Whetted Appetites

To this day I still walk into stores and see displays of water for sale and I shake my head. I figure that along the lines somewhere I have purchased perhaps 20 total bottles of water in my lifetime. Everywhere I have lived has been near water, whether it be the oceans or rivers, lakes and streams. Water has been everywhere, even falling from the skies.  So each time I see displays of water for sale in supermarkets, restaurants and vending machines, I shake my head in dismay and wonder when they will begin to sell air. I also wonder if people will be dumb enough to purchase what already belongs to the planet, and subsequently all life on it.

Then again, I have lived where water is plentiful. In countries where it isn’t, I have seen the United States set up military bases to protect the confiscation of water rights to force the population into purchasing water from American companies like the Bechtel Corporation, which installed itself in South American countries. I’m delighted that such a groundswell of opposition arose that the corporation was sent packing, but that’s just, as they say, a drop in the bucket. The exploitation of world resources is rapidly being funneled into power bases where whoever controls water distribution has more power than money provides.

While many people are scrambling in today’s economy to collect wealth in the form of gold and other precious metals, the big investors are buying up rights to water. It’s not always just corporations that exploit people’s need for water; the family of both Presidents Bush have a huge stake in water in Paraguay, owning now almost 200,000 acres of aquifer rich land and they’re but a single example. All over the world, people of means are purchasing lands which give them sole access to planetary resources, wither personally or through corporations.

We have seen a lot of discussion about the division of wealth in the world, and predominantly America. The talk explains that a mere handful of people hold not just the money, but the control access to it as well. This small handful controls the corporations for which a majority people work to earn a living. In a number of appearing cases, people are being employed to keep everyone, including themselves, apart from the forms of wealth and to maintain the position of power for the owners. I say owners with my tongue in cheek because I don’t see how anyone can own a planetary resource.

It used to be that people recognized their own property. I’m not talking possessions or real estate, I mean things like air and water and sunlight. They accepted ownership in the form of nationalization, where the government owned the right to control a finite resource, much as the Federal Communications Commission controls the airwaves. The resource is finite, and without regulation, a structure of fair distribution exists to protect it from being destroyed by haphazard use. But the airwaves have now been auctioned off to private companies, denying any future redivision of the resources and giving a scant few permanent control. It’s getting very difficult to find a resource which has not been privatized or in the process of privatization.

This is one of the many examples where we have been misdirected in our thoughts on a huge scale, so that people on a small scale can benefit. At first we heard that there were costs in collecting and distributing resources. Electricity from power plants and water from reservoirs was supposedly free and we all had to pay for the erection and maintenance of a distribution method. But over time, like the hostile use of another’s property, we have permitted the grip on the resources move from management to ownership. With ownership in place, we have given up our free access to these resources and placed ourselves subordinate to those who purloined the planetary features for their own purposes.

Watching television the other day I was amazed to hear of just how much of our world we have given over to the charge of a very few. As I thought about it, I couldn’t help but extrapolate on the information to conclude that it won’t take many more years before a world of people will be forced into conflict with the few who have collected the power of controlled necessary resources. Already people are beginning to choose up sides for the coming conflagration without even knowing what they’re gearing up for. Many don’t understand that they’re gearing up at all. But conflict is on the way, and it is coming because of a few who wish to have power over the many. This will pit person against person as sides are divided into those injured by the grab for power, and those who work for the powerful so they have what they need for their families. The situation has developed in such a way that people will be fighting other people while the perpetrators of the power grab sit safely by. Of course, this is the way it has always been for human kind. We are indeed predators who prey on everything, but perhaps not as intelligently as we might hope.

We live in a complex time. Humankind is trying to balance the ideals of capitalism with the natural needs of people and not doing a very good job at it. It’s not that hard to look back and see the places were this or that decision led us astray from a logical and beneficial path. We have fear in our lives, pressed at us from every direction. It is creating a pressure on us all that will bring a breaking point to light. Eventually, at a huge cost of lives and comfort, a resolution to the problems of resources will appear, but likely only be viable because of the tremendous losses that a fight for planetary resources will cause.