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The 2008—2013 Crisis as Metastasis. A Preview of the 2nd edition of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism by Pluto Press


The hollowing out of organic, social and ecological life systems now only grows. As Frances Moore Lappé observes: “Our economy is really more about waste and destruction than growth. Scientists report from 55 to 87% of energy in the U.S. is wasted. Roughly 40% of food in the U.S. is waste, and that’s before counting the scary reality that 40% of what the U.S. eats is empty calories”.[2]


Ever more indicators show the global disorder in life-system collapses at diverse levels, but the underlying common cause is not responded to. This is the defining problem of any cancer. It advances when not recognised by its life-host. We are increasingly aware of symptoms – for example, that corporate cigarettes cause lung and other cancers, that transnational junkfoods cause obesity, that many body-care products are laced with carcinogens, and that non-infectious disease epidemics rise across the world. But connection to their macro causal mechanism has been blocked out, and methodologically excluded. The purpose of this investigation is the opposite – to lay bare the mutant system driving steeply rising degenerate trends at all levels of life organisation and the public pathways of recovery which are repressed at the same time.


The ‘cancer stage of capitalism’ has been widely misunderstood as a ‘metaphor’, including by this book’s marketers. It is not a metaphor, but an explanatory model. A metaphor identifies a likeness, as in “he is a lion in battle”. Because it blinkers out the weaponry, skills, and strategy that the man has but not the lion, it is an image which fails to explain beyond an impression. In contrast, the cancer model of capitalism is an explanatory mode. For all of the hallmark characteristics of cancer invasion apply to the self-multiplying money-sequence system at the macro level of life reproduction, as we see in depth ahead. The pattern is first recognised in emergent global capital sequences which proliferate, decouple from and attack the productive functions of life hosts. A process of elimination leaves it as the only unifying framework of all the data. Its diagnosis is tested on crises of organic, social and ecological life systems for significant exceptions. Direction of the depredation to increase or decrease, successful response or not, is tracked across 25 years. Life coordinates and criteria are applied throughout to identify what the ruling money-value parameters cannot.


A reader might retort with the sage words of Susan Sontag who says that “the use of cancer in political discourse encourages fatalism and – – it could be argued that the cancer metaphors are implicitly genocidal”.[3] She is right so far as the metaphor is a slogan of system fascists seeking to eradicate opposition, as in Latin America where death-squads of ruling oligarchies used this Orwellian figure for decades. Diagnosis here does the opposite. Its analysis demands social change, repudiates fatalism, and exposes genocide as a leading edge of the cancer system.


The inner logic is very simple. The people must pay for the money-sequence cancer growth, and so more public wealth and individual savings must be taken away to do so. The principal mechanism is debt multiplication of governments and individuals managed by private banks’ issuing longterm compounding debts without the money to back the loans. Governments alone back the private banks which have not the money to do so if there is a run on the banks or failed speculations where the bank paper becomes market worthless, as in 2008.[4]


At bottom, governments lend to themselves through the compound-interest take and terms of the big banks which have endless levers of finance to sustain and increase their take – for example, bankrolling presidential campaigns and receiving deregulation and bailouts in return. In this way, the “financial industry” has doubled its share of corporate profits over 20 years, received over $20 trillion dollars of public wealth across borders since 2008, and made bigger profits after the economic collapse it caused than before – with public sectors and publics not only paying the bills, but stripped to pay the private banks and bondholders still holding and compounding their debts.[5] At this point the profligacy of the victim societies is blamed for millions of their people having to lose their jobs and livelihoods, their social life support systems, and their prize public assets to pay the out-of-control debts that have resulted. When bailout “rescues” come, however, it is only the big private banks and bondholders which get the infusions of public wealth.[6]


The banks, financiers and investors – read financial speculators across borders with no regulators – go on doing ever more of this crisis after crisis. The pattern of Western public authorities in response is invariant – to maximally enable this transnational money-sequencing to more with no life function, and to demand ever less for public use and social and ecological life support systems, with the IMF as enforcer of the global circuits of life-system deprivation.[7] In this way the debts owed to and speculations by the private financial corporations and syndicates keep growing even after they have melted the system down in 2008 by fraudulent binges of spending, debt-lending and speculating by money sequences multiplied countless times beyond the legal tender they have. Thus in 2012, leveraged-fund casino-betting on the currencies of Greece, Spain, and Italy with money that does not exist except by private banking paper continued to feed on and ruin these societies with no whisper of disallowance by the European Union or its Central Bank, itself under Wall Street direction.[8]


Further locking in of nations by the EU bankocracy has been prescribed by a law that central banks must be not only unaccountable to governments, but inaccessible to requests for financial assistance in public policy formation. This is called “central bank independence” – decoded, the displacement of sovereign legislatures’ control over fiscal and monetary policies by big banks in which the central banks are in a revolving door relationship with Wall Street and company.[9]

This mutant historical reversal of responsible government to serve autonomous transnational money-sequencing adopts a mask of the opposite independence of the judiciary.


Who is to resist? All of these historic societies had their heads of state removed at the end of 2011 over a week, two without election, and two replaced by former Goldman-Sachs executives who were part of – by 2010 – the $12.3-trillion dollar hijack from the American public to bail the fraudulent banking system.[10] How could the dots not be joined? Why did no elected party or politician or media of record call for the constitutional and demonstrably necessary transition to a public banking system to reclaim government’s sovereign responsibility for the integrity of currency and credit issue in the public interest rather than the ruin of all of them? How could the proved fraudulent, incompetent and society-destructive private financial casino continue in charge of the very economic lifeblood of modern nations? [11]  


As in any cancer system, the life host is increasingly plundered, but the cancer is masked from immune recognition or response. In the world’s most ancient Western society, Greece, for example “unemployment once among the lowest in Europe is 21% (46% for youth 18-25), industry has all but collapsed, and nationwide hundreds of small businesses close – – [with] yet more wage, pension and job cuts”.[12] No matter how ruined Europe’s oldest societies are made by the private bank-casino system still haemorhagging out their wealth from the effects of the system’s global failure and fraud from the center, still the endless bleeding out of their aggregate demand, their future wealth and their possibility of recovery continues full speed. The Depression unemployment figures of Spain and Portugal are much the same as Greece’s; Italy follows in suit not far behind in stripping of life-serving programs and financialized productive downturn; France is being “downgraded” by private money-sequence corporations holding all states in terror of still higher compound interest charges from the private banks and bond-dealers whose manufactured currency is backed only by states themselves; and the spirals down of productive output and social and ecological life support systems continue world-wide.


Even Germany whose bankers have led the assault of sucking demand out of the European economy – decoded, depriving people of the money to live – loses its own productive markets by the borderless system of foreign private financial predation seeking only more money-sequence growth for itself whatever the ruinous effects on human life and societies. This is the genetic code of the cancer system. To top it all, the genocidal debt charges are by private banks which create national and personal debt with money transferred to them by governments as explained above, deposited by others, and then leveraged to up to 100-to1 ratios of debt-service demands.[13] The money demanded back is money the banks did not themselves have to begin with, but the carcinogenic sequence of unproductive self-multiplication is absolutized into an obligation to pay the banks compounding greater sums back, continuously bleeding the life of societies into the ground. To imagine default on such growing debt in Greece now, however, invokes apocalyptic scenes of “catastrophe” and “the end of Europe itself”.


The entire private temple of money-sequence cards seeking to be ever more has, however, a well known government alternative to defend the life of societies rather than join in eating them alive on behalf of the private transnational banks.[14] One need not refer here to how nations loaned to themselves and spent themselves productively into prosperity across the world during and after the 1939-45 War. Nor need one point out that is how Abraham Lincoln’s government got past the New York bankers’ 17-26% interest demands to fund and defend the Union; or how German Landesbanks and North Dakota have successfully managed a public-banking and debt system with superior results for many decades.[15] Consider the parallel case of Argentina in 2002, a society visibly dying into chaos and misery under monstrous foreign debt – about the size of Greece’s. It repudiated the debt and never looked back in regaining its life from the cancer system. It recovered only when the foreign money-sequences with no life function were no longer permitted to hijack its social life organization to grow and multiply their parasitic compound-interest debt services destroying the economy and social life organization itself.


From 2002 to 2011, Argentina chalked up the fastest growth in the Western hemisphere (94% in nine years), reduced poverty and extreme poverty by two thirds, and reduced inequality by half with a thriving productive economy going from one strength to the next.[16] The rest of Latin America has similarly wakened up – Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay and even Columbia, not to mention the Caribbean including Cuba, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Honduras’s elected government too joined the turn away from transnational money-sequence control to “recover the human condition of our societies” by community development – that is, until the once-standard U.S.-supported military coup and death squads returned the country to the past.[17]


In all, the underlying pattern of recovery is always by civil development led by governments and public sectors, the topic of the final chapter of this study. Specifically in the Latin American transformation since 2002, reoccupation of the economy by democratic public plan, productive spending and social life support systems specially geared to uplift the poor have been the resolution to enable society’s life organization to recover from the cancer system. The cancer system is officially called “neoliberalism”, but conference posters and leaders say what it is in person. The spectacular results of life recovery by economic organization for life rather than money sequences is the great unseen change since the first edition of this book – along with, conversely, the deepening cancer slide of the Western world.


Despite the writing on the wall, Western media and journals of record never report successes of the public banking and investment route as the spectacles of collapsing economies under private banks increase. The corporate media prefer fact-disconnected images of “dictator Hugo Chavez” for ad hominem diversion. The underlying law is to select for what invalidates public investment and control of resources. Still the facts remain that Venezuela’s elected governments since 1998 have used Venezuela’s national oil wealth formerly predated by transnational corporate oil corporations to multiply investment in health, education, housing, food and equality (now the lowest inequality index in Latin America), reduced poverty rates by more than half and cut extreme poverty by over 70%, instituted 100,000 worker co-operatives, and pioneered cooperative international trade and financing across the continent.[18]


Ecuador, like Argentina a neo-liberal basket case from U.S.-led IMF solutions, turned in 2007 to a public-led recovery. The new government led by Rafael Correa, used referenda to support major public-sector initiatives in the face of private financial and corporate powers. Banana republic no more, the new government re-negotiated oil contracts with the foreign majors, raising the public’s share of revenues on its natural resources from 13% to 87% in 2010.[19] The oil companies’ threats to leave dissolved into nine of sixteen staying under the new terms, and the rest nationalized. Direct taxes on corporations rose and were enforced, raising even more new public money than reclamation of the public interest in its oil resources. Social spending doubled to the second highest rate in Latin America to enable real progress towards the goals of free public healthcare, free education at all levels, and public housing. A Yasuni initiative to keep the oil in the ground to preserve the first people and the Amazon became policy with a 700,000 hectare bio-reserve instituted over immense oil reserves, a ‘leave it in the ground’ policy leading the world and relying on foreign contributions and eco-tourist alternative. Bolivia in 2006 led by Evo Morales straight-out nationalized rich natural gas reserves with the government declaring “ownership, possession and absolute control”. Ecuador has also instituted a minimum-wage rise, enforcement of social security provision for all workers, enlargement of public banking operations for small business, and discontinuance of one-sided corporate rights trade agreements.


In every new policy initiative and law across Latin America, there is a unifying logic of recovery – public reclamation of the economy to serve the known needs of its people and their life conditions. Eleven nations in Latin America have now made the turn, Brazil the most famously successful in both productive achievement and poverty reduction – the latter largely achieved by a guaranteed income to poor mothers showing record of their children’s enrolment in school and health clinics. The mineral-rich Amazon remains under immense stress, the biggest danger, but a turn has occurred to make its preservation a major government and electoral issue even if insufficient to stop the tropical rainforest ecocide driven everywhere by the global money-sequence system to more with no life standards. Still Latin America’s public reclamation of the economy is much ahead of the North American norm of resource exploitation – for example, Canada’s giveaway tar-sands, the rising major point source of carbon pollution and ecological destruction in the world with near the lowest public revenues.


Meanwhile the U.S. and Europe have been going into reverse in social and economic life support systems to transfer ever more public wealth to private banks and corporations as their economies sink into deepening depression and loss of aggregate demand. Because private money sequences and commodities are a-priori blind to life necessities and the common life interest, only the public economy can in principle fund and organize for either. So as it is everywhere stripped back instead, the outcomes are predictable. Those countries together reclaiming their resources and building their public economy recover. Those countries together going in the opposite direction are bound to the progressively degenerate trends diagnosed ahead.


What is most striking is that the demonstrable system disorder and the nature of its cure are blocked out of the dominant culture top to bottom across borders. In policy practice, the money-sequence cancer with no function but multiplying itself is only subsidized further in invading social and ecological life organization with ever more general life insecurity and decline on all planes. The logic of recovery is almost as unspeakable as the cancer system itself.



Even critical economists who oppose this system do not penetrate the life-and-death distinction between systems of growth.[20] They fail to tell the difference between resource throughputs which produce life goods and those that produce life bads. An influential recent work in this literature is Tim Jackson, Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet, with the foreword by Herman Daly. Daly, a former World Bank economist, rightly refers to “academic economists’ long track record of mind-numbing irrelevance” and provides an exact definition of ‘economic growth’ as now conceived – “GDP, the annual marketed flow of final goods and services” and, “the throughput” required for this product – “the metabolic flow of useful matter and energy from environmental sources through the economic subsystem (production and consumption), and back to environmental sinks as waste”. [21]


But no distinction is made between the throughputs to produce and distribute life goods – from nourishing food to sanitation systems to libraries – and flows of useful matter and energy to mass manufacture and sell toxic foods, useless leisure motors and weapons. The distinction makes all the difference between heaven and hell. Growth of production that serves universal human life needs is necessary and good the more there is deprivation. Money-sequence growth throughputs that produce no life necessity and use non-renewable resources are cancerous as they multiply waste of resources and incapacitate life and life support systems. .“Zero growth” erases the life-and-death distinction.


Thus even as paradigm-shifting economists momentously recognise runaway global resource pollution and draw-down by the system, the real economic base and life-ground are not grounded in, nor distinguished from the life-blind driver of money-sequence growth behind the resource dead-end they rightly focus on.


A privileged money party within the capitalist class has certainly reaped boundless new rights and private payoffs. But this undoubted pattern itself needs explanation. The productivity account of economic rule common to both Marxism and Capitalism has been reversed in reality. Society’s scarce means of life have been increasingly destroyed rather than produced over 25 years. Even the industrial infrastructures of the first world have more and more abandoned while ecosystems and resources are cumulatively disabled. As for life-enabling goods and real quality of life, they have been progressively degraded as an increasing world majority has been relentlessly dispossessed. It is no longer only surplus value being extracted, but a degeneration and wasting of productive capital and goods themselves. Yet as with all the signals of the emergent cancer system, all have been masked by aggregate money-value gains.


One after another the crises of reproduction of human and planetary life themselves have come. The most evident of these has been societies’ economies collapsing under “debt crises”, “currency attacks” and “capital flights”. But these too have not been named in principle – private money-sequence attacks on sovereign societies by massively leveraged money demand that has little legal-tender backing only to multiply themselves. Disemployment of people in the tens of millions, currencies devalued so that basic means of life are no longer affordable, and – most systematically – perpetual private bank debts and compound-interest servicing and casino speculation have been destroying productive function with no creative outcome for three decades.


The economies of Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Poland went under between 1982 and 1990, and Brazil and Argentina collapsed again at the turn of the twenty-first century. The most important lesson of recovery was still ignored even after it happened. These societies saved their peoples by leaving I.M.F. financial control and the cancer system with spectacular productive success ever since the first edition of the book was published. Yet the cause-effect, failure-success pattern might as well not have occurred so far as official recognition by what is still called ‘the Free World’.


Before the Latin American liberation began by responsible self government of the economy, the transnational money-sequence system had simply spread. There were the 1997-98 Asian meltdown of former “miracle economies” – as Mexico and Argentina were once called before they collapsed – in Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea. Even more revealingly, as the state systems of the Eastern European societies and the Soviet Union were re-structured in the mode of the global capitalist experiment, they collapsed in the most monumental economic reversal in history.


Yet the failed world experiment remains unnamed. Instead an Orwellian mask of “market freedom and democracy” sustains certitude of success against facts. A drunk triumphalism of privatizing money-sequence rule has continued since 1991 in invading, occupying and depredating the mixed-economy societies of hundreds of millions of people across the globe, and now the U.S. and Europe themselves in the prolonged fall of what was once Western civilisation.

Thus not one shift in ruling paradigm or policy imposition has resulted over 25 years of imposed disasters. The USSR which once held the developed West in fear of its superpower capabilities, technological and scientific advances and universal literacy, healthcare and food, has collapsed beyond any apparent possibility of economic recovery.[22] Yet however gigantic the economic and ecological catastrophes, the self-multiplying feeding cycles on societies’ unprotected resources, markets, public sectors, labour forces, and life support systems have continued. A drunk infallibilism rules. The system failures have been repeated so often the mind loses track. Diagnosis has to move beyond “failed global experiment” (a concept that itself is blocked out) and “neo-liberal catastrophe” (current in self-liberating Latin America) to the only framework of meaning which is adequate to the scope of derangement.


The identifying marker of the generic cancer system is perpetual private money-sequence movement into social infrastructures serving citizens’ lives – not only by mass-murder coups and terror from Chile to Iraq over 30 years, but by an ever-advancing routine defunding, deregulation and privatization of social life means, protections and support systems that never stops. Decoded beneath the unending pretexts of “innovations”, “new efficiencies”, and “cost savings”, one law rules. Public funds are made the means to grow private transnational money sequences. Corporate money-sequence gains not life supports are the driver. Margaret Thatcher (quoting F.A. Hayek) opens the doors to the cancer stage of capitalism when she famously says “there is no such thing as society”. The ruling code is thereby released from all accountability to society by simply denying that any society exists. When Hayek’s incubus goes on to say, “there is only the market” (he says “extended capitalism”), they again manifest the mutant code without recognition. What is undeciphered by even critics is that this version of “the free market” means only private money freely sequencing to maximally more money by money-sequence investors with no required life function: formally: $–>AasM–>$1 -2-3 à n : where AasM= All as Means.[23]


This system therefore seeks only to multiply its money sequences. Life requirements at any level do not exist for it. It grinds down, swallows, demands, overwhelms, mass murders, eats at the margins, and makes one war after another on what does not join it. Its genetic code is revealed in its invariant pattern of behaviour. Its formula, in turn, is complex, but every element is required to recognise the full meaning: Whatever the systemic destruction of human life and universally accessible life means of a society, and however they are provided by peaceful and self-governing life ordering, the ultimately driving transnational money sequences dismantle them to multiply themselves.


Behind the degenerating normality and the shock treatments is the cancer pattern of invasion of individual, social and ecological life hosts. Yet the spreading depredation was not connected across disaster spectacles and the money-sequence multiplication of ‘wealth’ kept up until 2008 when the exponentially overreaching financial system itself collapsed. Even then social recognition does not kick in because the victims themselves were blamed instead. Those losing their homes were scapegoated for not meeting the small-print escalators of debt payments demanded by the Wall Street robo-mortgages in the recession-depression caused by Wall Street itself. When the compounding and manipulated debt system then hit poorer European societies with the fraudulent mortgage packages and other Wall-Street-led schemes, their economies were in cumulative collapse by the same money-cancer growth. Governments and taxpayers then paid and still pay out more hundreds of billions to the same cancerous bank system to sustain debt-service payments at higher compounding rates, and throughout all is called ‘saving Greece’, or Portugal, or Spain, or Italy – who is next? – when in fact only foreign banks get the bail-out money. In the meantime the private transnational money sequences keep attacking their bonds and currencies of payment by super-leveraged funds without legal-tender substance to indebt them further as more IMF austerity programs ensure deepening collapse.[24] This is the death spiral still in motion.


On the ground, the private money-sequencing predation across borders called “debt obligations” grows through peoples’ most basic means of life of homes and foods as well as their social life support systems of public services and employment, pensions, income security programs, public health systems, and environmental protections. For poignant particular example of newly normalised circuits of financial predation, multiplying speculations on the three top food commodities – rice, corn and wheat – spikes the prices of the staple diets of the world’s two billion poorest people. Since high finance got into frenzy of betting on the prices of these foods that people must have, “a seventh of the world’s population cannot afford to eat” when the prices escalate – as between 2005 and 2008 when average food prices rose 83% with no harvest failures.[25] In 2008, the same ravenous money-sequencing with no function but deprivation of people’s lives brought down the global financial system with homes as ‘securitization’. Yet the carcinogenic conglomerate money sequences are still being bailed out of the last crash to go on doing the same more – by the end of 2011 $29.6 trillion from the U.S. Fed alone.[26]


In factual versus ideological analysis, social-system decision is the ultimate determinant. Whether social arrangements meet human life needs or not, and whether society is healthy or diseased in condition, is not fated, but policy derived. Thus when economic understanding shifts from money capital/money sequences to life capital/life sequence as the set decider of social circumstances everything changes for the better so far as this is effectively managed. The underlying social is clear within a macro framework of meaning. Society’s ill-being or well-being is determined by sets of social circumstances which select for life rather than death, and for social life support systems rather than money-sequence conglomerations.


The ultimate principle of distinction between social well-being and ill-being and the social-system determination of each is self-evident once defined. But it has been long lost to view. Ecogenocidal rule as divine design has instead dominated – from the extermination of first peoples in biblical times in the name of Yahweh to necessary sacrifices to ‘the Market’s invisible hand’ in modernity.[27] The continuous axing of the very roots of humanity has overlooked what native peoples have to teach global capitalism: grounding in the life requirements of community and ecological life host; instituted relationship to fellow creatures as life companions even in prey; and constitutional freedom from unaccountable money sequences overriding all else. As indigenous prophecy long ago counselled: “When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have disappeared, when all the waters have been polluted, you will discover that you cannot eat money”.


Yet the trees, the animals, the waters do not factor into the ruling money-value system. They may be razed, slaughtered and poisoned with no cost or debit registered. Multiplying money- capital and commodities are what counts. The potential of cancer system grows as more and more life means are destroyed in nature and community and more and more junk, wastes, toxins, weapons and life-despoiling commodities are produced in their stead. If money-capital sand commodity sequences have commitment only to their own multiplication and economic, social and political regulations are maximally removed to enable this across all borders, the cancer system follows as predictable and predicted.


What is the solution? The answer is very basic. Life capital itself must be grounded in – the wealth underlying all wealth from which all life means and goods derive in life capital reproduction through time. For the indigenous people as for us, life capital is all life wealth that produces more life wealth without loss. Natural life capital is the base – the forests, waters, and animals as well as climate cycles which reproduce to enable life systems through ecological time. These are the natural capital sequences in compossibly evolving reproduction. In the Great Law of Peace of the Longhouse Peoples, we find recognition of natural life capital in felt form. The Fire Councils open with tribute to these life support systems as ultimate ground of the lives of all- “expressing gratitude to the earth where men dwell, to the streams of water – – the maize and fruits – – to the animals that serve as food – – to the great winds – – and to the sun”.[28]


Life capital also includes human-made life capital that enables the life sequences of individuals and societies through time as well, the wealth that produces more wealth of knowledge, of life-protective law, of exchange medium itself, of water-sewer lines and electricity sources, and so on. Human-made life capital is complexly immense all around us today. But it is not yet conceived in principle, and so is not yet distinguished from its opposite of life-destructive capital – as unregulated money-sequencing and mass-homicidal weaponry are. Life capital and its life-destructive capital are, however, not distinguished even by Marxists, as we see more ahead. Insofar as any life capital – natural or human-made – is socially constructed or regulated to enable universal access of community to life goods, it is a form of the civil commons explained in the final chapter. Yet with no concept to describe it, these most basic realities of human life on earth remains nameless and unseen. Thus life capital is subjugated to and disappears into money capital and sequences which progressively attack life capital to convert it into them.


Clear life coordinates and standards can already recognise social health and disease at a system-wide level – rising or falling nutrition levels, literacy rates, disease ratios, air quality, water purity, noise levels, biodiversity, forest cover, soil quality, physical fitness, public and green spaces, social and artistic communication venues, education levels, housing, wildlife and marine habitats, natural and built food stock provision, and ozone-protection, for example. Each provides a benchmark of how human life is enabled by a means of life as opposed to disabled by deprivation of it. Each also unfolds into the life capital sequences of the real global economy – becoming more inclusively coherent and enabling, or degenerating into ever more disabling degradation and deprivation. All such life coordinates and standards are quantitatively identifiable by more or less (> or <) margin of change from the prior state of enabling/disabling life capacities – the generic life-value measure whatever the domain.


In contrast, money-value measures are life-blind. Unless regulated by life-capital standards in money-credit issue, commodity cycle regulators, and public taxation, they invert system depredations into economic gains. Armaments manufacture for wars, clear-cut forests and fished- out oceans, ever more disease-causing commodities sold, and privatized public services all increase private money-sequence and commodity gains, but degrade and destroy life capital systems without remission. “Higher standards of living” thus become absurdly equated to money-value gains even as natural and social life support systems collapse – the cancer system in demonstration. Yet neither theory nor practice can distinguish between cancer-system growth and increased supply of real goods with a money-value metric To re-gain life-ground and measure, real economic performance is evaluated in terms of life sequences of value over money sequences of value; life capital over money-capital; and life goods provision over priced-for profit commodities. The old measures are not abolished, but re-set into consistency with life-capital standards (as is already done with flourishing public utilities). The final chapter, The Great Vehicle of the Civil Commons, explains this evolving infrastructure of civilization.


In short, the basis of all real production is life capital, and the middle term of all life sequences is the means and support systems by which they are enabled. In all cases, the measure of value is life range with or without it. For generic example, the ratio of protein: human capability = intake: ability to think/feel/act through range. This life-value ratio is one which all can experience directly when are deprived of any universal human life means or its intact capital base – principally, breathable air, potable water, protein and other nutrition, shelter space with amenities, social life supports for these, knowledge process. Every life means and need and every form of life capital producing them instantiates these invariant principles.


When these universal life means/necessities and their life capital bases are deprived or eroded, life sequences decline in capacities and enjoyment in ratio to this deprivation or erosion. The principle of measure by which we can always tell any life good anywhere is that without which life capacities are reduced. The necessity of each always correlates to the life functioning range lost without it. All real needs are testable by this criterion, and all universal human life necessities recognised by it, from breathable air to tools of learning. What enables the reproduction or growth of each of all these life goods are life capital formations – from clean air, streets and rivers to educational systems.[29] Yet economic allocation, production and success/failure of the reigning global system now have no grounding in life capital, need or good in what they produce or cycle into the environment or deprive from life by private money sequencing to more. The unregulated growth and multiplication of the cancer system thus advances. Only when understanding re-sets the regulating framework of value and measure to humanity’s universal life necessities and capital bases can it be comprehended or resolved.


[1]The diagnosis and prognosis was first presented in medically refereed analyis in “The Cancer Stage of Capitalism and the Social Immune System”, Public Health in the 1990’s: In the Shadow of Global Transformation and Militarism, Social Justice (1995) 22:4 , 1-25 (a special issue edited by pathologist Dr. Robert Gould and public health analyst Patrice Sutton).

[2]Frances Moore Lappé , EcoMind. New York: Nation Books, 2011 and discussion of it, <http://www.truth-out.org/frances-moore-lappe-creating-ecology-hope/1324590407#.TvmueCdApr>.

[3] Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1977, p. 84.

[4]See Notes 8 and Simon Johnson, “The Quiet Coup”, The Atlantic, May, 2009.

[5]The key elements of this inner logic of the financial cancer system are documented above.

[6]When Jim Stanford of the Globe And Mail wrote in the midst of the European financial crisis that European “taxpayers aren’t bailing out big-spending Greeks. They’re bailing out German banks. Those banks created leveraged credit out of thin air, worth many times their actual capital”(“Europeans Aren’t Bailing Out Greece, They’re Bailing Out Banks”, October 4, 2011), I wrote on request to the Globe’s e-comments saying ,“Finally the Globe and Mail prints an article telling the truth on bailouts – – – ”. The comment was removed from the record.

[7]Classic demonstrations of the cycles of dispossession, deprivation and ruin of societies and their domestic economic bases by IMF -led threat of trade and financial embargo for any society not paying their endless compound-interest and service charges to private transnational banks are provided by The Globalization of Poverty and Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents. New York: WW Norton, 2002 and Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Toronto: Random House 2007. Nothing has changed in the formulae of economic ruin of societies by “structural adjustments” and “austerity programs” to compel their service to the demands of foreign money sequences as the overriding obligation of states.

[8]Little tracking of the ongoing European Union financial crisis is out in full scope, but Marc Roche, La banque: comment Goldman Sachs dirige le monde. Alblin Michel, 2010 is useful on Goldman-Sachs’ role as well as Kenneth Hoare, “What the squid did next”, New Internationalist, March 2012.

[9]See prior note on Wall Street connection. Displacement of sovereign legislatures’ control over fiscal and monetary policies is clearcut. In March 2012, for example, The European Commission was threatening to take Hungary’s government to court if it did not make legal and constitutional changes to guarantee independence of its central bank. More deeply and broadly, at the insistence of Germany, the European Union’s constitutional base, the Mastraacht Treaty, was altered so that sovereign governments must introduce “binding legislation or constitutional amendments” to put their national budgets under central control so that, in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s it will “be binding and valid forever. Never will you be able to change them through a Parliamentary majority” (emphasis added, quoted by Ian Traynor, “German straitjacket for borrower nations”, Guardian Weekly 03. O2.12, p. 12. Not mentioned is the enforceability by the European Court of Justice, thereby equating private money -sequence rule to Community justice. In the foreground, the cause is to “save Greece from defaulting on her debt” , although Argentina defaulting on the same debt in 2002 s has fared very well since, and in fact the debt money does not go to Greece but to private transnational banks and bondholders.

[10]If this figure, finally released by Congress in 2010 and now much higher, had not been demanded and publicized by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, it would have remained invisible. By July of 2011, it had morphed to over $16 trillion dollars in the U.S. alone in “total financial bailout – – without the direct approval of Congress – – – [At the same time], the same firms also received trillions of dollars in Fed loans at near-zero interest rates.” www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=9e2a4ea8-6e73.

[11]The authors of Michel Chossudovsky (ed), The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century, Ottawa: Global Research, 2010, provide perhaps the best other available posing and answering of these questions in chapters on the ruinous private financial system (e.g., by Michael Hudson, a leader among economists in this area, who has long proposed a sensible re-setting of banks as public utilities).

[12]H. Smith, Ian Traynor, “European Debt Crisis: Greece is bankrupt, humiliated and ablaze”, Guardian Weekly, 17.0212, p. 5.

[13]The essential basis of the multiplication of money by private banks that is now 20 times the legal tender it overwhelms is debt money. Private banks issue the debt plus compounding interest charges and collect it forever, the more the better, with the security of people’s homes, wages or whatever can be sold for more than the debt, then packing the risk of myriad debtors into sliced-up ‘financial products’ to sell across the world on as still more money sequencing in circulation ad infinitum, the new ‘securitization’ process – until the pyramid scheme collapses as in 2008. Then government bails out the biggest bank money sequencers who go on doing it, shifting from broke home buyers to food or other derivative speculations or whatever multiplies fastest in deregulated conditions.

[14]At the Annual Summit of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in Delhi March 29, 2012, Brazil President Dilma Rousseff referred to the “cannibalization of emerging markets” and the “global tsunami of cheap money”, concepts which approach towards recognition of the global cancer system.

[15]See Web of Debt and Global Economic Crisis for full historical details.

[16]Figures are from Mark Weisbrot, “Cristina Kirchner and Argentina’s Good Fortune/Under the Kirchner administrations, Argentina has achieved the fastest growth in the west – after defaulting. Listening, Europe?” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/23/cristina-kirchner-argentina

[17]Honduras elected a government on the program of raising minimum wages, promoting land reform, and reforming the constitution to be more accountable to the people. In archetypal reversion, a violent military-led coup supported by the local oligarchy and fully supported by the U.S. overthrew the elected government of Manuel Zelaya in 2009. Death squads murdering cooperative and campesino leaders and a suddenly escalating drug trade connected to the biofuel estates claimed by the campesinos and owned by one of the country’s richest landowners have since made Honduras “the new murder capital of the world” in out-of-control poverty and violence, another tumour of the cancer system. Revealingly President Obama has refused to meet the overthrown elected president in his three trips to Washington after the illegal,U.S.-supported coup of an elected government. Such is the life-destroying direction of the ‘neo-liberal’ system seeking to re-occupy and reverse Latin America’s productively developing democratization . See, for example, Mark Weisbrot, “Foreign Policy Disgrace”, Guardian Weekly, 25.11.11, p. 20, and “Beyond the Shock Doctrine” ahead. .

[18]See, for example, Iain Bruce , The Real Venezuela: Making Socialism in 21st Century, Pluto Press, 2008

[19]This and other figures on Ecuador are cited by Jayati Ghosh, “Banana republic no longer”, Guardian Weekly, 27.01.12, p. 20.

[20]In evaluating growth at the macro level, it is well to remember growth at the micro level in its cancerous form. Cancer cells in tumour have been created by cells that have lost the ability to assemble and create tissues of normal form and function. On micro and macro levels, the issue is not zero growth, but cancerous growth that has no life function but multiplying copies of itself.  

[21]Tim Jackson, Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet .London: Earthscan, 2009.

[22]“In twenty years” summarizes a biologist from the once world-leading Soviet Academy of Sciences now in the more lucratively funded Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Micro-Organisms, “all the positive things about the Societ Union have been destroyed, and replaced by nothing”.(Will Englund, “More money, but far less success”, Guardian Weekly, 06.02.12, p. 32.

[23]This decoding of the spurious “market” value system is spelled out in detail in Chapter 5. The Life Code versus the Money Code The Paradigm Shift.

[24]The volumes cited earlier by Chossudovsky, Lendman, McMurtry, Palast and Wood provide rich documentation of this overall global pattern of the money-sequence cancer system as both normalized and crisis producing.  

[25]Hazel Healy, “Food speculation has dire consequences for world’s poorest”, CCPA Monitor, February 2012, pp. 20-21. These consequences in clued mass starvation, or murder as Healy diagnoses it. The cancer system kills in many ways.  

[26]. “$29,000,000,000,000: A Detailed Look at the Fed’s Bail-out by Funding Facility and Recipient” by James Felkerson. Levy Economic Institute Bard College, posted December 11, 2011. http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2011/12/bailout-total-29-616-trillion-dollars/ retrieved March 29, 2012

[27]To Yahweh is ascribed the still believed command for Israel “to take the whole land of Canaan [now Palestine] to own in perpetuity (Genesis:17:21) and in explicit prohibition of “any pact with them” to “exterminate” all of Palestines’ inhabitants, “Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Cananites, Hivites, and Jebusite (Exodus: 23-24). The logical structure of rightful ecogenocide of peoples and lands by the lawlike operations of “the Market’s invisible hand” has continued into the present, as we have seen in Decoding the Underlying System to Destroy Social Life-Organisation and Planetary Life.

[28]White Roots of Peace. Rooseveltown, New York: Akwesasne Notes of the Longhouse People 1971.

[29]Education is itself being undermined by the money-sequence paradigm which invades everywhere with its money-reduction input model overriding all educational and life requirements, as this report from Marilyn Harrop, President of Britain’s National Union of Teachers generically describes in April 2012: “Pressure, more pressure, forced academies, more pressure, exam targets, no pay rise, job losses,bigger classes, fast-track procedures, attacks on pensions – – ”. Every pressure and force downwards is to reduce money inputs at every node to enforce the money sequence system inside the public sector and education as everywhere else for more private money outputs.