Some years ago Hugo Chavez the then controversial left president of Venezuela walked to president Obama and gave him Eduardo Galeano’s now famous book “Las venas abiertas de America Latina” (Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent.)
Despite the brief popularity gained by that act, Galeano it’s still virtually unknown around the world, when is name should be a battle cry, at leas for those of us who dream of a better future, in a world we are about to finish up.
Dreams and nightmares are made of the same materials, but this
nightmare allowed claims to be our only dream: a development model
that despises life, and loves things.
- CAN WE BE LIKE THEM?
Promise of politicians, technocrats reason, fantasy of the downtrodden : the Third World will become First World, and will be rich and and happy, if he behaves well and if it does what you say and take what you send, and prescribe without complaints, if or buts. A destiny of prosperity will reward good behavior of the backward and starving, in the final chapter of the soap opera of history.
We can be like them, announced on the huge neon sign in the development path of developing and modernizing the backward.
But what can not be, it can not be, and it is impossible, as well said Peter Gallo, Matador: If poor countries ascend to the level of production and waste in rich countries, the planet would die. Whether it is our wretched planet in a coma, severely poisoned by
industrial civilization and bleeding white until the last drop by society consumption.
In the last twenty years, as humanity is tripled, erosion has killed the equivalent of all the arable land in the United States. The world its for sale and become merchandise, it is losing fifteen million hectares of forest each year. Of these, six million become
deserts. Nature, humiliated, has been in the service of the accumulation of capital. land, water and air is poisoned for the money that generates more money without falling rate of profit. Efficient is who earn more in less time. Acid rain from industrial gases kill forests and lakes in the North of the world, while toxic waste poisoning rivers and seas, and South agribusiness export advances destroying and sweeping trees, and people alike. North and south, east and west, man sawing, with delirious enthusiasm, the branch where he sits.
From forest to desert: modernization, devastation. In the relentless fire of Amazonia it burns a size half Belgium per year, burned by the civilization of greed, and throughout Latin America land is peeling and drying.
In Latin America twenty hectares of forest die per minute, as most slaughtered by companies that produce meat or wood, in large scale for foreign consumption. Cows in Costa Rica, become in United States, McDonald’s hamburgers. Half a century ago, trees covering three-quarters of the territory of Costa Rica: They are very few the remaining trees, and at current rates of deforestation, this small country It will be by the end of the century bald earth. Costa Rica exports meat to the United States, and the United States imports pesticides which the United States prohibits to apply on their own soil.
A few countries squander the resources of all. A crime and Rave throwaway society: six percent richest humanity devours a third of all the energy, and one-third of all natural resources consumed worldwide. As revealed by statistical averages, one American consumes as much as fifty Haitians. Of course, the average does not define a neighbor of Harlem, or Baby Doc Duvalier, but either way is worth asking: What if the fifty Haitians suddenly consumed as much as fifty Americans?
What if all the vast population of the South could devour the world with the unpunished voracity of the North? What if Latin America would fallow in that crazy consumption of luxury goods and cars and refrigerators and television and nuclear power plants and power plants? What would happen to the climate, which is already close to collapse by the warming of the atmosphere?
What would happen to the land, with little soil that erosion is leaving us?
And with water, already a quarter of humanity drink contaminated by nitrates and pesticides and industrial waste mercury and lead? What would happen? It will not happen, simply because we will have to move to another planet. This we have destroyed and spent it, bankrupted.
The precarious balance of the world, rolling over the edge, depends on the perpetuation of injustice. The misery of many is necessary so the few may waste the many. To continue to consume few more, many must continue consuming less. And to prevent anyone to pass the line, the system multiplies the weapons of war. Unable to fight poverty, fight against the poor, while the dominant culture, militarized culture blesses the violence of power.
The American way of life, based on the privilege of waste, can only be practiced by the dominant minorities in the dominated countries. his massive implementation would entail the collective suicide of humanity.
A possibility it is not. But, would it be desirable?
Do we want to be like them?
In a well-organized ant colony, ant queens are few and workers, many ants. The queens are born with wings and can do the love. The workers, who do not fly or love, work for queens. the Police ants watch over the workers and also monitor the queens.
Life is something that happens while you’re busy doing other things, John Lennon said. In our time, marked by confusion of means and purposes, some not work to live: but live to work. Some work because they need more than they consume; and others work to continue to consume more than they need.
It seems normal working a day of eight hours belong in Latin America but is more in the realm of abstract art. Double employment statistics officers rarely confess, it is the reality of many people who do not have another way to avoid hunger. But it should be normal that a man work like an ant on the summits of development? Does wealth leads to freedom or multiplies the fear of freedom?
To be is to have, says the system. And the trap is that those who have more,
the more else he wants, and in fact people end up belonging to the
things they seek and working under hem. The model of life of a society of
consumers which today stands out as unique model in universal scale,
becomes both an economic resource, increasingly scarce and more
expensive: time is sold, rented, is reversed. But who owns the
time? The car, the TV, video, our personal computer, or the cell phone and other passwords of happiness, born machines buy time, or to pass the time, seize the time. The car, for instance, not only has the urban space also has the human time. In theory, the car serves to save time, but in reality end devouring our time. Much of working time is intended to pay for the commuting, which otherwise becomes increasingly a consumer of time because of traffic jams in our modern Babylon.
I do not need to be wise in economics. Enough is common sense to suppose
technological progress, to boost productivity, decreases working time. Common sense does not provide, however, the panic free time, or traps of consumerism, and manipulative power of advertising. In the cities of Japan the 47 hours a week has from
twenty years been the rule. Meanwhile, in Europe, working time has
decreased, but very slowly, at a pace that has nothing to do with the
accelerated development of productivity. In automated factories there
are ten men where before there was a thousand; but technological progress generates
unemployment instead of expanding the spaces of freedom.The freedom of losing
time: consumer society does not allow such a waste. Even holidays, organized by large companies that industrialize mass tourism, have become an exhausting occupation. killing
time: modern resorts reproduce the vertigo of daily life in urban anthills.
Anthropologists say that, our Paleolithic ancestors did not work more than twenty hours per week. According to the newspapers, our contemporary Swiss citizens voted, in late 1988, a plebiscite proposed to reduce the workday to forty hours per week: shorter hours,
without reducing wages. And the Swiss voted against it.
Ants communicate by touching antennae. Our TV antennas they link us with the centers of power in the contemporary world. The screen girl gives us the desire for ownership, the frenzy of consumption, excitation, competition and anxiety of success, like Columbus offered sweets and trifles to the Indians, success goods. Advertising does not tell us, however, that in the United States currently use, according to the World Health Organization, nearly half of the total tranquilizing drugs sold in the planet. In the last twenty years, working hours increased in the US. In that period, the number of patients with stress doubled.