Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Parasite Load

There are many parallels between ecosystems and the world of free enterprise commerce. A well-functioning economy resembles a healthy ecosystem in many ways: natural selection favoring the most effective individuals, whose interactions are sometimes competitive, but are also frequently altruistic (within species) or mutualistic (between species). Every ecosystem has parasites, but any ecosystem in which parasites proliferated to the point of commandeering most of the energy flow would quickly degenerate and collapse.

The modern American economy is dominated by parasitic corporations. One such corporation is Bank of America. They are good at doing only two things: taking bailout money, and compensating their CEO. They did repay all $45 billion of their TARP money, but they continue to be incompetent at everything else. But they, the parasites, inflict their incompetence upon us, the hosts.

I have learned this through experience. I recently tried to refinance a mortgage through Bank of America, which was a fiasco. My application was reassigned to a series of five different people, and at each transition documents were lost and new rules popped up out of nowhere. Finally, I decided to terminate the application. Fortunately, I did not need the money.

What I encountered was sheer incompetence. Average consumers work hard and earn money from their work, but corporations are parasitic upon their employees and customers. In particular, financial corporations keep the entire country under a burden of usury. They are parasites on us. They give us nothing useful in return, certainly not money. When you pay back some of what you owe, on time, what you get in return is a higher interest rate (or at least that was the case until Obama’s financial overhaul package became law). Financial corporations suck America dry, drinking in a large proportion of the economy like drunk ticks.

Fortunately there is one thing we can do. We can simply choose to not participate. We can refuse to participate in the business ecosystem, burdened by its parasites, except where necessary. We can just say no to any unnecessary expenditures. I know that this is “bad for the economy” but it produces a sense of personal, even spiritual, liberation to just not buy things.

The image that I keep in mind is this. Bdelloid rotifers (is that what you were expecting?)! Fungal parasites kill them, but they simply dry up and blow away in the wind, leaving their fungal parasites behind! And that is what I am trying to do, by meditating upon the good things I have in life, and not thinking about things I would like to obtain.

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