Tag Archives: Riches

Christmas 2005, a Prophecy

        (Voice from the other side ~burning woman~ )
[Yes, this was written in 2005, and every year since the truth of it has only shone brighter. The world as we of the West have enjoyed it, is passing as water through our fingers and nothing can hold back the winds that are sweeping it away]

What is it about “Christmas” that evokes such confused and contrasting feelings in people of the Western world? 

Certainly, it is not about some redemption from sin – Christmas gives rise to more “sin” than possibly any other time of year.  Certainly it is not about the story of a poor family in Judea 2000 years ago from which the Christian Savior or Christ purportedly issued.

What is so gripping about Christmas?  The hype?  The commercial lies so thick one can barely wade through them day after day?  Some distant hope for something better?  Something eternally stolen, ever hidden and ever replaced with artificial concoctions from the minds of gods, of rulers, of systems, and swallowed so eagerly by deluded, egotistic masses?

Christmas is the saddest time of the year for me.  But I know my feelings and I know what generates them.  It isn’t movies, TV, books, religious rituals, radio or garish store displays. 


It is the awareness of the monstrous lie Christmas has become and how it chokes all who try to swallow it by participating in it.  Particularly religious people.  Particularly those who claim to be followers of Jesus; of the Christ; the being, entity, person, prophet, divinity — call him what you will — whose “birth” Christmas is supposed to be all about.  (And please don’t remind me that Jesus was not likely born on Dec. 25, Gregorian calendar, if he even ever existed – I know that and that’s not the point.)


How in “Hell” I ask myself, did Christmas become such a time of debauchery?  Of gluttony?  Of revelry?  Of covetousness and cupidity in this post-Christian society? 

I was taught as a child that “Jesus” was the gift of God to the world, the gift of the richest person to the poorest.  I was taught that in turn, the rich of the earth were to share their possessions with the poorest.  I was taught that Christmas was such a reminder that such an act need take place regularly to maintain life’s balance. 
Maybe because where I originate the people celebrate this “gift” on January 6th and it did not then  entail the gross and crass commercialism so in your face here; maybe because it did not translate in piles upon piles of trashy “gifts” did I remember what I was taught.  And maybe, living here, in a pathetic carbon-copy world of “American Santaclawism” the message I got as a child resounds that much louder these days in hollow greed-swept outer malls where empty cans, plastic bottles, half-eaten Big Macs, cigarette butts, paper and plastic cups and tons of broken and torn packaging collect inside vending machines, along curbs and under cold, wet benches covered with the grimy film of diesel fumes from city buses… 

Yes, inflatable plastic figurines and fake icicle lights are out; decorated trees bleed to death in living rooms, ante rooms and dining rooms.  Yes, the jolly fat man (who reminds me of the utterly evil, utterly depraved baron Harkonnen of Dune) is out and about, promising more goodies to the rich, more junk foods to the obese, more whatever to whomever will spend their last overdraft dollar… and collecting money for “the poor” after it is laundered by the official charitable organizations…


At Christmas, a “celebration” that belongs primarily to the richest segment of earth’s people, as many as always, and perhaps more, people will die “out there” and their pain will never be felt, will never be known, will never be acknowledged, neither by the churches, the charitable organizations, the politicians  nor, heaven forbid, the Media.  They will pass away as clouds that give no rain.  Empty, hollow laughter will sound for a few moments all over this Western World, not knowing that it too is passing, just as the dying poor, the “Lazarus” types who died at the door of the rich man. (ref: Luke 16: 19-31, New Testament, the Bible)


Tonight I give a prophecy — in full realization that no people, no collective, no nation, has ever appreciated the prophet, for such a one always comes at a time of ending, not to make change – such is not the purpose – but to warn (and such warning is always so damned inconvenient!) — and this is the warning: this Christmas will not generate as much happiness as the last for merriment seekers.  Next year’s will be far less happy.  And after that?  Even for those who can afford to hoard and to lord,  there may not even be one.


Many more small businesses will fail as this year passes.  Christmas will not bring the expected and needed revenue.  The largest greed-based corporations will last a bit longer for they still have the fat of millions of slaves to eat or burn – but not as much as they’d like their greedy share-holders to believe.  All of them are bankrupt, no matter how much money or power they claim to hold.   


It is the end for this society.  The world of the rich is corrupt unto death.  The world that worships money and mindless pleasures, whatever the cost to life, is finished. 

And why?  Because compassion is scorned; because the real spirit of caring, giving and sharing is gone from most human hearts and the world is split between the billions who go about naked and hungry and the millions who wear the emperor’s new clothes. 

Those who sow nothing must ultimately reap nothing.  Those who sow the wind (resource wars today) must reap the whirlwind. 

Embarrassment of Riches-George Monbiot

When it comes to being a voice for our stressed and possibly dying natural environment, George Monbiot’s has no equal.

Please read on. (Hopefully all the links are working as this is a copy, not a reblog. They do work at this end, I checked.)

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Embarrassment of Riches – monbiot.com

Embarrassment of Riches

Posted: 20 Sep 2019 01:22 AM PDT

For the sake of life on Earth, we should set an upper limit on the money any person can amass. (My emphasis)

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian, 19th September 2019

It is not quite true that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Musicians and novelists, for example, can become extremely rich by giving other people pleasure. But it does appear to be universally true that in front of every great fortune lies a great crime. Immense wealth translates automatically into immense environmental impacts, regardless of the intentions of those who possess it. The very wealthy, almost as a matter of definition, are committing ecocide.

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from a worker at a British private airport. “I see things that really shouldn’t be happening in 2019,” he wrote. Every day he sees Global 7000 jets, Gulfstream 650s and even Boeing 737s take off from the airport carrying a single passenger, mostly flying to Russia and the US. The private Boeing 737s, built to take 174 seats, are filled at the airport with around 32,000 litres of fuel. That’s as much fossil energy as a small African town might use in a year.

Where are these single passengers going? Perhaps to visit one of their superhomes, constructed and run at vast environmental cost, or to take a trip on their superyacht, which might burn 500 litres of diesel per hour just ticking over, and is built and furnished with rare materials, extracted at the expense of stunning places.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that when Google convened a meeting of the rich and famous at the Verdura resort in Sicily this July to discuss climate breakdown, its delegates arrived in 114 private jets and a fleet of megayachts, and drove around the island in supercars. Even when they mean well, the ultrarich cannot help trashing the living world.

A series of research papers shows that income is by far the most important determinant of environmental impact. It doesn’t matter how green you think you are. If you have surplus money, you spend it. The only form of consumption that’s clearly and positively correlated with good environmental intentions is diet: people who see themselves as green tend to eat less meat and more organic vegetables. But attitudes have little bearing on the amount of transport fuel, home energy and other materials you consume. Money conquers all.

The disastrous effects of spending power are compounded by the psychological impacts of being wealthy. Plenty of studies show that the richer you are, the less you are able to connect with other people. Wealth suppresses empathy. One paper reveals that drivers in expensive cars are less likely to stop for people using pedestrian crossings than drivers in cheap cars. Another revealed that rich people were less able than poorer people to feel compassion towards children with cancer. Though they are disproportionately responsible for our environmental crises, the rich will be hurt least and last by planetary disaster, while the poor are hurt first and worst. The richer people are, the research suggests, the less such knowledge is likely to trouble them.

Another issue is that wealth limits the perspectives of even the best-intentioned people. This week Bill Gates argued in an interview with the Financial Times that divesting (ditching stocks) from fossil fuels is a waste of time. It would be better, he claimed, to pour money into disruptive new technologies with lower emissions. Of course we need new technologies. But he has missed the crucial point: in seeking to prevent climate breakdown, what counts is not what you do but what you stop doing. It doesn’t matter how many solar panels you install if you don’t simultaneously shut down coal and gas burners. Unless existing fossil fuel plants are retired before the end of their lives, and all exploration and development of new fossil fuels reserves is cancelled, there is little chance of preventing more than 1.5°C of global heating.

But this requires structural change, which involves political intervention as well as technological innovation: anathema to Silicon Valley billionaires. It demands an acknowledgement that money is not a magic wand that makes all the bad stuff go away.

On Friday, I’ll be joining the global climate strike, in which adults will stand with the young people whose call to action has resonated around the world. As a freelancer, I’ve been wondering who I’m striking against. Myself? Yes: one aspect of myself, at least. Perhaps the most radical thing we can now do is to limit our material aspirations. The assumption on which governments and economists operate is that everyone strives to maximise their wealth. If we succeed in this task, we inevitably demolish our life support systems. Were the poor to live like the rich, and the rich to live like the oligarchs, we would destroy everything. The continued pursuit of wealth, in a world that has enough already (albeit very poorly distributed) is a formula for mass destitution.

A meaningful strike in defence of the living world is, in part, a strike against the desire to raise our incomes and accumulate wealth: a desire shaped, more than we are probably aware, by dominant social and economic narratives. I see myself as striking in support of a radical and disturbing concept: Enough. Individually and collectively, it is time to decide what enough looks like, and how to know when we’ve achieved it.

There’s a name for this approach, coined by the Belgian philosopher Ingrid Robeyns: limitarianism. Robeyns argues that there should be an upper limit to the amount of income and wealth a person can amass. Just as we recognise a poverty line, below which no one should fall, we should recognise a riches line, above which no one should rise. This call for a levelling down is perhaps the most blasphemous idea in contemporary discourse.

But her arguments are sound. Surplus money allows some people to exercise inordinate power over others, in the workplace, in politics, and above all in the capture, use and destruction of natural wealth. If everyone is to flourish, we cannot afford the rich. Nor can we afford our own aspirations, that the culture of wealth maximisation encourages.

The grim truth is that the rich are able to live as they do only because others are poor: there is neither the physical nor ecological space for everyone to pursue private luxury. Instead we should strive for private sufficiency, public luxury. Life on earth depends on moderation.

http://www.monbiot.com