Capitalism eats everything (part 997)

Capitalism is not just an economic system, it is also a philosophy of value. Socialism was the view that human beings are the ultimate value. Capitalism has almost completely destroyed that vision and replaced it with a bloodless machine that recognizes only the accumulation of capital as a value. Human beings are free to form lesser values within that economic system, of course, but when capitalism is the ultimate arbiter of value, it twists and corrodes every lesser value to its own service.

I have a (perhaps fantasized) view of history that Universities arose out of the Middle Ages with a new hope for humanity. They were named after universality, the aspiration to rise above sect, family or nation to teach individuals to become citizens of the whole. They were called “liberal” not because they stood at one end of a political spectrum, but because they strove to free individuals from superstition and slavery to inhumane values.

I am a graduate of the University of Texas which is an example of the principle that capitalism swallows every lesser value. Because it has fallen captivity to funding sources opposed to universal or humane values, its academic work usually seeks truth only within realms that are profitable to capitalism in some way.

Recently the University released an academic study on shale gas drilling also known as “fracking.” McClatchy reported:

The University of Texas at Austin last month named a panel of experts to review its own controversial study. The Texas report found no evidence of groundwater contamination from “fracking,” the process of injecting high-pressure water and chemicals underground to free gas inside shale rock. But the professor who led the study, Charles Groat, failed to mention he’s on the board of a company engaged in fracking that paid him $400,000 last year. His ties to Plains Exploration and Production Company were previously reported by Bloomberg and others.           

Read more here:

In other words, an academic study used by the oil and gas industry to silence their critics was headed by a professor who was also on the board of a company that did shale oil drilling. This highly trained scientist did not disclose the fact that he being paid $400,000 a year by a drilling company.

I can imagine one of two things happening as a result of this scandal:

1. Universities will cleanse themselves of corporate money and return to the task of teaching us to be human beings. People will take responsiblity for the earth and for their own lives.

2. Capitalists will buy up the New York Times like they bought the Washington Post to end this kind of reporting. The masses that do hear about yet another scandal, not believing that solidarity is possible, will shrug their shoulders and procede into a future of slow suffocation.

And everyone of us will make that same decision this very day, to serve humankind or the machine.