Ch 1 : The Matrix : Sections 14-15


Richard Moore

* Capitalism and the Matrix

Capitalism is usually considered to be an economic philosophy.
Apologists typically talk about the virtues of a free market,
and refer back to the theories of people like Adam Smith and
David Ricardo. Critics then point out the tendency to
monopolization, exploitation, and imperialism - arising from
the actual operation of the marketplace in the real world. In
our age of environmental awareness, critics focus increasingly
on capitalism's relentless pursuit of economic growth, and
point out how that kind of growth is destroying our
life-support systems.

In this context - capitalism as economic philosophy - the
treatment I have found most useful is David Korten's, in "The
PostCorporate World: Life After Capitalism." He points out that
Adam Smith's notion of a market economy actually makes a great
deal of sense - but it has nothing to do with capitalism.

Smith's model can be seen operating in the real world in the
realm of small businesses, where competition typically does
lead to a beneficial and self-optimizing marketplace. Smith's
model includes all-important constraints, the primary one being
that no buyer or seller, or clique of same, is big enough to
significantly influence market prices. Real-world capitalism
violates this and every other of Smith's constraints.

I found Korten's observation - obvious once it is pointed out
- to be liberating. It opened up the vista of economic
possibilities, as regards alternatives to capitalism. There's
nothing really wrong with private property and profit-seeking.
As even communist regimes have eventually all needed to
concede - for their own survival: the pursuit of private
profit often leads to efficient economic functioning.

From an economic perspective, the problems of capitalism have
to do with lack of balance, and lack of limits. We might say
that capitalism is all yang and no yin, all push and no
repose. The profit motive is fine, but it must be
counter-balanced with something else, with some other equally
powerful dynamic principle. Trying to put arbitrary leashes on
growth - simply legislating Smith's constraints - doesn't
work; that just creates a challenge to be overcome by the
ever-so-clever entrepreneur and his lobbyists. Economies of
scale are real, and profit as the only principle leads
inevitably to monopoly capitalism, as it always has in every
real-world case.

As I suggested in the foreword to this book, our problems as a
society are all interconnected: we can't deal with them
piecemeal. Economics cannot be addressed in isolation. We need
to look at things in a broader context, a context in which
there are more dynamic forces operating, and in which it is
possible to find some kind of overall balance.

The conclusion I have reached - and I'll be expanding on this
in the rest of the book - is that culture is the context we
need to be looking at. Culture is the container, the system,
in which politics, economics, and social relationships
generally, all interact with one another. If we want to change
our societies in any significant way, we need to make changes
at the level of culture.

This observation may not at first seem to be very useful. How,
you might reasonably ask, can we hope to change our cultures?
This question is a deep one, and I won't try to offer a brief
answer at this point. I will however say that there is light
at the end of this tunnel, and we will be seeking that light
as our narrative proceeds. For now, I simply want to introduce
culture as a focus in our investigations.

Korten, like many observers who are looking at the problems of
our society, focuses on capitalism, and corporations, as being
the primary forces in our societies, the forces that need
somehow to be tamed. I agree with this, to a large extent, and
yet our discussion in this chapter has not talked much about
capitalism, or at least it has not seemed to. But in fact,
from a broader perspective, we have indeed been talking about

The fact is that capitalism is not really an economic
philosophy at all; rather it is a political philosophy.
Capitalism is basically the belief that those who have the
most spare money - the most capital - should decide how our
societies develop. This is a political belief, a belief about
who should make the important societal decisions. It is an
entirely undemocratic belief, in fact it is a belief in the
virtue of oligarchy - rule by the wealthy.

    Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of
    men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good
    of everyone.
    - attributed to John Maynard Keynes

From an economic perspective, there is no particular
capitalist economics. In today's political climate we are
invited to identify capitalism with free trade and
neoliberalism. But in fact every major capitalist economy was
developed under a regime of protectionism. Britain in the
early 1800s, America in the late 1800s, Japan in the postwar
era: when these mighty industrial engines were being created
they each depended on sufficient protectionism to enable their
fledgling industries to get off the ground unimpeded by
already-established foreign competitors.

The American Civil War, for example, was primarily about the
North's industrialists overcoming the South's insistence on a
free trade regime, which was well-suited to maximizing cotton
exports. The North got its protectionism, and that led to the
growth of America's great industrial economy. This growth
would have been much more difficult to accomplish in a
free-trade regime, where Britain's more established industries
would have retarded American industrial development.

From this broader perspective, our discussion of the
Anglo-American clique and its manipulations has been very much
a discussion about capitalism. If those who have the most
capital - those who control the biggest banks - are in charge
of setting society's agenda - which is what capitalism is
about - then they will do so according to their overall
perceived best interests, not by following any particular
economic doctrine. A war or depression can be more useful, at
times, than economic growth, while protectionism and free
trade are simply tools for different jobs.

In terms of the Matrix, the biggest myth about capitalism is
the belief that capitalism is a branch of economics. When the
Chairman of the Federal Reserve announces a change in interest
rates, we are supposed to believe that he is striving to 'tune
the engine' as best he can, according to the latest economic
data. In reality he is simply exercising arbitrary power over
our personal and collective lives, acting as high priest of a
self-serving financial elite, issuing unchallengeable edicts
from on high -  without revealing what secret agendas are
being facilitated.

Aristocracy is one kind of oligarchy, and capitalism is
another. It is in this realm of political systems that
capitalism is most appropriately considered. While aristocracy
favors inherited wealth, and is characteristically land-based
and conservative, capitalism tends to favor wealth
accumulation, and is characteristically development-based and

Of the two, aristocracy is typically more stable and more
compatible with economic sustainability. When I've visited, as
a tourist, family estates of the old British aristocracy, I've
always been impressed by the walls full of portraits -
generation after generation of the same family governing the
same domain from the same house.

When we look at the elite Anglo-American banking clique, with
its interconnecting family trees, we are seeing a hybrid of
these two kinds of oligarchy. On the one hand we get the worst
of capitalism, with its economic instability, its
environmentally destructive practices, and its constant
destabilization of our cultures and societies. On the other
hand, at the very top of the power pyramid, we are faced with
the inheritance-based political stability of aristocratic rule,
although this aristocracy is based not on land wealth, but
rather on control over global finance. In a very real sense,
we can see the elite financial clique as being the successors
of the linked families that occupied the thrones of Europe in
the centuries that preceded the advent of republics. The
Enlightenment was the process by which the reins of rule
passed from one elite to another.

* Civilization in crisis

    Only after the last tree has been cut down
    Only after the last river has been poisoned
    Only after the last fish has been caught
    Then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
    - Cree Prophecy

I've always been fascinated by the story of Pompeii. Why
didn't the people leave? They could see the volcano beginning
to erupt, and they were directly in its path of destruction.
When the ashes began to rain down, they covered their heads
and went about their business, right up until it was too late
to escape. How do we explain this kind of behavior? Were these
people in denial or what?

Our civilization has brought us to the point where we have all
become like the citizens of Pompeii. In our case, however,
there isn't a single threat to our survival - as individuals
and as a civilized society - but a whole collection of them.
Perhaps the most obvious is the total dependence of our
societies on a finite oil supply. Instead of addressing this
problem, our leaders strive to keep the energy economy
growing, paving over he countryside with motorways, and 
always increased automobile sales are seen as a 'good 
economic indicator.'

On the environmental front we have global warming, melting ice
caps, ozone depletion, acid rain, soil loss and
desertification, fishing stock depletion, disturbances to the
dynamics of the all-important Gulf Stream, increasing ferocity
and frequency of hurricanes, and the pollution of our air,
water, and food supplies. Like the people of Pompeii, we can
see these ashes of destruction beginning to fall, and yet we,
individually and as societies, go on about our business as

Rapidly increasing population levels pose another threat,
stressing global food, water, and availableland resources.
These resources are further stressed by the operation of the
global economy, whereby, for example, America, with 5% of the
world's population, consumes 20% of the world's energy
resources. In fact, increasing population is by far the lesser
of the two stress factors: it is the resource-hungry 'advanced'
nations that are the primary reason why our civilization has
become unsustainable.

'Unsustainability' is the term that probably best sums up our
predicament as a civilization. We simply cannot continue much
longer on the path we are following. If we don't do something
to change things, the realities of a finite Earth will change
them for us. If we don't change our agricultural methods, our
soil bank and water tables will be ruined, and we'll be faced
with mass starvation. If we don't convert to a sustainable
energy regime,  declining fuel supplies will cause our
essential infrastructures to collapse, leading once again to
mass starvation. In each aspect of our economy, we find
systems of utilization that are unsustainable.

I described this situation in the Foreword, where I talked
about our global society, as a system, being dysfunctional.
The system can't be fixed; it needs to be transformed - or it
will bring transformation upon us, by the collapse of our
civilization. I also suggested that the technical problems
involved in transforming our societies are not insurmountable
- if we turned our full attention, as societies, to addressing
those problems. The more insurmountable problem seems to be
our political systems, which act not in the interests of
people generally, but act rather on the behalf of self-serving

If we were to diagnose the ills of our civilization, using
medical terminology, the diagnosis would be that civilization
is suffering from both a chronic disease and an acute,
life-threatening infection. The acute infection is the
unsustainability of our modern societies; the chronic disease
is rule by elites - a disease we've been suffering from ever
since the days of the first Mesopotamian kings, some 6,000
years ago. We've never been able to shake that disease, but
unless we find a way to do so soon, we'll die from our acute

It is not as if today's ruling elites were unaware of the
crisis civilization is facing. In fact they are well aware,
and it is that very awareness that provides urgency to the
PNAC agenda - which is aimed at seizing scarce resources, and
gaining control over global affairs, in anticipation of the
emerging crisis. That awareness likewise provides urgency to
the establishment of the new-millennium blueprint - which
provides for the control of populations in troubled times, and
which centralizes administrative and military functions in an
elite-serving world government.

I earlier cited neoliberalism, and the anticipation of its
consequences, as being the motivation for most of these
agendas. In a short-term sense that was true, but from our
current perspective we can see that neoliberalism merely adds
to the more fundamental crisis of unsustainability. Even if
the worst excesses of neoliberalism were to be eliminated, the
crisis would not be significantly postponed. The new-millennium
blueprint, seen from this perspective, provides a means of
enabling elites to deal with the crisis as they see fit, with
full control over resources and their distribution.

We now need to peel back another layer of the Matrix onion,
and examine the various responses of the ruling clique to the
obvious unsustainability of civilization - as it currently
operates, and at current population levels. Although public
awareness of global warming, peak oil, and sustainability has
come relatively recently, our elite rulers, having the vision
to plan and create whole blueprints of world order, while
managing global finance - and with their think tanks and
access to intelligence information - have certainly been aware
of the impending crisis for some considerable time.

Let us reconsider, for example, the oil shock of 1973, which
ushered in the petrodollar era, and curtailed development in
the third world. From the perspective of oil marketing, the
400% price increase can be seen as a decision to 'go for the
premium market.' Instead of fueling the world's wholesale
demand for development, at a generally affordable price, the
decision was to sell less oil, at a higher price, to those who
could afford to pay. As a business decision, this evidently
made sense: oil company profits have soared with every price

From the perspective of the crisis of unsustainability, this
'marketing decision' had the consequence of dividing the
people of the world into two classes: those who could afford
to continue participating in the unsustainable system, and
those who were being left by the wayside. In the first class
we find the wealthier nations, and in particular those
individuals who can command high salaries in service to the
corporate machine. In the second class we find the poorer
nations of the third world, the residents of our impoverished
ghettos, and the homeless and unemployed in our modern cities
and towns.

There are many motivations for the neoliberal agenda, but one
of the primary outcomes of that agenda has been to accelerate
this two-class division of global populations. Officials and the
media admit that the gap between the haves and the havenots is
rapidly widening, and they try to explain that away in various
ways, or else they promise us that things will get better
eventually. But they won't get better: they'll get worse.

In economic terms, the essence of neoliberalism is
monetization - everything being measured in terms of its value
as a commodity on the market. If you're not employed, that's
your fault: you need to get retrained so that you will have
value on the employment market. If a nation's economy is
deteriorating, that's because it is not competitive enough,
i.e., it is not offering enough value to the all-powerful
'investment community.' Such a nation needs to lower its
corporate taxes, relax its regulations, and cut back on public
services, so that it will have more 'value' to offer on the
investment market, particularly as regards privatization

The neoliberal agenda does not include a safety net for those
left by the wayside. As we can see today in Europe, existing
social-welfare structures, long part of the postwar blueprint,
are under frontal assault as the free-trade neoliberal program
advances. All over Europe we have seen, and are seeing, mass
protests as job-protection measures are eliminated, services
are cut back or privatized, and industries are destroyed by
foreign competition.

Safety nets of all kinds are being systematically destroyed
all over the world, even as employment declines, and
energy-fueled inflation increases. In the third world, the IMF
has wholesale destroyed whole social infrastructures, casting
millions into abject poverty, and leading directly to mass
starvations. In America, the Social Security pension system is
under threat, which is likely to mean the safety net will be
removed for the elderly. America never did have many of those
safety nets that Europeans are now vainly struggling to

Farm subsidies, which have provided a safety net for farmers
under the pressure of  free trade, are under threat as the
free-trade agenda moves ever forward. The welfare dole system
acts currently as a safety net for many in the West - far too
many - but that safety net is nothing we can count on.
Providing a dole offers little value as a capital investment,
other than as a means of pacifying the population, and that
kind of value doesn't count for much in the neoliberal
marketplace - particularly if other means of social control
are available.

What happens to those left by the wayside as the remaining
safety nets disappear? What happens when human life is treated
entirely as a commodity, its welfare provided for only to the
extent that it returns value to the neoliberal marketplace? We
can see part of the answer to this question in the mass
famines and genocidal civil wars that have plagued Africa. The
media shows us the pictures, and bemoans the fact that the
attention of the 'international community' is elsewhere. In
the actions of the 'international community' we see reflected
the priorities of those who are running our societies. Untold
billions are available for military campaigns to secure oil
supplies, but African people, who contribute little to the
global economy, and have no political clout in the West, can
be just left to die.

    Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy
    towards the third world, because the US economy will require
    large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad,
    especially from less developed countries."
    -  Attributed to Henry Kissinger, "National Security Study
    Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth
    for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests", April 24, 1974

A search on Google reveals hundreds of hits citing the above
quotation. However, on downloading and reading the memo, NSSM
200, I was unable to find that particular passage. Perhaps the
quote is a hoax, or perhaps it was deleted before the memo was
declassified and made public. I've nonetheless featured the
alleged quote, because genuine or not it serves as a very good
summary of what the full NSSM 200 document is actually about,
if you read between the lines. Consider this passage, which
explains why U.S. planners are so concerned with population

    The real problems of mineral supplies lie, not in basic
    physical sufficiency, but in the politico-economic issues of
    access, terms for exploration and exploitation, and division
    of the benefits among producers, consumers, and host country
    governments (NSSM 40).

That is to say, the U.S. wants to ensure its own access to
resources, and it wants that access to be on favorable terms.
The document explains in great detail why high population
levels interfere with such access, and is therefore a threat
to U.S. "security and overseas interests." The actual policy
proposals in the public NSSM document are not extreme; they
emphasize voluntary measures. However those voluntary measures
have clearly not been successful, nor were they likely to be.
The following passage suggests that stronger measures, not
fully specified, were being anticipated:

    There is an alternative view which holds that a growing 
    number of experts believe that the population situation is 
    already more serious and less amenable to solution through
    voluntary measures than is generally accepted.  It holds that,
    to  prevent even more widespread food shortage and other
    demographic  catastrophes than are generally anticipated, even
    stronger  measures are required and some fundamental, very
    difficult moral issues need to be addressed (NSSM 14).

This language is a bit evasive. It is suggesting that measures
"stronger" than "voluntary" may be required. In straight talk
that means, "imposed measures may be required." And in the
context of the document, it is third world governments we are
talking about, which may or may not "voluntarily" adopt
depopulation policies. So, once again in straight talk, the
passage is saying, "We may need to impose depopulation
measures on populations, against the will of their

If we consider this elite line of thinking, expressing a need
for 'imposed depopulation,' and if we look at the mass
starvation in Africa, accelerated by the IMF and ignored by
the 'international community,' we cannot avoid considering the
hypothesis that intentional genocide may be part of the elite
agenda for dealing with civilization's crisis: those left by
the wayside are 'useless feeders,' a waste of space,
undeserving of capital investment: why not just quietly get
rid of them?

Such an hypothesis, if taken seriously, amounts to a very
serious accusation against elite planners, and is not to be
undertaken lightly. On the other hand, as these people
regularly manipulate whole nations into wars, with millions
killed, why should we put anything past them? In this case, as
regards genocidal intentions, we might take into account the
role of the CIA in African genocide episodes, episodes which
were allegedly being ignored by the 'international community.'

    By December, 1996, U.S. military forces were operating in
    Bukavu amid throngs of Hutus, less numerous Twa refugees, Mai
    Mai guerrillas, advancing Rwandan troops and AFDL-CZ rebels. A
    French military intelligence officer said he detected some 100
    armed U.S. troops in the eastern Zaire conflict zone.
    Moreover, the French intelligence service, DGSE, reported that
    Americans had knowledge of the extermination of Hutu refugees
    by Tutsis in both Rwanda and eastern Zaire and were doing
    nothing about it. More ominously, there was reason to believe
    that some U.S. forces, either Special Forces or mercenaries,
    may have actually participated in the extermination of some
    Hutu refugees.
    ŠIt was known that the planes that the U.S. military deployed
    in eastern Zaire included heavily armed and armored helicopter
    gunships typically used by the U.S. Special Forces. These were
    fitted with 105 mm cannons, rockets, machine guns, land mine
    ejectors and, more importantly, infrared sensors used in night
    operations. U.S. military commanders unabashedly stated the
    purpose of these armed gunships was to locate refugees to
    determine the best means of providing them with humanitarian
    Towards the end of 1996, U.S. spy satellites were attempting
    to ascertain how many refugees escaped into the jungle by
    locating fires at night and canvas tarpaulins during the day.
    Strangely, every time an encampment was discovered by space
    based imagery, Rwanda and Zaire rebel forces attacked the
    sites (Madsen).

We now have quite a bit of evidence to suggest that the
'genocide hypothesis' deserves serious consideration. To begin
with, we have the basic economic context: the combination of
radical neoliberal economics, together with the systematic
removal of safety nets, creates a situation where increasing
millions of people, globally, will be in abject poverty, and
will be playing no role in the global economy. A world is
being intentionally created in which millions, even billions,
will have no place.

Next, there is the attitude of elite planners to population
growth: for them it is a matter of strategic importance to
reduce population levels, using imposed measures if necessary,
so as to make resources readily available to the advanced

Next, there is the elephant in the kitchen of actual mass
dieoffs in Africa: the systematic tolerance of these events by
the 'international community' is lacking any acceptable
explanation. What we do know is that this tolerance must
reflect the priorities of leading governments, particularly
the U.S., which typically takes the lead in UN interventionist

Finally, there is the actual participation by Western
intelligence agencies in genocide. Overall, I think we have a
rather strong case for the genocide hypothesis. If the
globally enforced neoliberal regime is going to be
established, and if it is not to include safety nets, then
what does one do with those who don't have a place in the

If we were setting up this new blueprint for a new millennium,
we couldn't just ignore this problem. Rather than having
starving people on every street corner, wouldn't it make more
sense to have some more organized and less publicly visible
way of culling redundant populations? If you find this notion
unthinkable, recall that little more than a century ago the
native populations of Australia and North America were being
openly and systematically exterminated: they were redundant to
the development plans of the colonizing governments.

Consider how dieoff episodes, e.g. starvation in the Sudan,
are treated in the media: we are shown the wretched faces, we
are given some shallow explanation of why this is happening,
and then we are given a number to call to make a contribution.
The subliminal message: governments can't solve these
problems, it's up to me and you.

In this vein, we can also note the increasing reliance on
NGO's (nongovernmental organizations) to take the lead in
relief efforts. Overall, we are seeing a passing of the buck -
regarding responsibility for responding to human tragedy -
from governments and the UN to individuals and NGOs. If these
people fail; it's their fault; they don't care enough.
Realistically, they - individuals and NGOs - have no chance of
responding in any significant way to the impending scale of
impoverishment. Those who are passing the buck are well aware
of this.

Let's step back now, and review what this section on
civilization's crisis has been about, looking from a broad

The first observation was about sustainability: the way our
civilization uses resources is simply unsustainable; drastic
changes are inevitable, of one kind or another, not too long
in the future, with or without our help. That is the crisis we
face, as a civilization.

The second observation was about transformation: we can't just
fix our current systems, they are inherently unsustainable. We
need a comprehensive, bottom-to-top, reinvention of our
economies, taking into account the hard reality of
sustainability - and this is not beyond our technical
capacity, if our societies were so motivated.

The next observation was about elite rule: civilization's
actual response to its crisis is being decided by a clique of
behind-the-scenes manipulators who have little regard for
anyone's welfare other than their own. This clique is showing
no signs of responding to the crisis in any kind of acceptable
way, as regards the welfare of most of humanity. It is worth
noting, as well, that civilization has been characterized by
elite rule for some 6,000 years, and most of that was based on

Next came a diagnosis: our civilization is plagued by both a
chronic illness (elite rule), and an acute infection
(unsustainability). Until we cure our chronic illness, we
can't do anything about our acute infection.

Our next observations were about the elite responses to the
crisis: the new-millennium blueprint, with its elite-controlled
world government, enables a small clique to 'manage' the
unfolding of the crisis and to decide how resources will be
allocated and distributed, and who will be left out. By use of
police-state methods, and with military forces centrally
controlled, the means will be available to deal with any
unrest, or to enforce any extreme measures, that may 
accompany this 'management' process.

Under neoliberalism, and with safety nets eliminated, the
world is being divided into those who are part of the system,
and those who have no place in the system. The homeless in our
towns and cities, and the recent mass die-offs in Africa, can
be seen as symbols this division.

As the realities of our unsustainability crisis begin to take
effect, the ranks of those 'left by the wayside' can be
expected to swell to into the many millions, even billions.
There is considerable evidence to suggest that organized
genocide may indeed be part of the blueprint for this
neoliberal world. But even without that, there will be the
same mortality result, except the deaths will be distributed
more randomly.

After this review, let's update our diagnosis: our
civilization has a chronic illness (elite rule), an acute
infection (unsustainability), and it is being subjected to a
treatment (the neoliberal world system), that aims to 'cure'
the infection by discarding excess population (those left by
the wayside) - so that remaining resources can be used by
those for whom the system has a use.

Unless we want to simply bemoan our fate and watch all this
come to pass - until the day we too are among those dying by
the wayside - we need to face this crisis, and view it as a
challenge and an opportunity. We need to figure out how we can
take command of our destinies, end elite rule, and go on to
transform our societies and economies, responding
intelligently to our crisis of unsustainability.

You might be wondering what I mean by 'we' when I say "We need
to face this crisis, etc." In that regard, permit me to repeat
here the words of Lappé, as featured in the opening pages of
this book:

    We've lived so long under the spell of hierarchy - from
    godkings to feudal lords to party bosses - that only recently
    have we awakened to see not only that "regular" citizens have
    the capacity for selfgovernance, but that without their
    engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The
    changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone
    thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward
    them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful
    ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems
    are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to
    directives from on high.
    - Frances Moore Lappé, Time for Progressives to Grow Up

When I say we, in this context, I mean we the people, us
ordinary people, regular citizens - as expressed so eloquently
by Lappé. But does this make sense? Do we really have the
capacity for self governance? What kind of direct engagement
can enable us to feel meaningful ownership of solutions to our
problems? What would self-governance look like? How would it
function? How, indeed, can 'we' even exist: how can us ordinary
people somehow come together and agree on what we want and how
we're going to proceed toward achieving it? What does 'we the
people' look like, in terms of political arrangements?

These are by no means easy questions to answer, but answer
them we must if we want to live to see a better future than
the one that has been mapped out for us by our elite rulers.
The rest of this book can be seen as a quest, in search of
answers to these questions. To get our bearings, in preparaion
for this quest, let us go back to before the Matrix existed,
and look at how human societies evolved. If we can understand
how we got to where we are as a civilization, we may gain some
perspective on how we might go about shifting our course.


"Apocalypse Now and the Brave New World"

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