Let’s turn to another apparently inexorable tendency — the destruction of the environment that sustains human life. The Bush Administration has been widely criticised for undermining the Kyoto Treaty. The grounds that they presented are that to conform to the Treaty would harm the U.S. economy. Those criticisms are rather surprising because the decisions are entirely rational within the framework of existing ideology. We’re instructed daily to be firm believers in neo-classical markets in which isolated individuals are rational wealth maximisers. The market responds perfectly to their votes, which are expressed in currency inputs. The value of a person’s interests is measured the same way. In particular, the interests of those with no votes, no dollars, those interests are valued at zero. Future generations, for example, who don’t have dollar inputs in the market.

So it’s therefore entirely rational to destroy the possibility for decent survival for our grandchildren, if by doing so we can maximise the particular form of self-interest that’s hailed as the highest value, reinforced by vast industries that are devoted to implanting and reinforcing them. The threats to survival are currently being enhanced by dedicated efforts to weaken the institutional structures that have been developed to mitigate the harsh consequences of market fundamentalism and, even more important, to undermine the culture of sympathy and solidarity that sustains these institutions. Well, that’s another prescription

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