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The Immorality of Stratified Society

March 4, 2013

The Immorality of Stratified Society

by Reed Camacho Kinney

rkinney@prodigy.net.mx

      There were 300 Spartans, at the Battle of Thermopylae, plus 1000 Greek regulars. (1)

The odds against them were great, espionage shortened their resistance.

“In Spartan society, all slaves were owned by the state. The helots (as the Spartan slaves were known) outnumbered the citizen population by about twenty to one. Helots formed the basis of the Spartan economy and were essential to food production; however, they were treated like animals. Helots were bound to the land, unable to leave” (2)

Doubtless, many Spartans were hard people.

International corporate industry and national oppression maintain huge populations of “helots” the world over. One example, among many, is the sugar industry in Guatemala where exploited field labor includes children, and their families. (3)

For an overview of capitalistic exploitation of labor see: http://socialistworker.org/2011/09/28/what-do-we-mean-exploitation

But, should we question the rightness of that? Are we more secure, because that is the case?

There are degrees of overt exploitation. However, the most prevalent production of commodities in the world is maintained by the most exploited people; cheap labor in poor peoples’ countries.

The ills of societal disparity have been pronounced often enough. But, are we, we among the less exploited, accomplices, because we all benefit from that inequity in some ways? Much of the wealth that reaches the developed countries is the product of cheap labor.

“Helots were legally viewed as enemies of the state. They were forced to wear humiliating clothing to distinguish them from the Spartan population and were publicly punished through annual beatings to remind them of their servile position.” (4.)

How much damage is being done to the people that populate the “cheap labor pools” and are “unable to leave” (5)? Ciudad Juarez in Mexico demonstrates acute violence among stagnant, contending forces. Rumor has it that Army personnel, on occasion, cruelly brutalize the Federal Police reinforcements, and that the army may be behind the ongoing group executions of civilians. Add to that, decades of misogynist snuffing, every day, by perpetually anonymous, perpetrators, domestic terrorism, and, multitudes of criminal gangs. Half of the businesses have closed, and as many people as could afford to, have relocated. But, the production enterprises of American businesses, and other foreign companies, continue hiring Mexicans, and illegal aliens, mostly women, for a pittance. There are over 2000 maquiladoras, (meaning: an assembly plant in Mexico – near the United States border – parts are shipped into Mexico and the finished product is shipped back across the border), in Ciudad Juarez. (6)

Our dependence on the subjugated, being subjugated, in the places we generally don’t think about is no less damaging than what has been observed of Spartan society.

“Plutarch described ….how the young Spartan men could run throughout the country armed with daggers and murder helots at will. This was intended to terrorize them to keep them under control. There was no penalty for killing a helot.” (7)

Were President Abraham Lincoln’s ethics applied to “globalization” we would be thinking realistically. Christianity, as I understand it, favors ethical behavior.

When a society subjugates people for personal profit it’s an erroneous set-up, a badly structured organization.

To deny people education in order to create a situation that obliges uneducated people to submit to what they are dealt, is no less a state of bondage. Or, to limit peoples’ options to specialized education, fit only for low wage “cogs” in industrial systems, is no less a state of bondage.

International accords among national governments and corporate concerns favor the initiatives of capital. That will always be the case in our prevailing context.

Our objective must be to create a different context, one that meets the real needs of its members. Otherwise, we remain accomplices to what is wicked, depraved, and needlessly cruel.

See my blog: https://decentralizationblog.wordpress.com

It’s irrational to think that competition eliminates, or incorporates its competitors, because the consequence of that is monopoly. Globalization is a conglomerate of corporations that integrate their support industries, production and distribution, and strive to monopolize the vital sectors of the world’s economy. The Federal Reserve System may even move to make the International Monetary Fund the hub of a world bank.

Current society resembles medieval feudalism, magnified, perhaps, hundreds of times. The power of science and technology has extended the reach of domination, and, at once, causes overproduction, or maximum production, and the need for an ever-expanding market. Inevitably, that market will falter.

But, to keep the market as stable as possible, people in society must be isolated from other people, alienated. Without conviviality people are more easily influenced, their emotions more easily manipulated, to internalize dreams of opulence.

ALIENATION contributes to neurosis, among other malaise, in people of all ages, the, “repetition of thoughts and obsessive …. Interpersonally, neurosis involves dependency, aggressiveness, perfectionism, in its maladaptive form, perfectionism drives individuals to attempt to achieve an unattainable ideal, schizoid isolation, socio-culturally inappropriate behaviors, etc.” (8)

To that extent, the condition of life in mass centrist society is designed to cause alienation, because its industry needs the ongoing stability of its consumer-based economy!

And again, yes, it is both irrational and cruel to subjugate the lower echelons of society in order to provide some degree of benefit, or convenience, to hierarchies, of dominators, who, in turn, are dominated themselves by the impersonal forces and directives from the corporate conglomerates that they depend on. That is the root of “evil”. The structure is a closed circle that squeezes everything for profit, for profits’ sake, at the expense of the preponderances of the world’s populations. And, always more people are increasingly subjected to globalization, and increasingly dependent on its supply systems, even while the impersonal, mechanical machinations of globalization run people through, “The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead…” (9)

 

References

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae

2. http://ritabay.com/2012/02/09/todays-post-slavery-in-ancient-sparta/

3. http://www.plazapublica.com.gt/content/child-labor-and-exploitation-guatemalan-sugar-industry

4. http://ritabay.com/2012/02/09/todays-post-slavery-in-ancient-sparta/

5. ibid.

6. http://www.solunet-infomex.com/company.cfm?company=3037&type=1

7. http://ritabay.com/2012/02/09/todays-post-slavery-in-ancient-sparta/

8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurosis

9. http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/jabber/jabberwocky.html

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