Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Museum of the Bourgeois: Recommended by Dentists!

Today is Tuesday, 10 August 2010.

“Anonymous”, commenting on “Capitalism Is Wonderful 2”, wrote: “Okay... Who decides how many different styles of toothpaste we are allowed?”

At the end of the day, the physical laws of the Universe, acting through the planet as agent, will.

The varieties of toothpaste, as most products in a capitalistic society, are not created scientifically to address specific needs of dental hygiene, but are created to generate profit. Obviously, only a limited number of toothpaste formulae are required to address legitimate dental hygiene needs. The remainder, and probably the majority, are a waste of the human and physical resources necessary to develop them and manipulate (“market”) people into buying them for spurious reasons.

People are socialized, convinced, brainwashed, into believing that greed is a superior guide to Life and living than is rationality. Thus, the vendor hopes, “If I sell SexeeToothHot ™, I’ll be rich!” The consumer imagines, “If I buy SexeeToothHot ™, I’ll get laid!”

The resources of the planet are limited. Every unit of natural and human resources that are wasted on manufacturing and consuming unnecessary products is grand larceny, and worse, against the actual needs of humans in the future.

Capitalism imagines, pace Adam Smith, that the conflict in a “free market” will produce the optimum mix of products. This would be the Adam Smith who, when he was unable to explain why the free market was the sole producer of Economic Wisdom, resorted to the sophomoric, inventing the “invisible hand of the market”, in reality the “imaginary friend of the market”. But then, Smith wasn’t really interested in producing the best life for all, or even the many: Smith’s goal was profit for the few, and devil take the hindmost.

One of the implicit assumptions of capitalist ideology is that only blind greed produces the most rational economic choices, a destructive assumption I’m unwilling to make and a fantasy I refuse to entertain. If we are to assume and carry out our responsibilities to future humanity, we must reject such self-deifying rationalizations, curb our mad appetites, and work to create democratic processes for justly regulating our present consumption.

Otherwise, we continue blithely, cruelly, recklessly, and fecklessly to consume and excrete the future, and cannibalize our descendants.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We "consume... the future, and cannibalize our descendants"? Good thing we have such a great number and variety of toothpastes from which to choose. Dentist recommended, indeed.

11:51 AM  

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