Post for Nov 6-12 2011 (Tidbits and Nuggets)

TaN: I am not anti-business.  I am just against businesses that have little or no regard to the environment and, most of all, to people – including their employees.  Business started out noble; we realized that to do things for others by specializing is an efficient way to live together – in a tribe – a primitive form of division of labor often used in manufacturing.  One’s efforts, in turn, are reciprocated by others.  This way, we become “experts” in a particular field and everyone contributes to the survival of the tribe or village.  This is how business (I believe) started.

Then came the harbinger of modern scourges – Big Business and Big Corporations, where the reason for its/their existence is no longer for the common good but for profit…MONEY.

At the onset, we invented money because we wanted to: (1) preserve the value of whatever product we made (that may be perishable) – i.e., turn the (products of) labor into something for the future (hence capital is also known as potential labor); and, (2) put an approximate value on a product (or service) to remedy the flaw in the prevailing barter system – i.e., when there is a disagreement in the pricing or value of goods that are being exchanged that, otherwise, cannot be exchanged or traded as a whole or a single unit.

But, because of the allure of money (as the Bible has warned, in 1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money is the root of all evil… [KJV]) enterprising people came up with a system – this current system was designed to channel and concentrate wealth towards only a certain group of people and away from the majority of the population.  And, in order to make the system palatable – i.e., acceptable to the masses, thus ensuring little or no resistance – it was cloaked under “convincing and persuasive” languages and arguments, like secrecy and exclusivity (in the form of patents and of intellectual property rights and of copyrights) that will purportedly but arguably motivate people to be more creative and innovative by rewarding them with guaranteed wealth.  On the contrary, several models exhibit the contrary and have been existing since long ago or were recently established – among the prime examples of which are the open source community and the creative commons initiative.

In its (love of money) evolution, the next logical metamorphosis is consumerism, where Big Business intentionally and doggedly entices, goads, and prods consumers to mindlessly consumer more and more products and services – often at the expense of the environment, in terms of natural resources and of the dignity of man.  In order to ensure continued and ever-increasing profits, consumers must be “convinced” to consume more and more products and services.  The increased consumption ultimately means extracting more and more from the environment and driving people to work harder to produce the goods.  As the saying goes, The world has enough for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed.  It must be kept in mind that, since matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, what was since the beginning of time has always been and shall always be.  Increasing our harvesting of the environment irresponsibly most certainly guarantees environmental degradation and depletion, as well as human misery and suffering.

[By “irresponsibly”, I mean that the utility of the goods are not maximized and huge amounts of waste are generated.  As in Buddhst economics, the proper way of consumption is to make use of whatever good in such a manner that its useful life is maximized with as little (negative or detsructive) impact on the environment as possible.  In this way, the labor or effort put into the production of the good is accorded its proper appreciation, its rightful value – thus giving honor and respect to the laborer/craftsman/creator.]  It is this terrible and unconscionable wasteful use of natural resources and the disrespect on the human labor that I am against and is a common and prevailing description of Big Business.

TaN: These are in complete contradiction to the arguments being espoused by Big Business – like proprietary software encourages and stimulates creative solutions and products and ensures “security”.

One such debunk security “myth” is the contention that proprietary software prevents and/or minimizes cyber attacks – i.e., cyber viruses, intrusions and hacking, and cyber theft.  As most everyone have experienced it, cyber attacks plague many proprietary software systems.  The flaw in the argument is that since proprietary software is inaccessible to most but the most determined and in-the-know software experts and that they tend to be uniform, once the weakness in the proprietary software has been cracked, it is just a matter of finding the users of the “cracked” system and intrusion is no longer an obstacle.  In contrast, in an open system (where the source code is free for all to view and alter), users can alter portions of the code to customize or fine-tune the software to their specific needs and peculiarities.  In effect, the weakness may vary from one user to another even if they are using the same software and, ergo, no longer possess the same vulnerabilities.  A malicious intrusion may not necessasrily be able to successfully execute a cyber intrusion.

Moreover, since the sofware is open to all, any inherent flaws or weaknesses will have more people looking at and working on it – not like in a proprietary software where only a “privileged” few will have some significant knowledge of the flaws and weaknesses and, therefore, a very limited people will be working on it.

This system relies and plays on the insecurity and the greed issues of the average person.  It pretends to be concerned with your welfare whem, in truth, it creates greater insecurity and greed.  It indoctrinates that in order for progress and development to occur, it is necessary that people be selfish – think only of themselves, Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest“, a dog-eat-dog world, Machiavelli’s “The end justifies the means“, predatory competition is the only way to go, and so forth.  It increases anxiety, isolation, and hopelessness – that your fellowman cannot be trusted to be concerned for you, that you are on your own, that no one can be relied upon to watch out for you.  It does not present any alternatives.  It’s as if it denies that there is another system – which is much better and not destructive – a system where people freely give and share and the prime motivator is the desire to improve everyone’s stature in life and make life more comfortable for all and that desire is its own reward.  As the world gets “smaller and smaller”, we become farther and farther apart.


About anotherworldispossibleforall

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