Thursday, January 8, 2009

This Shit is Bananas...B-A-I hate that effing song.

[As friendly and innocuous as Joe Camel]

Last night, I was watching World's Coastlines From Above on HDNet as recorded on my DVR and I was struck afterwards by how I was overcome by the confluence of beauty of the geography, the coastal cities, and the people caught living their lives on camera from the helicopter. The world we inhabit (as well as the built worlds we've created) seems like Nirvana whilst watching that show. I believe it was Greece and Croatia that I watched last night (This is about when I realized I wanted to retire to a yacht in the Adriatic).

Then, today...I'm brutally brought back to the reality of our times:

World's Banana Supply Succumbing to Disease from HuffPuff via The Independent - "A Parable for our Times"
But how does this relate to the disease now scything through the world's bananas? The evidence suggests even when they peddle something as innocuous as bananas, corporations are structured to do one thing only: maximise their shareholders' profits. As part of a highly regulated mixed economy, that's a good thing, because it helps to generate wealth or churn out ideas. But if the corporations aren't subject to tight regulations, they will do anything to maximise short-term profit. This will lead them to seemingly unhinged behaviour - like destroying the environment on which they depend.
Simply put, without some form of regulation, a corporation will ALWAYS favor quantitative growth over qualitative because it's just too hard. Waaahhh! This is what people mean by the "race to the bottom." That's not a game I care to play.

If you've ever read Gore Vidal, and I've read plenty, you already know all about the Union Fruit company, it's corruption and brutal takeover of South and Central American governments as well as American complicity, which the above linked article recaps. The critical point is that which is in bold (and covered in depth in Thom Hartmann's book Unequal Protection).

Corporations are legally bound to nothing but short-term growth in the form of shareholders' profits. We've allowed them to become so large that they influence, if not directly sanction, any potential government influence that prevents the facility (as in 'Ease of performance' not the building definition) of quick, easy profits; planet and people be damned.

The Corporation (the movie) correctly points out that these entities operate functionally as psycopathic individuals, even though the inviduals within the company are often very compassionate, thoughtful, caring, intelligent people. Why? Because of their company's legal obligations and that the corporate entities are given the rights of people under the law. That's why.

We're at the point where all governments are now Banana Republics. This is THE primary issue of the day that we ALL face. Yes, us too. We're facing giant industrial agri-business stripping the nutrients out of soils in the most fertile lands in the world, the American midwest, as similar to this passage about the bananas:
Not long after Panama Disease first began to kill bananas in the early 20th century, United Fruit's scientists warned the corporation was making two errors. They were building a gigantic monoculture. If every banana is from one homogenous species, a disease entering the chain anywhere on earth will soon spread. The solution? Diversify into a broad range of banana types.
It's about permaculture, crop rotation, nutrient flows not strip mining every and any natural resource...this is how the Chinese farmers have cultivated terraced hillsides for millenia. Quantitative, indiscriminate growth is the ideology of the Cancer cell. The corporation as a legal entity is the cancer. It's time to excise the tumor before it destroys the Earth's capacity to sustain life.