Our Planetary Ship Will Flounder Unless The Passengers Mutiny
By Ed Finn, CCPA Monitor, November 2012.
Those who read science fiction are familiar with the concept of time travel. I wonder sometimes what would happen if our corporate moguls were to travel into the future in a time machine and see first-hand the catastrophic results of their current practices. Would the spectacle of a devastated planet stripped of human life shock them into changing their ways when they returned to the present? I’m not sure it would.
Much would depend on how far in the future the last spark of human life was snuffed out. If it was before the end of this century, when the CEOs grandchildren (and maybe even some of their children) would be among the victims of corporate genocide, then perhaps they would seriously consider abandoning their malignant free market system. But what if they found that the descendants would somehow survive – maybe under glass domes or underground – for another 500 or even 1,000 years? Then I doubt if the CEOs would feel motivated enough to flee their mansions and executive suites to become Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace activists. Why should they sacrifice their opulent lifestyles for the benefit of people not yet born?
It is this selfish and ultimately suicidal mindset that has put human kind in such a peril. It is the mindset of those who wield the power to shape our collective future: the CEOs, the bankers, the stock market speculators, and the servile politicians they control. Most people don’t share their leaders’ megalomania, but they’ve been persuaded that “there is no alternative” to the global corporate empire, so they have learned to accept (however uneasily) the social injustice and ecological havoc it inflicts.
Our plight could be likened to that of passengers on a ship that is being rapidly and recklessly steered over a storm-tossed, iceberg-dotted sea. They have been told the captain is the world's best, so they try to relax and enjoy the trip, but some are beginning to suspect he is a maniac. The question is whether the passengers will find out before the ship strikes an iceberg and sinks – and whether, even with this knowledge, they will dare wrest the steering wheel away from their mad helmsman.
The ship is already in “Iceberg Alley.” The waves are getting higher, the night darker, and a fatal impact ever closer. We don’t need a time machine to figure out when the ship will flounder. We already know a collision is inevitable unless the passengers replace their demented captain with someone dedicated to a sustainable voyage.
The longer this mutiny is delayed, the greater the danger to all aboard. Where’s Fletcher Christian when we need him?