The Age of Plunder is nearly at an end.
The Age of Healing is ready to be born.
And whether it arrives or not depends upon two people: you and me.
The Age of Plunder was the natural successor to the so-called Age of Reason: the Age in which humankind decided that it knew better than God. For 200 years now the greedy and ruthless have been plundering the planet but their time will soon be up. The whole thing is going to come crashing down.
It could not have gone on much longer anyway – because soon there will be nothing left to plunder. The forests have almost gone from the Earth, the fish of the sea are all but exhausted, the air surrounding us and the waters of the Earth will soon be able to take no more poisonous wastes and, most serious of all, the soil is going. For we soil organisms this could be terminal. As long as the oil reserves last agribusiness will be able to produce the agrichemicals needed to keep some sort of production of vitiated food going from the eroded soil, but the oil deposits – that Pandora’s Box of evil things – will soon be exhausted and then the final account, long deferred, will come up for payment. The bailiffs who present it will have strange names, like Famine, Pestilence and War.
But, thank God, maybe the old Earth will not have to wait for this to happen. The whole great edifice of international trade and finance – the whole mighty plunder-machine – is quite likely to burst like a balloon that has grown too big. The whole thing is becoming unsustainable: it has grown too huge to manage.
Owing to the incorrigible tendency towards cannibalism by the huge industrial corporations – the tendency of the bigger ones to swallow up the smaller ones – these molochs are becoming too large for humans to control or the planet to support. Ten years ago no economist would have predicted the complete collapse of the mighty Soviet machine that had engulfed half the Earth. International capitalism will follow.
It is in the nature of a limited company that it can have no responsibility either to the environment around it or to the people who work for it. It is no use blaming the directors – if they do anything that might reduce profits for the shareholders they will quickly be replaced. And the shareholders not only have no liability for debts incurred by the company – but they take no responsibility for the world of nature around them. If the directors can secure bigger profits by dumping poisons into the nearest river – they have to do this. If they do not, they will very quickly be replaced. If they can make more profit by halving the work force – they will have to do so or again they will be replaced. If both shareholders and directors suffer from that most uncapitalist thing – a conscience – to the extent that it interferes with profits – that company will be swallowed up by another giant that has no such inconvenient scruples.
One of the most dramatic effects of the Age of Plunder has been to drive most of the world’s population into vast conurbations. These huge assemblies of uprooted people, called cities, are not only ugly but also dangerous. The billions who live in them can only be kept alive by an enormous system of transport which brings water, food, power, fuel and all the necessities of life, often great distances. Any breakdown in the supply of all this would be disastrous. And the great plundering molochs of companies which run it all get fewer and fewer, and bigger and bigger, and more and more people find themselves out of work, not needed, redundant and disempowered.
And meanwhile the tiny scattering of people left on the land, which is the only source of true wealth, have been forced by their paucity of numbers to resort to more and more destructive methods of producing the huge amount of food needed to sustain these billions. They have been forced to ignore the laws of husbandry, which could have retained the fertility of the soil as long as the world lasted, and farm instead with chemicals and huge machines. The soil is becoming poisoned and eroded. The only beneficiaries of this have been the huge chemical companies but they will destroy themselves in the end because they are killing the goose that laid the golden eggs.
If we open our eyes, we will realize that all this is bound to come crashing down in the end. Then, in the ashes of the Age of Plunder, a new age could arise. The real New Age: the Age of Healing!
We will set about it, just you and me, to heal the ravaged Earth. If we do not – if we fail – then there will not be an Age of Healing: there will be an Age of Chaos and it will not be nice.
And we do not have to wait for the end of the Age of Plunder to start the work. We must start now.
And how can we – just the two of us, you and me, who are so few and disempowered – start this great work by ourselves?
Firstly, say to yourself, and I promise I will do the same, the following resolution:
“I am only one. I can only do what one can do. But what one can do I will do!”
Then consider what you can do.
Refuse to work for the plunderers. Refuse to buy their shoddy goods. Give up the ambition of living like a Texan millionaire. Boycott the Lottery, not because you think you won’t win it, but because you don’t want to win it!
Refuse to shop in the plunderer’s “supermarkets”.
Work, always, for a decentralist economy. Support local traders and producers – try to get what you need from as near your home as you can.
Take part in your local politics – boycott the politics of the huge scale, the remote and far-away. The current non-violent defiance of the law by people protesting against the export of live animals from Britain is a fine example of citizen-power.
Work for an economy in which land and property are fairly shared out among the people so that “everybody has enough and nobody has too much”.
We must withhold our work, our custom, and our investment from plundering industry. This may cause us “financial hardship” : then we must endure “financial hardship” .
Road transport is the most destructive thing of all. If you live in a city, you do not need a car. (When you go to the country you can hire one – it’s much cheaper than owning.) If you live in the country, you may need one – use it as little as possible.
Boycott most goods brought from far away. Take some trouble to find locally produced goods and buy them. Heavy road transport is enormously polluting.
Oppose new road building. Building new roads never relieves traffic congestion – it simply generates more traffic. The only way of solving the traffic problem is to have less traffic.
If you possibly can, do not work for huge organizations. If we withhold our labour from them, they will wither away. (Do not be afraid that this will lose “jobs”. It will create more jobs – a multitude of small firms create more “jobs” than a few big ones).
Support local cultural activities. Boycott mass “culture” coming from countries far away.
Encourage, support, and initiate, local credit and finance organizations.
Buy, if you cannot grow, organically produced food. Thus you will help destroy the polluting chemical industry – and you will be healthier. Boycott, absolutely consistently, all products that have involved cruelty to animals.
Support the local and the small-scale.
I will do the same as I ask you to do.
The tiny amount you and I can do is hardly likely to bring the huge worldwide moloch of plundering industry down? Well, if you and I don’t do it, it will not be done, and the Age of Plunder will terminate in the Age of Chaos. We have to do it – just the two of us – just you and me. There is no “them” – there is nobody else. Just you and me. On our infirm shoulders we must take up this heavy burden now – the task of restoring the health, the wholeness, the beauty and the integrity of our planet. We must start the Age of Healing now! Tomorrow will be too late.
John Seymour from: The Age of Healing published in Resurgence