BECK index

Realizing World Peace


Reactions to 1979 Events
The Early Eighties
Current Political Trends
Current Economic Trends

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What will be the consequences of the trends of the 1980s?
Most government policies are in a reactionary cycle.
World conditions are likely to worsen before they improve.
Selfish, militaristic, and short-sighted policies,
covered over with the false optimism of short-term success,
may be popular with those who immediately benefit.
Yet the long-term consequences of oppressive exploitation
breed rebellion that is an equal and opposite reaction.

Reactions to 1979 Events

The eighties began with negative responses
to a series of crises that started in 1979.
Rises in the price of oil intensified the energy crisis
to its maximum extent thus far,
causing high inflation with no let up on unemployment.
This led to the Carter Doctrine---that the United States
would fight for its "vital interests," which in this case
means access to the oil supplies of the Middle East.
The injustice and economic imperialism of this policy
is apparent when we consider that
the United States with five percent of the world population
is using over one third of the world's oil,
and the western industrial nations and Japan
all together have only 20 percent of the population
and are using 80 percent of the oil in the world.
By what right are these nations
claiming such a disproportionate share,
except by economic power and military might?
The fundamentalist Islamic revolution
was a reaction against such western exploitation.
This resentment and hatred went even further with the taking
of the hostages at the American embassy in Iran.
Unsuccessful diplomatic negotiations led President Carter
to attempt a military rescue operation, which failed.
This gave the reactionary militarism
of Republican candidate Ronald Reagan another popular boost
to add to reactions to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The Soviets were reacting to both the oil crisis
and the Islamic revival which they fear
in their southern territory and neighboring Islamic nations.

In Europe the NATO countries decided in December 1979
to deploy ground-launched cruise and Pershing II missiles
in West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and England
in response to new Soviet SS-20 missiles in western Russia.
This was supposed to be a "two-track" policy
calling for arms control negotiations to avert deployment,
but the biased proposals and intransigence
of the ensuing Reagan administration brought about
the beginning of deployment four years later.
Probably the NATO decision angered the Soviets
so that they felt they had little to lose
by going into Afghanistan two weeks later.

The successfully negotiated SALT II treaty
to limit the numbers of new strategic nuclear weapons
signed in 1979 was criticized by Reagan
and withdrawn from the Senate by Jimmy Carter,
although both nations claim they are adhering to it.
Carter's Presidential Directive 59 officially changed
American strategy from mutually assured destruction (mad)
to counterforce against military targets
with the implied assumptions that nuclear war can be limited
and that the threat of massive retaliation
was not a credible deterrent against step-by-step advances.
All of these policies and reactions led to the development
of new nuclear weapons with first-strike accuracy,
such as the MX, Trident II, cruise, Pershing II,
and the comparable Soviet SS-18, SS-19, and SS-20 missiles.

In July 1979 the Nicaraguan Sandinistas
overthrew the dictatorial and exploitative Somoza regime
and established a Marxist government with major reforms.
Fearful of the same, the El Salvador government and military
repressed and killed suspected revolutionaries,
while the U. S. began to give them military aid.
In the eighties President Reagan's reaction has been
to increase military aid in spite of death-squad killings,
to promote and supply a covert war against Nicaragua,
to show force with continuous military exercises
and training of troops in Honduras,
and to squash a Marxist regime in Grenada
by invading and taking over the country with marines.

Because of high inflation caused by the energy crisis
and the perceived impotence of the Carter administration
in handling the hostages' long captivity in Iran,
the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,
and the turmoil in Central America,
the Republican Reagan swept into power,
bringing with him a majority in the Senate
and a conservative reaction in the House of Representatives
that passed his large military build-up,
income tax reductions, and cuts in social programs.
Carter's success in freeing the hostages diplomatically
on his last day in office
seemed only to add to the euphoria of Reagan's inauguration
and the birth of the "new patriotism."

The Early Eighties

In England Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
continued her conservative rule, increasing popularity
with her use of force in the Falklands war of 1982.
In West Germany Helmut Kohl led the conservatives,
while the new Green Party established itself
with elected representatives in the Bundestag in 1983.
We will hear much more about this new coalition
of ecologists, peace activists, and democratic socialists
who are trying to meet future needs
without succumbing to the dogmatic left or right.
France has been experimenting with a compromising socialism.

The Scandinavian nations seem to have established
a balance between social welfare and private enterprise,
while managing to stay out of cold war militarization.
Having been demilitarized after World War II like Germany,
Japan is moving ahead with a booming economy.
China is managing to feed over a billion people
and is allowing some private enterprise
so that it can experiment with market economy.

The third world suffers from economic exploitation
and an increasing disparity between the rich and the poor.
Marxist nations Vietnam, Kampuchea, Nicaragua, and Cuba,
while working to eliminate massive poverty,
suffer from the repression of free expression
and ostracism from the non-Communist world community.
Many Latin American nations such as
Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia
have built up massive debts
which threaten the international banking system.
Turmoil increases in dictatorial nations
such as Pinochet's Chile and Marcos' Philippines.
Africa is suffering widespread famine because of drought,
poor soil management, and civil wars.
South Africa is rioting in protest
of racial discrimination and exploitation.

In the Middle East Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon
left the country occupied with Israelis and Syrians
while stimulating civil war between Muslims and Christians.
Although the western powers' multi-national force
from the United States, Britain, France, and Italy
helped to remove the Palestinian Liberation Organization,
the American and French forces' return to Lebanon
brought upon them devastating terrorist attacks.
Israel did give the Sinai territory back to Egypt
as part of the Camp David agreement,
but efforts of the Reagan administration
have failed to make further progress toward peace.
The stalemate war between Iraq and Iran
has cost hundreds of thousands of lives
and disturbed oil exports through the Persian Gulf.
And the war between Soviet invasion forces
and the rebels of Afghanistan drags on.

Conflicts between Sikh militants and
Indira Gandhi's national government of India
led to her assassination and murderous riots of revenge.
Doubts about India's new government bring into question
India's leadership in the non-aligned movement,
which is a third-world buffer between the superpowers.

Trade negotiations between North and South Korea
are a hopeful sign of detente among Koreans.
The German people are also becoming eager
for better relations between West and East Germany.
In Poland Solidarity Union's reforms have been repressed,
but the movement remains very much alive.
Romania showed the courage and independence
to attend the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles
in spite of the Soviet-led boycott.

Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou has led
an effort to establish a nuclear-free zone in the Balkans.
He and Romanian President Ceausescu appealed
to the superpower leaders to stop the deployment
of the new medium-range missiles in Europe
and to reduce their nuclear arsenals.
In May 1984, Papandreou, Indira Gandhi,
Sweden's Prime Minister Olof Palme,
Mexico's President Miguel de la Madrid,
Argentine President Raul Alfonsin,
and Tanzania's President Julius Nyerere
together called for a multi-lateral freeze
on testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons
and their delivery systems, to be immediately followed
by substantial reductions in nuclear forces.

These are world trends of official national policies---
mostly reactionary since 1979 with a burgeoning response.
Stirring among the people is a worldwide movement
to face and change the dangerous governmental policies
that threaten the future well-being of all people.
Acceleration of the nuclear arms race has stimulated
massive demonstrations in western Europe and America.
Rallies, marches, peace camps, and civil disobedience
at military bases and weapons businesses
by thousands of self-sacrificing peace activists
have generated more awareness in local communities.
Grassroots support for a bilateral nuclear weapons freeze
has grown steadily in the United States
and is favored by Soviet leadership.
At the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament
in 1982 the Soviet Union unilaterally pledged
not to be the first nation to use nuclear weapons,
and on June 12 of that year in New York City
nearly a million people marched for peace.

In 1981 and 1982 Reaganomics caused the worst recession
since the great depression of the 1930s,
but deficit spending stimulated a recovery in 1983 and 1984,
which led to President Reagan's popular re-election.
The debt bubble is rapidly inflating
with the huge deficits of the Reagan administration,
fiscal 1983 and 1984 totaling $370 billion.
U. S. Federal Reserve Board tight money-supply policy
has kept inflation low in the United States,
but high real interest rates have made the dollar so strong
that the U. S. trade deficit runs about $10 billion a month.
The United States, which has been
the largest creditor nation since the first world war,
will become a debtor nation in 1986,
and it could become the largest debtor nation quite soon.
With President Reagan refusing to raise taxes,
a day of reckoning must come,
as debt and unproductive military spending increase.
The American people, like third-world debtor nations,
must face the prospect of economic austerity,
the collapse of the international banking system, or both.
Austerity, especially if it is unjustly applied,
causes social unrest, rebellion, and even revolution.
In democratic nations political revolution
can occur through the electoral process.
In 1984 Democratic Presidential candidate, Walter Mondale,
proposed reasonable and fair tax increases
to solve the problems before they get worse.
However, voluntary austerity is unpopular,
and the American people rejected his vision.
Thus it appears that fiscal and social responsibility
will be learned through more suffering,
because of the folly of short-sighted American society.

The same lack of wisdom is manifest
in the failure to preserve the environment
and prepare for future energy needs.
Burnable energy reserves may appear to be plentiful now,
but they are being used up at an alarming rate.
The accident and near disaster in 1979
at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant
raised public awareness of the dangers of radiation,
such that nuclear power construction has been slowed
and stopped in many cases.
Nuclear power is proving to be too expensive
and far too dangerous to public health.
Very little planning and effort is being devoted
to developing clean and renewable energy technology.
The older generation of white men in power
has a callous disregard for the needs of future generations
as well as the needs of women, children, and the poor.
Governments make excuses, while pollution from acid rain,
chemical waste dumps, and trash landfills piles up.

Perhaps the most telling reactions of the polarization
can be heard from the religious sector of society.
Religious fundamentalism is trying to go back
to the narrow-minded simplicity
of following literal interpretations of ancient scriptures.
The fanaticism of these traditional approaches
has allied itself with patriotic nationalism
in Islamic countries such as Iran,
among Jews who are determined to occupy Judea and Samaria
regardless of legitimate Palestinian needs or rights,
and among "born again" Christians,
such as the self-proclaimed Moral Majority,
who support militarism and the nuclear arms race
out of hatred and fear of the atheistic Communists.
They self-righteously want prayers spoken in public schools,
and they want to strip away the rights of women
to control their own bodies on the issue of abortion.

Yet deeper than this hypocritical religiosity,
a spiritual awakening has been stirring for two decades.
Many people have been questioning material values
and searching within themselves for enlightenment
by means of various spiritual paths.
Though these diverse groups scattered throughout the world
have not yet organized themselves sufficiently
to gain political dominance in society, awareness is evolving
to face and solve the immense problems confronting us.
This prophecy is an attempt to describe
how this spiritual movement can and, let us hope, will
redeem and transform a world of violence and exploitation
into a world of peace and justice.

Current Political Trends

It appears that the reactionary trends of the eighties
must run into serious consequences and worse crises
before people realize those injustices need to be reformed.
When society is not aware enough spiritually
to practice the principles of justice
or learn intellectually from the experiences of history,
then the lessons must come through personal suffering.
Unfortunately we are in such a learning cycle now.
Thus before offering plans by which
we can evolve toward a just society,
it is my sad and arduous task
to try to predict the consequences of policies I abhor.
Like most people, I feel innately optimistic about my ideas
and pessimistic about policies with which I disagree.
Nevertheless I have enough faith in human nature
that I believe even the most misguided leaders
will not be allowed to completely destroy our civilization.
History shows that steadily worsening warnings occur
until people move to correct or alleviate the situation.
Though plagues, famines, and wars can kill millions,
eventually people respond and recover.

Yet now we are in the unique situation
where an all-out war could kill us all.
We have been receiving numerous warnings in this century,
and we have not yet made adequate adjustments.
Since 1945 nuclear weapons have forestalled such a war,
yet another forty million people have been killed
in over a hundred wars in the third world.
This equals the number killed in the second world war.
Thus many have suffered from the agonies of bloodshed,
while the superpowers have been learning war's folly
in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Central America.

Let us pray that we can learn to refrain from violence
before it ever escalates to nuclear war.
In the eighties the primary schoolrooms are
Afghanistan for the Soviet Union
and Central America for the United States.
Since both are geographically close to their home country
and far from their enemy country,
each may be able to comprehend the problem
without involving the adversary in an escalating conflict.
As in Vietnam, superpower intervention is bound to fail
in countries where people are determined to be independent.
Like Cuba, Nicaragua will retain its independence;
their revolution has succeeded, and they are far too united
for their hearts and minds to be drastically changed.

Afghanistan and El Salvador are more problematic,
because the governments are being supported
by direct Soviet intervention in Afghanistan
and by American military aid in El Salvador.
Major opposition groups are being violently oppressed.
Both situations could drag on for years
until power-sharing is negotiated or fair elections held.
Continued military policies could lead only to
an oppressive government victory with continued resistance,
or a successful revolution with superpower withdrawal.
The Soviet Union is apparently unwilling to allow
such a revolution in a country on their border,
and thus far the United States is committed to preventing
another Marxist revolution in Central America.
The only real and lasting solution to these conflicts
is to allow these nations to be truly independent
by removing all military interference.
Neither Nicaragua, Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala nor the USA
should be allowed to invade El Salvador;
neither should Pakistan, Iran nor the USSR
be permitted to attack Afghanistan;
and all military aid to these countries must be stopped.
The irony is that militarization of these conflicts
polarizes the people into opposition camps.
Thus superpower military efforts cause resistance,
leading only to futile civil wars.
Yet demilitarization, peaceful negotiation,
and democratic institutions that protect the rights of all
lead to compromise, resolution,
and the political effectiveness of moderate policies.
Nevertheless the current, blindly ideological policies
of the White House and the Kremlin
portend that these conflicts will worsen before improving.
Fortunately the American people
have been educated enough by the Vietnam fiasco
that the sending of American troops to fight
in a continuing civil war, even in the western hemisphere,
would be too unpopular for responsible leaders to risk.
Yet an irrational and lame-duck President Reagan
could give in to this temptation.
If he did, such a powerful opposition would rise up
that the policy would surely be changed by 1989.

Military cooperation with counter-revolutionaries
(CIA-backed contras) fighting on the borders of Nicaragua
to try to overthrow that government has been recognized
by world opinion as violation of international law.
Reagan administration efforts to regain this funding
are likely to fail in the House of Representatives.
As with Cuba, American politicians are determined
to keep out of Nicaragua major Soviet weapons,
such as missiles, jet fighters, and bombers;
but as with Cuba, the Soviets and Nicaraguans will insist
that the United States not attack Nicaragua.
Yet private organizations and their mercenary soldiers
are being encouraged to support heinous terrorist actions
aimed at crippling the economy and causing civil war.
On the other hand, private citizens are going to Nicaragua
as witnesses for peace to prevent violence by their presence.
As we shall see, this conflict
between those who use violence and those who do not
is the beginning of the future conclusive battle of our era
in which peacemakers will eventually overcome warmakers
and establish a world of law and justice.

The USSR feels it must stop rebellion in Afghanistan
with almost the same urgency the USA might feel
about a Communist revolution in Mexico.
As with the Soviet Union and El Salvador,
the United States realizes it would be foolish
to send arms to the Afghani rebels,
except covertly, indirectly, and in small amounts.
The superpowers recognize each other's spheres of influence,
because they know that escalating such conflicts
would risk embarrassing defeat or the danger of nuclear war.
The Soviet Union has tens of thousands of troops
mired in Afghanistan, unwilling to surrender
a nation on their border to independence fighters,
who are equally unwilling to quit.
The U. S. is giving several hundred million dollars worth
of military aid to the Afghani guerrillas through Pakistan,
which has over two million refugees from Afghanistan.
General Zia of Pakistan is using this American aid
to maintain political control over his own country.
Anti-American feeling in Pakistan is growing,
and many predict this hatred may erupt, as it did in Iran,
when the pro-American government is overthrown.

Will nuclear weapons be used again somewhere
before public opinion awakens to the urgency
of eliminating these horrendous weapons?
This depends on how the public awareness is educated
on the dangers of the arms race and national conflicts
and on our ability to change governmental policies.
It may be that mankind is too selfish,
stupid, blind, stubborn, proud, and careless to learn
until great suffering is visited on us by nuclear tragedy,
but I, for one, have written this book
in order to prevent such a catastrophe.
I believe that we can make a transition
to peace and justice without such devastation
if we study and act upon the solutions available to us.

Nonetheless it is possible and probably even likely
that nuclear weapons will be used again
before they are completely banned.
Paradoxically, by facing the reality of this possibility
we are more likely to act to prevent it.
My faith is strong that we will not have an all-out war
with thermonuclear weapons that could kill all of mankind
by the slow and painful deaths of a nuclear winter,
although we do stand on the brink of that hell.
The current strategies of the nuclear nations
call for counterforce weaponry
to deter each stage of escalation in a war,
thus preparing for a limited nuclear war.
The madness of being the first to use nuclear weapons
has not been renounced by the NATO countries,
because they believe it is a needed deterrent
to prevent a massive conventional attack.
Thus any use of military power might cause escalation,
depending on how the opposition reacts.
The immense danger of escalation progressively increases,
as a war worsens, and chaos abounds.
With thousands of nuclear weapons available,
accidents become increasingly probable.
The new first-strike weapons of the eighties
that can hit military targets within ten minutes
have put thousands of thermonuclear weapons
on a launch-on-warning readiness.
Because of this hair trigger and the use of computers,
to fight any war, let alone a limited nuclear war,
is to throw dice to see if civilization will be destroyed.
Yet NATO strategy plans the use of tactical nuclear weapons
to stop a conventional attack, in Europe for example.
We must do everything we can to prevent such insanity,
which could poison lands for generations;
if this catastrophe did occur, negotiation could still
stop the war before strategic missiles were fired.
Such a disaster could stimulate public opinion to rise up
and change the policies of both the enemies
and thus bring about disarmament,
but this is a hard and dangerous way to learn.

Although the superpower leaders are immoral enough
to bully smaller nations with force and bribes
to maintain their geopolitical power interests,
usually neither is foolish enough to think
any advantage could be gained from imperialistic ambition
that might trigger a nuclear war.
Yet each is dreadfully afraid the other might try it,
self-righteously proclaiming that
their weapons are for defense and to preserve the peace.
Thus fear rules the world.
This precarious balance is likely to remain fairly stable
unless economic pressures break down
the stability of these power structures and balances.

Turmoil in the middle East is not likely to abate soon.
Lebanon struggles with religious and political strife.
Israel and Syria face each other
with their powerful military forces as inveterate enemies
backed by the United States and Soviet Union respectively.
The senseless Iraq-Iran war has dragged on for years
because of the stubbornness of their political leaders;
yet the will seems lacking to resolve the confrontation.

India is struggling with religious strife
and secessionist movements in several states.
China seems to be the most stable part of the third world
with a growing economy evolving into a prosperous society.
Vietnam and Kampuchea still suffer from the militarization
which resulted from their wars of the sixties and seventies.
The Philippines have been seething
under the repression of the Marcos regime for years,
and with its economic problems and corruption
it could destabilize or explode into violence at any time.
The U. S. will resist giving up its military bases there.
Thus American pressures exacerbate Philippine problems.
A divided Korea is still a cold-war tension area.

Peace movements around the Pacific are challenging
American military prerogatives in the area.
The people of the Marshall Islands have suffered the effects
of nuclear weapons testing and U. S. neo-colonialism.
The United States government is trying to buy them off;
but peace activism is growing, and people are determined.
The nation of Palau has adopted a nuclear-free constitution.
New Zealand has declared itself a nuclear-free zone also.
The 1984 deployment of sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles
means that virtually any U. S. Navy ship can carry
small, easily launched missiles, some with nuclear warheads.
Since information about nuclear weapons is kept secret,
the only way to keep an area nuclear-free
is to bar all U. S. Navy ships.
This is causing problems for the ANZUS Treaty
between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

The United States faces a similar challenge
from the peace movement in western Europe
regarding the land-based cruise and Pershing II missiles.
On the other side, the Soviet Union is struggling to control
the growing independence of Yugoslavia, Romania, Poland,
East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Hungary.
These are encouraging signs for world peace.
As the superpowers become occupied with economic problems
and distractions in other parts of the world,
these countries can gradually and nonviolently
liberate themselves from the military domination,
which has been in place since the close of World War II.

Current Economic Trends

Economic conditions affect every nation and society,
and major economic changes cause political upheavals.
Where are the reactionary economic trends leading us?
Since the U. S. greatly influences the world economy,
let us examine the probable consequences of Reaganomics.
In the early eighties the American economy was given
a breather from high inflation because of the oil glut
and the tight monetary policy of the Federal Reserve.
Yet President Reagan's huge increases in military spending,
major cuts in social programs and a large three-year tax cut
caused American unemployment to reach ten percent
in the worst recession since the thirties' depression.
The temporary stimulation of defense spending and tax cuts
did bring about a two-year recovery in 1983 and 1984
at the price of the most massive national deficit ever---
$400 billion over twenty-five months of "recovery."
In the 1960s the U. S. government borrowed 10%
of the available capital; in the 1970s it was 27%;
and in the 1980s it is already up to 56%.
Such huge borrowing keeps real interest rates high,
regardless of monetary policy and inflation.

Reagan's adamant 1984 campaign promise not to raise taxes
until circumstances are dire is being respected by Congress
because of his landslide electoral victory.
Efforts are being made to cut federal spending
without decreasing social security or defense.
This can result only in small budget cuts
or Draconian curtailments of welfare benefits,
farm subsidies, and other public programs.
Tax reform has become a popular issue.
Flat tax proponents must struggle with special interests,
which Congress has felt the need to encourage.
The greedy want to roll back the progressive income tax.
1981 reduced maximum personal income tax from 70% to 50%;
now the Treasury Department wants to cut it to 35%,
while cutting maximum corporate income tax from 46% to 33%.

What do these policies mean?
They are attempts to return to unbridled capitalism
without the modifications designed to make it more equitable,
while at the same time borrowing huge amounts
to feed a monopolistic military monster.
Wealthy capitalists benefit from high interest rates,
while needed taxes are to be paid by future generations.
High unemployment and underemployment as accepted status quo
help employers hire workers at the lowest wages possible.
Thus rich investors profit, while workers are hurt.

Similarly in regard to energy and the environment,
short-sighted exploitation without concern for acid rain,
air pollution, nuclear waste, and future energy supplies
robs the future of our health and resources
so that those currently in power
can "eat, drink, and be merry" in their blind optimism.

How soon, how sudden, and how disastrous
the failure of these policies will be is hard to predict,
though from a moral point of view it is easy to see
that there must be a day of reckoning.
If Congress does not raise taxes or cut defense,
debt will continue to mount, keeping interest rates high.
If the Federal Reserve loosens the money supply
to stimulate growth, inflation will rise;
if the Federal Reserve keeps the money supply tight,
the economy will stall, increasing unemployment.

The federal deficit and the U. S. trade deficit together
are now running about $300 billion per year.
This even overshadows the immense debts of Latin America to
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and commercial banks.
How can this debt bubble continue to inflate indefinitely?
Thus far the international banking system
and capitalist governments have cooperated
to prevent large financial entities from defaulting,
namely the city of New York, Chrysler Corporation,
the governments of Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina,
and the Continental Illinois bank.
The U. S. government is the bulwark of the whole system.
What will happen when the largest creditor nation
becomes the largest debtor nation in the world?

The economy will gradually decline
or at some point a serious financial crisis could develop
which might burst the debt bubble in a chain reaction,
as everyone demands their money.
Since most banks hold only 5% of their capital in assets,
most of the money is loaned or invested with someone else.
If the economy hit a critical mass of panic
that could not be stopped by debt-ridden governments,
a sudden deflation could ensue, as in the early thirties.
Confidence and buying power would plummet,
and much of the economy would grind to a halt,
resulting in massive layoffs.
The irresponsible policies of the U. S. government
and the overconsumption of American society
must have their consequences eventually.
Whether by gradual decline or sudden collapse,
materialistic Americans must learn to tighten their belts
and bring their energy use into balance
with the long-term resources available.

The laws of the universe are not mocked.
All debts eventually must be balanced or resolved.
Economic hardship is not inevitable, especially
in a hard-working and technologically skilled society;
but the policies of massive military expenditure,
exploitation of non-renewable materials and the environment,
and the huge governmental deficits worsen the crisis.
All through American history since the Revolutionary War,
growth of the national debt has paralleled military spending.
This debt will reach two trillion dollars by 1987
and is American society's debt to capitalists.
Although we can change this self-destructive pattern
of western civilization by intelligent adaptation,
current trends indicate that we will only learn
to reorganize our priorities through economic suffering,
which at least is preferable to a nuclear war.

Economic problems in lesser developed nations are worse.
Interest on their debts is affected by U. S. interest rates;
thus the U. S. deficits and consequent high interest rates
are bankrupting the poorer nations of the world also.
This forces the IMF to pressure third-world governments
to exercise austerity by cutting back government spending.
Following the example of American leadership,
most nations refuse to reduce military expenditures,
increasing the suffering of the poor.
Effort goes into increasing export profits
to raise money to pay back the loans.
Thus capitalists increase their wealth by collecting
interest on their loans and profits on their investments
by exploiting cheap third-world labor and raw materials.
The chief beneficiaries in these poor nations
also are those few in the capitalist class
who profit from this business.
The acronym of the Free Enterprise World is FEW.
Improved and larger technology reduces jobs for laborers;
peasant farmers pushed off their lands flock to the cities.
The gap between the rich and the poor
in these countries is becoming more extreme,
as it is in the world between the rich and poor nations.

The disparities caused by this exploitation,
which makes some rich while many starve,
must be remedied, or else rebellion and revolution
become the only recourse to the poorer classes.
Unfortunately current policies of the developed nations
offer little help other than these loans and investments
and emergency famine relief, which is usually too late.
For years humane economists have recommended
appropriate technology for the common people
so that they can learn to be self-reliant.
Instead these people's land and work
have been appropriated by large corporations,
and they are then made dependent
on an uncharitable, unjust capitalist system.
Naturally Marxist philosophy prospers in these conditions.

Reagan foreign policy pushes these economic pressures
by supporting capitalist interests with financial aid
while punishing Marxists by withholding help.
Right-wing regimes are given military aid and sold weapons,
while left-wing regimes are threatened with military force.
This polarized militarization stimulates terrorist attacks
and then violent reactions to terrorism.
These ideological, political, economic, and military factors
portend added civil strife and violence in the late eighties.
Central America is unlikely to improve until
diplomatic negotiation replaces the military approach.
Revolutions or civil wars could break out in Chile or Peru,
and economic pressures could seriously destabilize
Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and other southern nations.

Economic and political conditions in Africa deteriorate,
as millions of people face starvation.
Ideological and economic conflicts in various nations,
the oil-financed imperialism of Khaddafi's Libya,
the U. S.-supported war by Morocco against
the newly independent Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic,
racial strife from apartheid in South Africa,
and various wars threaten to further disrupt the continent.
Western capitalist interests cause economic exploitation,
and a serious capital crisis could cause
economic abandonment of poor countries to chaotic conditions,
forcing a return to tribal farming, hunting, and gathering.
Until appropriate technological aid comes to Africa,
instead of economic exploitation and militarization,
the suffering of African people is likely to become worse.

The key to understanding how the changes will take place
is to see the injustices, oppression, and decadence
and how they will be remedied
as people become aware and assert their power.
Ironically, either capitalism or Communism could be stable
with the pragmatic modifications they each have adopted,
but the conflict between them is causing a military drain
that places unbearable pressures on both.
Communism suppresses free expression with a police state
and has a lower standard of living for all
than it would have without excessive military activities.
Capitalism exploits natural resources and cheap labor;
unemployment and the disparity between the rich and poor
is exacerbated by wasted military spending.

Economic crises resulting from the enormous debt bubble
are forcing leaders to make choices between
the military side and basic human needs.
As conditions worsen, violence may erupt in various places.
With revolutions brewing in third-world countries
governments may decide to default on their debts;
this could start a chain reaction,
drastically destabilizing the international banking system.
How can the poor nations continue to be exploited
by paying high interest so that capitalists can profit?
Advances in technology enable large corporations
to make more money with fewer workers, causing unemployment.
If these inequities are not corrected
to provide for the needs of the entire society,
then the poor will revolt and adopt socialism.

A free-enterprise marketplace has many advantages
over a bureaucratically planned economy.
However, a wild capitalism exploits workers and resources
while ignoring the poor and the future.
The history of this century clearly shows the need
to provide for the health, education, and welfare of all
while protecting the rights of workers
and the whole society's environment and resources.
The reforms of social security, unemployment insurance,
health and safety codes, health care and disability benefits,
minimum wage, and progressive income tax
were all devised to modify and remedy
the inherent inequities of the capitalist system.
Now global capitalism faces a worsening world crisis,
crying out for reforms on a global scale.
The capitalist classes cannot continue to remain oblivious
to human needs in other countries
once the people become aware of the problems
and care enough to do something about it.

Socialism attempts to meet all these needs,
but often becomes a bureaucratic dictatorship to do so.
Removing personal incentives and local autonomy
can cause tremendous inefficiency and waste.
Polish workers organized the Solidarity Union in order to
try to gain more control over their own work and businesses.
China is experimenting with incentive systems
and some privately operated businesses that are successful.

The problems of debt, inflation, exploitation,
unemployment, militarization, revolutions, and wars
will cause breakdowns of established order in many nations.
The late eighties and early nineties pose the dangers
of depression, wars, famines, diseases, and unrest.
The neo-imperialism of both superpowers
is likely to recede under these multi-faceted pressures.

Copyright © 1996, 2008 by Sanderson Beck

This has been published in the book PEACE OR BUST. For ordering information, please click here.

IRENE: Realizing World Peace

Introduction and VISION

IRENE was published in March 1985. For a more up-to-date view of the future, please see:
THE FUTURE AND HOW: A Philosopher's Vision (1996)
and BEST FOR ALL: How We Can Save the World (2005)
WORLD PEACE MOVEMENT Principles, Purposes, and Methods

BECK index