In most societies throughout the world the economy is dominated by the monetary market system and the needs of the global economy. The predominant thinking is based on an attachment to a belief that capitalism works in everyone's favour and this belief is rooted in the theories and ideas of 18th century economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. Adam Smith is known for two publications. The first is titled 'An Inquiry into the nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations', better known by its shorter title of 'Wealth of Nations' (published in 1776), and also 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments' (published previously in 1759). There are two central concepts first published in these works which still dominate economic and political thinking today in the 21st century.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments
This book argued for the existence of human nature (disproved, among others, by Stella Baker's Theory of Creativity). but the most profound assertion is stated as the following:
"The rich only select from the heap what is most precious and agreeable. They consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity, though they mean only their own conveniency, though the sole end which they propose from the labours of all the thousands whom they employ, be the gratification of their own vain and insatiable desires, they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species."
There's nearly 7 billion human beings living on
this planet. Of those 7 billion, approximately 5.4 billion are
adults aged 18 or over. Of those 5.4 billion adults
approximately 70% are living in poverty and struggle. Every minute
34,000 children die from preventable diseases and conditions.
Roughly a quarter of the UK population, more than the total
population of Greater London, are struggling with poverty and unable
to adequately support themselves and remain free from debt. 43% of
the material wealth in the United States is owned by less than 1% of
There is no evidence to support Adam Smith's
assertion that the rich are guided by an 'invisible hand' of God to
evenly distribute wealth throughout the planet, yet this belief
forms one of the most popular beliefs in modern economic thinking.
The Wealth of Nations
The following quote comes from Chapter 8 of Book 1, the chapter is titled 'Of the wages of Labour'.
"Every species of animals naturally multiplies in proportion to the
means of their subsistence, and no species can ever multiply beyond
But in civilised society it is only among the inferior ranks of people that the scantiness of subsistence can set limits to the further multiplication of the human species; and it can do so in no other way than by destroying a great part of the children which their fruitful marriages produce. "
There is no explanation for the contradictory philosophies between the above quotation, a central element of the thesis of the Wealth of Nations, and the wealth redistribution by the rich thesis in the Theory of Moral Sentiments, or the glaring inconsistency between the two positions. Yet both form the basis for much of today's modern economic and political thinking and are the root cause behind almost every cause of poverty and inequality you can think of as well as the motivating factor behind the indifference and unwillingness to find adequate solutions to the impending ecological disasters we face by the banking, corporate and political classes.
The addiction cycle
Many people have a strong attachment to the economic thinking and beliefs which arose out of Adam Smith's works and it can be seen as an addiction to a belief. As with any other addiction access and control of access to the belief and object takes priority, even to the detriment of others. There is also a lack of enlightenment thinking such as the creation of truth and development of moral principles because adherence to such belief means a basic commitment to completing the addiction cycle.
There are the exact same interaction strategies as with any other addiction - denial of truth, a preoccupation with the future and future intention, empty promises of change with no effort made at follow through, and anger, hostility or aggression shown towards anyone or anything which threatens control of access.
The solution.As with any other addiction the only solution is for the person with the addiction to surrender control of access to the attachments which form the basis of the addiction cycle. This is of course a matter of personal choice which can be taken at any time. This is a process which takes place in the mind of the person who has the addiction.
There is nothing anybody else can do other than trying to change that person's thinking, reasoning with them, or cutting off the supply to whatever feeds the addiction, in this case money, power and social status. However in the case of money and power those who have the addiction do all they can to prevent access to money and power being denied them.