Saturday, 28 November 2009

an asinine analysis

The global capitalist system as it currently operates encourages individuals, as well as corporations and countries, to spend all their time putting together their own private piles, around which they then proceed to erect tall fences with signs saying, in bold letters, ‘Keep off! This is mine!’ This is the unfortunate result of a system in which every material thing can be had if you can afford the price, from exotic, out-of-season vegetables to a trip to the International Space Station, and it is not a good use of finite and now rapidly dwindling resources, especially when the thing in question is neither necessary nor useful. This type of behaviour, this greasy pole of accumulation, can achieve only short-term rewards for a lucky few while sacrificing any prospect of long-term communal gains. And in the long run it is completely unsustainable. There is an appropriate word for this behaviour: avarice has all the right credentials to be that word, but there is another word that has an even stronger claim to be the right one to use here. Stupidity. Selfishness comes into the picture too, but that word merely underlines the stupidity of mindless acquisition: notice that the initial letters of the three words spell ‘ass’, which can be taken to mean whatever you like in this context, but one should not forget that the ass has been nothing more than a beast of burden throughout human history and is noted chiefly for obstinacy and not being very smart.

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