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Dumb Smarts – Part 2

Image by Standing Rock Rising
Image by Standing Rock Rising

‘Many of the numbers-driven people have short-term sensitivities, which narrows down their scope, their capacity for being truly pragmatic and intelligent, leading to the North Dakota pipeline impasse and Standing Rock.’ ~ Spin Doctor

I am by and large in support of laissez-faire principles — not all, but a significant number of them — but I have to take a step back here and admit that markets can be, and have been repeatedly, stupid and greedy, screwing things up in ways only markets can. They play their numbers against all politics, culture and common sense, against even science itself, against the environmental concerns of scientists and other smart people with less lobbying power and fewer legal resources, letting everyone else pick up the atrocious tab, after the damage is done.

Life is not always fine and logical, even when it pretends to be. We live in a market-driven world, so markets are not going away, that’s a fact. They have a lot to offer. And these kinds of confrontations will keep occurring because markets and their missionaries will keep preaching on behalf of cold numbers without taking into account the bigger picture. Smart as they are, these missionaries are not versed in the entirety of the world, nor do they have time to consider every aspect of life. They’re good at what they do because they focus primarily on the numbers, and so, true to form, they will keep taking smart-dumb decisions like the North Dakota pipeline, aggravating situations around the world.

They will keep ignoring the environmental science because their job is to specialize on delivering their projects.

They will ignore the bigger picture because they’re caught up in a race that is propped up to be pragmatic i.e. numbers-driven and result-propelled, forgetting that they ironically serve an ideology themselves: the ideology of market fundamentalism, one of the greatest dogmas to hit modern and post-modern humanity.

And so it goes. Market fanatics will keep doing their thing in the name of the markets, not life at large. The numbers will dictate the course and the course will generate the numbers, and numbers are hard to disagree with, unless you have a lobby with better numbers and more power to counteract the first numbers and the pragmatism behind them, offering a stronger pragmatism in turn, a better solution to the problem.

This is what’s wrong with these people, with us, overall. We are part of a system that has certain operational parameters. To work, it needs certain works and projects, and these projects have their own logistics, and these logistics drive developments that take a life of their own, pitching interest against interest until you get to a point where a militarized police force is squaring off against people on horseback, and you’re asking yourself, is this the Soviet Union? It can’t be the USA!

And yet it is the USA. It’s North Dakota, and it’s every state in the Union, sooner or later, and every state in the EU, and places around the world where confrontations like these take place every day, like Peru and Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia. The forests get chopped down systematically, the rivers are polluted at will, all in the name of market fundamentalism and Keynesian statism that abuses the markets, in the name of markets in general — a force managed by smart people who make dumb choices in their effort to complete their tasks without taking into account the bigger picture, seeing only as far as the next deadline.

Myopia and childishness. And dumb smarts. That’s what’s wrong with these people. With us.

From your deliciously scathing Spin Doctor,

Eyes open, mind sharp.

PS – Notice, I have said nothing about the cultural aspect of these lands and the sacredness issue. That’s another story.