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Bill Greider

In the Long Run

Michael Bailey poses the Big Question and of course it is unanswerable beyond the usual bromides. Who will rescue the world? Not left nor right, but people responding to their circumstances. That's a truism, but still true. The drama of how this happens -- or fails to happen -- is written in the history of "civilizations" that somehow overcame and endured...as well as those that disappeared.

The choice is not yet visible to sufficient numbers of people and no one can claim to know whether they will ever understand it in time to avert the worst outcomes. So people who do understand what's at stake keep on educating and agitating in the hope they can change the story line. What sustains the species -- so far -- is blind, willful optimism and the gene that produces occasional acts of altruism.



The global institutions of the so-called "unholy trinity," the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and World Trade Organization (WTO), have been and continue to be, one of the primary and most hateful secrets of the modern world.

For example, through the WB/IMF, the Brits loaned money to farmers in India. This was sales, basically - loan sharks, really. The farmers, who couldn’t produce enough agriculture crops to sell, were living in poverty and this was almost killing them. The Brits convinced the Indian farmers to take loans from the WB/IMF, to purchase pesticides, and therefore, agriculture crops would flourish and multiply. Poof, instant prosperity and poverty disappears as all these wonderful crops sold. Unfortunately, the pesticides did not grow more crops and the farmers found themselves both in debt for their loans to purchase the pesticides, and with no agriculture crops to sell. This was in the spring of 2005. The farmers, 2000 of them, drank the pesticides and committed suicide, to escape their plight.

Many of the people in India have been boycotting products (Coca-Cola) and also, are refusing to work like indentured servants, for very little pay, in the manufacturing factories, outsourced for cheap labor, by countries such as our United States.

The IMF, WB, and WTO, must be exposed and disempowered.


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been one of the greatest mouthpieces about this, and thankfully for US, he is!

The United States of America is in a deep state of denial, and NOT just about politics. The unfortunate situation in which we find ourselves, is about, how to transition into a post-petroleum society. Our American modern society has been in a "soma-like" reality because of oil. Our own reserves of oil peaked a long time ago, in the early 1970s. Some say 1971 and others say 1972 or 1973. Quibbling over a year or two doesn’t seem relevant when we measure our sprawling country and all its suburbs. The "End of Suburbia" is a documentary and it gives a clear perspective of how our modern society looks. The drinking of pesticides could be an answer for many, many people, during the days that follow the final supplies of oil.

Our planet’s basic truth, is that when we produced the first barrel of oil, from out of the ground, petroleum began to decline. No one really wants to deal with this. Not even the most highly well educated geophysicists in the US. However, in other countries there are very sophisticated intellects who are working hard to help us, with or without our consciousness.

Bolivia is one of many countries to accept the truth of what is to come, and this preparation of becoming their own independent self-reliant collective, is a bold statement indeed.

Most of Europe gets it, however.

Sweden has clearly drawn its line in the ground and is working towards becoming independent of oil.


The Unites States wants to use the unholy trinity to dominate the globe and war is this Administration’s answer to capitalize on ALL of the Earth's oil and fossil fuel reserves. This is not about to disappear the problem.

Because of our suburbs, just as it was found by the farmers in India, agriculture continues to be our greatest challenge in a "pre-modern" society.

michael bailey


A hopeful (maybe) development will take place in Bolivia next month. A presidential election unlike any other that has occurred there.

At issue is the question of exporting Bolivian natural gas to Chile. This is an unpopular thing to do since Bolivian nationalism and dislike of Chile are linked by the loss of the Bolivian coast line as a result of the War of the Pacific, 1878-83.

In the past decade, or more, multinational corporations have been awarded sweetheart contracts as the result of pressure from the IMF to privatize utilities and natural resources.

The town of Copchabanga had its water supply privatized with the result of rate increases requiring a full third of the average persons monthly income. Indigenous Bolivians (who make up 62% of the population) led the resistance, successfully sponsored a strike and forced both the abrogation of the contract and the resignation of a Bolivian President.

This small success by a political force that is neither creole nor of European descent is the first success by solely indigenous people in Bolivia.

Pressure from the USA to eradicate the coca crop is very unpopular. It was preceeded by forced privatization of Bolivia's tin industry which resulted in a migration of hundreds of thousands of native Bolivian into the cities. These people have a long history of guild membership, the sustaining of local militias for protection and a strong sense of identity.

As a reaction to US drug policy, threats of economic reprisals and turning natural resources over to multinational corporations the native people of Bolivia have brought about a political crisis which will culminate in next month's election. An indigenous man is expected to win the Presidency. An unheard of event in that nation.

If that happens we can expect the nationalization of industry, collective ownership of utilities and an expulsion of multinationals.

The native people of Bolivia, I believe, would agree 100% with your observations.
It would appear that they are on the cusp of seizing political power in their own land for the first time and using the energy, history and natural resources of Bolivia for the benefit of Bolivia by engaging in a redistribution of wealth and a return to sustainable, environmentally sound agriculture (including the traditional cultivation of coca.)

This is a good thing for Bolivia. An inevitable bad thing will be Washington's alarm and hostility. Expect to be warned of drug cartels, communists and who knows what.

What is really happening is some real,legitimate democracy at work. The losers are likely to be the IMP and multinationals. A grand combination for Yankee imperialism to rear it's head!!


Children of nature. We have slipped into a coma-like state and forgotten this - most homo-sapiens - individually and collectively.

In our race to become modern, we have corrupted our environment; therefore, the inevitable, our civilization as "modern" is doomed.

There is a most profound disconnect, now, to our roots with nature. I call it an inharmonious disconnect from balance.

Too many homo-sapiens and not enough resources. "All the king's horses and all the king's men . . ." We can't fix the broken dreams of "great civilization" until we address the abuse of planet Earth. It is one and the same, really.

Mother Earth's notion of a civilization does NOT correspond to what is happening now.

All the social, socio-economic, political, economical, and other forms of "civilized" staging of events for a record in the history of time, are what they are - not creating balance on the planet that we must respect in order to live - "Our lives are frittered away with details, simplify, simplify." HD Thoreau

Even the greatest minds on this planet, all agree - simplicity. Look at Gandhi.

It is time, small communities or call it back to the village.

How, is the question.

Self-reliance is the answer.

Who, what, when, where, do we get the blueprint for this transition?

Creative imagination, or call it the genius of our minds. Individually and collectively, and it is those who have reached an understanding of how nature plays the game of life, that the "meek shall inherit the earth" - idea - can be born, naturally (smile, smile, smile).

Harvesting rain. Solar energy that is not a natural element, photosynthesis counterpart of energy (Oil).

Wind and water energy, although the planet's lack of, and polluted, water, due to the human beings abuse of it, creates a definite problem.

However, it appears that agriculture is our greatest problem to solve, in the new world of back to nature.

Nature and civilization are one and the same, but we didn’t get this even with historical models, such as, Easter Island.


Great post!!!

I will need to ponder this a good deal, but at first blush I think that the answer must be found, if at all, in that part of the cycle characterized by unintended effect, because the most significant aspect of the ineffectual intent part of the cycle is that it permits us to delude ourselves, for a time, into thinking that things are getting "better."

michael bailey

Here is a question, or dilemna, whichever you prefer, which I am inviting people to address. I would love to hear conflicting views.

Within contemporary politics there are a lot of questions to which there are many possible answers, and one question to which there is none. There are innumerable blueprints for utopian futures that are, in varying degrees, egalitarian, cosmopolitan, ecologically sustainable, and locally representative, but no solution to the most intractable problem of all: who is going to make it happen?

Almost all of the agencies through which political change was effected in the 20th Century have either disappeared or been seriously weakened. Of these, the most powerful was the Communist state, responsible, in agrarian societies, both for gruesome repression and for dramatic improvements in human well-being. Within industrialized nations, Communist and social democratic parties, and for a period even the Democratic party in the United States, intermittently succeeded in achieving significant social and economic reforms, of which the enduring legacy is the welfare state; in this regard, they were aided by the trade unions, which simultaneously brought about a partial redistribution of wealth. In their turn, party and union provided (often unwillingly)the institutional and rhetorical matrix for fluid social movements of much greater ambition and inventiveness.

How the achievements of these actors are judged is now, in a sense, irrelevant, for almost all have ceased to be effective political agents. The Communist state has disappeared; political parties of the left have become virtually indistinguishable from those of the right both in policy and perhaps more importantly, in their social constituency and sources of funding; trade unions are in long term decline, and movements for peace, racial and sexual equality have all but petered out, not because any of their long-term objectives were realized, but because they are unable to mobilize support.

Whithout these agents there appear to be only two forces capable of shaping the contemporary world: market globalization propelled by governments and multinational corporations, and populist reactions that seek to assert national or communal sovereignty. The same actors are frequently involved in both, oscillating between spectacular but sporadic manifestations of the collective will - the World Trade actions in Seattle; 9/11; the US invasion of Afghanistan; the global demonstrations against the Iraq war; the 'No' votes against the European constitution;the protests this week in Argentina - and the continuation of social and economic practices that undermine their efficacy: unquenchable demand keeps fuel prices high; the thirst for technological modernity erodes traditional values; resistance to taxation and the draft cripples US foreign policy ambitions;just as civil obedience undermines the anti-war campaign, and daily participation in a pan-European economy weakens the 'No' votes. But the two are, in fact related, in that it is the unwillingness of populations to accept the emergent properties of their own habitual behavior that necessitates the dramatic protests in the first place. All agents seem trapped within this cycle of unintended effect and ineffectual intent - both the market itself and the inchoate nationalism and fundamentalisms that seek to control it.

How do we escape?

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