Recanting The Common Good

Of late there are two global issues—climate change and COVID-19 pandemic–that make quite clear what those who are in charge of human society truly care about and are concerned with.

As twenty-six climate summits have come and gone, humankind has yet to truly commit to doing what is absolutely necessary to avert our very own destruction—think self-annihilation, suicide. So, why is global warming not seen as the existential threat that it is? Having this understanding with its corresponding action will hurt the economy and thus impinge upon profit-making.

So, again, why is global warming not seen as an existential issue but a (business) problem nonetheless?
 It offers the potential for increased environmental regulation (government overreach is the problem)
 It increases the cost of doing business (but of course will be passed on)
 It increases companies’ healthcare benefit cost (but of course will be passed on)
 It impinges upon profit
.
.
Similarly, environmental cancer-causing pollution is a concern, because:
 It offers the potential for increased government—e.g. EPA/OSHA–regulation (government overreach impinges on profit)
 It shortens the life of productive workers
 It reduces the labor pool
 It increases companies’ costs, such as healthcare benefit cost (which can be passed on)
 It impinges upon profit, unless your business is in the symptom relief/treatment business

Today’s other global issue is the COVID-19 pandemic. Why haven’t the COVID-19 vaccine producers, as well as elected officials, enabled vaccine manufacture and thus distribution world-wide that would (likely) stop the spread of the virus and the emergence of future mutations?
 There’s relatively no material gain in doing so
 Belief that maximizing (their) profit is a right—patent protection
 Demand must continue to exceed supply (for maximum profit of course)
.
.

In The Mind of Those In Charge
Why do the business-minded (which includes elected officials) continue decision-making as they do?
 Economic (self) interests!
 Pursuit of unlimited material growth requires it!
 Mustn’t let indisputable scientific facts get in the way of pursuing what we want!
 There is so much more (yet) to exploit!
 There is so much more profit (yet) to accumulate!

Are the business-minded behaving rationally?
 To be rational in behavior essentially means to act in accordance with one’s intent
 If the intent is to pursue unlimited material growth—material self-interest—then of course the behavior is in relation to this intent: it is rational behavior.

But the essential question to explore is, is the intent rational in the context of life itself?
Rational, or in relation to what? Sustaining one’s viability as a living being?
 With the overarching intent being the pursuit of unlimited economic growth, and given a finite Natural world, the intent is not sustainable or as the business-minded like to say, it is not scalable.

Then, why don’t these people simply stop?
 Their worldview/system of orientation—the basis of capitalism—is about economic growth, not the common good and human progress, so their reasoning makes sense. That is, in the context of capitalism it is quite rational.
 They are addicted to material gain/profit

Need to Kick the Habit
The following question explains the above while answering itself:
Why is it that in the US (at least) the issue that its expensive we can’t afford it is raised when it comes to policy/legislation addressing the common good (e.g. climate change, universal healthcare, education) yet when it comes to policy/legislation benefiting the wealthy class (e.g. tax cuts for the wealth, funding war) the policy/legislation passes without the issue ever being raised?

This recanting of the care and concern for the common good, for humankind, is not an inevitability in human society. It is a human made phenomenon grounded in the worldview of capitalism, but it is not the only worldview upon which human society can be ordered. Contrary to what some have claimed way back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, there are alternatives.

The intent of life doesn’t have to be material self-interest maximization—a Hunger Game existence—which only serves the wealthy class. It is not our destiny to experience life in a society of competing individuals each seeking his/her self-interest—of a bunch of MEs wanting it all–with total disregard for the effect upon others. Isn’t this the kind of behavior you’d expect from an addict?

Acknowledging the need to kick the habit, to cease supporting (and cooperating with) business as usual means rejecting the maxim that ensuring the profitability of the corporation outweighs sustaining the viability of life itself. It means that you understand that conducting business as usual intensifies our problems, that it is suicidal to continue to do so. In the larger scheme of a life affirming worldview, human life is not merely a resource for the economic-engine.

One thought on “Recanting The Common Good

  1. Well stated, Gregory. That is the real and fundamental issue. What is rationality when human survival is subordinated to yield on equity?

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