Tag Archives: cancer

Health Locus of Control and Psychological and Somatization Disorder in Icelandic Outpatients with Cancer: A Quantitative Study

The concept Locus of Control (LOC) appeared first in Rotter´s (1966) social learning theory and later became a central concept in the field of personality psychology (Goldzweig et al, 2016). The definition of Health Locus of Control (HLC) refers to personal health and health behaviour (Wallston, 2005), a widely accepted concept in studies of individuals’ beliefs based on past experiences in controlling health issues (Kulpa et al, 2016). According to Rotter´s theory, the patients’ tendency to regard health related events is characterized and controllable by two different forces: internal locus of control (ILC) and external locus of control (ELC). Internal reinforcement occurs when one believes that one’s behaviour is in one’s own control and that he or she is in control of his or her health, while external reinforcement is present when a person believes that his or her health status is influenced by the actions of other people (Wallston et al, 1994). The Multidimensional Health Locus of Control form C (MHLC-C), developed by Wallston and colleagues in 1994, is a condition-specific LOC scale measuring LOC for people with any medical or health related condition. It measures ILC and ELC, the latter including three subgroups (having faith in doctors, having faith in other people, and believing in chance and fate).

Studies have revealed that cancer patients with a higher ELC are significantly more often using sources of information as well as being significantly more in need for additional information than those with ILC (Keinki et al, 2016). Another study (Goldzweig et al, 2016) found a significant relationship between perceived threat of illness and depression among cancer patients reporting low levels of ILC. Findings in this study also distinguish between ILC and ELC, and the authors suggest that ILC may be more appropriate and helpful to master the cognitive perception of the threat of illness than ELC. Additionally, Marton et al (2021) found that people with a lower score in ELC (having faith in other people) were more likely to prefer an active role or collaborative role in medical decision-making. The authors suggested that it may be so that people do not fully grasp the impact that other people and doctors could have on their health.

Studies on psychological distress and somatic symptoms among patients with cancer show high levels of distress with emotional and physical problems being the main problems (Chi and Demiris, 2016; Hjörleifsdóttir et al, 2019; Peters et al, 2020). Findings in previous studies suggest that there is a need for an early identification of patients with high risk for psychological distress, and factors which may contribute to the development of depression and anxiety should be considered. These may be physical and social factors,  symptoms related to cancer and its treatment, treatment setting, and type of cancer and time since diagnosis (Zhang et al, 2015). Kulpa et al (2014) support the above-mentioned results from previous studies by showing in their study on patients with cancer that confirming that the lower is the severity of anxiety and depression, the higher is the degree of ILC.

To our best knowledge, only a few studies have considered a correlation between HLC and somatic symptoms (Basinska and Andruszkiewicz, 2012). In Zhang et al’s (2015) study on patients with cancer who were receiving chemotherapy treatment it was found that more self-efficacy meant less symptoms and less interference with daily life, but anxiety and depression were positively associated with symptom distress. However, more severe symptoms were shown to be associated with age, gender, and the stage of the disease. Gogou et al (2015) found, in a study of patients who were receiving radiotherapy treatment for their cancer, that symptom complications such as fatigue, sleeplessness and pain were significantly associated with a poor quality of life (QoL) and high levels of anxiety. Furthermore, Marijanović et al (2017) compared HLC between patients with early stage, and later stage cancer and its correlation to early attendance to hospital. Their conclusion was that HLC was not a statistically significant predictor of early admittance, neither was there an indication of a relationship between depression and time of arrival to hospital. The authors emphasise that more research is needed to make any suggestions on this construct.

From a global perspective, the incidence of cancer will continue to rise, in the year 2008 an estimated 12.7 million individuals were diagnosed with cancer and this number is bound to rise substantially by 2030 (Coleman, 2013). The incidence rate of cancer among the Icelandic population has quadrupled since registration on cancer diagnosis began in 1954, with around 1,500 individuals diagnosed on a yearly basis (Jónasson and Tryggvadóttir, 2012). Overall, the studies presented above indicate that ILC can be interpreted as having a sense of mastery and control when managing one´s own health during the disease and treatment process. In contrast, ELC can be understood as being more likely to rely on others to manage one’s own health. HLCis one of the factors that can affect people’s ability to cope with cancer and its treatment. More studies are needed on the correlation of anxiety and depression with HLC so that the severity of anxiety-depressive disorders can be reduced (Kulpa et al, 2014). Lack of research, in Iceland and globally, on HLC and how it may have an impact on how patients with cancer cope with their often-severe symptoms and its consequences, prompted this study.




The aim of this study was to investigate differences in psychological distress and HLC between cancer outpatients receiving treatment for cancer. A further aim was to describe and investigate correlation between psychological distress and HLC, severity of symptoms, and its interference with daily life. Finally, we explored factors which might contribute to psychological distress.

 Study design and setting

This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in three oncology outpatient clinics, two in the capital Reykjavík and surrounding communities (situated in the south of the country with 236,518 inhabitants), and one in Akureyri, which is a town serving the north and surrounding communities with 19,573 inhabitants (Statistics Iceland. Inhabitant’s overview, 2017).


Questionnaires were distributed to 300 individuals who were receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment for cancer. The sample consisted of patients (N=247) with cancer. The participants were eligible for the study if they understood and could speak Icelandic, were 18 years of age or older, and were currently receiving radiotherapy, chemotherapy or palliative therapy as a treatment for cancer.

 Study procedures

Nurses at the outpatient clinics approached potential participants for recruitment and informed them of the study. Those patients who were interested were given more detailed information including a specific information letter explaining the purpose of the study, how it would be implemented, how full confidentiality would be secured, and participants’ consent consisted in answering the questionnaire. Completed questionnaires were returned anonymously to the first researcher in a prepaid envelope. Data was gathered over a one-year period during 2016- 2017.

 Ethical issues

Ethics approval was obtained from the Icelandic Bioethics Committee according to Icelandic regulations on the scientific study of patients and in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.



A self-administered questionnaire consisting of four parts was used for the study: The first part included socio-demographic and disease-related information (gender, age, marital status, education, frequency of diagnosis, reason for treatment, type of treatment, and stage of disease).


The second part assessed participants’ belief in control of their own health using the MHLC-C, which was adapted for patients with existing medical conditions. This form consists of 18 items divided into four LC subscales: perception of ILC (6 items); chance (6 items); other powerful, i.e., doctors and health care professionals (3 items); and other people (3 items). The instrument measures four dimensions of MHLC, ILC, ELC (believing in chances, believing in physicians, and believing in others), rated on a six-point Likert scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree). This tool has no cut-off point, and the mean or median score is used for final evaluation (Wallston, 2005).

As stated, the notion of HLC derives from social learning theory and refers to the degree of control that people believe they possess over their personal health (Rotter, 1966; Wallston, 2005). People with high ILC are likely to believe that their personal health related outcomes are mostly determined by their own choices and actions, while those who have high ELC believe that other powerful people, such as physicians, will determine their health outcome, i.e., what happens to them depends on others’ behaviour, coincidences, fate, or luck (Rotter, 1966; Wallston, 2005). The questionnaire was translated in a forward-backward procedure according to guidelines established by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) quality of life group (Kuliś et al, 2017). MHLC-C has been found to be a reliable instrument in studies in different countries on people with chronic diseases and cancer showing Cronbach alpha range from 0.79 (Thege et al, 2014), 0.74 (Ubbiali et al, 2008), and 0.90 (Mirzania et al, 2019). A permission for translating and utilizing the MHLC-C instrument was granted from the late Professor Kenneth A. Wallston. Minor alterations were done from the original version of the instrument (Wallston et al, 1994). In the present study, Cronbach’s alpha coefficient for ILC was 0.62, for ELC-chance 0.86, for ELC-physician 0.61, and for ELC-other 0.58.


The third section assessed anxiety and depression using the Icelandic version of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) (Schaaber et al, 1990). HADS has been developed and tested for its reliability in studies on patients with cancer and chronic diseases showing Cronbach alpha range from 0. 83-0,85 (Ágústsdóttir et al, 2010; Smári and Valtýsdóttir, 1997). HADS consist of 2 subscales assessing the level of anxiety (HADS-A) and symptoms of depression (HADS-D). Each subscale consists of seven items rated on a four-point Likert scale indicating symptoms during the past week. Each subscale has a possible score range of 0–21. A score of 0 to 7 for either scale is considered normal (no symptoms), a score of 8 to 10 suggests possible symptoms, and a score of 11 or higher indicates probable symptoms of either anxiety or depression for the respective subscale. The Cronbach alpha coefficient in our study for the HADS-A was 0.86 and 0.80 for the HADS-D.


Lastly, the Icelandic version of the M. D. Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) was used to assess the severity of symptoms and the interference with daily living caused by these symptoms. The MDASI is a useful tool to measure symptom prevalence, severity, and interference with daily life during the last 24 hours on a scale of 0-10 with 0 being “not present” and 10 being “as bad as you can imagine.” It is well liked, easy to answer and brief (13 items), and can easily be adapted for use with any medical or health related condition. It assesses both symptom severity (pain, fatigue/tiredness), nausea, disturbed sleep, being distressed, shortness of breath, difficulty remembering, lack of appetite, feeling drowsy, dry mouth, feeling sad, vomiting and numbness or tingling). It also measures how symptoms interfere with six aspects of the patient´s daily functioning (daily activity, mood, work, relations with others, walking, and enjoyment of life) (Cleeland, 2016). MDASI has been proved to be a reliable instrument in studies in various countries (Jones et al, 2014; Hu et al, 2022; Viganò et al, 2021; Piil et al, 2020), showing Cronbach alpha range from 0.82 to 0.96. The Cronbach alpha coefficient in the present study was 0.92, 0.87 and 0.89 for the MDASI total, Interference and Symptom Severity scale, respectively. The internal consistency of the scales was established through the calculation of Cronbach alpha coefficient, with the range of values being between 0.00 and 1.00 (Altman, 1991).



Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS 26.0) and the Statistical Software programme Jamovi 2.2. Descriptive statistics included description of sample mean, standard deviations (SD) and percentages. The data were not normally distributed, so a Mann-Whitney U-test was used to analyse significant differences between two groups in psychological distress, LOC, somatic symptoms, and its interference with daily life. Kruskal-Wallis test was used in case the groups were more than two. Mann-Whitney U-test with a reduced p-value was used as a post hoc test to prevent the risk of finding significant differences by chance (Type I error) (Pallant, 2016). Pearson r correlation coefficient was used to analyse significant correlation between psychological distress, LOC, somatic symptoms, and its interference with daily life on a scale varying from – 1 through 0 to + 1 (Altman, 1991). In our analysis we considered that according to Cleeland (2016), when calculating the subscale score on the MDSAI, seven of the 13 core symptoms severity items and four of the six interference items will represent the majority of the items for the subscales; thus, if the participant responded to fewer than half of the subscale’s items, the subscale should be considered as “missing.” Differences were taken as statistically significant with a p-value of <0.05 (Cronbach, 1951).



The response rate was 80% (N=247), with higher number of women (57.1%) than men (42.9%); most participants (32%) were in the age group 61 to 70 years old; most of them were married or cohabiting (77.7%); high school diploma was the most reported education (44.5%), while 34.8% had a university degree. Being diagnosed once was reported by the majority (72.5%), and 66.1% said that the reason for treatment was cure. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy were distributed almost equally among participants (Table 1).


Comparison of mean scores

Women scored higher on the anxiety scale than men. The age group <50 had significantly higher anxiety than the other age groups (p<0.001). Participants who belonged to the age group 61-70 years old reported significantly higher scores for faith in ELC-physicians than those who were in the age group <50 (p<0.001). Those who were in treatment for symptom control only, reported significantly higher scores for MDASI total than those in treatment aiming for cure (p<0.001); for them interference with daily life was also found to be significantly worse (p<0.001). Chemotherapy treatment had significantly the most impact on total scores for MDASI total (p<0.001), symptoms severities (p<0.001), and interference with daily life (p<0.001), compared to those receiving radiotherapy or a combination of both (Table 2).


Correlation between variables

Significant positive relationship was observed for HADS (anxiety) with HADS (depression) (r=0.56, p<0.01), MDASI-Symptom severity (r=0.42, p<0.01), and MDASI-Interference scale (r=0.41, p<0.01). The same was found between HADS (depression) with ELC-others (r=0.17, p<0.01), MDASI-Symptom severity (r=0.54, p<0.01), and with the MDASI-Interference scale (r=0.63, p<0.01). A significant positive relationship was observed for ILC and ELC-chance (r=0.39, p<0.01), ELC-physician (r=0.18, p<0.01), and with ELC-others (r=0.20, p<0.01). The same was found between ELC-chance and ELC-physician (r=0.21, p<0.01), ELC-chance and ELC-others (r=0.36, p<0.01), and ELC- physician and ELC-others (r=0.22, p<0.01). A significant positive relationship was also found for MDASI-Severity of symptoms with MDASI-Interference (r=0.78, p<0.01). A significant negative relationship was observed for HADS (anxiety) with ILC (r=-0.21, p<0.01), and for HADS (depression) and ILC (r=-0.26, p<0.01). The same results were shown for ILC and MDASI-Severity of symptoms (r=-0.18, p<0.01), and for ILC with MDASI-Interference (r=-0.23, p< 0.01) (Table 3).



The purpose of the present study was to determine HLC, anxiety and depression levels in patients with cancer during the time of chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment. A further aim was to assess the severity of somatic symptoms and their interference with patients’ daily life. It has been suggested that a person’s health and health behaviour are important factors when people are challenged with any medical or health related condition (Goldzweig et al, 2016; Kulpa et al, 2014), characterized and controlled by two forces which have been described earlier as ILC and ELC, the latter encompassing three subscales (having faith in doctors, having faith in other people, and believing in chance and fate) (Wallston et al, 1994).

This dichotomization is prominent in the HLC literature (Wallston et al, 1994; Keinki et al, 2016; Lopez-Carrido, 2020). As has been mentioned earlier, individuals with an ILC are characterized by greater self-activity including self-control of their own life believing that the probability of success depends on their own efforts, their high aspirations and faith in their own strengths. On the contrary, individuals with ELC do not trust themselves and do not believe in the effectiveness of their own actions, therefore, they submit to others (Sacha and Gibek, 2019). Results from this study indicate that men and women do not differ regarding internal reinforcement (ILC), nor was there a difference between gender in external reinforcement (ELC) (Wallston et al, 1994). This contradicts findings in Sacha and Gibek’s (2019) and Dopelt et al’s (2022) studies on patients with cancer showing women demonstrate more external control than men, but notably only in the chance factor.

Zeilinger et al (2022) note that the prevalence of anxiety and depression is high in patients with cancer, and the most frequent comorbidities, although this is still unclear. In their study on outpatients with cancer it was found that every sixth patient was likely to have a psychiatric condition, with women being more frequently affected. These results are in accordance with numerous previous findings in studies on outpatients with cancer who found that being a woman was an important factor for both anxiety and depression (Hjörleifsdóttir et al, 2006; Hjörleifsdóttir et al, 2007; Yüce et al, 2021). The present study indicates that women may be more anxious than men, and the severity of symptoms and their interference with daily life may have more impact on women than men. These findings were not significant, but they should, however, not be overlooked. Rather, they call for further investigations to identify underlying causes for distress and experience of symptom burden amongst patients with cancer (Table 2).

It is also important to highlight the psychological distress reported by the younger patients with cancer. Results are consistent with findings in previous studies conducted on outpatients with cancer (Hjörleifsdóttir et al, 2007; Krok et al, 2013) indicating that the youngest ones, 50 years old and younger, are significantly the most vulnerable when in the situation of having cancer and receiving treatment. These findings indicate that the older generations have less psychological distress than younger patients with cancer. This does not necessarily mean that having cancer and receiving treatment affects the older individuals any less than it does the younger persons, it does, however, indicate different reasons for psychological distress related to different situations and responsibilities in life. In this context, it is noteworthy that the age groups 70 years old and older were those who reported significantly strongest belief in ELC-chance and those 61-70 had significantly strongest belief in ELC-physician (Table 2).

The results did not allow for a division between the consequences of the cancer and the side effects of treatment. Yet, the results give reason to believe that treatment given for symptom control only, the severity of symptoms and their interference with  patients’ daily life are significantly worse than amongst those who are receiving treatment for curing the disease. A significant difference in severity of symptoms between types of treatment was also found, since patients receiving chemotherapy reported higher scores of severity of symptoms and their interference with patients’ daily life than those having radiotherapy or a combination of both. This may be, to some extent, related to the side effects of radiotherapy being known to appear later in the treatment process than in chemotherapy (Table 2). These findings correlate with previous findings on side effects of cancer treatment (Pearse and Haas, 2017; Prieto-Callejero et al, 2020).

It is interesting that findings in this present study indicate that boundaries between ILC, ELC and its subscales, can be diverse and a clear distinction is not necessarily the case. Results showed a positive significant correlation between all the three subscales of ELC (belief in chance, physicians, and others) and ILC. This is in accordance with Rotter (1975) who emphasized that this should be conceptualized as a continuum between ELC and ILC, rather than it being an either/or categorization. Wallston and Wallston’s (1978) argue that in a situation of cancer, only low internal control may be possible, thus, patients are more dependent on external sources of control, such as doctors or others. Boddu et al (2021) also suggest that individuals can have both internal and external locus at the same time and the concept of internality and externality cannot be dichotomized.

The present study found that there was a positive significant correlation between believing in physicians and believing in others (Table 3), but this should not come as a surprise, insofar as these two categories are intertwined (Wallston et al, 1994; Boddu et al, 2021). Adding to the above, O´Bryan (2021) argued that human agency consists in being able to decide your actions and reactions. If the reasons are part of your own psychology, we talk about ILC, if the reasons originate in the views of knowledge, power or actions of others, we talk about ELC. These two types of loci of control do not exclude each other, and it depends on the context which one is appropriate insofar as trusting and believing in your doctor because he or she has the knowledge to possibly cure your sickness does not necessarily decrease one’s ILC. Sacha and Gibek (2019) suggest that the longer is the disease process for the patient, the stronger is the belief that his own health is a result of the actions of others. Findings in this present study are in accordance with previous studies, indicating that the lower is the degree of anxiety and depression, the higher is the degree of ILC (Kulpa et al, 2014). Additionally, findings in this present study are in line with previous findings on patients with cancer (Zhang et al, 2015; Sacha and Gibek, 2019) indicating that the longer the disease persists in oncological patients, the weaker is their ILC, and their sense of responsibility for the process weakens as well.



The primary limitation of this study is the relatively small sample size. Other factors which may be seen as possible limitations of categorisation may be the lack of information on the type of cancer, the duration of the disease, and that patients were receiving different treatments at various phases in their disease process. Furthermore, data collection, including reason for treatment and stage of disease, was solely built on information from the patients themselves and was not checked against patients’ medical files. To some extent, this may limit the accuracy of the information, but results give valuable insight into how the patients perceive their own situation and how they describe it. With respect to information revealing similar percentage between the numbers reporting treatment for curing the disease (62.3%) and those with local cancer (62.8%), and between the numbers reporting treatment for symptom control (32%) and those with metastatic disease (35.6%), there is reason to believe that this information is close to reality. It is, however, not possible to jump to any conclusion on whether this was exactly the right division between these two groups or not; it does, however, provide information on a very difficult and sensitive experience seen from patients’ perspectives. In this context, cancer patients are increasingly having treatment for a longer time where the goal is to relieve symptoms and prolong life but not to cure (Ho et al, 2011; Randén et al, 2013). Despite these limitations, the findings in the present study are similar to reports in larger studies in terms of HLC, psychological distress and somatic symptoms (Krok et al, 2013; Zeilinger et al, 2022).



The results of this study provide insights into different aspects of HLC among outpatients with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Findings indicate that ILC may alleviate psychosocial suffering and make the life of the patient more bearable. There is reason to consider the difference between genders in future studies on this matter, because women were found to be more anxious than men and they were suffering more from physical symptoms. The results of this study call for increased attention to the younger patients with cancer, indicating that the youngest ones, 50 years old and younger, are the most vulnerable when in the situation of having cancer and receiving treatment. This does not necessarily mean that having cancer and receiving treatment affects the older individuals any less than it does the younger persons; it does, however, tell us to consider different reasons for psychological distress related to different situations and responsibilities in life. In this context, it is noteworthy that the age groups 70 years old and older were those who reported significantly strongest belief in ELC-chance and those 61-70 had significantly strongest belief in ELC-physician. The results may suggest that the longer the disease persists, the more severe impact it has on a patient’s psychosocial well-being and the more it interferes with their daily life.

Findings in this study distinguish between ILC and ELC and the authors suggest that ILC may be more appropriate and helpful to master the cognitive perception of the threat of illness than ELC. Additionally, Marton et al (2021) found that people with a lower score in ELC (having faith in other people), were more likely to prefer an active role or collaborative role in medical decision-making. The authors suggest that it may be so that people do not fully grasp the impact that other people and doctors could have on their health. Studies have revealed that cancer patients with a higher ELC are significantly more often using sources of information as well as being significantly more in need for additional information than those with ILC (Keinki et al, 2016). The authors suggest that by measuring HLC amongst patients with cancer would be helpful to make a more useful plan for the patients regarding support and care. The HLC-C  questionnaire is short and easy to answer, and it is simple to use in outpatient clinics where patients come for their treatment. Often the patients’ greatest fear is to lose control over their lives. It is, therefore, urgent to understand patients’ fear and anxiety, and help them to encounter this new reality and to master the cognitive perception of the threat of illness. One way to do so is by measuring their inner strength and work from there to assist them in building up inner strength to be able to handle the situation.



We want to thank late Professor Kenneth A. Wallston, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, USA, for his assistance in obtaining permissions for translating the MHLC-C questionnaire into Icelandic and using it in this study. We also want to thank the staff at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center for their permissions for translating the M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) into Icelandic and use it in this study. The authors would like to express their gratitude to all the participants who contributed valuable information.



Altman, D.G. (1991). Practical statistics for medical research. (1st ed). London: Chapman and Hall/CRC.

Agustsdottir, S., Kristinsdottir, A., Jonsdottir, K., Larusdottir, S. O., Smari, J. and Valdimarsdottir, H. B. (2010). The impact of dispositional emotional expressivity and social constraints on distress among prostate cancer patients in Iceland. British Journal of Health Psychology, 15(1), p 51–61.

Basinska, M. A. and Andruszkiewicz, A. (2012). Health locus of control in patients with Graves-Basedow Disease and Hashimoto Disease and their acceptance of illness. International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 10(3): p 537–542. doi: 10.5812/ijem.3932

Boddu, V. K., Rebello, A., Chandrasekharan, S.V., Rudrabhatla, P.K., Chandran, A., Ravi, S., Unnithan, G., Menon, R. N., Cherian, A. and Radhakrishnan. A. (2021). How does “locus of control” affect persons with epilepsy? Epilepsy and Behavior, 123: 108257 p 1–6.

Chi, N. A. and Demiris, G. (2016). Family caregivers´ pain management in end-of-life care: A systematic review. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care, 34(5), p 470–485.

Cleeland C. S. (2016). The M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory: User Guide, Version 1, p 1-79. Texas: University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. 2006

Coleman M. P. (2013). The CONCORD programme: Why we need global surveillance of cancer survival. Cancer Control. Epidemiology, p 60-65. Retrieved from: http://cancercontrol.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/cc2013_60-65-Michel-P-Coleman_2013.pdf

Cronbach L. J. Coefficient alpha and the internal structures of tests. Psychometrika.  1951; 16(3): p 297–334.

Dopelt, K., Bashkin, O., Asna, N. and Davidovitch, N. (2022). Health locus of control in cancer patient and oncologist decision-making: An exploratory qualitative study, PLOS ONE, 17(1), p 1–12.

Gogou, P., Tsilika, E., Parpa, E., Kouvaris, I., Damigos, D., Balafouta, M., Maureas, V. and Mystakidou, K. (2015). The Impact of Radiotherapy on Symptoms, Anxiety and QoL in Patients with Cancer.  Anticancer Research, 35: p 1771–1775.

Goldzweig, G., Hasson-Ohayon, I., Alon, S. and Shalit, E. (2016). Perceived threat and depression among patients with cancer: The moderating role of health locus of control. Psychology, Health Medicine, 21(5): p 601–607.

Hjörleifsdóttir E., Hallberg I. R., Bolmsjö I. A. and Gunnarsdóttir E. D. (2006) Distress and coping in cancer patients: feasibility of the Icelandic version of BSI 18 and the WOC-CA questionnaires. European Journal of Cancer Care 15, p 80–89.

Hjörleifsdóttir, E., Hallberg, I. R., Bolmsjö, I. Å. and Gunnarsdóttir, E. D. (2007). Icelandic cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Does distance from treatment center influence distress and coping? Cancer Nursing, 30(6), E1-10. Doi: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000300161.06016.a9[doi]

Hjörleifsdóttir, E., Einarsdóttir, A., Óskarsson, G. K. and Frímannsson, G. H. (2019). Family caregivers’ satisfaction with specialized end-of-life care provided at home. Assessment of the psychometric characteristics of the Icelandic version of the Family assessment of treatment at the end-of-life questionnaire. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing 21(5), 412-421.

Ho, T. H., Barbera, L., Saskin, R., Lu, H., Neville, A. and Earle, C. C. (2011). Trends in the aggressiveness of end-of-life cancer care in the universal health care system of Ontario, Canada. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 29(12), p 1587–1591.

Hu, Z., Gou, J., Cai, M. and Zhang, Y. (2022). Translation and validation of M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory-Thyroid Cancer module in Chinese thyroid cancer patients: A cross-sectional and methodological study. BMC Cancer, 22(1), 2–10.

Jónasson, J. G. and Tryggvadóttir L. Krabbamein á Íslandi – Upplýsingar úr Krabbameinsskrá fyrir tímabilið 1955-2010 (Information from The Cancer Registration Statistic Iceland for 1955-2010. Reykjavík: Krabbameinsfélagið; 2012 (Reykjavík: The Icelandic Cancer Association; 2012). Retrieved from: https://www.krabb.is (in Icelandic).

Jones, D., Zhao, F., Fish, M. J., Wagner, L. I., Patric-Miller, L. J., Cleeland, C. S. and Mendoza, T. R. (2014). The validity and utility of the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory in patients with prostate cancer: Evidence from the Symptom Outcomes and Practice Patterns (SOAPP) data from the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group. Clinical Genitourinary Cancer, 12(1), p 41–9.

Kuliś, D., Bottomley, A., Velikova, G., Greimel, E., Koller, M. On behalf of the EORTC Quality of Life Group, 2017. EORTC Quality of Life Group Translation Procedure. Fourth edition, 2017.

Krok, J. L., Baker, T. A. and McMillan, S. C. (2013). Age differences in the presence of pain and psychological distress in younger and older cancer patients. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 15(2), 107–113.

Keinki, C., Seilacher, E., Ebel, M., Ruetters, D., Kessler, I., Stellamans, J., Rudolph, I. and Huebenr, J. (2016). Information needs of cancer patients and perception of impact of the disease, of self-efficacy, and locus of control. Journal of Cancer Education, 31(3), p 610–606.

Kulpa, M., Kosowicz, M., Stypula-Ciuba, B. J. and Kazalska, D. (2014). Anxiety and depression, cognitive coping strategies, and health locus of control in patients with digestive system cancer. Gastroenterology Review, 9(6), p 329–335.

Lopez-Garrido, G. (2020). Locus of control. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from: www.simplypsychology.org/locus-of-control.html

Marton, G., Pizzoli, S. F. M., Vergani, L., Mazzocco, K., Monzani, D., Bailo, L., Pancani, L. and Pravettoni, G. (2021). Patients’ health locus of control and preferences about the role that they want to play in the medical decision-making process. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 26(2), p 260–266.

Marijanović, I., Pavleković, G., Buhocac, T. and Martinac, M. (2017). The relationship between health locus of control, depression, and sociodemographic factors and amount of time breast cancer patients wait before seeking diagnosis and treatment. Psychiatria Danubina, 29(3) p 330–344.

Mirzania, M., Khajavi, A. and Moshki, M. (2019). Validity and reliability of form C of the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale in pregnant women. Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences, 44(4) p 307–314.

O´Bryan, A. (2022). Internal vs external locus of control: 7 examples and theories. Optimism and mindset. Retrieved from: https://positivepsychology.com/

Pallant, J. (2016). SPSS survival manual. A step-by-step guide to data analysis using SPSS. 6th ed. Berkshire: Oxford University Press; 2016).

Pearse, A. and Haas, M. (2017). Incidence and severity of self-reported chemotherapy side effects in routine care: A prospective cohort study. PLOS ONE, 12(10), p 1–12.

Peters, L., Brederecke, J., Franzke, A., de Zwaan, M. and Zimmerman, T. (2020). Psychological distress in a sample of inpatients with mixed cancer. A cross-sectional study of routine clinical data. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 591771.

Prieto-Callejero, B., Rivera, F., Fagundo-Rivera, J., Romero, A., Romero-Martín, M., Gómez-Salgado, J. and Ruiz-Frutos, C. (2020). Relationship between chemotherapy-induced adverse reactions and health-related quality of life in patients with breast cancer. Medicine, 99(33), p e21695.

Piil, K., Whisenant, M., Mendoza, T., Armstrong, T., Cleeland, C., Nordentoft, S., Williams, L. A. and Jarden, M. (2021). Psychometric validity and reliability of the Danish version of the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory Brain Tumor Module. Neuro-Oncology Practice, 8(2), p 137–147.

Randén, M., Helde-Frankling, M., Runesdotter, S. and Strang, P. (2013). Treatment decisions and discontinuation of palliative chemotherapy near the end-of-life, in relation to socioeconomic variables. Acta Oncologica, 52,6, p 1062–1066.

Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 80(1), p 1–28.

Rotter, J. B. (1975). Some problems and misconceptions related to the construct of internal versus external control of reinforcement. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43(1), p 56–67.

Sacha T. and Gibek K. (2019). Comparison of health locus of control in oncological and non-oncological patients. Contemporary Oncology, 23(2), p 115–120.

Schaaber, Ú. L., Smári, J. and Óskarsson, H. (1990). Comparison of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Rating Scale (HAD) with other depression and anxiety rating scales. Nordisk Psykiatrisk Tidsskrift44(5), p 507–512.

Smári, J. and Valtýsdóttir, H. (1997). Dispositional coping, psychological distress and disease-control in diabetes. Personality and Individual Differences, 22(2), p 151–156.

Statistics Iceland. Inhabitant’s overview. 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.statice.is/statistics/population/inhabitants/overview/.

Thege, B. K., Rafael, B. and Rohánszky, M. (2014). Psychometric properties of the multidimensional health locus of control scale form C in a non-western culture. PLOS ONE, 9(9), e107108.

Ubbiali, A., Donati, D., Chiorri, C., Bregani, V., Cattaneo, E., Maffei, C. and Visintini, R. (2008). The usefulness of the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control form C (MHLC-C) for HIV subjects: An Italian study. AIDS Care, 20(4), p 495–502.

Vigano, A., De Felice, F., Lacovelli, N.A., Alterio, D., Facchinetti, N., Oneta, O., Bcigalupo, A … Orlandi, E. M.D. (2021). Anderson Symptom Inventory Head Neck (MDASI-HN) Questionnaire: Italian language psychometric validation in head and neck cancer patients treated with radiotherapy ± systemic therapy – A study of the Italian association of radiotherapy and clinical oncology (AIRO). Oral Oncology, 115: 105189 p 1–7.

Wallston, K. A. (2005). The validity of the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scales. Journal of Health Psychology, 10(5), p 623–631.

Wallston, K. A., Stein, M. J. and Smith, C. A. (1994). Form C of the MHLC scales: A condition-specific measure of locus of control. Journal of Personality Assessment, 63(3), p 534–553.

Wallston, B. S. and Wallston, K. A. (1978). Locus of control and health: A review of the literature. Health Education and Behavior, 6(1), p 107–117.

Yüce, G. E., Döner, A. and Muz, G. (2021). Psychological distress and its association with unmet needs and symptom burden in outpatient cancer patients: A cross-sectional study. Seminars in Oncology Nursing, 37(5), 1–7.

Zeilinger, E. L., Oppenauer, C., Knefel, M., Kantor, V., Schneckenreiter, C., Lubowitzki, S., Krammer, K. … and Gaiger, A. (2022). Prevalence of anxiety and depression in people with different types of cancer or haematologic malignancies: A cross-sectional study. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences 31, e74, p 1–7.

Zhang, M., chunZheng, M., yanLiu, M., shanWen, Y., danWu, X. and wenLiu, Q. (2015). The influence of demographics, psychological factors, and self-efficacy on symptom distress in colorectal cancer patients undergoing post-surgical adjuvant chemotherapy. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 19(1), 89–96.

John McMurtry, La fase cancerígena del capitalismo, de la crisis a la cura (Valencia: Tirant Humanidades, 2016)

Las reticencias y críticas contra la globalización neoliberal nacieron prácticamente con la emergencia del fenómeno mismo, sin embargo, en los últimos años de crisis se ha venido fortaleciendo una nueva tendencia, creciente y heterogénea, de posturas críticas y acciones contestatarias contra este modelo de producción y comunicación mundial. La desconfianza y rechazo hacia una  integración global de las comunidades humanas dentro de los márgenes del neoliberalismo se dejan ver en movimientos sociales, partidos políticos y propuestas teóricas que, desde orientaciones políticas y morales distintas, cuando no opuestas, exhiben sus deficiencias y consecuencias negativas , así como el extravío e inviabilidad de su presunto horizonte emancipador.

La obra del filósofo John McMurtry, La fase cancerígena del capitalismo, se integra dentro de esta tendencia crítica, con la destacable ventaja de que su primera edición fue lanzada en 1999. En aquellos años, en los que aún predominaba un aire de triunfalismo liberal sobre las experiencias históricas que pretendieron acabar con el capitalismo, McMurtry lanzó su diagnóstico sin complejos: el sistema capitalista es un trastorno cancerígeno que puede acabar con la vida humana y con la base natural que la soporta. Es posible que hace quince años, cuando diversas regiones del planeta vivían un auge económico, esta valoración haya podido generar ciertas dudas en algunos sectores, pero con la crisis económica, política, ecológica y cultural que se ha cristalizado desde el 2008  a nivel mundial, su pertinencia es innegable. Debido a esto, el autor lanzó una segunda edición aumentada en el 2013, en la cual añade y analiza los datos y acontecimientos más determinantes de los últimos años retomando el marco analítico de la primera publicación. La edición que a continuación referiremos es la primera traducción al castellano que acaba de publicar la editorial Tirant Humanidades (McMurtry, 2016).

La investigación que nos presenta McMurtry parte de la idea de que todas las sociedades tienen una estructura de reglas subyacente, un tipo de gramática nos dice, que rige las acciones, el discurso y el pensamiento de sus miembros. Estas metareglas son la codificación del sistema de valores prevalente. Es en el metanivel  de los sistemas sociales donde el autor cree que la filosofía debe excavar para poder evaluar “su verdad y su valor en la búsqueda de su forma más completa” (p.19). Por consiguiente, en esta obra se abordan los valores que regulan, en última instancia, el mecanismo del sistema capitalista, partiendo del supremo principio que lo define: la maximización del beneficio privado monetario en detrimento de las bases naturales y civilizatorias de la vida humana.

A lo largo del texto se despliega una ontología social que postula como primer  y necesaria instancia de la existencia humana y sus sociedades el ámbito natural-material y socio-cultural, los cuales integran el life capital[1]. Éste comprendería “(…)las riquezas naturales y las creadas por el hombre que más producen en el tiempo sin pérdidas”(p.420) y estaría constituido por el capital de la tierra, el capital del conocimiento, el capital social y el capital ecológico. En esta propuesta el concepto de Capital desdobla su significado y trasciende al de la economía política clásica y neoclásica, ya que es concebido como la riqueza total –material, cognitiva y simbólica- que sostiene y garantiza la vida y, por ende, deja de limitarse al de una magnitud de valor social  tendiente a la infinita valorización del valor monetario y a la totalidad de los bienes mercantiles de los sujetos individuales y colectivos. Es así que, el life capital constituye la corporeidad y las condiciones de posibilidad reales de los sistemas sociales.

Para abordar la condición actual del sistema global y del life capital que en última instancia lo sostiene, el autor trasladara desde la medicina el marco conceptual clínico del cáncer. Pero, antes, nos aclarará que esta traslación no busca la postulación de una metáfora sino la construcción de un “modelo explicativo” (p.p.64-5) que dé cuenta de un trastorno  que invade literalmente los cuerpos orgánicos y los cuerpos sociales por igual. El principal y determinante agente cancerígeno que opera en nuestras sociedades sería las Secuencias de Dinero Privado Transancional (SDPT), aquello que la prensa mundial llama, con sospechosa neutralidad, los mercados o los flujos de capital. Estas secuencias son reproducciones monetarias anómalas de las dinámicas de intercambio y producción social que tienden a la automultiplicación sin ninguna función vital, operando igual que las células cancerígenas que invaden los organismos biológicos: “(…)Ambas se multiplican fuera de control. Tampoco tienen ninguna función  en compromiso con la vida. Ambas invaden y se extienden  al depredar y despojar al anfitrión de sus recursos. Y la clave para sucumbir en cada nivel, es la insuficiencia del sistema inmunológico en reconocerles” (p.91).

Precisamente en el no reconocimiento del trastorno radica parte de su fuerza. Al respecto, McMurtry percibe una pasividad en los economistas y los filósofos por no cuestionar estructuralmente las bases axiomáticas del sistema cancerígeno: “(…) Ningún economista hace esto porque cada paso es bloqueado a priori  por la estructura profunda de la doctrina y su modelo cientificista. Ningún filósofo moral lo hace tampoco, en la medida en que está por fuera de los límites el reconocerlo dados los tabúes metodológicos y sociales” (p.31). El cáncer capitalista se ha convertido en un tabú social, toda vez que los medios de comunicación y las instancias del conocimiento presentan profundas lagunas respecto a su análisis.  Ante esta situación nos recuerda que en la era del oscurantismo medieval :

(…)La reflexión social registrada está mas o menos confinada  a la teología moral especulativa  decretada por Roma. Las cuestiones de fondo se hacen a un lado en el plano normativo. Las relaciones sociales preestablecidas, bien se mantienen por fuera de la discusión en su conjunto, como un tabú innombrable de los medios del momento, o se les concede una mera disculpa y justificación. A esto le llamamos <<Era del oscurantismo>> por una buena razón. Pero una Era de Oscurantismo puede volver a ocurrir.(…) ¿No nos enfrentamos a una nueva teología absolutista, de las leyes eternas del mercado, en lugar de las de Dios, como los mandamientos del mundo?. (McMurtry, 2016, p. 205)

El período cancerígeno que se analiza en la obra tendría sus orígenes en la derrota estadounidense en Vietnam, el golpe de estado chileno del 73, el cambio del patrón oro por el patrón dólar en 1974 que permite la reproducción de moneda fiduciaria sin arraigo directo en la materialidad y la llegada al poder de Donald Reagan y Margaret Thatcher y la consecuente liberalización de los mercados. En los años que van de 1973 a 1999 nuestro autor observa la consolidación de una nueva “soberanía supranacional” , un tipo de “poder colectivo de secuencias monetarias” (p. 32), que circula por todo el planeta destrozando por igual las soberanías de los estados nacionales, los ecosistemas, los ámbitos culturales locales y la salud misma de los organismos humanos. A partir del 9/11  se despliega una estrategia que busca consolidar el poder global de las Secuencias de Dinero Privado Transnacional después del reacomodo que supuso la caída de la URSS y de la emergencia de varios fenómenos contestatarios que empezaban a  tomar consciencia de los impactos dañinos del sistema. Esta estrategia estaría basada en la reconstrucción de un enemigo , habida cuenta de la caída del monstruo soviético, para justificar la ampliación de la metástasis capitalista.

Pero, a pesar de el sombrío diagnóstico que nos presenta, McMurtry también se encarga de proponer unos principios mínimos, una “ontoaxiología”, que en la práctica funcionaría como “la cura” contra el cáncer capitalista. Esta “cura” estaría basada en una de las facultades naturales de los cuerpos sociales: el “(…)sistema inmune social de capacidades y competencias sobre el que todo el funcionamiento de la sociedad y cada vez más personas y especies dependen para su supervivencia y prosperidad”(p.320) . Este sistema inmune social expulsa o elimina los agentes extraños y dañinos que amenazan con desequilibrar, atacar o destruir al organismo social que supone una comunidad y estaría constituido por un conjunto de prácticas, regulaciones, prescripciones, instituciones y procesos que están orientados a proteger la vida general. Los agentes encargados de desplegar y operar la potencialidad del sistema inmunológico de la sociedad  serían los “comunes civiles” : “(…)cualquiera y todas las construcciones sociales que permiten el acceso universal a los bienes vitales” (p.497). De esta forma, “(…) el movimiento progresista, la izquierda, la comunidad, los sindicatos y las cooperativas”(p.497), explícitamente avocados a la defensa y garantía de la vida, serían los elementos operativos del sistema inmunológico social.

Mcmurtry no se limita a sostener su propuesta curativa sobre una ideal moral, sino que también lo argumenta con algunos ejemplos socio-políticos actuales que  considera saludables. Estos ejemplos serían las actuales políticas en defensa y protección de los ámbitos públicos, los recursos naturales y la vida humana que han implementado países como Venezuela, Brasil, Ecuador, Argentina y Bolivia por medio de nacionalizaciones, renegociaciones de la deuda pública, recuperación y protección de zonas naturales estratégicas, así como la revitalización del cuerpo social por medio de programas sociales orientados al fortalecimiento de la salud, la educación y el conocimiento de la población. Por ello, nos dice que “En toda iniciativa política y legislativa en América Latina existe una lógica unificadora de recuperación: la reivindicación pública de la economía al servicio de las necesidades conocidas de su gente y sus condiciones de vida.” (p.80).

En lo referente al aspecto teórico-critico de esta obra, nos parece relevante destacar que su análisis no se integra en la línea del pensamiento marxista o posmarxista. El propio autor  marca distancia con algunos aspectos de esta corriente porque que considera  que el life capital no es captado en sus postulados. Y es que Marx, nos dice, centró su atención en las células básicas del capitalismo, la mercancía-dinero p. e., sin mirar las auténticas fuentes de la riqueza , las cuales no pueden ser reducidas a la fuerza de trabajo, ya que  ésta se encuentra también sustentada sobre las mismas, es decir, sobre el life capital. A pesar de ello,   McMurtry no duda en reconocer la importancia de la obra marxiana:

(…)Lo que abre el espacio de reflexión para el análisis crítico  de los presupuestos sociales de una vez por todas, es el profundo trabajo estructural sin precedentes de Karl Marx(…) su obra rompe de forma decisiva la larga aquiescencia de la teoría con el statu quo y los privilegios de clase dominante (…) Yendo mucho más allá de Sócrates o Rousseau, él expone a la crítica sistemática la estructura de poder material de todo lo hasta hoy hay de existente en la sociedad civil(…) Ningún filósofo de la historia antes de esto se había atrevido a ir tan lejos. Desde entonces, la obra de Marx ha sido un punto de referencia fundamental en el panorama filosófico: un punto de referencia para los pensadores cuya preocupación por las estructuras subyacentes se extiende a las formas sociales dominantes, y no meramente a los ordenamientos naturales y conceptuales. (McMurtry, 2016, p.212)

Para finalizar, diremos que, al margen de las diferencias onto-epistémicas que hay  entre McMurtry y Marx, las propuestas de ambos se emparentan en el hecho de que están enfocadas en el análisis de las condiciones materiales, sociales y culturales de la existencia humana. En consecuencia, ambos toman como primer principio de referencia los hechos históricos y la estructura constitutiva y causal de los sistemas sociales que los genera. Por ello, es de agradecer que en La fase cancerígena del capitalismo las críticas y argumentos se sustentan en diversos escenarios y acontecimientos históricos actuales, con lo cual, McMurtry, como Marx en su tiempo, rompe con la endogamia metafísica de algunas corrientes de la filosofía que han decidido hacerse a un lado ante la acuciante realidad de nuestros días. Creemos que esta obra nos recuerda que, en los tiempos vertiginosos que corren, es un imperativo ético para los filósofxs  exponer  el potencial crítico de la filosofía ante un sistema desconocedor de la vida que está dominado por “egoísmos atómicos automaximizadores”.

[1] No hay traducción posible en castellano que haga justicia al concepto de Life capital, ya que capital vital y capital de vida tienen una connotación distinta en castellano

Winning the War of the World

Not even prophets like Chris Hedges decode it. Journalists are trained not to. Not even moral philosophers question the system worship masked as ‘the free market”. Freedom means no accountability to human and world life, while competition means competing to externalize all costs onto the lives of citizens and environments. The value driver behind it all is no more questioned than the Almighty. It can do no wrong. But one underlying lock-step of false equations propels this unnamed war on the world through its mutations and metastases:

Rationality = Self-Maximizing Choice

= Always More Money-Value for the Self is Good

= Self-Multiplying Sequences of Ever More Money to the Top as the Ruling Growth System

= All Else is Disposable Means to this Multiplying Pathogenic Growth


My 15-year study, The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure diagnoses this ruling value mechanism as cancerous. It is, in short, a deregulated self-multiplication of transnational money sequences accountable to nothing but their own multiplication with no committed life functions. With the Hayek-Reagan-Thatcher crusade to reverse the history of the world into a moronic ‘free market’ and ‘conservative values’, the march was on. Marxists would not engage this Great Reversal on moral grounds because morality was believed to be only ruling class ideology. This left no value ground to stand on. From the transnational victory of corporate world rule from 1991 on, reversals of social states were portrayed as ‘market miracles’ whatever the results for people’s lives. ‘The magic of the market’ was the new world religion, ‘the end of history’. The mass media were  consolidated into one collective corporate organ across cities and borders. Death squads erased community opposition in the South. The academy was and is still defunded to serve the global corporate market and commodity development.

The nations of the world are all ‘restructured’  to be subordinate functions to the supreme moral goal of transforming humanity and the world into ever more private commodities and profits. Society itself s does not exist to this ruling value mechanism. Its logic of growth is totalitarian and malignant to the marrow. More precisely, deregulated global corporate money sequences abolish by treaties and wars all barriers whatever to their free multiplying growth through all that exists whatever the destruction of natural and social life support systems. My work has been to decode this globally life-invading value system. Predictably the diagnosis is taboo to mention in the press, however confirmed by the facts and predictions. No social disorder allows its ruling program to be publicly unmasked. Thus the malignant value code marches on. Alarm bells at the degenerate symptoms increase, but policies of solution only extend the system further and deeper. Life-value economics is as unspeakable as the fatal disorder itself.


The Essential First Step in Winning the War of the World is Comprehension of It

The essential first step in winning the war of the world is comprehension of it. Only system analysis can lay bare the underlying value program, but it is avoided. The sciences do not study values and specialize in domains of self-referential meaning. Journalists report facts, spectacles and impressions, but not the underlying values governing them. Philosophers seldom analyse the ruling value system of the societies within they live from social habit and fear. In the age of instant culture, value-system comprehension does not sell. Together these blocks of normalized avoidance make the value code selecting for all the degenerate trends invisible to us. As in immune system failure, the life host fails to recognise the disorder devouring it.

Lacking any unifying framework of comprehension, people are lost. Thus when millions rise in the Occupy Wall Street movement, there is no diagnosis or policy demand. Although Wall Street had indisputably defrauded masses and had failed to its knees broke, no policy shift arose – not even public control of the public money infusing the system cancer, $16 trillion dollars by Senate  count in the U.S. alone – thanks to the heroic Bernie Sanders. Nor was there movement for a needed public mortgage system – even after the private system had perpetrated the biggest fraud in history, indebted tens of millions into ruin and collapsed the economies of the West in irreversible debt. The lost alternative of public banking on which the U.S. revolution was founded, Lincoln won the war of Union, North Dakota has had 100 years of debt-free prosperity, the West itself managed the 1939-45 war and post-war years to unprecedented full employment, and first Japan and now China wins in productive investment – all is  amnesiac in the West.

Fast forward to today, and the underlying system cancer advances on. The financial giants causing the 2008 Crash are bigger and richer in criminal impunity. They speculate with publicly supplied trillions on food and water futures. They control even Rio + 20 as the life-ground catastrophe they finance explodes on one front after another. Transfused with endlessly with more public money to bleed and indebt the world dry, the money-printing system metastasizes further – now occupying the once prosperous social democracies of the European Union with public money bled out of peoples’ lives and life bases to private banks with no limit . Refusing any regulatory limits, converting pensions into more stockmarket feeding troughs, investing nothing as youth unemployment and debt spike ever higher – where does it all end? It ends when public money and human rights stop being fed to the failed system. It ends when commodity cycles of destructive waste are stopped. It ends at the base of the disorder when the 97%-counterfeiting of debt and credit by private financial institutions is publicly controlled.


Economic Doctrine Allows Money-Cancer System Free Reign

Neo-economic theory is a pseudo-science. Its defining postulates are unfalsifiable by facts. All organic, social and ecological life requirements are absurdly assumed away. Infinite demand on finite resources is presupposed as sustainable. Mechanical reversibility of everything is taken for granted. Whatever does not fit the doctrine is rejected. Endlessly self-maximizing atomic selves are believed to necessitate the best of all possible worlds by the market’s invisible hand.  

Is this not a fanatic religion? Supra-human laws dictate commands across peoples. No deadly consequences lower certitude in the miracles of the market God. Even when the ruling value mechanism visibly depredates the very life bases of the world, the only reforms are to globalize it further. Corporate-lawyer treaties coined in secret rule as the new laws of nations, while hostile zones are subjected to covert forces sponsoring civil wars, as promised in 2001 – Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria Iraq, and now the Ukraine as I write.  All is believed in and pursued as a world crusade, even if fascists lead it. One supreme goal governs underneath bizarre beliefs –  multiplying growth of transnational money-sequences at ever higher velocities and volumes with no life limits tolerated. This is the moral DNA of the ruling value mechanism. In theory, it is expressed well by University of Chicago professor and godfather of the U.S. National Security Council, Leo Strauss, who wrote in his canonical Natural Right and History (p. 60): “limitless capital accumulation” is “a moral duty and perhaps the highest moral duty”.  On the ground, Strauss’s patron, David Rockefeller, expressed the moral-political program more concretely at the turning point in 1991, “A supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries”.  The promises are kept. There is no binding regulation to protect any life carrying capacity on earth from the loot-and-pollute bank money system in the years since.

Many blame capitalism, but unlike classical capitalism this mechanism is not driven by productive force development. It is driven by transnational money-sequence multiplication with no productive standard which despoils more means of life than it produces. It eliminates the working class itself. The ruling idea that the system is peerlessly productive is increasingly contradicted by far more life goods disappearing than are created. Something much more sinister is afoot.  The social and natural life bases by which the human species evolves are reversed and overrun. Yet not even the opposition defines what ultimately counts – humanity’s universal life necessities themselves. The meaning of ‘the economy’ itself – to produce and distribute life goods otherwise in short supply through generational time – is lost. While the very air humanity breathes is going more toxic and acidic, the contradiction to ‘productive growth’ is unseen. As the waters of the world are simultaneously destroyed, the dots are not joined. Even as there are mass extinctions of species, youth without futures, and irreversible debt servitude of the world, all is well if ‘more growth is returning to the system’ which causes all of them. That at the same time the earth’s very soil cover taking tens of millions of years to evolve is simultaneously mined, acidified, salinated, degraded and exhausted as forest and mineral covers are stripped from one continent to the other are not connected into common meaning. The ruling value mechanism devours the life substance of humanity and the earth, but remains assumed as ever ‘more productive’ even by angry unions. 

Well at least, someone might reply, climate warming has been recognized by a blue-ribbon economic panel, Britain’s Stern Review, as “the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen”. This is a step towards rational observation. But even with a UN panel of over-1600 scientists on the case, there is no connection to the other basic life carrying capacities driven towards collapse by the same organizing value mechanism. No secret is more unspoken. So more rights to pollute and profit are instituted, and the climates and hydrological cycles spiral to more deadly extremes. “The world’s poor suffer first and most”, Lord Stern also rightly observes, but this fits the reigning value mechanism. Those without money do not exist.


Unmasking the Ruling Code of Value Driving the War on Life  

Let us summarize. Behind every step of the Great Reversal lie failures of knowledge and value understanding: (1) failure to diagnose the regulating value mechanism at work; (2) failure to connect across the domains of life despoliation as predictable from the system’s blind money-sequence multiplication; (3) failure to define or demand any public policies against its feeding on life support systems with public treasure; (4) failure to recognise any life-value principle or the life ground of the economy itself.

This knowledge black-out is understandable once one recognises that the vaunted “knowledge economy” has no criterion from the start. All it means is what can be controlled, sold or manipulated to grow the ruling value mechanism. Pause on that general fact. This is why true knowledge is now so often denied or attacked as “uncompetitive’.  Look for exceptions to this spread of the ruling money-value mechanism into the very capacities of human understanding.  Diagnosis of this disorder is the knowledge most needed, but unspeakable. Who even now recognises that ‘new efficiencies’, ‘reforms’ and ‘cost cutting’ are always attacks on people’s lives, means of life and life functions?  Who connects across the one-way falls of life standards and regulations, public science and testing, agrarian communities and lands, workers’ rights and unions, social infrastructures and protections, and social life security while money demand multiplies out of control at the top? Who names the innermost ruling code driving all – whatever protects or enable human and ecological life is eliminated as a barrier to private money-sequence multiplication. This is the source code of the cancer system. It explains why transnational corporate, equity and bank profits grow to ever new records as the world’s majorities are dispossessed. It explains why social and natural life-carrying capacities are despoiled across continents.  The war on life is built in.

The ideals of “freedom”, “democracy”, and “economic growth” are thus reversed in the name of them. The big lies become so automatic that few notice them– for example as I write, food-stamp slashes reducing 47 million hungry U.S. people below $1.40 a meal and $90 less a month for life necessities “protects the most vulnerable Americans” (President Obama, Jan. 29, 2014). There is a recourse against lies which is as old as the species. Humanity’s deciding evolutionary advantage is that knowledge wins in the end. Above all knowledge evolves through recognition of how life is enabled or disabled by material conditions and social rules. For example, the binding abolition of the most profitable commodity of world trade ever, human slaves, won. Knowledge won again from the 1929 Crash and subsequent World War when the collective life security of peoples evolved by known facts and social policies more in 30 years than in the prior twenty-five centuries.  

The missing link for this long life-and-death struggle is the life value code. We do not know it because we are without a reference body in a vast ocean of self-maximizing money-sequences for which the goods are only what sell for private profit. A life-ground and compass almost emerged after 1945 when peoples recognised how ruling delusions of self-maximizing fanaticism almost destroyed civilisation. Learning from the greatest war and depression in history, societies forged binding international covenants for collective life security and free human development. Universal education, health, and income security infrastructures were publicly formed across societies. But no unifying life-value code underlying them was found. In absence of any sound life base of understanding to re-ground in, the Great Reversal from 1980 on has gone from one extreme of life-blindness to the next with endless lies of better days to come – even as there is ever more joblessness, meaningless employment, deprivation of more majorities, commodity diseases across the globe, debt servitude chaining the futures of peoples, and deepening ecodidal trends advancing one way with the system’s growth. Locked into the ruling frame of thinking, people blame humanity for the catastrophe unfolding even as the demands of the ruling value mechanism have been imposed every step by a secretly negotiated and adjudicated transnational corporate system backed by global armed force, financial sabotage and embargo, and limitless lies. From secret codification by corporate lawyers of treaties overriding constitutions to free looting of human and natural life-carrying capacities across borders, ever more money-sequence ‘investor’ rights are prescribed and multiplied across nations. Those who resist are ‘against competition’ or ‘terrorists’. Reverse projection rules.

An absurd metaphysic is assumed throughout. The economy’s provision of goods through time mutates to ‘laws of supply and demand’ that are fatuous caricatures of both. Demand is never people’s needs or necessity. It is private money demand minted by private banks without the legal tender to back it to indebt people and gamble on their future means of life. ‘Supply’ is not the life means people require to survive and flourish. It is ever more priced commodities for profit promoting more human and ecological ill-being across continents. The supreme moral value of the system is then equated to its opposite as well. Freedom = freedom for private money demand only = in proportion to the amount controlled = ever less freedom for those with less of it = no right to life for those without it.  

When mass uprooting, joblessness and misery follow, more reverse meaning is proclaimed. “Uplifted out of poverty” headlines proliferate over a money-gain equal to the cost of a coffee for subsistence farmers who have been forced into city slums without any means of natural and communal life support left. Peoples are too distracted by competitions for vast prizes to notice. The global struggle for life is displaced by ever more contest spectacles as global mass-marketing sites – the meaning now of ‘sport’.  But behind the perpetually revolving mirrors, the meaning is taboo. People may see “greed of the rich”, but not that greed is the global system’s r driver at every level. “More productivity”   is liked across classes, but who sees that it only means less cost per unit of profitable commodities bringing more life waste and destruction. Workers and left thinkers may no more want to see this than the corporate press.

The meaning of ‘the free market’ itself is reversed. Over centuries it has meant the opposite of the global corporate system – public places of local life goods, all exchanged for legal tender, featuring real foods and crafts, no mass conditioning ads, no debt servitude, no dominance of transnational money-sequences, no throwaway packages and waste, no lobbies controlling government, no invisible head offices pulling puppet strings, and no bribery controlling supply and demand. Yet the free market like the real economy is overwhelmed. There are only more absentee money sequences with no required life functions or accountability to the communities and life conditions they competitively bleed. The enemy is undefined. The common life capital it attacks is unknown. But the life and death choice cannot be made without knowing both.  


The Life-Value Turn as the Next Stage of Civilisation

Reality hides in the language of the past. So ‘capitalism’ is blamed by critics when real capital is, in fact, destroyed every step. Journals report ‘global wealth has soared 68% in 10 years’. But life wealth is devoured as fast as the money-sequence system can grow.  Always the underlying life ground  is lost beneath the competitive self-multiplication of money demand invading all that exists. With no life value anchor and compass, the degenerate trends only deepen beneath reference body to recognise them. I have spent most of my life as a professional philosopher on the problem of life value and social value systems. Although the sane may agree life value is what ultimately matters, nothing has been less understood.  People called ‘pro-life’ usurp the woman’s body in the name of fundamentalist religions. Nations absurdly assume that ‘standard of living’ is measured by the private money spent. Animal rights theory has no criterion to tell the life value of a snail from a person. ‘Life sciences’ sacrifice billions of animal lives a year for private money-value gain. ‘New and better technology’ has no life-value standard to decide better from worse.  

Life value is the missing base. But there are as many proxies for life value as there are values. Specialist domains like physiotherapy and medicine recognise life-value in organic functions, but without principled meaning to apply to wider life systems. In general, life value ignorance defines the age. This is how the greatest of all fatal confusions has mutated: that money-sequence growth = life value growth. Just as the multiplying grotesque cells eating the life-host alive are not recognised on the micro level, so too on the social level. Thus tidal bank notes of bets, credit and debt without legal tender drive ‘financialization’ across the planet. They must loot life and life bases to keep growing without inflation as trillions of new dollars are printed without life function. Endless slashing of life goods in wages, benefits, social security, pensions and environmental protections result, as money-demand powers multiply at the top. This is why endless bonuses for financial failure, stripping of the middle classes and the poor, squandering of public wealth on rich corporations – the list can go on – are demanded as U.S.-led wars for resources, lands and corporate markets never stop and taxes on the rich are reversed. All is predictable once the cancer system is diagnosed.  


An ultimate question arises. What is the ground of response to this ruling value mechanism which cumulatively plunders human and other life to feed itself?  We know the ultimate ground is life value. But what is life value? To roll thirty years of research now in three UNESCO volumes – the objective standard and measure can be defined in three steps:   


(1)           all value whatever is life value,

(2)           good versus bad  equals the extent to which  life is more coherently enabled versus disabled,

(3)           by greater/lesser ranges or capacities of thought, felt being and action through time.


Visions of world peace, the classless flourishing of peoples, a planetary ecology in which humanity is its conscious understanding – all such ideals express this underlying life code of value.  But “who decides?” skeptics ask. No-one decides because gains and losses in life capacity are as objective as the laws of biology and medicine. Anything is better or worse by the greater or lesser range of life capacities it enables. This value code is built into evolution itself. It is no more a matter of opinion than people’s life necessities are: that without which life capacities are always reduced. The ruling value mechanism is the polar opposite. It attacks life and life conditions everywhere as ‘externalities’ to its self-multiplying growth. Because this growth is assumed to be life value, however, the greatest value reversal in history goes unseen.


The three-step life code of value provides the generic value compass and base which has been missing. It is objective because it is true independent of anyone’s perception of it. It has unlimited validity because there is no exception to it (which is testable by searching for one). It is presupposed in value judgements – as you can observe when these judgements are defended. Life value is also universalizable because all values derive their worth from it. Finally life value is sovereign because it trumps any other value in cases of conflict. All are testable generalizations.


But what of measure of more or less life value? Life value is measurable in degrees by greater/lesser capacities of thought, felt being and action shown through time – for example, how much life capacities gain or lose by nourishing versus junk foods. Today the macro trends are in one-way loss of life capacities. Knowledge is the exception. It forms the way stations of life understanding passed onto others and subsequent generations across epochs, the distinguishing life capacity of our species. But even knowledge is threatened by corporate rights against its dissemination at the same time as there is mass propagation of public lies. New electronic communication capacities without corporate control still win the war by the greatest civil community development in history. But the life-and-death fields of invasion by the ruling money-value mechanism are not decoded – the money tides of hit-and-run buying and selling of lands and currencies across the world, free and growing use of ecocidal extraction methods, life-starving hours, wages and no benefits in global dispossession of workers’ century-long gains, one way global growths of disease commodities and lethal arms trading, oil-guzzling and air-polluting noise vehicles of multiplying kinds, big oil and big pharma looting of public lands and health dollars growing business on ill effects, a world-wide pension raid for corporate-stock gains at the life cost of hundreds of millions of people, and most invisibly, full-spectrum assault on humanity’s thinking and feeling sides of living itself – the zombie effect.  


Where we might ask do the transnational money-sequences not destructively invade the evolved fields of life of humanity and fellow species? The movement is by exponentially multiplying money-sequences eating away at the margins of every private transaction, public funding, life exchange and substance within and across borders. Consider all the bites every moment across business and exchange sites – before and beyond the ‘carrying trade’ in exploiting lower interest in one country to flood another with the cheaper money advantage, beyond the trillions in derivatives betting every day, beyond the raids on sovereign currencies and bonds without tax or regulation. On the local level, hardly a shop, a buyer, a builder, a home-dweller, anybody who lives today is not invaded by the same financial mechanism with ever more rights to demand at every exchange site with no function while enforcement is paid by the public being stripped by it. The apparently free credit-card system, for example, imposes a 2% charge to the seller for sales at a hidden 33% annual debt-charge rate, before the debt predation of poorer consumers begins. There is no end to the invisible lines of life devouring demands now deeply into higher learning and public health themselves while destroying workforces and companies overnight by hostile takeovers, bid-up mergers, asset strippings, capital flights, and straight-on funding of civil wars and destabilizations from which fire prices and dominant positions are extracted. Ruining societies is the medium of metastases. How else would a cancer system behave? 


The world-choosing choice begins with what you buy. Clearly for example eating, selling or supplying junk foods is objectively bad to the measure that it disables human life and produces global epidemics of obesity, heart failure, cancer and diabetes. Yet even economic ‘science’ calls them all ‘goods’ whatever the rising disease effects. Simultaneously violence entertainments flood public airwaves and play-spaces before the same consumers – most avidly the young – with images of humanity being killed, tortured, injured and humiliated. As the sugar-salt-lard concoctions are ladled into bloodstreams and throwaways clog the earth`s circulatory channels at the same time, we begin to see the multiplying destructive occupation of the fields of life and life substance as built into these runaways growths and their ‘goods’. Life capacities at every level are attacked as ‘market freedom’. Only life-value ground and measure can penetrate the disease mechanism none define – to addictively disable human life capacities for more transnational money-sequences through ever more lives from infancy onwards.  Where is there exception to the pattern?  Life-activity-replacing motors and commercial games in multiplying life occupation, endless unneeded and non-recycled conveniences locking into habits of life, political-junkie election images and spectacles where the truth is what sells corporate lines and candidates, and commercial internet and television hooks everywhere in front of which children spend 11 waking hours. Which of any of these is not geared to addict consumers to compulsive consumption against life capacity development? Which does not input toxic wastes into the circulatory flows of ecosystems at the same time? But all is optimal for the ruling economic model for which life and society are reduced to atomic desiring machines propelling more money demand to money controllers as the nature of the growth the official world calls for..  


The moving line of the true war of liberation begins with what we are able to control, our own lives. Consider your own life, what you know best.  Every value you enjoy, lose or gain has a bottom line – its life capital, what enables life to reproduce and grow rather than degrade and stagnate through time. We defend it and our health by buying life goods and nothing else. The turning point is as old as physical and cultural evolution. Every human advance is by knowing what enables life from what does not. Collective life advance is transmitting this life-and-death knowledge across selves, space-time and generations. The life value code holds across cultures. But the universal life goods and necessities are not even known. Their meaning is obscured everywhere, but are exactly definable. Life goods are always that without which life capacities decline and die. All real needs are known by this criterion. Every human life suffers and degenerates towards disease and death without breathable and unpolluted air, clean water and waste cycles, nourishing food and drink, protective living space, supportive love, healthcare when needed, a life-coherent environment, symbolic interaction, and meaningful work to perform. All are measurable in sufficiency across cases. (author note: a systematic explanation is available by google of “Universal Human Life Necessities”). Yet all universal human life needs and capacities are attacked, polluted or perverted by the ruling value mechanism in product, process and lobby demand across the world. Yet where are the universal life needs named and  connected against the malignant growth system spreading through ever more nodes?


Not zero growth, but zero bad growth is the way. A real economy by definition regulates for these universal life necessities and against toxic junk, and individuals would not buy 99% of corporate commodities if they did. Victory or loss in the war of the world lies in how we live.. So why does anyone buy such commodities? System addiction is how it grows, and knowledge of life goods versus bads is the through-line of the good life and human evolution itself. What deeper motivation could there be? I like others have long lived without corporate-ad television, regular private auto or gas-vehicle use, any junk food or beverage, any throwaway  item, any new fashion or commodity not more life enabling than the old, or business with big private banks –  selecting solely for life goods at the local level. The organizing principle is the spirit of the Tao-te Ching and the free autonomy of the wise. It is as old as the good life. The life-code formula is clear: minimal market demand to enable life capacities to flourish. This value imperative defines transformation to true economy and liberates life wherever it moves.


Collective Life Capital as the Common Value Ground and Measure Across Divisions

We know the war of the world can be won. The plague addiction to corporate cigarettes has been conquered by 30-50% of the developed world’s population. This shows how the life code can select against habituated system harms of the most compulsive kind, and everyone live better the more it is done.  At the personal level, it begins with zero-base accounting with money demand only justified by life-enabling gain. Yet for collective life goods, we do not have a principled ground and measure. Collective life capital does not exist in public or expert meaning. Any common life interest or agency at all is excluded unless it promotes profits. The implications are fatal but unseen. Collective provision of the universal human life necessities that have evolved by long social organization and human evolution are blinkered out of the ruling value mechanism. It sees only mechanical ‘growth’ by commodity sales and profits. Everything that makes a society civilised or liveable is blinkered out – common water and sewage systems for all, free movement pathways and life spaces without cost to use, public libraries with unpriced books and films, non-profit healthcare and disease-prevention by public institution, public income security from disemployment, old age and disability, life-protective laws including sufficient minimum wages and environmental regulations, primary to higher education without multiplying debts, and family housing, food and means of life assistance for children without parental money. Yet all these are defunded or eliminated to pay debt-services to private banks and grow business, with the IMF to the Tea Party leading the charge as ‘new efficiencies’ and ‘savings’.


From this built-in erasure of common life ground, the hollowing out of collective life goods  proceeds without any feedback correction. Public wealth is privatized at every level to feed corporate money sequences. Thus fed with endless giant tax and subsidy hand-outs and deregulations to invade further, the demands of the ruling value mechanism multiply further. The collective life base to steer by and regulate does not exist. For example, when Amartya Sen titles his Nobel Laureate monograph “Social Choice”, even he can get no further than atomic aggregates of individual preferences. No collective life goods in themselves are conceivable within the market paradigm. When another progressive economist, Elinor Ostrom, wins the Nobel Prize for Economics years later for her book, Governing the Commons: The Evolution and Institution of Collective Action, she is trapped within the same paradigm. No principle of common life interest or agency beyond mutual self advantage can be conceived. “The commons” and “collective action” are posted on the cover, but no civil commons or agency is seen from universal health care to a public bicycle path. Common life bases can no more compute through the ruling prism than the collective actions required to provide them.  

In fact, the underlying problem is ancient. We have lacked a common life-ground since the genocides of first peoples began. It is a very ancient blind spot which has become increasingly fatal with all-powerful technologies of destruction and the deranged money-value code driving them. The eco-genocidal streak goes deep – from the old-testament tribal god command to exterminate all other peoples in Palestine to, millennia later, the first peoples in the New World saying to their modern invaders: “When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.” Even “life, liberty and freedom” in the US Constitution reduces to the commerce clause and corporate rights by Supreme Court interpretation. Abdication of life responsibility is built into the-system. The Global Market God rules, and the common life interest and its agency do not exist to it.  

How are we to ground beneath this life-blind paradigm whose global mutations threaten evolved life on earth? In the end, the organizing principle crosses the lines of death itself – the life code of value at the collective level. But this common life interest is usurped in its very name. That is why, for example, the young can be killed in masses and arms budgets bankrupt U.S. public sectors  to enrich Big Oil, or people’s homes can be expropriated for private developers as ‘the public interest’ and ‘eminent domain’.  This is the dark side of history, one oppressor rule after another. But the collective life interest is the true bottom line of legitimate governance. The proof is in the conditions of its definition. It must be consistent with the life carrying capacities of all through time. It must be open to life-enabling change. It must go deeper than family, gender, and culture differences. It must include past as well as future generations. It must supersede the ruinous man/nature, economy/environment splits and individual/society duality of interests. It must realize the Three R’s of ecological literacy to be life coherent. It must bridge the past to the present to the future as one process to steer development beyond the holocausts of history. It must embody the economic principles of efficiency, productivity and innovation in life-serving form. It must make all freedom responsible to its life conditions of possibility. It must embed the life bases of all as supreme so it cannot in principle go wrong. 


Such a moral code seems impossible. Every demand of the ruling value mechanism is structured against it. Opposing ideologies do not find its common life base. Postmodernism and relativism deny any universal principle of value except the actually ruling one. Political policies are confined to what serves the corporate market system. Issue politics rule fixated on sexual preferences. There is no common life ground recognized or life-value compass to steer by. Collective life capital re-grounds us. It is the life base of the common interest – that without which humanity’s life capacities degrade and die. It is the bridging concept across the ‘the economy-environment’ division as well as cross present and future generations. It is the true meaning of economic necessity and the sole substance of growth and development. In all, collective life capital transcends all divisions by impartial principles that cannot go wrong: (1) a unifying life value regulator enabling all, (2) a generic life-value measure to tell greater from lesser by margins of capacity loss or gain in any case, (3) production of more life value capacity through generational time, (4) cumulative life gain as the organizing goal of the process throughout, (5) the more coherently inclusive in enabling life the better. In this way, the common interest is provided an exact progressive meaning, and collective agency is built into its inner logic of life progression.       


Conversely, whatever person, group or system destroys common life capital is objectively evil to the extent of life capacity destruction through time – for example, corporate U.S. oil wars or leisure vehicles destroying natural life. Advancing collective life capital, in contrast, is what “make the world a better place” means. It could be by cures to diseases, more ecological methods, life infrastructure building, advancing knowledge, new ways of seeing, or life-protective laws. All more inclusively enable life without loss and cumulative gain. No real progress is ever made without satisfying this logic of value.  Feeling with across species and tribes, for example, may bind many of us in this room. So too even more so advancing life-coherent knowledge and visual comprehension, as Peter’s films do. The understanding and feeling sides of life keep extending despite death and moral numbing by the ruling value mechanism. Public knowledge via the Internet commons wins against corporate media silencing and propaganda. We see here the underlying struggle across the fields of life. The rising and falling of life capital base and compass can in fact be found in every social policy, decision or movement that goes right or goes wrong. There is no exception. The war of the world is everywhere, and so is our task of life commons awareness and building.


This is not hope without substance. The common life interest is already built into our lives over millennia without our knowing it – the ‘civil commons’ of language, collective water sources and sewage, common safety regimes, shared pathways everywhere, community health rules and healing sites, and everyday life-enabling knowledge institutions at every level – all collective life capital formations that keep advancing beneath notice despite and through diseases and wars. Unseen too is that all are more threatened now by the ruling value mechanism than ever before.   The defining general meaning is all social constructs which enable universal access to life goods. This too is no utopian ideal. It is the measure of true development across all cultures before and after our lives – from environmental economy to universal libraries and education to public water and waste cycles to life-serving laws before which all are equal. These are all forms of collective capital in continuous development without loss and cumulative gain but all are attacked bite by bite by the multiplying money-sequence system now out of control.

The collective life capital developments that are needed now are many, but can be crystallized into three system shifts in general:

(1) public banking for credit and investment in individual and collective life capital growth,

(2) ecological quotas for all consumption of non-renewable energies and materials,

(3) citizen income security guaranteed in return for life-enabling hours of public service.


Movements of masses to demand them completes knowledge in public action.


Under the ruling value mechanism today, in contrast, evolved life on earth is under totalizing attack. 95% of all gains go to 1% with no required life function, while 95% of the world’s life support capacities are pillaged by life-blind money-sequences.. Yet life-value steering is easier than not. Norway for example has led the world in holding onto and advancing its common life capital bases through the system sickness, and emergent Latin America is implicitly building collective life capital deciders from decades of death-squad and foreign money-sequence ruin. Before the Great Reversal, societies everywhere were becoming governed by public policy patterns of similar kinds  – national recovery of control over public owned resources, progressive taxation, public banking and investment, and policy-led elimination of structural depredation of the poor and the environment.  All are methods of collective life capital formation inclusively enabling the lives of individuals across time. “Inclusiveness” is a concept much invoked today, but not with the life capital bases and compass required in the real world.


Let us overview the condition we face. Once upon a time in the distant past, capitalist organization under public control mass-produced healthy food, clothing and utensil commodities despite brutally exploitative methods.  There was a long painful taming of it over 200 years, and then the Great Reversal from 1980 on usurped progressive social development at every level possible. Since then, the private transnational money-sequence system has been increasingly deregulated to competitively multiply and override all life carrying capacities as its supreme goal – propelling endless wars, public and public sector debt slavery, mass disemployment and majority dispossession for obscene riches. This is the global cancer system which occupied states subsidize, enforce and grow as fast as they can – stripping the soils and forests, poisoning the waters, disemploying peoples and producing disease-causing junks in ever greater volumes. Re-grounding in common life capital, however, exposes every disorder and directs solution to it – the long missing base and measure of ‘the moral science’. It re-sets evolutionary theory itself in which only selfish gene multiplication counts – the biological correlative of the self-multiplying money mechanism. Self-maximizing game theory dominates both and military doctrine, justice and moral analysis besides. Yet common life capital bases are excluded from all of them as the lost life-ground and reference body of our capsizing planetary condition.  


New ‘natural’ and ‘social capital’ categories may seem to assist us here. But they now only repeat the vicious circle. ‘Natural capital’ is what can be exploited for more money. ‘Human capital’ is more future private money-demand for its owner. ‘Social capital’ is lower transaction costs for profit. ‘Physical capital’ follows suit. Life capital remains without a name. Collective life capital does not exist. All must be steered back into conserving and producing life goods rather than destroying them, the ultimate policy imperative of the world. The public authority, policies, subsidies and right to issue sovereign money now lavished upon the life-destructive mutations of private money capital thus end without a shot fired. They are now so dependent on counterfeit money-sequences, treaty edicts, public hand-outs and resources that they cannot go a day without them. The public needs only to reclaim them, not to take a thing. .


“Let the Market decide!” all money interests cry. This ruling superstition is more barbaric than any before – essentially, ever more for those with more money to suck the lifeblood of humanity and the earth dry.  Its  ruling delusion is that the best of all possible worlds must follow by the invisible hand. In fact, a deregulated global chaos of private transnational money-sequences exponentially multiply while the world of life capital and goods is cumulatively destroyed. The life capital alternative is self-evident once seen. It grounds in common life capital – life wealth that produces more without loss and new gains for successive generations. Its moral logic is, in fact, the through-line of all human development since language and the cooperative provision of means of life. Unlike the global market of atomically self-maximizing corporations devouring the world for more private profit extraction without end in the delusion that an unseen hand directs all to the best of all possible worlds, collective life capital steers across divisions by an objective and universal life-value base and measure in exact progression which cannot  as life-coherent go wrong. Ecological capital and knowledge capital are its baselines of value compass and coordination across life capital domains, and the unifying principle of all is already implicit in the architecture of modern human thought.


All that is lacking is life value, ground and measure. They connect life, the ultimate onto-ethical concept, to capital, the ultimate concept of political economy: and so by transitivity, to law, human rights, sustainability and intergenerational equity. The meaning is clear. Valid law is a collective life capital formation providing the rules to live by that coherently protect and enable life.  Human rights are instituted claims of all to what enables their life capacities to be realised as human. Sustainability is of collective life capital, or it is a fraud. Intergenerational equity is access to collective life capital across generational time without loss, or it is a lie. Throughout we see a missing life base presupposed but not yet conscious or defined. Throughout we see that the ruling money-sequence value mechanism is incompetent to comprehend it. Building without loss and for better life across generations is what is ultimately worthwhile. No-one might deny it, but ignorant usurpation of its meaning is what rules. All universally life-enabling progressions of human evolution and history to now are the result of its implicit understanding. You cannot take a clean breath, meet a child safely, enjoy a drink of water, without their support from the past. The warped streak of epics and histories of power is opposite, but even state mass murderers and Wall Street bankers think that they are improving the world – the primary delusion which received theory rationalizes so that few understand.  


The lost life-ground is already implicit in healthy lives. Our organic fitness and powers, our depth and breadth of knowledge acquisition, our abilities to perform productive tasks of needed kinds, and most of all our sustained intent to create more life wealth without loss and cumulative gain are the generic parameters of a life code already built into us as human. More than ever we know the plague is ruling, and “the 1% and the 99%” expresses it. But a real economic law holds beneath opinions and times. Public investment in common life capital capacities is the only allocation that works over time.  We know this from America and Canada before their falls, Germany, Japan, Korea after 1950, and the post-1945 age of social life standards across the world. It has been proven again despite sabotages, coups and financial strangulations in Latin America after 1999. The unseen enemy is borderless money sequences with ever more rights. The missing map is diagnosis of the ruling value cancer. The missing link is the life-capital economy all breathe and move by. The war of the world today is won by knowledge action.   


It is the age of forgetting everything,

It is the age of remembering all.

It is the age of competing to death,

It is the age of our coming together.

It is the age of ignorance and falling apart,

It is the age of more knowing more than ever.

It is the age of losing all that lives,

It is the age of finding common life ground.

It is the age of ever more commodity diseases,

It is the age of choosing world life.

It is the age of sleepwalk

to catastrophe,

It is the age of awakening

to shared life meaning.

It is the age when capital destroys the world.

It is the age when life capital wins.