest...
or what some have termed the "Money Sequence of Value"...
has now completely decoupled from the foundational...
'life interest', which could be termed the...
'Life Sequence of Value'.
What has happened is that there is a complete confusion...
in economic doctrine...
between those two sequences.
They think that the Money Sequence of Value...
delivers the Life Sequence of Value...
and that's why they say if more goods are sold...
if GDP's rise and so forth...
there would be more enhanced well-being...
and we could take the GDP as being our basic layer indicator...
of social health...
Well, there you see the confusion.
It's talking about Money Sequences of Value...
that is, all the receipts and all the revenues that are...
derived from selling goods...
and they're confusing that with life reproduction.
So, you have built right into this thing from the beginning...
a complete conflation of the money...
and life sequences of value.
So, we are dealing with a kind of structured delusion...
which becomes more and more deadly...
as the money sequence decouples from producing...
anything at all.
So, it's a system disorder...
and the system disorder seems to be fatal.
In society today, you seldom hear anyone speak...
of the progress of their country or society...
in terms of their physical well-being, state of happiness,
trust or social stability.
Rather, the measures are presented to us...
through economic abstractions.
We have the gross domestic product, the consumer price index,
the value of the stock market, rates of inflation...
and so on.
But does this tell us anything of real value...
as to the quality of people's lives?
No. All of these measures have to do with...
the money sequence itself and nothing more.
For example, the Gross Domestic Product of a country...
is a measure of the value of goods and services sold.
This measure is claimed to correlate to the...
"Standard of living" of a country's people.
In the United States health care accounted for over...
17% of GDP in 2009...
amounting to over 2.5 trillion spent.
Hence, creating a positive effect on this economic measure.
And, based on this logic
it would be even better for the US economy...
if health care services increased more so...
perhaps to 3 trillion dollars... or 5 trillion...
since that would create more growth...
more jobs and hence boasted by economists...
as a rise in their country's standard of living.
But wait a minute.
What do health care services actually represent?
Well, sick and dying people.
That's right, the more unhealthy people there are in America...
the better the economy.
Now, that is not an exaggeration or a cynical perspective.
In fact, if we step back far enough...
you will realize that the GDP
not only doesn't reflect real public or social health...
on any tangible level...
it is, in fact, mostly a measure...
of industrial inefficiency...
and social degradation.
And the more you see it the worse things are becoming...
with respect to personal, social...
and environmental integrity.
You have to create problems to create profit.
There is no profit under the current paradigm...
in saving lives, putting balance on this planet...
having justice and peace or anything else.
There is just no profit there.
There's an old saying...
"Pass a law and create a business".
Whether you are creating a business for a lawyer or whatever.
So, crime does create...
business just like destruction creates...
business in Haiti.
We have now roughly 2 million people incarcerated...
in this country...
and of those many are in prisons run...
by private corporations:
Corrections Corporation of America, Wackenhut...
who trade their stock on Wall Street...
based upon how many people are in jail.
Now that's sickness.
But that is a reflection of what...
this economic paradigm calls for.
So what exactly does this economic paradigm call for?
What is it that keeps our economic system going?
Consumption.
Or more accurately... "Cyclical Consumption".
When we break down the...
foundation of classic market economics...
we are left with a pattern of monetary exchange...
that simply cannot be allowed to stop...
or even substantially slowed...