Economic Gods and the Destruction of the Planet

Burning EarthA couple million years ago, God granted humanity a lease that may soon be running out.

This lease was a very unique one, for it allowed us as the human species to live on Planet Earth, a planet that, as far as we know, is the only celestial body capable of supporting life.

And yet, despite the refuge Earth gives us in the freezing vacuum of space, we have turned it into a ticking time bomb.

In the past century and a half, three Gods, which I call the “Economic Gods,” have seduced humanity into the destruction of its own planet: Growth, Capitalism, and Free Markets.

Economic Gods Image
The Economic Gods have reconfigured our worldview to only see the world in a manner that conforms to Economic Growth: where wildlands are called “resources” and “resources” need to be supposedly “developed”

These three Gods, to whom we’ve all become unwitting servants, rule the world unquestioned, with hardly a murmur of dissent- it is broadly assumed that Global Capitalism is the only viable model for a sustainable world economy, and that if Capitalism as it stands (which has now entered its volatile and dangerous Late Stage) entails a new, genocidal era of mass extinction, that “we had better get over it” because “new jobs and a growing economy are more important anyways.”

The world is being destroyed, and yet few people dare to point out that it was the Economic Gods who were responsible for this destruction in the first place.

Pundits on cable news and politicians running for elections (who are all paid by corporations, the supreme institution of the Economic Gods) will all tell you to act in obedience to said gods. They will try to seduce you- just as they themselves were seduced- into the belief that the functioning of the economy should be valued above all else- including the very existence of life itself.

            In an act of self-preservation, the Economic Gods long ago prostituted the language of nature and environmentalism so that any attempts to protect nature would conform to the self-serving narrative of economic expansion.

They taught us to regard forests and wildlands not as not sacred wellsprings of life, allowing us to breathe and provide refuge for the millions of species with whom we share this planet- a truth indigenous people always understood- but as Economic “resources” whose mere existence was for human exploitation.

They taught us that to be in the wilderness implied being in the “middle of nowhere”- as if nature was not immensely important in and of itself- and that razing natural habitats in the name of cheap economic growth was actually “developing” the land, as if this land was inherently deformed and needed “developing” in the first place.

They inculcated in us a dualist worldview in which humans were separated from nature: the humans constituting “civilization” and anything natural being simply regarded as the “other,” therefore making it acceptable to restrict this “otherness” (see: unimportance) of nature to the geometric confines of pitifully small national parks- just like we once restricted, very similarly, the “otherness” of the Native Americans to the geometric confines of their pitifully small reservations.

The Economic Gods, more than anything else, taught us to erect walls between ourselves and nature.

            I remember how as kid, obsessed with fishing and the outdoors, I developed an all-consuming love of nature that has remained strong to this day. But I was continually dismayed to see the malicious cancer we have a tendency to call “Economic Growth” destroying the environment everywhere I went.

The Earth I love, the Earth I that supports me, the Earth that supports us all- the Earth that is being killed by “Economic Growth.” A beautiful stretch of this Earth in the place we call Florida, in Juniper Springs, 2016

Whenever I asked people why we had the constant need to “develop” everything, why we treated nature as an economic “resource,” it infuriated me to always receive the same answer: “That’s economic growth- you’ll never change it. Get over the idea that you ever will change it. Economic growth what the world needs.”

I do not sincerely believe that these people understood the dangerous ramifications of what they were saying. They’d been so brainwashed by the Economic Gods, and the language of these Gods, that they were incapable of discerning the obvious: that this charade of “Economic Growth” was eating the Earth alive, and that if we let it continue, all life will eventually be exterminated- including ourselves.

They valued these Gods more than they valued life itself.

The current destruction of the planet being wrought by the Economic Gods will not stop anytime soon.

But I know this much: that I will not partake in this charade- none of us should. I will not let the earth die. No matter what happens, I will not go out without a fight.



Author: jared8796

I'm a multi-award-winning writer and independent journalist whose essays and reportage have been published in The Nation, Vice News, the Los Angeles Review of Books, El Faro, and NACLA, among others. As an investigator, my focus is on violence, environmental conflict, political and social struggle in Central America, particularly Honduras. As a writer and essayist, my wider concern is understanding the historical dynamics of social struggle and interrogating fundamental presuppositions concerning humans relation with one another and the planet. I've spent two and a half years as a reporter covering social and environmental strife in Mexico and Central America. In 2018, I was a grantee for the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, for whom I covered the continued existence of the Zapatista movement 25 years following their uprising. Since then, I've reported on MS-13 gang violence; indigenous radios in Guatemala; anti-government resistance in Honduras; and deadly environmental conflicts.

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