Dreaming Beyond Capitalism: A Culture Without Fear
Soon after white people did approach them, coming to them however with supportive intentions – a group of activists from the United States, searching for ways to protect Indigenous Peoples from the oil industry. Rewarding people with profit and status for the most competitive and destructive behavior, worshiping the golden calf of maximal economic growth, capitalism has effectively manufactured and then exploited people’s dream image. The First Peoples used this word specifically because they could not fathom any other explanation for the behavior of the European colonialists. Patriarchal conditioning – carried out worldwide, generation after generation, with the most aggressive means – has created a cultural matrix of violence and fear, which at present nearly all of humanity more or less unconsciously follows. Duhm started out as a leading Marxist writer during the anti-imperialist struggles of the 1960s and 70s in Germany, when he asked himself how it could be that billions of people comply with and obey the rules of society without being forced to do so.
Working as a psychoanalyst, he faced the same basic structure in all his patients – no matter whether they suffered depression, heartache or schizophrenia – deep-rooted existential fear. For Duhm, the consequence was clear: If we want to escape from the wetiko disease of our current capitalist culture, we need a credible concept for a new nonviolent global society and for transforming the old matrix of fear and violence into a new matrix of trust, compassion and cooperation. Healing wetiko would be nothing short of reinventing our entire civilization and basing human existence on new social, ethical, spiritual and sexual foundations allowing profound trust between people as well as between humans and animals. In 1978 Duhm started out with a group of people to engage in an interdisciplinary research project for social and ecological sustainability to develop precisely such a concept. Having witnessed the failure of countless communes in the 1970s, most due to unresolved interpersonal conflicts around money, power and sex, the project focused its cultural experiment on creating new social structures able to resolve the psychological substratum of fear.
In order to subjugate people under their systems of dominance, patriarchal rulers systematically destroyed tribal communities, thereby inflicting a profound collective trauma onto humanity. As we are reaching the pinnacle of a culture of global wetiko, the last throes of late-stage capitalism, healing our collective trauma, re-establishing functioning communities based on trust, and making our human existence compatible with the biosphere and nature again, may well be our only opportunity to secure ourselves and our children a future worth living on Spaceship Earth.
Essays-960329 Economic Growth
The Clinton administration and Democratic congressional leaders are so bereft of ideas that they can only propose an increase in the minimum wage! The Republican leadership, Bob Dole in the Senate and Newt Gingrich in the House, has shamefully given up again on even a minor adjustment in the capital gains tax – the one growth ingredient of their 1994 mandate. Now carry the impressions forward to the modern mechanisms of the market- the banks, credit unions, insurance companies, stock and bond markets, and all other market elements that can extend or withhold capital. Unhappily, the western economists who advise the democratic government of Boris Yeltsin have little appreciation for the role the market plays in assessing macroeconomic tax and monetary risks to capital investment. The capital gains tax is not the only tax that bears upon the market’s assessment of ROI, but it is by far the most important.
The market mechanisms that absorb and dispense capital must cope with the monetary variable in reckoning the true after-tax ROI. Riskier enterprises cannot hope to find capital and credit in an inflationary environment, even without the compounding effect via capital gains taxation, because sources of capital simply disappear. Sources of capital become more plentiful in a deflationary environment, but those who might otherwise employ that capital are discouraged by its high real interest costs in a world of falling nominal prices. As a matter of simple arithmetic, the risks to capital in a combination of inflation and unindexed capital gains are at a maximum. In a U.S.
economy that would suddenly shift to a gold-standard with no tax on capital gains, untapped capital would rapidly flow into the marketplace and be dispensed according to a steepening schedule of risks. A mature enterprise that has all or most of its capital gains behind it does not need a gold standard or zero capital gains taxation in order to coax working capital out of those who have it, promising to repay it with interest or dividends. The most worrisome complication for Big Business is that policy changes that enhance the flow of capital to the market put upward pressure on the price of labor. The American Council for Capital Formation, for example, is a Big Business Washington lobby, which technically supports a lower tax on capital gains, but which spends little of its time or resources toward that end. A dramatic increase in the flow of capital to the market would have the unusual effect of eliminating jobs over time.