With a stagnant and faltering economy in the land of hyper-consumerism, contraction throughout the Euro Zone, and signs of shrinking economic activity in China and the Far East, this culture of make-believe (D Jensen) is teetering on the eve of destruction. The mere complexity of their inter-connectedness is unsettling, to say the least. But, as was suggested last week, the sweet siren song of salvation can still be heard in many quarters, as the quest for a technological escape route from shrinking resource availability on this finite planet continues apace. The race to save this culture is accelerating at warp speed: so beam me up, Scotty. The mythic hero’s quest for the Holy Grail begins now in earnest; the battle enjoined. And the promise of technological salvation can be heard deep in the jungles of the Amazon as well as in the black vastnesses of outer space.
Never mind about that silly LIBOR rate-manipulation deal uncovered at HSBC, the minor money laundering business disclosed at Citibank, or the sanctified work carried out by Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs on behalf of the world’s population, the magical disappearance of a billion-plus dollars in client funds engineered by the Honorable Jon Corzine at MF Global, or Jamie Dimon’s recent “apologia” for JP Morgan’s six billion dollar loss from a “rogue” trader abroad; we are on the way to a new dawn people. Let’s get with the program…err, with the curriculum, shall we? Didn’t you know that the reason these buttoned-down-trickster-criminals get a hall pass is due to the fact they are financing the future of galactic free market capitalism, and hoisting its cover story – liberal Christian democracy and the rule of law – deep into our tropical rain forests and right out there to the gates of the Milky Way. The tyranny of our history continues to haunt our present like a bad ghost of Christmas past, while pointing with disembodied figuration the way to our fateful and fearful future. So, get over it!
Don’t you know it though: Lloyd was speaking for all those fine financiers when he said he was doing god’s work. After all, they must surely be planning to funnel much of the stolen, hidden or misplaced cash into some of these new ventures, betting on the one thing that will give them hope for keeping this party alive and going as long as possible.
We are on the cusp of some exciting new acts of human dominion, my friends; the yet unmolested inner life of nature’s biologic bounty hidden deep in whatever forests remain, and the outer limits of our vast galaxy already tarnished with loads of discarded space hardware. Bio-prospecting – a relatively novel process for discovering and commercializing new “pharmaceutical, agricultural, industrial, or chemical processing end-products” from previously untapped biological resources – is the latest manifestation of capital’s search for the Holy Grail; god, you think maybe those indigenous peoples we slaughtered had some important knowledge they could have passed on? More important to the curriculum, however, is the following: can we successfully commodify and mass market whatever our bio-prospectors are able to unearth (pun intended)? That is the genuine question for any of these serious financial executives. Calling all socially conscious (or even unscrupulous) entrepreneurs! And don’t worry about depleting the earth of newly discovered resources, as we have done wholesale to more readily available ones, like oil, air, and water, because we are also looking to the stars for additional help on our last-minute mission of salvation.
That brings us to the always well-spoken Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic Airlines fame. He has announced the mission of Virgin Galactic, along with his personal commitment to launch initial commercial (both exploratory as well as passenger) flights into sub-orbital space as early as next year. I imagine exploratory in the hope of finding what new resources we can mine there, as well as how we might redistribute our populations across the stars. In his own words, Sir Richard is committed to “opening up the market to researchers, small businesses and even schools.” Imagine that, we can look for unintelligent life beyond our shrinking globe and teach them something about our twice-wise human intelligence, about the rule of law, and about the non-negotiable way of life that brought us to this precipice.
All in all, perhaps it is just a matter of more toys and distractions for the rich and famous; much like the scene before the Titanic went down.