IN THE ‘90’s, a popular candidate for the US presidency coined a campaign cliché that clicked with the voters that catapulted him to the presidency.
“It’s the economy stupid!,” a simple hashtag reverberated throughout the land that somehow convinced the voters that what really mattered then was the economy and all the nitty-gritty of economic development, i.e., employment, income, infrastructure and what have you, and discussing other issues was just plain stupidity.
Yes, that kind of mindset thrives well in a country that has to perpetuate its stranglehold of economic power in the world whose top eight billionaires have consolidated wealth which is equivalent to the total combined assets of 3.6 billion people on earth or half of the world’s population (based on an Oxfam Study). With economic power goes with it military might. I wasn’t surprised when I got an information that there was a time in recent history when the US was the one supplying armaments to two warring factions in the Middle East. War, after-all, is good business whose stocks of powerful weapons can kill the people of the world forty times over.
Yes, it’s the economy, stupid! Could this be the mindset of US corporations that have dumped excess production of milk and wheat to the sea every time there is over production so as not to affect the law of supply and demand? I’ve read this in a Canadian Library when I visited my sister teaching in the University of Western Ontario in the ‘90s.
I was not even surprised upon knowing that a US Trans-National Corporation, Monsanto, was the one which supplied the US military with “yellow rain,” which was used against the Vietnamese guerillas during the Vietnam war. “Yellow rain” was the term used to toxic chemicals poured out like rains to kill the forests where the guerillas were hiding. The more I was not surprised when I knew that it is Monsanto that invented the genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) that have replaced our endemic natural crops (i.e., rice, corn, etc.) to so-called High Yielding Varieties (HYVs), which are subservient to the use of toxic chemicals that have already contaminated our water tables. Yes, everyone has profited from farming i.e., fertilizer and chemical dealers, except the farmers.
Today, let us reflect deeply on the implication of that mindset that what is important is the economy. That money must be used to make more money is a flawed paradigm that is based on the growth-at-all-cost development strategy, also known as the Neo-Liberal Capitalism. That growth-centered paradigm may have improved the economy but at the expense of the people and the environment.
The truth is, that paradigm is now being debunked worldwide especially by concerned citizens in the US who are initiating a world-shift. Even His Holiness, Pope Francis, in his latest Encyclical, Laudatu si’, has questioned that money-must-grow principle. Yes money must be used not to make more money but to enhance the quality of life of the people.
In fact, no less than the United Nations has issued the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to stop poverty, stop social injustices and inequities, protect the environment, etc. underscoring the importance of the cooperatives to be transformative for people, planet, prosperity and peace.
It is not the economy, anymore but the environment that is of utmost importance. The truth is, in the absence of a major change, the global system will collapse in less than one hundred years because of the unsustainability in the economy where only a few oligarchs are in control and the unsustainability in the ecology. Yes, global warming, melting of the iceberg, the extinction of the species, the rising of the oceans and the depletion of the ozone layer are concrete proof and evidence that we are now facing our own extinction.
Don’t you know that for every one Celsius increase in global temperature, there will be a corresponding 10 percent reduction in food production. As the earth warms, the insects’ bites will become more fatal and can reach high altitude. It has been forecasted by scientists that in the next 50 years, earth will increase its temperature that will empower the insects to reach very high altitude. Example, the inhabitants of Bhopal must leave their country for reason of pestilence to seek refuge in Nepal but Nepal during that time will already be under water.
Yes, the environment must now take precedence over the economy that promotes so much consumerism and unbridled materialism otherwise famine, pestilence, war and death as biblically revealed by John will be the order of the day. Our Indigenous People are in fact correct when they said, “Ang kinaiyahan dili lamang tinubdan sa kinabuhi kung dili mao gayud ang kinabuhi!”
Yes, it is not the economy but the environment, stupid!
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 08, 2018.