Tremors of social upheaval rolled through the globalized industrial world in the late 2,000’s. Starting in the winter of 2010, the Arab Spring uprising tore through the Middle East, toppling the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Riots and mass protests plagued European countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Italy. America saw its own grievances expressed in the Occupy movement. Then Turkey and Brazil became the latest rumblings of discontent. What was the root problem underlying all of these troubled countries and their disaffected citizens? The answer could be found in the crisis of capitalism and the age of resource scarcity. The pickings got thin and the vultures became more aggressive. Ron Horn of Surviving Capitalism succinctly explains the reason behind this spate of social unrest:
This is happening precisely because capitalist ruling classes all over the world are being confronted by planetary limits to exploitation, and now see the necessity of stealing from the poor, and even the middle class. Running out of opportunities to exploit nature’s gifts, the parasite of capitalism is now feeding more aggressively on its host — society.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, the largesse produced by cheap energy and other bountiful resources had slowly dried up and left the masses jobless, homeless, and hungry. Since the rollout of neoliberal capitalism in the 1970’s, the erosion of worker’s rights, wages, healthcare benefits, and the social safety net resulted in an America of 50 million food insecure households. While the social contract amongst the common people was shredded, the assets of a small minority skyrocketed, creating a wealth gap not seen since the Guilded Age. The looting of countries to pay for the financial crimes of the elite 1% left government tills empty while those same psychopathic corporations gorged on taxpayer bailouts, interest-free government loans, and record profits. Chronic unemployment numbers throughout the world reached record levels not seen since the Great Depression. But the build-up to the explosion never happened overnight; it took the sum total of injustices suffered over years and decades to ignite the flame of revolt. A small spark was all that was needed at that point to push the masses over the edge and into the street.
Well aware of the unfolding eco-apocalypse and the bleak future facing mankind, those in power oversaw the construction of a security and surveillance state in order to collect all digital and electronic communications and track each and every move of the planet’s serf population. The so-called ‘War on Terror’ created the perfect boogeyman with which to frighten and control the populace for the rest of their existence. Draconian laws were set in place to redefine anyone as a “terrorist” if their actions were perceived to threaten the status quo. Prominent dissidents were covertly marked for termination. If need be, a drone strike was considered for the more bothersome critics of Empire. In the eyes of the State, everyone was an enemy and innocence had to be proven.
Large-scale crop failure and ecosystem collapse soon became realities in a world of escalating climate chaos. Brute force was exercised by the security state to hold back the starving hordes who slowly fell victim to famine. As far as the captains of industry were concerned, the Earth’s large human population had served its purpose in the age of plenty when profiting from growing numbers of consumers was a useful business tactic, but the lean years had hit and desperate times required desperate measures. Culling the human herd for a new age of ‘post-growth’ capitalism became the unspoken plan. People wondered why the banks refused to lend and transnational corporations hoarded mountains of cash. They were just waiting to hit the restart button.
It took less than a century to clear out the population and get the numbers down to a reasonable figure…roughly 8,000,000 people remained. These included the crème de la crème of the global elite, as well as a number of the world’s top scientists who were tasked with bringing the Earth’s biosphere back into balance through various geoengineering and terraforming schemes. A small population of low IQ humans, called ‘drone workers’, were kept around to carry out menial tasks. Amazingly, within a generation the humans were able to put the Earth back on course to becoming a habitable planet of pre-industrial time before humans went ‘ape shit’ with fossil fuels and overshot the Earth’s carrying capacity.
All the too-big-to-fail banks and megalithic corporations breathed a sigh of relief as they were now free to exploit the Earth once more. The banks printed and lent money like mad and gambled with all sorts of exotic financial instruments of their own creation. The corporations were free to rape and pillage the planet with abandon, knowing that their crack team of scientists would fix anything if the damage got too far out of hand. Everything seemed to be going swimmingly until a rare, ‘once in 100,000 year event’ finished the job Mother Nature had been so rudely interrupted in completing.
~ The End ~