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There’s More Than One Town on the River

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For many years, it was common to have mill towns along the banks of America's rivers. In the early days, a river would power the machinery of the mill through waterwheels. Even after steam power became available, the river was the focus of the town's entire existence. Clean water from upstream provided drinking water, as well as water for the industrial processes. The flow of the river carried human and industrial waste downstream, away from the town, with no cost or effort on the part of the mill owners or townsfolk.

If there was only one town on the river, the system worked well, but as soon as there were two towns on the same river, the downstream town found itself drinking the sewage and industrial waste of the upstream town. Clearly, it was better to be the upstream town.

In a system of uncontrolled capitalism, with everyone looking out for their own good, those who are upstream have no incentive to have concern for those who are downstream. Charity perhaps? Acting as Good Samaritans perhaps? It certainly didn't work out that way for the mill towns.

The analogy of the mill towns fits big banks and many other big businesses today. Those who find themselves on the upstream part of the river are not going to volunteer to clean up after themselves, so those downstream end up drinking their sewage until government steps in to require that everyone stop polluting. After centuries of environmental pollution, our government finally told the upstream companies to stop. It's time for our government to tell the upstream polluters of our financial system to stop.

When told to stop polluting the rivers, the mill owners response was that they couldn't afford to do so. Their profits depended upon dumping their waste into the river, rather than working a little harder to dispose of their waste in a way that didn't pollute the downstream drinking water. The cry was that environmental laws would force them out of business, throwing workers out of jobs. What else could they be expected to say? Certainly not, "Great, let's protect our rivers, we'll just become more efficient, keep hiring workers, and making profits." But after environmental laws were passed and enforced, over the screams of the factory owners, somehow ingenuity quickly found ways to keep the rivers clean and to make big profits.

We can't expect big banks and other giant corporations to volunteer to cede their upstream positions on the financial river. But after the financial equivalent of environmental protection laws are passed and enforced, somehow American ingenuity will again find a way to operate successful businesses and to create generous profits.

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About Jonathan Lockwood Huie

  • Wingnut

    Hi. This “crap flows downstream” thing happens, because upstream towns are “competing” with downstream towns. They should be cooperating, as should all the nations of the world. Instead of US vs. THEM, its all US. When everyone is on the same team (Team World), then everyone shares problems and joys.

    Think about the childhood pyramids we continuously failed-at. Moronic, servitude-infested stacks of children (pyramids) were competing machines, where everyone tried to get a leg-up on each other. While the upper 1/3 of the pyramid is “heads in the clouds”, the kids on the bottom ALWAYS GET CRUSHED from having the weight of the world’s knees in their backs. Sounds like capitalism/economies, eh? Rat-racing 101.

    When pyramiding, and especially when using pyramid schemes-o-servitude-infestation like capitalism, competing is the theme of the day. Soon, when the capitalism pyramid scheme flops, we’ll try cooperating again, and that means REAL cooperating. That means the abolishing of the tools that allow competing, and that’s money and ownership. Rid the planet of capitalism. Rid the planet of economies and ownership. Not a single other living thing on the planet… uses/honors money or ownership. Get back to cooperating, and then all towns are part of one giant town, be they on a river or not. Take down the borders and fences between nations, states, counties, towns, and even yard fences between people, and you have this competing thing licked. Keep condoning, promoting, and joining economies and other competing things, and you’re doomed.

    We Christian socialists aren’t doomed, as we’re the meek that shall be inheriting. The capitalists/competers are doomed if they don’t reverse course. They can’t, though. They’re too addicted to using economies, and most of the “shoppers” are enjoyment/comfort addicts.

    Not us Christian anti-capitalism potluck and barnraising lovers, though. Our group of “we” are on the correct track and know a servitude system when we see one. WE know the harm in competing. You’ve illustrated ONE perfect example of competing harm, and may I say that it was a fine example.

    The columbian freemason pyramid scheme symbol is right there on the back of the USA dollar. The USA gov is in a “district of columbia” and not even part of the USA. The capitalits can’t see this government-owner (federal reserve notes) AmWay (American Way) pyramid scheme herd control system?

    Sure they can. They can do a Google image search for ‘pyramid of capitalist’ just like everyone else. They see the servitude (working FOR others instead of WITH others). They see the parental policy reversal from SHARE, to FIGHT, when the 18 year olds get forced “out there” into the competer’s church via “get a job or die” felony extortion and forced religion. They see the widespread Chicago mob-like “pay up or lose your house/wellbeing” felony extortion. We ALL see it. Us Christian socialists try to get a microphone or TV camera to remind the caps of whast they’re blindered-to, but we aren’t allowed to have such things. They cost money, and we Chtistian socialists avoid money/mercantiling/competing.

    Come over to OUR side of life, and you can say goodbye to shoveling crap in a fellow world-dweller’s living area. We don’t do that. We love people, and want to be included in all towns and nations. Competition isn’t healthy and never was. Cooperation is healthy.

    Best regards!
    Larry “Wingnut” Wendlandt
    MaStars – Mothers Against Stuff That Ain’t Right
    (system fighters, not role-playing people fighters)
    Bessemer MI USA

  • Well, I understood the “wingnut” part.

  • Jonathan,

    You might want to look up the novel, Empire Falls, by Richard Russo, also a TV miniseries. “The river” is the leitmotif. Also A Civil Action, a book and a John Travolta movie.

  • Interesting analogy, Jonathan.