The Cancer Stage of Capitalism

“It is reliably estimated that species extinctions now proceed at 1000 times their normal rate, and that up to 99% of the materials used in the US production process end up as waste within 6 weeks. For every ton of garbage, in turn, there are 5 tons of materials to produce it, and 25 tons extracted from nature to yield these materials.

But these facts are not connected across the fields of expertise which track them. As the earth is thus stripped and polluted by ever more unfettered global market operations, the market paradigm of value that leads governments does not factor into its calculus the countless life forms, habitats and systems which are thus extinguished and poisoned. When objections are raised, the followers of the paradigm that rules sternly warn that all is necessary ‘to keep the economy going’. Peoples increasingly observe that their life-ground is being devastated, but no ‘new discovery’ reports that every step of decision behind this process of life-destruction is taken to enact the global market programme.”

At this stage of the global market system’s reproduction of transnational money sequences to unheard-of volumes and velocities of transaction and growth, a systematic and irreversible destruction of planetary life-organization emerges for the first time in history. If we consider the defining principles of carcinogenic invasion and eventual destruction of a life-host, and do not avoid or deny the symptom profile in evidence, we discern a carcinogenic pattern increasingly penetrating and spreading across civil and environmental life-organization. 

There are seven defining properties of a cancer invasion which medical diagnosis recognizes at the level of the individual organism. These seven properties can now be recognized for the first time at the level of global life-organization as well. And this is the pathological core of our current disease condition.

That is, there is: 

(1) an uncontrolled and unregulated reproduction and multiplication of an agent in a host body; that 

(2) is not committed to any life function of its life-host; that 

(3) aggressively and opportunistically appropriates nutriments and resources from its social and natural hosts in uninhibited growth and reproduction; that 

(4) is not effectively recognized or responded to by the immune system of its hosts; that 

(5) possesses the ability to transfer or to metastasize its growth and uncontrolled reproduction to sites across the host body; that 

(6) progressively infiltrates and invades contiguous and distant sites of its life- hosts until it obstructs, damages and/or destroys successive organs of their life-systems; and that 

(7) without effective immune-system recognition and response eventually destroys the host bodies it has invaded.

John McMurtry

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