RECKLESSBy George S. Sagi
Strong evidence indicates that the present civilization is self-destructive and only radical improvements could prevent a global catastrophe. The major causes of the looming tragedy are: relentless drive of economic growth and its global expansion, the depletion of non-renewable natural resources, irreversible ecological damage, increasing econo-political polarization, and the escalating means of mass destruction.
My book, The Dream, expressed my desire to escape somehow from this pessimistic scenario, but I could find only science fiction based non lethal means to save civilization from the ruin. I am feeling uneasy about such dream and I am now presenting a negative out of control system in Reckless. Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle applies to the 21st Century evolution of civilization and changes cannot be foretold. But greed and aggression are unlikely to change and had never been overcome by humaneness in search for happiness throughout history. Mindless presents a series of fictional events that are plausible due to the prevailing global production and distribution system. These are controlled by subservient fumbling politicians and their violent oppositions. Changes of governments or the efforts of well-intentioned direct democrats and progressive activists and theorists will not likely be able to halt the decline. The future will likely have many complex events, full of uncertainties. When these affairs occur, two ordinary citizens, the protagonists of this essay, talk about the past, present, and the future as history enfolds. They are concerned about how these will affect them, their families and friends, and society in general.
In a few decades, the drive of incessant economic growth could destroy global civilization, like the crush of a runaway train. I think that readers and contributors of the Journal of Public Deliberations, JPD, will find this essay thought provoking.
The new era began after September 11, 2001, triggered by the destruction of the twin towers by Islamic terrorists in New York. The problems of the world continued escalating in spite of the defeat of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the drawn-out Iraqi war, and failed American strategy and tactics in Europe, Russia, China, and in the Arab countries. Added to the magnitude of mounting troubles were the increasing US deficit; the falling value of the dollar; the decline of the American economy; growing unemployment; lack of health care for millions; poor education, and the erosion of social safeguards. After decades of failed conferences of the World Trade Organization, WTO, the Group of Seven, G7, to G12 nations, and the World Bank, the newly created Global Economic Tribune, GET, met in 2009 to prevent the collapse of the economy, and halt the growing unrest of citizens. As many times before, loans were given to African countries that could not possibly shed their pitiful conditions without meaningful help, drastic changes to eliminate tribalism, religious extremes, and lack of natural and human resources. Nevertheless, the loans enabled the leaders of these countries to buy western products and outdated armaments. These conventional measures primed some new life to the ailing economies of the industrialized parts of the world.
Remember? We talked about that the loans provided by GET will create only a short cycle of economic rise, said Edward Jefferson to Chou Peng, after luncheon, followed by their usual conversations.
Your guess was right as always, Chou answered. Here we are near the end of the first decade and a new economic crises is developing. There are too many unemployed and unhappy people all over the world. I fear losing my job too.
The two became close friends a long time ago when they were students at the University of Manitoba. Their first discussion was about public deliberations, a success achieved by The British Columbia, BC, Citizens Assembly. Public participation had forced the province to enact a proportional election method. That was only a meager gain for small political parties and had not changed politics as usual and social conditions. After that first discussion they met regularly for Sunday branches in the warm atmosphere of the Winnipeg Inn. Initially their main topics were Canadian econo-political events, like the new voting system in BC. Toward the end of the 20th Century Ed Jefferson brought up topics discussed by direct democratic, DD, groups who had several networks on the Internet. I think it would broaden the topics of our discussions if you too joined these networks, he suggested to Chou.
I read about the achievements of participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre in the archives Chou announced on the following Sunday.
I take you joined some DD networks.
I registered myself in a middle of the road moderate DD network whose members believe that the prevailing political systems could be improved from within. Many of them advocate citizens initiatives and referendums and other participatory activisms. They touted the Brazilian achievements of the poorest people.
Did you register in the radical DD network as well?
I sure did. They argue with the moderates and claim that the Porto Alegre event didnt change the plight of the people of Brazil.
Several years ago, the moderates brought up examples of Ghandy, and more recently the achievements of Mandella and his followers in South Africa, Ed remarked, but the radicals claimed that these mattered not much beyond ending the colonial status of India and the apartheid in the South African Republic. The systems of exploitation, remained the same in both countries, controlled by the colonial elite.
The radical DD members argue that since then both India and South Africa developed nuclear weapons, and became part of a divided world ready to fight a war. This is how Chou described his leanings from Internet networks of various direct democratic groups.
My concern and yours, my friend, is how to keep our jobs and not to become victims of what I call a confrontational global society, Edward Jefferson said. I fear drastic economic changes, fierce competition, growing unemployment, and armed confrontations.
We have had plenty of terrorism lately and the drawn out war in Iraq, Chou responded.
There have been too many controversial events created all over the world during the past decade. I think sooner than later one of these may trigger a major military clash. A war like the one fought in the past decade in Afghanistan and Iraq helps sustain the economy in strange way.
You expect a war! Where? Chou exclaimed.
It could be in the Middle East, in South-East Asia, the Balkans, or elsewhere; there are many trigger points for conflicts, Ed replied.
We had a good lunch and a good discussion, so lets go home, proposed Chou and the two friends returned to their families.
The concerns of ordinary people were warranted. Globalization, political and military expansion had developed potential trigger points for war in many parts of the world since 2001/9/11. The seemingly spontaneous successes of the so called Orange Revolutions in the former Soviet Dominated parts of the world were eventually revealed to be organized plots created by US money and clandestine operations. The Canadian television network, CBC, revealed the truth how these American friendly governments were installed by covert US operations. Trained agents financed by millions of dollars, concealed money from USA foundations, organized seemingly spontaneous public protests. These secret agents were also supported by the American ambassadors and CIA agents masked as diplomats. Early in the second decade their living conditions worsened, and the people turned away from western style democracy. The bitter dissatisfaction of the masses in the formerly Soviet dominated countries also became trigger points for armed confrontations.
The penetration of imperialism during the same period into Russia itself was turbulent from the beginning. Yeltsin gained power by secret American money and support that penetrated into the Soviet Armys top leadership. That enabled him to stand on top of a Soviet tank and had ordered firing into the Parliament. This was the way he abolished the Soviet system and established Russia. The following privatization of the Russian economywith active US participationhad created an enormous chaos and dislocation: asset stripping, flight of capital to the west, money laundering, corruption, and lawlessness. Russia lost much of its economic power which was wasted by privatization for 3.6% of its former value. Overall economic activity declined by 50%, workers wages were not paid for months, and their strikes were brutally crushed by Yeltsin. The enormous assets of privatized properties were taken over by the largest American corporations with the active help of the new Russian elitehand-picked collaborators of Yeltsin. It took several years of suffering, American style downsizing, massive unemployment, homelessness, ruined health and educational system before the Russians people realized what happened to them.
Vladimir Putin had a difficult task of protecting Russias interests, improving its economic conditions without upsetting the Americans and keeping cooperative relationships with the Europeans. His popularity grew tremendously after the crash of the Chechen resistance. He had a difficult task improving the corrupted economic system and to restore law and order. In spite of American criticism, Putin had continued resolutely; he had the support of the Russian people and the Parliament. Nationalism and pride, the dream of ordinary Russians to restore normalcy and raise Russia to its former glory, helped him in his balancing act of keeping cooperative relationship with the US and the Europeans. New Russian leaders after Putins presidency continued to improve Russias national interests they revealed that the British initially supported the Chechen so called, freedom fighters, that were actually Islamic terrorists. They were used as instruments to weaken Russia. The hypocritical western support of the Chechen Islamic terrorist was due to western interests in the rich oil and gas fields, tremendous reserves, and pipeline routes of Russia. The United States of America aggressively surrounded Russia with armed forces with NATOs help and was confident that they can dominate the valuable assets of the region. Bill Richardson, a former US ambassador to the United Nations bluntly stated the US Position:
At stake is far more than the fate of the complex Caspian region itself. Rivalries are played out here will have a decisive impact in shaping the post communist world, and in determining how much influence the US will have over its development. This is about US energy security, which depends upon diversifying our sources of oil and gas world-wide. It is also about preventing strategic inroads by those who dont share our values. We are trying to move the newly independent countries toward the West. We would like to see them reliant on Western commercial and political interests rather than going the other way. Weve made a substantial political investment in the Caspian, and it is very important to us that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right.
Statements like this summarized the overall activities of the US in that region These measures had developed the potential for armed clashes in the entire region as the second decadeenfolded.
There were other parts of the world for potential armed conflicts, as Edward Jefferson and his friend, Chou Peng, wondered about their future. I guess splitting Korea into North and South had been a place full of tension since the nineteen fifties, Ed said. Although the US concessions brought the North and South parts closer, but the American military bases are still in South Korea and in Japan, and that remain a constant threat.
You are right, Ed. More dangerous is Taiwans active support by the Americans. Their war ships are near the island and the US is continuing daily spy missions along Chinas shore.
Good points; these are major potentials for military confrontation, Chou said. Well, we shall see.
Next time we should talk about Chinese development. I will bring you an article I found in the Journal of Public Deliberation, JPD, or you can look it up on the Internet. It is about continuing participatory deliberations in China. During the past several years they had modernized their agriculture, and now they are facing the problems of overproduction. What do you think, will China be able to eliminate, what you called several times as inherent problems of capitalistic production, Chou asked him.
I believe so, he answered.
Jefferson turned out to be correct. Patient and tolerant Chinese policies and lucrative bilateral economic relationship with the US kept tension of aggressive US policies muffled. China gradually had become strong economically and militarily and continued its peaceful policies. They began the production of cars in as early as in 2005. Next year they made six million automobiles and in 2008 they switched production to electrically powered vehicles. Worldwide competition was fierce as more countries became industrially advanced producers of goods. China needed new suppliers of natural resources such as oil, and minerals. The Plenary Session of the Central Committee meeting of the Chinese Communist Party, CCP, made a number of extraordinary decisions to overcome its developing production and marketing problems. The minister of foreign trade was sent to Canada. China hoped to increase its trade relationship with Canada which had enormous yet untapped natural resources. The minister flew to Vancouver where a considerable number of former Chinese citizens lived. The poorest of them were attracted to Canada by the Pacific Railroad Company to build the first coast to coast railroad in the 19th Century. A large crowd was waiting for him at the airport and his arrival attracted a number of media men and women. He addressed the gathering and confirmed Chinese achievements, when a provocative news reporter interrupted him.
How can you say that China has democratized to a great extent and she is making only peaceful products? You have a powerful army and air force. How can you claim that you and your Communist country believe in peace?
Madam, he replied, China has never attacked any nation in its history. China had surrounded itself with a wall to protect itself. We became the most powerful nation on earth to defend ourselvesthis is our new wall. We dont produce or sell military equipment any longer. We are the largest producers of electrically powered vehicles.
But, Sir, your government is still a dictatorship and the Chinese people are not free. Human rights are not protected by the Communist government, she retorted.
With due respect, Madame, he said, facts differ from your views. The people in China have more human rights now than the people anywhere else in the world.
How could you say that!? Families are restricted to have no more than two children, salaries of corporate and other leaders are limited by law, public employees are forbidden to strike, certain churches are harassed by your government and their leaders are jailed. Should I list you more, Sir!?
Dear Madam, you are forcing me to ask you a few moral questions. You are an intelligent person, and your own answers will reveal the truth. What is more moral, to reduce a countrys population so that all its people can be well-provided for? Or forbid family planning and having millions of starving children in the world and deaths by starvation. You could ask the same about deprivation, homelessness, unemployment, and many other aspects of governance affecting peoples life and death. China eliminated all these social ills.
She was speechless; the other media people were also keen to hear the minister. Let me tell you about freedom, he continued. In western democracies corporate leaders are free to manufacture armaments, free to pollute without penalty, free to exploit and waste natural resources. Your entrepreneurs are free to sell harmful products to health, free to spread fraudulent advertisements, giant corporations are unchecked some had defrauded their investors and their workers, others mismanaged and dipped into pension funds and left their retiring workers suffer. Your companies are free to produce violent and filthy degrading entertainment products instead of wholesome games, literature, films and cultural entertainments.
Are common people having the same freedoms in your democracy? Dont you have massive unemployment? Should you, Madam, call my government a dictatorship for putting rational limits on these excesses of freedoms and call your government democratic? I dont think so. Western democracy grants unlimited freedom to its corporations while your unfortunate people are free to starve, free to be homeless, free to grow up without good education and healthcare. We dont like this unbridled freedom in China.
Yeh? What do you do with your resources? she yelled.
We now produce useful goods. Your industries create artificial need for profit; they produce useless things, worthless gadgets, throw-away items, luxury goods, at the end they all discarded in heaps of junk. In Toronto, I couldnt see the CN tower; your corporate freedoms rob people from fresh air and clean water. My country has restrictions which eliminated inhuman practices and protects the fundamental needs and basic interests of the people.
Dr. Ling, another journalist interrupted her. Your points are well-taken. Do you imply that the Chinese people are governed by an enlightened system, not a Communist dictatorship?
Dear Sir, I merely pointed out that the governance of countries, yours and mine, could falsely be described by labels. China has a single party and its leading China toward genuine democratization. You and other so called democracies have several parties, but they are promoting and protecting, mostly, special interest groups. The biggest beneficiaries are giant transnational corporations. The peoples rights are eroding in western democracies.
The minister was exhausted by the hostile reception of the media and was anxious to leave. I must go now, I have an appointment, he said and left the airport. His trip produced little progress. The Canadian economy was in trouble like the markets all over the world. The minister had to return almost empty-handed to China. His failure provided considerable impetus for the leaders to change policies. They assessed the negative aspects of their capitalist economy; the effects of relentless growth, fierce competition, and the ever increasing social impact of cyclical depressions. Leading CCP members presented the Plenary Session of the Party various theories of steady state and zero growth economies. It became clear that China and its trading partners could become self providers, assure high living standards, educational, and cultural values. The Peoples Republic provided low interest rate loans to the Pacific Area and Russian Trade Association, PARATA that increased trade within the bloc. In spite of the affects of the economic turmoil around the world, China was still in a better position than any other country. The CPPs Economic Committee concluded that China could prosper peacefully alone without reliance on western trade. We could recycle and reclaim irreplaceable natural resources and materials from discarded and waste products. China could become nondependent on western trade.
In addition of the worlds economic problems Irans decision to continue the production of refined nuclear materials had become a serious concern. The European Union with the full support of the US and the UN offered various incentives to stop the production. The negotiations took several years, but ended in frustration. Finally, the Security Council of the UN had imposed economic sanctions on Iran with little effects. Genuine fear gripped the world dreading a nuclear showdown. Edward Jefferson and Chou Peng did not expect the eruption of events that followed their last discussion. These events were lingering since 2005, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected as President of Iran. He was one of Ayatollahs revolutionaries who had kept the members of the American Embassy captive for more that a year. Soon after he was elected, he declared that Israel must be wiped off the map.
I have been concerned ever since I heard his violent statement, Chou said to Ed. I am sure it is just a matter of a short time before retaliation will begin.
Yeh, this Islamic Jihadist actually repeated the words of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had used similar threats against America and Western civilizations, Ed replied. But in those days Iran had no nuclear facilities.
I wonder what will happen now.
We will see it soon. The nuclear facilities of Iran are a threat to the entire world. May be the European Union will topple this over-confident tyrant, or may be Israel itself, or the Americans may take action.
Thinking observers of the world knew that Irans nuclear facilities had to be destroyed and Irans support of Islamic Jihad with huge sums of money and weapons could not be tolerated. The predictions materialized before the first decade was over. The war between Islamic extremist and the rest of the world became inevitable.
The Iranian nuclear facilities were destroyed in a single night. Nobody knew which country or anti-nuclear group executed the destruction so swiftly and expertly. It was only clear that whoever did it wanted to remain unidentified. The same hit and run strategy was employed as Islamic terrorist applied so successfully all over the world. This was the first demonstration that an entirely new method was developed to replace massive old fashioned military strikes, super-bombs, destruction of infrastructures, causing death of tens of thousands of peaceful populations, thus alienating those supposed to be freed. This was the first application of brain rather than muscle against a fierce enemy of Western culture.
The news spread through the world with electronic speed, Enormous explosions are rocking the ground in Iran, like an earthquake, reported CNN. Flames were shown lighting up dozens of square miles around its nuclear facilities. It is not known who or what country carried out this total destruction, but it is clear that it was done by expert planning and execution. No radioactive material was released and no fallout is a threat, said the reporter who felt the shakes and saw the flames from as far as the border of Iraq. The whole world was relived that a nuclear war was prevented by the yet unknown planners. As it turned out later, their plans included the elimination of fanatical Muslim extremism and the supporting infrastructure of worldwide Islamic terrorism. The planners blew up only the electric power lines supplying energy to the nuclear facilities. Therefore the facilities and utilities had no electrical power and stopped functioning. Iran could not launch missiles, its control and monitoring facilities were disabled by a high power electrical pulse of a new smart bomb. Radio and satellite communications were cut, the whole operation of Irans nuclear capabilities were ruined without massive bombing and losses of innocent civilians lives.
The police and regular army leaderships were infiltrated well in advance, and they continued maintaining order. There were no lootings, no destruction of priceless archeological treasures and public facilities. The same night after the destruction the nuclear facilities, a well-armed force of Iranian moderates emerged and toppled the theocratic government and captured and jailed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The entire operation was swift, only the special revolutionary guard of the theocratic government showed resistance, but they were disarmed with the help of the regular armys special unit with small losses of life.
The progressive majority of Iranians felt liberated by the fall of their fundamentalist oppressors. Educated, previously oppressed, women organized a peaceful demonstration; millions marched through the main street of Teheran, celebrating their newly won freedom. The new clever strategy was markedly different from the tragic military offensive that had toppled Saddam Husseins regime, the chaos, the enormous losses of lives and property damage. The insurgency was still ongoing in Iraq when Iran was liberated. Edward Jefferson was elated and said to Chou Peng, I guess some advanced thinkers in America or in Israel worked out this strategy in great secret. Instead of alienating the people of Iran with massive bombings, they prepared their progressive leaders to overturn theocracy when the time comes.
Was it done with the knowledge and support of the Republican Administration? Chou asked him.
I guess, not openly. It seems the Bush Administration learned toward the end of their mandate that the new smart strategies are essential. Leading Republican senators realized that massive military action in Iraq turned even well-educated progressive Muslims against the American occupiers. The destruction of Iraqs infrastructure, the death of tens of thousands of peaceful children, women, and men turned everybody against the invaders. The administration may have given strong financial support to the planners and executors of the new strategy in great secret, Ed guessed and added, And I am sure the newly elected Administration will openly adopt the new smart strategy.
If so, it may bring an end to the Islamic Jihad and topple theocratic regimes in the entire Middle East, Chou remarked.
What makes you think so?
Didnt you and I have talks about the explosive tension in the Middle East that had been building up over the years?
Yes. I was just wondering if you remembered. There may be an all out showdown between progressive Arabs and Islamic fanatics. The tension has been mounting since the drawn out Iraqi war, the belligerence of Syria, assassinations in Lebanon the incomplete campaign in Afghanistan, continued terror attacks of Hamas against Israel in spite of moves toward an independent Palestinian State, and massive support of the Muslim Jihad from Saudi Arabia have to be resolved permanently, Ed answered. His ideas were close to the developments of warring that followed.
The unexpected disabling Irans nuclear facilities without the release of any radioactive substance surprised the entire Arab world. Progressive and well educated Muslims welcomed the event and hoped that they will be liberated soon, but extremist became violently alarmed and decided to retaliate. The first strike came in Iraq just as the newly elected government was making some progress and it seemed a balance was achieved between the Sunnis, Shiites, and the Kurds. But deadly fear of losing their dominant role as their theocratic supporters fell in Iran, Shiites extremists decided to turn the wheels of history; they wanted exclusive power. The civil war broke out in Iraq a few months after the Iranian changes. The American troops were less visible; they were withdrawn to their bases and stopped patrolling thus were no longer visible targets. Usually the Air Force provided support operations when the Iraqi forces needed help. This time, however, the Administration ordered them to remain neutral.
I guess they learned from the smart strategy that toppled Irans theocratic regime, Ed said to Chou Peng. It seems the new US Congress is initiating some changes.
I wouldnt be surprised if Jordan got into the action, he answered.
Good guess, and Lebanon too. This is a fight between progressive and extremist Muslim fanatics. Moderate Arabs and women had much suffered Muslim extremism and had been waiting for the opportunity to defeat theocracy. I will be surprised if the lingering tension in Afghanistan will finally be settled.
As long as Canada is not getting involved we will be OK, Chou said.
Have no concern. I think the industrialized west would benefit from the war between Arabs. Our lingering economy will get a boost.
The two fiends didnt have to be alarmed. The fight spread trough the Arab world. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was threatened both internally and externally from Shiite extremists. They opposed Jordans peaceful politics with Israel and the countrys progress toward western education and modernization. The country was also threatened by Syrias dictatorial regime and its religious extremists. This time Syrian military forces were actively engaged in the civil war in Iraq, and in turn Jordan ordered its armed forces to Restore law and order in Iraq, and defeat the Syrian army. Israel, the United States, and the European Union did not get involved openly, but provided Jordan with modern armament, military and domestic supplies through Lebanon. They also monitored every move of the enemy from satellites and drown spy planes. This massive support helped the air and ground forces of Jordan to fight successfully. They were superior against the relatively ill equipped Shiites rebels and Syria. But the extremist Shiites didnt give up easily and the war between Arabs took many lives and lasted for several years.
Wealthy Muslim extremists in Saudi Arabia were the first to provided large sums of money to the holy Jihad against, what they called, infidel Arab brethrens. Osama Bin Ladens Al Qaeda decided to help the Iraqi extremists and come out of hiding in Afghanistan.
Internet sources revealed that the warlords had always provided enormous amounts of money to Bin Laden and now also supported Iraqs Shiite rebels, Edward Jefferson told Chou Peng.
Yes, it is true. Their lucrative opium trade was virtually intact even after the US defeated the Taliban regime.
I think it was a grave mistake of the American Administration and the new Afghan regime that silently had let the feudal power of Afghan warlords intact. The money they earned from the opium trade now financing the al Qaeda rebels. The regular media reported they formed a regular army against the government. This time, the battle will be fought on open terrain against the progressive forces of Afghanistan, Ed said
I guess, the Iranian changes triggered a sequence of events in the entire region, Chou remarked. The warring between Muslims is spreading.
I agree, Ed answered. Iraqs civil war was the trigger that exploded the tension between enlightened, well-educated, progressive Arabs against bigot, violent, religious Muslims. The destruction of Irans nuclear facilities and the countrys clever bloodless democratization was the encouraging signal for a final showdown. This is a war of progressive Arabs against Arab extremists.
I am happy. As long as they are fighting we will be OK, Chou said.
The Middle East wars lasted nearly ten years, almost to the end of the second decade. The economies of the industrialized countries had enjoyed continued growth during the second decade. The warring consumed a tremendous amount of military and commercial supplies that kept their economies expanding. The new US administration continued supporting smart strategies developed in the last part of the first decade by covert groups. Soon after the civil war broke out in Iraq, the United Nations Security Council voted for a 500,000 member international force, for the sole role to guard all oil supply lines. Thus the energy supply of the West was secure while the Shiites were fighting. Oil was flowing as before and this time the money it earned was wisely spent in aiding underdeveloped poor countries. The allocation of finances had been made by a UN Committee composed by experts of Global corporations in addition to UN experts. Such expert allotment of the oil money replaced the previous system of aid by handouts, and gradually modernized the economic infrastructures of poor countries. Western industries were the main suppliers of materials, equipment, and services. Thus raising the living standards of these countries, economic growth in the West continued.
By the end of the Arab wars formerly poor nations become self-sufficient suppliers of their needs. The dictatorial Syrian regime was toppled, Iraq and Iran had progressive governments, and the Saudi Emirate was replaced by a western style democracy. Egyptian forces were instrumental in the changes in the Arabian Peninsula the same way the Jordanian army fought against Muslim extremist forces. The feudal power of Afghan warlords and al Qaeda was also crushed. The UN committee provided experts and incentives to help farmers to stop poppy growing. Money was provided to grow more profitable agricultural products. Multinational corporations helped local entrepreneurs to build modern distribution and marketing systems for fresh products and built industrial facilities for canned and frozen food production. These changes ended feudalism and westernized the economy of Afghanistanwhich was formerly the worlds biggest opium supplier.
China and Russia welcomed the elimination of Irans nuclear threat and the elimination of Muslim extremism, but took no active part in the warfare. The elimination of the radical Islamic terrorism and orthodoxy cost a lot of lives. Tens of thousands of fighters and civilian victims died and large numbers of Orthodox dead Muslims remained unburied for weeks. It is forbidden by Islamic teachings to burn dead even for sanitary reasons. The Arab wars and the deplorable sanitary conditions of the region exposed the world to unexpected health problems. The first cases of deaths caused by the Ebola virus occurred in North Africa. Muslim fighters in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula were the first victims. The infections spread rapidly. The rapid person to person spread of Avian Flu was reported by Turkey. This shifted the focus of humanity to the prevention of world-wide pandemics. But it was too late; the infections spread swiftly by intercontinental travel and global trade from the Far and Middle East to Europe, and the American continents. Humanity had to overcome the deadly consequences of new and newly re-emerged Asian flu, SAR, and Ebola viruses. Earlier expectations and stockpiling of vaccines were insufficient to cope with the new mutations of the flu and the concurrent spread of Ebola and SAR viruses.
A cooperative global attack to stop the spread of outbreaks was organized by the World Health Organization, WHO. But the deteriorated health conditions caused by the Islamic wars made their efforts extremely difficult. In a few years, infections reached pandemic proportions; multi-millions died of the flu and the re-emerged diseases. The American CDC and Canadian and British and European research scientists worked feverishly to find an antidote to stop the spread of the new mutated viruses. After three years, the Canadian Centre for Infectious Diseases Control, CCIDC, developed a complex serum that saved the lives of individuals infected by the Avian Flu, Malaria, SAR, and the Ebola viruses. The joint effort of prevention, organized by the WHO, and the new vaccine reduced the death rate significantly in the western part of the world after a few years. But the viruses claimed multi-millions of victims in other parts of the world and in Africa. Distorted minded people in Islamic countries were even blaming the west for decimating their people by viruses.
Just when the fight against pandemics was on its way, the dark predictions of climatologists, oceanographers, and environmentalists became reality; the global temperature had increased year by year. The increases in sea levels were noticeable at low lying areas by the population about the turn to the second decade. Panic broke out suddenly in 2016 when a gigantic glacier plunged into the Arctic Ocean. The giant waves it caused, like a tsunami, traveled as far as Antarctica. Its secondary effect broke loose an enormous mass of its thick ice with an area larger than Texas. Cold water from the fast melting ice and glaciers changed the landscape of the northern and southern hemispheres. Extensive low lying areas of the earth were flooded and became inhabitable. The people had to be rescued from the fast rising water, entire islands and cities along the shore-lines were swallowed by the sea. Low-lying areas of the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans were swallowed by water. The magnitude of the economic damage and how many millions were affected was not known. Experts could only guess that the restoration of residential homes, destroyed buildings, factories, and businesses will require billions of dollars of investments. On top of the global pandemic now the ecological damage created monumental new problems.
From an economical and political point of view, these catastrophes created a relatively peaceful period of recovery. People in such deep troubles know they have to endure, survive, and rebuild. The Prime Ministers of the G12 countries met again to discuss recovery from the disasters and its political aftermath. Large investments were needed for antidotes, medical supplies, and materials to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure and provide permanent homes and livelihood for the dislocated citizens. Forced by the overwhelming need, the ministers agreedalthough reluctantlyto provide public funds for rebuilding all that were lost. Massive health measures and concurrent public works programs helped to create jobs and other employment opportunities. It took several years to restore wrecked homes, essential infrastructures, and create a reasonable quality of life for many of the victims of the flood.
We had been fortunate, Ed, the new vaccine was invented and first produced in Winnipeg by CCIDC, we are protected and not been hit by the flood either, Chou remarked after their usual Sunday lunch conversation.
Yes, we have been lucky. When I look back on the first two decades, I wonder how the third one will evolve, Jefferson responded.
I venture to guess that we will have some prosperous years in the third decade.
You may be right. Rebuilding the war damages will help the economy. The reconstruction of homes, factories, and other facilities destroyed by flood will provide employment. The money provided by G12 will create a rising economic cycle, Ed predicted.
The rehabilitation of the people and the restorations had been accomplished by the middle of the third decade. Edward Jefferson become again concerned about the renewal of unbridled growth and the phenomenal increases in the rate of production.
Economic growth cant go on foreverI think the present cycle will last not more than ten years, he told his friend, Chou Peng.
He was right. Three giant economic blocs were formed by the third decade; the North and South American Conglomerate, NASAC; the Extended European Union, EEU; and PARATA, the leading industrial complexes of China, Russia and Indiawhich was stronger than the other two. The Chinese and Russian economies were stable and virtually trouble free. China had faced and resolved the problems caused by the rapid growth of both its industrial and agricultural sectors. They expected that unsold surpluses are accumulating throughout the world that could trigger an unprecedented global depression.
The PARATA blocs partners had studied the theories of zero growth. They became convinced that the relentless drive for growth is an inherent flaw of the capitalist system. They read Herman Dalys old study on Steady-State Economics; A Catechism of Growth Fallacies. Daly believed that zero growth is the answer and described the cost of growth that in the end it is self-defeating. Growth in GNP should cease when decreasing marginal benefits become equal to increasing marginal costs, he characterized the world of continuously increasing production with its single goal of profit-making that he called hypergrowthmania. He concluded that the unrelenting pursuit of growth for the sole goal of increasing profit is a systemic flaw of capitalism that will be self-destructive at the end.
The Peoples Republic of China learned from these studies. When trade embargoes were imposed on their textile imports they began implementing slow growth policies. Chinese textiles production employed twenty million workers and was the most efficient in the world. Both the EEU and NASAC imposed protective duties on them. PARATA had to compete with other countries where workers were paid lower wages. A lot of Chinese and Indian textile workers became unemployed. The anomalies of the capitalist economy, its ruthless competition, opened the eyes of the Central Committee. One of their difficulties was to convince the leaders of giant private enterprises such as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. in Osaka, to understand that they have to stop producing high-tech entertainment products and gadgets. They already had millions of unsold products on stock. Chinas free market entrepreneurs were sound thinkers and businessman, and when they fully understood the problem, they accepted the recommendations of the CCP. They formed a joint economic agency of the state and the entrepreneurs to steer the new economy. These were Chinas first steps toward a stabile near steady-state economy. The CCP concluded that production for the main goal of profit-making cannot grow forever. The prime minister said: Our economic experts recognized the intrinsic ill of Capitalism. We will stop production for the sole purpose of profit-making, but put greater emphasis on the enhancement of life. We and our PARATA partners will not be affected by the collapse of the world economy. Expert guidance is essential to avoid the pitfall of rampant growth. We set clear limits on the excesses of capitalist greed and our free-market entrepreneurs began fulfilling their social responsibilities, he explained.
From the beginning of the third decade, China began a gradual reduction of its trade with the west and focused trading with countries within of the PARATA bloc. Its leadership recognized that economic growth for its own sake is irrational. They knew that their highly efficient robotics production could provide for every citizen in China and its trading partners. As its new middle class emerged so grew the need for more energy production. They developed efficient recycling of waste, and were reclaiming used natural resources. The PARATA block had a great advantage over western capitalism; they have developed a superior education system. Their youngsters were better educated than students in most democracies. China had more highly educated experts, physicists, engineers, mathematicians, chemists, biologists, economists, social scientists and applied analysts in all these disciplines. To maintain its high living standards and culture, the country needed to replace coal, oil and gas consumption, recycle steel and other metals, build new non-polluting transportation and electric power generation systems, and electrically powered automobiles. The new demands created new opportunities for inventions and new enterprises. New highly profitable industries were created recycling everything while protecting the environment. Efficiency of production was measured by increasing the quality of life in addition to modest profits. These measures continued to speed up the elimination environmental problems. China became the least responsible country for the serious environmental problems throughout the globe and continued to prosper together with their PARATA partners.
The two other major economic blocs continued the race for dominance as before. The relentless growth for profit saturated all markets of the world with mountains of unsold goods, even in the third-world countries. But by the end of the third decade production began slowing down and the number of unemployed people grew in proportion. Purchasing power of the masses diminished to the minimum. Ordinary people have no money; no jobs, many are dying of hunger in Africa, in spite of that they have now self-sustaining capability, Ed discussed these events with Chou.
INCO reduced its production and fifty percent of its work force is unemployed. The miners are restless; I fear they may resort to violence, Chou said. I read the speech of the head of the Workers Union.
The President of the Canadian Workers Union emphasized the utter irrationality of the developing situation. My fellow union members, this time I also have to address the most powerful leaders of the world. The incessant drive for profit became an obsession and its consequences could be deadly rewards. Polls, in the last decades by the US National Opinion Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and surveys in Sweden show that the wealthiest Americans and Europeans are unhappy, often depressed. Their obsession blinds them and they are unable to change their relentless pursuit of profit. They are incapable finding rewards in friendship, family, and respect for the life of community. Their life is virtually empty, lacking fulfillment. We see this as globalizing megalomania, which in the past two decades industrialized the globe and eliminated death by hunger. But now, this down cycle devastated the majority of humanity, and civilization is on the brink of destruction.
The warning was warranted, Ed Jefferson told his friend Chou Peng. All signs indicate that the two Western economic are getting ready to wage war. If nuclear weapons will be used, then civilization will be fatally harmed. I fear that the destruction of humanity is near.
I fear the same. Several of our close friends were laid off by INCO. Last week hungry unemployed workers broke into the Northern Supplies supermarket in Thompson, Manitoba, and looted everything. A special unit of the RCMP was flown North by helicopters, and a bloody fight broke out. Several people are dead and the leaders were arrested. I am desperate and looking for a way out, Chou said.
His fear was valid. DD discussion groups on the Internet were also full of dark predictions. One of them wrote: The unemployment in Canada reached 37%, every third worker is unemployed. Social safeguards are diminished. I think that Quebecs rebellion is near. Our activism had lost its impact. What can we do?Desperately, Gilbert.
The situation is the same in the European Union. The British, French and the Germans are preparing for war, wrote another activist.
Another commented: Western capitalism ran out of remedies and I expect a total economic collapse and war. If that happens, its aftermath could deliver a lethal blow to human civilization.
We got to prevent a crazy nuclear war! suggested another activist from India.
How do you suppose to accomplish this? asked him someone from Mexico.
The network was busy with fearful communications and meager suggestions to stop the rapid decline. The discussions revolved about the same theme endlessly. Nobody in the world had a viable solution to prevent a war and demilitarize the world. The threat to civilization became general concern.
The middle classes had shrunk to a minimum and western politics had shifted toward the far rightin some countries near fascism. The world economy become near to complete collapse. In spite of the enormous unsold surpluses, millions of people could hardly sustain themselves. They barely maintained their lives below the poverty line, while millions of others were dying of hunger. All the participatory efforts to make significant improvements in the worlds social conditions failed. The rulers of the world run out of solutions and were preparing for an all out war. The political and military establishment in the United States and the European Union could only see a single remedy that always resolved similar situations in the past. This time the enemy was the PARATA group. Their thriving economy and centrally monitored and supervised free enterprise system was the enemy to be destroyed; its defeat would create a new giant marketing base for further expansion.
It is a matter of time, Chou that a war will break out said Edward Jefferson, after he reviewed the global situation.
How could we avoid being hit by the crises you expect, Ed?
I wish I knew. Maybe we could hide in the far north in one of the abandoned mines and survive, he answered half seriously.
Thats a good idea! Chou said and jumped to his feet that showed his enthusiasm. We should rent a truck and pack it with supplies, and if a war brakes out we should go. I know a depleted gold mine way up north, it will protect us from nuclear fallout.
Well, Elizabeth and I had been thinking about surviving a nuclear war, and I am glad you are serious about preparations. You rent the truck and Liz and Ursula should buy non-perishable food supplies, and I will get all technical gear necessary for survival in a mine.
The threat of devastating global events became reality. NATO troops began moving into the Caucasus from Turkey and the American Navy landed a special unit of paratroopers in Taiwan. These aggressive moves were made during diplomatic negotiations with PARATAs leaders. The Western powers wanted Russia to exclude the Caucasus from PARATA and the Chinese to give up their claim to Taiwan. The news flashed through the media and the Internet.
It will take very little time before a full blown war will break out, reacted Ed as he discussed the preemptive maneuvers of the Western alliance. Neither the Russian nor the Chinese will tolerate this. We better pack our supplies and leave as soon as we can.
Ed, Chou, and their wives were in the mine already when the destruction of human civilization began. We could sustain here for three-four months, Chou said as they unpacked.
There is no time to waste; we have to set up filters in the ventilation system, we need clean air free of radioactive fallout, Ed urged. I brought air purifiers, and a satellite radio receiver we should know what is happening in the world, he said.
I will climb up into the old air intake shaft. Lets take these, pointed Chou to the marked boxes, we should all carry them as far as we could walk with the load. Here is a hand winch; you pull them up to me when I get up there.
OK. The two of us can take care of air purification and set up the solar panel, Ed said. The girls should set up bedding for the night and lets eat when we are done, and added, Use a single low power lantern. We should use batteries sparingly. We shouldnt spend months in darkness.
The first day in the mine was busy with preparations to protect the two families from radiation. The two women rolled out the foam rubber beds and set up a folding bridge table and chairs, then put some sandwiches on the table. I think we can have sandwiches only for a few days. Our bread supply wont last long, Ursula said.
Ed and Chou were just pulling cables toward the small chamber where the single room accommodation was made. They set up the receiver which was operated by the small quantity of electric power from the single solar panel Ed installed. Turn it on. We should listen whats happening outside while we eat, Liz suggested.
The preemptive action of the Western forces has blown into a nuclear war, Announced the anchorman. I must hurry and leave the studio because high radiation levels reached Toronto and we are going off the air. I must seek shelter, were his last words, and then the receiver shushed with white noise.
Ed turned the radio off and connected the solar cell to the rechargeable battery. It will give us enough power for a light emitting diode after all the dry-cells were used up.
I hope it will not happen and we can soon return to the surface, sighed Ursula.
Chou, her husband, knew that her desire was in vain, and said, I hope so dear.
A number of monotonous days followed. The daily routine began with exercises. The mine had a long and spacious shaft good for running. They had pure underground drinking water, but they could not bathe in the ice-cold water, only had sponge washes. After the morning routine Ed and Chou opened a few cans, everybody got a slice of bread and they had a small breakfast. Liz kept registering the days spent underground. After three weeks the bread supply ran out and they ate canned meat or fish and vegetables.
They spent part of the day with reading. They huddled around the small table with the dim light of the electric lantern. After a few hours of book readings each of them gave a summary of the topic he or she read. These were followed by discussions as long as the topic was exhausted. Ursula read classical romance novels, her topics were interesting. Liz usually commented, asked only a few questions, which she politely answered. Elizabeth read publications on public deliberations and her digests rose considerable interests and discussions by all three. Ursula was completely uninformed about political issues, but Chou had a lot to say about the usefulness of public deliberations. We should start deliberations about the future, he suggested.
Ed didnt talk much; he let the others discuss literary subjects. I had studied the Ten Constitutional Letters and the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, a long time ago, he said. Then the small group became actively involved in discussing these topics. Eds summaries were clear, he answered questions about the details and significance of these documents. The founders were revolutionaries, but traitors in the eyes of the British Monarch. They were ready to give up their lives for independence, he said following several weeks of discussions focusing on personal liberties, freedom of enterprise, justice, property rights, and social improvements.
Three months passed since they came down to the mine. Their food supplies diminished to last another month or month and a half. All dry-cells were exhausted, only the solar cell provided power for a dim lantern. Ursula eventually stopped the morning routine of running and became visibly depressed. Chou had to spend considerable time encouraging and coaxing her to keep up physical exercises. He encouraged her to participate in Lizs activities; keeping their small dwelling in good shape and helping her with food preparations. Ed began writings comments on the revolutionary events of early America. What are you writing about? Chou asked him.
I think the principles of the American Constitution are excellent, but their implementation over the centuries needs to be critically reviewed. The current plight of humanity is related to that. It will be important to outline a few fundamental concepts of a new, compassionate democracy.
Is this the purpose of your notes?
Yes. It is important for survivors and future generations to discuss advanced principles of a genuine democracy so they could create peaceful global coexistence. I will talk about these ideas with you after I finished summarizing these ideals.
What are your main subjects you propose to consider? Chou asked.
I think we should re-evaluate the implementation of the basic principles Americas founders embedded in the Preamble of the Constitution, such as unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
A week later, Ed opened their deliberations with these words: I came to the conclusion that the main criterion of a good society is one in which the people govern themselves directly. The people of the world, however, had been divided throughout civilization and were led by egotistic rulers and tyrants. People in the United States of America, in the first time in history, have been led by an enlightened group, such as the Founders who had governed by advanced constitutional principles. The implementation of sound constitutional principles eroded in time that brings up a second criterion of good governance. I believe governance of future civilization that may rise from its present ashes, cannot be national, it must be global. Most importantly a new constitution must guarantee that military power should never again be created.
The three mine-dwellers critically examined the meaning and implementations of each word of the US Constitution; first the meaning of unalienable rights. Ursula just sat with them silently she didnt participate in the talks. The others agreed that its primary meaning is the right to life, and beyond survival a guaranty for the provision of basic needs of all of the people on Earth. The achievement of this goal would require the establishment of a sharing culture that secures general welfare for all individuals on the globe.
They defined the concepts of fundamental needs, and basic needs such as that satisfaction of fundamental need is essential for the sustenance of life of every living species, including humans. Whereas, basic need is an exclusive human need, equal need of each member of global society. The implementation of the principle, the right to life, was bad in the past because millions of people had starved and died of hunger and in wars.
Ed proposed this definition: A good society grants and protects the fundamental and basic needs of all human beings. It means, he explained, that in a new global society every person should have a well-provided life, adequate housing, sufficient income, free education, universal health care, work opportunities, and impartial justice system equally accessible to all.
What about individual desires above these? Chou asked.
Those are not needs, they are tertiary wants. Nevertheless they are important from the point of view of progress. Individuals with inventive talents, exceptional skills, and entrepreneurial abilities had greatly benefited themselves and society in the past. The new constitution should support these positive abilities, but protect society from the effects of harmful tertiary drives.
Then they talked about the need for the establishment of new ethical standards and proposed a preamble of which Ed called a Universal Constitution. He read his idea of a modified version of the preamble of the USA constitution: We, the survivors of the self-destroyed defunct civilization form a peaceful global union, establish universal human rights, guarantee general welfare, and impartial governance, in order to end all confrontational forms of governances of the past forever.
We might be accused of being conceited to speak on behalf of the people of the world, Chou commented.
And it is a bit too ambitious, Liz added. The people may not be able to implement these principles.
The founders of the United States of America spoke on behalf of the people too, Ed replied. We must state the principles we believe in and essential if the world is to become peaceful. We will not be the final judges, the people of the new civilization will decide what constitution they want.
You are right, Chou responded. But I think we would have to add more formally the peoples right to make proposals and changes, and after thorough deliberations approve constitutional principles and the Law.
Good point. The right of the people to become directly involved in their own governance should be enshrined in the Universal Constitution, Ed said.
Surprisingly, at that point Ursula spoke up: Why are you so hot about a new constitution? We are all gonna die here in this rotten hole.
You might be right, but we survived the worst part. It is quite likely that we will live, and a few others, all over the world, might survive too. We have to be optimistic, my dear, Chou tried to calm her.
Our principles are important subjects and what we are doing here may be discussed by the remaining members of our ruined civilization with the goal of forming a new peaceful global society, Ed said. We will survive, Ursula, he assured her. Lets continue and add another constitutional principle such as: the inalienable right to life intrinsically forbids the manufacture and sale of weapons and the right to bear arms, which is one of the primary conditions for the protection of life.
I like it, Liz said.
It is the utmost importance too, Chou added
We also have to reinterpret the meaning and implementation of liberty, Ed said. In my view, personal liberty is the natural right of every individual and shall not be oppressed by Law. Whereas individual and corporate freedom that affects peaceful coexistence shall be subject to restrains. What do think about the differentiation of liberty and freedom?
A lengthy discussion followed Eds suggestion. Liz suggested adding a section that clarifies the principle that nobody has freedom to violate the fundamental and basic needs of the people. The three of them agreed. Ursula didnt participate in their deliberations, but at the end she said, Ordinary people were never free, and nobody will ever be free!
They ignored her outburst. Then Ed brought up the subject of discrimination and they added another section: All people shall have equal rights regardless their sex, race, colour, nationality, religion or ethnicity or by any other discriminating characteristics.
What do you think, Ed? What is actual discrimination? And what are its boundaries? Chou asked.
These are good questions. There are acts of discrimination which are easy to define. More difficult is to recognize subtle manifestations of discrimination by various means. The subject of free speech, for instance, had been too broadly applied in the past. The so called free speech and freedom of the press often caused serious discriminations by individuals, hate organizations, and the media. There had been racial, sexual or other innuendoes made in the past by many of these means. Should we suggest another section for the prevention of subtle violation of free speech?
Yes. Lets add another section, Liz responded. How about this: Freedom of speech and freedom of the media shall be preserved, but not unlimited, and shall not cause direct or indirect harm to individuals or society.
Ultimately the people will draw the demarcation line between the freedoms of expression in any form, and protect society from its harmful consequences, Ed said.
The freedom of speech had been abused in many countries, including Canada and the United States of America, where freedom is embedded in the Constitution. I agree with Liz suggestion, Ed, commented Chou.
I think we all agree, he concluded. Our supplies are rapidly diminishing, so lets go on to the question of the right to own personal property, which is also embedded in the US constitution. I suggest adding a new principle such as: Personal property shall be protected by the Constitution. Whereas the natural resources of the earth are common property of humanity, like air and water, and their ownership and exploitation shall be governed by law. Is this acceptable to you?
I hope the clause on property rights will not be interpreted so that individuals and families cant own their houses, farm land, and cottages. Chou remarked.
Of course not, Ed replied, a house, a cottage, and the land they stand on are personal properties, so are farms or other land that is not used for exploitation.
Long deliberations followed Eds definition, discriminating between personal and public property. Everybody agreed that there is a great difference between the two, and that the ownership of land and natural resources and their exploitation had been the exclusive rights of privileged individuals in the past. But at the end of their deliberations they agreed that Eds definition is sufficient guarantee for further deliberations and decision-making by future generations.
They added one more article: The Constitution shall protect fundamental human rights and establish universal justice. There was no discussion about details. It meant equal justice for all.
Then Liz said: The protection of the environment is also common interest of the people of the globe. I would add another article such as that No person or enterprise shall have rights to harm the natural environment. There was no argument about Lizs proposal, but Ed added:
The Constitution shall protect the environment. Every human being has a right to live in safe and clean environment that is a universal right of humanity. And I would like to add one more article that is the most important principle for the people of the future. I suggest we add this: All legislative Powers under the Constitution herein are vested in the people of the world, and this article to be the first one following the Preamble.
I am sure we found important constitutional principles, Liz said. But how could the new constitution to be enforced? What kind of law enforcement agencies could assure constitutional guarantees, control violators of the laws and control violent criminals? And does the right to life mean implicitly, no death penalty? she asked.
My answer to the question is yes; there should be no death penalty, Ed answered. It would keep an eye on violators of the Law, expose global lawbreakers, would be militarists and arm merchants, corporate environmental terrorists, market place polluters and exploiters. The peoples courts would deal with incorrigible violators and the GPE Agency would enforce the punishments. These are just a few of my ideas about a new peace oriented system of justice, Ed added
You are just a bunch of dreamers under the influence of Ed. We are all gonna die in this hole in the ground! Ursula burst out. You can scrap your high ideals. Nobody will bother to read them.
Please, my dear, dont be upset. We will survive, Chou tried to calm her.
We wont die, Ursula, Liz assured her. Our food is going to run out in a few weeks, and then we will walk out of the mine, then you will feel better. It has been over four months since the outburst of the nuclear war.
Yes. Liz is right, we will leave this shelter that saved our lives, and we will continue living, Ed added. There will be no radioactive fallout anymore, its strength is diminished. Survivors, like us, will have a chance to live, some for many years; others may die sooner depending on their exposure. But the few survivors will gather in the best places on earth and begin to build a new life, like our ancient ancestors did. We will establish new homes and lay down the foundations of a new rising peaceful civilization.