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Opinion

John Bird: We are truly in the lap of the human gods

“We struggle for and against Brexit, for our NHS, for giving the poor an even break. Yet our efforts will become marginalised if we don’t do something about the big powerful struggle that goes on in the skies above our lives”

Way above the clouds of poverty, above the clouds of Brexit, a vast preparation is in hand. You can’t even call it global, or globalism or even pejoratively, globalisation. And we can’t just label it, just so we can protest it.

But it’s about the globe, about the world we live in. And it involves the thoughts and actions of three representatives of forces, who have not been aligned like this for a hundred years.

Xi, Vladimir and Donald are but representatives of that shift in power, that jealousy of power, that struggle for power. Up in the atmosphere, above where we exist and operate, big and almost god-like struggles are taking place. And like in the days of the Edwardian era, when Great Britain, Germany, France and Russia unwittingly prepared themselves for mass destruction, we are back there.

These men may operate in the land of giants, the heavens, of gods and of devils, but what they do will decide how our historical sideshows, Brexit and poverty, play out.

We really are in the lap of these human gods, who – if they don’t find an accommodation – will draw us all into something of a nuclear winter, with the deaths not in millions, but in the billions. And things are looking nasty.

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Meanwhile, there is a multi-billionaire from Omaha, Nebraska, in the Great Plains of America, who has been inexorably gobbling companies into his portfolio since the 1950s. Warren Buffett has within his hands such 19th-century trailblazers as HJ Heinz, who brought us tinned protein and some health via the baked beans and soups that could be knocked up in minutes. He has within his grasp the equally incredible and inventive Cadbury company, that built its workers houses in the 1890s, as well as the vast grocery conglomerate, Kraft.

Gobbled up and made even more profitable, all while seismic changes were being made above the head of this avuncular capitalist.

Mighty trader amazon.com is but another expression of this consolidation that takes place in the fight between Xi, Vladimir and Donald. This desire for empire, for domination, for obliteration of all opposition.

It is worth remembering the story of the horse. If a horse is allowed into a field of barley, it will eat until it is dead, exploding due to gases in the process. We are dealing here with a strange, unnatural phenomenon – an expression of nature gone wrong. In the course of a wild horse’s life, it would never run into fields of barley, with its incredible richness; this is all man-made nature.

When the marketplace was tailored and morphed from exchange into commerce thousands of years ago, we began to consolidate that which now is above the markets and the billionaires. We weaponised the greed, and we reflected into our politics and government, which is now run by those seeking to win control of everything. Yes, those who would eat the barley until they destroy themselves.

Capital is the big driver. But in the end, capital takes second place to a politics that is constructed out of capital, and capital’s need to always be increasing its base. Vladimir is sitting on the top of an economy that is the roughly the same size as Korea. But what can he do with his vast array of military hardware, lands and resources that are largely left unutilised? He must make a mark for his people. He can’t allow the enormous sacrifice of Mother Russia, who saved Europe from itself in World War 2, to slip into vassalage again.

He cannot allow the raiding of the spent and broken economy of the USSR by Wall Street, post-Soviet collapse to remain unchallenged. Nor the creeping growth of America and Europe’s military club, NATO, to Russia’s door go unanswered. He must end the sidelining of the largest piece of empire in the world.

We – as a group of nations –should be seeking resolutions for a bigger fight than any of us have yet to take account of: the fight to save the world itself

Xi, showing how a form of Marxism is, in the end, the great saviour of capitalism becomes the new force; bottle-fed by America and Europe’s exportation of vast arrays of manufacturing and productivity.

Trodden on by the British, the French, the Japanese et al, China rises to repay history. It’s like how Mike Tyson must have felt when, bullied as a child, he then became the world’s most powerful boxer. Wow, ‘the world is truly mine to take’, might run the argument.

And like Amazon’s Bezos boss and the ‘Wizard of Omaha’, they don’t know when to stop. Like the horse, left to the incredibly rich pickings of the barley field.

We in the meanwhile struggle for and against Brexit, for our NHS, for giving the poor an even break. Yet our efforts will become marginalised if we don’t do something about the big powerful struggle that goes on in the skies above our lives.

But what can a mere bunch of some 66,411,330 people do to stop these big concatenations in the skies above our heads?

First of all, we must be made aware of these big movements in order to understand them. But also to put into perspective what’s actually happening to our world, politically. It should influence us, dare we hope, so that we – as a group of nations –should be seeking resolutions for a bigger fight than any of us have yet to take account of: the fight to save the world itself.

For the way the world is going at the moment is an unsustainable dream. Wake up.

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