Ported and revised.
Benign or casual genocide is a way of describing the largely unprotested (accepted) death of largely-invisible millions in our world.
This is the term I believe Dr. Sachs and others at the forefront of efforts against deep poverty in the world should use. We have thus far failed to shock the “benign billions” into an acceptance even of the one percent GNP solution, which is a minimal response but vastly beyond what we are now doing.
Benign or casual genocide is an honest name for the capitalist-philanthropic system that, in a macabre dance of mutuality, allows these terrible deaths to take place year after year.
Let the definitions be plain and simple.
By capitalist I mean to embrace the entire realm of business conducted for economic gain. The entire culture of consumer desire. The entire tendency of the world to accept this on its face as the “way things are” economically. The issue I wish to press is not guilt but truth. A true description.
Linked to this is the civilization-destroying growth of gaps between rich and middle class and down (economically) in the rich or privileged parts of the world, creating a culture of acquisition based on an acceptance of predatory principles.
By philanthropic I mean the entire complex of “not for profit” enterprises, ranging from movements and non-governmental organizations to institutions of learning to explicit “charities”, to many government agencies whose purposes are (presented as) eleemosynary. Education, health, so forth.
My contention is that we can call this partnership the engine of Benign or Casual Genocide.
Globally, it represents a failure of mammoth proportions. It need not be. At its heart lies a spiritual failure of nerve and apparent ignorance, even among our most sophisticated media, of this failure.
I am not ignoring the cries of those in media who do understand. I am lamenting the naive belief that anything less than a sea-change of global consciousness will have a remedial effect.
We casually read myriad death statistics and projections. Each year UNICEF and other agencies — ambivalent partners in this promenade — inundate us with these figures.
Even Presidents quote UNICEF.
It is a dance of hypocrisy and idiocy, given the resistance of peoples to a revaluation of the values by which we live. Proper development requires such a revaluation and it is profoundly in eddor to believe anything less.
Essentially, the world system we now have, largely uncontested, accepts Capitalism as the big engine to fuel an unequal wealth/power machine and Philanthropy as the little engine that will toot along and clean up the uglier evidences of a world where wealth, power and place continue to rule under the umbrella of hypocrisies that have been transmuted into simple “realism”.
We need to openly identify the partnership and observe that it does not work. We need to say what the solution is: The very leaders who most understand the problem need to admit that we are engaged in benign and casual genocide. We need to remove the emperor’s clothes. Until this occurs, the the great poverty experts are simply rubbing salt into the world’s gaping wounds.
The truth of the wholesale destruction of millions (dare we add the words women and children?) is currently left to marginalized observers who are never taken seriously by media, governments or the philanthropic-educational community.
Or, even worse, the truth is the province of house prophets in these institutions who deliver ritual Jeremiads to salve conscience as nothing continues to get done.
The name for the hegemony of Capitalism and Philanthropy is benign or casual genocide. We all contribute to this. We are all players on the stage of this sordid and terminally dehumanizing reality. The sooner we acknowledge what we are doing to the point that it convicts governments and media and mobilizes international leadership for a round of hopefully efficacious response, the better.
This is not about yelling louder. It is about saying the present system does not work.