Chris Hedges and others calling for the end of capitalism.
Listen I am all for this. I would like nothing better than to see Wall Street as a heap of rubble. And while your at it, you can do the same thing to Madison Av.
But look. I mean really look at who you are talking about. How many people in upper crust suburbia are even going to know – let alone being to be involved with – any of this ? How many Walmart and Macy’s and Sacks 5th Av. shoppers. How many of those you see in downtown Cleveland or Phillie or even and especially NYC ? Or Des Moines Iowa or Gary Indiana or Miami Florida for that matter. These are the same people who wanted to bomb all the Middle East after 9/11.
Or those who frequent any bar or nightclub. As someone who has spent time in these big box stores and in various burbs as well as the poor side of town, I do not see any revolutionaries in any of those places. I don’t even see any on the college campuses I have spent time on.
What I do see are a lot of people who just want to get on with their lives regardless of how unpleasant these lives may be.
I just finished doing an electronic restoration on an old Hallicrafters S40 communications receiver circa 1947. Replaced all the old paper capacitors and the electrolytic capacitors and a few resisters. I also replaced the audio output tube and its associated components with an audio amplifier module I had since that particular vacuum tube was pretty pricey and the transformer as well.
Where I currently live I am not to far from the transmitter sites of some local radio stations but this did not seem to bother this radio when I was tuning around, I was able to listen to a station in Toronto Ontario quite well. This was not the case with a much newer Radio Shack DX302that I had which was overloaded by these close and powerful signals to the point of making it nearly useless trying to receive anything on the AM broadcast band.
With my hearing the way it is, I find the sound from the old Hallicrafters much more pleasing to listen to than my newer high priced receivers for AM and shortwave. But to be fair the old Hallicrafters was not as sensitive on the upper shortwave bands as any of the newer ones I have, including the RS DX302.
This not a diary to bash current technology. After all I have been mucking about in it since I was 10 years old and I am now in my 60s. Also, I enjoy working on and building and modifying radios and such, and have done so for nearly that long. I am concerned, though, about a few aspects of it.
I had a talk the other day with a gentleman who was here to do maintenance on my furnace. He came into my radio room and was fairly impressed – I guess – with my equipment and such. We got to talking about the current electronics and such, and how people just pitch them out when they break rather than getting the items repaired. I said that was the main reason I left the field of repair and went into computers. The occupation just went away. In fact component level repair is just not practical on today’s electronics. The parts are way too small and require specialized tools to replace them — assuming one can even get the replacement parts. In the case of microprocessors and specialized chips, this is quite often very difficult or impossible.
Which brings up another aspect of our current technology. The old vacuum tube equipment, though some it was pretty cheaply made, it was still quite robust. It was not as affected by voltage spikes or lightning or heat and humidity as current equipment is. It was much more repairable and less complex, to the point that you did not need much training or specialized tools to maintain it. Also we were not nearly so dependent on it in our lives.
Like the old cars with carburetors and distributors and such, that if they died on the road you could do some kind of quick fix to get you to a gas station to do a more complete repair. Nowadays that simply is not possible. Nearly every part is controlled by a computer.
Speaking of computers, I helped a friend last night with her’s because it had some unwanted software on it and getting rid of it was a considerable task. Computers are beyond most people to maintain, even the software can become unusable pretty quickly. With our dependence on them, this is becoming a major hassle.
Not simply computers but nearly everything we do now requires some sort of high tech to accomplish. There are processors in nearly everything now and the infrastructure as well. And little of it is protected from anything. From simple communications to every financial transaction and even many medical tasks. And all this data runs on fiber optic cable that has little protection from the the environment or from sabotage. Our electric infrastructure is right out in the open and as we have seen a number of times, can be brought to halt rather quickly.
We know how much pandemonium is caused if we lose electricity for a week. Imagine what it would be like if we lost it for a month or more. Or if we lost our data communications for a month or more, which can happen. It is nearly impossible to protect as it is so vast. But the loss of a few key sites could bring the whole thing down.
The fact that this has not occurred yet does not mean if would not or could not happen. And it’s a hell of a lot easier and cheaper to disable than flying planes into buildings. Weapons have already been developed to disable the electrical grid or parts of it.
One of the main reasons for this is the centralized control that is maintained by private monopolies, making our infrastructure very vulnerable. So while we sit back at our computers…sipping on our electrically brewed coffee…remember this the next time you use your cell phone.
Abandoned church - Lars K. Christensen/flickr creative commons
The American Empire was not like other historical empires, for from the very first it has been made up of various different ethnic and cultural groups. Initially French and Spanish. Then Dutch and British. With other nationalities coming later. Irish and German and Russian and (in my case) Finnish.
“There is a pattern in the past of civilization after civilization wearing out its welcome from nature, overexploiting its environment, overexpanding, overpopulating,” Wright said when I reached him by phone at his home in British Columbia, Canada. “They tend to collapse quite soon after they reach their period of greatest magnificence and prosperity. That pattern holds good for a lot of societies, among them the Romans, the ancient Maya and the Sumerians of what is now southern Iraq. There are many other examples, including smaller-scale societies such as Easter Island. The very things that cause societies to prosper in the short run, especially new ways to exploit the environment such as the invention of irrigation, lead to disaster in the long run because of unforeseen complications. This is what I called in ‘A Short History of Progress’ the ‘progress trap.’ We have set in motion an industrial machine of such complexity and such dependence on expansion that we do not know how to make do with less or move to a steady state in terms of our demands on nature. We have failed to control human numbers. They have tripled in my lifetime. And the problem is made much worse by the widening gap between rich and poor, the upward concentration of wealth, which ensures there can never be enough to go around. The number of people in dire poverty today—about 2 billion—is greater than the world’s entire population in the early 1900s. That’s not progress.”
Hedges essay deals with what he calls the Myth of Human Progress but I see it as very key to empire itself. That the bigger myth is that of a single American culture. We see evidence of it especially today with the fracturing of even the right wing movement. That what has bound people together was not some American history but rather a myth of American history built around some mythical culture.
Dmitri Orlov brings this up in this interview he did lat last year on Businessmatters radio. You can download and listen to it here. One of the things he (Orlov) brings up is the lack of community and the collapse of community standard,s as it were, in especially those areas that were hit hardest by Sandy last year. This is not surprising since community was weak at best even in those more upscale areas that were hit and was organized almost entirely around economic status and materialistic values. So when those were destroyed, so were the symbols of the “community”.
Communities as we here knew them in the past were organized almost entirely around some ethnic or cultural group. Sometimes religious but mostly ethnicity and culture of those who live there. The Italian or German or Irish or Chinese or etc. sections of nearly every metro area. This was also the case in the rural areas. The farmers were of similar cultural groups.
But as these people had children, fewer and fewer of these children would cling onto the cultural heritage of the parents and grandparents. Because of this the sense of community began to be lost or at best was some superficial aspect, such as their financial status or the suburban area or car they drove. It has no real roots. It was manufactured and sold by the media. The generic white anglo saxon male dominated family. Leave it to Beaver. My Three Sons. The Brady Bunch. Etc. And it was based almost completely on some personal self-centered agenda rather than the greater good. A product of Madison Ave. and Hollywood.
Orlov in this interview and his previous entries on his blog likes to compare the ex-Soviet Union with the US but I think he misses a key point. That is that the Soviet Union was make up of ethnic and cultural Russians for a large part. It was Russians fighting for other Russians during WWII, which is why they won it. This deep clan or tribal bond. Very like a family bond that America really does not have.
Which is why nearly all the war propaganda was about either fighting against something or some one. IE Nazis or Japs or Commies. Or for some vague ideal. Freedom. liberty…etc. Rarely – if ever – for America. That attitude or belief in always helping your fellows has never really existed in this country outside of one’s ethnic/cultural enclave. The superficial suburban groups never had it since it was based almost entirely on material standing. And once one lost this, one was out, so by definition there would be no help.
So with this economic grouping quickly falling by the wayside as the downturn accelerates, what we are seeing with the gun nutz and tea party right wing is a last desperate attempt to maintain some kind of cultural identity where none actually exists.
It’s this lack of any real cultural identity that the Washington/Wall Street cartel is taking advantage of and to an extent trying desperately to preserve. It’s also why the coming collapse of the American Empire will not look like those in the past as there is little to bond us together in it except mutual hardship.
Whether this will eventually bring people together as a whole and when this will occur is anybody’s guess. I am sure there will be more and more communities formed on an isolated and small scale, but a larger unification is at this time doubtful. It would take a great deal of time. This culture of personal gain and benefit over the greater good will be difficult at best to overcome.
I remember watching part of a movie a while back with David Ogden Stiers as a musician and this young lady who came to audition her violin with him. When she finished he told her that the she played the piece flawlessly but that her performance lacked feeling. Lacked soul. Lacked emotion.
I feel that this country has lost it’s feeling and soul. It’s emotion.
Before the industrial revolution everything you got was made by hand one at a time. There very likely were apprentices and helpers involved but it was one at a time. Each unique in some way from the the others. made by craftsman an artisans who learned and honed their skills and trade over the years.
Then the industrial revolution got underway big time. By the late 1800s and early 1900s, most things were being built in factories and thanks to people like Henry Ford – on some kind of assembly line. But even with assembly line techniques and interchangeable parts, most of what was made was of fairly high quality. As you can see with this 1938 Philco floor model or this Model A Ford.
Some were of very high quality indeed. Like the E. H. Scott or this high end Zenith Stratosphere. Not only did they make the radios, they made a lot of the parts inside as well. Even the vacuum tubes. And the mechanical tuning assemblies were also complex and well made. As you can see in the photos above, the cabinetry was of very high quality as well. With fine detail work and wood inlays and a fine finish.
This attention to detail carried over to WWII. With nearly everything made for the war effort. For the time they used the best available parts. I myself have owned a number of pieces of equipment and radios from that time period and am still impressed with some of the designs and workmanship used. Even small radio receives and transmitters made for bombers by the millions and by different manufacturers had were of the highest quality available at the time. Using precision gear reduction tuning and heavy shielding and other things.
There are those who are of the opinion that this attention to quality was also part of what lead to the depression of the 1930s. That the car makers and electronics makers of the time did too much of a good thing. The products lasted too long and the newer models were not enough improved for people to want to buy new ones. So sales slowed down, inventory remained unsold and people began to be laid off. All this before the bank failures and what not.
This kind of craftsmanship could still be seen up through the early 1950s but some time around the middle of the 1950s and onward things began to change. All of this long before the Japanese and German imports began to appear in any numbers. The fancy cabinetry was going as was the inside quality as well. Early television sets had nice cabinets and well well designed for their day. But by the mid 1960s the cabinetry there was pretty much gone and the electronics inside got cheaper and cheaper.
New and improved was not so much since the electronics inside did not change much from year to year. I know I used to repair them. No real change came in the electronics until the manufactures began to offer solid state television sets. And RCA and Zenith and GE and the rest did not do this until SONY began selling their new TRINITRON sets here which made our stuff look like stone knives and bear skins by comparison.
And by the late 1970s even RCA and Philco were pretty much gone. Zenith followed soon there after. Only the names remained. And the jobs went with them. Quality electronics along with quality furniture and cars became a niche area. Mostly for high end audio equipment and sports cars.
Along the way personal physicians who made house calls and spent time with their patients and milkmen who delivered the milk and left notes in case the cows got into the alfalfa. Local TV shops and corner markets as well.
And we began to just throw things out. Not because they could not be repaired, but because they were out of fashion some how. We started to be a disposable society. Doctors who treated cases instead of people and civilian deaths became collateral damage. And now there are those who seem to think we have a disposable planet as well.
So here is an example of what we were once capable of.
That I am no fan of capitalism or any of the Abrahamic religions should come as no surprise to anyone who has read any of my essays. To me capitalism is merely a reworking of feudalism where one can become a lord by buying the lordship and the serfs under him/her besides being born into it.
The results are generally the same. A few elites at the top of the heap making hey of the miserable lives of those underneath. “Any difference that makes no difference is no difference.”
That the Abrahamic religions go so well with feudalism and capitalism should come as no surprise either. Truly a codependent relationship. Or that the constitution says separation of church and state but nothing about church and commerce or commerce and state. Which makes the sate and the church second cousins, as it were.
Nor do I like any kind of hierarchical for of government. Leaders – whether you call them presidents, prime ministers, premiers or what have you – will invariably become dictators and/or absolute rulers, however benign they may appear. And will nearly always kowtow to those with the most monetary influence.
There are those who think the answer to this is to just let everything run amuck and it will take care of itself. They also seem to think that they themselves would some how be immune to the consequences of this. Interestingly enough, they are also the same ones who want to stock pile the equivalence of Fort Dicks in weapons. I guess their immunity comes from Smith and Wesson.
Then there are those who think we can regulate this to get a kinder and gentler version of feudalism. With kinder and gentler robber baron scum bags at the top. That these people at the top will “see the light’ and “the error of their ways” and not try to change the rules once again. And that worked so well last time. Problem with regulations is, who regulates the regulators ?
And then there are those who think everything is just fine, lets not rock the boat. These are the ones who were called bourgeoisie, who are all chummy with the elites and are more than willing to lick the elites rear ends clan when required. What these people refuse to accept – along with right – is that they too could and probably would – become victims as well. Tolerated until replace by a computerized but washer.
The third act will be a lot more of a noire troisième acte. Desperate and brutal. There are those who seem to think that the end of this act will culminate is a rising up of the people in revolt somehow and cause a capitulation of the PTB. With visions of France and Russia in the early 19th century, forgetting that the PTB have them horribly out gunned. That any stand could – and most likely would – become suicidal. In those earlier revolutions, the people and the PTB were pretty well matched. That has ceased to be the case for quite some time. For what should be obvious reasons. Like those on the right and the preppers who seem to be living under the delusion that they too could fight off a government assault. Not bloody likely. This is not Syria where rebel forces would have access to the kinds of armament needed to be successful. All supplied by sympathetic outsiders. As those same outsiders are part of the PTB.
Nor is this Egypt where the military was supportive of the protestors, but only up to a point. Remember that the military – any military – is highly structured and hierarchical and ordered. And is little concerned with how this is maintained. The situation will become more oppressive and more desperate as time goes on.
The good news is that the last act can turn out much better but will require more work and more sacrifice and a completely different view of the world and community and interpersonal relationships there in. More of an anarchist view with little or no central government. Either locally or regionally. A consensus approach not unlike OWS. As viewed by such visionaries as Peter Kropotkin and Emma Goldman . Or even Dimity Orlov. Small groups who come together by desire rather than by any decree. But it will not be easy by a long shot.
The tentacles of the system reach far. Consider real estate taxes. Even if you own the land you are living on out right and choose not to even engage in commerce and use the monetary system, you still have to pay them or you lose you land. And this sort of thing will become more and more draconian. Count on it.
The answer may even be to relocate to a smaller and yet more corrupt country. Where the corruption on a local level can be of use in this way. Ironic but maybe necessary. For large countries – like here – have the corruption institutionalized and are a closed system in this respect.
And those who choose to live outside it will be view by the PTB more and more as some kind of threat to them. Which they are, but not necessarily in the way they imagine. For the real threat would be to their status and the dependency there upon. Not wishing to be part of, or supporting of the status quo would be seen as subversive.
Working toward the kind of society we envision is never a lost cause. And passing on this vision – even in the family structure – is what will bring about any real and lasting change. And put a halt to this sick, dark comedy we have been living for the last few thousand years. Where teachers and guides replace leaders, and wisdom and enlightenment and virtue and altruism are cherished and valued.
But what do you expect in a country where gratuitous violence, blood and mayhem make up the vast majority of the entertainment.
Where a wholly unrealistic portrayal of the Wild West™ on TV and in the movies is still very popular and there are those who not only believe it to be real but also think it should be design for how this country should be living. Albeit updated a bit.
Where massive killings in this country are a major tragedy but only until they leave the media cycle. But even more massive killings by our military of civilians – even children – are considered unfortunate but necessary.
Where everyone believes they will eventually “strike it rich” and are entitled too. Just look at how many buy lottery tickets and hold them like they just found the map to the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. Even though the chances of anyone actually winning are somewhat less than getting struck by lightning in Grand Central Station. Where there are those on the left who feel just entitled to their ill gotten gains as those on the right.
Where personal property trumps all else and protecting it is the highest priority. And how you acquire it is of little importance.
Where everything is put in monetary terms and everything has a price. And this idea is drummed into your heads from the time your are very young. “Do you think money grows on trees ?!” “You need a good education so you can make good money.”“Why do you want to do that ? There’s no money in it.”
Where the same people who rail about the banks and Wall Street and lazy poor and ethnic people also brag how they avoided paying tax and got “some sucker” to buy that broken down old car, house, lawn mower…etc for far more than it was worth. Or how they got that promotion at work partly by spreading rumors and gossip about those who were also in line. All within earshot of the children, there by giving them the message that cheating is actually OK as long as you don’t get caught.
Where government actions on fraud and theft and lies depends on how much money you have.
Or as a friend of mine put it. “A culture of violence.” And of mental & emotional breakdown. The culture is empty.
I thought I would list all the benefits we have experienced since feudalism was replaced by capitalism as the main economic model.
Feudalism exploited and enslaved the general populace – to one extent or another – to benefit a select few. Either through birthright or armed power. Quite often both. Under feudalism the means of production – both agricultural and industrial – were in the hands of the few. Acquired either from birthright or by force.
The end of feudalism was ostensibly to change this. It however did not. In fact empires grew the strongest under capitalism. Slavery and indentured servitude flourished under it. Countries and natives were colonized to acquire their wealth and resources to benefit the capitalist owners in the mother country. Displaced and quite often eliminated or enslaved.
Personal gain was the driving force behind nearly all endeavors. From adventurism to conquest. The monarchies that would continuously wage war with one another were replaced by capitalist and industrialists – who through their government servants – waged even bigger and bloodier wars. And in all cases it was the general populace that bore the brunt of the fighting and killing.
Banks and financial institutions began risky practices. Investing in and loaning money to anyone or anything that they were told was a sure money making enterprise. Profit was all and the quicker the better. Resulting in a long line of financial failures and economic crisis.
Capitalists put monetary gain ahead of everything. Which is why the worst dictators in history were put in place and supported by capitalists – who also make the most from them. With total and complete disregard for what these people did to their citizens.
Contrary to popular believe capitalism does not encourage discovery, it stifles it. Unless a great deal of money can be made from it. And from the very start it will try to co-opt, defraud and steal ideas and inventions from those who make them. Such as RCA with Major Edwin Armstrong and Philo Farnsworth.
It will cut corners on everything to ensure greater profits. From wages to the workers, their working conditions and even the raw materials and designs. Knowingly marketing and producing items that are dangerous and even lethal. Like DDT, the Ford Pinto, numerous toys…to name but a few.
Capitalists are know to delay, sabotage and even kill any idea and/or product that may hurt their bottom line. Or attempt to gain exclusive ownership of it. The pharmaceutical industry is known for this. They will not develop a cure for anything they can make more money on by developing a continued treatment for.
And contrary to popular belief, capitalists hate competition and will do what ever is necessary to eliminate it. Forming trusts and monopolies and fixing prices.
Yes people ow a lot to capitalism. Especially people like Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Anastasio Somoz, Augusto Pinochet, Mubarak, Bashar al-Assad ……….. and various CEOS, Bankers, Stock Brokers, Military leaders and weapons developers.
The Health and Human Services department’s 2009 quality report to Congress found “very little progress” on eliminating hospital-acquired infections and called for “urgent attention” to address the shortcomings — first brought to light a decade ago.
Of five major types of serious hospital-related infections, rates of illnesses increased for three, one showed no progress, and one showed a decline. As many as 98,000 people a year die from medical errors, and preventable infections — along with medication mixups— are a significant part of the problem.MSNBC
And according to this report in WEBMD, the incidence of CDIFF is reaching epidemic proportions. And hospitals a loath to report this and that this particular bacteria has become more deadly and harder to treat each year.
C. diff disease can range from mild diarrhea to life-threatening colitis. The bug produces toxins that destroy the mucosal lining of the gut.
There are many different C. diff strains circulating in the U.S. But since 2000, one of these strains has gone from a minor player to become the most frequently isolated C. diff strain. The strain has several names. Referring to its genetic fingerprint, the CDC calls it NAP1. In Europe and Canada, it’s often called the 027 or BI strain.
The NAP1 strain of C. diff took off shortly after it acquired resistance to fluoroquinolone antibiotics. There’s some evidence it may also have acquired some resistance to Flagyl, one of the two antimicrobial agents used to treat it (the other is vancomycin).
Antibiotic resistance isn’t the only worrisome thing about NAP1. C. diff normally makes two toxins. The NAP1 strain makes 16 times more toxin A and 23 times more toxin B. And it also makes another toxin, called binary toxin, although it’s not yet clear how this toxin affects humans.
To date, the NAP1 strain has been reported in 37 U.S. states and in the District of Columbia.
A recent report shows that adult C. diff hospitalizations doubled between 2000 and 2005 to about 300,000 hospitalizations a year. That’s more hospitalizations than are seen with MRSA, which sends about 126,000 Americans to the hospital each year.
The CDC’s C. diff expert, L. Clifford McDonald, MD, tells WebMD that if you count pediatric C. diff cases and cases in the community that do not enter the hospital, there are probably half a million U.S. cases of C. diff infection each year.
And yes, it is an epidemic: The infection rate is going up by about 10% a year. But the death rate is going up even faster, says Marya Zilberberg, MD, adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and president of the EviMed Research Group.WEBMD
And for my mother it was pure torture the entire time:
Walmart World - Patrick Hoesly/flickr Creative Commons
It would seem that Hillary Clinton is going to run for president in 2016. Pretty much a given really. Having her run will lock up the soccer mom vote for the most part and if she can lay it on thick like Bill, most of the Latino, Black and other non whites as well.
With a large part of the white males going for the republican. Most likely Jeb Bush. Politics as usual in the USA. And the vast majority of the populace will go along for the ride. Grover Norquist is saying that TP2.0 will be better than the previous version. Sounding like an IBM software add.
It all sounds so much like some first year comp sci program written in LISP to calculate N Factorial recursively. Just shuffle the card deck and re-submit the program if it doesn’t work the first time.
So why do we – or rather the public – put up with this ? Even after all that has been going on for the last 30 years or so. The criminality on Wall Street, in Congress. The imperialistic foreign policy and continuous military actions that get us even deeper in dept and accomplish nothing.
For one thing, the economy and the government is working just good enough for enough people to keep them from wanting to make any major change. This is not pre-revolutionary France or Russia where only a very small percentage of people – generally in the big cities – were doing well or at least managing some how. Where the vast majority were starving and still working in horrendous conditions, if they could work at all. Where most of what they did get was taxed or appropriated by those at the top.
Nor is this some Nazi occupied country where there was a common enemy and common goal that bound the majority together. Where even if the people were not actively involved with the resistance, were supportive of it and would turn their backs and not see or report anything the resistance did. Quite often helping in small ways as well.
Nor is it this country during the depression of the 1930s where the official unemployment was 25% of the populace. But that did not include all those who lost everything in the dust bowl as well. People who were driven off their farms and land with the same vigor and those who were driven from unions and strikes.
None of those conditions exist here at this time.
I would say that there is maybe around 20% who would really want to see any major change in the government or economic system. And of that 20% only about 1% who would support any direct action to do so. And even those 20% cannot agree on what needs to be done first. Jobs ? Global warming ? Economic and social equality ? Take one from from column A and one from column B.
The rest are still OK as long as they can still have roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, something to watch on their idiot boxes and get good and drunk at some bar. Distracted by some trivial item (religious, moral, financial, or entertainment related) or the next gadget from Apple or Microsoft.
Even Greece and Spain – who are an order of magnitude worse off than we are – are not to the point of replacing their PTB with some coup or another.
As anyone who has been in AA or any other 12 step program can tell you, human beings are very reluctant to make any kind of change in their lives even when their lives are pure torture. Even when they have lost everything. They will put an unbelievable amount of effort into forcing a bad, unworkable situation to work some way or another or quite literally die trying.. They will deny and blame others for their misfortune and the failure of their situation.
The pseudo-left will feign support for any progressive agenda that does not interfere with the status quo. Their SUV, McMansion or defense related carrier.
Change will come only when the majority of people are willing to own and accept that the system has failed and the continued support will get them nowhere. This will only happen when they themselves are starving and those at the top tell them TFB while their enforcers are clubbing them to death.
He has been dubbed by the media as the “Poorest President in the World”. He lives a very austere life by comparison to other world leaders. On a farm outside the capital and his greatest possession is an old VW bug. He donates 90% of his salary as president to charity.
Can you imagine Obama or Romney or any of out past presidents choosing to live such a life ? Or the leaders of France or Great Briton or Germany or Russia or Iran or Greece or Spain ? And yet we look up to these folks who lead us.
“I’m called ‘the poorest president’, but I don’t feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more,” he says.
“This is a matter of freedom. If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself,” he says.
“I may appear to be an eccentric old man… But this is a free choice.”
The Uruguayan leader made a similar point when he addressed the Rio+20 summit in June this year: “We’ve been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty.
“But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household than Germans? How much oxygen would we have left?
“Does this planet have enough resources so seven or eight billion can have the same level of consumption and waste that today is seen in rich societies? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet.”
Mujica accuses most world leaders of having a “blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world”. – BBC
When this man truly lives a humble life. A life that we should want to emulate. A fellow who is very near Buddha-hood.
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