The Republic of Reason with Fergus Quinlan on Kinvara Community Radio 92.4
Welcome listeners, with that wonderful tune; Spartacus by Khachaturian – I sail into the first airing of – The Republic of Reason – I am Fergus Quinlan.
The Republic of Reason: reflects my ongoing and evolving quest for truth and my attempt to understand empathy or the lack of it between humans and towards our planet. This programme can be no more than a thought-provoking romp through;
- How I came to questioning,
- The beginnings of human conscientiousness,
- Exploitative society,
- A book review – Capital in the 21st century by Thomas Piketty
- and of course some excellent music.
Early in my life, for some reason, I always felt compelled to step outside my comfort zone exploring and questioning every thing and every belief; This is my story of beliefs lost and found. I distrust certainty and look at it with sceptical eyes and from different perspectives: I crave for answers to fundamental questions. Questions, such as: where did we came from? Why are we here? Where are we going? And how are we treating this wonderful planet, this could be paradise, our Blue Dot spinning around our personal nuclear furnace …the sun?
The Republic of Reason: springs from a perception of poverty. While there are far too many instances of needless physical and material poverty in this world of plenty, the poverty I speak of in this instance is; A Poverty Of Philosophy: a dreadful epidemic of poor, ill thought out, or contradictory viewpoints. A lack of critical thinking. However, we must remember that most ideas are relative, an idea or action which can brilliantly serve the interests of one person or group can bring harm and havoc to another.
To some, this pursuit of reason might seem like a dreary chase; I do not see it that way. I find exploring the complexities of the world, life and the mind of humanity, most satisfying. Well then! After all this time! Do I have all the answers? Most certainly not. Perhaps I did when I was Twenty One but since then its downhill all the way.
I was born in Cork in 1946 into a warm Catholic family; an early memory was being brought by my mother to the local School, where, as my mother and the principle were talking, I slipped off home, there was some fuss as they searched for me. Perhaps I foresaw that my period in schools would not be a joyful.
During my early years in Cork, there was an outbreak of polio, which proved fortuitous to me, if definitely not for those affected. To get away from the epidemic I was sent to stay with relations on a farm in Mournabbey Co.Cork. A place as happy and free, as the school; was stultifying and confining. On this mixed farm of cattle and cows, dogs and sheep, pigs, geese and horses, I learned so many real and practical things, such as; If you want something – make it, if something breaks= fix it.
You could swim naked and fish in the river, tackle horses and drive tractors – all unsupervised. Two wise uncles of few words guided me, as youths during the war of Independence they had shot and dodged imperial soldiery while raiding local police stations. I started to think and question.
The first intellectual confrontation I remember concerned – of all things …baptism. I could not accept that a newly born baby could be guilty of some sin which needed to be washed away. I bombarded my unfortunate parents with questions, They, unable to provide satisfactory answers sent me off to talk with priests.
This did not improve the situation; Even at the age of twelve, I found their answers to be vague and wishy-washy, I felt they were trying to lose me by searching for words, words I could not understand. At one stage during a convoluted discussion which included a definition of sainthood. I came up with the logical summation that if I shot a load of newly baptised babies, they would all go straight to heaven, whereas the logic went that If I let them live they might all sin during their lives and go to hell. I too, the killer, would be assured a place in heaven, as now, in saint definition terms I had guaranteed a place there for so many little souls. O Dear, O Dear the trouble we can get ourselves into when we stray from science and reason.
Nevertheless, I went on to be an altar boy and learned most of the mass in Latin. But my progress through a Catholic upbringing; was to say the least – erratic. There was a constant lurking alter ego whispering questions in my ear; perhaps it was the devil. I realised eventually that any real challenging logic and critical thinking by humans had throughout the ages been classified as the devil’s work. Examples of critical thinkers, of which there were thousands, would range from Socrates – to Copernicus – to Dawkins.
In my late teens I came up with the toilet roll analogy– think of each sheet of paper as part of my inherited beliefs, religious, political, economic, I examined each one, and if they did not stand up to rational scrutiny, they were discarded. In time I was left with a hollow cardboard tube – when I looked through it was empty. My belief systems were running on almost empty, I was scared. Nihilism abounded. I tried to lose myself in the interests of the world such as sport, rugby, football, hurling and the hundreds of other diversions I might involve myself. None grabbed my mind and soul except walking the mountains or paddling the rivers… or girls, but that is instinctive, and that is another story.
Having been a very average student, I struggled through the horrors of primary and secondary training – there were, of course, a few teachers who’s bright enlightenment was the exception. They shone even brighter due to the general surrounding darkness. Then through a series of chances, I managed to get into the Cork School Of Art to study Architecture, it was like stepping into heaven, I loved it, I thrived, I could think in four dimensions and express myself ..perhaps for the first time.
During that period, I went to London every summer for about three months to work and help with my upkeep and fees to, assist my parents somewhat. London was very good to me in so many ways, a city, bursting with life, love, intellectual freedom, good people and great memories, a city I still love and enjoy.
As a very earnest architectural student, I prowled the city with pencil and pad sketching up details and images of structure. One faithful day I found myself sitting in a small Christopher Wren designed church, through the haze of time I can not recall its name, but it had a balcony with a magnificent organ. As I sat there alone in this very quiet contemplative space, thinking no doubt great philosophical and architectural thoughts, I heard a slight rustling of papers from somebody unseen in the overhead balcony. Then suddenly with a crash, the space exploded with the sound of a mighty organ. I was transfixed.
(2min) MUSIC burst. Toccata and fuge by JS Bach
As I emersed myself in the music It became a moment of transformation and clarity. Everything began to make sense. The stone for the church had been quarried, carried and laid in place by hundreds of skilled workers and artisans. Likewise, the beautifully detailed timbers had been felled, sawn and crafted into countless elegant carvings, pieces of furniture and structure. The architect had drawn the plans and details, countless others in workshops and on-site had assembled the myriad of materials into the elegant building in which I was now seated.
Likewise, someone had designed, and others built the magnificent organ. I found out in due course that the music that crashed over my head was The Toccata and Fugue composed by Johan Sabastian Bach, he had written down this amazing music, this was now being read and played by my unknown and unseen musician in the balcony overhead. With deep emotion I let the sound play out.
As I slowly left the building I relooked at the city of London and indeed the world, I realised that all I saw and heard had been produced by the genius of collective humanity, and I was extremely proud to find myself now part of that. My species had produced everything; I had a philosophical ownership of everything ….. but it came with a large price…. Responsibility, yes the onerous burden of responsibility.
We need some soft music to celebrate this awakening………….. Morning Mood —by the Norwegian composer Edwerd Grieg written in 1875.
This is The Republic of Reason with Fergus Quinlan on Kinvara FM your Local Community Radio. Please email with any comments positve or negitive at; firstname.lastname@example.org (kinvara with one R)
I ended the last part of the programme with responsibility…Responsibility needs – consciousness , let us plunge – briefly- very briefly – into the birth of human consciousnes. I will presume that my listeners are well past debates on evolution Vs creation. I liken that to engaging with a flat earth proposals; so we won’t go there. There is a livelier and more challenging discussion by engaging with the rise of human consciousness and some key questions;
How can we humans be so kind and caring, and or why can we be so cruel and violent?
- Are we born with savage animal instincts which require control by law and religion?
2, Are we born with loving and caring instincts which are changed for the worse or corrupted by our social structures?
If the answer is 2…. Then we humans have the potential to create a more contented society and one which would care for the planet ….. by altering the social structures.
These questions and contradictions forge our intellect and social order. I begin on the premise that we all strive for survival, for peace, for happiness and contentment, for paradise, in this life – or the next!
When the word paradise and hope raise their heads, we never associate them with things, with possessions, with work or even money, When we lie on our deathbed, we never look back and wish that we had accumulated more things or had spent more time a work. ….. Our dominant wish and theme always appears to be; some social achievement or Love;
We long for love; Almost all our songs are about love, love lost, love gained, the quest for love – in poetry, music, and religion is relentless, it reflects the core of what we as humans are. While survival and replication are our two most powerful instincts, love and caring are the underlying themes, to love and be loved is the mainspring of happiness, it is——a unifying self-less-ness which we struggle to explain.
After the big bang; a chaotic universe organised itself into stars, planets and galaxies. On earth, combinations of chance, environment and natural selection integrated atoms into molecules, elements into organisms and multicellular organisms evolved eventually into humans. The continuous formation of material, social and intellectual life into more complex forms, provides a purpose and meaning to life. It implies that in the formation of larger entities, the welfare of the compound unit, is considered above that of its parts.
Understanding this may give us the hope that the present chaotic and contradictory nature of our human existence may be resolved by a natural movement towards the welfare of the compound unit …humanity and its planet.
We have evolved an intellect that enables us to comprehend our past, present and perhaps secure OR destroy our future; we can (with at times some doubt) claim to be the most advanced animal form. We are the only species to have this consciousness and the only beings able to understand the relevance of our existence within the evolutionary train of chemistry, biology, intelligence, culture and technology. This knowledge can make or break us.
Our DNA links us to primates such as bonobos our ape ancestors 12 to 4 million years ago, creatures motivated solely by instinct. When brain power evolved, we became human. This gradual change occurred over a very long time; there was never the last primate or a first human. As our intellect developed, it brought awareness and delight, we saw the beauty of life on earth and began to comprehend its origins and complexity. However, it also meant that we could for the first time understood our mortality.
It is vital to understand that all our conscious thoughts, including what we would refer to as our spiritual side have a physical material basis in chemistry and the microscopic details of neurones. Our understanding of the human brain is growing rapidly. The intellect is all-embracing, striving to comprehend everything from the cosmos and all its workings to the creation of art and music. It is very hard for many to accept and a bit scary that our most ethereal emotions such as love or the appreciation of music dwell within the remit of such ‘mere’ chemistry.
The fact that everything is material and that the machinations of the mind spring from material foundations, place all ideas, feelings and love within the realms of science. For the first time, we can begin to grapple with our minds and spiritual feelings on a rational basis. We are in a position to scientifically understand and measure human emotions, love and the longing for love, the origins and strength of religious beliefs, and the longing for paradise. We can uncover what lies in our ancient instincts. We can explore these instincts, embedded in our physic and discover if they host the ‘voice’ of our conscience, a sense which – when now linked with our intellect offers the clearest definition of humanity and its morality
The human brain, our repository of memory and creativity remains one of the most incredible mysteries of nature. Imaging studies have recently shown its general organisation and how different regions of the brain react to and regulate certain tasks. This knowledge combines with the world of paleo-an-thropology [science of hominid fossil] and links the development of these various sections of the brain to stages of our evolution.
This following interpretation of the brain is very simplified, an approximation by a non-expert in the field.
- Reptilian area, which evolved to support multi-cell structures as they moved from plant to animal life form. It tends to be rigid, compulsive, repeating the same behaviours, it controls muscles, balance breathing, heartbeat, and replication.
- The middle brain’ seeks the avoidance of pain and the repetition of pleasure, associated with social bonding and nurturing, Formed during the late period of our primate ancestors, within a matriarchal period of society.
- Finally, the ‘newly’ evolved neocortex, a cluster of brain structures concerning itself with reason, invention, planning and abstract thought. This evolved only about 200,000 years ago.
These areas of the mind originated at different stages of evolution, they resemble three interconnected biological computers, each echoing the function and time of their development, but mainly interact.
The interaction and at times conflict between these brain sections are a fundamental aspect of the human condition. These three stages of growth by our evolving species are mirrored within each of us as we develop from a child to adult.
Animals such as we were, are creatures mainly of instinct, Instincts which drove our survival and replication. The instincts in the ‘older’ section of our brain are a legacy which still act within us. Until recently, the dominant belief was that we had inherited ‘savage animal instincts’ which needed control by the laws of society or the regulations of Gods.
However, evidence now indicates that we evolved from a caring and social primate comparable to the present-day Bonobos. Such a precursor developed due to a set of fortunate circumstance; they had a vegetarian diet with little or no competition for resources, no visual predators and no dominant fighting males. They had a surplus of vegetarian and fruit food. In comparison with other animals, Bonobos spend a very long time nurturing and training their young. This extended care and nurturing occurring as it did over a long evolutionary period was the foundations of our instincts.
Fossil discoveries of the period show evidence that the ability to walk upright would have been a factor in a long love-indoctrination process, one which would have occurred while our ancestors were inhabiting ideal nursery conditions. The discovery of small canine teeth in early hominid fossils is crucial. It indicates a general lack of aggression within the group; it also points to unique attributes within the social structures. Male competition for mating is common within many species. Such competition would be indicated by a heavier build and pronounced fighting teeth; this does not appear to be the case.
Canine teeth reduction could be enhanced by female sexual selection to mate with non-aggressive, more cooperative males who would play a role in a social order focused on the welfare of infants. These fundamental indicators appear in our ancestors before they had enlarged brains and began the use of tools. Present day observation of existing bonobos supports this evidence from the past. These, our closest living relatives, are seen to be nurturing, peaceful and matriarchal.
While genetic traits have to be ‘selfish’ to survive, from the infant’s perspective, long-term nurturing appears unselfish. The mother provides her offspring with food, warmth, shelter and protection for apparently nothing in return. A child immersed in such prolonged infancy and unselfish love will be indoctrinated with that ethos and grow up behaving accordingly. Such conditions lasting millions of years through the formation of our species would entrench these instincts for sociability, cooperation, sharing and love.
The transition of an aminal motivated by loving caring instinct into a thinking conscious human who began to negate these caring and loving ways – is seen In Biblical analogies as a loss of innocence by the gaining of knowledge, this was the fall, the taking of the forbidden fruit. A storey may be, but the conflict between the old instinct and the new intellect resonates deeply within the human psyche.
The emergence of the human intellect brought profound change. The cognisant human is aware, it can plan, it can see cause and effect, it has the sense of “I am”, the realis
ation and fear, of death. Where previously, our species had instinctively cooperated in gathering food, the evolved human could now intellectually collaborate. It was a great leap forward, leading to the emergence of agriculture. Organised agriculture was a far more efficient way of food production; this led in turn to a stored food surplus.
The following piece of music; The ride of the Valkyries by Wagner perhaps signals the conflicts ahead……
This is The Republic of Reason with Fergus Quinlan on Kinvara FM your local community radio. I would be delighted with any response to the show positive or negative, Contact me by email; email@example.com (Kinvara with one R)
PART 3 935 words ( 7.24 min)
Back to food surplus…. This food surplus and the land that produced it became the first wealth which required guarding against other groups still engaged in hunting-gathering or animal predation. The guardians eventually developed into a full-time army with leadership that in due course claimed ownership of the surplus and the land that produced it; private property was born.
The element required to clear the ground, work the land and create the surplus was labour. The surplus was Capital, a value created by workers. Stored grain was akin to stored labour, a tradeable commodity. Wealth and an exploitative society were born. These developments did bring two changes to the human species as a whole; I. the overall productivity increased, and 2. for the first time it permitted an upper class to exist, this upper-class was liberated from work, this allowed the pursuit of knowledge and ultimately the emergence of science. But it came with a price; it required the labour, and the bondage of the majority.
The rise of an exploitative social order marked the rise of military patriarchial leadership and the fall of the matriarchal society. This Military /King class felt it essential to pass the benefits of their ownership and conquests to their heirs; they had to know that their assumed sons and daughters were actually theirs, and theirs alone. This in turn required the privatisation, ownership and control of the female. Thus was introduced, the institution of marriage.
Henceforth, the economic and social order would be patriarchal, motivated by competitive greed and wealth would spring from the exploitation of human labour, nature and resources. The ruling status quo established the state to enforce and protect this new situation by carrots food and shelter and stick – punishment, imprisonment and execution.
AS I said, this order allowed the rise of a class that could devote time to the development of mathematics, art, literature, science, law. However, human intelligence and curiosity constantly stimulated questions that science was not at that stage able to explain; thunder, lightning, rain, sun, moon, birth and death. Humans gathering around their castles and campfires filled this void of knowledge by creating answers with stories. Stories were eventually personalised by the creation of Gods; these gods and fear helped the creation and imposition of rules to guide the individual and society. For of course – the benefit of the status quo. These gods also provided a conduit back to the instinctive memory of a happy – caring time embedded in the older human brain, a lost paradise, the garden of Eden, heaven. This place of happiness became the location where life everlasting would exist. Thus beliefs formed to confront the realisation of death and indeed banish death itself with promises of paradise and life everlasting. These ideas linking back to memories held deep within the older primitive instinctive brain could well explain the resilience of religious concepts in the face of reason and science. Perhaps the maxim of the Jesuits “give me the boy and I will show you the man”, might well be applied to all humanity – “give me young humanity, and I will show you humankind”.
So here we have the kernel of the issue that affects individual humans and society in general; Born with instincts that are caring and loving but now forced to live in a dog eat dog society. Conflict and alienation were the results.
So we humans, are torn between our embedded instinct of empathy and love and the reality of needless death and destruction of war, the poverty, the unfair and unequal culture that surrounds us. We are forced to participate in a society driven by competitive greed, and exploitation. We are bombarded by propaganda to consume, consume, consume, in a society riven by divisions of class, colour and creed. For whether one is being exploited,or one is exploiting others, it brings alienation, an alienation that is the root of stress. The realisation that we have constructed our economy and social structures in such a way as to reduce almost everything, including ourselves to a commodity is indeed tragic realisation. Most individuals experience guilt about their role in the society, but consciously or unconsciously negate it, the matrix of media, mass entertainment, commercialised sport and all manner of mind-altering substances help in this quest.
Most teenagers go through a difficult time deciding how to deal with these conflicts. The majority manage to find a comfort zone within the existing social order. About the same time, they become conscious of their mortality they seek to escape in a million diversions, drink and drugs. In extremis, it can lead to depression, which can drive some, unfortunately, to take their own life.
Most people, as I said find a comfort zone, they build self-esteem and status by seeking the respect of society and their peers, part of that struggle will be establishing a sexual identity which links to attraction and the driving forces of replication. They strive for peer group approval, for social status and success, through money, possessions, cars, fashion and trophies. Many fall for a frenzy of consumerism fuelled by debt. Others seek approval and peer bonding with their group through sport, drugs, tattoos, driving fast, and fashion — some more positive than others. Either way, most will try to avoid the problems of the human condition. By their early twenties, most will have control of their turmoil and found a recipe for survival.
Some, having seen and understood the problems will try to resolve them. That in itself does not provide a life free of angst, but it does provide a degree of satisfaction, as does any engagement to form society in a more equitable, non-divisive and sustainable direction.
We now need some beautiful music to smooth our way…..
The Gadfly, was a novel by Irish writer Ethel Lilian Boole born in Cork in 1864. Almost unknown in the west the book sold over 5 million copies mainly in the Soviet Union where it was made into a film. The score was written by Demetri Shostakovich, Played here on violin by the inimitable Nicola Benedetti, she takes my breath away…..once there is music like this, there is hope, hope indeed for all.
This is The Republic of Reason with Fergus Quinlan on Kinvara FM your local community radio. I would be delighted with any response to the show positive or negative, Contact me by email; firstname.lastname@example.org (Kinvara with one R)
PART 4. 1338 words ( 15min)
Das Kapital was written by a fairly impoverish Karl Marx in London. Published in 1867. It was a foundational text in materialist philosophy, economics and politics and was, one of the most import books of the last century. It put the basic elements of society under scientific scrutiny. The book influenced dramatic economic and political changes which still resonate. It was a work I did not find easy to digest. But regardless, the conflict between Capital and Labour of which he spoke and the concentration of capital have not gone away they have intensified.
The accelerating accumulation of wealth in the hands of fewer people will bring growing anger over the coming decade unless action is taken to reverse the trend. An alarming projection by the House of Commons library suggests that if trends seen since the 2008 financial crash were to continue, then the top 1% will hold 64% of all the world’s wealth by 2030. The wealth of the richest 1% has been growing at an average of 6% a year – much faster than that of the remaining 99% of the world’s population. This trend is likely to be accelerated by robotics and Artificial intelligence.
But wealth is more than money in a bank; for it allows control over every facet of the social order, it controls all – media, politics, law and builds the state as its protector. Thus the 1% support with all their resources the politics and politicians who support the existing system. They use their resources and media to demonise any politician or social effort to redistribute that wealth.
But there is resistance; the workers with trade unions, left-wing political parties and mass movements of all kinds and at time bloody revolutions. See the events in France.
The battle is to extend democracy, not just over politics but over Capital continues. The status quo cries foul and fights for ‘freedom’ freedom of capital. It is imperative for them to do everything they can to disguise the true nature of the conflict. But a class battle goes on – labour vs capital which brings me to a book I have recently read and is bang up-to-date.
Capital in the 21st Century is written by the French economist Thomas Piketty, at 680 pages its quite a weighty – but worthy tome. It is well worth the effort for those who might wish to understand modern corporate capitalism. Published in 2013, it became an unlikely bestseller. It prompts debate on the outlook for global inequality.
It argues for a pronounced shift in the focus of government economic policy toward redistribution and points out some dire consequences if this does not happen. The book draws a decade of research by Piketty, detailing historical changes in the concentration of income and wealth. It sketches the evolution of inequality since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries western European society was highly unequal. Private wealth dwarfed national income and was concentrated in the hands of relatively few rich families all within – a rigid class structure.
But wealth breeds arrogance, and when that arrogance combined with Nationalism, it almost brought about the destruction of their entire system. In Europe and beyond the ruling class squabbled over access to foreign resources and wished to extend their wealth and power. With control over education, the church, the media, and state they persuaded millions of young men to march off to war. The call of the communists for peace and- “workers of the world unite” was overcome by nationalism, and with artillery, gas, machinegun and bayonet the workers of the world were led out and slaughtered each other on an industrial scale. Capitalist- imperialist greed brought The First World War. And the deaths of about 20 million people.
But the masses were not fully compliant, socialist and democratic ideas were everywhere, anti-imperialist movements flourished. In Russia, the Tsar fell in the face of a bourgeois revolution, which was quickly followed by a socialist one. The Russian Imperial army left the trenches and went home, that army then mainly became the Red Army fighting in a civil war and against 16 foreign armies who invaded and were attempting to recover the lost investments of their masters. However, they were routed and failed to defeat the Revolution. In Germany, the socialist revolution failed, but it did result in the declaration of a Republic and huge democratic gains. In Ireland, an anti-imperialist revolution succeeded.
The spectre of communism was haunting Europe, fear if not terror gripped the ruling classes. Millions of unhappy hardened soldiers were returning from the trenches. To prevent the spread of socialism, the rulers made democratic concessions everywhere, health and education services improved, mass housing was instigated. Massive transfers of wealth took place from the top down. Governments imposed high taxes on wealth, inflation, bankruptcies and the growth of welfare states caused the affluence of the few to shrink dramatically; it ushered in a period in which both income and wealth became distributed in a relatively egalitarian fashion.
But the enemies of Socialism never sleep! The class war in Germany raged on until the status quo faced with the prospect of a new Lenin or Hitler opted for the latter – and fascism, a form of national capitalism on speed took power. Thus with ‘God is with us’ on their uniforms the German army conquered most of Europe before it turned its attention on Soviet Russia, for its main objective was the crushing of socialism, a move that was to be its downfall. The Second World War caused about 63 million deaths.
The Soviet Union which lost 25 million people in the Second World War became the USSR had been seriously injured by the war and by the following cold war – tragically collapsed in 1991. With that, the philosophy of socialism suffered a terrible blow. Capital now saw its chance to regain all it had lost. From the Milton Friedman and the Chicago School, a conservative revolution began to assert itself. Deregulation of economics became the order of the day – the philosophy was – that the unfettered market would solve everything. This ideology has now gripped the majority of countries including Ireland. The progress made against capital of the early 20th century faded, labour power has diminished, relative incomes, job security, holidays, quality of life – all fall. Competitive greed is now the accepted driver of the economy; the greediest and most competitive arrive at the top, wealth is then supposed to trickle-down to everyone else, (it doesn’t) but it is a theory that is accepted by our main political parties.
However, it transpires that if and when the bankers and bondsmen gamble for high stakes and loose, the people will pick up the tab? Modern capitalism certainly works very well – for the few. We can see the appalling result everywhere, corruption – rough sleeping, housing shortages, rack-renting, the crisis in hospitals, education, shoddy privatisation. etc. After the last misfire of capitalism, the crash, well-paid government ministers managed to bequeath every last one of us, including newborn babies a debt of €42,800 per head. But as they control the compliant media, who in turn control the mind of the people. We will continue to elect them and pay ..…look up the; www.nationaldebtclock.org/ Ireland…..and watch your wealth flicker away, you may not be amused.
Piketty points out that the main driver of wealth accumulation is the tendency for returns on capital to exceed economic growth. But he also points out the while public wealth appears to be zero, private wealth in Europe is at an all-time high. The nations of Europe have never been so rich, but this is distributed very unequally. Private wealth rests on public poverty; we pay so much on interest it weighs heavily against our ability to spend on the people’s real needs, housing, health, education and welfare.
Capital in the 21st century, calls for debt reduction by a progressive tax on private capital, an extension of democracy over Capital. But of course, such a move would be thwarted, for private high capital is protected by the very brightest of accountants and lawyers, it would be quickly moved to offshore accounts. Thus, to be successful, any taxation must be globally agreed and globally enforced. To those who might argue that the rich deserve their wealth gained due to hard work, he refers to Lilian Bettencourt who inherited L’Oréal, between 1990 and 2010 her wealth increased from €1.7 billion to €22 billion. Or about €2.8 million per day in interest and capital accumulation. Not bad for a person who never worked a day in their life.
Capitalism has been successful in harnessing labour to produce what is no doubt – a vast array of consumer goods. The system dazzles us night and day, to buy, gamble, escape, spend, be happy – borrow. Against the natural empathy, of humanity, it seems to spread a poisonous promise that happiness comes from shallow achievements and the procession of things! It brings about an unprecedented rise in alienation.
But another problem is knocking ever more loudly at the door. Our beautiful blue planet is calling for help. When I was born, 3.5 Billion people were living on earth, that has now grown to over 7 billion, that is 220,000 new people every day, with all their attendant animals and crops, all-consuming and all-dumping. Also within this finite world, there is an infinite unsustainable drive for new markets, new products that flood our houses, our land and our seas. Capitalism with its inbuilt dynamic for growth and expansion is the antithesis of what is required.
What is required; Is a social order that extends democracy over economics, a shift from expansion to redistribution, then we need to achieve a universal responsibility for the planet and to achieve that, to get everyone, in on the act we need to develop political and economic universal ownership.
For will not any capitalist say that ownership is the only thing that ensures responsibility.
O’dear – So many challenges…so many solutions, to which I hope to return,,,, My book “The Republic of Reason & The poverty of Philosophy .” is available through the website; www.therepublicofreason.ie or in Mr.Burkes local Kinvara Londis supermarket.
I would welcome any comments or questions on the programme, positive or negative and would love to discuss them; please email me at email@example.com (That’s kinvarra with one r)
But time is knocking on my door here at your local Kinvara community radio, so goodbye for now and thank you for listening. I will sail off as I sailed in ….
Music exit as intro; Spartus adgio by Katachurion.
Other programmes would be themed by the reviewed books; SUCH AS:
The Shock Doctrine; Naomi Klien – international politics, economics and war,
Chasing the scream; Johann Hari – Drugs, drink, addiction,
The Selfish Gene; Richard Dawkins – the power of replication, sex education.
Society without God; Phil Zuckerman – Humanism.