7. ECONOMY AND ECOLOGY
THE NATURAL BALANCE MAN IS THREATENING FOR NO GOOD REASON
With man’s deliberate exploitation of nature below a critical level, the nature is resilient and flexible enough to cancel our abuses. If we fish too much a certain species of fish like the cod their populations may temporarily decline but at the same time other ‘underfished’ species become plentiful and may equally grace our tables. But if we poison the seas by our excessive uncontrolled effluents irreversible biological and ecological disasters may plague us. Similarly, the invention and proliferation of petroleum powered transport vehicles and vessels have helped economies expand but at the same time environment to suffer which led to our suffering. Asthma is becoming almost an epidemic in big cities and children are its greatest victims. Many chemical effluents beginning the most prevalent of them the synthetic detergents have hormon-like effects are causing serious genetic deterioration among species like fish and are implicated in both lowering fertility and increasing incidence of cancers among people. High tension overhead electric cables which made distribution of power so cheap emit radiations highly hazardous to people, again especially the children. Lastly, enormous amounts of both industrial and domestic refuse are deteriorating the environment in some cases irreversibly. Should the economic activities be really so dangerous in order to satisfy our needs more at less price?
THE CAUSES OF MODERN INDUSTRIAL ECONOMIES DETERIORATING THE ENVIRONMENT
Simply put the core causes are two. First it is the too quick, too irresponsible putting to economic use of scientific discoveries and inventions. Because research is expensive firms (often giant multinationals) have a vested interest in putting to industrial application their inventions so that expenses stop and cash begins to flow in. Genetically modified food is an example. Irradiated food is another. New medicines are a third. Although these often prove reasonably safe eventually a lot don’t. There is constant talk of doctoring of laboratory and industrial testing results and perhaps even bribery to obtain the official go-ahead of production and occasional fiascos in results once the products made from the new and licensed inventions. Once upon a time there was a much vaunted drug called thalidomite which, despite a clean bill of health from drug licensing authority proved a disaster for women who used it and their babies who were born horribly disfigured and disabled. It may be that people being so desperate for cures the drug companies be better quick to come up with new drugs. But what about those so many drugs, devices and operations invented to treat conditions from which the extremely rich (and sometimes not so rich) but silly suffer? Operations to remove body fat in even slightly obese persons, or make lips thicker or inflate the breasts with silicon injections have time and again risked and damaged the health of many such misguided people. Too rapid putting to use newly invented products also occur outside the medical treatment field. Many substances improving the performance in industrial production create new effluents which go to pollute the environment.
The second and even more serious core cause is the relentless pushing up of desire for consumption which justifies the increased production of the items desired. There is in fact a vicious circle of effects causing and following each other in an ever speeding up rotation like a self-reinforcing tornado. Advertisements create new ‘needs’ and whet appetites. As people rush to buy the manufacturers rush to financiers to expand their production capacities. This creates new job vacancies and more people have to be sucked into paid employment. As less and less leisure becomes available for less people chores like cooking and cleaning done at home need be done by new shops and factories for ready meals and laundry. To bring down both costs and cut on cleaning and recycling disposable packing must be manufactured together with the item of consumption; so billions of soft drink cans and bottles, other paper and plastic containers must be manufactured and then disposed of. To make them new factories with new employees must be provided.
So we find in the West and economy which sucks into paid employment all people except the too disabled or too rich to bother. The net result is a huge and eventually unsustainable waste of resources and accumulation of rubbish no one knows where to put. Yet what people get from all this mad rush is the average 3000 calories from the food they eat which could be easily provided by an economy one third in size the wasteful model. Because labour becomes the most expensive input of production all repair industries except for the most expensive items (like cars and jewelry) disappear and items which begin to wear out must be thrown away. Add to these the demands of rapid fashion changes and clothing items fly into waste deposits by their millions of tons in each country. Because most are made from synthetics they are not biodegradable and remain to fill up the land and the sea harming the environment in more indirect and subtle ways. Because of the contradictions between mass housing locations and the unrelated locations of workplaces and the inflexibilities and high costs of public transport most people both hate and must use their private cars to get to work and even go to shopping. So cars and their fumes pile up.
Almost with all people in so much and desperate rush their spiritual potentials are starved of time and attention and stunted. Their moral senses are dulled, selfishness becomes a means of survival in the mad rush and clash of desperate and lonely egos and shallow manners replace sound morals and profound character. “Thank yous” and “sorrys” fly all over the place while but all vows of chastity and honesty are readily broken and sins and crimes big and small committed when temptation and opportunity are there. People simply have no time to cultivate their minds and souls. To soothe their sense of frustration and meaninglessness more of the coarser and more primitive thrills and pleasures must be sought and experienced. All art forms need dumbing down and as a result people read more pulp fiction or watch more films dripping with violence and sex and have the stomach to watch butcheries and other horrors while popping in pop-corns. Classics and other refined tastes appeal only to a tiny minority despite the very long education given to all. The stunting and frustration of their spiritual potentials drags the victims to lower and lower instincts and emotions and only the lack of time thanks to full empoyment and the resultant exhaustion dulling the weekends are preventing them going out and attacking and wrecking everything. But that also is not rare. A football derby, a political protest demonstration or a racist provocation is often enough to ignite the brutalized masses to explode into an orgy of wanton destruction. Which is another waste- both the destruction of assets and even lives and waste of public assets like police and health services and law court resources.
THE STRANGE PLIGHT OF THE POOR COUNTRIES
Two third of the world’s population are citizens of almost dirt poor countries where the shameless riches and luxuries of a tiny minority look down on the both economic and spiritual starvation of a huge majority. In economic development terms these nations face the worst of both worlds. They have to use their resources to maximum effect to climb out of the rot. Since their most plentiful resource is manpower one would expect to utilize this first. But these nation’s Western advisers and creditors think otherwise. They want to set up most modern, therefore capital and technology intensive industries with minimal manpower inputs in order that the country’s natural resources like mine’s and forests are exploited. So while huge incomes are generated from such enterprises, because only a negligible number of the natives are involved in them, these incomes are shared by the foreign investors, the usually only too corrupt national and often dictatorial ruling class and the few lucky employees who draw salaries rather higher than the national standards. The agriculture itself which can employ millions is pulled away from humbly paying but more reliable subsistence farming to cash crops like tobacco, cotton and oil seeds.
Because of the wild fluctuations in climate, world prices for these commodities and political fortunes of parties involved crops bringing in bumper profits one year can more then wipe out the same the next year. Because most prime land is given to these cash crops the food production suffers and the poor country comes to need more imports of its staple diet items by using the cash from its industrial exports. In short these poor and wrongly advised and steered nations are robbed of their share of their any industrial development while at the same time find little means to feed themselves from old-fashioned subsistence farming. Best lands and water sources have gone to the cash crops, industries are few and no large scale employers and their leaders too distant and unresponsive to their pleas for salvation. On the contrary any wealth created go to their luxuries and armies and institutions and cadres of political suppression.
Still more strangely Western bankers pour in money into these almost entirely credit-unworthy countries with little hope of recovering their capitals. Their clients just absorb any amount of cash like an insatiable dry sponge with little to how for it. Yet more money come in, in the form of new credit to pay for the interest on existing loans and interest on interest outstanding. Why? Because banks are as corrupt as their third world clients. It is not their money. It is their depositors’ money and most of their depositors are captive to them, like some OPEC countries bursting with cash thanks to the huge incomes from their oil versus their tiny populations. They simply deposit their cash somewhere and only great banks can accommodate them. The approximate mechanism of banking-third world corruption is like this: The bank extends a loan with ‘fees’ deducted in advance.
Part of the fees go as bribes to the debtors rulers who may give back something to the bank executive arranging it. So all three parties are happy. The bank pays less a sum to the debtor than the nominal amount of the credit, thereby making an immediate profit. Additionally the interest rate may be set high enough to enable the bankers to recover their capital under the guise of interest. This is OK with the rulers because they have their cut again. The actual executive takes his share clandestinely from the rulers out of the ruler’s bribes. For their part funds depositing countries’ leaders get their cut on the point of deposition. The net result is that international deposit funds go down the drain with little to show in the third world countries and the losses are absorbed by the stock market through failing companies and the last said’s high executives’ losses are subscribed by the small investors. All of which means it is the small investors and tax payers in richer countries who, through the labyrinthine channels described above pay all the bribes to all parties to international credit deals.
As to where down the drain these funds of ordinary citizens go they go to palaces, fabulous banquets, entertainments, holidays, debauchery, arms and armies of dictators and warlords etc. and some bankers themselves. All confirming the Qur’anic dictum to that effect. Helping poor countries is at least partially both a pretext for and context of this corruption, a very convenient one. That must explain why these countries are rarely prospering and why a lot are becoming even poorer with their millions often starving for extended periods.
One should compare this unspeakable deprivation with the indescribable prosperity and waste in the rich countries. No doubt such an exercise only proves the veracity of the Islamic teaching that economic activity must be based on honesty and work (not usury) and any inequalities eased by insitutionalized (and not optional) charity. An economically unsuccessful man is not a usless man to be eliminated somehow but can be very good at something else and at least as worthwhile. He may be a spiritually gifted man or may at lest carry the genes of a future genius who can do enough service to mankind to pay for his own and all his ancestors’ existence.
A BETTER ECONOMY WITH A HEALTHIER ECOLOGY
One French writer had written years ago that “Civilization is the proliferation of unnecessary needs”. Normally a man’s real needs should be defined by the nature and amount of things which would be comfortably enough to keep him in good health both in body and mind and not more. The private car is a good example. We definitely need it given the circumstances of our age but its overuse is counterproductive. You sit more, inhale bad air more, suffer more stress and walk less, exercise your muscles and change your posture less. Excessive automation does even worse for us. We should not work more to satisfy artificial needs provoked by advertisement and less of us should be in paid employment. Though some women always worked for economic gain throughout history today’s rates are simply unnatural and appalling. The truth is that the greatest economic asset a nation can produce is a good citizen and the best manufacturer of a good citizen is a good mother. A mother is not only a womb wearing a body and used to iincubate new citizens. She is a whole environment of both material and spiritual nutrition optimally related to and qualified in the production of a good citizen from the human being made in her womb. This is as pious to believe in as in God and as compulsory to implement as His Commandments. This is also proven by the fact that her children is the greatest delight and concern of a mother and stupidly failing to exploit this incomparable conjoining of assets is criminal to the extreme.
If we want to produce highest quality society we must provide its emerging and rising citizens with the best possible craftsmen to manufacture them- their mothers. This is so important that a girl’s education becomes most justified when it contains a high dose of both trained natural motherhood instincts and skills and educated scientific knowhow about children from conception to full independence. It is not a wrong to women to prepare and then employ them as mothers. If not fed with denaturalising propaganda her indisputable instinctive and emotional choice is motherhood as a life profession. This does not mean that either all women are suitable for motherhood or cannot do anything else. It only means that the majority, if not brain-washed by liberationist propaganda will be quite happy to make a good marriage and then exult in their children with more happiness than any other profession can give. Yes, women can work and sometimes must work in any and every profession and they many times did in the past including genuinely Islamic times and can do even more today.
But this does not change the holistic fact (biological, social, spiritual…) that her unchallengeable greatness is in mothering. It is the noblest and most prestigious and rewarding of all professions simply because its product is a top quality citizen no other profession can manufacture! Looking down on full time (practically speaking) motherhood is looking down on man himself in his highest quality and accepting a lowering in overall human quality for the sake of more wasteful and varied and often silly consumption and tastes is the greatest crime in a potential sense. Allow new citizens to be churned out in lower quality than they could be and you are allowing crime and suffering to increase for all. I can tell you from personal experience as a teacher of 30 years that there is often an incredible difference of overall human quality between schoolchildren from some inner city areas where graceless poverty, illegitimate and usually unknown parentage, inadequacy of parental skills and care and incurable and worsening crime on the one hand and the schoolchildren from areas, often rural with traditional lifestyles. In the latter a full time mother is in charge, births are overwhelmingly legitimate (into marriage), fathers are honourably employed and conveniently away for most of the day (so that a combination of less familiarity and more respect) and the mothers constantly inculcate values and feed manners to their gratefully adoring children.
These find themselves in schools with other children of equal contentment with life and refinement of minds and manners. In schools of the deprived areas all teachers deplore the inscrutable and intractable rogueries and destructive hyperactivities and almost total lack of moral values in only too many children whose combined effect disturbs and disrupts teaching sessions rendering them mostly worthless. The exam results are as bad as discipline and nobody knows what to do about things. These children reach the streets after each afternoon session and for good after ‘graduation’ and join the rough play and crime of their elders. Their mothers are often ineffectual simply because they are the fruits of the same polluted soil further disabled by single parenthood and often the presence of an unmarried partner who just drinks and beats her and children up in between his sexual acts- in fact he may abuse the children.
In the rural area however children come from the hands of craftsmen like exquisite watches coming from the hands of Swiss watchmakers most of whom are in fact most skilful and dedicated ladies made more graceful by their laced dresses and working from dream-land like pretty homes in verdant landscapes.
It is with such high quality citizens raised by high quality parents that both economy and ecology can be tailored and streamlined to create only health and happiness and not moral, spiritual and environmental bankruptcy as it is increasingly doing at the present.
ECONOMY NEED NOT EXPAND - IT NEEDS A
Parties come to power promising more employment, faster economic growth, better social services and tax cuts. In view of all foregoing it must be clear that these boastful aims are in fact deplorable aims. For a moment let’s go to the traditional family home. Mothers are ‘employed’ at home their benefits in lieu of a salary being husband’s contributions to her thorough upkeep and that of the children. Because she does not have to travel to a job and the family can have their meals at the cost of the raw materials their need of cash is drastically less than a family with both parents working. What is more and very significantly the quality of both their food and their life are far higher than the latter.
Again, they produce far less rubbish because for example they diswash and not discard broken packing materials and disposable containers and uneaten food which fast and pre-packed foods cause discarding. At one stroke we have a substantial part of unnecessary needs and products and their debris out of the way. This may account perhaps as far a reduction in rubbish as a quarter of all rubbish. In the traditional home food is sacred, is prepared just enough and eaten in its entirety. As for vegetable rubbish these can be almost zeroed by doing the trimmings etc. before they leave farms and those trimmings cleanly disposed of as animal fodder right on the spot. Clothing the same. Rapid changes of fashion are indicative of frivolous minds with desperate demands for rapid changes in everything because there is no spiritual ballast to hold them steady and content but must discard and replace things like a dead bored child rushing through its many toys and eventually throwing away all with a piteous scream of boredom.
Mind you, it is not only clothes that must be replaced in quick succession by others differently made. Lovers also. In fact this very word lover has almost nothing to do with love. The parties to a ‘love’ affair hardly love each other but are after quick sexual discharges over a variable but in any case short period. The impious pill made both men and women into non-charging prostitutes each party’s reward being the other party’s sexual services. Because of the deadly sin of promiscuity a single man or woman with a venereal illness may infect a large number of others with it and sometimes a wholesale epidemic hits the population. Deeply Christian or not the West, in sharp contrast to the East has been a very promiscuous place; from kings and their nobles to priests and their parishioners people simply could not restrain themselves from provoking and taking opportunities for sexual acts with anybody available. As a result, not long after the discovery of the New World syphilis spread through whole Europe among all classes of people, beginning with ports like
Yes, the economy must shrink, less people must be working full time for wages, less production will be compensated by less waste and general good health will make for drastic cuts in health budgets. Land, sea and air will gain a welcome reprieve from pollutants. People will need travel less, both in a physical sense and spiritual. Physical because less will have to travel to less places of work and spiritual because people will nurture more spiritual interests and suffer less stress and boredom ‘to run away from that all’. Nothing can be more artificial and ridiculous than the ritual of an annual holiday whereby droves of semi-automatons of people trace a path of escape from one psychological prison to another equally desperate to drown their sense of futility in more alcohol and orgasms and a bunch of the same silly photographs of naked bodies or ruined sites. Heavens become aircraft soups while havens become salted sardine cans. A spiritually realized man or woman on the other hand can have all the joy and contentment of life by just enjoying the treasures of his or her mind and heart with a minimal seasoning added in the form of some reasonable physical activity and geographic mobility. Distant travel is sometimes both good and necessary but not for its sake nor for more debauchery.
The modern Western economy has solved many of the living problems of the old times, from hunger to illness, but it created perhaps far more problems from a long-term view point. It is both driving too hard and degrading too much man who needs more leisure and better and more innocent tastes to really enjoy himself for enjoying’s sake. A good example is the salat of a muslim. Nothing in life tastes better and pleases the heart more than a religious act like the salat because it enjoys the supreme innocence of being against nobody and costing nothing and yet creating so great amount of existential contentment and pacification so freely and easily. A Godly life is the ultimate in the satisfaction with our life itself. Its effects are permanent and sustainable and far fewer kicks and changes are necessary to help brighten our moods. Entertainments, diversions and holidays we can and should have but with more emphasis on spirituality far less of them will do, leading to another shrink in the madly inflated economic activities.
8. THE ISSUE OF DEMOCRACY
There are several cultural elements defining today’s Western culture as nothing else would. In these values the West does not only contradict other contemporary cultures (despite their varying degrees of adopting from and adapting to the Western culture) but it also contradicts its own past. Some of these are
1. Modern secular democratic system 2. A set of universal human rights which keep expanding in a more and more individualistic direction 3. Sexual liberation and obsession with the body 4. Almost amoral and almost exclusively technical education 5. Full paid employment and consumerism 6. Media abuses, Mass action and protest culture 7. Manners replacing morals and appearances taking priority over substance 8. Exploitation of pyschology for various forms of mercenary gain etc. 9. Science, scientism and playing God 10. Political and other big crime
We shall have many occasion to return to these issues time and again in the course of our other lessons but it must help going through them briefly to start with. But now the fisrt- democracy.
MODERN SECULAR DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM
Democracy is as old as civilization and not a new phenomenon. It naturally thrives when we have a group of people who are more or less equals and cooperation with each other seems to them more profitable than arbitration by violence. All tribal societies have been democratic of sorts both within each tribe and between the tribes. Within each tribe because a tribe’s members are blood relations who simply cannot ignore or neglect each other’s well-being and happiness too much. Although the most powerful tribes most powerful family at a given time may be accepted as the tribal leader he can only maintain his supremacy by treating all the rest decently enough if inter-clan onswell as social charity within tribal societies. Of course this has been more true within each tribe than between tribes. Peace between tribes has always been interrupted by inter-tribal fighting and this a lot of times was precipitated by mutual thefts and robberies. As a result of these tendencies we not only find old
Islam’s answer to this new Western democracy cannot be dogmatic but has to be pragmatic and utilitarian. There can be no doubt that in Prophet’s Medina it was only the Prophet’s Divinely ordained supremacy that enabled him to more or less dictate to the rest if he could. His style was not dictating however but consulting and trying to decide issues by persuasion and consensus. He only dictated what Allah commanded by revelation but only regretted and did not really punish when even Allah’s commandments were ignored. So, hypocrites disobeyed Allah but the Prophet did not punish them, believers sometimes neglected both his and Allah’s orders but the Prophet sws just criticized them. In other words he dod not practice neither autocracy nor dictatorship as some later muslim rulers so conspicuously did- to this day! And Allah says as much “Indulge them and consult them (believers) in (public) affairs (3: 109). Or “Their (believers way of conducting) affairs is consultation (42: 38). Against all popular or deluded-learned (!) claims even husband cannot dictate to wife; Allah says “If the couple want to wean their baby from suckling with mutual consent and consultation there it is no sin for them (42: 38).
The Prophet sws was so shy of and reluctant to dictate even to his wives that he needed Allah’s revelation to disclose his grievances against them and warn them with the consequences of their misbehaviour against him sws. Can you imagine, he even shied away from imposing a successors on his followers and the followers had to go through a rough and primitive democratic election process which featured (a) rival claims and candidates (Sa’d b. Ubada put up by the ansar, Umar and Ubaida by Abu Bakr and Abu Bakr by Umar (b) there was a hot debate almost like in modern elections when rival parties tried to persuade all present to support their resoective candidates and (c) Abu Bakr was then adopted by a majority because Sa’d declined. What is more Abu Bakr disclaimed any autocracy and infallibility and asked to be criticized and if necessary corrected or deposed. If this is not a form of democracy what is? Then Abu Bakr put up Umar as his candidate but left it to the companions (today’s voting public) to either accept or reject his choice. In his turn Umar altogether declined to impose a successor to himself and left it to an electoral college of most senior companions to decide by CON-SUL-TATON!
Although none of the above three variant forms of election can be seen as exactly democratic in the modern sense, given the time interval, they are closer to it than anything else among the Medieval political succession methods and nowhere similar to dynastic autocracy. Yet, it is equally true that the Prophet sws DID allow any existing royal autocracies to survive among his distant convert communities like the
However it must again be recognized that not every society can maintain a democratic system so defined. The public must be well-educated and trained in self-discipline and a high regard for peaceful persuasion or peaceful resingnation to a majority decision. This is so utterly lacking among Muslims that even kings could not rule them recently and they needed brutal dictators to pacify them. Dictators killed or otherwise evicted kings and were able to keep Muslims in check! What a shame!