First the environment. Now we're overharvesting humans
HUFF POST (draft)
I’m not talking about the actual human harvesting going on: the illegal harvesting of body organs, legal and illegal stem cell research, human trafficking, industrial labour camps. It’s something more subtle and pervasive than that.
It started small, as most revelations do: As I visited websites I noticed the same ads popping up and they seemed to be following me. It was clear that I was being pushed toward certain advertisers.
This was nothing new. One of the goals of the advertising agency I worked for in the late 1980s was to work with our clients to put a $40-a-month needle in our customers' arms. This was easy in the early days of cell phones when we gave away free phones to get people to sign three-year airtime contracts, and which soon turned into a multi-million dollar business.
Today the entire credit-financing model works on that principle. Cars are "purchased" for $120 a week. T.V. and Internet entertainment packages are offered for "low" and not-so-low monthly fees. And services have replaced products as the new corporate cash cows.
The trend is about to become even more sophisticated. On CBC's Under the Influence radio program, host Terry O'Reilly talks about the development of "hyper-targeting," the business of electronically fingerprinting online customers.
The goal is to data mine our personal online histories to place customized pieces of advertising directly in front of us just as we're about to make a purchase. Say if we're filling out the option sheet to get a price on a Ford Focus, competitor GM will place an ad on the sidebar offering a 10 per cent discount on a similarly optioned Chevy Cruze.
O'Reilly tells us that this is just the beginning. Credit card companies already track our online behaviour to predict our future credit-worthiness. If we check our card balances in the wee hours of the morning too often, the card companies might flag our accounts as indicating financial stress or marital problems.
So we are being groomed even before we’re harvested (connected to debt machines) by these companies.
This is a new level of intrusiveness now includes the new national security legislation emerging in the U.S. and Canada, legislation that may ultimately give government agencies access all our online activities and personal information stored with our Internet service providers.
The technology is now in place for both kinds of spying, and O'Reilly talks about the rise of a new class of algorithmic data geeks managing these new systems.
Surprisingly, some people are fine with these new incursions on our privacy. "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear," their thinking goes. Others of us take exception to these new developments but feel powerless to stop their advance.
But what's driving this advance?
After the development of agriculture and the rise of feudalism, we entered a new age of technology during the Industrial Revolution. This freed the landowners from harvesting their lands, cut the farmers free from their ties to the soil, and bonded a new class of dreadfully under-rewarded workers (think of Dickens’ child workers slaving in the poor houses) directly to production. This, of course, led to all kinds of social distortion, including the rise of socialism, communism, two world wars and now, unfettered capitalism. John Ralston Saul writes eloquently about this in his 1995 book, The Unconscious Civilization.
The Digital Revolution has now liberated the owners from the ownership of any means of production, which is now done offshore by independent, invisible supply companies in former ‘Third World’ countries. This means that not only cash is digital and thus borderless, so is labour.
But first, a word from our corporate sponsor: money. Today, lending institutions create digital money out of thin air. So every time these banks write a loan, there are little to no actual funds to back it up. The banks simply “declare” they have the money, and transfer the appropriate number of digits into another bank account. No cash has changed hands.
To say that this is a big temptation to manipulate the system is an understatement. It’s no surprise that subprime mortgages were bundled together and sold as commodities on the investment market, and then market bets were placed on the futures of those bundles until, well, the whole thing collapsed and millions of ordinary people were thrown out of their homes.
To offset the threat of financial collapse, governments around the world bailed out the commercial banks and investment companies while homeowners went broke. Here in Canada our government printed out $114 billion dollars to tide over four of our large banks through the crisis.
The overall result has been the creation of a new generation of indentured debt slaves, enslaved to debt not based on real money (human energy) at all, but to electronic ciphers that generate perpetual interest payments to the masters of these financial systems, and government dedicated to protecting the interests of the banks over the interests of its citizens.
So how did this happen? Corporations, technology, centralization and capitalism have welded together an unholy alliance designed to harvest, that is, asset- and cash-strip, everything in its collective path. Profit has become the guiding force of every human activity. Profit, not social well-being or working for a healthier planet.
The entire system is now a vast bloodsucking network pumping profits from every region of the human collective body to the centralized head office at the top. Those in charge of driving those profits, the executives, managers and administrators, now make up 50 per cent of the population.
Of course, in a healthy human body there is always the other half of the circulatory system, the arterial network that drives blood through the lungs and delivers re-oxygenated blood throughout the body to refresh and renew the entire system. But in our society, we are destroying that arterial system, our publicly-owned social services network, so in fact, we are now living in a diseased society.
We witnessed the first symptoms of this in the environmental destruction caused by industrialization. We are now witnessing the controlled leeching of profits, that is the harvesting of human energy, from every human being on the planet, through an intentionally-designed, centralized, technologically-driven organism.
That was my revelation. But I had to travel to a meeting in Chicago to have it reinforced. It was the trip that did it. I, along with several thousand other passengers, was herded like livestock through miles of yellow cordoned, serpentine walkways through international airports to have my papers checked, my baggage X-rayed and my body scanned. (I was even singled out for a new, random full-body scan--or a full-body grope; my choice).
I watched as my fellow travellers, virtually all of us peaceful, law-abiding citizens, acquiesced to this indignity. Rather than putting an armed guard on every plane, if it really were terrorism we feared, we we’ve been conned into investing trillions of dollars to train ourselves to accept the basest submission.
The humiliation our system is imposing humanity is now global. Not to mention the new class of militarized, psychopathic bullies we've created and are now enduring. I can only conclude that the effect is not for security but for the mindless control of the subjugated masses to continue the harvest.
So, what can we do to staunch the relentless bleeding of our fellow human beings? The answer? We have to put a stop to this suicidal process of putting profits above everything else. That means rebuilding a conscience-driven government disconnected from corporate interests. And if we think about it, that's not really so hard to do.
Because our living planet, in all of its marvellous diversity, desperately needs time to heal.