Ann Vole wrote:
welcome to the forum
Thank you Ann. I had a feeling, once I got typing, that I was putting too much into an introductory post, and your response indicates that there are a lot of issues and outlooks mentioned that I will have to approach more fully in threads dealing with those issues. But, I can't help posting at least one follow-up, because I am not sure if I have a handle on where exactly you are coming from. For example:
I feel that leftist thinking is actually the source of much of the problem but also the creation of corporations by giving them the rights of a human (can own land and have bank accounts for example).
How do you define "leftist thinking?" Because in my way of thinking, an increase in private power, such as was made possible when business owners were allowed to limit their liability through limited partnership and then the creation of artificial citizens - corporations, is anti-socialist. I can't imagine the creators of the first multinational corporation - the East India Company, would have considered themselves leftists! They were all about maximizing wealth and harvesting valuable resources of recently invaded British and Dutch territories. And, the few corporations that are a little more moderate in the way they deal with employees are still not leftists....they just feel it is a better business strategy than join the ranks of the modern day robber-barons.
Before these two developments, businesses remained local and remained subservient to the humans who fund and profit from the business.
Private ownership is not necessarily capitalism, and socialism does not necessarily mean no private ownership. From my understanding, capitalism did not begin until the advent of modern banking and creating money through the issuing of loans. This is where I see the beginning of our environmental problems starting. Because loans are payed back with interest (if there is no default), and so over time, the money supply grows, and the corresponding levels of debt also grow. And if a capitalist economy isn't growing...as most are right now...then they are at risk of collapsing as increasing bankruptcies threaten the solvency of the currency itself. For a capitalist economy to grow, more stuff has to be made...more energy consumed, more natural resources etc., and this is the part that I don't see as compatible with a world that has a large population trying to provide the necessities of life with the resources that are left.
Taxes are only needed for the socialist idea that governments need to provide care for the people in trouble.
You lost me here. Not much of the tax dollar...especially in recent times, is devoted to caring for the poor and the unemployed. But all this came about as a result of capitalist economies feeling forced to moderate their approach because of the perceived threat that working class people would adopt communism....and now they are back to acting like the robber barons of the Guilded Age, as they kick out every aspect of the social safety net.
I am all in favor of laws to prevent the unfair exploitation of people but feel the best way to help a person is let them start their own business. Government red tape and tax forms are what keep most people from starting small businesses... that should not be the case. The change from people growing their own food and making their own money at home to living in suburbs and driving miles to occupy skyscrapers and huge factories is a new thing and accounts for much of our society's energy use and pollution.
Not everyone is in a position to start their own business, and self-employment and sub-contracting of services has been used as a ruse in many cases for big business to get out of paying employee benefits, including accidental injury. The other direction to go is the cooperative movement.....
There is a new movement that I am getting involved with: the "maker" movement. This is where groups of people share equipment access to make their own stuff (either personal use or to sell). With the advent of on-line sales and free information (look at open source and copyleft models of intellectual property), global businesses of 1 or a handful of people are possible and easy. These maker equipment cooperatives are showing up around the world very quickly. I am on the board of one being formed in my city. It was an idea only in one person's mind last December and we are planning to move into a physical space before mid-September... and already have donated equipment and a year's worth of membership from many people. This will help reduce global energy use greatly and quickly. Making your own food is the biggest way to cut energy use and the recent drought in the USA and increasing fuel costs could cause food prices to skyrocket. This is good news IF people start growing there own food. Community gardens, greenhouses, market gardens, farmers markets, and a push for local food will all have huge impact on global energy use.
Relocalization is an example of going back to cooperative models of the past that used to be common - for example, most grain silos out on the Prairies were built by farmer coops, which also shared mechanized farm equipment as it became available. Farmers and the villages where they traded were not capitalist societies by any stretch of the word. Survival depended too much on being able to depend on neighbours.
ps I will add that my prediction for the future is not as dire for humans as predicted but real harsh on biodiversity... but that nature will heal it's self quickly too. The real disaster that I see is starvation and wars and general lawlessness from crop failure and high energy prices and the resulting devastation to the financial sector. Health issues from the weather may also come into play as water treatment plants fail to work as advertized, power outages cook seniors in there homes, and sewage spreads disease.
I don't see a way that the future could be harsh for biodiversity, while not being so for humans. We are part of the biosphere after all, and we are extracting an ever-increasing amount of resources for ourselves. What are the limits to what we can extract until natural waste recycling systems start to fail and 7 billion people wake up to find there is almost no food available? If, based on assessments of human land and water use, we are using 40% of the Earth's photosynthesizing plants, then that is less available for all of the other animals that play essential, but largely unknown roles in maintaining the biosphere. I fear that we won't realize the limits until we are already past the point of no return. One way or another, the present human population is not going to be 7 billion or even close to it 100 years from now. It will be a question of whether the human race survives at all, or whether a cascade of disease, warfare and related environmental destruction causes our extinction as a species. Many other animal species linger on for awhile with tiny populations until they completely disappear -- that might be our fate as well if we are not able to plan and work together for common benefit...especially for those who aren't even born yet.http://www.eoearth.org/article/Global_human_appropriation_of_net_primary_production_%28HANPP%29