THE PRESENT WORLD ECONOMY IS ANTI HUMAN – TIME TO RE-THINK – A Sri Lankan Buddhist perspective
Posted on March 31st, 2017

Janaka Goonetilleke

Ayn Rand called her philosophy “Objectivism”, describing its essence as “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

When Vasgo De Gama Invaded the spice market of Calicut and killed the Arabic Merchants, Sinhalese merchants, the Tamil merchants etc. the harmonious free market was destroyed and a policy of Might is Right was introduced to Asia. It persists even today led by the IMF and World Bank and the imperialistic wars in the whole of the world. The markets were denoted in Gold, Silver etc. quickly to be replaced currencies that the majority of the world does not control. Even Jesus rejected the moneylenders who are today running the world. This was imposed by the colonialists and has become the neo colonial agenda.

Thus a philosophy of lenier assessment where money was the arbitrator of development and human achievement was imposed on the world.  This contradicts to the age-old philosophy of Asia which was assessed by a philosophy of cyclicity making a holistic assessment of development and human achievements. This harmonious balance of assessment was the basis of sustainability learnt through evolution, which minimizes the environmental and human costs in any project.

DRIVING FORCE OF THIS WORLD ECONOMY

  • Creation of Monopoly money
  • Market system initialized and forced on the world By the IMF/World Bank with economic well being assed on GDP (Might is Right)
  • Greed and instant Gratification propagated by the media that drives the markets
  • Creative destruction the philosophy behind the markets
  • Money Democracy that cheats the people

EFFECT OF THE WORLD ECONOMY

  • Dehumanizing Humanity
  • Pollution of the 3 Basic elements of the environment and making it inhospitable to humanity.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF ECONOMICS AND ASSESMENT BY GDP

Linier form of assessment

Creative Destruction is the philosophy of the present world economy led by money economics as it is a linier form of assessment. In its creative accounting the negatives are not taken into account the only account is how much of money you have earned assessed as economic activity or GDP. Large petroleum companies are mainly assed on the money earn but ignores the vast number of people who suffer from respiratory disease, mental problems in the young due to led poisoning and the cancers etc.

Alan Greenspan best expresses the absurdity of this assessment.

In Vermont, the wonderful breeze” rendered air conditioning unnecessary and therefore did not appear as economic activity. Other things equal,” he concluded, the standards of living are the same, but the GDP will be less in Vermont than it will be in the South.”

Thus the truth is manipulated to the final objective of earning money, thus human suffering is ignored as not being important.  In fact the habituation and mindlessness makes them ignorant of the risks even they take as humans. Greed the final aim of the neocolonialists is the driving force.

The main thing holding us back from reality is the institutionalized view of our economy and society encapsulated in GDP. Unfortunately this institutionalized world has been impregnated our policies in Sri Lanka.

We value what is visible — transacted economic activity — and downplay or ignore what is invisible. That affects public policy and even our thinking patterns in insidious ways. We tend to support anything that adds to economic activity, no matter what the adverse consequences, say in environmental degradation or socially destructive working hours. We have come to see our economy — as if it were an entity separate from the world in which we live — turns what could be co-operative, altruistic Homo socialis into selfish, money-grubbing Homo economicus.

 Banks and financial institutions are (still, mostly) macho, testosterone-fuelled environments where making the quick buck trumps almost every other consideration. Plenty of power but no responsibility A company that buys a forest and cuts it down can, of course, repay its loans faster than one that plants a new tree for each one it destroys

This was best expressed by our erudite Minister of finance Dr N M Perera in the 1970 when questioned by a reporter who asked him the question As a former student of the London School of economics what do you think is wrong with the world economy he promptly said London School of economics”.  These are the institutions that have brain washed our elite who will never question the orders of the IMF and WB.

CYCLICAL ASSESMENT

In a cyclically assed programmes a sense of balance is inculcated to the project and there is a proper accounting system the negatives being accounted.” Thus changing numbers in a GDP does not necessarily change the world

The final effect is the destruction of nature the natural wealth the grand finale seams to be the annihilation of humanity. This is against the majority Buddhist view in Sri Lanka (ignored by the macaulayites politicians” as expressed in the following View

Buddhist believe that humanity and nature are interdependent quite contrary to the present western philosophy of the hubris that humanity rules nature and that it is in the power of humanity to destroy nature for her material end without a price to pay. The poverty of that philosophy is now gradually dawning on humanity. The Buddhist ecological perspective is best expressed in the Noble Eightfold Path which is the Right View . This view is contained in the doctrine of Patticcasamuppada or Dependent Co-origination, where things exist interdependently not in their own right. The Image of the jewelled net of Indra reflects it. This holistic model undermines the power of the self over others.

Human Development thus is greatly intertwined with nature and it can never grow in harmony isolated. Urbanization in that sense would never be healthy. Buddhism does not believe in absolutism, it believes in relativism and therefore expects humanity to act with a view to ‘Welfare Of The Many’. In other words a Holistic approach to once actions.

Janaka Goonetilleke

PRESENT WORLD ECONOMY

The present world economy is a progression of colonialism that is geared to the enslavement of people and not to the liberation of majority of people both mentally and physically. Exploitation and benefit unfortunately seam to go to the so colonial powers of the start. The whole world has been enmeshed in this devious plan to exploit and subjugate humanity by a small group of people who create the conditions through the IMF and WB. And if any one challenges like Gadaffi of Libya then the full force of violence is let through.

1) The medium of exploitation seam to be the so called international currencies the monopoly money  thus ensuring that the beneficiaries are the creators of money. The fuel that runs this economy is money which is virtual and has no means of proper assessment  of its value. The value being assessed by the markets restricted in the use of currency in a gamblers den, forced globalization and open markets which are geared to sell the birth right of the citizens  in the market by a corrupt group of politicians who are ironically there for a short period of about 5-6 years. The morality of this process has to be questioned. It is this immoral money that keeps the world economy ticking.

2) Secondly the markets are encouraged to grow by a process of brain washing which encourages instant gratification which is a form of addiction not the need. This process is uneconomic as the bought products are not one of need but one of greed.

3) The Christian work ethic – Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who      are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose. (1 Peter 2:18–21)

Very aptly stated by Bishop Tutu- when the white man came he had the bible and we had the land. Then he said let us close our eyes and prey. When we opened our eyes he had the land and we had the bible.

4) Foreign development assistance  where countries  borrow money and build infra structures so that they can sell the citizens to cheap labour in a IMF targeted scheme. In Sri Lanka it is called Regaining Sri Lanka.

  • Inequitable distribution of wealth, which makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. In the future this would make the markets shrink, as the poor will not be able to participate. At the present the poor are given enough un payable loans to enslave them in the future. Based on this the markets will not be able to sustain themselves in the future. The disparity of income would create hate and destabilization of society. It is this disharmony that brought Donald Trump to be President of the USA.

Unknown to the people the currencies have been so manipulated that two people in the family had to work in 2005 where as in 1970 only one person had to work for the same standard of living– Elizabeth Warren /professor of Law Harvard University Bankruptcy of the middle classes.”

EFFECT ON SOCIETY

 ENSLAVEMENT OF THE MIND AND NEW TECHNOLOGY

New technology with out human emotion is destructive. The short termism led by globalization has encouraged the rapid growth of the Internet and social media. This creates a communication system that lacks emotional interaction creating a self centered humans that are the driving force of this economy.

Urbanization and dehumanization

 Urbanization and megacity development is the latest advice for Sri Lanka that is to be adopted by the government. The basis is increasing economic activity or GDP as assed by the international institutions. The increased restriction of space for humans creates insecurity. It is a well recognized in New York where a study has confirmed increased violence in the home and destruction of family life. It is not surprising that violence has permeated into the society in ever increasing forms from generation to generation not forgetting the increased divorce rate and its effect on society and future generations.

From an economic perspective future job prospects and spending on health care, utilities etc have been ignored.

Investment in major cities deprives the rural economies and it is not surprising that people from rural areas have no option to enslavement in the Middle East and into prostitution in the big cities. The growth of spas in Colombo, which are, glorified brothels is an indication of the deprived rural economy. This social disruption is a result of enslavement of the people by a class of rulers who have lost the basic human qualities of compassion and care of fellow human beings.

DESTRUCTION OF THE THREE BASIC ELEMENTS OF THE EARTH –SOIL, AIR, WATER

The three basic elements of the environment are the soil, water and air, which are essential elements for the sustenance of life and the maintenance of bio diversity. The water is the natural conveyor of nutrients, of the byproducts of nature. Water accounts for 65% of the human body and is the conveyor of oxygen, nutrients and the by products. Water is the natural life giver. Today pollution from industrial waste, Nuclear byproducts, refined medicines, insecticides and weedicides. has converted it into the conveyor of death. To explain the multiple ways of its damage to humanity is not possible in a short article. How ever the following can be enumerated.

WATER THE LIFE GIVER NOW THE CARRIER OF DEATH

  • 70% of cancers of humanity are secondary to the weedicides; insecticides and chemicals used in industry and can be prevented according to the American Cancer association. The conveyor of this toxins to humanity is the life giver water. The American chemical companies are now charged for selling weedicides that are causing malignant lymphomas in the USA. Interestingly it is these companies that export these chemicals to the third world having promoted genetically modified plants which needs the chemicals to prevent the diseases these plants are subjected to in their new environment. Cancer villages in China is a well known product of rapid industrialization, After fukushima disaster in japan the pacific sea was polluted by the heavy water ie nuclear waste that would have been carried to humans by eating fish.
  • Growth of algae in streams and rivers when chemical fertilizers interfere with the eco system. These algae deprive oxygen to the fish and other aquatic animals that deprives humanity of a natural food. In addition the flesh of the fish which is a staple diet of Rural people becomes carriers of toxic products to humans and to diseases such as cancers, kidney disease etc.
  • In Sri Lanka deforestation around 400 hectares of forests in 10 years. Deforestation has major effects on humanity.
  1. When ecosystems are disturbed new diseases are introduced to human societies. They recon 24 new diseases have been introduced. The human elephant conflict is a well known problem created in sri Lanka
  2. Blocking the flow of rainwater by trees allows enough time for it to stagnate so that it is absorbed by the soil. With evo evaporation by the forest trees the water is purified. The flowing rainwater can cause landslides and floods that are a recurrent problem in China that has industrialized and amalgamated its economy to the world economy quickly. The trees also gives shade that encourages actinomyces that prevent soil erosion and allows the soil to retain water and maintains porosity which allows water to be absorbed
  3. Deforestation has allowed the weedicides and fertilizers to be directed through the Mahaweli scheme to the North central province where the high levels of Cadmium and heavy metals from fertilizers have effected 15% of the population with Kidney Disease. These are rural period and up till today no effective measures are taken to detoxify the soil. Mahaweli Scheme was started by an ambitious group of politicians whose desire to earn the commissions far out weighed the need to asses the negatives of the scheme. The scheme has failed the country not reaching its expectations The country still imports the fertilizer, as it is absolutely necessary for the tea industry one of the main foreign exchange earners in Sri Lanka. The political class has done nothing to prevent the damage. The import of fertilizer continues. All Cash crops and mono cultural plantations deplete the soil of the nutrients and need fertilizers for its maintenance compounding the effect on humanity.
  1. D) The heavy metals are now distributed to the rest of the country through the medium of Rice and sold to the unsuspecting consumer. The present economic system has failed to take note of the consequence. ( Best way to minimize the damage is to cook rice with excess water and decant it after the rice is cooked which will wash away the Toxins)

INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE

This is another mechanism of causing Global warming and destruction of forests. More concerning is the development of Anti Biotic resistance threatening human health.

POLLUTION OF AIR

The vehicles and industrial by products are emitted to the air, which is recycled by rainwater. Global warming is another effect.

SOIL

Monocultural cultivations deplete the soil of nutrients from a particular layer of the soil, which will not entertain any plants without fertilizers, the hardening of the soil also

HUMAN HEALTH AND DISEASE CAUSED BY THE NEW ECONOMIC ORDER

  • Infertility – Falling sperm counts due to poisons in the water – Sperm count in 1940s in the UK was 100 million /ml today it has fallen to 60million/ml. Other studies have confirmed that 20% of young men have their counts below 20 million /ml which is technically defined as abnormal count with only 15-20% of them being normal sperms. Not forgetting the female infertility due to obesity and late motherhood due to economic necessity.
  • Mental disease due to Stress by living in a confined area and the work ethic that promotes enslavement
  • Increase in cancers. The incident of cancers has doubled from 2005 to 2014 in Sri Lanka.
  • Systemic diseases have increased. From Diabetes, Sleep Apnoea, Obesity, Hypertension etc., which are stress, related.
  • New vector controlled diseases such as dengue etc. due to changes in environment after urbanization.
  • New wave of antibiotic resistance due to industrial agriculture.

Unfortunately these create an extra cost on health care or for the poor who cannot afford it suffering that are not reflected in the Lord of the Economy GDP.

A CYCLICAL ASSESMENT OF THE ECONOMY

A holistic assessment of the economy must adhere to the eastern form of thinking. This gives a holistic view of any project finally giving a well-assessed result. It must be admitted any destruction of the natural state has its consequences nature being perfect which is very much an eastern philosophy. Thus a cyclical assessment will minimize inefficiency and short termism.

CONCLUSION

There is no doubt the present world economy is inefficient. The productive work as expressed by the GDP and other statistical data are misleading hiding the inefficiency of the system. What humans need is happiness and contentment not enslavement. The Great Indian philosopher Rabindranath Tagore in his lecture to the Japanese aptly stated this. He said Modernity is the freedom of the mind not the taste in the tongue Modernization is Imitation. What we are doing today is blindly following a defunct western philosophy that has been forced on our countries in spite of the destruction and destabilization of the environment and never ending proxy wars. Our rulers lack the wisdom that our ancestors firmly believed would establish a fair and just economy. It makes no sense to adopt an economy that increases human suffering but gives the illusion of human well being promoted by fraudulent statistics. The curse of Sri Lanka is that the rulers are far away from the Buddhist Philosophy and too close a western Christian philosophy.

2 Responses to “THE PRESENT WORLD ECONOMY IS ANTI HUMAN – TIME TO RE-THINK – A Sri Lankan Buddhist perspective”

  1. Christie Says:

    I beg to differ Janaka

    ” The curse of Sri Lanka is that the rulers are far away from the Buddhist Philosophy and too close a western Christian philosophy.”

    Our curse is that our economy is in the hands of Indian Colonial Parasite merchants. Our rulers depend on them for funds.

    It is got nothing to do with philosophy.

  2. Cerberus Says:

    Mr. Goonetileke, Thank you for this wonderful article. There was an earlier article written by Shenali Waduge and I put a comment under it which is valid here too. Here is the article below with my comments.

    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016/10/11/capitalist-society-in-disarray-buddhist-compassion-right-livelihood-and-buddhist-bankingeconomics-is-the-answer/

    Dear Shenali, This is a brilliant article far ahead of its time. I agree totally with you. In the long run, the planet cannot sustain meat eating. There is a wonderful book which you can download at this website called “Buddhist case for Vegetarianism” by Roshi Phillip Kapleu. See: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/lifecherish.pdf

    Even from an economic point of view, the unfettered Capitalism which has given rise to mega Corporations which are in the process of destroying our food supply and the planet by global warming are unsustainable.

    There are many top economists who have written on the topic. One of the most outspoken has been Dr. Richard Wolf. His famous talk Capitalism hits the fan is given below. His solution for capitalism is to have democracy in the workplace. The Mondragon Corporation in Spain is actually a large number of Co-operatives under the umbrella of Mondragon. This was set up with the blessings of the Catholic Church. In the USA there are many companies which are run as co-operatives where the employees participate in the decision making of the company affairs by being on the board. In Germany which has been very successful any company with over 2000 employees have to have at least 50% of employees on the board.

    This is why unlike USA Germany is very successful. In 2008 when the recession hit many companies in the USA laid off people in millions. In Germany, the Govt informed the companies not to lay off anyone. They suggested that they can reduce the number of hours of employees but keep all employed. In return, the German Govt paid the wages of the companies who had reduced the number of hours of employees so that no one lost any money. The net result was that the people had money in the pocket and were spending it thereby keeping the economy rolling. They hardly felt the recession, unlike the stupid USA.

    Please watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZU3wfjtIJY ( Capitalism Hits the Fan – Richard Wolff)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WhZXhRS3F4 ( Austerity and Neoliberalism in Greece with Richard Wolff and Barry Herman | The New School)

    Background of Dr. Richard Wolf.
    Academic positions
    Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan.

    Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of the City University of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris (France), I (Sorbonne).

    Education
    BA in History from Harvard College (1963);
    MA in Economics from Stanford University (1964);
    MA in History from Yale University (1967); and a
    Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University (1969)

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