Enter the world of The End of the Fall, described by an unnamed narrator who plays witness to the apocalypse. The narrator takes a detailed look back at where we have been in an effort to explain how we got here and where we will go. He questions everything, including the scientists who would seek a hospitable life on other planets; after all, would it be worth it, to move a remnant of the human race to what would soon feel like an outer space prison?
In the face of these questions, the narrator has faith. He has faith in what the Bible says-that following the great tribulation, there will be good governance, surrounded by peace, prosperity, and harmony. The narrator sees this firsthand, as he is returned to Earth to assist in the rebuild under Christ's rule. Satan may try to ruin mankind, but the Bible tells us who wins. And He is patiently waiting to create a new world in His image.
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THE END OF THE FALLA View of the World and Its Future
By CYRIL JONES
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Cyril Jones
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Subversion of Capitalism
Adam Smith's vision
IN the 18th century, Adam Smith—generally acknowledged as "the father of capitalism"—was inspired to eliminate the extreme hardship he had witnessed in working-class society. His was a brilliant, altruistic vision. In his concept of capitalism, there were no speculative shareholders, boards of directors, or powerful workers' unions. There was no thought of high-priced CEOs with ridiculous salaries and bonuses (to be received even when the business performed poorly).
Smith enthused over the dual concepts of efficiency (through the division and specialization of labour) and effectiveness (encouraged by the personal enrichment of the owners). He encouraged "self-interest" as the primary motivator for the wealthy to invest in manufacturing and commercial enterprises. At the other end of the scale, workers would (ideally) have a job for life, with social security; furthermore, their children would receive an education. Hence the image of the beneficent family-owned business emerged.
In Smith's vision, the ideals of socialism went hand-in-hand with those of capitalism. Long before the end of the 20th century it should have been evident that if one became disconnected from the other, the results would be disastrous. Totalitarian communist states such as the USSR, Red China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba were all predestined for economic collapse.
By contrast, the western economies, led by the G5 countries (France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US) believed that globalization, free-trade, and the deregulation of most of the huge national and multi-national corporations (MNCs), must surely lead to economic utopia. Yet, soon after the turn of the third millennium, four of the original G5 countries were facing steep financial decline, Germany being the only exception.
The rebirth of capitalism spawns globalization
The famous Canadian-born economist, J.K. Galbraith, served as economic adviser to four US presidents. He believed that the regulatory effectiveness of public institutions (i.e. government) was vital to a healthy economy. In one of his books, The Age of Uncertainty (1977), he examined the historical intertwinement of political philosophy and economics. In the two centuries since Adam Smith, it had proved to be a mixture which was as volatile as it was inevitable.
By the middle of the 20th century, capitalism had succeeded in meeting all the needs and reasonable wants of the developed economies. But that was not enough for the profit-focused private companies: they began to "push" new products, whether or not they were really needed, or even wanted. They set out to convince people that their impulses were wants, and their wants were needs. The advertising jingles that permeated commercial radio and television programs in the 1950s may have seemed ridiculous and amusing, but they were the forerunners of far more subtle, sophisticated, and destructive messages.
The rebirth of capitalism which dominated the last quarter of the 20th century was modeled on a "marriage" between the free-market ideals of the Chicago School of Economics and Milton Friedman's monetarist theories. This encouraged an "anything goes as long as it enhances the bottom line" philosophy which was eagerly applied by the so-called captains of industry.
Power-politics became the lifeblood of big-business organisations, which became increasingly indifferent to truth. It was only the shareholders' and customers' perceptions—and whatever actions seemed expedient in order to achieve the corporation's financial goals—that mattered. Social responsibility came to mean reluctant compliance with government regulations. Honesty became a victim of corporate greed.
The notion of globalization was first launched at Davos, Switzerland, in 1975, to promote an improved standard of living for the world's population through unfettered, competitive markets. In the same year, the G5 was expanded to include Italy. The new G6 encouraged the aggressive growth of the MNCs—which pretended to embrace the notion of free-market competition, but actually focused on creating de facto monopolies or cartels. Thus, they exploited the widespread acceptance of globalization. To large organisations, "growth" required the suffocation of competition by any legal means, including hostile takeovers.
Economic reformation and the free market
In 1987, the small country of New Zealand, which had become renowned as a model of the "cradle to grave" socialist welfare system, was on the verge of bankruptcy. Only drastic economic reforms saved it. Over the next few years, it converted to a free-market economy. Almost all government-controlled businesses were privatized; farm subsidies were eliminated; trade tariffs were removed; and healthcare became a dual system.
New Zealand achieved a dramatic economic turnaround, which appeared to provide a perfect endorsement of the efficacy of free-market economics, which were already well-established in the UK and the US. In fact, there were social consequences, due to high unemployment rates and slumping wage rates. Nevertheless, New Zealand wisely committed to remain a debt-free nation, in sharp contrast to most other western economies.
By the final decade of the 20th century, almost all the western economies had succumbed to the promise of prosperity under right-leaning governments. This may have seemed like an ideal antidote for years of socialist inefficiency and economic stagnation (especially in countries such as the UK and New Zealand). But the pendulum was allowed to swing too far—spurred by the mirage of huge profits and improved living standards offered by free markets, the MNCs, and globalization. It appeared to work very well for a couple of decades, but few anticipated the severe consequences that would result from the folly of privatization without adequate regulation.
By the end of the 20th century, frenetic free-market activity, with many national and international participants playing by their own rules, had become the norm. It happened with the open-eyed concurrence of the G8 countries' commercial, financial, and political organisations. International non-profit organisations, such as the WTO, the OECD, the World Bank, and the IMF were hardly more than puppets (albeit necessary ones) which policed only certain aspects of globalization.
This neo-capitalism, based on worldwide free-market competition, was heralded as the only way to a happy and prosperous future for the world's burgeoning population and developing nations. One decade into the third millennium, when it had become clear that neither communism nor the modern version of capitalism worked, the notion of a new world order began to gain popularity.
Pillars of economic growth vs. competition
The emergence of the modern form of capitalism, with its focus on "investing", "innovation", and "marketing" as the pillars of economic growth, resulted in unethical business practices. "Investing" (as opposed to entrepreneurship) came to mean speculating (often with borrowed money) on commodities or derivatives, as a form of gambling. "Innovation" meant inventing some new gimmick or convenience which might appeal to the lazy, prideful, or weaker aspects of mankind's nature.
"Marketing" meant employing psychological pressure, in one form or another, to persuade people to purchase products and services which they did not need. Increasingly unethical marketing techniques targeted the very young, but also subtly influenced their parents. Aggressive telemarketing targeted the elderly. Neo-capitalism had become separated from the altruistic principles of its own roots. Greed had become an accepted substitute for self-interest.
Competition was a word with positive connotations for consumers—but not for business organisations. Private enterprises hated competition; they aimed to stamp it out by any means, fair or foul. Having to comply with government regulations while endeavouring to maximize their profits and bonuses was more than enough hardship—they did not need the additional headaches of dealing with unpredictable, or excessive, competition. Hence, hostile takeovers, undercutting competitors, or (as in the case of the big-oil companies) blatant collusion over price-setting, became normal business strategies. Bill Gates' gigantic Microsoft Corporation provided the consummate example of how far an MNC would go to stamp out competition.
Of course, there were glimpses of how competition was supposed to work. The gigantic auto industry was one market where competition truly was king, so that owning a car was within the reach of almost everyone. However, difficult economic times and tough competition caused bankruptcies, mergers, and takeovers. Meanwhile, the auto companies became masters at exploiting advertising techniques to sell expensive toys to adults.
The retail giants focused their unethical advertising on the most vulnerable target groups, in order to constantly increase sales of their non-essential gimmicks or health-destroying products, ranging from vehicles, to electronic gadgets, to processed foods, to medical products and services. The larger the corporate giants became, the more ruthless were their methods.
They had latched onto the notion of greed as a legitimate motivator, and felt free to take it to the extreme. In fact, capitalism strayed from its fundamental ideals to a worse extent than communism had done. In terms of personal freedom, neo-capitalism excelled. In terms of the promotion of abject immorality of all kinds, it also excelled. It destroyed souls, as well as physical bodies.
Neo-capitalism and unethical behaviour
Marketing, selling, and advertising—through the powerful media of television, the Internet, and numerous cult magazines—became the unholy trinity of the business world. They were different aspects of the same god, whose name was greed. Television advertising paid professional sports organisations (and individual players) millions of dollars, while the consumers (i.e. sports fans) were bombarded with frequent, noisy, intelligence-insulting "commercials".
Meanwhile, the rapid economic growth spurred by neo-capitalism accelerated the consumption of the world's natural resources, constantly increasing the detrimental effects on the environment, and creating a huge imbalance in wealth between the world's nations, as well as between the privileged and underprivileged members within societies.
By the end of the 20th century, the success of marketing strategies had become the "be all and end all" of private corporations. Bright minds competed aggressively for success in the marketing field. More and more business students chose to major in marketing. The unethical aspects were swept under the carpet of "acceptable business practice".
Youthful business executives believed that any opportunity which was not downright illegal should be taken advantage of. Yet, the provision of full, factual, truthful information was the only form of marketing which could be truly ethical—anything other than that was unethical, probably misleading or fraudulent.
That the implementation of ethical conduct in business dealings was largely pretence would have been bad enough, but the same philosophy filtered into other areas, such as politics, and even the personal commitments of many people. The "me generation" was a philosophy which openly promoted selfishness and over-indulgence, in stark contrast to the spirit of self-sacrifice which had been the hallmark of western society until the second half of the 20th century.
The new capitalism had betrayed the ideals of its founder. The notion of self-interest as a spur to improve efficiency, productivity, and the lives of working class people, had been distilled to emphasise greed as the sole motivator of any successful commercial enterprise. Television "reality" shows, such as Survivor and The Apprentice, glorified guile and deception as desirable qualities.
The end of old-fashioned capitalism
Long-established philanthropic private enterprises in the UK—such as the Quaker family-owned Cadbury and Fry's chocolate companies, as well as the family-owned Bulmer's cider company—had voluntarily provided social security for their employees. They became regarded as archaic and uncompetitive in the cut-throat world where competition had to be eliminated, one way or another. Even at the end of the 20th century, a few such family-owned companies still held out, but they soon succumbed to hostile takeovers.
The winners in the economic explosion were the dominant shareholders, the expensive CEOs, lawyers, accounting firms, and the "gravy-train" boards of directors—not to mention the tens of thousands of executives in financial markets, banks, and insurance companies. As various economic crises depleted the strength of the trades unions, many workers found their salaries becoming stagnant.
Often, international competition, economic downturns, or financial mismanagement resulted in the loss of jobs and/or retirement funds. The Enron debacle became the classic example. But even that catastrophic early-warning signal did not alert the US Government, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or the chairman of Federal Reserve Bank (Alan Greenspan) to the extent of the financial collapse that would occur within the same decade.
Some business executives occupied powerful positions, based on their merits; but many others, who craved wealth or power, were motivated to claw their way, by fair means or foul, to the upper echelons of large organisations. Few organisations had the foresight to promote those who were pleased to serve for the least material rewards, even though perhaps 90% of fraud and mismanagement could have been avoided by such a profound test of personal motivation. Furthermore, the idea that a higher position in the organisation structure must necessarily involve a bigger pay-cheque, overlooked the vital specialist expertise and daily decision-making which were so essential to efficiency and effectiveness.
Even in western countries, nepotism and other forms of favouritism became rife—not only in private business enterprises, but also in essential public processes, such as the calling of lawyers to the bar, or the selection of judges. Honesty and fairness in institutional dealings became a rarity, even archaic.
Yet, all of this seemed relatively harmless, compared to the unconscionable lobbying on behalf of big-business (e.g. pharmaceuticals; tobacco; automotive; oil and gas) which had become accepted as a normal part of the political process in Washington DC. There was even an ongoing "revolving door" relationship between many large corporations and the specialized government departments which were supposed to be regulating them.
The majority of the middle class followed blindly in the footsteps of the nouveau-riche. Most people accepted the myth that it was essential for companies to constantly increase profits because "that was what the shareholders/investors demanded and deserved". In fact, ordinary shareholders and small investors received modest returns, which were dependent on the personal goals of one or two major shareholders—who inevitably controlled the boards of directors and/or the senior management positions of business organisations.
Furthermore, the middle class were actively encouraged by lending institutions, and even political administrations (in the US), to believe that they could afford whatever they wanted, without delay, by using cheap credit. Many adults shopped just for the sake of shopping. They became "shopaholics" who could cause just as much harm to their families as if they had been gamblers or alcoholics.
In earlier generations, adults had willingly minimised their spending on products and services for themselves, once they had family responsibilities. Then, as they got older, the kinds of activities which were meaningful to them required very modest spending. But in the era of neo-capitalism, adults became brainwashed to "need" (and therefore demand) more and more products and services for themselves.
Until at least the middle of the 20th century, ordinary people had legitimately claimed self-respect on the basis of being honest and hard working, but they were soon considered naïve, or inferior. (It had long been a mark of social progress that "sophisticated" had become a complimentary adjective, whereas "naïve" had become an insulting one.) Those few souls who remained long-suffering, were considered old-fashioned or lacking in assertiveness.
Excerpted from THE END OF THE FALL by CYRIL JONES Copyright © 2011 by Cyril Jones. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Part I. An Autumn Without Thanksgiving....................1
1. The Subversion of Capitalism....................3
2. Six Decades of Rapid Change [1940-1999]....................13
3. The Roots of Moral Decline....................22
4. A Calamitous Decade [2000-2009]....................31
5. The Culture and Consequences of Greed....................40
6. The World as a Tinderbox [2010-2014]....................49
7. Deterioration of the Environment....................58
Part II. The Spirits Of Yuletide....................67
8. The Spirit of Self-Destruction....................69
9. The Spirit of Apostasy....................79
10. The Spirit of Antichrist....................88
Part III. The God Of All Seasons....................97
11. The Sovereignty of God....................99
Part IV. Chills Of Winter....................107
12. The EU Constitution Crisis....................109
13. The War Against Israel....................118
14. The Wunderkind....................127
15. Signs of the Times ....................136
16. The World Forum....................145
17. The World Citizens' Code....................153
Part V. Interlude (In Heaven)....................161
19. Mysteries Revealed....................172
20. Reflections on an Earthly Sojourn....................181
21. Reflections on a Fallen World....................190
Part VI. The Depths of Winter....................199
23. Great Tribulation....................211
Part VII. A Glorious Spring....................221
24. Assignments of the Saints....................223
25. The Early Years....................232
26. Everyday Life....................241
27. Education, Works, and Vocations....................250
28. Stewardship of God's Resources....................258
29. Leisure and Worship....................267
Part VIII. Endless Summer....................277
30. The Final Revolt....................279
31. The New Jerusalem....................287