Richard Moore


Here's the draft of chapter one for my new book.  I still don't have a title for
the book.

I got very little feedback on the Introduction. I hope you'll take the time to 
review this chapter and tell me what you think.  want the book to make sense in 
reality, and also to make sense to the reader. Defects in either category - or 
missed opportunities - need to be brought to my attention.

all the best,



Civilization and human nature
Historians tell us that the first systematic agriculture, and the first 
civilizations, began between ten and thirteen thousand years ago in China and 
the Fertile Crescent. They call these developments the Agricultural Revolution. 
Thirteen thousand years may seem like a long time ago, but the timeframe is 
negligible on the bio-evolutionary scale - which is measured in hundreds of 
thousands  of years. 

Humans evolved as social beings in small hunter-gatherer bands which started out
over a million years ago and which resembled the baboon or chimpanzee troops 
that survive today. We know quite a bit about how these pre-agricultural human 
bands lived from archeological evidence and from observations of surviving 
hunter-gatherer societies as they have come into contact with civilization. 
These societies varied greatly, depending on environmental conditions, 
competition from neighboring groups, and inherited cultural traditions. 
Nonetheless, there were certain attributes which all such societies seemed to 
have in common. They were based on small, autonomous, territorial, politically 
egalitarian, sustainable, self-sufficient groups - and they had elaborate 
cultural rules and strong beliefs about the world and their place in it. Central
to these was the belief that humanity is part of nature and needs to live in 
harmony with nature. This belief was essential to the economic survival of these
societies, and it is reflected in the mythologies and folk tales that 
anthropologists have uncovered in their encounters with such societies

Human nature evolved from the beginning in these small, egalitarian groups and 
continued to evolve in such groups until relatively recently -far too recently 
to have changed our basic genetic inheritance. Experts differ as to how much of 
human behavior and attitudes come from nature or from nurture. But whatever 
constitutes "human nature" (the common tendencies and capacities we're all born 
with in some measure), we can be sure that it arose in such groups. To the 
extent there is a human nature, it is about living in an autonomous, 
egalitarian, cooperative community - where everyone takes responsibility for the
operation of the community and its welfare, according to the traditions and 
roles that have evolved culturally in that community. As a species, those are 
the conditions that are "home" for us - comfortable for us in our deep psyches.

At the same time, the human species is characterized by a unique cultural 
flexibility, triggered entirely by environmental factors. An infant can be moved
from one culture to any other and it will fully adapt. This flexibility has 
generated such a wide proliferation of quite different cultures that many people
believe there is nothing left of any instinctual human nature. Even if these 
people are correct, an appreciation of where we came from is useful when our own
culture presents us with the absurd theory that our "nature" is to compete with 
one another.

Humanity has from the earliest days known a lot about plants and animals - their
life cycles, in what way they can be used for food, artifacts, or medicines, and
which are poisonous and should be avoided. If a hunter-gatherer group migrated 
to a new kind of locale, they would totally assess their new environment within 
about three generations. Hunters understood the breeding cycles of prey animals,
and they would target individuals so as minimize stock depletion. Tribes 
understood what nourishes edible plants, and they would modify the environment 
so as to encourage productivity. Proto agriculture and proto animal husbandry 
had developed in many places long before the emergence of the Agricultural 

The spark that ignited the Agricultural Revolution was not technological - it 
was not about a new agricultural invention. It was about adopting the mentality 
of exploitation - what Daniel Quinn calls the "Taker myth". The revolutionary 
spark behind the Agricultural Revolution was a paradigm shift in world view - 
from humanity being part of nature to humanity having dominion over nature. This
radical shift is plainly expressed in the biblical Garden of Eden story, where 
Adam and Eve are instructed to avoid the serpent, leave the Garden,  go forth 
and multiply, and take dominion over the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, 
and the beasts of the land. The Garden is how humanity had lived since time 
immemorial, in tribal groups that were in harmony with nature - frequently with 
Hermes the serpent as their primary mystical symbol. The biblical story, passed 
down from the early days of agriculture, is a revolutionary manifesto - 
proclaiming a new world view, and banishing believers from the old ways and the 
old myths. This revolutionary dominion myth has been buried deep ever since in 
our civilization-conditioned psyches. But fortunately it hasn't been there long 
enough to become an inherited trait.

Once people adopted the dominion myth, it was only a small step to extend the 
notion of dominion over "the beasts of the land" to dominion over "inferior 
peoples". Most of the early civilizations we know about captured slaves and used
them to carry out the back-breaking work of early agriculture. The dominion myth
is a dysfunctional illusion which has poisoned the development of civilization. 
It has moved us out of balance with nature and it has led us away from 
egalitarian social relationships. It has brought us to the brink of 
environmental collapse and threatens our survival as a species.

But our deep cultural roots, based in cooperative communities, still remains in 
our species psyche. It's effect has been inhibited by our also long-evolved 
adaptability to conditioning, but the primordial template is still there in the 
background. It shows up in the incredibly strong buddy-bonds that get formed in 
combat - in conditions psychologically comparable to a tribal hunting party. 
It's part of why we like to follow the intertwined lives of the characters in 
our favorite TV series. It's part of why we gather together as extended families
at the holidays, and why people find comfort in the society of a community 
church. It's part of why we find the competitiveness and isolation of modern 
life so stressful, and why so many people feel lost and purposeless, if they 
slow down enough from the rat race to think about such things.

Civilization and the evolution of elites
When tribes began to adopt systematic agriculture ten to thirteen thousand years
ago in China and the Fertile Crescent, certain social and economic patterns 
always developed, following a predictable evolutionary path. Land is cleared for
crops. Animals are penned or herded and their breeding brought under human 
control. In many cases slaves are captured from neighboring tribes to carry out 
the work of agriculture. Grains are accumulated and stored in significant 
quantities, sufficient to feed a warrior class and support growing populations.
Control of the grain store becomes an available key to power - and Chiefs soon 
arise who have absolute authority and who are feared as divinities. All of these
things happened, just like clockwork, in all those places where the Agricultural
Revolution was experienced.

Next always come cycles of warfare and conquest, and eventually the emergence of
kings and emperors - still holding claims on divinity and wielding absolute 
power. The average size of a domain grows larger over time, along with 
populations, while the technologies of political control, food production, and 
weaponry gradually but relentlessly evolve. The dominant political paradigm is 
always hierarchy, with power at the top and various powers delegated selectively
downward through a chain of command. The society as a whole acts with the will 
of the king or emperor. The army as a whole acts with the will of the general. 
We say that Alexander conquered Persia, and we pay homage to the identity 
between the will-of-the-leader and the actions-of-the-whole.

As these cycles unfolded over the millennia following the Agricultural 
Revolution, the evolution of civilization followed always the hierarchical path.
From the earliest chiefdoms, society's choices have always been made by a leader
or an elite clique who act according to their own perceived self interest.  
Their population have always been "beneath them" and have always been as 
available for exploitation as the crops in the field or the animals in the pens.
There were to be sure some benevolent rulers , but it was the more aggressive 
and ruthless kinds of rulers who were the most successful at building empires - 
and their actions tended to drive the course of civilization's evolution.

There is much justice in saying that the evolution of civilization has been the 
by-product of a game played among elites, who deploy their pawns and soldiers, 
and defend their castles,  competing to see who can conquer the others, and who 
can gain the biggest kingdom and capture the grandest treasure of gold and 
minerals. The game goes on to this day as the last remaining super power seeks 
to increase its control over petroleum resources in the Middle East. Let's take 
a look at the elite who run the USA today, and who increasingly dominate the 
affairs of the whole globe.

Let's start with the 500 biggest banks, industrial corporations, and financial 
institutions - that familiar Fortune 500. Those 500 represent the driving core 
of America's economic system, and their valuation (as reflected in the stock 
market) more or less defines the "economic health" of the American economy. 
These 500 control immense wealth and resources, and they have a great deal of 
power to set the price of commodities globally, determine the availability of 
credit and the accompanying interest rates, and to manipulate the conditions of 
international trade and financial exchange. By looking inside this world of the 
Fortune 500 we are likely to find links to those who guide and manage today's 
global system - and who profit the most from it.

If you look at the boards of directors of these 500, you find lots of overlap - 
there's only a relative handful of different individuals involved. If you then 
take only those directors who are on the boards of several of the 500, then you 
begin to see actual members of the elite clique, or people who are very close to
them and represent their interests. In any case, we are glimpsing "elite 
circles".  The Rockefeller brothers are the most obvious examples of 
ultra-wealthy individuals known to exercise considerable personal influence over
national and global affairs. Kissinger is the most obvious example of a 
professional technocrat in elite circles - influencing through his creative 
thinking and communication skills rather than leveraging the depth of his 
pockets. Members of this community typically alternate between government 
"service" and lucrative private gigs on corporate boards or as consultants and 
lobbyists. The neocon rat pack is a good example of that phenomenon. It's not 
just that this community influences the economy and government policy, they to a
large extent ARE the government and the economy.

This world, inhabited by these top company directors, top government officials, 
and the ultra wealthy, I think of as the "elite community". It doesn't all 
gather together in an annual convention, there isn't necessarily a single 
committee that secretly determines its agenda, and the constituency changes over
time. Nonetheless this elite community as a whole maintains effective internal 
communications over time (with the help of consultants and think tanks like the 
Council on Foreign Relations) and manages to reach consensus on which way to 
drive the economy and the nation when they find it necessary to do so. The 
Chairman of the Federal Reserve is generally given the honor of announcing the 
current economic consensus and pronouncing the policies that have been adopted, 
while for political affairs the honor goes to the President or a Cabinet member.
All of this in the typical hierarchical style.

Societies, particularly the ones we'd call the most advanced, continue to this 
day to be controlled by elite cliques. The membership of the clique may be 
somewhat amorphous and layered, and the control may be somewhat indirect. But 
when it comes down to the fundamental decisions that determine a society's path,
the inner clique reaches a consensus and is able to inject its agenda into the 
political apparatus by various means. In exercising this power the clique serves
its own personal or class interests and is quite willing to exploit and deceive 
its own population and politicians in the process. Conquest and empire building,
played out like a competitive game, continues to be the paradigm guiding 
international relations, and it is elite cliques who are setting the strategy 
and calling the moves, either overtly or behind the scenes.

The evolution of hierarchical organizations
Civilization has co-evolved along with the elaboration of hierarchy - from the 
first chiefdoms, to the Pharaohs & the Priesthood, the Roman Empire, the 
Catholic Church, European empires, Republics, bureaucracies of all kinds, 
Corporations, the Pentagon, the World Trade Organization, etc. If we survey 
these various kinds of hierarchies, past and present, certain patterns stand out
clearly. Regardless of how benevolent may have been their establishment, 
hierarchical organizations always exhibit certain characteristics eventually - 
from small organizations all the way up to nations and empires.

There is a certain internal culture that develops, where social dynamics play a 
major role independent from the functional objectives of the organization or its
formal structure. Internal politics always emerge, with intrigues and with 
factions competing for power in the hierarchy. The ability to play the political
games usually pushes one up the hierarchy faster than any other competence. 
Control becomes increasingly centralized and is supported by internal political 
networks as well as by formal chains of command. The top leadership of the 
organization typically seeks to extend the power of the organization and to 
ensure its long-term survival - with at least as much passion as is devoted to 
accomplishing the official objectives of the organization. The leadership clique
communicates with the internal organization and with outside world using PR 
tactics, clouding over their operations and intentions sufficiently to provide 
cover for whatever machinations they might be up to.

We see these kinds of patterns in large corporations, in military organizations,
in the the Executive Branch and it's Intelligence Community, in the UN, in 
political parties, in labor unions, in Congressional operations, in local 
governments, and often we see it in reform organizations and activist groups. 
Hierarchies are evolving machines which have a predictable behavior that emerges
once they mature. They are aggrandizing and secretive, and they are controlled 
internally by cliques whose agenda is not necessarily in full alignment with the
presumed mission of the organization - nor with the sentiments of the 
organization's avowed constituency (the stock holders or the people).

Our civilized societies are plagued by all manner of hierarchical organizations,
controlling every aspect of our lives - our jobs, our leisure, our food and 
energy supplies, our economies, and the actions of our governments. Just as 
international affairs are played out as a competition among ruling elites, so 
are the internal affairs of a nation largely the result of competition and deals
that are made among the cliques who run our hierarchical institutions, 
corporations, and agencies. The top cliques dominate the lower cliques, and so 
on down to us ordinary people who have no say in how our society operates.

Hierarchical organizations of any kind are a fatal virus in any democratic 
society. They inevitably serve as a platform for power-seeking elements who wish
to impose their own agendas on the society around them. Valiant attempts have 
been made to tame hierarchies, and one of the most thorough attempts was by the 
Founding Fathers when they designed systematic check and balances into the 
American Constitution. But over time the inherent dynamics of hierarchy 
prevailed - as they always must - and power has been gradually centralized in 
the White House. Neither governments, nor political parties, nor social 
organizations, nor business enterprises can be organized hierarchically if we 
wish to have a democratic society.

Capitalism and economic growth
Much confusion surrounds the nature of capitalism. We are told by the 
elite-controlled media that capitalism, free enterprise, and democracy are 
inseparable from one another and even identical with one another. Adam Smith is 
cited as an apologist for capitalism, and his reasoning and conclusions are used
to support the claim that market forces will lead inevitably to a more 
prosperous life for everyone.  We are told that the only alternative to 
capitalism is centrally-planned socialism - an alternative that has collapsed 
from its internal inadequacies. All of these notions are myths or outright lies.

Let's first examine the distinction between capitalism and free enterprise. To 
begin with, free enterprise and trade have been going on for thousands of years,
while capitalism is a relatively recent development (c. 1800). For that reason 
alone they could hardly be the same thing. In order to clarify the distinction, 
let's compare the economics of a small town shop with that of a public (stock) 

In a typical small town shop, the business is considered to be successful if it 
generates enough profit to support the proprietor and their family.  There is no
particular reason why the business needs to grow in order to be successful.  
Some businesses here in my adopted home town of Wexford have been operating 
since the 1600s and are still doing the same kind of business on about the same 
scale and are still being happily operated by the original family. In a 
shop-like enterprise, success is measured in terms of the amount of profit 

Public corporations on the other hand must grow in order to be successful, or 
even to survive. Investors purchase stock in the corporation because they want 
to see their investment increase in value. If profits don't increase steadily, 
investors sell their stock, the value of the corporation plummets, the CEO is 
likely to be out of a job, and the corporation is likely to fail or be absorbed 
by a larger one. The dynamics of free enterprise and the dynamics of capitalism 
are quite different from one another. In a capitalist enterprise, success is 
measured by the INCREASE in the amount of profit generated.

Let's next turn our attention to Adam Smith and examine the relationship of his 
theoretical models to capitalism. Smith was a brilliant theorist with a deep 
understanding of economic affairs. The models he developed have stood the test 
of time. He showed with elegantly chosen examples and reasoning that  -UNDER 
CERTAIN NECESSARY CONDITIONS - if buyers and sellers all pursue their own 
private advantage, that will automatically lead to the best operating economy 
for everyone. UNDER THOSE CONDITIONS, it is as if an "invisible hand" guides the
actions of each to ensure the prosperity of the whole. Apologists for capitalism
refer to Smith, and want us to believe that corporations pursuing their own 
advantage are good for society. They equate capitalist market forces with 
Smith's invisible hand and assure us that prosperity will come to everyone in 
the long run - if only we remove all regulations so that corporations can pursue
their private advantage more aggressively. They use the word "reform" to refer 
to such corporation-liberating policies. The stark fallacy behind this deceptive
propaganda is the simple fact that Smith's necessary conditions do not apply in 
our capitalist societies!

Smith's model requires that all buyers and sellers be small entities - so small 
that no one of them or small group of them can significantly influence the 
market price of goods. Nothing could be further from the conditions of today's 
economy, where global trade and commerce in every sector is increasingly 
controlled by a handful of huge transnational corporations. When these giants 
pursue their own private interests, often in league with one another, there is 
no invisible hand to keep their actions directed toward the public good. Smith's
model also requires that there be no trade secrets or patents - to prevent 
technological developments from being used as instruments of monopoly. Again, 
our society operates opposite to Smith's conditions, and capitalism is 
universally characterized by the development of monopolies. David Korten, in 
"The Post Corporate World - Life After Capitalism", elaborates more fully the 
contrast between capitalism on the one hand, and the market economies envisioned
by Smith on the other. In every way they turn out to be opposites of one 

As regards alternatives, there are many. Indeed, every kind of economic 
arrangement that existed prior to about 1800 would be a candidate. We are 
expected to believe that economics didn't exist before 1800, just as we are 
expected to believe that society didn't exist before Agriculture - and that Adam
and Eve were the first humans a mere 13,000 years ago. One alternative to 
capitalism is a market economy, as Smith envisioned, and which has been 
operating for thousands of years in the small-business sector. We need only 
implement appropriate measures to prevent market-distorting concentrations of 
wealth. Another alternative can be found in many parts of the third world, where
communal agriculture is practiced. A whole village works the common land 
together, and then all share in the resulting food and income. Different 
economic systems make sense in different environmental and cultural conditions.

A capitalist enterprise comes into existence when some investor decides to put 
money into the enterprise in the hope of getting his investment back plus more. 
If the proposed enterprise does not look like it will grow, no one will invest 
and the enterprise will never come into existence. If it gets launched but 
doesn't succeed in growing, investors will take their money back out and the 
enterprise will fold or go on the auction block.  Every capitalist enterprise 
operates under a growth imperative: keep growing or die. Similarly, every 
capitalist economy operates under a similar imperative: keep growing or 
collapse. Evidence of this growth imperative is seen every day in the financial 
pages. Everything there is about growth, growth, growth. Companies are reported 
as doing well or poorly depending on their growth in the most recent fiscal 
period. Business sectors get good marks if they show greater growth than the 
market average. Politicians promise that their policies will lead to increased 
growth, and declining growth leads to predictions of economic hardship and 
recession. In a capitalist economy, economic growth is synonymous with economic 
health - and this is true in reality as well as in the rhetoric of the financial
pages.  Capitalism cannot exist without economic growth. Growth is the life 
blood of capitalism.

Capitalist societies as a whole are driven by this growth imperative that is 
inherent in capitalism. Each year their GDP (size of their economy) must be 
larger than the year before, or else there will be economic stagnation, 
unemployment, factory closures, etc. This need to grow the GDP is relentless: 
each year must be larger than the previous, year after year, decade after 
decade. This relentless pressure causes every capitalist nation to go through 
certain very predictable phases of development. In the first phase, the domestic
economy is developed. Enterprises grow in size, commerce becomes centralized in 
the hands a few big players, and the domestic market is eventually saturated. 
Growth stagnates. At this point, the nation must look outward for growth 
opportunities. Sometimes further growth can be achieved by more aggressive 
international trade and a greater focus on producing products for export. But 
for many nations, and all the largest ones, the need for growth has only been 
satisfied historically by the pursuit of imperialism. Indeed, all the major wars
of the past two centuries have been the result of capitalist nations competing 
for colonies and spheres of influence. In that way they have been able to gain 
access to resources and markets, which in turn provided the required economic 
growth.  Earlier I said that international affairs were essentially a game being
played among competing elites. Ever since about 1800, capitalism has been the 
name of the game they've been playing. It's like playing Monopoly on a global 
board, except that it's for keeps, and when you capture a property people die in
the process.

The human and environmental costs of capitalism's growth imperative have been 
astronomical. Sweatshops, child slavery, war casualties, depleted soil and 
fishing stocks, extincted species, destroyed rain forests, landless peasants , 
famines - these are all inevitable consequence of the relentless pursuit of ever
increasing profits by the few at the top. It is not the greed or callousness of 
individual CEOs that causes these excesses, but rather the systemic nature of 
capitalism itself. In our time we are seeing capitalism's insatiable need for 
growth colliding dramatically with the finiteness of Earth's resources. We are 
now on the declining side of the petroleum curve, for example, meaning that our 
entire industrial infrastructure is threatened with collapse within only a few 
decades. Global warming is real, and it's effects are proving to be more 
dramatic and rapid than any scientist was able to predict. Recent studies 
indicate rather conclusively that the Gulf Stream is likely to stop flowing 
within a decade or two, plunging Europe into a new ice age. Capitalism is 
literally destroying the Earth as we know it.

Meanwhile, the comfortable elite community does not suffer from the adverse 
consequences of the way capitalism operates. Quite the opposite, the more 
rapacious the exploitation practices become, the greater the profits on their 
bottom lines. They will always be able to dine on lobster and vintage wine, 
right up to the day those go extinct. It is in their perceived self-interest to 
continue and accelerate economic growth in their money terms, despite the 
long-term consequences that will be ultimately disastrous for all concerned. And
in any case, because of their community's cultural beliefs, they can perceive no
alternative way to proceed. They are locked in, and by their Dow-Jones 
evaluations they are doing just fine. They're a bit like the man who jumped off 
a 50 story building, and was heard passing the 25th floor - "So far it's a gas!
What a view!". These people are in denial - deeply embedded in their culture. 
They protect that denial by embracing the myth that progress, technology, money,
and their cleverness will be able to solve any problem that comes up on their 

Humanity's relationship to nature is determined primarily by this elite 
community, who have insulated themselves from the adverse consequences of their 
capitalist system, and who gather unto themselves the lion's share of the 
economic benefits that accrue. Our whole global society is being used as a 
vehicle by this elite, a vehicle whose mission is to transform the resources of 
the Earth into numbers in their bank accounts and into waste dumps.  Capitalism 
is this vehicle's current engine. By the time the last tree has died, and elites
discover they cannot eat their money, it will be too late for the rest of us.

Capitalism is a cancer ravaging the Earth and its societies. Capitalism's hunger
for growth consumes and destroys its host societies - while simultaneously 
enriching the few at the top. Capitalism is both a dysfunctional economic system
and a tool of suppression used by elites to control and exploit their 
populations. Capitalism cannot be reformed because growth is its essential 
nature. If the health of the Earth and the health of our economies are to be 
achieved, capitalism must be replaced everywhere by other more functional 
economic systems. Our economies must be made sustainable if humanity is to 
survive and prosper.


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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland
    "...the Patriot Act followed 9-11 as smoothly as the
      suspension of the Weimar constitution followed the
      Reichstag fire."  
      - Srdja Trifkovic

    There is not a problem with the system.
    The system is the problem.

    Faith in ourselves - not gods, ideologies, leaders, or programs.
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