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EnviroLink Forum • View topic - Capitalism or Nature, you can't have both

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:56 am 
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Capitalism is the driving force in the destruction of the non-human world and natural resources. Due to the nature of capitalism, the requirement of constant expansion, it will consume the planet and massively degrade human life, if not worse. 'Greening' and technological innovation cannot change this, it might possibly slow the consumption of resources but it can also accelerate it as per Jevon's Paradox. The dictum in business is 'grow or die', if you don't play by those rules you will not be a capitalists for long, you'll not see may bailing for the common good, such a thing does not exist in the operations of capital.

Some might wish to blame 'industry', this is foolish and futile. First, there is no going back to some idyllic Pleistocene existence, this is impossible, the great herds are gone, the human population is great, the world is hugely altered. What those who endorse such a vision think about reducing human population to the 'appropriate' level makes me very leery.

Industry in capitalist society has one aim, to deliver profits to the capitalist. To be sure value which people desire must be produced but this is secondary to the primary goal. Capitalism takes no account of so-called 'externals, the environmental damage of resource extraction, pollution. No place on the balance sheet for that and attempts to shoe-horn this concept onto capitalism meets great resistance and 'greenwashing'. Capitalism is anarchic, every capitalist produces as much as possible with little regard to overall human need, as long as they can sell their product they don't care if their competitors product goes to the landfill, there is incredible waste. Were industry operated according to human needs this incredible waste might be greatly reduced by planning. And as science confirms more every day, 'human need' includes a viable environment, 'ecosystem services', even biodiversity.

Of course the toll taken on the masses of humanity are well documented, the majority must live in marginal conditions so the the few can live very well indeed. There must be unemployment in order that workers will accept low wages which make the capitalist's profits. As in England three hundred years ago people are driven off the land in Africa and Asia to make way for capitalist agriculture. The people must go to urban ghettos and take whatever work is offered at less than living rates. And the land is intensively exploited with an eye to the next quarter and not the next generation.

Capitalism alters the way we live entirely for it's own purposes, the massively wasteful and alienating 'automobile\suburban culture' of the US is entirely it's product.

Humanity requires a viable Earth, we all deserve justice, equality, a decent life. While capitalism has certainly delivered the technical innovations which make these possible it cannot deliver, for example, were workers paid fully for their labor there would be nothing left for capital. And we've all heard the captains of industry or their flaks complain that 'onerous' regulation will put them out of business. This is true, regulation is not in the capitalist playbook.

The necessity of a sea change in human relations has never been more necessary. It's socialism or barbarism, and it's up to us.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:20 pm 
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Whoops, forgot to mention population. The massive upsurge in human population is largely the result of capitalism. It's a fairly cut and dry proposition: capitalism impoverishes the masses. Excessive replacement rate is closely associated with poverty. When people rise from poverty and(very important) women are empowered and educated the replacement rate drops to a more reasonable level. To be sure there are religious sects for which this does not apply but they are irrelevant.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:38 pm 
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Unrestricted capitalism does have its share of problems, but restricted capitalism can be made to work very well. Think of the combination of the carrot and stick for motivation.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:40 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:32 pm 
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The process of government is ongoing and cannot ever be expected to remain static. Thus, any positive movement must be continually maintained or it may be lost over time.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:29 pm 
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What a name for a communist/socialist apologist anti-capitalist backwards logic spewing nonsense critter!!!
How about Steady State Environmental Economics as first started by Herman Daly???? :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:50 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:56 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:15 am 
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Capitalism requires continuous growth as explained here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism ... c_elements

Put simply, the profit (the difference between revenues and expenses) is used as capital to increase production or is invested in other businesses for which a return on investment is expected. In the second case, the borrower has to pay for what is lent plus an interest. Usually, what is lent is used to buy means of production to produce or provide service, and receive a profit (part of which is used to pay for the interest). The only exception is a non-profit organization which does not usually dominate a capitalist system.

Thus, money supply increases through profit or interest, and that in turn is employed to increase production further.

This explains why capitalist economies have or want economic growth each year (i.e., an increase in GDP) and why resource use in the global economy continues to increase in the long term, together with money supply.

You can see the same thing on a small level. For example, individuals generally want a promotion or a raise in order to pay for increasing costs or to buy new things, either to replace something old or to follow what is seen through marketing and advertising. Not surprisingly, when they go to work, they are told that production has to increase, that they have to be more efficient, that they have to sell more than previously to make investors happy, to win against other businesses competing against them, and so on.

How is all this possible? Through private property, which essentially began with enclosures during the late Middle Ages and brought about by force. Prior to that, land was used commonly, and people grew food or took care of animals as they needed, with little surplus. But as soon as armed groups enclosed the lands and referred to them as private property, the same people now had to work for the owners and were paid wages. Since the owners wanted to earn from the land, the people now had to grow more than what they needed, with what was produced sold back to them in markets or sold to other kingdoms or regions in exchange for other goods. Thus started the capitalist mode of production explained here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalist ... production

Thus, private property is only one component of capitalism. The others are the use of money, exchange, profit, labor power, etc.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:37 pm 
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