Transparency in industry, Western intellectuals speak

Two intellectuals, Slavoj Žižek and Yanis Varoufakis spoke about the state of Europe and the European Union in the face of Paris attacks and bombings in Lebanon and Syria. Click above for more on these two. Žižek’s is from the encyclopedia of philosophers and Varoufakis’ link reroutes to report at Business Insider Magazine at the time that news of Greece’s economic crisis of debt, compounded by astronomical interest came to light.

They are joined mid-way by Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame. I found this discussion to be enlivening.

Yanis Varafoukis, former Greek Finance Minister suggests that future actions of governments must be made transparent. That government meetings need to be made available live-stream. This way, everyone has access to hear what’s being discussed.

The two agree that there is a push toward creating a state of surveillance by governments and yet, where there’s no transparency within government itself. It’s loosely called a democracy because every once in a while people vote, but most are not privy to what’s being planned and implemented behind governments’ closed doors. This is part of the story of how technocracy and technology go hand in hand.

Zizek says about Varoufakis idea of transparency in the halls of government that it’s easy to make decisions privately beforehand. Then, live-streamed meeting will become just for show, just to assuage those darn transparency seekers.

Julian Assange sees in the US, a Silicon Valley type of pseudo-scientific theology, or what he calls ‘neo-liberalism’ pervading government decisions and policy making. Of course, it’s not religious really. It’s a type of technology worship that is created via top-down technocracy, only in a post-modern world.

In some ways, post-modernism is a reaction to modernism. The modern age started around the time in architecture when buildings began to be constructed from steel and ‘brutal concrete’, with flat roofs and ribbon windows. This lead to skyscrapers puncturing skylines. In this sense, the modern age and industrial age are the same. The are both run on a grid.

Varoufakis and Yanis praise Assange and his site Wikileaks for bringing transparency to government affairs, most recently through publishing TTP documents in full. Both mourn for Europe in the wake of attacks by suicide bombers in Paris and the handling of Syrian refugee situation by officials and the press. France’s Hollande is pushing for more surveillance and border security. Varoufakis points out that border fences cause alienation, followed by dissension. That there is in fact, less safety or security for people that these fences seek to divide.

A super-surveillance state grants no privacy for the many, but ultra privacy for a micro-minority of ruling elite. In between, there’s over-controlled mass media.

Varoufakis reports that the EU started out as a coal and oil union, created in order to secure for its leaders the profitability of the natural resources which they extract, refine and burn. The unions sought control over how petrol would be doled out and what would it cost. So, you have this whole economy based on our dependency upon the continuous consumption of limited resources to profit owners of private industries. Corporations get to decide how much they will make.

I want to say that fossil fuels are non-renewable resources but that’s not quite accurate, if you think about these pockets of oil and how they were created. Take a bunch of dinosaur bones from large animals who all perished at the same time due to a great catastrophe, such as a comet strike. These critters were all hanging out when this crash boom explosion hit and they all died together. The pressure from it crushed their bones, creating within a disputed amount of time a pocket of carbon, like a coal seam.

What about the holes that all of this mining and extraction leaves? Are these big, empty pockets left in the ground going to cave in at the slightest tremor?

How oil is created is not discussed. The fact is, it takes an explosive amount of pressure to pulverize carbon-based life into coal.

To say that large pockets of carbon-based fuel are created through cataclysm is true. That this resource is non-renewable in the short term is also true. This takes time and catastrophes are not pretty.

Past catastrophes are often overlooked. And instead, ideas of man-made climate change are considered absolute truth in widely streamed press. Indeed, the mining and the burning of carbon-based fuels is destructive to life and it is also what’s powering this huge infrastructure, this mechanized world that we have built and currently live in, at least in ‘first-world countries’.

The concept of first world vs. third world countries, I don’t understand anyway. First vs. third implies some sort of race where the winner is the first. But, there is only one world, not three. Where’s the second world because I haven’t heard it talked about. But, this must be an industrial-age definition invented to divide the lands of our earth and its inhabitants. We’ve devised a system of hierarchy to create ‘worlds’ within our world.

Zizek reminds us that both Iraq and Syria were secular nations before they were invaded and that we in the West are, “So deeply responsible for the flow of refugees.”  That this is just one more example of industrialized capitalists’ seizure of control over oil-rich countries, by whatever means necessary.



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