Real Conservation is a Heresy That Threatens the Core Beliefs of Consumer Capitalism

“Workers of the World, Unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains!”- The Communist Manifesto, 1848

The most thought provoking article i ran into yesterday - Labour Day - about the gestalt of the 99% was written by Gary Engler, vice-president of CEP Local 2000 and the co-author a new book titled 'The New Commune-ist Manifesto — Workers of the World It Really is Time to Unite'. Engler's article, 'Work Is Undervalued in Society’s Obsession with ‘Stuff’ asks, Why is there so much attention paid to people as consumers, but so little to people as workers? Is it because the mere mention of our rights as workers suggests uncomfortable truths that threaten the very ideological foundations of the current economic system?

IMO, the framing of this second question unfairly limits the range of answers because the only ideas or opinions on every issue that are given a turn at the mainstream media's microphone are those that don't "threaten the very ideological foundations of the current economic system". The doctrine of neo-liberalism, like all belief systems, fears heresy above all. Why? Because once a person thoroughly believes in a doctrine, every question must be answered by that doctrine's dogma, everything he or she sees, everything that happens is a manifestation of the doctrine's 'truth'. Neo-liberals see the 'free market' as the solution to everything because it's a core 'truth' that can't be changed or even challenged without the whole house of cards tumbling down.

Accepting the imaginary 'free market' belief system mandates that a person defines themselves within the doctrine's terms of reference. By neo-liberal definition we are all consumers. This imaginary 'free market' is of course bullshit as both the original Communist Manifesto written in 1848 and Engler's newer version points out. The 'free market' flimflam is the problem not the solution. it takes real wealth away from workers and all other parts of nature and gives it to a the elites. The 'free market' doesn't create jobs it replaces workers with machines [inappropriate technology] financed by the banks. The imaginary 'free market' steals worker's wealth as it devalues their hard earned wages by making them equal with fiat currency and interest created out of thin air by banks.

Abraham Lincoln pointed out in his first state of the union address, "The real makers are the many ground-level workers who actually do the making. Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." Today those common sense ideas of Lincoln's wouldn't be given access to the microphone because they overturn the imaginary neo-liberal applecart.

When Engler goes on to say, "Even some unions become complicit in this alienation, focusing exclusively on squeezing out more money, in essence agreeing that what really counts is consuming. Instead, workers and their unions must learn to dream bigger. We must learn to demand more than simply being able to buy more stuff." he approaches the boundary of what's culturally acceptable by liberal and conservative alike, wanting less .

Consider this simple thought experiment: What would happen if everyone were to suddenly embrace a Gandhian ethic of voluntary simplicity? Commerce would contract; jobs would vanish; pension funds would lose value; tax revenues would shrivel, and so would government services. The result would be a deep, long-lasting economic depression, a collapse.

"As all economists know, a decline in consumer spending, confidence, and optimism, can plunge an economy into recession. This entirely uncontroversial view is one step away from its categorical version which turns out to be the foundation of liberal economics: that not only can a lack of demand cause a recession, the lack of demand—when considered in its broadest sense--is really the ONLY thing that could cause an economic recession or slow down." - Erik Lindberg

Those most heretical ideas of - wanting less, consuming less, real conservation of the biosphere we are embedded in - turn out to be the only ones that can save us from the imaginary neo-liberal 'free market' belief system that is consuming the earth and our identity. Those who find solace by conforming to the safety of any belief system should read Jared Diamond's Collapse, and weep.