Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
Sorry about this, but today’s picture is a bit depressing. We’re the red line. The one that’s still going down. This graph was lifted from an article by Henry Blodget for the Huffington Post.
Because of the way job creation and loss is calculated, the real situation is actually worse. It does not take a genius to figure out what this is doing to the economy. Consumers account for 70% of the economy and numbers like this are going to increase the number of foreclosures and decrease spending which is going to keep the job losses mounting. We are in a vicious downward spiral that shows no sign of abating. Although Wall Street is doing well, it’s obviously just a matter of time before our bail out runs dry and they start to collapse as well. Business cannot continue to succeed if people are failing.
We are clearly in the midst of a full scale economic disaster of epic proportions. How did we get here? What can we do about it? We’ll start with the first question:
This is what you get with capitalism. A system run on greed and focused exclusively on profits will eventually unbalance itself and throw everyone except a few big winners under the bus. When I learned about capitalism in school, much was made of balancing effect that competing interests created. Winners would eventually be superseded by other winners and competition would force companies to operate efficiently and reduce excessive profits. At the time, no one really understood the devastating social impact of a financial system designed to all values except profit.
It’s no surprise then that things have turned out badly.
Far from being balanced, capitalism crashes the system with regularity. The more flexibility the system has, (i.e. less rules to follow) the bigger and worse the crashes are. If you look at the downturns since Reagan got into office, you’ll find that with the exception of 1980 they are all longer than previous recessions. A system that crashes unless it is constantly and vigilantly controlled is a bad system. And capitalism needs a LOT of controlling.
In almost every instance as soon as a capitalist system moves beyond the point where the capitalist has direct personal contact with the people being affected, there is a breakdown of social values. It becomes solely about the numbers and decisions are made to maximize profits at the expense of those social values. This happens all over the world where capitalism is the main economic system. In the U.S., Public companies with shareholders can and will be sued -and lose- if they put social values first.
Social values, by the way, are defined here as people taking care of the needs of people first without regard to profit. (Notice that I said profit, not expense. We must always balance the needs of people against the expense of providing for those needs.)
What this means is that capitalism is a system directly at odds with our social values nearly all the time and at nearly every level. That is a high price to pay for a system whose sole function is to help us get the material goods we need and want.
Because capitalism is often in direct conflict with our social values, laws and social programs which favor social values are constantly under attack by capitalists in the form of lobbying and bribes and by attempting to influence the dialog in their favor. The more influence and power they get, the more they can affect those laws and cause real harm to the social side of the system. It directly and negatively affects the solvency of the average person.
This harm comes in the form of changes to bankruptcy laws, in which two drastic changes have occurred since Reagan’s time, banking fees, overdraft charges, interest rates on credit cards, higher costs through monopolies, fewer public resources due to lack of business taxes, poor access to legal remedies in the cases of corporate wrongdoing; lower judgments against corporations when legal remedies succeed, restricted legal remedies in many cases; high deductibles from insurance in several areas and restricted payouts. Poorer water, air and food quality, weakened unions, the H1 Visa program, health care, higher tuition for schooling . . .the list goes on and on and on. These are real structural barriers to the overall financial health of the middle class. In thousands upon thousand of ways the system has been nickel and diming the middle class, squeezing more and more out of people who then, of course, have increasingly less and less.
What people have a hard time wrapping their heads around is how interconnected all of this is. When people lose their jobs or have their wages reduced by importing foreigners, or when someone can’t clear debt through bankruptcy or is paying 30% on their credit cards and can’t get ahead, all the rest of us suffer. These people aren’t shopping at the stores where we work, they aren’t buying the stuff that our company makes and they can’t pay for our personal services. Every business in the world serves or indirectly serves the middle class. If we aren’t buying, things go to hell in a hurry.
This is what you get with capitalism and it has been going on steadily for over thirty years. As this list structural hurdles has accumulated, and the middle class has gotten stretched thinner and thinner, we have switched to credit in a last ditch effort to have a lifestyle worth living even as credit was getting increasingly expensive. So when the hammer finally came down on the sub-prime mortgages and hedge funds as it predictably had to, it hit a middle class already strained to the breaking point and finally the unthinkable happened: We broke.
When you look at the economic crisis from this point of view, you might come to the conclusion that a top down approach to fixing it (i.e. throwing a huge wad of money at the banks) is not going to have much of an effect for the average person. That is, of course, exactly what is happening. With so many structural barriers to making and keeping enough money to live a comfortable life, people are not going to be able to fully recover and build up reserves. Just getting people jobs is not going to be enough. Far more fundamental changes need to occur and they run counter to the model that capitalism provides.
And so finally, I move on to the subject of consciousness and what that has to do with the economy. Quantum physics demonstrates a crucial point: Somehow, quantum particles know what the other is doing without sending or receiving signals of any sort. This demonstrates a principle known in physics as entanglement; it is the interconnectedness of all things. And if all subatomic particles are connected this way, so are we. And we know from experimental evidence, particularly the Ganzfeld experiments, that this entanglement is demonstrated by people in the form of telepathy. (This class of experiments has undergone several iterations, each one increasingly more stringent than the last and have produced statistically significant results demonstrating the existence of telepathy.)
Since it can be demonstrated scientifically, that people can share thoughts, we can surmise that since entanglement does not ever turn off, neither does telepathy. This makes the group consciousness something to take very seriously because it will affect the outcome of an economic situation. At some level, we share our thoughts with each other. While some of us can be sad while others are happy, rich while others are poor and content while others are dissatisfied, there is another level to this. It is the level where we all share our thoughts. If a large enough part of the group consciousness feels poor, then we, as a group as a whole will experience poverty. The more people that feel this, the larger the effect will be. The only way to make people feel like they have enough is to make sure that they have enough. This can’t be done through a marketing ploy of any sort.
What this means economically is that the most stable and manageable economic system will be one where as many people as possible have enough. The fewer people we leave behind, the better we will all do. According to 1999 statistics:
- The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reported in 1998 that the world’s 225 richest people now have a combined wealth of $1 trillion. That’s equal to the combined annual income of the world’s 2.5 billion poorests people.
- Although 200 million people saw their incomes fall between 1965 and 1980, more than 1 billion people experienced a drop from 1980 to 1993.
- While global GNP grew 40 percent between 1970 and 1985 (suggesting widening prosperity), the number of poor grew by 17 percent.
- The wealth of the three most well-to-do individuals now exceeds the combined GDP of the 48 least developed countries.
That was 10 years ago and it’s gotten worse since then. We are not an island as nations and we are not an island as human beings. Suffering is, at some level, shared by all. Capitalism is an economic system that does not recognize this and cannot deal with it. It is not a system that values human life or cares about suffering. Quite the opposite, capitalism allowed to run amok causes endless war, poverty, disease and suffering. It’s because those things help a few people make a lot of money. This is not something that the group consciousness endures well. It creates a great deal of psychic “noise” in the system and we are ALL going to be affected by all that. And that extra noise means that the rest of us are not going to think as clearly and will be more likely to make our own decisions out of fear.
We have all seen the teabaggers who clearly did not know exactly what they were against or even what teabagging actually means. We have seen the pro-lifers celebrate the death of a doctor and the truthers going on about 9/11 and the global warming deniers, the outrage at Obama’s Nobel Prize, the cheering when Chicago didn’t get the Olympics. . .Why are these people so crazy? Fear. And that fear is being augmented by the background psychic noise of billions of people in the grip of poverty and disease, war and general suffering.
There are no leaders or followers in the group consciousness of mankind; everyone contributes equally, whether with fear, pain, love or happiness. No one is excluded. We can forget about others, like a bad memory, but like that memory,they are never truly gone. Shutting out the pain of others is like pretending your foot isn’t really broken. Pretend all you want, the foot’s still broken. For our own happiness, for our own success, we need to care for the least of us as a purely selfish measure.
Like so much of life, this is not an absolute. Some people will be in misery no matter what; others will always find peace no matter their circumstances. Group consciousness allows for these discrepancies and does not require 100% participation; it only requires enough. Exactly what that number is, no one can really say, but we don’t really need to know it anyway. What consciousness says about the economy is that we ignore the interconnectedness of all people at our own peril.
Economic theory must take this into account to be viable. Most economists are simply worried about getting people back to work and jump starting the economic engine, but this will not do the trick, as I’ve pointed out. For real success, and I mean social as well as an overall financial success to occur, we need to stretch our understanding into the realm of group consciousness.