chapter  4
60 Pages

Fantasies and Falsities

Th e whole gamut of the economic infrastructure, institutions, work force, corporations, consumers and their expectations – all seem to evince what Petrucci (2002: 112) calls a ‘radical inertia’ – radical because ‘the processes concerned are so deep-rooted that alternative modes of operation or social organization are simply not perceived or made permissible within existing ideology and practice.’ Neo-liberal capitalism seems to intensify this radical inertia by creating and re-creating a fantasy world of development in which everyone aspires to live in perpetual happiness and limitless prosperity. Happiness in this world is equated with acquisition of commodities. Th e consumerist pursuit for material proxy for happiness is fuelled by, and refl ected in, the misleading fi gures of development, measured in terms of increasing production of goods. Th e radical inertia of society tends to forestall questioning the validity of the assumption of economic growth leading to happiness. Th e continuing pre-occupation with techno-urban-industrial growth is maintained by, and in turn sustains, the fallacies of neo-classical economic premises

(discussed in Section 2.2). Th e fallacious fi xation with technological fi xes prohibits serious contemplation over consequences of development. In addition, the multifaceted myth of industrial development as emancipation creates a fantasy world, where conspicuous production and consumption of garbage become indexes for happiness and prosperity. Th is fantasy world thus maintains the radical inertia and also creates a resistance to change. Techno-urban fascism and corporatocracy thus are able to maintain a façade of democracy, which disallows citizen involvement in examining existing policy assumptions and in designing new policies to solve environmental problems. Th e following sections will examine the social processes that sustain this inertia of modern society ridden with developmentality.