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Fri Jun 6, 2014, 11:46 AM

The Major Weapons of Neo-Liberalism

Weekend Edition June 6-8, 2014
Materialism and Misery

The Major Weapons of Neo-Liberalism

by GRAHAM PEEBLES


We live under the omnipresent shadow of a political/economic system, which promotes materiality, selfishness and individual success over group wellbeing. It is a model of civilisation that is making us miserable and ill. Dependent on continuous consumption, everything and everyone is seen as a commodity, and competition and ambition are extolled as virtues. Together with reward and punishment this trinity of division has infiltrated and polluted all areas of contemporary life, including health care and education.

It is a system that denies compassion and social unity. Unhappiness and mental illness, as well as extreme levels of inequality (income and wealth) flow from the unjust root, causing social tensions, eroding trust and community. Over half the world’s population (3.5 billion people) live in suffocating poverty on under $2 a day (the World Bank’s official poverty line), whilst the wealthiest 10% owns 85% of global household wealth. This level of inequality is growing, is unjust and shameful, and has far reaching consequences. Materialistically obsessed societies such as America (where income and wealth inequality is the highest of any industrialised nation), have higher levels of drug and alcohol dependency, mental illness, crime and incarceration, as well as child pregnancies and homicides, than more equal nations. People in unequal societies are suspicious of ‘the other’ – that’s anyone who looks thinks, and/or acts differently – and generally speaking don’t trust one another. A mere 15% of people in America confessed to trusting their fellow citizens, compared to 60% in less unequal parts of the world. The resulting divisions aggravate social tensions, fuelling criminality and a cycle of mistrust and paranoia is set in motion.

Focus on the material, on self-fulfillment and success places us in competition with one another and strengthens feelings of distrust, alienation and division. All of which run contrary to and move us away from our underlying nature, resulting in the inculcation of fear and insecurity. Mental illness, including anxiety and depression – a worldwide epidemic claiming 5% of the global population – are further consequences of this dysfunctional social model. Millions are hooked on pharmaceuticals (legal and illegal), much to the delight of the multi-national drug companies whose yearly profits in America alone nestle comfortably in the trillions of US $. Suicide, according to a major report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is the third highest cause of death amongst adolescents (road accidents and HIV are one and two), and the primary cause is depression.

Desire Division Discontent

Over 2,500 years ago, the Buddha taught that desire and attachment to the object(s) of desire is the root of all suffering. His message of moderation and balance is more relevant today than perhaps at any other time.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/06/the-major-weapons-of-neo-liberalism/

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Reply The Major Weapons of Neo-Liberalism (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jun 2014 OP
yallerdawg Jun 2014 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jun 6, 2014, 11:59 AM

1. All these isms.

So glad I am just a plain old Democrat - KISS.

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